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Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Magic Culture

A common tradition growing up in my household and I’m sure many others around the United States is to say what you’re thankful for before having Thanksgiving dinner. This is often people and things we take for granted that don’t get proper recognition or rarely do. This sort of thing is rarely displayed in a public forum such as the Magic community. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to get the Magic community in the Thanksgiving spirit and say what Magic related things I’m grateful for in hope that maybe you do too.

First of all I’m thankful for Magic Online. Yeah that’s right. It’s easy to see what’s wrong with the software but it’s really what helped shape my game to what it is today. What many people don’t realize is there was a time before Magic Online. A time when testing was restricted to just going over to a buddies house or local game store to play for a couple hours. I had to do so going uphill both ways in a blizzard and I live in FLORIDA! Okay it wasn’t that bad but I did have to roller blade about 4 miles to my only local shop Cosmic Games. Magic Online gives us unlimited playtesting capabilities that are only limited by how much time you want to spend doing so and not by the distance or availability of friends. This isn’t me claiming the program is perfect because believe me I know it’s far from that. Magic Online does however give me the option to play magic whenever I want and I’m grateful for that. You’d be hard pressed to find a magic pro who didn’t feel the same way.

I’m also thankful for my local game stores. You see, before I moved to Riverview the closest game store was about 45 minutes away for me. Driving an hour and a half total to play 3 or 4 rounds of magic isn’t very appealing to me or most people for that matter. Now that I have a shop 20 minutes away that gives me the option of playing some paper magic whenever I choose without losing a ton of time and money to driving. Typically for me that’s on Wednesday nights so I can get my cube draft fix in. But the very fact there’s a store to go to makes me happy. I know there’s a lot of you out there who simply don’t have an LGS anymore or have a similar problem in that LGS being an hour or so away. I don’t take advantage of having multiple options so close and I will try to make an effort to pay them more visits. You get something more from going to an LGS than you do playing online. Don’t believe me? The next thing I’m thankful for could change your mind.

I’m thankful for my Magic friends. This sounds like a cop out but it’s true. The relationships I’ve gained over the years playing this game are not something I had anticipated when I first started playing. Over the years you start seeing the same people at your local shop, PTQ, Grand Prix or Pro Tour. You play your opponent in a match and start some small chat. You connect on some level or another and before you know it you’ve become friends. Soon you’re borrowing each other cards, hanging out during the weekends and doing things that aren’t magic related. A lot of the time these are people I’d simply never get the chance to develop a relationship with outside of magic because of numerous factors such as where they live or their age. Thanks to Magic I’ve got friends in just about every country in the world and every city in the United States. Now I’d say about 95% of my friends are or have been magic players and I’m proud of that. I love you guys.

I’m thankful for the Star City Games series. Prior to SCG there simply weren’t any big magic tournaments outside of Grand Prix’s which back then didn’t happen all too frequently either. If I wanted to play in a big tournament, if I was lucky once a month I could drive two hours to try and win a 500$ standard tournament. By the way a tournament paying out that much was considered insane value back then. Today 5000$ standard tournaments are fairly common affairs. SCG pioneered competitive magic in so many ways and I’m very thankful for that. Doing well in the open events here in Florida helped get my name out there. You can find videos of me playing against some of the best players this game has to offer all thanks to SCG. As a matter of fact without those events it’s pretty reasonable to assume I wouldn’t be writing for this very website as without them I wouldn’t have the credentials to be taken seriously.

Another thing I’m thankful for is podcasts. I have a long drive to work every day. I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat. Podcasts such as Limited Resources are my reprieve from an otherwise intellectually agonizing drive. Podcasts help keep me informed with Magic when I’m not playing a lot and widen my horizons on cards when I am playing a bunch. Getting opinions on cards from respectable magic players can help a great deal the next time you play. Learning new things and gathering information during an otherwise uneventful use of time is pretty valuable. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy my drive to work while I’m listening to a podcast vs when I’m listening to music. I’m thankful for you, LSV and ehhhh Marshall too I guess.

Finally I’m thankful for Magic itself. Without Magic all these wonderful things I’ve mentioned wouldn’t have been possible to shape my life in the way that they have. My life would be completely different but I’m quite happy the way things have turned out so far. I’ve got to meet incredible people. Learn to challenge myself intellectually, physically and even spiritually. I’ve traveled all over the world to Kyoto, Paris, Montreal and Barcelona to name a few locations. These are places that I would have very likely never visited without a game as great as Magic. I’ve seen almost every state in the continental United States and seen places I could see myself moving to thanks to Magic. It’s all been a humbling experience and something I didn’t expect to achieve from my modest beginnings as a preteen frequenting my LGS. Back then all I wanted to do was Traumatize myself so I could cast Exoskeletal Armor on my Gaea’s Merfolk. Sick deck, right?

This Thanksgiving give thanks to those in your life that have inspired you. Not just in the Magic world but outside of that too. Those that have helped you through the year but maybe you just haven’t fully expressed your gratitude. A little thanks goes a long way. What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving.

John Cuvelier
Gosu. on MTGO
JCuvelier on Twitter

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