Casual Magic: Thats Where It’s At

What is “casual magic?” Is it casual as opposed to formal magic, kind of like a magic dress down day? When I hear casual magic I imagine Merlin in khaki shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. For all you newbies casual magic is the place
to be, at least for me that is.

Casual magic is where it’s at in the Magic the Gathering world. Perhaps those who play professional tournaments would have something to say about that, but you have to begin somewhere and that somewhere is with a couple of friends or family or both, sitting around the kitchen table trying to out do one another. There is a certain excitement one gets when they’re getting ready to duel with a new made deck. You can imagine the look of sheer awe on the face of your opponent when you win by the fourth turn. That would give you at least two to three weeks worth of bragging rights. Of course you could be the one beat but we won’t go there.

I’m not against playing at your local Friday night Magic tournaments. In fact I have played a few. On one specific occasion I packed up my awesome black, vampire, life taking deck. Man, this deck was the bomb in my house. It was undefeated for a while. Until I faced “that guy.” My nemesis was older then myself and he not only played a whole lot of Magic, he was a judge. He did what I thought was impossible. He beat me in four turns. All joking aside though, I had a blast and he helped answer a lot of questions about the rules. But one day revenge will be mine. (Cue evil laughter here)

Though I do occasionally daydream about winning 40k at the San Diego Pro Tour event, nothing can beat playing at home. That’s because I get to play against my favorite people. I usually play against my father and my son. My wife will play from time to time, and she’s good. On one occasion she innocently put a stabbing pain on my big creature, then, with a big smile she pulls out an assassinate, killing my big creature like it was nothing. She made it a point to ask. “Can I do that?” while she was assassinating it.

Most games are with my son though. We both started playing around the same time. We were introduced to the game by my brother in law and we’ve been hooked since. There is never a limit to the taunting and boasting between my son and I. It makes the dueling all the more fun, as are the bragging rights afterword. It’s really neat to see him getting better and better. He pulls out some really great combos. He’s made me eat my words on more then one occasion.

It’s at times like these I get to test out my decks. I get some pretty interesting ideas. Most don’t work as well as they did in my imagination though and all of my taunting is in vain. At least I get to see where my new deck is weak and hopefully I can fix it. Sometimes my idea is right on, needing very little tweaking. Deck building is an art really, and it’s one I thoroughly enjoy. It’s like anything, the more you do it the better you get. Lately I’ve been trying to make my decks as unusual as possible. Get them from the side, don’t be obvious.

Of course in order to play around with decks you have to have cards to play with. As with anything new the question is, where do you start? I would recommend the starter decks. That worked for me. I got a blue/white Rise of the Eldrazi deck to begin with. Playing with that gave me a good idea of the mechanics of the game. Then I bought a deck builders kit and split it with my brother in law. At the time I was all into blue and white mana but soon I began to open my mind to the possibilities of red, black and green.

Another way to get your collection up pretty fast is to buy booster packs. If you think about it they’re only a few bucks, we drop a few bucks here and there on a lot of junk during the week. Take a look at what you buy and you might be surprised. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to save enough to buy a booster pack or two a week. Also, they’re a lot of fun to open. I bet that most people have their own little rituals when it comes to opening booster packs. For me, I always look at the common cards first. I never look at the rare, or hopefully mythic rare, card before looking at the others first. It’s like part of me is afraid that if I look at the rare card first I’ll jinx it. The point is, before you know it, you’ll have quite a lot of cards saved up.

Fat packs are pretty cool. You do get the life counter dice and all, but I just don’t get into them too much. For me, the end all and be all is the much coveted booster box. As my friend Crazy Fred said, “it’s like thirty six little Christmases in each box.” If you can do it, a booster box is a great way to get your set going. I will go ahead and get a booster box for the block I am trying to collect. Then I’ll round out my set with individual cards or booster packs.

Once I have cards from a new set it’s time to make a deck and get my favorite people to play a game. The new cards are a lot of fun for putting that element of surprise in your deck. You should have seen the faces around the table when I passed out my first poison counter with my first infect deck. That was a whole lot of fun, and that’s why casual magic is such a blast. Wow, all this talking has got me itching for a game. I’m going to go see who wants to play.

Happy Dueling!

Keith Maguire

Latest posts by Keith Maguire (see all)