Aloha and welcome back to Anime Parlay. But wait? The Captain, the header image looks like it has nothing to do with anime. Correct you are my astute readers! I wanted to switch it up and get into another hobby that I care about just as much as anime; Magic: The Gathering. This post may not be your cup of tea upon hearing that. Today, I just want to express how much this simple card game means to me and how it has shined in my life just as much as anime. Let’s get geeky!
Pokemon Cards are a Gateway Hobby
Let’s take it on back to the end of the 90’s and the era of peace before the early 2000’s. Pokemon was HUGE when I was in 6th grade. I had everything I could get my grubby hands on. When it came to the Pokemon Trading Card Game, I felt like I had more control over collecting fictional monsters than I did with the games. Especially with each title that would come out over the next year adding more new and exclusive Pokemon to catch. I got more joy in dropping a few bucks and rolling the dice. I ended up building quite a collection but I never had anyone to play with. My friends all collected the cards but none of them knew how to play. I tried to teach them but they had no interest in it. I even tried to get my kid brother in on it. He’s only 4 years younger than me so I was hoping his age wouldn’t stop him from engaging intermediate math and strategy. I was wrong.
I ended up collecting Pokemon cards until almost the end of 8th grade. Hard to imagine why none of the girls in my class responded to my notes. Yu-Gi-Oh soon became the new, MUST-HAVE game and everyone was getting in. I managed to get a set of Blue Eyes White Dragons because Kaiba was my favorite character. I went into my first year of high school ready to D-D-D-D-D-Duel! The bullies we’re also ready to duel because I was a dork. I remember wanting to just find a group of other nerds that I could hang with and play with. The one I found DESPISED Yu-Gi-Oh. Instead, they had Magic cards and I was captivated.
It was deeper than Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon (at the time) and loved that each color in the game represented a different playstyle/mind-set/strategy. Essentially, each player has a deck of 60 cards with creatures, spells, and lands. Each player starts with 20 life, draws seven cards, and tried to knock their opponents to 0 life. Each player builds a deck consisting of 1 of more of the 5 colors Magic has to offer. Each color has it’s own style and flare to it.
- White – White is all about righteousness and preservation. Small knight and soldier creatures, boosting enchantments, and lots of removal spells.
- Blue – Blue is all about intelligence and knowledge. Blue relies on countering spells, using illusions to trick foes, and bouncing creatures back to their owner’s hands.
- Black – Black is into death and reaping great benefits for great sacrifice. In black you’ll finds demons, zombies, and spells that wipe creatures out of existence.
- Red (My personal favorite) – Red is all about passion, ferver, and speed. They rely on insane goblins, fire spells, hasty attackers, and often, luck.
- Green – Green is the color of nature and nuture. In green you’ll find some of the biggest creatures and some of the best utility spells in the game.
I loved that each color represented some aspect of the game and that mixing 2 or more colors together could lead to a new, unique play-style that could lead to victory. I couldn’t get enough of the possibilities of the game. I just had to befriend those Magic kids somehow. I decided to lurk until they said hello. I remember the overuse of Old Spice as I began to hang around the Magic kids while trying not to smell like them. Eventually, I put together a White/Blue Bird deck that I still cherish to this day. I was in!
Anime & Magic in High School
Anime, especially my Junior and Senior year, became part of who I was. Back in 2005 and 2006, the anime community hadn’t evolved into the massive collective that it is today. Back then, it was weird. I was weird. I just steered into it. My bedroom walls had no paint showing as they were covered in anime posters and wall scrolls. I put my fan art on the back of my door and in my locker. I even helped serve as an anime club president for a little bit when the local dojo owner started sharing his collection with his students. However, I eventually stopped seeing my friends at club meetings and was curious where they were. Turns out once the club became overrun with younger members, it was hard to act our age in front of impressionable minds. We began our own tradition that I miss even to this day.
It seemed like every Friday during my last two years in high school. None of us had a car (at least until part-way through our senior year) but everything was within a reasonable walking distance from the high school. Sometimes we would end up at my friend’s house downing soda deep into the middle of the nigh slinging whatever spells we had from random booster packs. Other nights, we would end up at the local pizza place where a majority of cheerleaders worked. Imagine that, we ended up being cool with the cheerleaders because they worked at the pizza joint where we’d go to play Magic. Small town, I suppose. Hell, we’d even ditch some Fridays and boogie to a secluded place. Not to do drugs because that’s for squares. Nope, just to play some creatures and counter some spells. Oh yeah!
I have been out of high school for 12 years and hardly talk to the lads I used to play with. However, my love for the game allowed me to find new opponents even as I went through military service and college. Every so often, I even manage to get a small group over to my place for Magic and Smash Brothers. We’re looking for a 4th if you’re in the area. Magic, just the act of sitting down, telling a fantastical story through the cards and characters, and being able to converse with a little music or munching snacks is heaven to me. I can not think of a better purgatory that I would choose to spend eternity doing. I am sure I will come to regret that but honestly how I feel. The game makes me feel like I am home. In a weird way, it reminds me of all those great, silly times we got together to play and have fun.
I am not a competitive person. That translates into Magic as I don’t like to play the competitive formats. I love this game. I would play those formats if they weren’t so expensive. Lucky for me, Magic has been around long enough that even fans have had a chance to create officially recognized “ways to play” that make the game accessible to players like me. Casuals. Currently, My favorite format is called Commander. Essentially, I pick a Legendary Creature character from the last 25 years of Magic and that creature becomes my commander. I then have a deck consisting of 99 other cards that must all be different (excluding Basic Lands which are a staple). In addition to that, I can only choose cards that share a color identity with the commander. It really makes it a challenge to build around a certain strategy this way but when it works out, it feel so good. Commander games also tend to be more political and take longer to play through but makes for great conversation and shit-talking. So, if you’re already a Magic player who reads Anime Parlay, now you know what type of player I am. CASUAL! To the max!
Magic on Anime Parlay
Now that my Wife is moving into Summer Vacation, I can start fleshing out the blog and maybe getting a consistent, reliable posting schedule. Moving forward with the blog, I wanted to showcase Magic, which I love, but make it more about writing and having a post worth reading rather than stats, cards, and that whole thing. The cards let you play the game within the rules but you make the story. I want to bring that story to you, in some way, shape, or form each Friday. So, for next week, I plan on talking in depth about one of my current commanders. Meet the gang!
Shu Yun, The Silent Tempest
High on the mountain peaks of the realm of Tarkir stands a human monk training new students as they arrive. Studying the very movement of the native dragons that cohabitate with the clan of monks, Shu Yun tries to incorporate that grace and ferocity with each strike. With more time, Shu Yun and his disciples excel at moving around foes to instead strike the real enemy, the player across the table.
Valduk, Keeper of the Flame
On the plane of Dominaria, apocalyptic events have followed more apocalyptic events which have left the plane asunder. Those who inhabit the plane now have been forged by these chaotic events over generations. A shaman and lorekeeper keep within the mountains uses his talents to forge armor and allies to keep fighting every threat to come to Dominaria.
Tymaret, The Murder King
Of all my decks, this is my favorite. From the realm of Theros, Tyramet was a vicious warrior who eventually found death at the end of a blade. However, his memories of war and destruction followed him into the Underworld. After breaking free from Erebos, the God of Death, Tymaret returned to the mortal realm to wreck more havoc upon the inhabitants of the Greek-like culture. Through manipulation and exploitation of his own minions, Tymaret hopes to inflict as much pain before dying and coming back again.
So, with that, I am off to open some Magic cards that arrived in the mail via Cardsphere and build something with these new pieces. Next week, I’ll be going more in depth with one of the commanders above and I hope to build, through art and lore from the game, a cohesive story to get your weekend started right. Thanks for geeking out with me on this fine Friday. Enjoy some Magic if that’s your thing. Adios!