I’d say the major difference between my teenaged self and my current self, despite both being Magic players, is that my teenaged self didn’t really care about protecting his investments. That’s what this installment of The War Report is going to be all about.
Since I’ve picked the hobby back up, I have not been able to stop finding new resources that in part didn’t exist when I was a teenager, and in part I was completely ignorant to. The ability to order Magic cards online either didn’t exist in the 90’s (likely) or I didn’t know about it, despite being a denizen of the Internet since those days. The sheer amount of different accessories that are readily available didn’t really exist to my knowledge back then either, or at least, not to this degree. I know they had binders with card-holding pages, deck protectors and sleeves, all of those were used when I collected baseball and comic book cards. But the made-for-CCG stuff you can find these days is simply incredible and makes my younger self very jealous. Conversely, my present self is jealous of some of the valuable cards the younger one owned. But I digress. Long story short, it’s nice to see recognizable companies like Ultra-Pro still around, and innovating new things we don’t need but surely want.
When I returned to the game, I started off buying a bunch of cards and my next thought was that I should protect the the investment. My initial purchase came with a small box great for holding cards, and I knew that I didn’t want to play with the decks that I created without buying some protective sleeves. Upon some research into the subject, I discovered the wider world of CCG accessories, and I started plotting what to buy next. Sure, it can be considered an expensive hobby, but in the grand scheme of things it’s really not. I’ve spent more on this gaming PC than what I’ve paid for my entire collection of Magic “stuff,” so consider that before judging too harshly. All things said and done I’ve probably spent around $3-400 dollars over the course of four or five months. Probably $500, but that’s only a 3rd of what I’ve spent on this PC, not counting software and games, and at about $100/month it’s cheaper than some cell phone bills. I call that a winning formula. I’d also consider that this is still an initial investment so to speak, because many of the products I wanted to discuss won’t need to be purchased again. Moving on.
After picking up a few sets of different colored sleeves, I initially just put those cards into a box for transport, and would stick to that for a couple of months. Eventually I started to outgrow the box, but by then I had purchased another fat pack, which comes with another nice box for storage. At this point both of those boxes are full, so there’s another investment I might need to make, but not an entirely necessary one. Then again, another box that comes with packs is a nice bonus! Once I had a few decks created, it was clear that transport when I went to game nights was going to be an issue. So I picked up some deck boxes, where sleeved cards can be placed to keep each deck in it’s own tidy container. Soon, I wanted to stop carrying these deck boxes in plastic bags, so I invested in a carrying case. Oh, how it looks like I’m always carrying a gun around with me. It was also made clear around this time that having extra 20 side dice and clear glass stones (counters) helped the flow of the game, so I dropped more money on those as well.
Later I would find that it’s rather annoying playing cards on any table cloth. The edges of the sleeves (or even those of non-sleeved cards) catch on table cloths, so I thought it would be prudent to buy a gaming mat. My friend ended up beating me to that punch, and after seeing one in action I knew it was something for me. It’s basically the same thing as my mouse pad, but quite a bit larger and with a cool picture on it. But wait, if you buy a mat and want to keep it from getting too torn up, you can also buy a protective tube to carry it in. Yep, had to have that.
After my last post, I mentioned having discovered the Commander game mode. Well, it turns out that 100 sleeved cards won’t fit in a standard sized deck box. But Ultra-Pro thought of that, and made “pro-100” deck boxes. I even found one that had the artwork for the commander of that particular deck on it, so of course I picked it up. I also picked up some extra plain colored ones for future decks. Seriously, this hobby is addicting. If you’re interested to learn more about these particular items, I’ll provide a list below with links to Amazon for your ordering pleasure.
Card Sleeves (come in a variety of colors)
Standard Deck Box Bundle
Play Mat (with Noxious Gearhulk art)
Pro-100 Deck Box (Daxos themed)
Pro-100 Deck Boxes