Warning: This is going to be a tl;dr about some personal stuff that’s caused me to take a few months off of Magic. I don’t think a lot of people will care about this, but I want to write it all down anyway.
As I’m sure is evident based on the fact that there has not been a post on this site in many months, Magic took a back seat for me for a while. Without divulging too much as to the reasons, I’d like to mention that despite not actively playing and being a participating member of the community for a little while now, I have kept up with what’s been going on in the game, both in the meta and the community. I think with a game like Magic: The Gathering, it’s hard to ever really “quit” in the true sense of the word, especially when you are as invested as I was/am, but I have to admit that I came pretty close. I had personal reasons to quit the game, but as time passed on I realized that I was simply working and sleeping with little to no social time, and a large portion of my social interaction was with people whom I met playing Magic. That may sound lame, but the fact of the matter is that I am not the type of person who can just go out to a bar with people and meet and mingle. It’s just not my scene.
I’d like to thank Salty Dog for not letting me quit. I think if it had not been for him coming down and hanging out with me every few weeks and making me watch Star City Open coverage with him, I might have disconnected from the game completely. It’s funny because out of all of the people who I have met through playing this game, Cody has to be the person with the most opposing personality to mine, yet somehow we just ended up spending the most time hanging out. I wish I could explain it, but all I can say is that I’m fortunate to have him as a friend. With the exception of Salty Dog and Polar Bear, I honestly haven’t seen any of the Mage Ring-ers in months. I’m sorry about that, guys. It’s been a tough few months and I have nobody to blame for that but myself. I could have done a better job at reaching out. A few of you guys have joined Team Bolas, so I guess I should probably take you off of the roster, but you’re still my pals and I’d still be lucky and honored to play test with any of you guys in the future. If you guys do want me to take you guys’ profiles down, I’d be more than happy to do so. You all know how to contact me. Otherwise I’m just going to leave them for posterity.
I did spend some of the time that I wasn’t playing working on some Magic-related projects though, most notably the Ravnican Battle Box, which is a cube-like style of decks made to battle against each other. I originally started designing these decks as something to carry around in my car so that I could have decks available for my casual friends to play against each other, (mostly people at work) but I got a little carried away with them and it turned into a full-blown project. Recently I’ve also started streaming weekly MTGO drafts on my Twitch channel. I usually only do about one per week right now early on Saturday mornings, but I’m hoping to be doing more soon. I am a much more versed sealed player, but I really need to work on my draft skills so I’ve been putting in an effort to do so since I’ve returned.
As for Magic around Charlotte, I’m glad to see that Team Bolas actually came together. I’m happy that Ali managed to do what I was basically going to attempt to do before things went off of the rails. I have to admit that I don’t have nearly the reach that Ali does, so when I heard that he was starting a team I just assumed that it would come together seamlessly, and it seems that it has. I actually have a great amount of respect for a lot of the players on the team, too. (John and I tend not to agree about a lot of stuff in Magic, but there’s no denying the results he’s put up so I’ll give him a pass. Plus I want him to drive us to DragonCon, so…) As far as competing against them, I don’t have any plans to do that, but I do plan on trying to put the team “back together” so that people who aren’t involved in Team Bolas can also have a group to test with. I’m also happy to see more places to play popping up around the city, too. Recently a new “store” has opened up named Wizards at the Lake, which is a bait and tackle shop that has started opening up a play area for Magic. Wobby Dubs and Ali are apparently pretty involved there, but I haven’t actually managed to check it out yet since I work basically right up until they close every night. I’ve more or less boycotted Be There Games though, so hopefully I manage to get over to Wizards at the Lake soon.
So what am I going to do next? I’ve decided to try and forget everything I know about Magic and start over from square one. Since I no longer have a collection, I really have to consider heavily how I want to reinvest in the game, and with that comes the new challenge of being VERY sure of what deck I want to move in on since the investment is heavier than it used to be. Right now I’ve got the basics (4 Jaces, lol) of any Standard deck I want to build, and I still have the pieces of my Affinity list, but everything else I had at my disposal is gone. Traditionally I’ve always gravitated towards aggressive decks, and so now I’m thinking that it might behoove me to try and play from the other side of the spectrum. I’m very interested in the various Esper lists that have been popping up, and I think I’m going to give those a try in Standard.
Instead of sticking to Affinity in Modern, I’ve decided to explore what other options I have with my Mox Opals. I’m currently testing out some versions of Tempered Steel Tempo, which is basically your classic Tempered Steel list with some extra countermagic and bounce spells. I’m also testing the Puresteel Paladin Storm list. (Because how often do you get to cast [mtg_card]Hurkyl’s Recall[/mtg_card] on yourself?) I’m tempted to try out Lantern Control, but I am pretty far away from investing in a playset of [mtg_card]Ensnaring Bridge[/mtg_card]s even though the rest of the deck is basically bulk commons. I’ve considered buying Salty Dog’s current Modern deck off of him, which is basically a Glittering Wish storm deck. I’ve never really played a combo deck other than Standard UG Infect, so maybe it’ll be something that I didn’t know I would enjoy.
Even though I know nobody is reading this, I hope to be playing with you all again soon. I’m looking forward to Grand Prix Charlotte so I can see a bunch of you guys in person again, it’s been a while!