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Do you believe in Magic?

By Katie Whitmore
On April 17, 2014

Since 1993, the trading card game Magic: The Gathering has taken the gaming world by storm, and students on campus are still playing it.

The first of its kind, this trading card game is both the largest and the longest-lasting with More than 12 million players, even drawing in actors like Nathan Fillion and Seth Green. Chris Jepsen, manager of Heebeegeebeez Comics and Games store on 541 N Main Street, said about 60 percent of the Magic: The Gathering players are college students.

None of the games that followed in Magic: The Gathering’s wake had the same kind of following and eventually petered out, which leads some ask what makes this such a lasting and popular game.

“It’s a game with a lot of personality,” said Aaron Cortado, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering. “In a way, it is like 3-D chess. There are a lot of dynamics and dimensions which makes it a good brain exercise.”

Magic: The Gathering has five different colored cards, and the different colors correspond to a different tactic.

“But the best part is that no one color is better than another,” Cortado said. “It is a very balanced game. It all depends on how you play your cards.”

For example, blue cards are associated with cunning.

“Each card color shows a different personality, and you learn a lot about a person by the cards they use,” said Jarom Rollins, an undeclared freshman. “Most people avoid the blue cards because they make you seem like a jerk because you kind of get to break the rules, but if you want to win every time, get a blue deck.”

Some USU students play causally, while others compete in highly competitive tournaments.

“There is a professional tour where people can make as much money as professional poker players,” Jepsen said.

He said there are people who just collect the cards for their artwork. Each card features a piece of original art that makes the cards perfect trading material.

Rollins said other card games just can’t compete with the artwork.

“One of the best parts of the game is the artwork,” Cortado said. “It is a tremendous part of the game. I chose my most valuable card based on the artwork.”

With each new expansion comes a new wave of art based on common mythology.

“Magic: The Gathering draws on common mythology, like the Greek and Roman gods, that everyone is really familiar with,” Jepsen said.

Magic: The Gathering can cost as much or as little as people want it to. There are cards that cost as little as $1, while others can cost up to $13,000.

“Booster packs are the most addictive,” Rollins said. “It’s like gambling, and you keep trying to get better cards. I got lucky and one of my most valuable cards came from a booster.”

Cortado said Magic: The Gathering is an enjoyable activity.

“There is a lot of in depth meaning and a lot of memorization. It has helped me a lot with quick addition, but is so easy to get into,” Cortado said. “It is a great way to spend time with others, and it is something to relate to.”

Rollins agreed.

“It is easy to make friends, or enemies I guess, and it is easy to get along with all of the players,” Rollins said. “They are all really friendly.”

Heebeegeebeez has tournaments and playing time from Tuesday through Saturday at 5:30 p.m. New members are welcome.

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