About Jesse Dana
I started playing Magic
during Revised and played regularly until Tempest. I then played off and
on until Alara block and now play regularly. I try to play as much as
possible, or as much as I can without having my girlfriend break up with
me. (She is, however, supportive of the hobby) It would be great to qualify
for a Pro Tour one day, but that is wishful thinking. Although I do take each
sanctioned match seriously, I never drop from a tournament no matter how it
will affect my record. I would love to travel to other countries and play. At a
young age, I had the chance to play against Rob Dougherty, Darwin Castle and
Shawn "The Hammer" Regnier. My goal is to one day do live
coverage of tournaments like Brian David-Marshall. Since my return to the
game, I have become fascinated about every aspect of it, from strategy, to the Pro
Tour, to even the lore of the game.
first started playing Magic around the beginning of Revised, it was merely a
game to me. I didn’t view it as anything different from any other game I played
at the time, whether it was a video game, board game or another card game for
that matter. It was simply a fun way for me to pass the time. From that time
until the first time I quit the game when Mirage came out never did I think
that it could be more than anything other than a hobby to play with my friends.
Like many other games in my life there came a time when I began to lose
interest in Magic and because none of my friends pushed either to continue
playing, it made giving up the game that much easier. It even got to the point
where I sold the majority of my cards on eBay in order to fund my next hobby.
(That was a massive mistake that I am now kicking myself for on a daily basis… but
that is a whole other story.) Magic was merely a nerdy trend of mine that faded
away much like the way of Dungeons and Dragons. When I ventured off to college
I was sure that I would never play another game of Magic again and I would be
shocked if the game lasted much longer on the market, considering all the
competition for card games that were available, not to mention the fact that
video games were getting more and more advanced.
true nerd at heart, I, like most other nerds find it almost completely
impossible to not go into a hobby shop if we happen to pass one on the street.
For many years during and even after college, every time I happened to make one
of these pit stops, it seemed that there were still Magic cards on the shelf
and in some cases actually people playing the game. I would think to myself
that there is maybe some small niche for this game, like there is for D&D,
and that the people playing probably don’t take it that seriously. Maybe some
big game company bought Wizards and their other games were funding Magic. I
still thought that at some point this game has got to fade out.
guess I was wrong, really wrong. You can imagine my surprise that at the ripe
old age of 29 one of my best friends called me up to have lunch, and the reason
he wanted to get together was not to talk about some woman he was interested in
or to see if I had any advice on his career, but rather to ask me if I could
teach him to play Magic. I said “who the hell plays that game anymore?” He said
that there was a work league at his office and that there were at least twenty
people there who were involved. I was completely dumbfounded by this idea and
of course I had to oblige him, not for his desire to learn to play, but for my
own selfish reasons to see who actually played this game anymore. My friend and
I bought some sealed decks and packs and began slinging. Shortly after that we
attended the regional prerelease for Zendikar and the amount of people there
blew my mind. From there on out I was hooked, but how could this be? Here I am
an “Adult” with a career and a serious girlfriend, car payments, a receding
hair line… and I now find myself enjoying a “game” more than I did when I was
an ignorant kid.
last few years, I have been exploring this question and seeking out anybody who
would lend me their ear. Although I could say that there may be many answers as
to why I love this game more now than I did back in high school, there seems to
be one answer that keeps coming up again and again. Magic is not a game, Magic
is a Community, and more than that, it is a community that I feel I belong in.
For many of
us that play Magic it is our means of escaping from the real world, a world
that some of us don’t feel like we belong in. When we get together at FNMs or
any other event it doesn’t matter what we are outside that arena, we are all
there to share in the interests of the Magic community. You can be a student, a
carpenter, a lawyer, a man, a woman, 16 years old or 36 years old…regardless of
these factors we are all equal parts in the Magic community. Like many
communities, ours is one that is ever evolving and it is up to every individual
to keep things on the right track. I apologize if I sound preachy, but what I
am saying comes from the heart.
In my time
since returning to the game, I have been a part of many great events in our
community and have been taken in by some incredible people like the creators of
this website for example… but unfortunately, I have been witness to some acts
that I would call less than neighborly. I have seen people more knowledgeable
about the game than others blatantly rip off the uninformed in trades, I have
seen seasoned players degrade newbs because of mistakes that they have made in
the middle of matches… For the most part, people outside of our community don’t
understand why we play this game to begin with and that the fact that we waste
so much of our time with a game in the first place is ridiculous. We have all
felt this at some point or another, so why would any of us in our community
choose to do the same sort of thing to someone who is, in many ways, bonded
weekend at the GP in Worcester, a friend of mine started off the event at 3-0.
Considering he had barely touched M13 at all he was needless to say ecstatic
with his results in the early goings. In his next round he was paired up
against a Pro Player who I will choose not to name in this article. In each of
the games that they played, the Pro saw it fit to call out my friend for not
being an expert on the rules and each time further escalated the situation by
calling over a judge. Now I have known this friend for quite a while and he
would never cheat and he indeed does know the rules very well, so I find it
hard to believe that there was in fact an issue going on at the table other
than that this Pro was trying in some way to psych out my buddy. Well, whatever
the Pro did, it worked. I have never seen my friend so frazzled before and the
fact that he was even having a hard time describing the situation during the
match shows the number that was done on him. My friend lost his next two
matches and thus was out of contention. For the rest of the evening he was
talking about how all the fun had been sucked out of the game at that point and
that he needed a break.
Now I know
already that there are some of you out there who will look at this situation
and see that whatever the Pro did, it psyched my friend out, and sometimes that
is one way to win the game. I won’t sit here and argue with you entirely, as
this is a tactic that I have learned from watching many matches at the top
tables, but if you are a Pro Player and have been on the circuit for years and
write draft articles for a Magic related website, is this really necessary when
you are going up against a complete unknown?
this up to you because in our community I believe that we all have roles and
obligations within our group. If after this match the Pro had gone up to my friend
and said something like “I knew I couldn’t beat your deck so I tried another
tactic to help me win” would that have been so bad? I know we are not children,
but anytime someone who does something to another player that for even a second
has them thinking that they don’t want to play anymore is unacceptable to me.
If we do not, for lack of a better term, nurture less experienced players, then
we risk the chance of them leaving the game and that is something that nobody
wants. I would think that if you are a true competitor you would want more
competition, because as it is in everything else in life, you only get better
when you are pitted against equal or greater opponents.
of issues are to be expected in any community because those of us that make up
the collective all have different personalities and choose to play out our
roles as we see fit. It doesn’t, however, mean that we can’t continue to
improve on them. Aside from writing articles and doing interviews I would find
it rather refreshing if there was a Pro out there who was willing to tutor
newer players into getting better and not charge them some ridiculous price. I
would love to read a series of articles that catalogued a player’s journey from
the beginning and see if under the proper tutelage that player could reach the
Pro circuit, I mean who doesn’t love a good underdog story?
have read this far and said to yourself that Jesse is talking about all these
negative things, so why would he love this community so much? The truth is that,
yes, our community does have its flaws, but the fact that it is imperfect is
one of the most exciting things. We all get to have an influence on making it
better where it needs to be, as well as fight to keep the things we love about
it intact. WotC in and of itself has made many mistakes over the last year,
take Snapcaster Mage for example, how many complaints have we heard about that
card or even uttered ourselves? That mistake hasn’t stopped WotC from moving
forward and trying to make the game better and at the same time by them
admitting to their mistake they have showed that they are listening to our
community and that they are willing to do the best that they can to keep things
enjoyable for us.
started playing Magic back in the day, the internet was in its infancy and most
of the knowledge about the Multiverse came from monthly publications, God,
looking back it was as if we were living on Innistrad minus the monsters
everywhere. Nowadays we are in constant connection with members of our
community no matter what country or time zone they happen to be in. There is no
question that this connection is one of the reasons that Magic has been able to
be so successful and will continue to be in the future.
want to see this community continue to grow as it has embraced me with open
arms, and I know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there that, if
they give it a chance, will be as passionate as we are. Some of my best friends
now are people that I met playing Magic and this is when I am in my thirties.
Our generation has an opportunity to break the stereotypes and lead the way for
our community. I have a feeling that sooner rather than later Magic is going to
be bigger than any of us could have imagined, but that can’t happen without
each and every member of the community uniting their passion.