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On Going Pro At Magic - The Gathering 108

VonGuard writes "It's been 12 years since Magic: the Gathering was released, by WotC, and the game is now six million players strong. The East Bay Express has a long-form piece narrating the trials and tribulations of a man who's trying to turn pro at this addictive trading card game . Richard Garfield is always demanding the mind athletes be treated with the same respect as physical athletes. As you can see in the story, however, we're not quite there yet."
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On Going Pro At Magic - The Gathering

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  • Re:Pro? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:40PM (#8184778) Journal
    It's a fun game, and the poker comparison is accurate, but it's a LOT more luck based than Poker ever is. If you get mana screwed (have no lands to play), you could be the best player in the world, and you're still fucked. You get a bad hand in Poker and you can at least bluff.

    If you want to play in the tournaments, you have to spend a fortune as there's a new expansion every 3-4 months, and expansions are removed from the tournament cycle with regularity. To stay competitive, you have to keep buying new cards. I had a friend who played tournaments and he'd buy two BOXES of booster packs every time a new expansion came out. That's about $200 I think. Maybe more now. It's a complete money pit, but hey, if you have fun and can afford it, good luck to you.

    I used to collect the cards, have over 6000 of them. The aforementioned friend used to send me his doubles of his common cards (there's common, uncommon and rare. The rare cards go for a quite a price in some cases. I have single cards worth over $10). I used to wind up with 6-8 of each common. That was after he had taken enough for his deck building needs.

    It's definitely fun to play, but bear in mind a lot of kids play it too. Finding mature players may be a trick.
  • by gasgesgos ( 603192 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:43PM (#8184807)
    Have you ever heard of a Limited format game? Sealed Deck and Draft throw the concept of "most money wins" out the window. Each player gets a predetermined amount of packs and needs to build a deck and play it. It keeps everyone on an even field.
  • by entranced ( 185404 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @09:16PM (#8185641)
    I've played Magic tournaments off and on for 6 or 7 years. I've played in the Pro Tour. I still play the occasional limited tourney. Limited means that you dont bring along your expensive cards to play. You open brand new randomized packs like everyone else, and make a deck.

    99.995% of those who attempt or think they can make a living playing Magic, are dreaming. The prizes are very top-heavy, so that only the top 4 players per Pro Tour event (6 per year) can even hope to turn a decent profit.

    And that's only for one year! Next year they have to manage an insane finish once again. Rarely do "name" players actually make repeat Top 4's in Pro Tours. I could count on 1.5 hands the number of players that are making a good living (i.e. 30K/yr) off this game.

    I even made a nice little chart: (damn filter refuses an underscore in the URL. [])

    And yet, there are hundreds of thousands of players who chase the illusion of making a living playing Magic.

    You've got to hand it to Wizards, they have hit a goldmine of addicts.
  • Expensive (Score:2, Informative)

    by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance@leve[ ]org ['l4.' in gap]> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:28AM (#8187649) Journal
    Magic the gathering can be played for free using Magic Workstation. You have access to all the cards and graphics, if you register you get access to the more advanced deck building tools such as cross deck card analysis (I'm not making this shit up).

    Since everyone has access to the same cards it becomes clear who is good at making decks, of course there are problems with people who simply copy the decks of pro's and the game isn't actually deep enough to render that tactic invalid. Good decks basically exploit flaws in the rules.

    Stick to Chess or Go.
  • Magic is not 11 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eadric ( 578209 ) <phillip.softhome@net> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:38AM (#8187685) Homepage

    Wizards of the Coast celebrated Magic's 10th anniversary at GenCon last year. From their 10th anniversary page []:

    In 1993, Magic: The Gathering created the trading card game category. Today, it's the best trading card game in the world, enjoyed by over six million players.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.