A lot of my friends, including my girlfriend, view Magic with a bit of a negative eye. Many of them see it as a waste of money and time (“It’s just pieces of cardboard!”), and determine that it has no real impact on one’s development as a well-rounded person. The number one argument against this is the following: it’s fun! That’s what Magic is supposed to be about; what ANY hobby is ultimately about. However, Magic isn’t just a hobby to me. Many aspects of the game, believe it or not, tie in quite well to the workings of the world in which we live. This article is my attempt to explain a few of those connections. I will warn you that it may get a tad subjective, even controversial, so I won’t post every connection I’ve come up with. Instead I’ll mention a few and, if this article is met with at least SOME approval, I’ll submit part II.
We’ll begin the discussion with what may be my favorite card of all time: Daze
. This card is amazingly elegant in its design: it does so little, but it costs even less. Most of all, its mere presence in your deck can seriously alter the way your opponent plays the game. Consider the following: your turn one you play an island and pass the turn. Your opponent plays an Ancient Tomb
, then plays a Chrome Mox
removing a white card, and plays an Exalted Angel
as a face-down creature. In response you pick up your island and daze the incoming morph. Your opponent can’t pay 1 and the angel is countered. If, on the off-chance, the second game of the match plays out the same way, will your opponent still go for the first turn morph? Unlikely.
However, this is an extreme example because exalted angel is a very powerful card, and often important to a deck’s strategy. When casting smaller spells daze becomes less back-breaking, but is still quite hindering to play into. So, as a player facing a deck with daze, you have a decision to make every turn: tap out for your spells, or play it safe and leave a land untapped. Always leaving one extra mana makes a daze in your opponent’s hand a dead draw (it literally does nothing), but also sets you back a turn mana-wise. If your opponent doesn’t have that daze in hand, you’re playing around it for nothing and may lose to the free Time Walk
you gave your opponent.
Regardless of what the correct choice is of a and b above, it is NEVER the correct choice to switch from choice b to choice a. That is, play around daze for the first few turns and then suddenly tap out for a big spell. Why is this so bad? Well, if your opponent does have daze then your plan of making it a dead draw ends right then and there as he is finally able to make use of the card. If he doesn’t have daze, then you wasted tons of mana during the first few turns of the game only to assume he doesn’t have the card later on. Neither of those “swaps” make any sense.
By now I’m sure most of you are wondering how this has anything to do with the real world. In actuality, it does. Consider the current US war with Iraq (yeah, I’m going there). President Bush sent waves of troops into the country in an attempt to establish a more humane and stable government. Has this attempt worked? No, it hasn’t. Life hasn’t gotten any better for the people of Iraq, and there is no stable government in sight. Does this mean the attempt was a failure and the troops should be removed ASAP? Not necessarily.