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About Jonathan Randle

Jonathan Randle
Jonathan Randle

After an 8 year break from Magic I won English Nationals at my first attempt in 2008. Since then I've made made the top 8 of Nationals 2010, Grand Prix Birmingham 2008 and Worlds 2010. I have a deep passion for control decks and have a reactive, stoic and philosophical approach to the game.

  • Level 4 Pro Player
  • 52 lifetime pro points
  • Top 8 Worlds 2010
  • Top 8 GP Birmingham 2008
  • Great Britain National Champion 2008
  • Top 4 Great Britain Nationals 2010


For this article I would like to write about something a bit different. It may not be to some of your tastes, and maybe it is not what you would expect but I’m hoping that for others it will be something you'll enjoy. I've found that easily the biggest dilemma I’ve faced in my Magic 'career', is how best to fit in Magic in your social life or, to be more precise, love life. Unfortunately, I think that only the rare few can combine the two. They seem to me to be two competing mistresses, vying for your affection, your attention and your love. This is a shame, but it is true. I'm not being sexist when I say this, and this could, though slightly doubtful, be applicable to Magic playing girls whom have boyfriends, but let's face it, men and women are very different species.

This article is going to have a twist to it though. As I write my views, opinions and strategies on how to balance your MAGS, I have asked my own Magic boycotting hating girlfriend to write her thoughts on it too. I'm hoping things hot up, but beneath the lively banter of what seems like a fun topic, is in fact a serious note. I will try to give you a few tips and also a few real life experiences. It, for me, truly is the biggest test to someone who wants to play Magic seriously. How does one keep their girlfriend happy?

It might seem like a trivial subject to some, but believe me, I know people who have stopped playing Magic because of it... well at least for longer periods of time, but I guess this article is about how to fit in a passion for playing Magic with the rest of your life.

Balancing Act
Odyssey (Foil)

I'm not saying I’m an expert on women, in fact sometimes I believe that it’s impossible to understand anything about them, but when it comes to working out how best to keep them happy, while continuing to enjoy your Magic, I feel that I have enough experience to comment. In my experiences then, I’ve found that women love to be shown that you love them. For a man, it's enough to say, and to hear 'baby I love you', but women like to see it, they want to see the evidence of your affections and Magic can quite often come at that expense. To a Magic player, it's a hobby, a passion that we enjoy endlessly, to some even it’s a profession, but to your other half all it is, is something that stands in their way. Of course though, they can understand that you love playing Magic, so they have to tread carefully so as to not put you in a position where it is 'us or that bloody game', and have to be respectful of the lure of the cards. So, here are a few suggestions as to how to keep them both feeling loved and balanced.

The first one is one we've all tried, teach them how to play! There are some obvious pros and cons to this strategy however. Firstly, it can be quite frustrating trying to teach someone who really doesn’t have the love of the game. They might not show the enthusiasm and desire to learn as you do to teach. Secondly, it can be crushingly boring playing Magic against someone who you know you will beat 99.9% of the time. To combat that con then, you will have to throw many games. But this too becomes more of a chore than a fun time with the Mrs. Thirdly, do you really want to play Magic with your girlfriend? I mean, even for the most Magically obsessed of us, we want to be doing much more fun stuff with them. The positives to this strategy however, could be great. If they do fall in love with the game then they will be much more understanding to your desires to play, especially to travel to play. They will understand that it really isn't a 'Magic vs. Me' battle and will see that you have a craving that, try as they might, they can't satisfy. They will feel involved in your obsession and therefore not left feeling outside of a big part of your life.

Another strategy is to play on the sly. This would involve Modoing whilst they are asleep, lying about how you are playing whilst Skyping, saying that you only played 'a couple' of games at the shop and so on and so forth. The reason we do this is because we want to avoid an unnecessary argument. I mean, it REALLY is only a few games of Magic, and it's not causing any harm, so why fight about it when we can just lie about it. This strategy isn't for the faint-hearted though, because be prepared to have a fight about it should they ever find out. It's also not a clever strategy either, because once they start mixing your lies with Magic, then Magic becomes more evil in their eyes. I strongly recommend you fight your natural urge to lie about something so trivial as a few games of Magic, because it can end up just giving them more ammunition.

A final strategy, and the one I advise the most, is to always let them know that they come first. I suppose this is just about compromising. Spend time with the girlfriend, bargain for your Magic time, and let it be at their behest. Showing that you are mature enough to keep Magic in its place, which is below them of course. Withdraw from Magic from time to time, demonstrate that it isn't the most meaningful thing in your life. At the end of the day, you shouldn't have to bargain for time to play Magic, but not because of them, but because of you. Magic should be just a hobby and they should come first. Loathe as I am to admit it, there is some truth in their complaints. For instance, a 'friend of mine' was caught staying up at night testing a new deck against himself at the end of his bed. It can also be a financial loss when you have to quit in the middle of a draft because you started it at a rather inopportune time. Another 'friend' of mine had their cards taken hostage during a divorce. So basically what I’m saying is, keep things in perspective.

Epic Struggle
Judgement (Foil)

I showed this article to my girlfriend and asked her for her comments. And this is apparently how things look from their point of view.

Okay... well to clear things up, no one is hating on the game, the game is fine, it’s even entertaining, it’s what you do with it, it’s the amount of time it takes, because when you add up the time you spend playing Magic and the time reading articles AND the time watching videos AND the time talking about it on forums and chatrooms AND the MTGO time... I mean come on... it’s not JUST a hobby it’s the time eating machine, and it never ends. If Magic playing was treated just as a hobby, like "Friday Night Magic " or "Tuesday Night Magic" it would be okay, but it’s every day night Magic, one would assume if you work in the "MTG area" so you spend your working hours around cards and Magic playing crowd and manage to skip the lunch break to squeeze in a game of Magic (because it is SO much more important), you would have enough and not take it home, but... no! Obviously Magic as a hobby has some advantages, I do much rather prefer you playing Magic then doing other harmful things (harmful for a relationship, of course), and if you are actually good you can even make some money out of it, but when we talk about the potential money you might make out if, we never count the money you spent on all those cards, and the money you spend on playing MTGO and drafting etc., and if we value your time as money, then your Magic is slightly overpaid... but okay... you enjoy it, and I do want you to be happy. People have broken up because of it, or been on the verge of it, so I guess you should think about what is more important in life, and try to balance the two. And yeah, learning how to play, trying to be a part of it doesn’t help, the game is fun, but it is just a game... men often seem to get much more caught up in it and take it too seriously... but I guess that’s fine too, men are from Mars, we all know that. Lying about it ... not a good idea, you will get caught, and the split attention is always very easily spotted. All in all I do very much agree on the final conclusion, you should try and balance it out, not spend too much time dealing with Magic and Magic related things, try to understand that there are other things in life, and at some point you will most likely stop playing all together... I don’t see many 40 year olds playing Magic around... anyhow... I guess we all learned a lesson here ;).

For those who seek to take Magic seriously, and endeavor to travel and play the game at a serious level, then I do think that the girlfriend is a real issue. All joking aside, it can affect how well we play the game, how happy we are with the game and how much we get to play the game. This may not have been an article of game based strategies but it is a relevant issue nonetheless.


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