Words and pictures are PRETTY.

One of the elements that I enjoy most about the design of the Magic cards, is the quotes included in the description on some of the cards. These are normally referred to as the “flavour text” of a card. This text is put there to better complement the abilities of the card, or for humourous effect. Some of the funniest ones are the goblin cards.

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“Once he’d worked out which end of the thing was sharp, he was promoted to guard duty.”

See?

Some of the best quotes include:

“I offered you eternal life; I just didn’t say where” – Infernal Harvest

“Which is worse, nothing to defend, or no one to defend it?” – Troubled Healer

“Fair fight? I’ll take survival over chivalry any day!” – Ambush Party

“They’ve got claws as long as your arm. And they’re grouchy. Really, really, grouchy.” – Grizzly Bears

“If they move, kill them. In fact, kill one now to make sure the other understands.” – Intimidation

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“Slow and steady may not always win the race, but at least it doesn’t end up splattered on the walls.”

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“I said ‘pick his brain,’ not ‘tear his head off.'”

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“I like goblins. They make funny little popping sounds when they die.”

“The cautious are wary of their enemies. The wise are also wary of their friends.” – Cephalid Snitch

“The faithful will walk through streams of fire and emerge unscathed” – Crimson Acolyte

“If it ain’t broke, I’ll break it. If it is broke, I’ll fix it.” – Trickster Mage

“Fight with a friend at your back, steel in your hands, and magic in your veins.” – Quirion Explorer

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“After an hour in the hidey-hole, Squee seriously pondered the advantages of danger over boredom.”

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“In life, it was a fetid, disease-ridden thing. In death, not much has changed.”

“Now accepting donations of ammunition. Pots, pans, broken yard tools, naughty children, anything will do!” – Orcish Council of War

“Species XR 17 feeds upon the mental energies of its victims. This explains why the goblins remain unaffected.” – Synapse Sliver

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“Garl, adjust the slurry dispensers. Garl, fetch more corpses. Garl, quit crying and give me your brain tissue. If he doesn’t stop being so rude, I’m quitting.”

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 “Years of attempts have brought the goblins no closer to growing a sausage tree.”

Not only do I admire the cards because of these funny texts, but also because of the amazing artwork which is depicted on some cards:

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Many people like to edit cards and create mock versions of cards. Some of these can turn out quite funny when done right:

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The Morgan Freeman version is definitely my favourite.

Word count: 447

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Fret not dear lackey of Magic, you are not alone!

If you want to successfully incorporate Magic into your life as a serious hobby, you need to play at least a few times a week and engage with other players to learn about different playing styles, and to of course meet new, interesting people.

Our university has an official anime club, known as UJAM, which was most likely the inspiration for the Magic gathering (pun intended). Because this is so needed, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has gained a small contemporary Magic circle, who normally meet up at a coffee shop on campus. This is mostly due to the love and commitment that a good friend of mine, Blu (also sometimes known as Johan) has for Magic. Thanks to him many people have been bitten by the ridiculously addictive bug, including me.

The people who play Magic at UJ are very different from one another in many ways, but the fun experienced when playing it trumps any problems which might arise. Even I have played against opponents who I don’t really like or would care to have conversations with under normal circumstances.

There aren’t many fights or freak-outs, and any altercations are only minor – everyone loses with grace.

Not like this guy.

Some of the players have even become good friends, as Magic can create a bond between people and create meaningful relationships. A few of them are some of the smartest people who I’ve come across on our campus – from philosophers to physicists.

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It is much more exciting than it looks, trust in thee.

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This is a 3-way – a match with three contestants instead of only two.

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Present (kind of) in this photograph is Stefan – he likes to create many creatures, very fast so you cower in fear. He has recently come to love his green/white deck, and can easily kill you off with it! Little arse.

Blu plays many different types of decks, and all combinations of colours. No matter what deck he runs, he tends to win. He tends to win A LOT.

He’s a Magic Master, not much else needs to be said. One does not cross The Blu. And I’m pretty confident that whenever I beat him, he still just only lets me win on purpose. He was kind enough to lend a few tips to this blog – listen to that voice!

 Magic and friends:

Blu Quote 1

The competition and achievements:

Blu Quote 2

Why we continue to play Magic:

Blu Quote 3

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Word count: 401

Dost thou not play Magic? This is how it works!

At the beginning of the game, each player has 20 life and is allowed to begin with 7 cards in hand. The deck that the player uses has to have a minimum of 60 cards. Players die or lose by losing all their life or when they have no cards left to draw. A player wins the game when he/she successfully kills all opponents and reduces their life total to 0.

Some cards exist (many, in fact) that are banned from legal play, or restricted (meaning only one of them is allowed in a deck). These are usually much older cards. Because Magic is a game of skill AND luck, a skilled player can win a match if he/she knows how a deck is constructed and which cards complement each other, etc.

Seeing how over 40 expansion sets have been released over the years, there are almost endless possibilities that a player can use to win.

Most cards come in one of five colours. These colours are depicted on the back of the cards, a design called the “Colour Wheel”. These colours are white, blue, black, red and green. To play most spells, mana of the same colour as the spell is needed. Mana is normally generated by a basic land card: plains for white, islands for blue, swamps for black, mountains for red and forests for green.

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Plains

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Island

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Swamp

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Mountain

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Forest

Each colour in Magic has certain weaknesses and strengths which represent the “style” of the colour. For example, white is the colour of purity, honour and balance and usually has smaller creatures which defend the player. Green on the other hand, has bigger creatures which are designed to trample over the enemy quickly, usually with brute force.

Maybe these guys can enlighten some more in this video…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadqHggATe8

…which is obviously scripted, so try to not scratch your own eyes out.

How much do the cards cost?

The rarity and cost of some cards: the industry of collectible cards is BOOMing!

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This little beauty here is the Black Lotus, which is the most expensive card there is. Here it was signed by the artist Christopher Rush.

That is an artifact card – there are many more different types of cards. Like,for instance, creatures, sorcery, enchantments and instants to help you win a match.

The Black Lotus artifact is the most valuable card in the entire Magic: The Gathering history. It is not even legal anymore in the current standard set of games, and has never been reprinted. It was only printed between 1993 and 1994, and can today cost you up to $5000 to buy online or anywhere else. Pricey little fella, isn’t he? It is worth the price for many, as it can greatly increase a player’s chance of winning due to it being so powerful. It was part of a group of nine cards, called the Power 9. They were blatantly too good, and all of these are not legal in the standard game anymore.

There are 4 types of rarities with Magic – commons, uncommons, rares and mythic rares. Rares and mythic rares are worth much more than commons and uncommons and as the name suggests, are much more difficult to find.

Rarity is indicated on the card on the right hand side next to the card type – black for common, silver for uncommon, gold for rare and red for mythic rare.

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Common

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Uncommon

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Rare

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Mythic Rare

Commons normally do not cost more than $0.50, while some mythic rares cost up to $50 a piece.

Some cards can even increase in value due to their popularity, like Rancor. When it was first printed, Rancor was featured as a common card, but is now printed as an uncommon.

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Rancor – Common

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Rancor – reprinted as an uncommon

Lastly, something to feast yerrr eyes on son! For your absolute viewing pleasure, the trailer for the latest set released, Return to Ravnica:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiaDSWzY9HM

 Word count: 647

Magic – a means of escape.

Finally! A topic that I am excited to write about! People of the web, I have found my excuse to start a blog. As a student of Journalism, I have been given many assignments to write about different topics (or take pictures n’ stuff) and now I have the prone opportunity to write about something I love. I chose Magic.

Now, by Magic, I do NOT mean the act itself, the frequent user (including warlock, wizard and all those wonderful W’s) or any of these hilarious definitions, but I refer to something quite more astonishing. This is a type of Magic which really exists, Magic that you can hold in your very own hands. And it’s made from cardboard. Let’s admit now, real magic does not exist, but Magic: The Gathering does.

I am sure that many readers even do not know what I am talking about when I mention Magic: The Gathering. For those who are ignorant as to what it exactly is, I will explain it briefly now, and more in detail later on.

Yes, I am referring to the collectible card game (or CCG), Magic: The Gathering, published by Wizards of the Coast (and all those other funky copyright claims).  It is one of the firsts, if not the first, of its kind – the CCG was first designed and introduced in 1993 by Richard Garfield, and a team of Magic designers and play testers. After only a short time on the market it was so popular that shops outsold and the demand for the cards were so high that certain cards became worth much more that they would normally be. Early on they were even reluctant to advertise the game because they were unable to keep pace with existing demand. Some of the rarer or special edition Magic cards have sold for up to $40, 000 at auctions. Must be pretty cool cards then, right?

Now, back to the blog! I have always thought about putting my thoughts down somewhere, so I can look back in a few years and remember how stupid I was. Ah, blissful ignorance.

Although Magic is most commonly associated with the geek and nerd subculture, it has been known to be played by just about anyone.

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What many people do not realise is that it has the unique power to bring different people together, just like any other engaging hobby.Unfortunately its gender demographic is not very balanced, and compared to male players, females are few and far between. I have been told numerous times how people are usually surprised to see me taking part in tournaments, since it is not that popular among females.I myself have found that playing Magic tournaments have made me discover my 12 year old self again , especially since I almost weekly get my arse handed to me by 12 year old players.

Many parents have realised how beneficial Magic can be for their children. Playing Magic helps many children who are introverted and shy to break out of their shells, it teaches children how to gracefully win or lose, it exposes children to a greater vocabulary on a regular basis, and some parents even claim that it can help keep their children out of trouble as well.  Mommy and Daddy – if you want little Johnny to be a doctor, lawyer, mortician, orc general or anything else, introduce them to Magic! It is of course not without its own flaws, but it exercises the brain on a frequent basis and your kid will enjoy it!

 

The other day, I had a conversation with my sister, it went something like this:

Me: I’m so broke.

Sister: Why? You were paid just the other day?

Me: I spent my money on Magic cards.

Sister: You live a sad life.

 

This game is highly addictive and has been jokingly called by some as “cardboard crack”, hence the name of this blog. Some players have spent large amounts of money acquiring cards. Addiction to Magic begins nearly simultaneously after winning or faring well in a match for the first time, and will deplete one’s wallet faster than you can say “Tap that card, yeah baby”.

So, in conclusion – the function of this blog is to provide me with a platform where I can share my experiences of playing within the Magic circle.  And maybe I can help those who wish to better understand the dynamics and unique functions of this highly addictive game and who also find themselves in the position of amateur in such a highly complex and competitive world (don’t be scared!)

– Erika

 

Word count: 765