If you’re playing Magic anywhere besides the Internet, it’s not all about you, because it takes two to tango and also to play Magic. We really love the community of Magic players, but occasionally, there’s someone there who makes the experience more unpleasant than it ought to be by being a bit of a jerk. So hey, don’t be a jerk! Some people are intentional jerks, but a lot of jerks out there are accidental jerks, and either way, you should really try to stop that jerky behavior. Here are a couple of tips from us, and if any of them sound far-fetched, just know that if it’s on the list, we’ve encountered it at least once.
1. Evaluate. There are new Magic players that need a hand, and helping a newbie understand some rules is a sure way to not be a jerk. If, however, you assume that your opponent is a new person in need of your sage advice just because they’re a girl, or young, or you’ve never seen them before, you’re being a jerk. Always give your opponent a chance to prove to you that they know what they’re doing. If you’re midway through your first game and they seem pretty confused, then you can point out the rules.
But NEVER give your opponent unsolicited advice during the game, and if you want to give some pointers after, ask them if they’d like your advice first. That’s a good way to not be a jerk.
2. Watch your language. I like to swear as much as the next person, but when every other word out of someone’s mouth is the f-bomb, it’s aggressive and off-putting and makes it seem like you might be seconds away from a fist fight or overturning the table. It also makes your opponent feel like the bad guy, and they’re not. They’re just your opponent, for this one match, this one time, and there’s no reason to turn them into your enemy for all time. I’m not saying don’t swear ever. I’m just saying don’t swear all the time, because man is that exhausting.
3. Smile. Even if it’s just once. Really. Do it. Smile. Not at the end of the match after you’ve won. Before. When you first sit down across from your opponent. And if they don’t smile back, it’s okay, don’t get upset. Remember, you smiled, and now you’re the person who’s not a jerk.
4. If your opponent asks your name, ask them theirs. And if they didn’t ask your name, you get to ask them first. This is also a great opportunity to implement tip #3. Look at you, not being a jerk!
5. Win and lose gracefully. If you win, don’t gloat, and definitely don’t apologize (I know that one seems counter-intuitive, but you wanted to win, so don’t pretend like you’re sorry it happened). If you lose, remember tip #2, and also probably tip #3. It’s not the worst thing in the world. Do you know what is the worst thing in the world? Being a jerk. So whether you won or lost, keep showing your opponent some courtesy.
6. Don’t eat eggs out of a bag. Maybe this has less to do with being a jerk, and more with just grossing people out. If you’re hungry, please don’t eat eggs out of a bag, for everyone’s sake. Please.
If your opponent is being a jerk, that doesn’t give you permission to be a jerk back! Everyone is going to like you a little bit better for being an alright person, so keep it up.
From Maria and I, thank you.