Essential Magic Articles

The Art of Magic’s Psychological Warfare: Messing with some heads!

by Scott

    It all started many an age ago, when the goblin shark first evolved, everything else in the water took a double take at its hideousness, from its long goblin nose right down to its disgusting extendable jaw and then shat the water brown…world-wide.

    Now, we don’t exactly have a goblin shark in magic, the closest thing we have is Goblin Piledriver or Goblin Sharpshooter, but the tactic remains the same. Messing with someone else’s head is an important part of gaming, warfare, racing, and whatever else you want to apply it too.

    Psychological terrorism has been one of the basic principles of MTG since people discovered Counterspells and Wrath of Gods. It wasn’t long before Elf, Goblin, Zombie, Solider, and Sliver decks popped up that people started to have ideas about basic human fears…

    Fear ONE:  Large, synergistic tribal armies scare the pants off of people who have no defense against them short of a top-deck from whatever divine entity they pray too, or whatever.

    Massive armies of super-powered midgets, monsters and forest-people, hordes of shambling undead and orderly armies of knights and soldiers make people cringe when they see that sort of concentrated super-powered-epicness get tapped in their direction. Of course, I’d be lying to say that I wouldn’t be scared either…If I wasn’t playing a half-decent deck I’d most likely die right then and there, which brings us to Fear TWO!

Fear  TWO: What the hell is he smiling about? Did he draw a bomb? Is he gona wrath me? Oh no! It might be Insurrection! And all sorts of general idiocy that happens in most people’s head when they see their nearly-doomed opponent draw their last card and smile gleefully.

Most of you have either been on the receiving end of this, or have managed to top deck that one card that lets you live a few more turns. However, there are a smaller, smarter number of you that know that simply having available mana and a grin on your face after drawing a dead card  can give you the precious extra turn(s) needed to win the game.  This is Fear TWO: the fear of the unknown.

Everyone hates the “unknown” because its well, frankly, unknown. Your opponent doesn’t know if you drew a Constant Mist or a Giant Growth, all they know is that you have mana open and a cocky grin on your face.  Once you know an opponent will hesitate to alpha-strike/beta-strike/whatever-strike you, you’ve got the game, time to draw into the card they think you where holding, or draw into a game-winning card yourself. Draw-Go decks and other control style decks have been doing this for years. We all know what’s in the control deck, we just don’t know if its in their I play my card, or will it just get counterspelled. Should I build up my hand and mana for a few turns to try to sneak something though, or is that just going to help them build up their hand even more. Fear TWO is powerful, USE IT.

Last edited 11/30/2010 7:09:21 PM Page 1 of 3  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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