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Generational Magic: Tossing About with New Friends

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Never Tell Me the Odds...

In last week's article, I contemplated player familiarity and interaction, and asked "Can you have fun anywhere with anyone?" This week I pick up where that story left off, and put my theory to the test.

After wrapping up my game with some of the regulars at Mavericks, I said my goodbyes and drove a hundred yards or so over to the Gaming Goat. Each place has a different atmosphere. 'Mavs' is quite large with many people milling about. Gaming Goat is a very nice venue, but smaller, tucked in-between a Jersey Mike's and Skyline Chili. What do both game stores have going on? Plenty of Magic and Gaming!

I've visited Gaming Goat a couple of times before and talked with the owner, Connor, but I wasn't familiar with the players. I hoped lady luck would shine and provide a group to play Magic with. When I arrived around 9:30, fortune favored me. There was a single six-player Commander game in progress.

As I sat and watched their game, Harry invited me to join the next one. I expressed interest and waited until they finished the current game. A couple of the players left, so we formed a five-person pod. I introduced myself and told everyone that I wrote for Quiet Speculation, that I was looking for material for this article...and for a fun game of Magic!

Introducing the 'Unfamiliar Faces

I could tell immediately on walking into the store that everyone at the table was having a great time. They all knew each other and were in a comfortable setting—and Ryan brought baked goods for everyone to enjoy! Without further ado, here are some new friends from the Gaming Goat.

Harry

How old are you?
I'm Twenty.

How long have you played or what Magic set did you start with?
I started in 2016 with Shadows over Innistrad.

How did you start playing?
I joined in with my friends during my freshman year of high school. Shortly afterward, I was able to convince my Mom to buy me a few packs and I was hooked.

What's one thing you enjoy about Magic?
Being able to discuss and share with others the joy of the game. Talking about different decks, themes, plays, how to build decks.

Who's your commander for this game?


What's one of your favorite memories of Magic?
My Dad enjoys an online game called Destiny. One of his friends that he played with decided to stop playing Magic back in 2018. He knew that I played, and so sent me all of his Magic cards! I received a good amount of cards and got my most expensive card from it; a foil Unhinged Island. I was really happy and grateful for this gift. We had a great time going through the cards, organizing, and checking them out.


Very nice! What's one of your favorite Magic cards?
Lyra Dawnbringer. I have a mono-white angels deck that I play online with college friends. I'm pretty stoked about it because I've almost got it built in paper as well. One of my other favorites is Xanathar, Guild Kingpin. I don't combo out with him, but I enjoy grabbing my opponents' spells and having fun with their deck.

Ryan

How old are you?
Twenty-two.

How long have you played or what Magic set did you start with?
My brother bought me the pre-constructed Oko Planeswalkers deck and that got me interested in the game. I became more consistent with it just in the last year and a half.

How did you start playing?
I played Dungeons & Dragons before getting into Magic, but when the pandemic hit, that paused our playgroup for a while. I still wanted to get out where I could, so when Gaming Goat was able to start up Friday Night Magic again, I figured to try it out, and have been playing ever since.

What's one thing you enjoy about Magic?
I enjoy when games have a lot of back-and-forth. When the decks are evenly matched which many times provides good games for everyone. I played in an Innistrad: Midnight Hunt draft where I built a self-mill/zombie deck. There was a lot of interaction with it and the games were great.

Who's your commander for this game?


What's one of your favorite memories of Magic?
The fact that I still have the deck that my brother gave me. It has some sentimental value and I slowly tweak it from time to time for when we're able to play against each other.

What's one of your favorite Magic cards?
I have three. Of course, Oko, the Trickster for the sentimental value, Frogify, because why wouldn't you like to turn something into a frog?, and Mistford River Turtle. What's not to love about giant turtles that make creatures un-blockable?

Eric

How old are you?
Twenty-three.

How long have you played or what Magic set did you start with?
I started just after Amonkhet was released. I took a break from 2018 until this past April.

How did you start playing?
My Magic experience started when I was working at summer camp. A group of people was playing, it looked like fun, so I joined with them.

What's one thing you enjoy about Magic?
The comradery. The ability to interact with others through Magic.

Who's your commander for this game?


What's one of your favorite memories of Magic?
Being pretty new, I would actually have to say the game we just finished. I believe that's the best I've done in a large game like that. I gained a ton of life, had a huge wall of vampires, and everyone had fun.

Yes, we did. So, what's one of your favorite Magic cards?
Interestingly enough, I would have to say Elenda, the Dusk Rose. She was great!

Abigail

How old are you?
Twenty-eight.

How long have you played or what Magic set did you start with?
I've been playing since Time Spiral, so 2006.

How did you start playing?
Funnily enough, summer camp and no, not the same one as Eric. Some of the others played and I remember one person had some snakes, from, I believe, one of the Kamigawa sets. I just thought the cards were really cool and intellectually stimulating.

What's one thing you enjoy about Magic?
Interacting with others through the game, of course, but I like figuring out puzzles. Whether my back's against the wall or figuring out a way to win, I like to work out the problem and see what I can achieve.

Who's your commander for this game?

What's one of your favorite memories of Magic?
Definitely the first time I played my Kaalia of the Vast Commander deck. It was very fulfilling to say, "I made this deck", put it together, see it run well, and achieve what I was looking for.

What's one of your favorite Magic cards?
Chaos Warp. A fun removal spell where you just aren't sure what you'll end up with. I like the randomness of it.

Once More Unto the Breach...

Once they finished their first game, we all got seated and ready to battle! It was noted in our pregame conversation that I had Obeka, Brute Chronologist as my commander. They were initially concerned about its combo potential, but I reassured them that Obeka actually had very little to do with the deck. When I played the Sorcerer's Strongbox Abigail realized what I was doing and shared with the table that Obeka wouldn't be a problem.

If the Fates Allow.

Most Commander games start slowly while everyone builds up. Ryan decided to not wait and within a few turns had a couple Consuming Aberrations ready to start milling everyone. The second one was a copy from Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry, so he was ready to get his 'mill on'!

Needing to slow down Ryan's shenanigans, I Dreadboreed the original Aberration and hit the copy a turn later with a timely Rakdos, the Showstopper. Rakdos Destroyed many of Harry's creatures as well, which was a bonus, though Harry didn't see it that way.

Throughout the game, Harry and Eric continued to generate illusion and vampire tokens, respectively. Abigail was sacking creatures, drawing cards, and making wolf tokens. I soon copied Rakdos with a Spark Double and again cleared a good portion of the board.

One interesting play I was able to complete for the first time in over twenty years was actually activating Goblin Bomb. I won a couple of flips and used Karn's Bastion to get it up to five counters to throw 20 damage at someone. That was the great part. The not-so-great part was I didn't have any great targets. Eric had a ton of life, so I threw it at him to hopefully keep him in check.

Too Much of a Good Thing...

Toward the end of the game, I ended up with the following cards on the board:

One of the cards you don't see in the picture is the Frenetic Sliver I cast the turn before. Abigail knew what it could do with the current board and had a response. See, Abigail had exiled three of my cards and one of them was a Counterspell. Abigail tried to counter the Sliver and I almost let it go through until I looked down at my hand. I had a Dualcaster Mage. So I copied, and in turn, countered the Counterspell and was able to resolve the sliver. I was planning to wait, and activate it right before my turn, but one of the other players went to destroy it.

In response, I had to start flipping my way to victory, but we all noticed Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom's ability isn't a may ability. I couldn't activate the sliver too many times without possibly drawing myself out of the game. Through a little group discussion, we determined to use an application on Abigail's phone to determine the flips instead of me flipping two coins way too many times. I chose 40 flips and was able to get to the ten counters I needed for Chance Encounter, draw a bunch of cards, and survive to my turn.

Unfortunately for me, at the end of Harry's turn, Ryan flashed in Hullbreaker Horror and on his turn, played a spell and bounced my game-winning enchantment back to my hand.

It's time to go home people!

My amazing reach for glory, then followed by a fast plummet to mediocrity was short lived. The nice young lady running the store really wanted to close up since it was close to midnight. They normally close an hour or so before that, so we all promised we were just about done. We rushed through some of the plays from here on, but I was again the first one out.

I assume it was because they didn't want to take a 'chance' I could come back. From that point, Eric's vampire horde started picking everyone off. By this point in the game, Eric had recouped his army of vampires, lead by a huge Elenda, the Dusk Rose, and sitting comfortably at 70+ life. If I recall correctly, he took out Harry and Abigail about the same time and finished up with Ryan.

Would You Like to Play a Game?

So, is there a difference between the familiar and the uncertain? Of course, but the overall answer is yes and no. Hanging with people you know really isn't that much different than with people you don't. Once you start getting to know people and making that connection, they can easily become people you know. I know it's not always comfortable to open yourself to a new experience that may backfire, but the difference is in you.

I'm a pretty open and friendly person, ready to hang out with almost anyone. Of course, not everyone is like me in that regard. Are you allowing yourself to get to know others? To reach out, open up, and share our love of gaming and Magic? If not, you might be missing out on some amazing moments and people.

Thanks again to everyone at Gaming Goat for taking the time to share about themselves. How about you? Feel free to share any fun experiences in the comments or on Twitter.

Anthony Willier

Tony started playing Magic in 1994 and bought way too many Revised starter decks with his younger brother. He has a keen fondness for drafting but likes the game in any format. He enjoys interacting with his fellow players and is always on the lookout for a good game, a good trade, and awesome Magic stories.

View More By Anthony Willier

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