I’m a nerd. I don’t say that because I think it’s cool, it’s just a statement, an item on a list of items that make up me. I love comics, I can spend an entire day playing Magic: The Gathering and I’ve seen the Original Trilogy more times than I can remember. I once won a game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit before anyone else had a chance to take a turn, I’ve even thought about putting that on my resume.
As with any group you’ll find a lot of great people that identify as nerds, and then you’ll find the people who have surpassed drinking the koolaid and are now bathing in it. Magic players are particularly susceptible to this. These are people who invest a lot of time, and often a lot of money, into this hobby. They collect cards, know hundreds of them and can recall them by name at a glance. They keep track of new legendary and mythic cards – and they know the ins and outs of spells and abilities possessed by these cards.
This might be confusing if you’ve never played Magic, so I’ll try to summarize quickly:
The player, you, are a Planeswalker, a wizard (pretty cool so far, huh?). You have a deck, usually containing 60 cards. Decks are any combination of black, white, red, blue or green. Representing swamps, plains, mountains, islands and forests respectively. In the deck are ‘lands’ or ‘mana,’ and creatures and spells. You use the mana (a black card needs black mana, and so on) to ‘cast’ those spells and ‘summon’ the creatures. The point is to take 20 HP (without losing your own) from the other Planeswalker to win the game.
Attending Friday Night Magic, wherein nerds gather at comic shops to play Magic in a tournament setting, is like immersing yourself into a group of people who have a lot more in common with pageant moms than meets the eye, without the perfume and manicures. At the last FNM I attended another player was incredibly offended when I shared that I only have one deck with red in it. He jumped in and started reaming blue players, my own dominate playing color.
Without delving into Magic politics, his arguments were mostly valid. Playing against a blue player, which is a color that focuses on interrupting and controlling the game, can be particularly crippling to the typically much more aggressive nature of the red deck. When I tried to point out to him that a blue deck requires the player have a unique strategy – to have the ability to hang back and subtly manipulate the other player (basically, be a woman) – he was already too blinded by explosive, Bruce Banner nerd rage to understand that an individual not liking or agreeing with something is not them making a statement against those who do.
In a perfect world we could accept and celebrate our differences. But that would probably be a boring world where all the kids get participation ribbons and eat their vegetables, like those Hidden Valley commercials. If anything we should avoid that reality because it seems to involve way too much baseball. Magic isn’t about a perfect world, it’s about smashing someone’s face in and celebrating over their broken body – and then shaking hands to move on and get your own face smashed in.
Note: If you’re a red player, good on you. Your brazen, “guns a’ blazin’” playing style is something I admire, but if you’re a black player – well, you’re kind of an asshole.
Note on that note: ‘Black player’ was probably a poor choice of words. For the record, I am 100% okay with black people playing Magic.