Magic: The Gathering

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What is a hobby you like to do? Some love clambering up mountains, others enjoy sloshing through several dozen laps at the local pool. Many people find enjoyment in writing words on pages and making novels. Maybe it could be banging pots and pans in the kitchen, or kneading dough. Others even roll in the dirt looking for old artifacts!

No matter what you love to do, Magic: The Gathering is a great hobby for hanging out with friends, chilling after work, or even socializing with new people at a new school. Here at Stevenson High School many people probably know there is a great, fun, active group numbering less than a few dozen. Although the group is growing, the fun familiar feel of playing has stuck around. Surprisingly many kids, once new here to Stevenson High School, have found connections that as freshman Kim Chestnut said, “This is a group I can go anywhere and have something unique in common with….Like having a special language just known to me and them.”

“What is MTG?” You might ask. Magic is a collectible card game designed by a math professor. It is a two plus player role-playing game, designed for people who love strategy, whether it’s in depth or not. Of course it also has a slight math tinge to it as well. In the beginning of the game you decide whether you start with 20 or more health which equals your beginning life total. Players must use land as ‘mana’ to summon creatures, rated as power/heath (ie: a 3/5 creature, where 3 is the attack, and 5 is the defense). The object of the game is to get your opponent down to 0 health, while you desperately try to stay above 0. You can use creatures to attack/defend, or cast sorceries or spells to target your opponent or their creatures thus damaging your opponent and giving you the upper hand.

Despite the complaints many magic players have heard, magic is not boring. Players do not sit around gawking or staring off into space because of boredom. Magic can become a very complicated game. Hear this out. First you must decide what to play; how will it affect the game? Will it strengthen you with your offense? Maybe defense? Or will it hinder the opponent? Do you have enough mana? Is it worth it? Are there any better cards you can cast? How will they respond? Should you attack now or wait and defend on the opponent’s turn?

Do not feel overwhelmed. Many, justly so, might feel like they are drowning in different sequences, moves, phases, or terms such as vigilance, first strike, flying, trample, bestow, or deathtouch. Even though these terms do exist, even though there seems to be too much to focus on…relax. Yes, as math teacher and magic player Torno put it, “I love the game because there are always new cards coming out, new terms; it keeps the game interesting.”

Magic: The Gathering is special in that way. The game can become complicated enough for professionals to play with almost unlimited results. One wrong move and you could lose the game. But this game is still simple enough to pick up and play for any beginner, and not for them to feel overwhelmed. I guess you could look at it as there is always something to learn. Brendon Kester summed it up like this, “I like to play with anyone who is equal strength.” To add on, Kim Chestnut says, “I really don’t care as long as it is a fair fight.” The awesome thing about this is as mentioned above. If a beginner knows how to play, they still will be a challenge, a possible victor even against veteran players. Any fight can be a fair one, no matter how long you have been playing Magic.

So whether you start with your girlfriend, your boyfriend, parents, school friends, or neighbors, if you truly love strategy, no matter how simple or how complex: you’ll love Magic: The Gathering. Come join the group if you have the courage. We meet in Mr. Torno’s room: Hall 40, and sometimes in the library. Come join the fun.

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