Thursday, June 13, 2019


This is the message that greeted me when I opened Facebook this evening.

“Arena is trash. That is all.”

It comes from a competitive friend who has just gone on tilt. I know we have all been there.

On Facebook I have a group that until recently was called “Hearthstone” but has recently been renamed “The Attack Phase.” I still play Hearthstone and am working on a Lucentbark deck right now, but thanks to the wonderful new program Magic:Arena, I have been delving into Magic again.
In the group are most of the members of Team Quarterstaff and Team Comics & Collectibles. Ira Wonderboy is now a much older Wonderman. Keith Kenyon, aka, “KrankyK”, is older so, even crankier. The “Serra Girl” Michele was down this weekend and I showed her Magic: Arena.

Michele remains one of my best friends. This Christmas she gave me a book called
 “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The main tenet is that caring too much is what leads to anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, impotence and, yes, rage.

Like, when you care too much about Magic and want to toss your cards across the room. Or break your keyboard or just vent to a Facebook group that Magic sucks.
The book is very good and has given me a perspective on a few things in my life.

I started putting these lessons into play when I played Magic and Hearthstone. Because there’s a lot of luck in this game. And when you get a bad beat, it's so much better for your attitude and blood pressure if you just realize it was a bad beat and let it go. Maybe next game you’ll curve out perfectly and your opponent won’t. Maybe you’ll get a good matchup, whatever. It's just a game, have fun.

That worked for about a day but I quickly noticed that something was missing.

Like, why do Billionaires keep working? Why do trust fund babies get bored? Why does Tiger Woods want to be a champion again?
Humans are built to want more. To strive for more. For longer. Faster. Stronger. Better. More. More more.

And if you don’t care, you’re not striving. You're going for more you’re just throwing cards at your opponent.

So, the secret, as always, is a balance.

You will not be shocked to learn that when I got back into the game, I delved right into the fatties, getting to know what WOTC’s vision for Green is these days.

And I started out hating War of the Sparks. Because when you want to attack with big creatures and swing with everything, taking a turn off to play a planeswalker doesn’t help you. Unlike control, aggro decks rarely want to do anything other than play a creature and swing.

Michele comes down about once a month for the weekend and we play games. Azul, Dominion, Catan.  And I have been really interested in trying out Magic Commander with her and Wendy.
And you know, despite the fact that my huge stompy deck has been smashing face and finally got me to Platinum rank, I really do want to play with some of the cards. So I started slowly adding in some planeswalkers and started to realize that there was more to this game than turning things sideways. And maybe it would be cool to play a two-player version of Commander with these new cards. And then I started looking at the new decklists on Star City Games and felt something I had never felt before.

A desire to play Bant.


  1. Jamie playing Magic? Yay! All the best to you and your play friends.

    I finally got access to a PC, and am looking to try Arena myself. (Lifelong Mac guy.) I'd love to hear some arena stories or see what you're playing. Thought about you so much with the dinosaurs of Ixalan.

  2. There will be a LOT of posts about Arena soon. Even some streaming.