Has it really been that long?
Back in 2014, I published an article on CoolStuffInc.com called Generational Magic. I spoke about my early years of playing Magic: the Gathering and focused the article on how my boys learned the game. Of course, a lot has happened to my family in the eight years since then. We've had three graduations, one relocation, and me aging like an Alpha Timetwister. We continued to play, but understandably, our involvement in Magic and gaming generally has evolved.
Easy Come, Easy Gone... to Play Something Else
My oldest, Chase, graduated from high school in 2015 and began his collegiate studies at Bowling Green State University. Before he left, he still attended pre-releases, joined a few Commander games, and would crack the occasional pack. His last pre-release was Dragons of Tarkir, when he used his promo card to great effect:
Note: he was pretty pleased when I told him the current price of the promo version.
Once Chase was away from home and no longer under the caring and watchful eyes of his parents, his focus changed. Naturally, his attention was mostly on finishing his degree in four years. Majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Astronomy did not afford him much free time. I did build him a GW Commander Squirrel deck headlining Trostani, Selesnya's Voice as the Commander, but he only played it when he came home for the holidays.
Chase is the quieter, more reserved one of the two, so between that and his intense studies, it was pretty natural that he delved more into online gaming. Finally, in 2019, through hard work and long nights, which were a requirement for astronomy, he graduated. He came back home and crashed for a few months, but didn't stay long. I didn't blame him; once you've tasted the freedom of living on your own, you're ready to spread your wings. So, in 2020 he landed a good job and found himself an apartment. I would still invite him to join his brother and I to attend a Magic event or a family Commander game, but he generally declined. He just prefers to improve his progress in Dark Souls, Team Fortress 2, Final Fantasy 14, or Warframe.
And I Thought I Liked the Game…
Chase and Jarod are four years apart in age, so 2019 was a big year. The week after Chase's graduation from college was Jarod's graduation from high school. During this time, Jarod went in the opposite direction of his brother, and his desire to play increased sevenfold. He wanted to experience every format. From Standard to Legacy, Jarod was game to sling paper. The thing is, he was still dependent on dear ol' Dad. Any decks he wanted to build or events he wanted to attend were at my discretion. Normally, we both wanted to go and do the same things, so it was generally easy... generally.
One uneasy incident occurred when he was involved in the school gaming club. Jarod wanted to show off the Legacy deck that I had built for him to his club friends (it was a version of this Grixis Delver deck). I normally didn't let him take the more expensive decks out by himself, so my reply was naturally no.
One day, without my knowledge, he took it to school anyway. Sometime during the day, he went to leave for his next class, and left the deck on his desk! A scary moment. Fortunately, he remembered before he got too far, and the deck made it home safe. Of course, he didn't tell me about this incident until months afterward so I wouldn't explode, but suffice to say it provided a learning point for both of us.
Jarod went into overdrive once he graduated and started working full-time. Money in hand and a vehicle made the difference for him. We would still attend events and buy a box or two of the latest product together. The difference was now he had more freedom to go by himself and make his own purchases.
This paradigm shift proved a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing since if I didn't want to drive 40 minutes right after work to play a couple of Commander games, he still could. It was a curse because he didn't always make the best choices when buying cards, and spent way too much money relative to what he could afford.
One example I'm sure some can relate to was a few months after Commander Legends was released. He was on a mission to get a Mana Drain for his latest Commander deck. Nothing special, just one regular Mana Drain from that set. He was so focused on it that he ended up spending close to $300 on loose packs over the course of three weeks.
Yes, I thought the same thing after I heard about it.
The sad thing was in all those packs he still didn't get the card, so we traded for one a couple of weeks later. Lesson learned?
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
These days, Chase is still gaming online and has signed off from Magic. He's currently working on buying his first home, and yes, it's been difficult. Because of his redirection into non-Magic interests, he doesn't have any favorite cards or decks. Still, when my wife and I recently finalized our estate planning (i.e. living will), he expressed interest in keeping my Odyssey Battle of Wits playset.
In 2019 Jarod and I created Twitter & YouTube channels called Generational Magic. We uploaded the first video and prepared more to continue, but Covid happened shortly after that and we decided to put it on hold, at least until things get back to a semblance of normality. Like these articles, the intent is to highlight the familial and relational aspect of the game. How we grow closer and enjoy each other's company through Magic. That isn't always easy when you're keeping yourself socially distant!
Jarod has been comboing off with his new love, Canadian Highlander. He built a deck utilizing his favorite color combination Grixis (UBR), but recently updated it to Bant (WBG):
The deck is headlined by his now favorite card:
Before playing the deck, he had never tapped a Tolarian Academy. He knew it was a decent card, but wanted to know if it was really that good. I laughed and told him he'll find out. Boy, did he...
Enjoying the Ride
I hope you enjoyed this continuation of a family learning and growing with Magic: the Gathering at their side. I'm looking forward to sharing more interesting topics along these same lines and will also be highlighting some of the local game stores and the various people that enjoy this game.
If you've got any Magic-related family tales to share, post them in the comments or tag me on our Insider Discord! Until then, you be able to share in the joy and growth of those around you.