This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Writing a decent article and then forcing a sale on the end just doesn't sit right with me. It feels a bit... insincere?
Is there a reason for the Overwhelm card showing up in the article? Is Maro trying to hint at Convoke in Return to Ravinica or is it just some error (or would he admit to it to begin with)?
This is a very helpful article. I have been trying for months to come up with a deck that is simple but flavorful enough to entice my wife to play. The current idea I am working on is a polar bear deck (her favorite animal). Maybe you guys could help me out by printing some more polar bears? =)
This attitude to new players seems to be a kind of article of faith within R&D. Last time someone wrote about it I pointed out in the comments that I didn't know one single Magic player who'd actually picked up the game this way and got a serious telling off from the article writer (Ken Nagle, I think it might have been).
This isn't an opinion of mine, it's empirical (albeit anecdotal) data: players get interested in games by watching real play, not by being taught like a child. (And yes, that includes most actual children!)
I like this kind of article, and it reminds me how much teaching Magic has helped me learn teaching in general. I studied aerospace engineering with a big interest in space exploration, but that's not familiar to most people, so I have to do a little teaching along the way to be able to talk about my interests with laymen. Halo orbits, for example, are a result of analysis of the three body problem (with two large bodies and one negligable mass) that identify the five Lagrange points (also called libration points or L points) about which you can place a ...
All the technical jargon doesn't matter though: Halo orbits take place around the points where the gravity of two big bodies cancels out so that small things look like they are orbiting empty space. And then when I say there's a moderately big interest in putting a space station into a halo orbit at the L2 point on the far side of the moon for telerobotics (remote-controlled robots) later in the same conversation, I don't draw totally blank stares later in the same 2 minute story. I make it a point to slip in a little technical jargon so people don't feel like I'm dumbing everything down for them, but I try to keep it relevant.
I'm not perfect, but I like to think I'm made a little better by my experience with this game. The little discoveries when you're teaching can be exciting too. I have an old teaching deck I played against newish players where most of the creatures have fire-breathing. I always thought it was fun to see the player's eyes light up when they realize they can count my Mountain s to see how big my guy can get. A subtle benefit was encouraging players to "attack while they can" -- they seem to start capitalizing on the times when I tapped out more quickly than when there wasn't an obvious use for my mana. I like to think they eventually pick up on the extremely advanced idea that I'm going to do better the longer the game goes (since all my guys obviously keep getting better when I play land), and they need to make sure they have a plan to either end the game first or neutralize my dudes. There's also the benefit of planting a template for building future decks in the other player's mind (That one guy had a deck where all the creatures had the same ability...). I was so excited when I found a deck with so much subtley packed into such an obvious package -- it was my own little discovery.
Thank you for indulging my rambling.
Some players are bad at teaching just because of how competitive they are-- at times they'll let their student make a mechanical mistake because it benefits themselves, and it's pathetic.
It really is all about keeping their interest. Forgive a long post here, but I think my own experience learning Magic is relevant:
My first encounter with Magic was at school when I was about 13, a few of my friends played it. I expressed an interest, ended up getting taught how to play it by one of them but he did a really bad job of it - he's the kind of guy that can't handle not winning, and so not only did he tend to avoid informing me of rules until it gave him an advantage, but he also played a deck really substantially stronger than mine and repeatedly beat the tar out of me. Classic example of how not to pique someone's interest - I gave up pretty quickly.
Didn't really give it any further thought until I was at university, aged 18 or so. Again, some of the people I lived with played it, and I ended up watching and getting interested. Fortunately, I vaguely remembered the principles and structure of it from my initial experience with it, but they were also far better at integrating me into games, and they really knew what they were doing. I set myself up with a pretty basic mono-blue fliers deck to get the hang of it. The decks I was playing against were complicated and varied - these guys had played for many years, and so I was playing in 4-5 player chaos multiplayer games against all sorts of weird things - monoblack Zombie control deck full of things like Call to the Grave , a Broodstar affinity deck, a weird Jokulhaups / Underworld Dreams repeated board-reset deck... it was a really steep learning curve but because of their excellent ability to keep me involved and interested, it all worked. When I went home during the first vacation from university I ended up playing against some of the guys that had previously taught me and failed - I was a much better player with a much better deck than any of them in a matter of months thanks to better teaching.
...and here we shall dwell, over the rising lessons and the fresh noobs!
A day may come when Magic Religion shall reach the corners of this world. With M*Ro as our preacher we shall be MTG missionaries in the name of WotC Church! Let it begins with this article!
Farewell brains...hello M13! =/
I'm afraid of what to expect from RTR...and what to expect from the 20th B-day in 2013 (I wish some Dominaria nostalgia block but I wish the world peace too).
Personally, I've found the single best thing you can do to maintain interest is to play a handful of games with someone, and then give them a stack of cards to take home. Maybe even let them pick the color: "You want to make a green deck? Here you go!"
I liked this article. Why? Because it was practical. Other things that happen on this column (while they are most certainly interesting) are just interesting diversions. Also, the best way to teach someone is to grab an unedited intro deck. They usually are already tailored for teaching. That is how I really got interested.
For me, I got interested in playing when I saw a group of kids in middle school playing at lunch. I was curious about the game and one of the players encouraged me to sit and watch. He did ask me to not interrupt during the game, since they wanted to finish before lunch ended, but the casual way of playing among friends was helpful. Winning was secondary to having a good time. He did take time to help me understand a few points after, then showed me the rulebook, which at the time had a game played in it as an example that they would go back to from time to time. This was also helpful as it helped illustrate the points they were making at the time. Finally, after I'd had a chance to go through some of it, he let me use one of his decks and we played one on one with hands face up to see if there were areas I didn't understand. Mark is right about patience, but that patience has to go both ways. With Magic, learning takes time too.
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