Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Magic: The Gathering Sands of Time

Back in 1996 I somehow came upon Magic: The Gathering, and started to play with a limited budget due to being a 9th grader. To be honest, imho I sucked at it, I was a newbie but even when I stopped playing I still sucked. One reason I sucked was that in tourneys I got anxious, sweaty, heart racing & tunnel vision, that makes playing harder and loosing tougher. Playing M:TG wasn't good for my health nor my budget and two years later I decided that it's simply to expensive (you had to keep buying the latest sets to play in tourneys) and sold off all cards but one deck and three cards where I liked the artwork & and signed card.

Despite the stress, it was enjoyable and I still consider it to be a good game overall. I even play twice a year in a booster draft. What I love about the game is that it kinda is like Nomic, a game about rules. You start with a fixed set of rules and via the cards extend these. You can play and win in a plain way, simply deal enough damage with spells or creatures to kill your opponents. Or you extend the rules, twist & abuse them. That's what I liked (apart from rushing out as many creatures as fast as possible). One so called combo I came up with (and happens to be the reason for this post) is Equisands (not my deck, it has cards which didn't exist in 1997). The core of this deck is the card "Sands of Time", once in game it removes a phase from the game and replaces it with a similar rule. By it's own the card seems stupid but it changed the game in that block fundamentally. Because the removed "untap" phase was central to a another game mechanic of "phasing" (prior to your untap phase cards with "phasing" would leave the game until your next untap phase). The Sands removed that, cards could still phase out via other mechanics but they would never ever enter the game again and "Equipoise" phased out everything your opponent had more of then you. I am so proud of that combo because I came up with it on my own, nobody else I played with used that combo. I don't claim to be the first world wide, but in that circle of friends I was. Sadly I don't I ever won with it, I didn't have enough cards nor the money to buy them and I didn't understand yet that sacrificing cards/lifepoints can be good strategy too. But I was proud of my "invention" and it defined M:TG for me.

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