Magic is an expensive hobby. This is one of the undeniable truths in life, along with "lagers are better than IPAs" and "blue players can't be trusted." I feel like, at any point in time, I have about fifty MtG projects in the pipeline, tugging at my purse strings. How is that possible for someone who's played the game for a quarter of a century and doesn't really care about new sets?

At present, I'm looking to pick up several Mirage block cards for my deck from Ice Age night to get it closer to being on par with my playgroup's Old School decks. Obviously the preferred track for this is opening sealed product, and fortunately a Mirage starter and assortment of Visions and Weatherlight packs should only run around $200. But that's capital I should probably be allocating to my Tribelander deck for the next Akron Legionnaires event night in December. The Tribelander cards are pretty inexpensive, except that there are several that I'd like to get in foil. Before that, though, is Eternal Weekend, where I'm hoping to pick up at least one (but ideally four) Beta Savannah Lions. I already have the proceeds to cover a few Lions set aside thanks to trading down my Alpha Chaos Orb into an Unlimited copy over the summer, but I'd also like to grab a Mishra's Workshop, and I feel like White Weenie Bazaar is close enough to my heart at this point to warrant consideration for upgrading my CE Mox Pearl...

Occasionally, downgrading an Old School card is acceptable, especially when Plan A is throwing it in the air. 

Where was I going with this again? Magic is an expensive hobby. I think that's actually OK in the big scheme of things, as long as you're living within your means and the happiness units derived from the game are in proportion to your spending. At least much of the expendable income we pour into our collections is recoverable if needed, and Magic has the nice side benefit of often being a solid investment, if you're careful about what you purchase. It's not that we're in it for the financial dividends (at least, I feel safe in saying this about the Old School community at large), but when card values trend up over time and we know that we can sell off a few pieces in the case of a critical real-life event, it makes a deeper immersion more palatable, especially compared to hobbies where most of the costs are sunk (no offense to anyone who spends their weekends jet skiing or binge drinking bottles of 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet).

A year more old school than Alpha. (Stock photo.)

I like to muse that Magic isn't "pay to win" but it's pretty undoubtedly "pay to play." One thing I've tried to do to keep the spending at a semi-reasonable level is not take on more than one deck project at a time. I don't stick to that 100%, but I'm typically able to assign enough of a priority order to things that I don't simultaneously have half-built versions of Magic 95 Reanimator and Middle School Zombie-Tendrils laid out in the Brewery, which is the name I've given to the table in my office where I configure and sleeve my decks. Where the Magic happens, as they say.

Currently reworking my Untamed Wilds deck to use a heavier artifact footprint and also spin up a casual red/white pile that maindecks CoP: Red to prevent damage from Earthquake, Chain Lightning, and Orcish Artillery. One project at a time rule fail.

Not sure what prompted me to write this, aside from an intersection of conversations with friends about formats, spending, and life choices. Or maybe more likely a need to justify my vanity to the rest of the world. :) In other news, the Akron Legionnaires now have an active Twitter account, created by Sean and manned primarily by me (well, manned primarily by no one) most of the time. As much as social media is the antithesis of playing CCGs back in 1994, feel free to give us a follow!


  1. Great post, and something I can very much relate to. Fun to hear that you guys are doing some Tribelander as well :)

    1. Yeah! We're eager to give it a try. It seems like a good way for the Casale brothers to dip into the modern card pool for the first time, as limiting the allowed creatures for a given deck to (basically) a single tribe should keep the power level more tempered than EDH. We've decided to also restrict nonbasic lands, but other than that we're using the Tribelander rules as written. Will let you know how it goes!

  2. Tribelander and oldschool are my favourite formats! I mean, if I get to slam a bunch of scurvy tribelander dwarves or swing with an oldschool force of nature in the company of good friends, then i have already won in my opinion! For me there is no reason to spend money on anything else :)

    1. Definitely some solid wisdom there, Daniel!


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