Magic The Gathering Online
By Samson Lancaster – MyrddinCROW
I miss the smell of a fresh Magic The Gathering starter deck from 1994, it was indeed a good year. I started collecting and playing in 94′ with the Revised Edition of cards. I immediately fell in love with the artwork on every card. My favorite MTG artist was and still is Melissa Benson. The image of the “Nightmare” is forever burned into my brain as one of the most elegant beasties I’ve known.
Back in the 90’s MTG was so much simpler only several sets and a few thousand cards. I remember my high school banning MTG due to its gambling aspect of the ‘ante’ card. I felt like MTG got a ton of interest quickly and exploded out of hand with new cards new rules, revisions, bans and restrictions. MTG is truly the most popular CCG of its time and even now. However, I never found playing with hundreds of rules to be much fun. I always liked sticking to that little Revised rule book for what is now the “Classic” game play.
My buddies and I still get together once in awhile to play with old & new cards in the classic style. But for those times when you need a fix and can’t get all your friends together, there is MTGO. Magic The Gathering Online takes a lot of the guess work and tedium out of MTG game play. MTGO speeds up play greatly since you don’t have to physically shuffle cards or re-shuffle to mulligan. However, you do lose a lot of the visceral feeling, such as tapping your beastie to attack forcing your opponent to lower his life dice or counter. Also it is much harder to talk smack with MTGO chat, it just isn’t the same. However, it is so easy to get a game in any style you like to play and the tournaments are pretty fun too.
MTGO makes it very easy to create and test decks. The deck builder helps you with an easy access overview of your entire deck and collection. You can even filter your collection by color or card type and more. Also while dueling the sound effects add a certain satisfaction. It is pretty neat that your MTGO online presence is customizable with avatars and tabletop backgrounds. And last but certainly not least the lovely artwork of all the cards is still intact in this online version, this is a major plus for us “serious” collectors.
Overall Wizards of the Coast did a great job with MTGO. I would say the only drawback is that it is by no means free. You must purchase your online cards separate from your physical ones. This is great for Wizards, expensive for collectors like us. This really does hurt, but they did such a great job that we still willingly throw our money away. Once I built a few decks though I pretty much just trade to get new cards. In short, I suspect keeping up with the latest on MTGO would get pricey very fast. And alas, there is still no way MTGO can replicate that new card smell!