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A few words to railbirds

January 20, 2011

While I was sporadicly watching the live coverage from the SCG Open tournament in San Jose last weekend I was once again reminded about of something that has bugged the hell out of me for quite some time:

The overall attitude of railbirds.

You are watching a match on ggslive, YouTube or on Wizards live stream and every once in a while you see players maybe not making the “optimal” decisions at any given time. Players tap their mana in a weird fashion, they have the wrong gameplan, they should have used that removal spell on a different creature etc.

Then you see in the chats or comment section that people point out (at least the potensial) mistakes that were made, which is good. Identifying mistakes and routes of plays that could have been better is key in the learning process of getting better. But what bugs me is everything that happens after that. The seemingly endless pit of hate.

People instantaneously cry “noob” along with a wider assortment of offensive name calling, because the people they are watching are “so bad” and so on. Why is this happening? My guess is it’s a lack of understanding of the game as well of a general lack of humbleness that can be blamed on the anonymousness that the Internet provides. To the last statement there isn’t much to do about at least from a Magic community perspective (the Internet will always have people who pissed people of just because they enjoy doing so) but the first one there is. Let me get something straight:

Playing a game of Magic and watching a game of Magic are very different things.

It’s much harder to make all the good decisions while actually sitting down in on a chair and you have a living breathing opponent sitting opposite of you. We all feel pretty fly when we watch LSV play on YouTube. It feels reassuring that a vast majority of his play is on the line with what you would have done in those situations and you chuckle when he misses something that you thought was “obvious”.

But guess what, nothing is “obvious”. When yourself are playing (live) you have so much more to think about. Constant shuffling of the decks, alignment of cards on the board, taking notice of your opponents actions…the list can be made very long without difficulty. And this are stuff that has to be taken in consideration while also making the right decisions of the actual game. It’s a lot to think about and constantly have on your mind.

I can’t say that I have never made any “hateful” comments after watching a game of Magic, but I haven’t for a while since I had the epiphany of the fact of Magic (stated in bold). People are human and humans makes mistakes. That includes even you, dear reader. You might put yourself high on a pedestal but the truth is that no one plays perfectly. We all make mistakes. Sure, some people certainly are better players than others but no one is perfect.

And finally, how is someone going to get better by people calling he or her a “noobs”? And how does it help the people who do the name calling? The answer is it doesn’t. Instead, please raise your perspective on the game and the people who are playing it before you open your mouth, thank you.

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