Seller review –

For those of you who may not have heard of Star City Games they are an online (and brick an mortar) retailer specializing in Magic The Gathering.
Anyone who has played Friday Night Magic will probably have heard the name, they are a huge contributor in the world of Magic, hosting open and invitational tournaments.

So what is it like actually ordering cards or product from them online? Well it’s one of the beast online shopping experiences I’ve had, not just because they have fast shipping and accurate orders, not because of the many cool things I’ve gotten for free like card tokens, but the fact that they have signed… In actual pen a small personal note in more than one of my orders over the years, one of which was several hindered dollars but the other was for under $40…. This is the largest online card shop in the world and I open my package and I see “thanks for your order Fred” and a signature written by an actual human.

I was a bit hesitant to order from them at first to be honest, at the time I was only a kitchen table player and I already had a company online I ordered singles from, but they like many other card shops went out of business, after a little cry reading a beautiful goodby email I composed myself and sent them an email wishing them luck and saying I didn’t even know where to go for cards now…. “We just can’t compete with Star City Games” they said.

These evil bastards had killed my friend I decided to see what this evil corporation looked like… I typed in the email address ready to mock everything about them and that’s when the confusion hit… They where just so… Beautiful… The page layout just worked, the card search engine was flawless… I was really torn, and I needed a Niv… Arg… Shit… Take my money.

And then I waited, almost hoping they would some how mess up my order, I had become a half-troll. I check my mail only a few short days later and there it is, perfectly packaged, sleeve inside a top loader, and there it is a hand written thank you on the invoice. They had won me over and reminded me that good people still exist, I’m sure the kid who signed it was told it was company policy, but who freakin cares, that’s a company I want to do business with.

Review – Magic The Gathering

I know it seems counter intuitive to wright a game review for MTG but I plan on writing several board and card reviews so I thought I would start with what I know best… I’ve played in a few tournaments, and been to several FNM (Friday Night Magic) events mostly as a game coordinator, so I feel comfortable as someone who has been playing for over ten years as someone who has enough knowledge to give an honest review. First of all I have to admit to a few facts, number one, I can’t even guess as to the amount of money I have spent on the game, probably in to the high thousands, and secondly as of wring this haven’t played in about a year.

MTG players usually fall in to two categories, kitchen table casual gamers and hard core tournament players, with collectors falling somewhere on either side, some serious tournament players having way less cards than you might imagine, choosing to focus on their current chosen deck, while some tabletop players may have thousands of cards.

I’ve heard MTG referred to as a money suck, and that’s not entirely unfair, you can spend hundreds a year easily between tournament fees and booster packs, you can also spend $20 on a vs deck with two complete decks ready to play and have a ton of fun. The single pre constructed decks have allot of flare and theme, so there is usually something there for any type of player, don’t expect to win a tournament with them, but if you did that would be kind of epic!

So let me just run through some pros and cons of MTG I’ll start with the pros…
Easy to learn, most people play a bit wrong at first but the basic game mechanics are straight forward.
Great flavor, each set follows a theme, and the artwork can be breathtaking. The flavor text on the bottom of some cards have become battle cries in my house.
Popular, you can easily find someone to play with, as well as local game stores that host events.
The cons….
It’s easy to be taught incorrectly, I would say at least half the new players that would walk in for their first tournament would have at least one core mechanic wrong, it’s usually an easy tweak, but that can be a hard pill to swallow. I recommend playing with someone who has tournament experience, playing one of the digital versions, or better yet walking in to a local game store and asking how to play.
Cost, this mostly applies to tournament players, and while you can build inexpensive decks that win, most would cost over $100 to assemble, and buying pack after pack at $3.99 adds up. As someone who has collected complete sets I think buying singles is the way to go, but some new cards can go for $60 a pice, and a few weeks latter be half that price.
Bad trades, it’s easy to unknowingly trade a play set of cards worth $100 for $5 worth of cards, I’ve done it plenty times when building decks. Having to keep up with card prices is work, and if your a collector can be a headache, most prices fluctuate with how well the newer cards perform in tournaments.

Several of the things that make MTG a wonderful game also can be a double edge sword, the fact that new sets come in and old sets go out so much means that the game stays fresh, but means your decks usually have to be modified for tournament play, ban lists are needed, but adds to the complexity of deck building as well.

The amount of players are amazing but that also means there are always a few bad apples, either elitists who know every major deck in play at tournament, and look down on new players, or just your general run of the mill jerks. Don’t let looks fool you though, most of the real elite players are more than happy to tech and help with your game, they would just prefer to do it outside of a tournament, they are there to win.

In my personal opinion if you are a new player looking to learn, or a kitchen table player who wants to up his game your best bet is to walk into your local game shop and strike up a conversation, maybe buy a vs or starter deck and just start playing, they come with a great how to play guide right inside the box.

Ps: before anyone asks I look forward to the changes coming to Magic, I’ve felt for a while that the core sets felt a bit out of place.