Compassion can be a difficult emotion to muster sometimes. Can you show compassion when you just lost the first two rounds of a Grand Prix after starting with two byes? Can you show compassion when your opponent top-decked their one out? Can you show compassion when you mulligan to five and still don’t see any lands? Can you show compassion when members of the community lash out publicly? Can you show compassion when Wizards makes mistakes? Many of us turn to anger, hate, resent, fear, and any number of other emotions. In the world today though, a little compassion would go a long way, from our own small community to the global community.

Big Empty

Too much walking shoes worn thin
Too much trippin’ and my soul’s worn thin

November 12. Beirut, Lebanon. Suicide bombing. 43 dead.
November 13. Paris, France. Shootings, bombings, hostages. 130 dead.
November 17. Yola, Nigeria. Bombings. 34 dead.
November 20. Bamako, Mali. Shooting, hostages. 27 dead.
November 24. Tunis, Tunisia. Suicide attack. 12 dead.
November 25. Wogom, Niger. Arson. 18 dead.
November 27. Dakasoye, Nigeria. Suicide attack. 21 dead.
November 27. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Shooting, hostages, 3 dead.
December 2. San Bernardino, California. Shooting. 14 dead.

Did you know that the list of terrorist incidents in 2015 on Wikipedia is so long that it’s split into one list for January to June and another list for July through December? There’s a lot of pain and suffering in the world today and while no, this isn’t directly about Magic, our community is impacted like any other because many of us are effected by these stories on a regular basis. I’m fortunate to not be directly impacted by any of these, or any other of the mass shootings or terrorist attacks that plague our society. But, that’s not the case for all of us, and today I want to talk about how a small community like ours can improve things for everyone.

Can you see without eyes
Can you speak without lies

Right now, if you’re still reading, you might be thinking to yourself, “what does any of this have to do with the Magic community?” Ours is not a community often associated with compassion. There are, from time to time, amazing stories of compassion in our community. The massive collection that was found by a redditor and returned. The blind player who prints braille on his sleeves after drafting. The Gamers Helping Gamers and Desert Bus charities. These are fantastic stories of compassion in the Magic community.

But too often the stories in our community are not about compassion at all. Far too common are the stories of cheating, tales of theft, and recountings of misogyny or sexual harassment. Perhaps above all of them is the rampant plague of anger, hate, and negativity that we collectively refer to as tilt. These are the common stories. This is the reality of the Magic community. It is a place that is often overflowing with negativity that is sometimes able to bear the fruit of great compassion.

Take time with a wounded hand
‘Cause it likes to heal

How can we fix the problems with tilt in the community? How can we improve the way women are treated at local shops and at tournaments? How can we simply just be a better Magic community than we currently are?


Okay, maybe that seems like a really cheesy answer but if you think about it then it starts to make sense. When you get angry because you lost a match at a Grand Prix and you take it out on your opponent you’re not treating them like a human being. Show some compassion and be glad that they’re one step closer to an amazing accomplishment. That’s the first step towards being able to think positively about your experience which will allow you to analyze your performance and improve upon it for next time.

Treat each other with respect. Help people with their sealed pools. Give people constructive advice on their drafts. Have discussions about the game in a way that helps improve everyone involved. Take care of your local stores. Clean up after yourself in the bathroom. Speak up for people who are too shy to stand up to their bullies. Tell those bullies they’re not welcome in this community. Tell your tournament organizers that you expect them to make tournaments a welcoming place.

Be good to one another.

Flies in the vasoline we are
Sometimes it blows my mind
Keep gettin’ stuck here all the time

Anger, hatred, fear, and violence are all around us in the news these days. There is very little compassion in the world it seems. And it seems like whenever one of these mass shootings or terrorist attacks there’s a whole lot of finger pointing and not a whole lot of compassion. There are a lot of problems in the world, and treating each other like decent human beings would go a long way towards making the world a better place. Instead, we get more negativity which breeds further acts of violence.

But communities are strong. If we, as a small but vocal community, can make compassion the way of life in the Magic world, then the effect will seep out into other communities. As you change your life as part of the Magic community, you’ll see the impact to other communities that you’re a part of. Maybe it’s your local group of friends in college, or your work environment, or another facet of geekdom, or something completely unrelated. Whatever it is, the compassion of small communities will bleed over into other communities.

Does anybody know how the story really goes
Or do we all just hum along

Don’t just take my word for it though. Try it out. Change takes time and it begins with the smallest of shifts but eventually it snowballs into a new reality. Here’s how you start: At your next Magic tournament make yourself a promise that after every round, whether you win or lose, show some compassion, and try to understand your opponent’s perspective. Wish them luck in the next round. Congratulate them on a well-played match. Give them some advice on changes you might make. Talk about your match-ups. Treat your opponent like a human being. And if they respond with tilt, anger, or negativity, try to help by showing them some compassion. It will make a world of difference that we can start in our very own community.

I run through the world thinkin’ ’bout tomorrow

RIP Scott Weiland who wrote all of the quotes in this piece and the soundtrack to many of our childhoods.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.