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A Deeper Connection


Jesse Dana
Jesse Dana

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.

A Deeper Connection

When Richard Garfield first invented Magic back in 1993 it was merely the newest creation in his long line of game development.  It was, at its core, a game like any other with a strict set of rules and a little bit of lore splashed in for flavor, mostly in the images on the cards.  In its near twenty years of existence, however, it has grown far past its larva state and morphed into something I am sure not even the Phelddagrif himself could have imagined.  Magic is one of, if not the most diverse “game” in the world, with so many intricacies and complex traits, that one could argue that it has its own personality.  As players and enthusiasts of Magic, we are in some way connected to it, and are in constant interaction with it, but is there, in fact, a deeper connection to the game than just player and cards?  Now, we all play Magic because we enjoy it, that much is obvious, but one thing that I have noticed in my now four year return to the game is that spell slingers often seem to be involved in a much more complex relationship with the cards they use than what may be seen from the surface.  There can be patterns in the cards players choose to use and the decks they concoct on a regular basis, but does the selection necessarily reflect the player as a person or who they may be outside the game?

One way to start investigating these thoughts is to look at the 5 colors in the game and what each of them represents at its core.  Now, through the course of the game’s metamorphosis, WotC has been consistently thoughtful of cards when they are printed and to make sure that each one reflects the color it belongs to, and for those of you who may not know, or even for those who want a quick refresher, here are the basic traits of each color taken from the mothership itself.

  • Black: Death, ambition, and darkness are the stock and trade of black mages.
  • Red: Freedom, fire, and impulse are the lifeblood of every red mage.
  • Blue: Knowledge, manipulation, wind, and wave: These are the blue mage's tools.
  • Green: Strength, ferocity, and life: These are the values that sustain the green mage.
  • White: Order, protection, light, law: These are white magic's values.

Now, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to take the two quizzes I have provided links for below.  These quizzes are also on the mothership, and, in their own way, are designed to show you what your color and or guild affiliation is or is “supposed to be”.  They are a great conversation piece when you are hanging out with your fellow planeswalkers in between matches or playing casually. Also, I would encourage you to have someone close to you take the quizzes as well, but have them pick the answers based on how they think you would choose.  I had my wife go through the steps and I was quite surprised with the results.

What color are you?

Guild Quiz

For those of you who have read any of my previous articles or even my bio on this website, know that I am, without question, a Black mage.  Nearly every deck I build has at least a splash of black in it, and I get upset when, in order to be competitive, I have to play a deck without Swamps in my mana base.  My favorite cards ever printed have the darkest borders in the game, and I sit with baited breath, waiting for Mono Black Control to finally resurface from the grave and rule Standard again.  For lack of a better term, one could say I am racist against the four other colors and can find flaws in all of them. 

Now, where this kinship came from, I honestly cannot tell you.  When I got back into playing regularly, there was something that drew me to the Dark Side, and I see no signs of leaving her cold embrace. Could it have been the fact that, in my Zendikar prerelease sealed pool, I opened a Vampire Nighthawk and Sorin Markov and easily piloted them to victory?  Could it be that my single favorite card ever printed is Dark Ritual and my favorite artwork for the longest time was the original Nightmare by Melissa Benson?

Any one of the above statements could be a perfectly reasonable explanation why I have such affection for Black, or maybe it’s something I have not thought of yet.  Whatever the case may be, I took the Color test as well as the guild test ten times each over the course of a week and the results were as such.  In the Mono Color quiz I was Black 6 times, Red twice, White once and Blue once.  In the Guild quiz I was Dimir 7 times (shhhh, you’re not supposed to know) and Rakdos, Simic and Azorious each once.  After going over the results from the quizzes and seeing that my true color, at least according to this data, was indeed Black, I felt some sort of relief that I was not forcing the darkness upon myself, however, when I look at the definition of Black from WotC, I began to ask myself, do I have a deep wickedness inside me?  If I do have this wickedness in me it sure doesn’t explain that on my flight home from Thanksgiving the only two things I watched on the TV were Seinfeld re-runs and a documentary on French bulldog puppies.  Now, I will fully admit that one of my favorite shows on television is indeed The Walking Dead, and I do love non Twilight vampire movies and novels, as well as other monster and horror related entertainment, but I doubt it is any more than your average Green or White mage.  When I sleeve up the cards, however, I always seem to be drawn to the armies of the undead and maybe that is because I have constant nightmares of fighting my way through a Zombie apocalypse and my best way to control that fear is to try and control the army in any way possible, even if that means with a deck of cards.

This started to make me think when I separate from the “real” world and shift my brain into Planeswalker mode, do I lose some semblance of my real self?  Do we all go somewhat into character when reading Magic articles or taking lore related quizzes, and would that not be normal?  Consider the age old of question “if you could have one superhero power, what would it be?”  I doubt there is anyone who when asked this, doesn’t begin to day dream of all the powers at their fingertips and how they might use them.  So why should Magic related questions make you feel any different?  I know Magic is not a role playing game, but at least for me, it is an escape from the norm, so when engrossed in the multiverse, I don’t stress too much about being or representing what is considered the evil color in the game.  I will say this about taking the quizzes though, some of the questions that are asked are so utterly violent and, even though I am thinking in the mind of the game, there is no way I would head butt a street vendors dog if I was irritated with the vendor himself, nor would I drive a spike through someone unless greatly provoked. :)

There is a tremendous amount of substance when it comes to the allure of fantasy for each color, but there is indeed another aspect to the spectrum that can cause us players to form a symbiotic relationship with a particular shade.  Each color has a particular personality when it comes to the mechanics and play style they have on the majority of cards within themselves.  As gamers, there are millions of us who love Magic because it is so well designed and continues to be innovative, but there is no question that certain aspects of the design appeal to some more than others, and with different designs in each color it conversely allows all of us to choose what we want to play by the style that is created by the designs.  I am well aware that there are the three player types (Spike, Timmy and Johnny) that WotC created, but I feel as though each player’s relationship to the game is even stronger in terms of what colors they like vs. what exactly their play style is.

One quick note that I want to point out is that when I spoke throughout the article about player’s connection to colors/ decks… I am really focusing on the casual aspect of the game.  I say this because we all know that, unfortunately, there are times when the decks we build, or the ones we want to be playing with, are indeed either not viable or competitive to play in a particular format.  Of course, you could always play the deck or color you want to for fun, but you may very well be sacrificing your ability to win if you bring it to a tournament.  Additionally, when playing in a limited format, you may crack open a particular card or cards in a color that you really want to play with, but based on the other cards in your pool, the chances of it working are slim.  For example in M13 Sealed you could open up a Garruk Primal Hunter but have no cards or synergies to back it up and thus it is useless.  In Innistrad draft you may be dying to play White/ Green humans, but all you open or get passed is Black / Red aggro.  In both these cases, I encourage you to take the cards that give you the best chance to win, because let’s face it, being successful in a series of matches is much more fun than dropping your favorite card once or twice throughout.  This is how many of the best Pro Players can continue to be successful; they go color blind and allow their decisions to be guided by which cards can grant them the most success.  When they play in tournaments, they may not necessarily like the deck they are using, but often times will go with it if they feel it gives them a marginally better chance at success.  With this being said, however, there are indeed Pros like Patrick Chapin with Grixis, Brian Kibler with Naya and Conley Woods with nearly anything, that will always try and find cards or card combinations that can be viable in the colors they like.

So what about you and your journey through the Planes?  Do you find yourself more often than not being drawn to one particular color out of the five?  When the spoilers from a new set are announced, is there a particular part of the rainbow that you find your eyes drawn to?  When you build a deck for any constructed format, is there always one card or cards that you just simply have to include, otherwise you won’t be satisfied?  If you have been playing the game for a length of time, has your desire to play one color shifted as you have grown, are there colors that you didn’t like before that you do now or colors and cards that you now can’t stand?  I encourage you to look for the deeper connection and see if there seems to be a pattern in what cards you play on a consistent basis.  You may be surprised to learn that you are more passionate about one way of thinking or playing than another. 

With there being rumors of Disney potentially buying Hasbro, I want to go back to your thoughts on the potential of a Magic the Gathering movie.

So far from previous polls I have conducted on this site we have the following roles:

  • Liliana:  Monica Bellucci
  • Tezzert:  Viggo Mortensen
  • Ajani:  Liam Neeson

Oh, and one more thing, my next article will not be posted until after December 21st which is the end of the Mayan Calendar, so if the world as we know it happens to end or there is A Day of Great Change, I wanted to thank you all for reading my articles and all the support you have shown me.

May we keep on slingin, in this world and the next!


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