Wizards gather to duel

Theresa Edwards

Students maim each other in card game

Freshman exploratory major Jason Blawas plays “Magic: The Gathering” in the Cyber Cafe Tuesday night. MEGHAN GAURILOFF | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

For hours at a time, students have the opportunity to step out of their shoes to become a wizard. By casting spells and using their powers, their goal is to harm and eventually kill their opponent.

Everyone’s life starts at 20. They can gain life throughout the game according to certain cards, but the main goal is to lose life — for their opponent, that is.

There are different ways to play, but even basic rules for Magic: The Gathering, are difficult for beginners to learn. As a beginner myself, I was completely confused. I sat at a table with multiple cards of enchantments, colors and clones.

Not one card made a bit of sense to me.

It was a process of figuring out what card did what, how much damage one card did to another and finally finding out I couldn’t win the game.

My opponent, Emily Richmond, racked up enough cards to give her enough life so she couldn’t be defeated.

Then she attacked my cards with the Lure-Tangle Asp — a combination she considers her trademark.

The freshman computer design and animation major has five years of experience and participates in tournaments regularly.

“Fear it” is her favorite phrase when she plays a card that can be extremely harmful to her opponent. Richmond puts time and effort into her game.

“I do a lot of research and make sure the combos work,” she said. She explained that her decks are custom-built. She buys specific cards to use in booster packs, small packs of cards used to build a deck.

Large decks are also available to buy, and during time of play each deck has 60 cards available to lay on the table. Richmond always carries four decks with her.

While playing, Richmond is strict about her rules, but she likes the tournaments because she can play with new people.

“When you play with the same five people it gets pretty boring,” she said. “You want to expand your horizon.”

Sometimes, wizards are forced to play against their friends and it doesn’t always end on a happy note.

“I once made my guy friend cry because I beat him in the first round of the tournament,” she said. She pauses for a moment, “Poor kid,” she adds.

The cards can be costly; players could be charged up to $2,000 for a rare card. The cost differs depending on how rare or how old a card is. The rarer and older it is, the more expensive it will be.

The most Richmond has paid for a deck of cards is $30.

“It’s probably one of the more worthless decks I have,” she said.

Her opponent Ross Chilcott laughed at her and pointed out the irony as they played a different version of the game.

Richmond likes being able to put the combinations together to destroy her opponents.

“It’s creative expression,” she said. “You can look at it and say ‘I made this, this is mine.’ “

Richmond and Chilcott continued playing.

“Are you doing anything? Are you going to attack?” Richmond asked Chilcott.

Chilcott is a graduate student in music theory, music composition and trombone performance. He’s working on his master’s degree.

He’s been playing for nearly 11 years and got into the game for the same reasons Richmond did – his friends got him addicted.

“All the guys were playing it and I just got into it,” he said.

The game came out in 1993, Chilcott said, and he started playing in 1994.

At the same table, freshman exploratory major Jason Blawas played against Terry Alexander, a freshman justice studies major. Blawas has had about five years of experience; Alexander has played for three.

Alexander prefers to play for fun. He played in two tournaments and lost both.

“It’s led me away from wasting my money,” he said. “There’s many more dedicated players.” There’s a cover charge to get in at tournaments.

“OK,” Alexander says to Blawas, “it’s time to beat you down.” He says this as he pulls out a new deck of cards.

Blawas said he started playing with his brother, but he didn’t catch the concept. Now, he plays tournaments once a week during the summer — usually on Wednesdays. With years under his belt, he decides what he likes most about the game: “There’s always a best. You can always be beaten.”

Contact features reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].