Magic the Gathering: Removing Problems

What do you do with a little weekend insomnia? Well, if you were me, you might play some Magic. Then you might also draft a deck with lots of removal and try to remove, well, pretty much everything, up to and including your opponent if need be.

Magic Online Deck Removal

I couldn’t sleep Saturday night and ended up playing some very early Magic Online. I often play on Sunday Mornings but not normally at 2:30 on Sunday Mornings. I played one draft that imploded on me. It wasn’t a good deck and then my opponent got some good draws that didn’t help anything. I was a bit disappointed so I decided to play again. My second deck came out looking like this.

As you can see it’s got removal but not much else. Personally I like decks like this. While there are obvious problems some of the most fun choices for me are those involving which removal spell to cast and when. With cards like Shriekmaw and, as soon as it makes its way online, Violet Pall a deck with “too much removal” can never get enough.

I won a game at the Morningtide pre release strongly on the back of Violet Pall. I considered the card good but when you can destroy one of your opponent’s fliers with the spell and then block the other with your 1/1 flier and give it +3/+3 to kill his creature, and still keep your own the card moves from good to amazing very quickly.

Unfortunately all the removal in the world could not do two things. One it could not win me the draft (I came in second place) and it could not remove the bad attitudes from my opponents. (Yes yes, having all your creatures blown up often causes bad attitudes and rarely “removes” them.)

I will admit that there are times that I have said “Not really…” when someone said “Good game” but I’m usually only that snarky when it really hasn’t been a good game (snarky is what I call my rats when they are being pains in the butt, rats are very intelligent and their intelligence leads them to think that they know what is best for them). For instance times when I got land screwed and they rolled over me. I know people mean it as a kindness but it just feels insulting when the game was actually quite poor.

Magic Online Disconnect Jerk

My first opponent did the ultimate jerk move and disconnected, as he was about to lose.

Magic Online Jerk Disconnect

I am glad to say I have never pulled something like that before. I have been a bit rude, as I mentioned, so I can’t complain too much about my second opponent. I’m not even sure what he was trying to say since the first part of it was bleeped out.

Two Shriekmaws, Smokebraider, and a Flamekin Harbinger with two mountains and a swamp opening hand (MtG)

And in other news this was my opening hand for the final match of the Magic draft and yet I still lost.

Still, it was a really fun deck to play and I’m generally happy with a second place performance.

While we’re talking about removing things, it would be nice if Magic Online could remove some of the crashes and a bit of the lag, and how about part of the price for purchasing digital packs? I don’t see that last one happening any time soon but then I guess I’m still playing so why should they change it?

So what was the point of me posting any of this? Well, I guess I just wanted to say that I like removal and I don’t like jerks.

Have you faced a jerk in Magic Online? Have you, umm, been one? Let me know in the comments!


    Man, what a mess. This “Josh” guy obviously has no idea what he is doing!

    Scott Says:

    Dude, don’t be harsh on Josh – he’s just not well-versed in the technical side of running a blog and image editing.

    Plus, I was able to straighten things up so his content came through the way it was intended, no big deal.

    (little whiney though… ;-) )


    I feel this needs to be linked to in relation to this article. It does involve harsher language than usually seen here so I figured it belonged in the comments section rather than in the actual article.

    Scott Says:

    Entirely appropriate – thanks for finding that one, it’s an instant classic.


    “My first opponent did the ultimate jerk move and disconnected, as he was about to lose.
    Magic Online Jerk Disconnect

    I am glad to say I have never pulled something like that before. I have been a bit rude, as I mentioned, so I can’t complain too much about my second opponent.”

    Never been rude at all? Or never been rude in a game of magic? Everyone’s gone on tilt sometime. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, it just means you’re a person with emotions that might get the best of you sometimes.

    I acknowledge that people on MODO are often worse than they are in real life in similar situations, but that’s the issue with MODO removing the human element from the game. When all you’re interacting with is a computer screen – not a person – its very easy to get offensive. Again, it isn’t a bad thing. Its just a thing.

    If I get pissed off when someone insults me on MODO I know I’m the one who needs to take a step away from the computer. After all, its just a game and if I let their tilt get to me, I’m the one who is losing.

    Scott Says:

    Kai, you bring up a good point. Letting someone’s insult get to you is allowing them to drag you down to their level.

    During the month or two I played Magic online, back around Ravnica, there were a few poor sports, like just about anywhere else. Dealing with some verbal abuse is not exactly out of the ordinary in an online game, unfortunate as that may seem.

    While that’s one thing, I would say dealing with the disconnect is another, unique to Magic. It can be pretty frustrating to have to sit and wait for the game to end just because your opponent wanted to end the game but didn’t want to concede properly.

    Though all of that has nothing to do with why I stopped playing Magic online (and I see you’ve also stopped, until last week). I enjoyed the leagues but just had trouble scheduling my time around them.


    “During the month or two I played Magic online, back around Ravnica, there were a few poor sports, like just about anywhere else”

    Completely agreed. Go shopping, people are dicks. Go to the movies, people are dicks. People are people are people.

    “While that’s one thing, I would say dealing with the disconnect is another, unique to Magic.”

    I respectfully disagree with this point. The time wasted (and I have a further point to make on the notion that the time is wasted) due to a disconnect is, in my mind, similar to being snubbed in a store by a clerk or encountering a rude person.

    Sometimes it just happens.

    Whats different on MODO is that you feel a victim because now ‘you’re wasting time’. After all, why are we complaining about being disconnected on unless we are losing something tangible in the process.

    In the case of a disconnect, what we are allegedly ‘losing’ is time. But are we really losing time? Yes, the situation in which people are most often disconnected on is when they are about to win the match, so from the standpoint of seconds until I get 3 points, you have to ‘spend’ more time (10 minutes or less). But ignoring the specific, when you sit down to play a match on MODO you are assuming that it will take 50 to 60 minutes. In that sense, you are trading the immediate win for one 10 minutes (or less) away. Imagine this scene:

    “Oh man, I was playing some MTGO last night and had a great game. It was back and forth and we got down to topdecking until time in the round!”


    “Oh man, I was playing some MTGO last night and had a great game. It looked like I was going to win in a few turns, but instead of scooping to me, the guy disconnected / idled there until time in the round”

    Whats the difference? The difference is that in situation two the subject feels like something has been taken from them, but its a similar situation to the first example



    In my mind it isn’t ‘he disconnected and I had to sit there for 10 minutes’. You were going to sit there anyways.

    In my mind its ‘he disconnected and I knew I had ten minutes to get a snack / respond to an email / tell my wife I love her / check in with my teammates on IRC or AIM / read a few pages in my book’.

    Instead of being forced to play it out, my opponent just said ‘feel free to go take ten minutes to live life’.

    I’m not going to say that I don’t feel some bit of distaste in my mouth when someone disconnects on me, but being frustrated to HAVE to sit and wait for the game to end?

    Read a book, alt-tab to Firefox, go for a ten minute walk.

    Go live life.


    [...] involved in a side discussion within the comments on an article on pairodice games on the nature of MODO disconnects. (Relevant discussion here, here, and [...]

    Scott Says:

    Part of me wants to agree with that notion. Faced with an opponent who has disconnected, you’re certainly not obligated to idly sit out the remaining minutes.

    Whereas the other part of me thinks about why I sat down to play Magic to begin with. For me it’s more about having fun playing a challenging and exciting game (win or lose) than getting the win and the points. I feel like the disconnect interrupts my fun, even though I technically get the win my goal of having fun is not being met.

    For people falling a little closer to the competitive side of the spectrum, I agree with your comments – go do something else with those minutes before your next match, and view it in the light that your opponent gave you a win and a break.


    One problem I have is that they could come back before their ten minutes are up and if I happen to stay away too long… they may actually sneak in a win by ME timing out. Yes this doesn’t happen too often but I have had people go away for nine minutes and then return. This results in me checking my computer every five minutes or so. Also, while magic usually notices when someone has clicked okay I have had it NOT inform me while I was in another program and lost a lot of time (or in a couple cases a draft pick at the beginning of a draft) before I checked back.

    Thus, I really don’t feel that I am gaining anytime but rather gaining something new to worry about.

    Also, I am mostly speaking of drafts. In a draft situation once all the games are done the next round can begin. (This is true in other formats as well but with more games going on, most of the time the clock will run its course.) In other words I would be able to start the next round if not for the fact that this person has disconnected. This wastes the time of not just me but of the other players.


    So I’m assuming you two feel the same emotions when you get a bye in a round?


    I see the point you are trying to make but I cannot agree with it. My problem with disconects (besides the poor sport aspect) is that I now have to closely monitor my computer for ten minutes for fear of them coming back. If the person concedes before the match i can easily walk away for a solid half hour without fear of the next match starting.

    Perhaps you have more to do in ten minute bursts than I do but generally I like my time to come in larger blocks.


    And I agree with that. My point really is that disconnects aren’t some despicable thing. They’re just someone wasting your time and that time can be better used.

    Maybe my setup makes it easier for me to manage against disconnects. I’m running a system with two monitors, so its easy to shrink modo down to something small and shove it to the side. If and when they return, it’ll pop active and I’ll know that somethings up.


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    Magic the Gathering: Removing Problems – Gaming News & Views – Pair O? Dice Games