I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty middle of the road Magic player. I have been playing for a long time and certainly have had my bouts with wanting to be competitive, but fall on the side of being more casual. But the one area where I feel left out is which of the psychographics I fit into best. At their most basic levels, the three psychographics can be viewed as such: Timmy/Tammy is the more social gamer, looking to cast big spells and equates being powerful to fun. Johnny/Jenny are the players interested in card interactions and are also the most likely to try to cast One with Nothing. And Spike has the competitive part of the game in mind, playing to win.

In short, these psychographics encompass the “why” of how players enjoy the game. I’ve never taken the time to really typecast myself into any of them. But lucky for all of us, I have a very extensive journal where I have written about Magic in my freetime for the last 20 years. So I thought we would look at a few samples and try to discern where I fit in the psychographics.

If you’ve never put yourself firmly in one of these corners, this may help you understand your own motivations.

Godo, Bandit Warlord and the Helm of Kaldra. Two pieces of 2005 combo.

Putting Pieces Together

November 7, 2005.

Two weeks ago, I discovered the card Attrition. I was searching through Gatherer and just so happened to find the perfect card that I thought would go really well with my Angels and Vampires deck. This weekend, my eBay orders finally came and since Nate had advised me that 77 cards might be too many, I realized I was going to need to make edits to my existing deck.

But late last night, I realized that my three copies of Attrition were far better utilized in a completely new build, using the Helm of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, and Sword of Kaldra I had collected but never used. This morning, I walked into the cafeteria, ready to premiere my brand new Godo, Bandit Warlord deck. The plan was simple: over the course of several turns I would play Godo, grab an equipment, and then sacrifice him to Attrition, only to reanimate him with Zombify and get another piece. Nate gave me the side eye, but he just doesn’t understand the combo.

”The Godo/Kaldra Special”


2 Godo, Bandit Warlord

3 Halberdier

3 Iron Myr

3 Leaden Myr


3 Dark Banishing

4 Dark Ritual


3 Diabolic Tutor

4 Raise Dead

4 Zombify


1 Helm of Kaldra

1 Shield of Kaldra

1 Sword of Kaldra


3 Attrition

1 Cover of Darkness

1 No Rest for the Wicked


4 Barren Moor

4 Forgotten Cave

2 Lantern-Lit Graveyard

8 Mountain

1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep

1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

6 Swamp

4 Urborg Volcano

After a failed attempt before school, due to no Mountains and never drawing the second Zombify, my game during lunch went off without a hitch. Turn four Godo. Turn six sacrificed and reanimated. Rinse and repeat, we have a turn seven Kaldra. I’d love to say I attacked more than the first time, but Louis took me out with an Ire of Kaminari for 14. Looking back, I realize now that winning was never an option.

Sword of War and Peace and Sword of Feast and Famine. Powerful cards in the 2011 Standard.

Whatever It Takes

October 7, 2011.

I’ve been standing outside of Kayla’s apartment for fifteen minutes in the rain. I’m going to be late to Friday Night Magic. And the awning is too small.

After a respectable Innistrad draft, I realized that Invisible Stalker and Delver of Secrets were absolutely ridiculous cards. Then on Top 8 Magic, Michael Flores was talking about how Sword of Feast and Famine, along with other equipment like Strata Scythe, could build upon the two and make for a sneaky rogue deck going into the first week of this new Standard meta. The problem is, I don’t have any copies of Sword of Feast and Famine and I’ve made the questionable decision to stand in the rain, waiting to borrow a few from my friend.

”Mono Blue Beatdown”


4 Delver of Secrets

4 Invisible Stalker


3 Flashfreeze

4 Mana Leak

4 Think Twice

4 Vapor Snag


4 Gitaxian Probe

4 Ponder


2 Strata Scythe

1 Sword of Body and Mind

1 Sword of Feast and Famine

1 Sword of War and Peace


4 Ghost Quarter

20 Island

This feels like the first rogue brew I’ve taken on in quite some time. I hope I can beat the Pod decks. I’m going to need to find two more copies of Stalker in the shop’s common pile. I have no idea if this will even work, but there’s no net decking this week. I know I’m a good player and I’m not falling behind this season, I will win at all costs.

Malcator, Purity Overseer, along with Myr Battlesphere and Nim Deathmantle.

Splicing Something Together

February 15, 2023.

I don’t know why I keep building so many artifact decks. Probably because I just fell in love with the card type super early on in my Magic career and any chance I get to put together a list that consists of mostly colorless spells, I just can’t help myself. But this time it feels different, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Phyrexia: All Will be One means to my tenure with Magic.

I found Mirrodin when I was fresh and new to the game and now that vestage has been contorted and skewed into this strange body horror package.

This week, I want to bring something flavorful to game night. Most importantly of all, I do not want to lose to Greg’s “Biker Mice from Mars” deck again. I’ve come up with something that I think will undermine the table’s expectations, Malcator, Purity Overseer Equipment! Everyone who looks at Malcator is going to expect Golem Tribal and while I have a soft spot in my heart for the tribe, I actually question if they can produce artifacts in mass enough to trigger my general’s token ability. Instead, I’ll suit up what tokens I do have and make a night of it.

Commander: Malcator, Purity Overseer

Creatures: Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist, Armored Skyhunter, Blade Splicer, Bottle Golems, Brass Squire, Bronze Guardian, Cryptothrall, Deadeye Quartermaster, Ethersworn Sphinx, Faerie Artisans, Foundry Inspector, Geode Golem, Howling Golem, Liberator, Urza’s Battlethopter, Master Splicer, Myr Battlesphere, Phyrexian Triniform, Precursor Golem, Rebbec, Architect of Ascension, Sanctum Plowbeast, Sandstone Oracle, Sensor Splicer, Sram, Senior Edificer, Stenn, Paranoid Partisan, Urza, Prince of Kroog, Wing Splicer

Artifacts: Azorius Signet, Forsaken Monument, Golem Foundry, Hedgewitch’s Mask, Helm of Kaldra, Liquimetal Torque, Loxodon Warhammer, Masterwork of Ingenuity, Maul of the Skyclaves, Mind Stone, Nim Deathmantle, O-Naginata, Relic of Progenitus, Sculpting Steel, Shield of Kaldra, Sol Ring, Sword of Kaldra, Talisman of Progress, Thran Dynamo

Enchantments: Arcane Adaptation, Artificer Class, Tempered Steel, Xenograft

Planeswalkers: Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh, Ugin, the Ineffable

Instants: Access Denied, And They Shall Know No Fear, Masterful Replication, You Come to a River

Sorceries: Boon of the Wish-Giver, Fractured Identity, March of Progress, Organic Extinction, Splicer’s Skill

Lands: 15 Island, 13 Plains, Ancient Den, Buried Ruin, Deserted Beach, Dread Statuary, Glacial Fortress, Prairie Stream, Razortide Bridge, Seat of the Synod, Temple of Enlightenment, War Room

It took me a while to really find what the skeleton of this deck actually looked like. But at some point I started to take some cues from the decks of the past that had spoken to me from other formats. Most specifically, I wanted to try to emulate the artifact heavy decks of the past, namely the Tempered Steel decks that existed in the early 2010s through Standard and later Modern.

But I knew that since we were in Commander, I was also going to need to tap into the infinitely useful equipment subtype. I figured if I’ve got bodies why not put weapons on them.

I’m really happy that we got a general for the splicer deck, it feels like a theme that could have very well gone completely under the radar but Wizards was kind enough to throw a bone to the players that may not have been asking for it but certainly appreciate its existence. I hope the deck goes over well, I know that winning will be visceral.

Well, after looking everything over I have to say I still don’t necessarily know which of the three psychographics I fit into. It’s probably best to say that it has shifted over time and it’s never been entirely all in one category. The only thing I’m very certain of is that that Godo combo deck was very very bad and I regret putting it out into the world for all of you to see. Until next time, thanks for reading.

Ryan Sainio (he/him) is a Graphic Designer exploring the Commander format and Magic history on a regular basis. In October 2011, he got really sick because he stood in the rain for 45 minutes. He was clearly single at the time, because a significant other would have advised waiting the car until his friend got home. He never leaves the house without an umbrella now.

MTG Content Creator Awards 2022 nominee: Format Specialty Writing & Excellence in Writing Overall

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.