Anyone who watched the broadcast of the Pro-Tour finals in Hawaii would chuckle when they see the card Lightning Helix
, which earned its infamy when Craig Jones in the semi-finals top-decked it for the win against Oliver Ruel, rousing the crowd into an uproar. His reaction was like drawing a sleeve packed with money from nowhere (and with the prize fund at the pro tour, this analogy isn’t that far off).
I recounted the highly publicized incident because it demonstrates an undeniable characteristic in Magic, the Gathering: The game absorbs you entirely, it insinuates its way into your psyche, it holds sway over your emotions. To quote Randy Buehler, “Magic is not just a game, it’s a lifestyle.” To quote the enthusiasts at my local FNM tournament, “Magic is like crack!”
No doubt in a tight game, especially when there are high stakes you have felt excitement and stress. Take a close look at your opponent. The game may be decided by his next draw, sending one of you to claim the fabulous prize and the other out of the running. I find it a common sight that he or she strikes the top of his or her library, dictating aloud the specific card they need to draw, and only then drawing. I’m positive that every one of us has seen one form or another of superstition if not guilty of it, and so on Friday evening I resolved to keep my eyes peeled as I was playing and observe the people around me. Specifically, I was looking for their methods of swaying pure chance to favor them. If you carefully observe, you will find that even accepted rituals in Magic are superstition. As you read, see if any of the following are typical of anyone you know.
Before I started my games, I quickly ran around the hall with my clipboard taking note of exactly which dice were being used to “roll for decision.” At the end of the day, statistically, dice that had a closer resemblance to a sphere were preferred.
2 Sides (coin toss) – 0
4 Sides – 0
6 Sides – 4
10 Sides – 3
12 Sides – 15
20 Sides – 13
Unobserved - 13
(There were 25 players, 12 games per round, 4 rounds, 48 games total).