When I sat down to write this post I had already been thinking about this for some time and had identified what I felt the causes of the disenchanted feeling were.
To me it seemed that the main cause was money. No matter how I tried to budget I never had the money to either get the cards that I wanted/needed for my deck ideas nor go to events I wanted to play in. Buying cards wasn't such an issue as I could always trade for cards I wanted/needed or find replacements that I already owned. However the frustration that came from missing out on amazing events was getting to me. I think the last event I actually attended was the M14 Game Day.
To add to this, as I no longer have a car, when I did save a bit of money to tend events I had to rely on public transport. Normally I have no problem with this, however due to the weather and floods that we've had in the last few months the public transport hasn't been the most reliable.
This frustration led me to read more articles and watch more live streams which in turn made me more frustrated as all I wanted to do was play. Especially one I had finally got all the cards I needed for my Standard G/B Midrange/Control deck.
When I stopped to think about it there was a lot of things I could do to overcome this frustration and disenchanted feelings. My first thought was to take a step back from the game itself and focus on something completely different and unrelated. I have taken breaks from Magic before and wondered I just needed another break.
Work had started to get really busy, especially as we were working on the next version of our software so I had little time to read articles during my lunch break and when I got home I rarely felt like going on the PC to read articles or watch live streams. This, however, didn't last long as I began to fall into old habits and started reading articles on my phone and watching live streams via the Twitch app on my phone. This then ended up leading to the same frustration regarding not being able to play as before. I decided I needed to take a different approach.
To work out the correct approach I needed to look back at why I had started going to events in the first place and what I enjoyed about them. Back when Dark Ascension was released I was looking for a hobby, something that I could do in my free time instead of replaying the same PC/Console games over and over. I had thought about painting Warhammer and started to throw myself into that but it lacked the connection I was looking for. I think what I really wanted was a hobby where I could meet new people who were interested in the same things as I was and potentially make new friends and have new experiences.
When I was a teenager Magic was a game that I had played with friends and family, whilst I may not have ever built any competitive decks I had always had a good laugh and enjoyed playing. I started reading articles on Daily MTG and became drawn to the tournaments section. After looking on their tournament locator page I found that I could get to some tournaments via a 15 minute train journey.
Originally I set my sights on going to the Avacyn Restored pre-release as I had ready these were meant to be friendly and welcoming events without being too competitive. I, however, missed the pre-release due to a clash with other plans. This didn't matter though as it had re-ignited the love of the game I had. I started playing around with deck ideas and eventually came up with an Undying Birthing Pod deck.
I was a bit nervous as I entered Eclectic Games in Reading for the Avacyn Restored Game Day. I had been in the store plenty of times before but never for a tournament. I had no idea what to expect or what the people would be like. Thankfully everyone was really friendly and whilst I didn't win too many games I was surprised at how well my deck could perform. I think I came 20th out of 30 odd people, that didn't bother me as I had found the connection I had been looking for.
Unfortunately I couldn't afford to attend regular FNMs, that didn't stop me however from updating my Undying Pod deck and taking it back to Eclectic Games for the M13 game day. This time I had done a lot of reading about the most popular decks and had a sideboard to help me defeat them. That day I had a blast and placed 9th, missing the top 8 due to tiebreakers. I still won a few boosters and had heard people talking about my deck throughout the day.
Fast forward back to the present, I've been wondered what really hooked me to the tournament scene during those two game days. Was it being able to play in a challenging environment? Winning with a deck that I had built and not just copied from the net? The connection with other people with similar interests? To be honest I'm not 100% sure, I think it's probably a mixture of all three.
With this in mind I started to tackle my current problem of feeling disenchanted with the game. I came up with these ideas:
- Work out a monthly Magic budget. This can then be used to buy cards for decks or attend events. What I don't want to do is fall into the trap of spending more money than I can afford as this then just leads to more frustration.
- Play test decks on Cockatrice before buying the cards, this will allow me to keep to my monthly budget by not spending money on cards I think I need only to find out they don't really work in the deck I'm building.
- Build casual decks and play in a non-competitve setting to remind myself that the game should be about fun. I'm also interested in building Pauper/Peasant Standard decks as I've done this in the past and they can lead to some interesting and fun games.
- Find a play group in my own town. I know there's a group that meets up in Didcot, however a lot of the time they meet up on a Saturday when I tend to be not available. I need to find out if they meet on a weekday evening. I know the group doesn't run any sanctioned tournaments, however it would be good to play regularly and test for events with other people.
- Continue to brew decks and play test them. I'm tempted to see if I can work out a way to record Cockatrice matches if I start playing on there regularly. If I do I'll create a YouTube channel.
- Last, but by no means least, remember that Magic is a game to be enjoyed and not something to be taken so seriously that it starts making you feel down.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, hopefully my next post will be more interesting.
Until next time.