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Halfway There

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Casual Magic, Competitive Magic, Cube, Standard

Woahhhhh Oooohh. Got you, didn’t I? Have fun with that stuck in your head all day.

Sunday May, 1st marks the halfway point. Three months since my six month ban. If you’re unfamiliar with how this happened to me and how you can avoid it yourself, you may want to read this first.  I’ve been absent from LegitMtg. It’s certainly nothing they did but admittedly my heart hasn’t been in it. This is partially because it’s hard to write about something when you’re not really participating in it. Partially because I’m not invested in Magic now like I was in the past. Partially because I’m still upset about how it happened and at the people involved. Keeping busy while I decide what I really want to do about Magic moving forward is more of a difficult task than I had originally anticipated. Playing the game for the better part of 20 years and having to go cold turkey is no easy task. I bought the equipment to stream with the intention to grow the community and myself. Now every time I think about doing it, in my head I’m like “what’s the point?”

I’m trying to fill the void. I really am. I bought a house. Now I have all sorts of fun and completely reasonable chores and bills that never end. (Yay mortgage payments) I picked up some new and old games alike. League of Legends certainly takes up a good portion of my free time now. (Thanks Nathan, I think?) I picked back up Mario Maker and started working on some new levels because that game is the truth. I still find the time to play in events online such as PPTQ’s, MOC’s, sealed leagues and such. I’ve started doing the cube league at a local store because cube is fun and the people are great. I do this not just because we all enjoy the game and the friendships we’ve made along the way but because I don’t want to get rusty. I want to be familiar with the cards so when my banning is lifted and I get to decide if I really want to continue to play the game on a serious level that I’ll be ready to do so. I still mark the calendar with upcoming events I can attend when the time comes like nothing has changed. I’m coming for you September SCG Orlando!

Keeping up with current events lets me feel like I’m still in the loop. I helped my Florida friends test for the PT in both limited and constructed leading up to the event. I’m grateful for that as it helps me feel like a valued member of a team even though I’m not as invested as I once was and it’s nothing official like team Channel Fireball for example. I watched the PT and got excited about all the new decks brought to the event. This is something I had not anticipated either. Especially that deck Jon Finkel brought to the event. Man that deck reminds me of the grind that Death Cloud used to bring. This feeling of excitement might be from the quantity of Seasons Past I seem to open in every single sealed deck online but I really do like that deck. That’s neither here nor there. This of course in turn makes me sad I can’t play. Emotions, etc. I joined the fray on twitter with #PaythePros which I’m sure a lot of you did as well. I threw in a #FreeCuvi for value, to no avail. (Big surprise there) I keep in contact with friends who are on the grind for different pro levels. I haven’t watched Enter the Battlefield yet, but will get to that this weekend. I’m excited that they have some advertising on a more global scale that people can stumble upon and get intrigued.

What can you learn from all of this? So far all you’ve read is me rabble on like a Rabble-Rouser about what I’ve been doing the last few months without Magic consuming my free time. I think the biggest takeaway is not to take the game for granted. This doesn’t just apply to you and me but with recent events even the “pros” need to heed the warnings. #PaythePros showed how fragile the Magic lifestyle somehow still is. Something that honestly is embarrassing in of itself. It’s important you don’t squander the resources that you have. You should be so lucky to have them at all. If you have friends who want to test some matchups but you’d rather play some Hearthstone or League of Legends don’t be that person. Instead commit and jam some games and expand your knowledge. Growing up in this game I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty strong players that helped me get better at the game. They shared opinions and played Magic at all hours of the day and night so we can not only enjoy ourselves but get fundamentally better through repetition. Maybe you don’t have that group of friends who want to test. Maybe you have a local shop where you can meet new friends or people that don’t necessarily have to be friends but can just be a person who also wants to jam some Magic. But assume you don’t have that either, that’s okay. There are tools today that I didn’t have complete access to growing up. Admittedly MTGO has its flaws but is still a great program for playing competitive Magic and getting in those reps you’d otherwise not get. How do you think Reid Duke and Brad Nelson got so darn good?

Sure, there are things I certainly don’t miss from not going to events. The smelly players, long drives, early mornings, late nights, bad beats and all so I can give myself a chance to play just one more time on the Pro Tour. But that’s just the thing I miss the most and a lot of us crave for.

The grand stage.

RPTQ’s where you compete with friends and foes alike to get a chance to fly to a foreign land and play for thousands of dollars. The feature match areas of Pro Tour’s and Grand Prix’s are Magic at its most exhilarating and pure. I’m much like you. I see a big name pro in a feature match make plays that I would make and win matches and think “I can do that”. Heck I’ve done that. But I want to do that on a regular basis. Not once every couple of years. I want that every couple of weeks. Having to start over and grind back through the local level PPTQ’s, through the RPTQ’s back to the PT is a daunting task for anyone. I dug myself this hole and need to decide if what I’m really after is worth digging myself out.

John Cuvelier
@JCuvelier on Twitter
Gosu. on MTGO

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