What’s good, Spirit Squad!

Today we’re going to talk about something I’ve referenced plenty of times here and probably many, many times on recorded videos or live streams: the rate at which information in Magic: the Gathering spreads, but we’re also going to talk about what the biggest sources of information are and how you can access them.

How much information could POSSIBLY be involved in a children’s card game?

One of the coolest things about Magic is the fact that there are tons of ways to play the game, even amongst like-minded players. Even Commander, which is just one format, has quite a few different ways to play the game: competitively (usually called Competitive Elder Dragon Highlander/cEDH), high-power for the folks who want to play with good cards but aren’t necessarily cutthroat about it, casually, or one of the offshoot formats of Commander like Brawl, Tiny Leaders, or Oathbreaker. That’s a LOT to keep up with, and that giant list you just read only pertains to one branch of MTG—and not even one that I play!

As for formats I do know things about, there’s somehow even more information to keep track of. It’s a lot. To demonstrate, let me describe one of the most infamous set release weekends of all time: Kaldheim.

In the first week of Kaldheim’s release, players were practically foaming at the mouth. The set was a massive hit with Commander players thanks to the slew of new and very cool Legendary and Snow-matters cards, Pioneer players were excited about Pathways giving improved mana bases with the second half of the Pathway lands being printed, and Ascendant Spirit + Faceless Haven gave birth to one of Pioneer’s most annoying decks (I’m not sorry) …but Modern players especially had a very powerful new toy to play with: Tibalt’s Trickery.

The Tibalt’s Trickery deck aimed to do one thing: Cascade into Trickery using a Violent Outburst or something, and then target the player’s own Cascade spell with Trickery. The only other nonland cards in the deck were Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, but that was almost always achievable on Turn 2 or Turn 3. Super-powerful stuff, and Tibalt’s Trickery is still banned in Modern to this day. As you can imagine, on the Thursday that Kaldheim released online the Modern League queues were full of people playing Tibalt’s Trickery.

By the time FRIDAY came around. The very next day!, Modern as a format had already moved past Tibalt’s Trickery as a win condition. There had already been tons of discourse throughout the day on how the deck worked, what the possible counters were, and how to be able to play around both Tibalt’s Trickery and acknowledge that there was still an entire format’s worth of other decks to consider.

Instead of Trickery, the combo players had moved on to playing a new Cascade-friendly win condition: Valki, God of Lies // Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter. The way this combo worked at the time is that you’d play the same Cascade cards as before, except this time the only target in the deck wasn’t Tibalt’s Trickery, it was Valki, God of Lies. Upon finding the Valki and choosing to cast it, players were allowed to choose which side of Valki they wanted to cast. So they’d choose Tibalt, the much more powerful back half, and that’s more than enough to win a game when you get to do it on Turn 2 or Turn 3. This interaction was so powerful that the Cascade mechanic itself was rewritten!

YIKES. But how did everyone know about a new version of the deck the very next day?

Thanks to the Internet and social media as a whole, information in Magic moves quickly and is relatively easy to find, provided you know where people are talking. Depending on what you need, there’re quite a few different places to look for information and see just what people are playing and discussing!

As a very cursory list, here’s some of what people tend to look for on the Magic section of the Internet:

  • Lists of what decks people are playing in the various Magic formats
  • Prices of cards, for both IRL and Magic Online play
  • What decks won or placed well in the last few relevant tournaments
  • What content-creating experts are doing
  • What cards even exist or are legal for the various Magic formats
  • Rules interactions between cards

That’s a lot of information. You weren’t kidding. So where do I actually LOOK?

Here’s a list of what I’ve found to be the best resources for keeping up with Magic in its many forms. Let’s sort the places out by category. Keep in mind that each of these sites has somewhat incomplete data, since the tournaments that Wizards of the Coast publishes is only the list of winning decks online or in their tournaments. There is almost never data available for a complete metagame or for not-top finishes.

Deck Lists and Metagame Analyses

Card Prices

Quality-of-Life Upgrades
  • https://www.scryfall.com is the go-to for searching and sorting cards to see what exists, and it has an excellent Advanced Search option. You can search by Creature type, mana cost, format legality, keywords, even artists. Scryfall also has a dedicated proxy-printing function, for those who are so inclined
  • https://www.moxfield.com is my favorite site for hosting various deck lists. Not only can you make folders and sort your decks however you please (format, time period, whatever), each user has a profile so you can even follow your favorite content creator or player
  • https://www.mtgoupdate.com is an easy-to-read calendar that shows you what events are coming up on Magic Online, and it even includes details on entry fees for special events
  • https://www.spicerack.gg serves to help paper Magic players find events that are close to you, and is much more palatable than the Wizards Event Locator. There’s even a button dedicated to “Drivable RCQs”
  • For Magic Online players, https://www.manatraders.com and https://www.cardhoarder.com are both rental services you can use to play whatever deck you want, whenever you want
  • https://www.mythicspoiler.com is the website I use to check out all of the spoilers for new set releases (if you’re a fan of Doctor Who, just know that I’ve been saying “SPOILERS” a lot lately!)

Finally, and probably an obvious item on the list, social media is the place to be if you’re looking to see what content creators are doing. We actively post things like the newest deck lists, new content updates, details for any tournaments we’ll be playing or attending, and links to content like YouTube videos or Twitch streams that folks may be interested in. Twitter is the best place to get insights from creators and deck experts (@fireshoes is basically a mandatory follow), but there’s a lot of sources. Reddit is great for group-thinking new ideas, Discord servers exist for more focused discussion (just about every deck you can think of has an entire server dedicated to it), and there’re even Facebook groups out there for… basically everything

…and that’s it (for now)! Hope this helps a lot of folks navigate the vast, shark-infested waters of the Magic Internet, and if this information helps any of y’all queue for major events someday then I’ll see you there!

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