I first got into Magic: the Gathering in late 1993. (It was just as “Antiquities” was finishing up and just before “Revised” was released.) I still remember my first starter deck, and how I loved that the little box looked like a book, with the cards being pages in the book. I never imagined I’d have too many cards, but nobody who starts playing it ever imagines that.
I played and purchased continuously for years. I was there for the approximately thirty minutes (no exaggeration) that “Legends” boosters were on sale in Champaign-Urbana. I remember many excited openings of cards from brand new sets, and much speculation about upcoming sets. My pals Chris, Christine, Brady, and Matt all had our in-jokes, favorite cards, pet decks, and so forth. Becky played for a while as well, and the license plate on our car in Illinois was “ATOG 95”. We competed in local tournaments, with Chris often winning and me usually getting creamed. I often had a card list on hand so that, given some downtime, I could try to build new decks. It’s fair to say it was a bit of an obsession for me.
This lasted until, about 1998, and the “Urza” block. By that time I was back in school, we had student loans out, and the extra cash just wasn’t there. In addition, this was the time when Wizards of the Coast had pretty much decided that everyone who played Magic was either playing in the big money tournaments, wanted to be, or at least admired those who did, and casual players like us were pretty much ignored. Magic, as a regular purchase (and, yes, collection item), was something I had to abandon.
I still played from time to time with the cards I had, and would buy some every now and then to play booster drafts (since I didn’t keep up any more, this was pretty much the only playing option available to me). Even when I didn’t feel I could drop the cash on new cards, Chris and Christine would often buy a bunch, give me some packs to open and work with for a draft, and then the cards would be theirs, which still allowed me to play.
I briefly played Magic Online, and found that to be a nice alternative, but again lack of time and money prevented me from putting too much of either into it.
I love the game and still think it’s great, even if, 15 years later, they still can’t make up their minds what the basic rules of it should be. (For this reason, I don’t even think I know how to play it anymore.)
All of that said, I still have a hefty collection of cards that has remained more or less untouched since I moved it up here six years ago, a collection that, for all I know, might be worth something on the market. So I’m finally thinking of selling them.
It kind of breaks my heart because it certainly is something I really loved and have plenty of fond memories of. (Unlike the Star Wars figures, many of which I bought and then immediately put away in the morgue, these were things I really did play with.) But the fact is, even were I to decide to get back into Magic tomorrow, it probably wouldn’t be with these cards, as there are so many cards now, deckbuilding would be out of the question. So why not put them into the hands of others that can get more out of them?
I haven’t made up my mind yet, largely because it won’t be a small and easy task, but it is something I’m seriously considering.