For as fun as it can be, Magic: the Gathering is surrounded by a surprisingly large amount of controversy. Throughout recent years, we’ve seen this come from all sides, with banks, players, and casual observers all weighing in. Most recently, the latest damning debacle followed Wizards of the Coast sending the Pinkertons to a player’s house. Unsurprisingly, considering the company’s history, this decision didn’t go down well. In fact, it resulted in many MTG players vowing to quit the game.
While this is the latest and arguably worst recent controversy, it is hardly the only one that has plagued MTG. In fact, there were so many throughout 2022 that we were able to make a list all about them. So far, 2023 has been similarly fraught with problems, enough so that some players have had enough.
A Piece of Advice
On any given day of the week, typically, there are a number of players threatening to quit MTG for good. Whether this be because of a mechanic like Stickers, or the aforementioned Pinkertons debacle, myriad reasons behind these outbursts. For better or worse, however, it’s unclear exactly how many players completely quit MTG. After all, considering how much fun MTG can be, this can be a surprisingly hard thing to do.
Regardless of the potential lack of follow-through, quitting MTG is nevertheless a frequently proposed idea. Despite this, however, it is rarely discussed how MTG players should quit the game. If you’re trying to boycott it, quitting cold turkey seems like the way to go. As we mentioned before, however, this is easier said than done. Subsequently, it may seem prudent to take a break instead, however, this presents its own problems.
Typically, MTG players have been left to figure these out on their own. After all, it’s not like they could ask Wizards for advice on this contentious issue. Surely Wizards would simply beg players not to leave… right? Surprisingly, wrong. After Tumblr user, Themartiangeek asked MTG’s Lead Designer for advice about quitting, Mark Rosewater gave them just that. “Don’t throw away your cards.”
Considering Rosewater works for Wizards, this response may not seem too surprising. After all, having MTG cards is a pretty important part of playing most MTG formats. While this is true, this response wasn’t a ploy to lure MTG players back into the fold. Instead, Rosewater simply knows that MTG players prefer breaks over quitting. As a result, keeping cards around is a useful safety net, as returning to no cards can be unnecessarily punishing.
“Don’t get rid of your cards. There is nothing wrong with taking a break, but the majority of players later return, and their greatest regret is having gotten rid of their cards.”Mark Rosewater
The Right Way to Quit
Unsurprisingly, some MTG players weren’t keen to follow Rosewater’s advice about only half quitting MTG. Reddit user u/Bigolfishey, for instance, likened the situation to drug addiction, commenting, “Hang onto your pipe just in case, suggests crack dealer.” While this, and similar comments, had players identifying the implicit bias, the majority of players were significantly more supportive. In fact, many players across Reddit and Tumblr suggested that keeping cards around is the right way to quit MTG.
Supporting the advice given by Rosewater while adding their own twist, were numerous players, such as u/Knarz97. Commenting, “Sell your cards, keep your decks,” Knarz97 offered a similar route back into MTG for players to take. While this advice won’t work for rotating or evolving formats, it nevertheless received a lot of support from players. Reddit user u/Street-Prune6673, for instance, called this “great advice,” while u/brambleforest stated this was “exactly what I did.”
“I went through all my sets, made 1 or 2 decks from each set from my favorite archetypes, and sold the rest about 2 or 3 years ago (though I hadn’t played since Eventide). I kept the cards I really enjoyed and that’s what matters.”u/brambleforest
Alongside the suggestion to get deckbuilding, several MTG players like u/weathered_leaves recommended downsizing rather than quitting cold turkey. Similar to Knarz97’s approach, downsizing a collection allows players to hold onto the cards that matter while ditching what doesn’t. Not only does this approach allow players to keep a personal connection to MTG, but it’s also incredibly space-saving. While this is an important factor, as u/DumatRising notes, it seems keeping a few favorite cards is anecdotally beneficial.
“I would give. I got rid of 80% of my cards and held onto the cards that bring me happiness, even after not playing for over a year and it felt great. I’m burned out and don’t quite enjoy the state of the game right now but I definitely hope to see a comeback soon.”u/weathered_leaves
If bringing happiness isn’t a strong enough motivator to keep MTG cards around, others, such as u/Troglodites- noted the financial aspect. Since MTG decks are incredibly expensive nowadays, rebuilding after a break can be a tough sell. Especially if you play formats like Legacy, cEDH, and Vintage. Unfortunately, however, while this may seem like a good reason to keep some cards, u/agamemnon2 noted that’s a lot of money to keep laying around.
“You’re damned either way, since hanging on to valuable cards on the off chance you ever return to the hobby is sequestering money that might be better spent in the here&now is taking a gamble as well.”u/agamemnon2
The Revolving Door
At the end of the day, while it is uncommon to have WotC discussing how to quit MTG, talk of quitting is nothing new. In fact, as u/SillyRookie highlighted, talk of quitting and the following regrets have been seen throughout Magic’s entire life. The primary reason for this is the massive casual audience that MTG has. Rather than following every single release, these casual players only dip their toes in occasionally. Since there are literally “decades of data on this,” according to SillyRookie, it certainly seems Rosewater knows what’s best.
At the end of the day, if you’re ever considering quitting yourself, it’d be wise to heed the advice and keep some cards around. Whether you do this to return to Commander or make an investment is up to you. From all the chatter across social media, it certainly seems like a prudent idea, no matter the reason. That’s not to say that you should go out and quit, however. After all, MTG is still an incredibly enjoyable game that has a lot of great sets on the horizon.