I probably fire up MTGO once or twice a week to draft. Most of the time my opponents are the quiet type. I don't mind this at all, as I often play this way. Maybe they don't understand English well enough to table talk. Maybe they have a slow computer and don't want to waste time chatting. Maybe they just want to play Magic: the Gathering.
Other times I encounter those players. The ones that inspired Radha Rudyak to write this article. Of course, this behavior isn't limited to MTGO. Many online games suffer from this. Anonymity is a powerful enabler of bad behavior. From time to time, I see my friends post on Facebook about playing against these players.
I want to do the opposite. I want to tell you about people I play against who are fine, upstanding MTGOers. This week, that player is KeithPPowers. I ran into him in the finals of a triple-Theros Swiss Draft. I had a U/W heroic deck and he had nearly mono-black with a white splash. The match was great. It went to 3 games and each game was well contested. We had a few comments about our decks, and especially our money rares. He had a foil Nykthos (powering out double Gray Merchant of Asphodel) and I had a foil Master of Waves. In Game 1, I was light on lands and couldn't break through his Asphodel Wanderers--yeah, generally a bad card, but they did the job of slowing me down and powering up his devotion for Nykthos and Gary.
In Game 2, I got an Order of Heliod onto my Triton Fortune Hunter and used my Ephara's Warden to tap down his Wanderer (I love it when a sideboard plan comes together). Game 3 dragged on for a bit in stalemate fashion as I didn't draw a second white source for my Wingsteed Rider. By the time I did, he had an army that ran past my Yoked Oxen and Traveling Philoso-Bears thanks to Mogis's Marauder. Before Game 3 started, I told him that I would be writing this blog and asked him if it was ok to use his username. It's not necessary to do that, but it's the polite thing to do.
Over the course of 3 games, we exchanged maybe a dozen comments total. It wasn't like we became best friends, and it is probably less table talk than you might have at Friday Night Magic. But it was on MTGO, and that made it significant. When I spoke earlier of anonymity, maybe the fact that his username is likely his real name played a part in KeithPPowers being a pleasant opponent. Whatever the reason, I hope that telling stories like this will improve the culture. Thank you for the fun match, KeithPPowers.