A beginners guide to being young in Magic by Charles Norman

A beginners guide to being young in Magic by Charles Norman


Hi, sounds stupid doesn’t it, “You’re young so what“, well theres a lot more things to consider. Like how do I convince my parents that hanging around with some random 20 year olds in some shop in some far-off town till pass 10 in the night… is not such a bad idea when you’re only 15 yourself… And that it is worth spending £240 on a play-set of Force of Wills. Again stupid, “Don’t play legacy“.

But thinking about it, I actually consider myself lucky that I get £80 a month. Although wven on that allowance, if I want to go to PTQ’s I’ll need to spend £150+ on a deck and normally £30+ on transport and entrance fee, and food. So to go to a single PTQ I’ll need to save and wait for at least 2 months. Considering PTQ seasons change regularly with no knowing what the next season format will be– and still trying to attend FNM’s just to stay competitive in the game you love, the problem gets more and more difficult. Again many people may say “Parents, they’ll give you a lift“. No matter how much my dad loves me I don’t feel I could ask him to give me a lift up to Manchester for 9:30am in the morning. It’s not his problem.

So because of these factors I find it difficult to stay competitive, so you need a good testing group of friends with similar ages who are willing to net deck, have a good card knowledge, good playing skills and also want to spend £150 on their own decks and on top of that, make the effort to keep themselves up to date with whats going on in the metagame. This is very challenging in many areas especially if you do not live in a major city.

Magic online” I hear you scream, or any other testing software. It is true, sadly right now these are really young peoples only options, some are free and give you a good idea of the meta-game at any one time. However Magic online itself costs $10 to set up, singles are slightly cheaper so should only cost around $110 for a deck and there are no travel costs involved if you want to take part in events. Why don’t I just play online then? This is because I like meeting people, having a chat and socialising face to face, also while playing the game I like enjoy being able to get slight reads on what they might have in hand.

Now even if you have the money to get yourself to a tournament, you’ll find no matter how nice some people are in tournaments (for example Mark and Aaron Biddle) a lot of people look down on you and are patronising. Their false confidence can create a slight advantage but equally it can be really annoying and it can put you on tilt before you’ve even started. This may sound stupid but often as you’re younger it’s actually more difficult to befriend other people, this is because there are very few of similar age. This is tough for anybody but especially if you’ve woken up at 3 in the morning to get to a PTQ.

Sounds like I’ve wind on a bit to much doesn’t it? so lets get to the positives of being young.

People expect you to have come with little experience, less play-testing and even less play skill. This often creates a false sense of confidence and creates windows of opportunities that we can capitalise on.

You still have your youth, we can get up at 4am then go to bed at 2am that night and still wake up early the following day. So we’re not tired when we get to the tournament. You’ll also normally get traded fairly as most people have enough decency to not try to rip you off.

So it’s not all bad for us, but we do experience major challenges before we even enter a single tournament, through cost, circumstance and others actions. I know it might sound like I’ve whined the whole way through this article, but I truly feel people should understand that when you play a kid, you should try to appreciate why he’s substituting powerful yet expensive cards for weaker but more importantly cheaper versions (I can tell you I wished there was a price limit of £10). It would be nice if the kid is given the respect that he deserves, for trying to make it in an adult dominated game that is extremely competative, and please if it’s his first PTQ, do take the time out to explain to him before the match that he should call a judge if he doesnt understand anything, and that calling a judge is not rude (I thought it was, and still have difficulty calling them for slow play).
That’s all folks. Hope to write again,

Charles Norman
p.s: I’m dyslexic so the grammar might not be perfect.

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