I’ve always been a little upset about the fact that my girlfriend doesn’t like Magic (okay, a lot upset). She’s not anti-gaming or anything. Not in the slightest. I’d actually consider her more of a gamer than myself. I just happen to like some card games which she doesn’t care for. But her lack of interest in Magic really bugs me the most. Pretty much all of our common friends play, and a fair few of them I met through playing. We all spend a great deal of time talking about Magic, and Sarah – much to her chagrin – has managed to pick up a few odd details about the game. For example, she is vaguely familiar of the concept of this thing called a curve, and that lands are required to play spells. I’m sure she has picked up much more (we talk a lot) but I doubt she is going to consciously attempt to remember it. It’s just going to exist somewhere in her memory. Sometimes our friend Jess attempts to explain a bit of Magic theory to her, and I swear you can see Sarah’s eyes gloss over.
It was Jess’ reluctance to let Sarah remain ignorant about the game we both love which led me to this particular idea. Why not have Sarah draft? It could be interesting just to see what happens. In all honesty, I had no idea what I expected to get out of it to begin with. Fortunately for me, Sarah enjoys a good challenge. Apparently dating me isn’t challenging enough.
An idea is never enough though, and so we needed to figure out how we were going to do this. At first, we were going to have Jess give Sarah a crash course in drafting strategy and then let her loose. But then we realised we’d also have to teach her how to play the game as well, and suddenly it wasn’t going to be a very fast crash course. We didn’t want to just cause chaos. We wanted to create something fun and challenging. After about an hour of discussion, we decided on the following rules:
– Sarah would draft my cards for me.
– I would build a deck out of the pool Sarah drafted for me and play the rounds.
– We’d tell her the very basics of how to draft (pick a card and pass left/right etc).
– We’d teach her nothing about the format.
– Jess was allowed to answer questions during the lead up, but not offer advice out of the blue.
– I was forbidden from teaching Sarah about card rarities.
We got permission from the guys who run the store, as well as the other players who’d be competing in the draft pod for the night. Luckily for us, they’re a really cool, casual group of players and thought the idea was funny. We decided to draft triple Theros. It’s important to note that despite being a FNM evening, the event described in this article was NOT sanctioned.
Aside: Some may ask why I didn’t do this on MTGO. There’s a few reasons for that. First and foremost: Have you played on MTGO recently? Anything which can make LSV rage quit a game of Magic has to be more than terrible. Secondly, I wanted this to feel more real. Being surrounded by other players while you draft brings with it a certain atmosphere which no computer will ever match. Thirdly, my friends helped me devise this idea and so I wanted them to be able to join in and experience it first hand. And as a plus, there’d be physical cards that Sarah could keep if she wanted to (this may have just been wishful thinking on my behalf).
As an extra precaution (for some reason), I wasn’t allowed to actually watch the draft. So I sat away from the tables and waited to see what kind of pile I was going to be handed. When she approached me after the drafting was finished, she looked sheepish and slightly worried. I had no idea what had happened.
“I hope this is good enough,” she said. “I drafted Big Brother.”
Jess told her that Blue and Red were kind of like “punch you in the face and you can’t do anything about it.” Hence: Big Brother. Apparently, part of Jess’ way of teaching draft was to explain what each of the colour combinations did as vaguely as possible and let Sarah name them, because… well… it was funny.
“I tried to remember everything that I’ve heard you and Jess talk about.”
I looked over the cards while she explained what she had been thinking during drafting. She wasn’t quite sure about the symbols (She thought that the numbers were the cost and the colour only signified colour) and she pointed to one card and said “So I was confused about how much that one cost. But I was always thinking about making sure I had some of every number, and more at the bottom like Jess told me was good.”
Here’s what she handed me:
2 Akroan Crusader
2 Titan’s Strength
1 Priest of Iroas
1 Coordinated Assault
1 Lost in a Labyrinth
2 Arena Athlete
1 Satyr Rambler
2 Deathbellow Raider
1 Lightning Strike
1 Voyages End
1 Prowler’s Helm
2 Crackling Triton
2 Flamespeaker Adept
1 Guardians of Meletis
1 Peak Eruption
1 Meletis Charlatan
1 Fanatic of Mogis
1 Breaching Hippocamp
1 Ember Swallower
1 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
2 Portent of Betrayal
2 Wild Celebrants
1 Prescient Chimera
2 Thassa’s Bounty
1 Destructive Revelry
1 Ordeal of Erebos
1 Yorked Ox
1 Commune with the Gods
That’s… not bad. Wow, this is actually pretty decent.
There’s an Ember Swallower!?
I’ll call this one a success for now.
Sarah signed my favourite card from the deck
This was a lot of fun to set up, and I’m glad that it was able to happen. Special thanks to the guys at The Game Shop Charlestown for letting me screw around with things. My plan is to do a bunch of silly things at FNM this year (with permission of course, if it’s something like this again) and I’m open to suggestions. I didn’t want to do the normal FNM Hero thing that’s been done before, but I’m certainly open to suggestions.