What was your first encounter with Magic?
Gregory Marques: The first Magic cards I saw were given to me by a childhood friend. I was staying at his house for a weekend during my high school's February break in 1994. We each had a starter of Unlimited and a couple of packs of Unlimited and Arabian Nights. We read the rulebook and built some decks. My first deck included a Craw Wurm, which was my first favorite card.
We did nothing but play Magic for two days straight. We built deck after deck, exploring all the different cards and the possibilities they offered. We traded back and forth a lot too. I recall having a very hard time against Ali from Cairo and Shivan Dragon. I also remember building a deck around Khabál Ghoul, loving it, and trading for all three that the group of us had opened.
When I got home, I sat in my room for a few minutes with a mail-order form. This form would have let me buy up to two boxes of Arabian Nights cards for half price. That was still a lot of money, and I didn't think it would be worth it in the long run, so I threw away the form.
The next day, at school, I was sitting in a class when I noticed another kid with Magic cards. I did not know him, but soon we were talking about Magic, the cards we'd seen and the decks we'd built. He had a Northern Paladin, which I had never seen before, and it totally blew my mind! Over the next two weeks I got all of my friends into Magic and gained over a dozen new friends who played. We spent every free period playing, most of our weekends, and half our free time in the summer.
That Fall, on my first day of college, my advisor asked me about my hobbies. When I mentioned Magic he told me his son played, and pointed me in the direction of the college gaming club. There I would meet my first batch of college friends, many of whom are still friends of mine today. Overall I have Magic to thank for dozens of friends, a quick entry into a network of people that left me feeling a lot less alone in the first weeks of college, and a career.
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