Wizards is releasing more sets, more Secret Lairs, more everything than ever before. Warhammer40K, Lord of the Rings, and The Brothers' War are all coming. At a certain point, it's simply impossible to keep up! Or is it? What are some ways to keep expanding your Magic horizons without being overwhelmed mentally or financially?
Focus Your Efforts
Unless you're a madman trying to build 32 new decks at once, it's much more likely you have one or two decks you are building or improving. When a new set drops, focus your efforts on upgrades or themes for only a deck or two. Just because Dominaria United introduced a Cleric lord and a ton of new Phyrexians does not mean you should be attempting to build both of those decks!
A Decided Lack of Spirit
At home, we have a Millicent, Restless Revenant Spirit tribal deck. Unfortunately, there was not a single white or blue Spirit in DMU. The most on-theme card turned out to be Runic Shot. Conversely, Crimson Vow, Midnight Hunt, and Neon Dynasty all had a pile of Spirits for consideration. It was overwhelming to say the least, and, the respite is much needed! Not chasing multiple rares and mythics is a nice change of pace, and opening the single uncommon from a pack felt great! The lesson? Knowing exactly what your deck wants helps filter the "noise" from the payoffs.
Of Boats and Gold
But what if you have a ton of decks? Focus even harder. Ramirez can go into my art-based boat deck that now has a (forced) Pirate subtheme. Furthermore, I'm able to juggle themes to such a degree that I can go back over older sets to see if existing cards complete the deck. There are some old cards from Portal Two that received errata during The Grand Creature Type Update which were Ships or Merchants but are now Pirates. Just adding one new card allowed me to add several old cards to round the deck out. Now, I have a very complete deck, and I don't need to add anything but the most exceptional of boat-based cards.
Deathtouch? Deathtouch! However, not going into the Deathtouch deck. I've tinkered with Atraxa, Praetors' Voice so much that it's now named "Midas Deathtouch," with a heavy multi-colored theme and Party sub-theme. So a Mono-Black Phyrexian Praetor deathtoucher, even a potent one like Sheoldred, just does not make the cut. Not only does this spare my wallet, it means I don't need to automatically consider a card just because it says "deathtouch." The theme and subthemes presented are deep enough that a card has to be pretty special to get included.
The Only FOMO Is FOMO Itself
I cannot afford to blow $40 on one card. I asked a few people I knew who ordered Secret Lair x Street Fighter if they were interested in selling just Chun-Li, but that did not pan out. Then I took to eBay and tried every "Best Offer" vendor I could, again to no avail. However, time was on my side as I predicted in July, and her price steadily decreased. I only had to wait about a month and shaved over 50% off her price. Now that I finally have my commander, I can build that deck. Most importantly, I did not miss out! I got the card I wanted for a decent price.
Speaking of Priority...
My personal deck building backlog is pretty massive, and sometimes it's difficult to know what concept to work on next. In this case, I've been waiting the longest for Chun-Li, so she's at the front of the line. Once I have the commander, the deck gets built. Period. In this case, my personal deadline is Commander Game Night, where I try to always bring at least one new deck. An important note is to bring your deck as-is and to actually play it. I see too many players put off playing a deck because they feel they do not have all the "perfect" cards for it. Budget cards are a good compromise for this situation.
Fatigue Can Also Be Burnout
You may find yourself burned out from seeing too many new cards, acquiring new Commander decks you have no time to play, and just playing too much. There are multiple kinds of play burnout. Mono-Black commanders have been my jam for many, many years. However, playing Arvinox the last couple of weeks and a Mono-Black version of Oona, Queen of the Fae for a store event has given me my fill of Mono-Black Commander goodness for the foreseeable future. I'm benching these decks for the time being and bringing something new to keep my interest up.
Playing on Thursdays and Fridays without fail for the last few months has been a bit too much, on top of late night games on SpellTable. So yes, I'm going to cut back, mostly on the SpellTable side of things because playing in person is more fun. Other hobbies and ventures do call from time to time, so it is important to acknowledge them. Did someone say football season? I wonder what a football-themed Commander deck would look like... oh wait, they're doing Secret Lair x Blood Bowl. But no, seriously, moderation is important! If Magic is becoming too demanding or overwhelming, put it down and come back later.
With so many Magic products coming, I am extremely aware of just how many shiny new cards I can afford. I'm getting the Warhammer stuff and skipping the Lord of the Rings stuff. I'm not getting any more Dominaria United but will get a lot of The Brother's War. It's not only about what I am buying, but what I am not buying. I've scooped up the handful of cards I wanted from DMU, most of which were uncommons, so I get a little bit of "wallet cooldown" until the next big purchase. As far as Commander precons go, I've picked up the ones that looked good and will scoop up the rest for bulk prices later.
Moderation Is Key
There's a lot to love about Magic: The Gathering. Every year they, are churning out more cards, sets, decks, promos, and swag than ever before. If you carefully focus your attention, don't succumb to FOMO, enjoy a moderate amount of play, and make precise purchase decisions, you can stave off analysis paralysis and stretch your budget.
Have you experienced Magic-related FOMO? Burnout? Wallet fatigue? Please share your story in the comments, as well as any tips you may have for keeping the spark alive!