From Outside the Game #4- Ms. Manners Map to Magical Matters

Welcome etiquette lovers! Today’s letters are all related to a game that I am sure many of you have heard of: Magic:The Gathering. This is a complex game with a huge amount of written rules and an equal number of unwritten ones as well. It only takes one Mental Misstep to turn a Knight Exemplar into a Goblin Bully. Let’s get right to the letters shall we?

Dear Ms. Manners,

I play Magic at my local game store, I prefer limited so I stick to mostly drafts and the occasionally sealed event. Most of the players are cool enough, but there is one guy who drives me up the wall. The only thing he cares about is drafting rares and mythics. He will take an off-color crap rare over a common that is perfect for his deck every single time. He makes it impossible to pick up signals so each draft is useless as practice. We all make fun of him for it but it does not seem to do any good. What can we do? -Drafting in Delaware

Dear Drafting,

My my my this is a problem. How dare this person spend his money to enjoy the draft as he sees fit. How rude of him indeed. Does he not realize that you are a serious player and he is ruining your chances to succeed? I run into a similar situation when I attend concerts with people who insist on standing up and cheering when I just want to sit and quietly appreciate the music. Some people would suggest scheduling a “competitive” draft or working with said player until he becomes a more serious drafter but I think you are on the right track. Crank up the teasing until he leaves the store and never comes back, you are all better off without him anyways.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I enjoy watching the various videos that the Magic websites put up but I have a problem. I notice the people making the videos pick cards differently and make plays that I would not make. What is the proper response?- Inquiring from the Internet

Dear Inquiring,

Some who made a video for your enjoyment made a mistake? The best thing is to immediately call them out in the comments section for the article. Suggested terms include newb and scrub. Make sure everyone knows how much better you are at the game since you, sitting at home watching the video without the slightest bit of pressure on you, managed to see what the pro could not. Insult the site that runs the videos and wonder why anyone bothers to watch them. Ignore anyone who claims anything other than what you saw, they are not nearly as good as you are. After all, you would be on the gravy train if only you could avoid running into luck sack opponents. Remember, the people doing these videos do not deserve to try new strategies or to do they consider “fun” so tear them to pieces.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I have put together an incredible cube. It is completely pimped out, rare foils, foreign cards, altered cards you name it. I spend hours searching online for obscure pieces to add to it. The only problem is I can never play with it. My apartment does not have enough space to squeeze people in, as you naturally have to sacrifice something to have a cube this awesome. My local game store has tons of space but the owner is a total jerk. Whenever enough people are around for a good cube draft he will suggest we all do a boring regular draft or a sealed event and steals all of my players away.- Solitary in Cincy

Dear Solitary,

This is ridiculous! Does this store owner not realize how awesome your cube is and how much better it would be to play it than some sanctioned format? How dare he try to make money at his store when his players want to have fun for free? He is obviously in this for the profits, not the people. I would complain loudly to every person in the store you can about this, make sure everyone online knows not to go to his store. Do not try talking to him up about setting up a particular day to play and especially do not start making significant purchases from his store to butter him up. Maybe then he will realize not to upset important customers like you.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I was playing in a Magic Online 8 man draft and had put together an incredible deck, great synergy, perfectly balanced, picture perfect curve. Should be an easy eight packs right? Wrong. I get eliminated first round by some scrub running a four color deck with no mana fixing at all and running cards that no player in their right mind would ever sideboard, let alone main deck. I could not draw any of my early threats and drew every land in my deck both games. What is the proper process for dealing with this kind of situation?-Packing it up in Pittsburgh

Dear Packing,

I hate when this happens. The clearly better deck loses due to random chance? In a game that is designed with a random nature? Such a shame. You should complain loudly and often in any outlet available. Send as many tweets as you can until you hit a fail whale and complain in any forums you belong to and do not forget the MTGO chat. Do not let anyone talk you out of being on tilt, especially those annoying ORCs whose only purpose is to enforce inane rules. Let everyone know you were cheated and the universe will be sure to take care of you next time.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I was in a group of people talking about deck choices for an upcoming tournament and one of the people mentioned that he is thinking about playing Elves. I commented that I thought that deck was gay and one of the people in the group get really upset at me. I have no problem with gay people and did not even realize he was gay, I just thought the deck sucks. What was his problem and how should I respond in the future? -Misunderstood in Mississippi

Dear Misunderstood,

Tsk tsk. Some person got upset because you used a word for what they are as an insult? Some people are simply over sensitive in this day in age. I would not pay any attention to them and would continue saying it. This is a free country you have the right to say whatever you want. It is not like you were insulting them, right? You, being part of the majority, would not get upset if they called something straight why should they get upset at you? Do not change a thing just keep using the word and eventually they will come around.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I have a problem when I play Magic Online. Whenever I sideboard a card in I never seem to draw it in the next game. I also seem to get flooded more often than I do in real life. Is this because the game is more random than my shuffling in real life?- Shuffled in Santa Fe

Dear Shuffled,

No, the shuffler is broken. Every knows it.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I was watching a webcast of an SCG Open when what do I see on the screen but a girl, playing for top 8. I did not even know that girls play Magic. What is the proper way to react?- Shocked in Chicago

Dear Shocked,

A girl? Playing for top 8? No way. Girls do not play REAL Magic, they just mess around with unicorn or vampires decks. First of all assume she flirted with and probably slept with most of her opponents to get that far because she probably did. Jump into the chat and start tearing apart her apart. Be sure to mention her looks, as you are obviously a the paragon of masculinity yourself and especially mention the quality of her tits. Woman would forget they had the things without men mentioning them all the time. Remember you are an expert on the subject. Ignore that you are watching at home while she is actually playing and doing well in the tournament, everyone just went easy on her. She is the physical embodiment of every girl who ever laughed at you or broke your heart and now is the time for revenge. After she is finally off the screen make sure to make plans with your friends for Friday night, since you probably will not have a date as no girl is good enough for you.

Dear Ms. Manners,

Everywhere I go in the Magic community I see people disrespecting other people or acting immature and rude. What can I do to change the way people act and stop them from driving others away from the game? -Concerned in Concord

Dear Concerned,

There is not much you can do. You can try bringing it to their attention directly, but most people who act like this will not respond well and will probably get aggressive and act up even more. You could try setting a good example, but they will probably not notice. I would suggest you wrote a faux advice column article, hoping that going to the extreme will allow them to see what is the wrong with their behavior, but I seriously doubt that will work.

Hopefully these questions and answers will help a few of my readers understand the various intricacies of the social contracts Magic players use. Remember, manners need not be mythic rares and are one first pick we all can agree on. If you need to contact me you can do so via email (pureval at earthlink dot net) or on Twitter @pureval.


Posted on June 23, 2011, in Articles, From Outside the Game. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great article again. I think you’d probably better leave out the explicit unmasking of your article. You did you whole article based on sarcasm and implications; it’s a bit of a shame your second-to-last paragraph took a lot of that subtlety away. Still, very much looking forward to your next piece.

  2. Reading it over I felt the article came out a little too preachy and idealistic, I threw the unmasking in as a way to break that up. Glad you are enjoying my work and I appreciate the criticism.

    • I see what you mean. The ‘problem’ with such gimmicky articles is that you have to hit hard and crank up the gimmickiness in order to get your message across (i.e. what you mean by ‘too preachy and idealistic’), or else it’s either genuine-and-non-sarcastic or somewhere in between, which is even worse. So I suppose your adding the unmasking at the end is a way to dail the form down a bit while still maintaining the same message. To which I say, again, good job!

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