onsdag 16 juli 2014

Priorities and luxury

Sometimes, I need to take a step back. Most of us know that playing an expensive deck in competitive formats is a luxury, and not a right. Even in casual formats, not all cards are accessible unless you make a conscious prioritization and decide that owning these cards are more valuable to you than using that money on something else. It could be due to the joy of the game, the joy of owning a piece of history, or simply the joy of luxury. "Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends", to quote Coco Chanel. Sometimes you need to ask yourself 'why?' though. A week ago I got one of the very last cards for my Project M deck, and the question was more present than ever.

The card on the left is my old Mox Sapphire, which I obtained just after last New Years Eve. The card on the right is my new one, a moderately played Alpha version of the card. The nice thing is that I'm now up to seven of nine in black bordered power cards, and that I have all the cards for Project M apart from a pair of duals. The slightly disturbing thing is the very large price difference between the card on the left and the one on the right. I think I got a fair price marketwise, but I can't help to think about why I prioritize spending all the extra money to make a wb card I own into a black bordered version of the same card. There are a lot of things I could have done instead of "upgrading", e.g.
  • I need a new suit. I could actually fly with Norwegian Airlines from Olso to Munich, buy a new Hugo Boss suit in Stachus, do some minor tailoring on said suite, and then fly home.
  • I could draft every week for a year, and still have money left for all of the year's pre-releases.
  • I don't own a tablet, so I could have bought a 4th generation iPad Air. Then I could also have bought Kurio tablets for both my nephew and my niece to have someone to play scrabble with.
  • On the more humanitarian side of things; I could have bought goats to 28 different families in Bangladesh or the Philippines. Thinking about these kind of things really makes you question your need for luxury.
So, does owning an Alpha Sapphire make me happy? Yes, most definitely. Even if I didn't play 93/94, I would find use for it in a casual Homarid deck, Vintage, or my drinking cube. Would I be happier owning 10 new pairs of good shoes instead the card? Maybe. It's a priority.

Here's an interesting thing though; if I would buy a decent Canali suit for $1000, very few people I know would question that expense. If you would buy a used car for $5000, pretty much no one would blame you for spending the money (Fun fact btw: Roland, the guy I obtained my Lotus from, recently sold a large part of his eternal collection and bought an amazing sports car with the money). However, with cards like this, you can't avoid feeling that you wouldn't want to talk about the expense with everybody. Would you tell your colleagues or spouse, or do you feel "nerd shame"? I know I'm very open about it today (yep, even have a blog about it ;)), but eight or nine years ago, I would be hard pressed to tell most of my friends about my nerdy prioritizations. Well, this post isn't about "nerd shame" though, it's about the fact that we prioritize spending our (often hard-earned) money on Magic cards. And we don't really have to, at least not to play this format.

Brorsan's Shark-winning deck from BSK 2013. Cheaper than many Standard decks.
Quorthon's monoblue deck from WSK last weekend. No power, and looks really fun to play.
There's something deeper here. We don't play to get rich or find high-level success in the game, we play to have a good time with like-minded people. That's probably why arguments on allowing reprints are not heard at n00bcon, and why nobody at 0-2 dropped during the swiss at WSK. Winning is far second to playing.

I guess I could have had the new suit. I played this format for 3 years before I got my first power card. I think that I agree with fashion designer Marc Jacobs though, "Luxury is about pleasing yourself, not dressing for other people." And owning black bordered cards makes me glad, it's a part of history which I can use as an excuse to both hang out with old friends and meet new ones. I think it's cool to own game pieces that have their own wikipedia page. Working on my deck over the last two years have been very relaxing in times of stressful work. And it is fun to play Magic. It is a great luxury.

7 kommentarer:

  1. Very nice mg! I can really relate to this post although I don't own any power cards per se. Keep up the good work and have a nice summer!


    1. Thanks a lot :) A great summer to you too!

  2. so do you sell your unlimited mox now?

    1. I traded it to the guy who had the alpha mox as a part of our deal, so I've already parted with it.

  3. Interesting post. Thank you for this!

    I think people often underestimate the benefit of doing something because you like it. Many people spend their entire lives doing things that they don't want to do, and which they don't enjoy, and you can see the negative effects in terms of stress and anxiety, and even physical illness sometimes.

  4. Hey guys I need your experience, I need this Mox and I found it on Kijiji but I think that it could be a fake card, what do you think about it? Should I trust the seller? I'm not really good at these things :-( http://www.kijiji.it/annunci/collezionismo-e-fai-da-te/reggio-emilia-annunci-castellarano/carta-magic-mox-diamate-fortezza/68997618

    1. It is not possible to say, as there isn't even a scan of the card in the link (the picture is a stock image of the card, not a photo). As far as moxen goes though, it is a $30 Stronghold card from 1998, not a "real" mox from 93/94 with a 4-digit price tag.