A History of …… Magic The Gathering

In which I get on my hobby horse and ride off into the sunset to tilt at windmills.



Back in 1995 a friend down the road introduced me to a new card game he’d discovered at his public school. It was called Magic the Gathering and was this fantastic card game full of math and fantasy, things both of us enjoyed. It had started in 1993 and had several editions already.


4theditionstarterpackI started my collection by buying a 4th Edition Starter Deck. It had everything I needed to start playing and had a wide variety of cards.  I bought several of those and then would haunt the local comic/hobby shop spending a lot of time looking through their boxes and boxes of bulk cards that I could pick up for as little as 10cents a card. When you are 17 and a diabetic paying for your own supplies, money isn’t something you spend profligately.  I had so much fun that I introduced it to a couple of friends at church and I remember one epic Saturday we had 7 of us all playing in one big group around the dining table.  It was a blast!



I remember buying my first booster box. A booster box had 36 packs and each pack had 15 cards. When you measure the cards you own by the 60’s, well, that is a lot. I had to split the box because I couldn’t afford to buy it all by myself. I think it was $75 at the time? They now sell on Ebay for around $1100-1400.  Anyway, the cards had a very strong Dungeons & Dragons vibe and one of the parents took a look and decided their kids weren’t going to play that. He also was a regular speaker at our church and one Sunday talked about the game. He didn’t name the game or put blame on anyone but himself for allowing it into his household, but as I sat there in the front row, I knew who had introduced his kids to it and I knew that he knew. When you are 18, devout and taught to respect spiritual authority, it was as good a killing blow for my playing the game as it was for his kids. My parents didn’t care, but I did. So I gave up playing, got rid of all my cards and figured that my memories were all I was going to have from that time forward.



My memories of MTG were anchored on one particular card. Pictured above is a 3rd Edition (also known as “Revised”) Sol Ring.  When I thought “Magic”, that picture and the picture at the top of the post were what sprang to my mind.  That was the face of Magic to me. It still is in fact.



Speed down the highway of Life to 2014.  I began working with a new coworker and it didn’t take long for us to realize that the way we thought and the way we handled the job was so different that it made life super difficult. To the point where I was ready to push him in front of a bus if the opportunity ever presented itself. Thankfully, for both of us, he mentioned that he had recently gotten back into Magic the Gathering. He brought in 2 decks and we began playing at lunch time.


By this time in history, Sol Ring had gone through various changes and had had special editions and premium versions, etc, etc.  I began collecting again so I could play with my coworker and keep the peace. Magic the Gathering gave us a common bond that allowed us to work together when it wasn’t really feasible.  He eventually moved on to other companies but we stayed in touch and kept on playing a couple of times a month at a local library.  By the end of 2019 I had tens of thousands of cards and over 16 Commander decks (Commander is a variant that has 100 cards in a deck instead of just 60, plus some other rules that make it the best version in my opinion).  Then my former coworker’s personal life took a dramatic turn for the bad and he had to retrench and move out of state. Then Covid19 hit and really put the kabosh on finding any new players who I could get along with at the local game store. My interest in Magic was on life support.

The following paragraph is where things get political. After the “Rest in Peace” card is where I go back to non-political stuff.



Then in June of 2020, Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns and produces MTG (under the auspices of Hasbro) decided that their Social Justice Warrior Virtue Signalling hadn’t been enough.  They came out with the statement we will be removing a number of images from our database that are racist or culturally offensive,…”.  What this means is that any card that they deem to be culturally inappropriate they will ban from competitive play and will remove them from their online database. With this criteria being such a moving target, it means that any card, at any time, can be removed “because reasons”.  The only people who think that the cards being banned are problematic are the wokescolds who already think everything is racist.  This doesn’t make me angry, it makes me sad, because this signals the end of Magic. There is a reason for the quote “Get Woke, Go Broke.”



So this is the end of my playing Magic the Gathering yet again. I have the feeling this time it will be for good, mainly because I’m not having any desire to continue. However, MTG is what is known as a Collectible Card Game, or CCG, and that means that acquiring cards is as much part of the business model as playing. In that regards I do plan on continuing.  I currently own a complete set of 4th Edition (378 cards) and I plan on collecting Revised Sol Rings and storing them away in a nice binder.  My initial goal was 100 but since I’m almost there I think my next goal will be 500.  So feel free to blame me if the price goes up to $20 a card (which is outrageous by the way, but considering I’m seeing outliers at $15, it could happen).

My Pretties….


bookstooge (Custom)


44 thoughts on “A History of …… Magic The Gathering

  1. I played 5th edition a bit, had a quick green deck… a few years back I sold all the remaining cards. Recently, I played some LCGs – Living Card Games – where you always know which cards will be in your set. Much cheaper 😉
    We differ much, politically, but I agree this attempt at erasing game’s past is silly… Good thing they can’t really control how you play any game you bought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I had more real life (who lived near me) friends, I’d probably get into some kind of game or other. I’ve looked long and hard at the doom boardgame, as that seems pretty cool. But without people, the chances can’t even start.

      The thing is, they are desperately trying to turn MTG into a game where they have all the control. That was a big part of why they moved things digitally into Arena. By the time paper players go away, MTG’s time will be done. Of course, with covid19, paper playing has taken a HUGE hit 😦 I’ll be watching interestedly in how things proceed…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Boardgames in general are on the rise though, as we all spen more time indoors.. perhaps try to find something people around you would enjoy? I’m experimenting with all kinds of games, with varying success 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Kris Burm’s two player tactical games have fantastic depth. I’ve also played Pandemic this weekend, surpringly solid for a game in which everybody plays against the board together.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. My sister-in-law has recommended Pandemic, but my brother hates it, so it hasn’t happened (yet). It just doesn’t help that I don’t like going out amongst the people (make sure you say “the people” with a snobby, pretentious french accent!)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I’ve played Pandemic several times, quite difficult and entertaining. Another cooperative game I like is Lovecraft-based Eldritch Horror, and Battlestar Galactica is awesome – this one is cooperative, but with hidden traitors 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank GOD the coworker mentioned his liking for MTG on time because….*shivers at the thought of what would’ve happened to him otherwise!* 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣🤣

    And I gotta tell you, that is quite an impressive collection you’ve got there, Bookstooge! 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really, really felt that moment where you gave up on the game because of the spiritual authority in question. I think I would’ve been devastated by that moment too if someone I looked up to indirectly made me feel guilty for something. I’m glad you still got around to playing this again a bit, especially that it helped you avoid premeditated murder hahaha As a collector, I also understand your desire to continue that pretty collection that will likely grow in value over time. Enjoy the ride, good friend. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.
      It has made me much more aware of just how much indirect influence we can have on those younger than us. Even when they seem to totally ignoring us 😀

      Like I told Rain, I think getting 500 sol rings is going to be a major long term task. Mine have cost between 6-10 apiece and sometimes a little cheaper with deals on ebay. But now, supply is slowly drying up for that specific edition (which considering it is from ’93 is no surprise) so the prices are going to start rising. I joked about 20, but 11-15 seems to be the average on TCG (the place I buy most of them from) and it’s not dropping. Sigh, I just need to win the lottery…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So envious of your revised Sol Ring! I only a copy of this cards it is from the Commander 2019 set.

    Speaking about Commander, did you still own some of you decks? Which Commanders were you running?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think part of my getting this version was my aversion to the commander version. Forgive the bad word play, but it is just so soul’less 😀

      I’m keeping all my edh decks. I’ve got about 18-20. Most are precons that I’ve upgraded (I invested in a set of revised dual lands and a set of fetchlands so I can proxy each deck) but I did make a couple of my own.
      The latest was turning the jund brawl deck into a sacrifice deck headed by Korvold.
      I’ve also made a lands matter deck that I forget who it is headed by.
      3rd is a bant Exalted deck with Rafiq of the Many
      Finally, I have a orzhov knight deck headed by Athreos, God of Passage. It’s pretty bad but I just love the knight theme.

      I’m currently trying to get rid of all my other cards (I’ve amassed over 10K since then) but with covid, no can play paper, so no one is really buying bulk stuff. Oh well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I’m also really envious of the dual lands and the fetchlands… I’m also planning to buy them because I’ve recently started to build a really enjoyable Queen Marchesa deck and I want to really give it my all.
        Before I was playing only a mono-black Liliana and so Dual Land weren’t needed

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, duals don’t help a lot even in two colored decks. I always add one though, just to help smooth things out. But in 3 color decks they really shine. I’m not a fan of 4 or 5 color decks, so my only experience with those is with the c16 preconds.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh, that is NICE!!! Tedin is great 🙂 Of course, I am biased 😀

              I trust the foil is something to keep it from curling? That is why I don’t bother collecting foils anymore. The amount of care you have to take to keep them perfect is super hard…

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. I’ve never seen a triple sleeve. I’ve heard of it though. Seems overkill to me. My duals go into kcm perfect fits and then into one of those uv protected hardcases that magnetically shut.

                      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool story, Bookstooge. I never got into MTG, which is probably a good thing considering my collector-personality. Gotta catch ’em all! Oh, wait, wrong franchise. When you gave your “political” warning, I wondered what I was going to read next. This current “cancel culture” we’re experiencing will not last. It can’t–he says optimistically… As you mentioned, “Get woke, go broke” is a popular mantra in these strange times. When money is all these huge corporations are really interested in, then anything that stops the flow of said money can’t continue indefinitely. “They” won’t allow it. People will vote with their wallets. Just look at what’s happening in the comic book industry or what’s left of Hollywood. They’re on the verge of collapse. Anyway, enough waffle from me🤐 I really enjoyed reading this little snapshot into the mysterious past of Bookstooge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The longer mtg goes, the more people are saying it is becoming like other franchises, because it has been taken over by Hasbro and they ARE all about the money. Unfortunately, if things don’t change within a couple of years, I see mtg really spiralling the drain.

      And waffle away. Long comments are fun (for the most part, hahahaha). I hate reading political stuff on other peoples’ blogs so I always try to keep that to a minimum here. Or at least give warning when I edge into that territory. I’ve stopped following people who decided that their blog needed to be as much Message Blog as the blog I started following 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. I never played competively, even at the local gameshop AND I got into commander, which is a much more casual, laidback format. Both of those contributed to me amassing a lot of cards as I’d buy a box to draft with my friend or brother. But that IS expensive…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That is actually a big reason why I’m not staying in the game. I need people I already know and feel comfortable with to play the game. It is as much about shooting the breeze while we play as playing. I can’t do that with some random 25 year old who seems to want to win more than have a fun game :-/

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll always enjoy all those pretty pictures – but never had an urge to even try to play it 😉 The investment of money and time sounds just much too high 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a real investment if you want to play competitively. Decks cost from 500 and up. Depending on what format you’re playing, cards can be banned at a moments notice too. So if a new card is hot stuff and and you have to buy a playset of 4 for 200 or more, and then they get banned in a month, you’re screwed.

      There are so many levels and facets to mtg that I didn’t touch on here. There is a reason it has stuck around for 25 years.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This was an interesting read. I write reflections Magic the Gathering, and I’m always interested to hear about people’s memories centered around the game. I remember telling my buddy, who started playing around the time you did, that they had reprinted Sol Ring and he flabbergasted. Good luck with the Sol Ring collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it 😀

      Thanks. I’m not a scumbag collector like Rudy from Alpha Investment. These sol rings will never be worth a lot. It’s just nostalgia 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t think you were. It’s fun to collect pet cards. I have a Bog Imp collection of about 500+ or so. Kinda’ lost count. I have a post or two on my blog you might find fun to read too. The Commander format is fun for engaging newer and older players alike.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I write again under this post to tell you that I finally got one of the Sol Ring with the original Tedin’s illustration! It’s not a Revised one like yours but is from the Foreign White Bordered edition

    Liked by 1 person

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