In the year 1997, some sound advice was given to that year’s graduates in an article by Mary Schmich. It was later set to music by Baz Luhrmann in a song called Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). The uplifting message revolved around feeling good about yourself and not worrying about where you end up in life. With Luhrmann’s relaxing tunes playing in the background, Schmich’s words resonated with wit and wisdom, but one piece of advice stood out above all others: “Wear sunscreen.”

Now, twenty-two years later, Schmich and Luhrmann are back* with some advice for the Magic players of today….


Everybody’s Free (To Use Card Sleeves)
To the tune of Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

To the Magic community of 2019,
Use card sleeves.
If I could offer one tip for your gaming,
Card sleeves would be it.
The protective benefits of card sleeves have been proven by professionals
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own Magic: the Gathering experience.
I will dispense this advice now….

Add the Power Nine to your cube.
Oh nevermind;
You will never be able to afford the Power Nine even if they are all crumpled and faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at old listings of a Mox
Or Ancestral Recall and won’t grasp how much cheaper they were before
And how frequently they were traded away….

Your decks are not as bad as you imagine.
Don’t worry about your top draws; or worry,
But know that worrying is as effective as trying to beat an Infect deck by gaining infinite life.

The real trouble with your deck is apt to be something that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindsides you in round 4 of some Friday Night Magic.

Play one matchup every day that scares you.


Don’t be careless with other people’s cards.
Don’t put up with people who are careless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on standings; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind….
Tournaments are long, and in the end, you’re only against yourself.

Remember the fun matches you have. Forget the bad ones.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old deck lists. Give away your old bulk commons.


Don’t feel silly if you don’t know what to put in your sideboard….
The most interesting deck builders I know didn’t know with one playthrough what they wanted to include in their 75.
Some of the most interesting content creators I know still don’t.

Get a playset of Calciderms.

Be kind to your library; you’ll miss it when it’s milled.
Maybe you’ll Top-8, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll make Day 2, maybe you won’t.
maybe you’ll drop out at 0 and 4, maybe you’ll brew a funky Kithkin deck and defeat every adversary.…

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.
Your match wins are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your life total;
Use it every way you can….
Don’t be afraid to spend it, or to let other people take a chunk out of it.
It’s the greatest resource you’ll ever have.

Draft…even if you have nowhere to do it but on your kitchen table.
Look up decklists, even if you don’t copy them.
Do NOT use proxied cards, they will only get you banned.

Get to know your opponents; you never know when you’ll meet a really good one.

Be nice to the judges;
They are the best informed about the rules
and the people most likely to run your tournaments in the future.

Understand that formats come and go, but for the ones you like you should still keep brewing.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in competitive and casual,
because the more you play the more you need the variety that different play groups offer.

Play Mono-Red once, but stop before you always build aggro.
Play Mono-Blue once, but stop before you always build control.


Accept certain inalienable truths:
Card prices will rise.
Everyone plays Sol Ring in Commander.
You too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable,
Hierarchs were Noble,
And players respected other gamers.
Respect other gamers.

Don’t expect to have guaranteed lethal.
Maybe your foe is at 1,
Maybe they have an empty board,
but you never know what your opponent might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your mana base
or by the time it’s turn 14, it will look like turn 5.

Be careful whose advice you Tutor up, but
be patient with those who never fail to find it.

Advice is like a Reanimator deck.
Dispensing it is a way of Exhuming the past from your graveyard, giving it haste,
Ignoring its expensive mana costs, and then sacrificing it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the card sleeves.


*Neither Schmich or Luhrmann were involved in this project in any way, other than as inspiration. My apologies to both of them, and I hope they appreciate my parody. I left some lines unchanged to maintain flow and clarity; I encourage everyone to check out the original version of the speech for a complete comparison…

It also has some really good advice.

Image borrowed from “Ancestral Recall! WILL IT BLEND?!??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.