Insulting people, and denigrating them for their choice of archetype, format or deck is bad form. It’s childish, and only reflects poorly on the person doing the insulting. Magic can be a terribly frustrating game, I get that. But there’s better ways to handle that frustration than to try to tear down others.

I have the benefit of having played this game for a very long time. It’s been a little over 20 years since I first picked it up and I’ve played every kind of deck imaginable. My first competitive Legacy deck was Mono-Red Burn. My second was High Tide. I currently have Death & Taxes built. In Modern, I have Junk, Jund, Esper Control, U/W Tron, B/W Tokens, Burn – in either R/G, R/W, or Naya and a bunch of others. I’ve been on both sides of every conceivable position. I know how frustrating it can be to have a Control deck lock you down, or to have a Burn deck mow you down before you can get set up.

This game is built with a wide variety of strategies. It’s one of the features that makes it so great – it’s different things to different people. It has aspects which can appeal to everyone, not only in play style, but with deck construction, aesthetically, and for collectors.

But this means that from time to time, you’re going to be in a situation where you’re facing down a match-up that’s terrible for you, or something you don’t like playing against. It happens to all of us. There’s a woman at my LGS who’s playing Green Tron, and I’ve been playing Jund. It’s a terrible match up. There’s something like a dozen cards in my main deck, like Fatal Push, and Inquisition of Kozilek, that are stone dead, or nearly dead against her. I almost always lose game 1, and I have to Mulligan aggressively to even have a 50/50 chance in game 2. It’s powerfully frustrating to be in a position where you feel like there’s not a singles decision you can make which will give you a chance to win the game. Helplessness is frightening. Even if I keep her board clear, and empty her hand, any turn that she untapps with active Tron could end the game for me. Trust me, I get Morton-umbrella-girl level of salty playing against her, but I don’t hate her for playing the deck, nor do I think she’s a bad person for playing it. It’s a very powerful strategy and I see the appeal. Dropping a turn 3 Karn Liberated is exhilarating.

So what’s to do with all that salt?

Well, on Arena, you can always just scoop out of casual matches if you’re facing those decks. There’s no obligation to play through if you’re not having fun. You might lose a little EV if you’re playing a Ranked game, but, honestly, rankings don’t mean all that much, and you can still get there even if you throw an occasional game. If you’re in an actual match where you’re playing for prizes, there’s a little bit more on the line, so you may feel like you have to play through, but you can always get up and take a break after any given match. Sometimes it’s just better to walk away. Alternately, you can study the match, and try to really up your game so you can maximize your chances of winning. Nothing feels greater than winning a match you were “supposed” to lose. Or, you can do what I’m doing, and build a deck that’s specifically engineered to dismantle the deck that you hate. I’ve just put together a R/W Blood Moon Prison deck for my FNM because I’m fking sick of losing to Tron. Turn 2 Blood Moon, beats Turn 2 Expedition Map every day, LOL.

I’d like to be clear about something here – I’m NOT talking about situations where someone has done something like building a Nexus deck with literally no win condition. That’s a shitty tactic, it’s intentional stalling, which could never happen IRL, and it’s exploiting the system in an unsportsmanlike way. The practice should be condemned, but I personally still think that insulting the people who do it is poor form. My Dad had an expression, “If you wrestle with a pig in the mud, you’ll both get dirty, but only he’ll enjoy it.”

Anyway, I guess that’s my rant for today. Play on, and be kind to one another.

➡️ I’m Tweeting now @23rdPlayable. I’m also occasionally streaming on Twitch as 23rdPlayable. And, as always, you can find me on Facebook in the MTG Arena Players group, where I’m a mod.