According to the self-help books I’ve been reading lately, it’s good to have goals. All sorts of goals: learning new recipes, rescuing shelter animals, and acquiring new “buy 10 get 1 free” cafe punchcards that I use once and lose in the wash.


Also: collecting Rachael Ray cookware.

I’ve even made MTG goals. Everything I’d like to finish before next year or, at the very least, before leaving college and entering the real, real world. Some of them are small things—winning games, teaching friends—and others, like assembling a Cube, are a bit of a stretch. But I think they’re nice to keep around.

It’s no surprise that my relationship with Magic has cooled despite all I’ve accomplished (I use the phrase loosely) over the past year. Travel, stress, and schoolwork have all taken their toll on my hobbies/sanity, and I think Magic might have gotten the worst of it. The game requires time and skill and patience, three things that I’m in desperately short supply of. I’ve even thrown around the idea of starting a Philadelphia chapter of Team Draft League with friends, but I don’t think I’m in the state to be starting anything right now.

While I don’t know if this list will change anything, it’s good to put into words what I’d like to accomplish. So here’s my Magic big ten:

1. Complete in an GP/PTQ(Q?). The holy grail. Not winning, just seeing if I could last, make friends, and enjoy the experience. If Scrub Report was really a column about learning competitive Magic, my articles would be about understanding local meta-games and buying into eternal formats. Instead, I make lists.

2. 3-0 a competitive draft. It’s bound to happen eventually, right? After multiple 2-1 finishes on MTGO and a finals victory in a casual rare redraft event, I’m still waiting for my grand finale. If it happens, I won’t shut up about it for a month. Promise.

3. Teach a group of friends. One of my favorite Magic memories is coming home from GP Philly and letting my friends crack open all of the Journey Into Nyx booster packs that I undeservedly won. We pulled two Courser of Kruphix, played a strange, improvised version of pack wars, and tried to understand the game’s more interesting mechanics (Bestow: “So he’s wearing Gnarled Scarhide? Like a hat?”). Way more fun than grinding MTGO in my room alone. Magic’s all about the community (should be the Hipster’s tagline if it’s not already).

4. Give away my bulk cards, or do something cool with them. I like collecting cards for their aesthetic value. They made nice bookmarks and straight-edges for organic chemistry diagrams. But I don’t think I need two shoeboxes worth of bulk cards. There’s a lot I can do with them: make collages, build interesting starter decks, or pawn them off to one of the unsuspecting kids I tutor. He’ll never know what hit him.

5. Play a five-color Limited deck. To this day I regret passing up a first-pick Chromanticore.

6. Make a card alter. Once, when I was twelve, I took art lessons in the basement of this old Chinese teacher. I painted cherry blossoms for three hours and was politely asked to never return. That being said, personalizing Magic cards is really cool, and it would make for a fun weekend project with friends. I’ll buy some acrylics, tape, and paint erasers and give them free reign.

7. Build a Cube. Draft is my favorite format. I love the idea of building archetypes and discovering all the ways I can create cool interactions between cards. I’m going to shy away from the classic powered cube, creating something with some of the more elegant and interesting cards from the last few draft formats (Hour of Need and Altac Bloodseeker come to mind). It will probably be bad, but constructing it seems like a ton of fun.

Now that I’m through, what’s on your Magic bucket list? World Championship victory? Piloting a jank Bird tribal deck to FNM stardom? Feel free to join and drop a line in the comments below.

Tony is the Hipsters’ resident scrub, and Scrub Report is an account of his lessons learned. Find him at 



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