Essential Magic Articles


Reflections as a Female Magic Player

by Margaret Cortez

I can remember my very first encounter of Magic the Gathering, and that was when I was 12 years old at computer camp. I was told by the boys I was with that I couldn't play because I was a girl. Naturally being 12, I told them all piss off and went to go read my Harry Potter book. I didn't give Magic a second thought until I was 15 and a comic book/card shop opened up 2 blocks from my house. I later bought a deck from them (2 weeks before they shut down) and was left with no aid to learn until I turned 18.

Since then I have been in two tournaments, one was at a local card shop and the other one was at Gen Con this past week. I can say that it has been an interesting climb up the MTG ladder; not that I'm very far up at the moment.

There are some key elements that I would like to share with my fellow female MTG players. We may be far and few but some things I've noticed happen when you jump in the water with all the sharks. Hopefully this helps not to be chum in the next feeding frenzy

First: Don't let them smell fear. I know the first game I went to I was terrified and almost had a panic attack. I was the only female at the tournament and felt like someone had just painted a neon bright "kick me" sign on me. One thing to keep in mind is that when it's all said and done, it's just a game. Also it helps to go to the card shop before playing a tournament. In my case I already knew some people who worked there and I went along with my husband who is also an MTG player.

Second: Come prepared with a semi decent deck. Let's be honest most of us had our butts whooped the first good handful of times we played against others for something more than skittles or such. For girls it's even more intimidating to bring a deck you've put together. It's like you've just put your soul on the line for all to scoff at. My advice is to try and find a friend who can help you build a deck. If all else fails look on places such as here for combos and deck building help if you simply cannot find someone who will help you build one from scratch. If you happen to be playing a draft tournament focus on four things:

1) While drafting try and envision what you want your deck to do. I tend to try and go for control with blue and black but that's what I'm used to. I have had to whip up something I'm not use to before.

2) Remind yourself you are no less of a player for either a) being new or b) being female.

3) Look at your hand and ask yourself do you feel confident about the cards you pulled. If so why? And if not how can you still work with it? (I've played sinking ship before, they may suck, but at least you can try).

4) Spend 10 minutes (if you can) looking at all the cards in your deck and try to think of ways to create combos or good ways to play certain cards.

5) Breathe, this may sound odd but as a female player I've had some hyperventilation episodes from sheer terror. Oxygen keeps you from making dumb mistakes during the heat of battle.

Third: Make conversation. It true there are some players so engrossed in game they forget their manners, but try to make light conversation. Some people thrive off beating the snot out of you and making you feel inferior. Truth be told those are the kind of players who tend to underestimate the power of a new player if they can work their cards right. Most players I've met in tournaments love to talk a bit while playing and even will ask how you got started. For me it's was all about being calm and collective. This gains respect not only for being a female interested in MTG but because you show them you can fight with the big boys no matter what.

Fourth and final: Have fun and trade. The greatest way to increase your MTG friends list is to trade and smile. Sure you may only have 10 rare that are worth looking at, or you may have 200. The best way to gain a solid rep is to talk and trade with others, and then offer a casual game. While this may seem only like schmoozing think about it; you gain the ability to learn new ways of playing by watching others. Any practice is good practice, not matter how much snot is beaten out of you during it.

I don't think the MTG world is sexist by any means. I simply think it's just less appealing to mainstream girls of this time. However this is slowly changing as more and more female pick up their first deck and fight. I think it helps to have those who are able to say "yea I'm a girl and I play MTG". I think that the gradual increase in female players will earn us more respect and kudos points as more of us step up to the playing mat and tap those mana.

Last edited 9/21/2009 1:51:33 PM Page 1 of 1  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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