Old Habits

I’ve recently gotten back into playing Magic: The Gathering, a card game featuring fantastic creatures, exotic landscapes and – you guessed it – magical spells. We’re talking high fantasy, a game created by Wizards of the Coast. If you haven’t heard of either of these, you’ll likely know them for their most famous invention, Dungeons & Dragons.

But back to Magic, I just wanted to share some thoughts. My earliest memory was in grade school – I wanna say 2nd or 3rd grade – and was somehow in possession of two or three of these peculiar cards, only one of which I can actually remember.

It was a Jungle Wurm, a creature quite serpentine in appearance, though as the flavor text on the card said: Broad as a baobob and about as smart.

jungle_wurm

A wurm sketch, by Seonhee Lim (gallery can be found at http://www.limsh.com )

I had no idea about the game, and to this day I’m not exactly sure I’ve ever come across a baobob tree. But even as an adolescent of the mid-90s I found the card intriguing. Perhaps it was the mystery of all those (occult) symbols? The artwork, maybe? I know now that the card itself wasn’t much good, but regardless I treasured that little piece of stiff paper.

Years later I would learn the game, develop my favored playstyles and become a competent player. The beauty of the game is that there are so many styles, effects, mechanics and tools that come in the form of monsters and spells that one could, eventually, craft a “spellbook” that mirrors your personality. With so many choices and possibilities, I believe that to this day, a man could be undergo a surprisingly accurate psychoanalysis based on their preferences of Magic.

A close friend of mine favors spells that disable an enemy and creatures that are crafty and agile. One could extrapolate that he has strong desires for control and prefers wit over might.

My older brother enjoys playing a style of “anything goes,” where the magic and monsters he prefers to use hurt everyone – even himself and themselves – a blitz of power.

My of own old decks, which survives to this day, consists primarily of death magic and life-giving reanimation spells, with a slew of choice angels and other divine creatures.

Analyze that!

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