MTGS Mini #6: Why Aren't You Playing Magic Online?

MTGS Mini is the format we'll be relying on for the next two weeks. People don't like to write much during the holidays, and as a result sites like and... well... ours end up with less material for the front page. However, instead of giving you two weeks of MTGS Classics, you'll see two weeks of MTGS Mini, a far more easygoing format. So sit back and relax while we relax... our standards. If this isn't your thing, take a break and we'll see you in January! Smile

Magic Online is a very important tool available to competitive players today. A lot of the best players in the game play Magic Online because it is a great testing agent.

A lot of people think Magic Online sucks because you have to buy all of your cards twice. To them, I say draft! 8-man draft events fire off every couple of minutes 24/7. As long as you win your first round you get two packs which hopefully you can resell along with the cards you drafted to draft again. They give you great practice. The local pro drafts on Magic Online all the time. Usually when he's on, he's drafting. This led him to a 5-1 and almost a 6-0 record at Worlds on day two, the limited day. Like I said, it's a great testing tool to improve your game.

Now for you constructed-only players, I know that getting the cards for a deck seems daunting, but it isn't really that bad. My number one tip is to join a clan with people you can trust, maybe buddies who play at your local store or whatever, and then just pool cards and tickets. It becomes a lot easier to build a 60 ticket deck when you only have to provide 10 tickets. As long as you build a good deck that you can play, you should be doing well enough in events to be able to build a new deck that your clan can share in no time. Since constructed 8-man events which also fire off constantly 24/7 award 5 packs for first, four for second and two for third and fourth and they only cost 6 tickets to enter, all you have to do is win one round to make a two ticket profit.

An additional tip is that you can typically sell any card easily for 1-2 tickets under what its worth. What this means is if you want to try out a deck, pick up the cards you need and then if you don't want it anymore or whatever, you can resell the cards you picked up at only a few tickets' loss, which can hopefully be recouped by the winnings you got with the deck.

One of the largest arguments against Magic Online is that it makes you a sloppy real-life player. Things online like being able to look at your draft picks while you're drafting and it automatically reminding you of triggers are some things that are commonly pointed out. My answer to this is that Magic Online doesn't make people sloppy players unless they rely on these kind of things. If you want to practice for high-end drafts, nobody's forcing you to keep the draft pick window open. If you're forgetting about upkeep triggers Magic Online can actually help because as you're playing the deck you can visualize the upkeep trigger happening causing you to remember it. Not to mention that Magic Online, with the exception of a rare bug here or there, knows all the rules so it can actually help further your rules knowledge for when you play offline tournaments.

A huge benefit of Magic Online is the ability to play anytime you're near your computer. If you wake up at three A.M. because those nightmares of Yawgmoth coming to steal your mortality got you again, you can hop onto Magic Online and play a game or two to put Yawgmoth in his rightful place. And unlike Magic Workstation, a program which I used to use a lot but now I only use on occasion, you don't face random decks. You face good decks that are usually piloted by players who know how to play the deck.

You also constantly play against different people who make different moves in different situations. Its a nice variation from having to play against Fat Bob down at the store who wears shirts with holes in them and smells like he actually did fight that level 20 dragon to the death. Did you mention that you can't smell your opponent on Magic Online? Your opponent could be Gollum and you wouldn't notice a thing (Well, if you can ignore the occasional message of "MY PRECIOUSSSS!" when its Umezawa's Jitte is destroyed.)

Another nice thing about Magic Online is that there is no benefit to stalling. Each player has a 30 minute game clock that winds down whenever they have priority. Unless a player is having connection problems or going tremendously slow, a player will rarely clock out and lose the match.

My experience with Magic Online has helped further my skill, and I hope that you'll try playing it if you haven't already. If your interested in getting started you can PM me with any questions you have and I'll answer them to the best of my ability. Or, if you are already on Magic Online, you can contact me on there as Rabon and I'll help you out.

I hope you enjoyed the article and thanks for reading,

-Gavin Verhey


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