Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Magic the Gathering: OCD, Deck Building and Sorting Exercises

I recently started playing Magic: the Gathering again after a five year hiatus.  These hiatuses are fairly consistent for me, and I'm glad to be again indulging in this fun strategy distraction.  

After about a month back to Magic, one thing I really find interesting is that one of the more appealing things about having a card collection is, actually, the process sorting and organizing the cards.  I already know that I like sorting-- I've done a lot of it, files, books, albums at KDVS and so on.  But with Magic cards it's particularly nice because they are compact, but contain a great deal of information and there is an element of strategy even to the sorting.  On one small card there is color, casting cost, card type and then the actual abilities of the card itself.

My first wave of sorting is always color.  It's just how the game is played.  Five colors plus Artifact, Multi-colored and Lands.  I usually put the last three in one pile, but if I've got the time and inclination, I will separate them.
Second wave is, for, me, casting cost.  When building a deck, I like to be sure to have plenty of cheap spells, for the early phases of the game.  This is also nice because Ghost says he doesn't even consider casting cost when building a deck.  This might/could give me an edge.

Third is card type.  This is another item of consideration when building a deck.  Creature/spell balance is important so you don't find yourself consistently lacking.  I don't usually make it this far in the sorting.   

The next step would be to separate the spells into Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment.  This could be useful, as each of these play different.  However, when building a deck I usually have an idea of what I'm going for by this point, and 40 cards runs up pretty quickly.

One of these is worth fifty bucks now!  And I just so happen to have a few.

Another advantage to sorting the cards is that it gives me a chance to review them.  It's always nice to have a good vocabulary of the cards you have, so that when building a new deck, you can go straight to something that might have a nice place within the deck.
One thing I will do when sorting is to pull interesting cards out and set them aside.  

When building a collection of Magic cards, one thing you will find is that there are a LOT of cards.  A lot.  And, unfortunately, a great number of htem are unremarkable.  Typically, these are common cards, though uncommon and rare cards can be equally 'Meh.'  So, sometimes when I find a card that catches me fancy, I'll set it aside, to look at later when I'm coming up with deck ideas.  Separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were. My biggest issue in this way is that I don't face the fact that large swaths of cards I own are useless.  But some really are.  My next idea for sorting is to remove the truly BAD cards.

To be fair, I don’t think this is OCD.  If things aren’t sorted, I don’t have a conniption.  I have many times had unsorted Bookshelves and CD collections.  I’m neither obsessive nor compulsive about it.  However, I do enjoy the sorting.  It’s nice.  It’s a nice process and it’s nice to look at when it’s done.  In addition, because I am not OCD, it isn’t always a high priority item.  And there’s a great feeling in getting to low-priority items.  Yes, there’s procrastination, that’s always fun, but there’s also getting to things in due time, and taking the time to do them right.  So many high-priority things got to be high priority by force of stressing me out.  It’s the low priority things that leave me alone, wait for me to come to them, and are generally more enjoyable. I don’t think this is OCD, but it’s probably something with a name.


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