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Cowboy Magic, Part I


Once again I am surprised at BTB. After posting this question, and yes I did mean "Magic the Gathering" Howleyesque, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that several people here at BTB were familiar with one of my favorite pastimes. Which is nice because I have been wanting to do this post for awhile now, but was unsure if there would be audience for it. And trying to explain the details of the game in question, to a bunch of people that were unfamiliar with the game would be like trying to explain the CBA(Collective Bargaining Agreement) to a person that had never even heard of American Football. However with the fact that there seem to be several people here that are familiar with MTG(Magic The Gathering), I can Confidently move on with this post.

As you may note this is part one of possibly several posts I plan on doing, so in this post I will lay out certain aspect that I feel are comparable to the Dallas Cowboys as a team. To wit I will lay out the basic game of MTG in this post and from there, go into how it compares to The Dallas Cowboys. I am not sure how many posts there will be, it all depends on how well these are received. So let's move past the "Blind Eternities" and into the the post

You are a Planeswalker.

In Magic: The Gathering, a Planeswalker is a powerful mage who is able to travel across the planes of existence. There are infinite worlds across the Multiverse, and Planeswalkers are unique in their ability to move from one world to the next, expanding their knowledge and power through the experiences they collect there.

The Spark: One in a Million

One in a million sentient beings are born with “the spark,” the ineffable essence that makes an individual capable of becoming a Planeswalker. Of those born with “the spark,” even fewer “ignite” their spark, enabling them to realize their potential and travel the planes. Most Planeswalkers have their spark ignited as the result of a great crisis or trauma, but every awakening is different. A near-death experience might ignite a Planeswalker’s spark, but so could a sudden, life-changing epiphany or a meditative trance that enables the mage’s grasp of some transcendent truth. There are as many such stories as there are Planeswalkers.

(Source: http://www.wizards.com/magic/Multiverse/planeswalkers.aspx)

This is the essence of MTG. As many noted in the replies, alot of people have played D&D(Dungeons and Dragons). Well MTG is basically a card game that is based in part on D&D. If you have played D&D, then you have a small understanding of MTG. So what does this have to do with the Dallas Cowboys? Glad I asked that..haha

In MTG as the "Planeswalker" you are in Effect the GM/Owner of your own Team. Your "Team" consists of a 60 card deck, which you use to "Battle" other Planeswalkers(players). This is the First comparison. As the Owner/Planewalker, you are responsible for putting your "team" together. Now the Objects in the games are different, as in Football the object is to outscore your opponent within a certain time frame, where as in MTG, you and your opponent start with 20 "Life points" and the object is to bring you opponent down to 0 before he/she is able to bring yours to 0. The Methods though are remarkably similar though.

In Magic your have Offensive "Spells" and Defensive "Spells". Offensive spells reduce your opponents life total, while defensive spells prevent your opponent from reducing yours, similar to the Offensive and Defense of a Football team.

Now how you build your "team", is up to you, but there are three "profiles" that people fall under. they are called: Spike, Johnny, and Timmy.

Spike is the absolute competitor. This player is usually the one that will play "the best cards". Spike is only concerned about "performance". If a "Better card" is out there, Spike will use it, even if he/she already has a card that is more than adequate. Spike's will use any means necessary to win(within the rules). Spike reasoning is that "If I am winning, I am having fun.".

Johnny on the other hand, is all about "the Build". Johnny's method of "having fun" is going "off the beaten path". While Winning is nice, For Johnny (and Timmy for that matter) Winning is secondary. If a Johnny can showcase this weird interaction between cards, even if it means he loses, That is ok. Johnny's Reasoning is that,"If I can pull this off, I am having fun.".

Timmy, though, is all about the "big play". as with Johnny, Timmy is less concerned with just winning. It is "How I win" that matters most. Timmy wants to play that "X spell for 100", or play an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn from his hand. (BTW, taking an extra turn in Magic is basically like getting a turnover in Football, and the defense then not taking the field.) Timmy's reasoning is "The Bigger the play, the more fun I am having.".

Now there are combinations of all three, namely:

Spike/Johnny

Johnny/Timmy

Spike/Timmy

Spike /Johnny/Timmy

Most people are one of these, with the most "common" being the Spike/Johnny.

I have to apologize if it seems like I am rambling. I am really just trying "set up the post" right now, and all this will make sense. I promise. So why am I bringing this up? For my second "comparison". As a Planeswalker in a Magic Game, you are wearing Several "hats". If your deck is your team, then you are not only the Owner/GM, but also the Head coach,+ Offensive and Defensive Coordinator. So lets look at the non players on the Dallas Cowboys, and how they "fit" in the profiles for Magic.

Jerry Jones- Spike/Johnny: None can deny Jerry's "will to win". Jerry has proven he will do whatever it takes to be successful of the football field. The issue is that Jerry wants to do it "his way". Now a lot of People will say that "Jerry as changed! Look at how much control he has given up!". True, But as we look at the roster, while the overall talent has increased, The same questions still come up. Dallas is still relying on Lower round picks and UDFA's on the O/D lines, while the "skill positions" are stocked with Higher round picks and FA's. So it it still Jerry's way.

Rob Ryan: Johnny/Timmy: Ryan is Brash, Loud, and runs arguably one of the most complicated Defenses in the league. I don't think I will get much argument here.

Stephen Jones- Spike/Timmy: Look at this past draft, and the trade up for Morris Claiborne. Stephen had a plan, wanted the "big splash" but made sure that he got it on his terms. This is why I put Stephen here.

Jason Garrett- Spike /Johnny/Timmy: JG is the rare combination of all three profiles. His competitiveness is undeniable(Spike), yet his Offense is Complicated(Johnny), and is predicated on "the big play"(Timmy). Usually the best players are of this "type", but they must first be able to deal with the conflicting philosophies. Once they are able to do this, watch out, as they are extremely flexible in their approach, and can conform to any situation.

So now that you know all this I will take my leave here. As a spoiler, I will say that my next post will detail Deck construction, and how it compares to Building a roster. I now leave you with a poll:

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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