There are events in our history that define who we are as a society. Many of these events play out over a long period of time such as the civil rights movement or the systemic destruction of the cultures of indigenous peoples. Some of these events are only brief moments like the Gettysburg address or the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. There are events that you can see coming from years away like the rise of mobile technology and there are events that spring up on us out of nowhere like Brexit.

November 8th, 2016 is going to be one of those events that is brief, but that we’ve all known was coming for the past eight years or so.

Yes, this is still a Magic the Gathering blog. Yes, we’re going to talk about the American Presidential election that is happening tomorrow. If you’re not interested, I won’t hold it against you if you close your browser. Tomorrow there will be rogue deck brews. Wednesday there will be discussion of the new Hearthstone expansion. Thursday you’ll get some limited advice. Friday brings us talk of Legacy. Magic will still be here after the election is over. But will it be the same?

I don’t need to make an impassioned plea for you to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m with Her and Jess fantastically laid out the arguments for Clinton and against Trump last week. What I want to talk about instead is the Magic community’s relationship to this election. For most of the election cycle, if not all, the Magic community has for the most part been pretty much avoiding the upcoming election. This seems to be a pretty unique circumstance. Odds are your family talks about it a lot. Odds are your co-workers talk about it a lot. Politics have become a part of sporting events and the communities of sports fans. It’s permeated pretty much every facet of our lives as Americans and has also impacted many of our friends and families abroad as well.

So what about the Magic community?

We like to talk about Magic. We want to talk about Kaladesh and we want to talk about Commander 2016 and we want to talk about the upcoming World Championship. We don’t want to talk about politics. It doesn’t affect our game anyways. Whether it’s Clinton or Trump, the game isn’t going anywhere, right? Well, mostly right. The game itself likely isn’t going anywhere. Habro and Wizards of the Coast are pretty safe no matter who gets elected. The creation of the game will be fine, for the most part. The community however, well the community may not be the same.

Okay, I said I don’t need to make an impassioned plea for you to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I didn’t say that I didn’t need to make an impassioned plea for you to not vote for Donald Trump. Let me explain why.

Foreign Trade

I want to begin with dollars and cents. Magic is a global game. Many of us in America have been privileged to play Magic in other parts of the world and I’ve always heard amazing stories. Friends who’ve traveled to Nagoya or Tokyo or Prague or London or Madrid for Pro Tours and Grand Prix events have had incredible experiences. Play the game, see the world, right? Well a lot of this relies on foreign trade agreements. Magic cards are printed by a Belgian company called Cartamundi and the primary facility for printing Magic is in Dallas, Texas.

Donald Trump has a lot of problems with America’s existing foreign trade agreements and would like to renegotiate all of them so that they’re more favorable for America. I’m not an economic expert but I’m confident that whatever’s “more favorable for America” is going to be less favorable for other countries in these deals. That could lead to more expensive cards overseas or a reduction in card availability. It’s hard to say exactly what will happen. Economists don’t rightly know. Magic cards aren’t imported to America, but they are exported to foreign nations, produced in foreign nations, and made by a foreign entity. I can’t imagine everything will remain status quo if all of our foreign trade agreements are changed.

Climate Change

This is, perhaps, the most critical issue of our lifetimes. Research has show potentially catastrophic events if nothing is done. Donald Trump believes that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese and would withdraw from international accords to fight climate change. I don’t know about you but it’s going to be hard to have Grand Prix tournaments, or even Friday Night Magic, in a place like Miami if it’s underwater. That’s not to mention the continually rising costs of traditional energy (e.g. coal, oil) preventing travel to and from tournaments due to it being prohibitively expensive.

If you thought it was too expensive to build a Standard deck, wait until it costs you twice as much money just to drive to Friday Night Magic, let alone buy the singles you need for your latest deck. Sure, if Miami is underwater and there are worldwide natural disasters, the last thing anyone’s going to be worried about is Friday Night Magic. But I like Friday Night Magic. You like Friday Night Magic. Don’t let climate change ruin Friday Night Magic.

The Wall

I don’t even know what to say about this one. I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot harder for players like Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Willy Edel to compete in American events if there’s a physical wall on the southern border. Yes, they can fly over it, but a wall between the US and Mexico, combined with Trump’s foreign trade policies and immigration policies are going to make it much, much harder for foreign Magic players to compete in the USA.

Trump’s policies also include this little gem: “Suspend the issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening cannot occur.” What does that even mean? Does Brazil provide adequate screening? Does China? Japan? South Korea? Canada? If players can’t get visas to come to America to play Magic, it’s going to be the end of the international competitive scene.


Trump wants to make it legal for “good, honest people” to own and carry openly any kind of weapon no matter how big the magazine is. I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling attendance at Magic tournaments may go down a bit if a bunch of people with semi-automatics are patrolling the dealer area. Gun control is a tricky topic, one that I am fully in support of, but I don’t see how even the staunchest of second amendment supporters can believe it’s a good idea for everyone to walk around with automatic rifles like it’s The Walking Dead.

I could go on and break down more of Trump’s policies and see how they affect the Magic Community but hopefully you’ve heard enough to understand what a Trump presidency means for us. I know it’s easy to avoid politics when we’re playing games at our local shop. But the ramifications of electing Donald Trump are very real, even for a community as small and as niche-focused as Magic the Gathering. As Jess said, you have to play to your outs, and Donald Trump wants to ensure you don’t have any.

This election will be one of those moments that define us as a society. Vote for the society of progress and compassion, not the society of fear and hatred.

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.

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