Monday, September 4, 2017

The New Civil War (ongoing) and Magic

A few (I use the term loosely) years ago, I wrote a series of posts about the Magic card game from Wizards of the Coast. At this point, I really haven't played any since sometime shortly after writing those posts, something which makes me sad on one level, but it is what it is. You have to pick and choose what you make time for in life, and Magic just isn't in the cards at the moment. But that's beside the point...

For those of you haven't realized it, yet, this post is going to be an analogy. Maybe an extended metaphor. I'm telling a story to make a point.

Before I go on, I should point out that one of the things I liked to do was make working, even winning, decks out of cards other people believed were worthless. In fact, my signature deck was built around
because one of the guys in my gaming group dismissed the card as a curiosity and nothing you could use to build a deck around. And everyone agreed with him. So, well, not only did I build a deck around it, I built a champion deck around it.

Back when I was into tournament play, I was responsible for having two different deck types banned from our local tournaments in north Louisiana. The first deck was organized around this card:
Chains was a card I was immediately drawn to (for reasons I'm not going to try to explain, since it would take more time than it's worth to get the point across to people who don't understand the game) when the Legends expansion came out, though it was mostly deemed a useless card by everyone else. Once I was able to gather the cards I needed for the deck (actually a difficult process where the Legends expansion was concerned), I put it together and took it to a tournament.

Without going into detail, each opponent I played, once I got the combination of cards out that I needed, cried foul. The tournament judge had to come over each time and verify that what I was doing was not, in fact, cheating and that the cards were operating as designed. Each opponent I played got all pissy about losing to the deck I was playing and, basically, accused me of not playing fair. Basically, because I had put together a card combination that no one else had thought of and created a deck no one had a counter to, I had done something that wasn't fair. One player quit in the middle of our match and stomped out of the store vowing never to come back because the judge wouldn't side with him against my deck, and the final player I was to play, the match for the tournament win, forfeited without playing a single game. He had watched my last couple of matches, knew he couldn't win, and didn't want to play against the deck I had.

Of course, my deck was banned after that from future tournament play and, several weeks later, WotC restricted the use of Chains because it was too powerful. The card everyone thought was useless. And the dude who stormed out? He was back the next week and expressed to me his admiration for the deck. No one, however, ever suggested that my win be declared illegitimate due to the immediate banning of my deck or the later restriction of the card.

The other deck I had banned was a deck built around creatures called thallids. Again, I'm not going to get into the mechanics of the deck, but let's just say it was a slow build deck and the issue around it was that it caused long games. When you're trying to keep a tournament to a reasonable length of time, decks that cause long games are not looked upon favorably. And, yes, I built the deck because it was general consensus that you couldn't win a tournament with thallids.

One thing of interest about that tournament:
The guy I played the championship against also had a slow build deck, so our championship match took a long time to play. He had, however, gotten a lucky break in the second game and won a quick victory so that we were tied one to one going into the third game. My deck was such that, though, if you hadn't beaten me by turn four or five, there was no way you could, so we played on and on until I could get to a point where I could wipe him out. The spectators started getting antsy because the game was taking so long and started urging one of us to forfeit. The other guy refused and, being the rules lawyer that he was, everyone knew there was no point in trying to convince him to surrender even though it was painfully obvious that he was going to lose. Eventually. So everyone started trying to convince me to quit and let him win, the logic being that since everyone knew I was going to win, I could forfeit and claim, "I was going to win, anyway."

Yeah, that didn't do it for me, so we played until the bitter end, and my deck was banned from future tournaments. Don't worry; it would have been banned even if I had forfeited.

This is the part where I get to the point:
No one that I beat came back later protesting that their losses had been unfair because my decks ended up being banned. No one came back saying that the tournament outcomes should be re-decided because of any kind of unfair advantage that I'd had.

But, see, white supremacists have lost two wars, two very major wars, and here they are whining about how unfair it's all been that they're not being allowed to "win." They're like little cry baby spoil sports who can't take their losses and realize that no one else wants their white supremacist bullshit.

Or, to flip the analogy (because I can do that sort of thing), I didn't whine about how my decks were banned and keep bringing them to tournament after tournament demanding to be allowed to play with them. No, I went home and came up with new deck ideas.

A good example of how pissy and whiny they are happened this weekend (as I write this) in San Francisco. After being denied all of their tools of violence and ways to broadcast their violence, the white supremacist ninnies called their event off all together. No one barred them from holding their "rally," but when told they couldn't bring their guns and other weapons and paraphernalia, they called the whole thing off (more than once), and played the "Fine! I'll just go home, then, and never come back!" card. [Many of them have said that they want attempt to come back to San Francisco (like it's some kind of threat?).] And everyone shrugged and said, "Okay, go." But the fact that they chose to not hold their rally shows what their true intent was all along: to incite violence. Being barred from that, they had nothing to say.

But they're not going to come back next week and say, "You know, that was well played. We lost fair and square." No, they're going to whine about it and talk about how they were treated unfairly and barred from holding their rally, and their #fakepresident Trump is going to support them in their whining. It seems even Magic players are more mature, much more mature, than white supremacists.


  1. I can't stand how they whine constantly about their rights being infringed upon and the ACLU will jump to defend them, but the first thing they want to do is take away the rights of others. I mean, come ON.

    1. Jeanne: I can't really fault the ACLU for doing their job. If a case meets their standards, they have to take it or become what they're fighting against.

  2. I'm currently reading a book on emotional intelligence. I just read a section on bullies. The white supremacists and their goon president are trying to bully us all because they don't have anything else. There is no substance to their arguments. All they have is rage. Fortunately, people are standing up to them.

    1. TAS: Yeah, it is a bully mentality.
      I hate bullies.
      Sure, that's partly because I grew up with a bully as a father, so I'm extra sensitive to that kind of behavior, but I'm okay with that because bullying is evil.

  3. Waitaminute? You accusing white supremacists of not being morally upstanding citizens?

    Well, I'm shocked. Nonetheless, I really liked your analogy. I wen tot Gencon again this year. Lots of gaming. Never got into Magic, but did play a lot of deck building games.

    1. Rusty: I suppose that depends on how you define upstanding. I mean, there was a time I would have said that only an upstanding citizen could be President... Clearly, I was wrong.

      I played a LOT of deck building games, but Magic was and is the best.

  4. I don't understand. You built a winning deck, and then you weren't allowed to use it? I thought the point of building your own deck was so you could win games. There's something wrong with the idea of building a winning deck and then being told you can't use it.

    1. Liz: I was allowed to use it for the one tournament, which was fine with me. I almost never used the same deck for more than one tournament.
      And, well, I knew it was going to be a contentious deck because the mechanics of it were complicated and hard to understand. I actually sought out verification from WotC to verify what I was doing before I did it and made sure I had a reference on hand for the judges so they could verify I was correct. For most of my matches, I had to have a judge constantly on hand to verify to my opponents that I wasn't cheating EVERY SINGLE TURN, because most of them never understood what was happening and had to rely on the judges assertion about what I was telling them to do.

      So, yeah, I expected the deck to get banned.
      The deck type was actually featured in a magazine within a couple of months after I used it.

  5. I didn't really follow the San Francisco protests. I saw the other ones (in Boston?) and liked that they were shut down by counterprotesters. "The answer to speech you don't like is more speech." At least for the left. For the right it's 'drive into them with a car.'

    1. Briane: Do you remember when I did that series on the Enneagram? The problem with these dudes on the Right is that a lot of them, Trump #fakepresident included, are 8s. Their way of dealing with people who disagree with them is to shut them up. They don't want to hear any dissent and believe they should be believed and followed because of who they are, not because they are factually correct. They're right because they say so.

      So, yeah, drive into them with a car. That works.

  6. It used to be they just tried to outlaw protestors. That's why you may be right that there's going to be a civil war. Violence seems like it's on an upswing: cops on civilians, remilitarization of the police, the protest violence... it's getting scary.

    1. Briane: The militarization of civilians...
      It is getting scary, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.
      Seriously, Trump #fakepresident telling people who have lived here virtually all of their lives that they need to make plans to get out of the country...? That's beyond crazy talk.
      And inciteful.