Grand Prix DC was this past weekend, Hugh Kramer made his first day two (and received his first Pro Point), and most of my friends made the descent to Dulles to play in one of the few local Limited GPs this year.

…I wasn’t there. I watched from home.

…that’s not true. I was too busy to watch live coverage. I read e-mails and followed standings.

…when I could.


I canceled my DC plans weeks ago to focus on schoolwork and work-work. Also, I had to perform (and train a new tech, manage the evening, and host our weekly musical improv mixer). Plus, I had an enormous sleep debt that needed repaying. In addition, I really wanted to spend time with people I care about and don’t see nearly often enough. In short, I had plenty of reasons to stay home this weekend, and so I stayed on the sidelines.

…I’ve been doing that a lot lately.


It’s a curious thing to be away from Magic without making the active decision to do so. In the past, quitting or taking a break was a choice I made—invariably due to frustration, bad experiences, or just not having fun. Today, I’m too busy, too exhausted, and too focused on other elements of my life to make Magic a top priority.

I still want to have Magic in my life and to be an excellent player, but I’ve reached the point where (right now) I no longer have the free time to dedicate to it. For the last several years of my life (and until this June), Magic was a full-time job—I spent dozens of hours streaming, drafting, playtesting, reading, writing, and designing Magic every week. Now that I’m working full time, doing game design, and still performing (while making time for friends, family, biking, and Magic), Magic’s large time slot has been plundered. If I want Magic back, I’ll have to give a fair deal up in order to have ample time to play. As I settle into my new schedule, I’ll see how much can be budged without rocking the boat too hard.

Make no mistake: I’ve no intention of going anywhere. I’m still going to stream, I’m still going to write for Hipsters, I’m still going to play at Twenty Sided, I’m still going to team draft, and I’m still going to play Limited, because I love doing all of those things. Magic is in my blood and at the heart of my identity. Magic informs my each and every game design and plays a hand in every scene and character I improvise. Even if I’m playing less, I still carry Magic with me.


Sorry for being all schmaltzy today, but this felt more important to share than retelling a Theros draft. You know the current Limited formats, you’re itching for a format rotation just as much as I am, and you’re probably not eager to hear about another five color control Conspiracy draft deck that I won with. Instead, I’ll turn up the schmaltz a bit more and leave you chicken-fatted with a short story.

When I was three years old, my nursery school teacher told my parents that I reacted very poorly to change. She recommended that I repeat my first year of school to help acclimate me to scholastic life. Thanks to my summer birthday, I was within the acceptable age range to repeat the year, and that’s why I was always the oldest student in my grade, rather than among the youngest. I never quite got the hang of handling change, but I’m better at managing it (plus, I’ve learned that fearing change is more than normal—almost everyone is naturally anxious about it).

My attitude’s a bit different now. Yes, change is scary—we’re heading into the unknown and can fail. Change is sad, because something old and precious is being given up to make room for something new and potentially worse. However, we make changes and sacrifices in life because the changes are worth it—otherwise, we wouldn’t forgo that which we treasure for it.

Eater of Days

Well, that was serious. In lighter news, we’ve M15 prerelease coming shortly, plus SDCC will give us our first dose of Khans of Tarkir spoilers. I’ll be following them with rapt attention, busyness be damned. I hope you will, too.

—Zachary Barash — Join the livestream!

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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