[Long, semi-rambling post. TL;DR I played M:tG again for the first time in maybe 16+ years and it was pretty fun]
Like so many others, I was part of the Magic: the Gathering scene back in the mid-90’s. I played from Legends until Ice Age/Homelands which seems to be a lot of people’s story. When I started, Legends boosters were still sold for MSRP and you could get Antiquities for a couple bucks more. Then came the big Ice Age reboot, a couple less than stellar expansions with Fallen Empires & Homelands and I sold off and got out. Every now and then I’d hear the game mentioned and always thought “Huh? That thing’s still chugging along?”
A week ago, my 14 year old son asked if we could go to Target and he could use a gift card to buy some cards. A couple friends in school played during lunch and let him borrow a deck and now he wanted his own. So he threw down for some “Deck Tool Kit” and spent an afternoon making a few decks then asked me to play against him.
Setting aside the novice deck building for a moment, let me say: I was pretty impressed. When I got out, the game was getting bogged down under rules bloat as they kept trying to add new concepts to freshen the game. The new cards seemed much more streamlined and often had the concepts explained right on the cards. I think I had to refer to the rules just once for an unfamiliar term. Interrupts and Banding, two concepts that always seemed to cause arguments, have apparently been booted. Good riddance. The new cards seemed relatively balanced though this seemed to make some of the old time deck strategies obsolete (White Weenie, Blue Permission, etc). But, hey, it’s been twenty years so that’s fair.
Anyway, the decks played as well as any decks made by a kid whose entire strategy is “put all my most awesome cards in for maximum awesome”. After two games, I asked to make my own deck and threw together a fairly svelte white/blue deck that wiped the floor with him twice and taught why best-of-everything-rainbow-decks aren’t a great idea. He was a quick learner and started looking at two-color decks (he might be going a little too far since he refuses to entertain the idea of a three color deck now) and we’ve played maybe ten games since with him winning a few. I bought him the previous edition’s Deck Tool Kit which I know isn’t tournament legal but he’s just playing with friends anyway and I thought would give him a nice spread without buying a bunch of boosters.
Naturally, I had to look up old cards on eBay and despair to see what might have been if I’d kept those twenty dual-lands and all that. I bought a cheap lot of mixed Revised edition cards that I know will be picked clean of anything valuable but satisfies my nostalgia and maybe he’ll find amusing. At least the white borders will be easy to tell apart in his collection. Again, knowing that they’re not “legal”, are old Interrupts simply treated as Instants now?
No real point here although I welcome any general discussion or if someone has any points/tips that might not be obvious I’d like to hear them. I was mainly just impressed at how the game got cleaned up and remains viable today instead of being a hot mess.