Archive for September, 2009

Swan Songs Part 1: Why I’m Quitting

So it turns out that I started writing this post on July 4th. Independence from Magic Day, it would seem. I got precisely zero words done on it, just that *ahem* gem of a title you see before you. Heh.

 Now that I have said attention-grabbing title out of the way, perhaps I should clarify. Quitting is too strong a word, and anyone who visits MTG Paradise can tell that I clearly haven’t severed all my ties to the game. Nor do I plan to. To go into it more, I’ll tell of how this all relates to Australian Nationals.

 The whole mess started in the lead up – even as far back as last year, where I had come to the realisation that I enjoyed playing hockey so much on a Saturday afternoon, more than any of my other hobbies. The one time I skipped on hockey to play in a PTQ, I felt guilty as hell; there was a knot in my stomach that screamed at me that I’d just made an awful decision. The countless tournaments I had missed for hockey, I felt no such guilt. This year, I had missed a pre-release and for the first time in my tournament playing career, I had missed a PTQ in order to play hockey. Not only had I missed it, but I didn’t even know there was one on until someone asked me that night how my PTQ had gone.

 I had begun to feel a distancing from the game prior to that; I was getting more enjoyment from my post-event coverage than I was the event itself, regardless of how I did. Posting deck lists and giving the players of Perth some exposure via their hard work to the world was just as gratifying to me as the two PTQ top 8’s I had to my name. (Major gratitude to people like Brian David-Marshall and Mike Flores for helping me with said exposure.) It was becoming hard to justify attending events just to get deck lists at the end of it all.

 More to the point, reason #1, and the main one why I am quitting.

 I could no longer justify to myself spending $200+ on three PTQ’s, states and regionals every year to do terribly and gain no enjoyment from the event save for what I was doing for the community.

I was very much loved the coverage and community-building. I still truly believe that people really got a kick out of seeing the product of all their hard work recognised on the internet – I just couldn’t spend hundreds of dollars and waste a day when that was all I could get out of it.

 So I had decided that I was going to leave the game. At the very least, take an extended break from it. I didn’t want to play in any more sanctioned events until at least 2010, and even more if I didn’t feel the magic (no pun intended) coming back.

 There was just one hiccup in the road. The skipping of the pre-release and PTQ had happened across April (ish) and June, and I had prepaid for Nationals flights and accommodation in like…March. So I had one weekend of tournaments left. It was kind of frustrating, having made the decision to break away, yet still attached to the game by this upcoming tournament. But I didn’t feel like I was truly “done” with magic – even though I had made this decision, I felt like I could not, and possibly would never be able to completely separate from it. So I decided to come at it from the perspective that Nationals was Magic’s “last chance to convince me to stay”.

 Over the weekend, in the face of the M10 changes, I had a relatively good time at Nationals. While I never got past the second round of a grinder, and I 0-3’d the PTQ on Sunday, I got the chance to catch up with people I consider good friends. I chatted with people like Nic Rolf (“The Co.”), Bill Mladenoski,  as well as “Wedges” Matthew Hare on multiple occasions over the weekend, and I watched Levi Hinz, one of my favourite interstate players play in a feature match. On top of that I got to discover that I was not the only one thoroughly disgusted that “Bribery” Nicastri was the one who the face of Australian Magic was. I had dinner and went out drinking on multiple nights with the other members of the Perth community, and on the last night roughly 10 of us from Perth and 3 or 4 players from Brisbane, including the aforementioned Levi went out and had celebratory steak with the players who had done well/come so close to doing well. At the end of that last night, we went out to buy beer and brought it back to the hotel, drank and team drafted until 1 in the morning.

You’ll notice that until the draft, none of these good times I had were spent actually playing Magic. I certainly noticed it. But the thing that was most surprising was that I’d had so much fun playing in that draft that it was clear to me that I wasn’t yet ready to give magic away, not completely, not just yet.

This brings me right the way back to the start of the post, and how quitting was too strong a word for where I’m at with Magic. I’ve decided, in essence, to “retire” from tournament magic. For the foreseeable future, anyway. I might still game from time-to-time with my friends, and maybe we’ll all draft together when the new set comes out. But I feel completely comfortable with my decision to leave the tournament game alone. I’m finding it too expensive and too time-consuming for the little reward I was getting. This isn’t a messy, ugly divorce however. I’m leaving the door open for a potential return, if the time and inclination ever takes me.

It’s funny. I remember the first tournament I ever played in. It was at State Championships 2003, and I played a mono blue concoction that was basically a glorified limited deck. I went 0-6, and had the time of my life.

As I mentioned, my last tournament was the PTQ on the Sunday of Australian Nationals. I went 0-3 drop, and felt at peace as I signed my last match slip.

Throughout almost six years of tournament-level magic, what have I learned?

When to drop.

Maybe I’ll be back with some more funny anecdotes, or stories of the people I’ve encountered in my magical career, but until then, thankyou spellcasters, one and all. You’ve been awesome.

 – RP


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