Essential Magic Articles


For The Old School Magic Player

by Saran Ekambaram

    I remember when I first opened a magic booster. It was an exodus booster, and I pulled an Ertai, Wizard Adept. Up until that point I had been playing magic for a year or so, and believe it or not, had never bought a booster. I was given a deck from some friends.
    Afterwards however, I understood the importance of a booster – buying the latest set, the thrill of the unknown, the chance of a foil, or even collecting a set all enticed me to buy boosters. I soon learned the difference between a Black Border and a White Border from my friends. I didn't understand what all the hype was, it was just a border, a reprint is as good as any card right?

    Wrong. I soon had an insatiable desire to take my white border card's and replace with black borders. It's like those duelists you meet every so often who are obsessed with having all foil lands. It's just something about the look, the feel of the deck. It's nothing technical, it doesn't improve your deck in any way, other than in appearance. But having all those cards, in sleeves, black bordered, just makes you look at them and feel a sense of pride.

    That's basically what it all comes down to. The feel of the card. Magic is about more than just numbers and damage and phases and the stack. Aside from all the rules and mechanics, we play the game because of the way it makes us feel. Mostly, the majority of us play because it makes us feel happy or like we are having fun. If not for how the game makes us feel, what point is there in playing at all? Would we really be playing if it made us feel like garbage?

    This is why when 8th Edition came out I pretty much stopped buying boosters. I do not like the new look of magic cards. If you have a deck with some pre-eighth edition and some post-eight edition cards, it looks odd. Period. It just looks like two different card games in one deck. I can't stand having two completely different looking cards in play. It just feels wrong.

    Take for example Artifacts and White cards. The white cards are so pale. The old white cards weren't exactly white. We associated white with the tannish yellow of a plains card. It wasn't the colour of my ceiling. And Artifacts used to revolve around the flavour of finding something buried, or uncovering an old rustic piece of the past. The brown colour suited this theme well. Now artifacts are silver. Cold. Metallic. This may have fit in with the Mirrodin block, but changing the colour, flavour, and look of an entire type of card just for one block is hardly justifiable. I'd rather take a Howling Mine from eighth edition out of my deck than play with it. It just doesn't feel like a Howling Mine anymore.

    I find it difficult to get excited about a new set coming out because I know from the get-go I will dislike the look of the cards. I approve of wizards decision to clean up the cards a bit and to update the look. But I think they lost a large piece of the past with it. I am thankful for the Timespiral Timeshifted cards. They make we want to buy boosters again. But the next sets to come won't have the old look of cards. They'll have the new look.

    Call me old fashioned, but I just want my black bordered old look cards. Otherwise the game just doesn't feel like magic. The only good news is, I can trade all my post-eighth cards that are valued much higher for a handful of old cards valued at nothing. $2.50 for a scroll rack!? Yes please!

    I will always play magic, and I will always put cards in a deck if it makes them more fun, regardless of their set. But a part of me will always feel odd about the new look of cards. Which is why I try to kick it old school as much as possible. But regardless of what you do with your deck, always remember that the game is about one thing: the way it makes you feel.

Last edited 2/5/2007 Page 1 of 1  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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