On Sunday, I attended my first Magic the Gathering pre-release for the Ravnica Allegiance expansion. Me, my brother, and my two friends from college met up at the coffee / game store I occasionally work at. I played terribly at this pre-release because I didn’t win a single match. Honestly, I was slightly embarrassed having to turn in my score card saying I lost eight matches. The worker at the game shop even made a comment and was giving me sympathy which made me feel worse. This is what prompted my post describing in detail my love / hate relationship with Magic the Gathering.
I started playing Magic the Gathering in 2003 when my uncle taught me and my brother how to play. I became obsessed with the mechanics of the cards, the art on each card and the story behind each set. I even had a Magic the Gathering birthday where I received a hand picked deck and played Magic all day. This teaching didn’t stick as I gave up the game a year later because I became focused on other things. Ten years later, I was in college and an ex-boyfriend of mine had been playing Magic more often with his friends. I decided then I would try again and re-learn how to play.
One thing that was different when learning Magic in 2013 was realizing how toxic the Magic the Gathering community can be. I had played against players who were specifically targeting me because I was the only woman in the group. I had players where if I was winning, they would “scoop” or draw from the match instead of allowing the game to finish. I had players be condescending towards me if I was losing and telling me I had “a lot to learn” if I ever wanted to win against them. The toxicity I experienced became exhausting to deal with.
It led to several times where I would play Magic more often and then go breaks without playing. I became discouraged at times based on who I had played with recently. I don’t want to give up a hobby based on my experiences within the community, but it’s hard not to. I will say, my brother and my two friends never made me feel embarrassed because I hadn’t won a game. They were friendly to me and my brother wants to sit down and play more games with me and offer strategy advice which I would find beneficial.
My specific goals involving Magic the Gathering is to play more! I can only get better as a player if I play more games. I also downloaded Magic the Gathering arena which is an online format of the game where you play against players in real time. This way even if I can’t get in a physical game at a game shop, I can play at the comfort of my own home. Finally, I discovered an all female Magic group that plays at various game stores in Minneapolis. I’m hoping this will be a judgement free place to learn more about the game without the harassment I had experienced in the past.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the game if you ever played. Specifically if you have experienced harassment in this community, let me know in the comments below.