I haven’t been playing much Magic lately, but honestly I’m not really that bummed about it. There are a number of factors in play that have contributed to my time off, and I’m actually enjoying some other games.
First, I’m really busy. If anyone doesn’t know by now, I’m moving to Madison in a few weeks. Looking for apartments and jobs has eaten up most of my Saturdays, meaning no PTQs, and because there are no PTQs, I haven’t really had an incentive to play Magic beyond the short-term fun of the game. What I mean by this is that I have no end-goal for the games of Magic I play. I’m not preparing for anything, not tuning or learning the matchups. And honestly, standard just isn’t as much fun right now.
Instead I’ve been playing a lot of Hearthstone. Hearthstone is EXTREMELY similar to Magic, and I’m simply having more fun with it. The limited is more entertaining than Theros limited, and the constructed is more dynamic than the current standard, so I’m having a hard time convincing myself that there’s any real reason to play the game I grew up with.
Another great thing about Hearthstone is how quickly everything moves. When I play limited (which is a sealed/draft hybrid), I don’t have to wait for other matches to finish. When I’m done one game, I’m in the next within a minute. I’m not flipping through Reddit between rounds, trying to kill the time. Also, there are turn timers so there’s no 2-3 minute downtime because your opponent is running to the bathroom with a spell on the stack. It costs $2 for a draft if you’re out of gold (I’ve only had to pay for one and I’m reallllllll bad), which you get from daily rewards and from doing well in past drafts, and the drafts are phantom. It’s really cheap to play, and because there’s no trading, you actually feel excited when you open up a second copy of a rare you want.
Because your starting card pool is so large, you can easily flip through different constructed decks between games, ensuring that you don’t get bored with it as easily. It’s a rapid-fire way to get the same rewarding feeling you get from Magic, tuning, winning, and occasionally opening new cards. The game has a great rhythm to it, where I log on, play constructed for an hour or so to complete my daily quests, and then I get to do a draft or two.
This was kind of a perfect-storm scenario. When the DEs went down I started playing Solforge on the side, and when I got bored of that I applied for the Hearthstone beta. It also happened to work out that the PTQ season rotation skipped modern this year, meaning I don’t get to play my favorite format in a competitive way. I’m basically waiting for something to change, and in the meantime I’m getting entrenched in other games that demand my attention just as much.
Saving money was also a big boost. I don’t have to tell you how expensive Magic is, and skipping PTQ trips has meant a lot more in my pocket. There’s also the travel time, and instead of spending 10 hours in a car on my way to and from a PTQ, I just get to game the whole time. I do feel a little antisocial at the moment, but with my move coming up, I expected some major transition time where I wouldn’t be able to hang out with anyone anyway.
So that’s where I’m at. The Green Bay PTQ is this Saturday but I’ll be looking at apartments and won’t be able to attend. The weekend after is the Madison PTQ, and I’m unsure of how well that will work out, ironically. I might be moving in to my new apartment that day. If I don’t move that weekend, I’ll probably be doing it the weekend after, overlapping with the Cedar Rapids PTQ. Hopefully I can work out a plan to move during the week, but who knows?
Do I spend the next week preparing for PTQs I may or may not be able to play in, trying to play catch-up, learning a metagame that everyone else has months of experience with? I only have time to play one card game during the week, and Hearthstone is certainly more fun on a day-to-day basis right now. I really want to PTQ, but I feel like the preparation is such a grind, mainly because there are other games pulling me away. Luckily, the prerelease is the weekend after that, and maybe by that time things will start changing.
I’m hoping that the standard format gets shaken up enough that I actively want to play magic again soon!