I originally had a whole intro planned out, but frankly, these stories speak for themselves. Here’s how good old Internet, USA answered the question; How has MtG influenced your life?

“Last year, I was forced to move schools. I have never had friends at school in my life, but this year, due to magic, I made my first best friend, and we have been together the entire year almost. That means a lot to me as it is, because I have not been entirely stable. It just feels so good to make a friend through my favourite game, and now that I go to FNM’s, I meet new people every week, and it feels good to be accepted for once.” —13, BC

“Gave up Drinking, smoking and drugs so I can afford magic, even stopped eating out and packing lunches. Still as poor but a lot healthier.” —33, TX

“My wife and I may name our daughter Lililana…I don’t know if that says much.” —Anonymous

“It’s helped me cope with depression since I started playing because it’s something that I extremely enjoy and I’ve never really experienced that with other hobbies. It’s an escape for me, in a sense. But overall, it’s just something that is fun as hell and I’ve made my best friends through Magic. The community is absolutely amazing and I don’t think that I will stop playing anytime soon. I’ve never really been competitive with anything before and this is something I enjoy being competitive with but also very casual. I don’t really know if any of this is that important, but MTG has really helped me cope with depression and relieve a lot of stress. I just hope to make some friends here in Sacramento so I can play more often.” —18, CA

“I never thought I could be a writer. I was always good at it, but it seemed like one of those careers like acting where there are too many people that want to do it and not nearly enough decent jobs. I started writing about about Magic to help out a site that desperately needed it, and where I had become involved in the forums. The $20 store credit didn’t hurt either. Three years later, I’m making a living as a freelance writer, working when and where I want and doing something I enjoy. I’m not sure how my life would have ended up without Magic, but I’m pretty happy with where the road has taken me.” —22, UT

“For me, it has made my introverted self more sociable. Well, I also have less money than I would if wasn’t blowing it on rectangular bits of printed cardboard, of course.” —Anonymous

“I had a bit of an unstable childhood; my mother left my father before they got married but due to some immature behavior on my mothers part, my grandparents deemed her unsuitable to raise me. So I would alternate my weekends and weekdays between my grandmother’s house and my father’s house. Except my mother and father were never there. My father had moved away from his immediate family and my mother felt it was more important to live life on her own and abandon her responsibilities. Because I kept changing locations and families every other week, developing bonds with either side of the family became a bumpy ride. I felt like both families were playing tug-of-war with me and I didn’t really have anything that allowed me to take my mind off things. Que my uncle. My uncle always had a thing for games and he noticed how hard of a time I was having being in the middle of two families without a common bond between either. He would let me stay up late and play video games with him and let me tag along with his college friends when they went to the Renaissance faire or game store. No matter what house I was staying at I always had something to look forward to: spending time with my uncle. While on vacation one summer in Maine, he had gotten me the Pokemon TCG which was my first experience with any card game outside of Go-Fish. I loved it. We would play for hours upon end and it was something that I could take between both houses and focus on. We kept playing for a few years until he moved away to pursue another college in Florida. From 2002-2004 I had gone without seeing him very much and picked up YuGiOh during that time. He had bugged me to abandon YuGiOh and learn how to play Magic since apparently he had been playing it since 1995. So one night we stayed up late again, just like we used to and he taught me how to play using two simple green decks from Revised. I played and tapped a Forest, played a Llanowar Elves and was immediately hooked. I’ve been playing off and on for about 10 years now and every time I see my uncle at reunions or holidays we always make sure to find time to play Magic, either at someone’s house or during dessert at Thanksgiving. I ended up framing that Llanowar Elves and it now hangs proudly in my house next to a signed print of Necropotence.” —23, PA

“Play the game. See the world. I don’t think I could have travel to Europe and Asia multiple times if it wasn’t for this game.” —33, TX

“Magic had given me a reason to get out of the house regularly and meet new people. It also taught me how to budget my time between school, work, and personal time. Since none of my close friends play, I have talked to people at my local store and tournaments to look for advice. Some of my current friends want to learn and teaching someone the basics is tons of fun for me. But even on bad days I can just bury myself in my deck list and theory craft or practice to clear my mind to escape the world for a bit.” —Anonymous

“10 year smoker here! Just quit smoking 6 months ago so I could buy into Legacy!” —Anonymous

“Magic gave me friendship when I was alone, and something to look forward too when I was losing focus in my life.” —23, VA

“Magic has taught me preparation, sportsmanship, and humility. You have to be prepared in this game to be successful. Playing in tournaments, it is important to practice good sportsmanship and consider your reactions from both sides of the table. Humility comes from playing against new opponents and in new formats, where no matter how prepared you think you are for a game you can be humbled.” —Anonymous

“After I left the Service, I struggled with alcoholism. I decided one Friday night to venture out to see “what else is out there” and found an LGS. The people were awesome, Magic is amazing, and ultimately it got me out of the hole I was in. Since then I’ve decided I want to open my own LGS one day using my VA Business loan.” —30, IN

“Tore my ACL during my first year of college at the University of Maine and was pretty much physically disabled for 6 months. I picked it up as a hobby to keep me entertained while all my friends hiked and snowboarded all year long. Now that I’m healthy I still play it because anywhere you go there is always people to play with.” —Anonymous

“I crave mental stimulation and that is what I love about magic, it gives me just that. Building fun commander decks with interesting mechanics, and finding fun combos with my cards is the best part of magic. My family doesn’t approve of it, because they think it is dumb and a waste of money, but their idea of fun is sitting on their asses watching a movie. They don’t really approve of anything I do. They think it is weird that a girl is so interested in hockey, video games, and trading card games, but most of that comes with the territory of being a nerdy Computer Engineering major.” —23, PA

“It’s given me something to do, other than sitting at home on the computer.” —Anonymous

“2013 was, for me, the culmination of several years of hard work on a project I truly believed in and that I had put my heart and soul in. In April, everything I was fighting for was destroyed without a trace: depression, insomnia, grief and an attempted suicide followed. As some sort of survival instinct kicked in, I looked for something to “entertain” myself. At the M14 prerelease I had my first game in 13 years and Magic gave me a little cocoon where I could occasionally hide in and forget how lost and broken I felt. In particular, I remember the three weeks or so leading up to Theros as being extremely painful, a big blur of despair but, at the same time, I remember looking forward the articles popping up on the WotC website: for a few minutes every day I could escape to the Greek-inspired world or start thinking about how to use a new and exciting mechanic. One year later, I am much better. I still feel like a shadow of what I used to be but one piece of the time life is starting to make some sort of sense again. Magic is “just” a game, but sometimes it’s enough to push my head above the water and let me take a breath when I need it.” —Anonymous

“So MtG has both saved my life, and strengthened it after doing so. 3 years ago, I suffered with depression, a week after I was diagnosed with said depression my girlfriend of 18 months left me for someone else. I was at the lowest of the low in my life. I alienated most of my friends, and stayed indoors for months feeling sorry for myself. I found a very small comic book shop that dealt in MtG, and played casually with the owner and two of his friends most days. By chance, I recently made an acquaintance of a guy who played magic 10 years before but had quit. I reintroduced him to the game, and i spent every night at his flat chilling and playing casual. We eventually progressed to standard, modern and then legacy. We were both intelligent guys at uni, i was a chemistry major and he was doing a maths PhD. We practised so much that we actually became quite good, and I have top 8d a handful of PTQs, and we have both day 2d gps. If it wasn’t for this game leading to our growth in friendship, I’m sure i would have at least tried to commit suicide. I got my life back on track largely due to this. We started going to a larger LGS a few months later, where I have made some of the best friends of my life. Now I’ve just graduated from uni and life is really good. Strong friends, great girlfriend, pretty much the happiest and most comfortable I’ve ever been in life. MTG truly saved my life and has made it infinitely better. This is why I will always love this game.” —Anonymous

“I look for board state in things where we are not playing a game and there is no board.” —Anonymous

“I want to start off by saying that I absolutely love MtG. Ever since I was introduced to it ten years ago, the game has been fun to play and great to collect. That being said, MtG has influenced my life hugely. It got so out of hand that I was stealing cards to fuel my trade material and it eventually came to a halt when I was caught doing so and almost put in jail because of it. I saw that I had an obsession with the game I loved so much that instead of making amends with my crime and forgiving myself, I burned every card I owned and every deck I had. Original duals, fetches, Mind Sculptors (before the reprints), Moxes … I destroyed them all because I let the game control me. I no longer play magic other than watching those around me play and supporting my friends that do. I actually stopped following this sub a long time ago when all this happened but decided to peek back in when I saw this topic. I don’t mean to discourage anyone from playing but my word of advice is don’t let your passion become an obsession.” —Anonymous

“My wallet is a lot lighter so I guess there’s that.” —Anonymous

“Well, I’d like to say that MtG has done this one amazing thing for me but there hasn’t been a singled out instance of that. Rather, Magic has quietly been there for me throughout my life, from when I was 10 years old until now at age 28. Always there, through good and bad times. Always there to give me a passion, to keep going. Magic didn’t somehow save my life, get me married or make me rich but it has grown to be an inseperable part of my life and will always be a part of who I am.” —Anonymous

How has MtG changed your life? Feel free to share in the comments section below and as always, thanks for reading.

Monique Garraud is a Brooklyn native who started playing Magic in 2011. “Grinding It Out” is her weekly take on the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a competitive tournament player.

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