“Sir, if you can’t contain your anger I’ll have to call a judge.” I know it doesn’t sound cool, but I don’t hear that phrase enough at larger events. I wish it wasn’t the case to need to have to hear that phrase. 

Round 3 of SCG Philly’s Legacy Sunday. I’m trying to communicate with my opponent. We are enjoying a pretty intense game of Temur Delver vs Miracles. There are a lot of things on the stack: a [casthaven]Flooded Strand[/casthaven] fetch activation, a [casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven] targeting the activation, a [casthaven]Counterbalance[/casthaven] trigger for the [casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven], ANOTHER fetch from a [casthaven]Polluted Delta[/casthaven], a [casthaven]Destructive Revelry[/casthaven] targeting the [casthaven]Counterbalance[/casthaven], heck why not ANOTHER [casthaven]Counterbalance[/casthaven] trigger on the Reverly. That’s a lot of stuff. 

But I can’t really concentrate, which is a kind of big deal. There’s a lot going on around me. And I’m not just talking about the 200+ games of Legacy where similar board states (Stack states?) are going down. 

“It was just incredibly frustrating playing against you!” The obvious loser of the game next to me gets up. But feels the need to say a few words to his much younger opponent.

“I understand, Emrakul is a really tilting card sometimes.”  says his much younger (by maybe 20 years) opponent, who is trying his best to be diplomatic and even give his opponent a chance to not be a jerk.

“I shouldn’t have to even play against people who don’t know their decks. I’ve been playing this game longer than you’ve been alive and you are the worst, slowest, least skilled person I’ve ever played against.”

I can only deal with so much whining. This guy is being totally abusive to any person let alone a minor. I had enough, and I told him as much and that if he wanted to keep acting like that I’m sure I could find a judge to help him deal with focusing his comments elsewhere. 

My opponent didn’t flinch, nor did his opponent. And just as I was about to raise my hand, he walked away. No apologies, no response, nothing. And I guess that’s fine. He knew he was in the wrong.

His opponent, the kid, thanked me and I went back to my game. 

For closure’s sake [casthaven]Counterbalance[/casthaven] showed a land, the Revelry resolved, then the delta got a land he cast [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven] revealed a one drop to counter the stifle and got another land. I eventually lost that game. My opponent and I shook hands we went on to the next round.

Ok so the point of this article is entitlement in the M:TG competitive community. Nothing gets me more upset that seeing a player rage at another player because of some perceived superiority. 

Let me put this in no uncertain terms: Your age, gender, race, time playing magic, deck, match-up or some other perceived advantage do not entitle you to win at Magic:the Gathering. When you lose, you are not entitled to lord these things over your opponent like some spoiled toddler. The only thing that allows you to win games of Magic: The Gathering is actually winning games of Magic: The Gathering.

Once you accept that and that this is a game we play for fun (because no one is making a real living winning Tournaments), and that everyone else is there for that purpose as well, doesn’t it seem incredibly selfish to ruin another person’s day because you have issues with losing gracefully. 

Half of Magic is losing. I think that becoming a good loser is something we really don’t focus enough in the community. I guess a good way too look at it is would you rather be hated and win 50% of your Matches or be liked and win 50% of your matches.

Let’s not forget that when players act out this way, it’s an extension of how they feel about themselves. If we can teach players to become better losers we might learn to become a better overall community. 

Winning with grace is always preferable to every player. And it’s pretty easy to do. Losing with grace is much harder.

Let’s look at my SCG Philly experience. 

In the first Round I played a kid who was on one of his first tourneys. I was on Atraka Red. In 3 games I saw 9 [casthaven]Radiant Flames[/casthaven], 8 [casthaven]Languish[/casthaven] and lost to [casthaven]Gideon’s Phalanx[/casthaven]. I mean this kid’s deck was just built to beat mine. The kid was playing his all time hardest, I have to be honest 17 board wipes is frustrating to play against. And starting the tourney down a match sucks. There is just no denying that. But when this kids friend showed up in the middle of game 3. And he’s watching his buddy try his all time hardest to win. When he finally does, we sign slips and and I congratulate the kid. His friend treated him like he just won the Pro Tour. It was kind of awesome. It sucks to lose, but how do I move into Round 2 feeling bad? The kid beat me fair and square and I just saw likely the best reaction to a win that’s going to happen all day. 

If you can’t smile at that, then you just aren’t playing this game for the right reasons. Ladies and Gents, if you’re in it for the money you just aren’t doing it right… Magic or Life.

Zac Clark


Zac Clark is the Founder of Hipsters of the Coast. An avid gamer since his early teens, Zac can often be found in Brooklyn either playing games or taking photos. When he’s not drawing extra cards, wrathing boards and countering spells, he’s taking pictures of other peoples good times and listening to 90’s Music. 

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