The Arena of Magic: The Gathering and Its Beasts
Every MTG tournament inspires histories, tales, and sometimes legends as they are strongly tied to the attendees and their behavior. Like I did in my article about Magic traders, my goal is to depict a funny description of the different types of Magic players.
Again, as American author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. once said, "All persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental, and should not be construed."
Real Opponents, Baby!
In this Internet era (particularly with MTG Online and now MTG Arena), more and more people are getting use to playing Magic: The Gathering without even knowing the name, the face, the attitude, and not even the gender of their opponents. I mean, it happened in Chess and Poker, so why not with Magic?
However, if you've ever attended an actual Magic tournament then that perspective completely changes.
Not only do you have your proud deck of cards to touch, love, and look at, but there are also plenty of people to meet and greet in person. For many of us, the adrenaline during the moments when you walk up to see the pairings and when you first sit down in front of your opponent simply cannot be replaced by a screen saying, "waiting for player".
Players at an LGS with a Beer in Hand -VS- Players at a Tournament
In the next chapter, I will try to explain and summarize a few typical player types that you'll usually meet at Magic tournaments. I mean to depict players during a competitive play and that is quite different from casual games "with a beer in hand".
In my opinion, many players usually try out their decks with the same group of people. As a result, they tend to be "casual" in their deck choices and attitude towards their opponent.
This completely changes when you attend a tournament with a judge and a prize pool. Some people easily feel the pressures that come in a competition – so that guy you were joking with last night can turn into a completely different person during matches!
I also want to clarify that this article and my considerations are not about actual deck choices and strategies. What I will be discussing are simply player types and their (sometimes) funny behaviors. (If you want to read an interesting article on actual player strategy types, read this by my fellow Insight Writer, Moudou.)
This is meant to be a humor piece, and not to be taken too seriously. So if you find some of my wordings and jokes in the subsequent parts offensive, I sincerely apologize.
The Arena of Magic Players
I will (yet again) try my best to be analytic here, much like those strange guys who study birds...
The Pro Player
Motto: Yes… you should be dead by this turn.
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl wearing a "Sponsored by Cardmarket" t-shirt
Type of Deck Played: Tier 1 decks in Constructed formats, top-range decks in Limited
Playstyle: Quick, precise
Attitude at the Table: Professional, but sometimes annoying
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 20%
Pros: You'll always learn something, a glorious victory (if you actually win)
Cons: Difficult to beat, hard to face
Motto: I flooded one game and screwed the other!
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl who always likes to play the victim
Type of Deck Played: Usually an unbalanced deck – for maximum whining opportunity
Playstyle: Aggressive, fast-paced
Attitude at the Table: Nervous, continuously cursing and nodding his/her head
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 25%
Pros: Easy to beat if you make him/her tilt
Cons: Unpleasant overall play experience
Motto: Yo momma's so…
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl who oftentimes has a remarkable appearance
Type of Deck Played: A deck with a trick
Playstyle: Slow, can be rude
Attitude at the Table: Keeps talking, keeps complaining
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 5%
Pros: Best case, funny to play against
Cons: Worst case, terrible to play against
Mr. Analysis Paralysis
Motto: I have to think about if I'm going to think about doing this… again.
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl with a false aura of efficiency
Type of Deck Played: Tempo or Control decks
Playstyle: Slow, pondering every move
Attitude at the Table: Phlegmatic, capable of spending 30 seconds just to drop a land
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 20%
Pros: The best opponent if you manage to win the first game
Cons: The worst opponent if you lose the first game and you're running out of time
Motto: Magic is just a game and just I'm playing for fun, buddy!
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl in a funny dress
Type of Deck Played: Random
Playstyle: Confused, slow when boards get complicated
Attitude at the Table: Relaxed, always joking
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 1%
Pros: The best opponent to find during the first few turns
Cons: If you meet him/her from the third or fourth turn, this means that your game has gone bad
The Nice Try-er
Motto: Did I play a land this turn?
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl with a shady aura
Type of Deck Played: Some sort of combo deck
Playstyle: Quick, unprecise
Attitude at the Table: Friendly, but apparently distracted
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 2% (You'll most probably be the one calling the judge on him/her.)
Pros: Not difficult to face if you know his/her "tricks"
Cons: You have to keep your eyes wide open all the time to avoid surprises
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl with the perfect set of accessories
Type of Deck Played: Decks that can show off the most pimped out cards
Playstyle: Precise, but sometimes slow
Attitude at the Table: Clearly self-satisfied
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 8%
Pros: More focused on his/her cards and playmat than on the actual game
Cons: S/he gets very nervous when you ask to shuffle his/her deck
Motto: Can I count the cards in your deck?
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl who looks at you as a policeman looks to a demonstrator
Type of Deck Played: Nothing too complex… to have time to control your deck
Playstyle: Accurate, circumspect
Attitude at the Table: Nervous, continuously shuffles and counts the cards in hand and in the graveyard
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 35%
Pros: Luckily, a rare type
Cons: You'll go crazy with his/her paranoia
Motto: Can I first read what Jace, the Mind Sculptor does?
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl looking embarrassed to be there
Type of Deck Played: Random or fast aggro
Playstyle: Your typical amateur
Attitude at the Table: Silent and resigned or active and continuously asking questions
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 40% but only to ask what a card or an effect does
Pros: Easy to beat
Cons: That guilty feeling seeing their face when it's dawned on them that their deck can never win against yours…
Motto: If you want, you can play another spell…
Physical Appearance: A good boy/girl
Type of Deck Played: Green-based decks
Playstyle: Fair, transparent
Attitude at the Table: Nice, almost as if s/he wants you to win
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 5%
Pros: One of the best to play with
Cons: There are few of them out there
The Paladin of the Stack
Motto: Can you tell me how you put your effects on the stack? Mm-hmm. Could you explain it again?
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl with an obstinate grin, usually wearing a pair of glasses
Type of Deck Played: Blue-based or fast aggro decks
Attitude at the Table: Always trying to catch you with a misplay or in a "drawing extra card" situation
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 50%
Pros: Pushes you to play at your best, improves your precision at the table
Cons: Painful… S/he can sometimes bring you to take random warnings
Motto: … (He doesn't speak.)
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl that you wouldn't have noticed if you weren't paired
Type of Deck Played: A deck with little or zero interaction with the opponent
Playstyle: Methodic, surgical
Attitude at the Table: Always with his/her eyes on the board and cards, like s/he is playing a solo game
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 15%
Pros: Can be relaxing if you're tired of too-interactive opponents
Cons: Feels like playing against a computer
The False Friend
Motto: We can be friends… after I beat you!
Physical Appearance: The guy/girl with a warm attitude
Type of Deck Played: A deck with some deadly tricks
Playstyle: Hesitant, confused
Attitude at the Table: Nice …until you start winning
"I'm Calling a Judge" Possibility: 10%
Pros: After revealing the trick, s/he can't do it anymore
Cons: You blame yourself for having trusted him/her
I've played Magic tournaments for over 15 years and I've pretty much met every one of these types in more than one copy, so I know you're out there! That said, I hope and I'm quite sure that you recognize some of your friends and maybe yourself in one of those categories as well. If not, then feel free to comment about possible new characters that can be added to our arena or share your funniest experiences with any of these types!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
Magic: The Gathering and Its Beasts Series