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Author Topic: Introduction to Frugal Dueling: Two Laws to Live By  (Read 3221 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Introduction to Frugal Dueling: Two Laws to Live By
« on: July 03, 2015, 09:04:43 PM »
The Frugal Mage Warrior
Your Guide to Competitive Mage Wars on a Budget

Introduction to Frugal Dueling
Two Laws to Live by

Do you want to play mage wars competitively, but don't feel like you can afford it? Maybe you just got burnt out from spending hundreds of dollars on playing CCGs for a few years, and you have neither the money nor the bravery to spend even the tiny fraction of that amount necessary to buy all the expansions in mage wars? Fear not. It's NOT necessary to buy all the expansions. Playing mage wars competitively doesn't have to be a money sink. While not having access to all the cards can put you at somewhat of a disadvantage, it is far from debilitating.

If you play smart and make smart purchasing decisions and spellbook design choices, then you will have all the tools you need to start winning in Mage Wars, both casually and competitively. All this without your bank account breaking a sweat!

But in order to achieve this--to come into your power as a Frugal Mage Warrior, there are two very important rules you must follow:

1. Mage Wars Collections are Meant to be Shared
2. Look Before you Leap (Try Before you Buy)

1. Mage Wars collections are meant to be shared.

Regardless of how big or small your collection is, people have preferences when it comes to how they play the game and there's often going to be mages and spells that you own that don't see much use. Plus, the core set comes with enough pieces for multiple people to play with it. If every person in your playgroup owns their own separate core set, then half of the action markers are wasted space, and many of the cards and other components will rarely if ever see use.

The solution to this, if you want to get the most value out of your mage wars collection for the price you paid for it, is to share your collection. Sharing your collection saves everyone in your playgroup money because all those cards you own that rarely see use otherwise will be used by the other members of your playgroup, so no one has to buy more cards than will actually be used.

That doesn't mean you have to share ownership of things. I'm the mage wars bank for my playgroup. Whenever any of us want to play with a customized spellbook, they will hand me their desired spell list and I will take out the cards, put them together and loan it to them (binders sold separately, of course! :P ). If my playgroup becomes too big, I'm hoping one of the members will volunteer to become a second mage wars bank, and we will both use different card sleeves to distinguish ownership of each card.
If, in preparation for organized play, more than one player wants to use the same spellbook, or if there's not enough copies of a card for two or more players to use their chosen spellbooks at the same time, they will take turns. Players will be encouraged to build multiple spellbooks, so that if any of the necessary cards for their spellbook list are temporarily unavailable, they can choose a different spellbook instead.

If you're worried about your friends losing your cards, make sure that they don't play with them unless you or someone you trust with your cards is there. Let them use the spellbook builder to design their spellbook lists, and then put the requested cards together yourself and bring their spellbooks with you.

This method might not be optimal for everyone. It's more expensive for the person(s) who decide to be the mage wars bank. The person who owns the mage wars collection would need to be able to keep their collection sufficiently organized that they know which cards they're loaning. It doesn't have to be SUPER organized, you just need the spell lists for all the sets you own, and to keep track of which spells are currently being used in a spellbook, and which ones are still being stored at home. But if you go this route, it will be much easier to coordinate who is using what cards and when.

Alternatively, you can have different people own different sets, depending on what their favored mage(s) are. Then they could loan cards to each other to build spellbooks. For organized play, everyone who is using or loaning cards that will be used in the event should attend, to make sure their cards don't get lost or stolen. Plus it would be a good way to give some moral support to the player you're loaning your card(s) to.
ALWAYS USE CARD SLEEVES. If each person uses a different color card sleeve for the cards they own, then you should always be able to tell which cards are owned by which people. If you run out of colors, start using designs. If you run out of colors and designs, start putting a signature sticker unique to you on the card sleeves you own. This could be like your mage wars forum avatar, but in real life! And if you run out of colors, designs and stickers, then your playgroup is too big! Just kidding, you can always just use two stickers on a card sleeve to identify who owns the card instead of just one.  :P

If your family is your playgroup, it might just be simpler to share ownership of the whole collection entirely. Beware of sharing your collection like this with friends though. They could move away, and take part of the collection with them in their favored spellbook, and since mage wars is not a collectible card game, they would be stuck with bits and pieces of the different sets, and so would you.

While it's natural to want to jealously hoard your precious mage wars treasure, if you want to get anywhere near the full value for what you paid for it, there's no other way around it. You have got to share. Mage Wars collections are meant to be shared.

You can learn about how to share your collection fairly here:

2. Look before you Leap! Try Before you Buy!

You see something shiny and new. It's a mage wars product, and it's shiny and new. You WANT it.

No, you don't. Not yet. First, you must find out from your playgroup whether THEY want it. After all, it wouldn't be much fun if you, let's say, bought the new Battlegrounds expansion, and no one wanted to play it with you because they prefer regular arena.

The second thing you must absolutely do, because human beings are flawed and often wrong about these sorts of things, is try it. If you can't try a demo of the product in person, wait for it to become available on OCTGN and try it there. Make sure that at least one other person in your playgroup does the same. Don't buy a set if it's not going to see much use.

Don't buy it if you haven't tried it, because if you haven't tried it, you usually won't  reallyknow if you'll like it. Don't buy it if it's not going to see much use. If something's going to be really fun and exciting for a week or two, and then afterwards sits on a shelf gathering dust until the end of time, then you shouldn't buy it.

If you already have a playgroup who you share cards with, I highly recommend that you try making your purchasing decisions based on block formats instead, which are limited card pool variants which you can learn about here:

EDIT: I realize now that the purchasing map I had here was a bit difficult to read as well as being rather unreliable. If you're planning to play mage wars on a budget, using the block formats as a guide for what sets to purchase should be much better, even if you don't have a playgroup to share your cards with yet. For any of you who attempted to follow the purchasing map I had originally put here and weren't satisfied, I apologize.

Play more Mage Wars.[/size]
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 09:02:43 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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