Magic is the best card game of all time. Ciro Santilli agrees with this fact, and this has nothing to do with the nostalgia factor of having played it while being a teenager.
It is also the one with the most cumbersome name possible, containing even a bloody colon punctuation in it!
However, besides that, Magic has another major flaw: the cards of old formats (Legacy and Modern), which are the only really interesting ones, are fucking expensive: Section "Magic: The Gathering is too expensive".
Like in mathematics, the most beautiful decks are those that do crazy things:
  • infinite combos
  • semi-infinite combos that allow you to likely draw your entire deck or deal 20 damage
  • all-in decks that either win or lose on turn two
  • and lands
All of this comes to a certain extent from the deep asymmetry that permeates the game.
It is also really interesting to watch as new sets as spoiled and try to guess if certain cards will have any impact on the Modern or Legacy metagame.
Here are some cool decks:
If Ciro were to ever overcome his cheapness and play the legacy forma (which will never happen), he would likely play one of the following decks when trying to be able to win at all:Both of this decks focus on cheating a huge creature into play in one go, and both have combo protection methods (discard for turbo depths, and counterspells for sneak and show). Ciro believes that those decks reflect his personality well, notably Ciro Santilli's self perceived creative personality. Related decks that don't appeal as much to Ciro:
  • reanimator: you have to worry about graveyard hate all the time, worrying is bad
  • storm: you have to play too many spells, it's tiring. Ciro would rather put a fattie into play and swing once.
And above all, Ciro would never play a fair deck. Grinding victories is not for him. He'd rather quickly decide win/lose status and move on.
Competitive commander is also interesting, although matches tend to be much more random so the format is harder to digest, see for example this channel; Playing With Power MTG channel.
In Ciro's mind, Urza's block is the most epic of all, followed by the masques block. Those sets had a ridiculous power level and epic art, and they happened just before Ciro Santilli started playing during Invasion, which had an extremely low power level in comparison. So Ciro saw some cards from those slightly older formats floating around, but not many, and they felt so mystical and awesome.
Video 2.
I Built a COMPUTER in Magic: The Gathering by Because Science (2019)
. Source. Shows an explicit Turing complete Magic The Gathering setup with real cards in a standard "extremely lucky" 2 player game.
ChannelFireball is one of the best Legacy resources out there, but they have too much crap filling in between legacy videos unfortunately.
The following creators share many of Ciro's interests and output large quantities of interesting content covering all memes/overpowered combos of new sets:
  • BoshNRoll (Brian Coval) is basically Ciro Santilli's favorite MTG streamer of the early 2020's very good Legacy focused content, with occasional Modern and Pauper, good spicy deck selection. And he says nice and intelligent things the hole time, it's the type of person Ciro would be good friends with in real life. It sometimes makes Ciro said to see such a person wasting their lives with Magic. Twitter:
  • Magic Aids
  • Squa Chief. He does a lot of cool decks.
  • Jeff Hoogland. Not Ciro's favorite personality though, too rambly/matter-of-fact. Also was going too much into MTGA.
  • Meryn MTG. She's too much on the jank side for Ciro's taste, but for that reason she covers some decks of interest that others don't. She's cute, and a Timmy at heart. Which makes you feel really sorry for her as she gets crushed by more competitive decks.
  • CalebD. Legacy and Modern. Too much drafting in the middle of actual videos. Sometimes decks slightly too janky/experimental. Amazing channel soundtrack.
  • Nikachu has some decent commentary. His endlessly rambly persona is a bit annoying, but the content of the commentary is still good.
Ciro was pleased when he learnt that Steve Wozniak plays magic the gathering.
Magic's competitive play became a mess in the late 2010's. They had a clear tournament structure, but they decided to start changing things every 6 months, and give tournaments meaningless names like "Mythic championship", and it just became impossible to follow what is what. Crazy MTG Scandals That Changed The Game by Nikachu (2021). Good list:
  • obviously wrong card named
  • Dryad arbour camouflaging as a land
  • go to combat
Ciro thinks this is idiotic, and that Wizards should sell all cards individually with unlimited supply and all with the same prices, especially online where there are no printing costs. But because Wizards made the silly promise never to reprint certain cards with the reserved list in 1994, they can't even correct this mistake legally! (TODO maybe, see further discussion at: There is however one simple solution: create and promote a new no reserve list format, and let reserve list formats rot away:
One interesting outcome of this would be to have card cost limited formats. Penny Dreadful puts a super low limit, on individual cards, but it would be cool to have a max cost per deck version of it.
A cool thing is when they printed Garth One-Eye, which allows you to make imaginary copies of some of those restricted list cards during play. This is the type of "flirting with the rules", that Ciro Santilli admires. The introduction of online-only cards such as XXX has pushed that even further as of 2021.
This was especially insane when Ciro was young and the Internet was not very widely available in Brazil yet, and Ciro did not know how to check the values of cards on online markets, and would trade cards with older much more knowledgable teenagers, based solely on his appraisal of a card's strength! Can you imagine how many young Timmys got ripped off in this manner, trading useless one million mana spells for ultra expensive black lotuses?
There is however one good solution to Magic's insane cost: watch people who have nothing better to do in their lives play on YouTube.
And as Internet formats dominate more and more, if they have any brains at will they will migrate to a subscription model where you pay to play for a given period of time, and have immediate access to all cards. It could even be a tiered access, with older formats being more expensive (more bugs to fix on different cards), but you must get access to all cards of a format at once.
Video 1.
The Tarmogoyf Scandal by Nikachu MTG (2021)
. Source.
Very good channel that gives some idea of the behind the scenes of working with card stores and secondary market trading.
Such lessons can have applicability in business and investment outside of the Magic The Gathering context as well. Yet another example that usefulness can come out of uselessness.
Video 1.
The Process of Opening a MTG Store by Alpha Investments (2016)
. Source.
Video 2.
Spending $500,000 per month on Pokemon & Magic by Alpha Investments (2021)
. Source.
His combination of politically incorrect dirt talk with amazing quirky decks captures Ciro's imagination.
Anonymous no face-reveal.
The videos are heavily edited with all pauses cut out, which makes them very quick to watch and saves viewer time.
Modern focused, with some occasional newer formats mixed in.
When Wizards publishes several useless sets in a row without a single modern playable card, he's just forced into Standard.
Video 1.
Magic Aids vs. Magic Rainbows by Magic Aids (2018)
. Source. In this amazing video Magic Aids makes fun of Wizards for forcing him to change is Magic Online handle from Magic Aids to something else due to the AIDS part. He claims the Aids is not meant as a reference to the disease, but just as in "memory aid". Ciro doubts this wasn't intentional. But the video is still amazing, and happens to involve a sex doll dressed as Liliana Vess squirting glitter from her vagina. Wizards must love this guy. It is also a good criticism of political correctness in general. This is a work of art.
Paraprasing a friend of Ciro Santilli:
Magic: The Gathering is like cocaine in card form.
Luckily, early teens Ciro Santilli was partly protected from this by Ciro Santilli's cheapness.
But Ciro distinctly remembers one day in his early teens that he couldn't sleep very well, and he got up, and the was decided that he would become the greatest Magic: The Gathering player who ever lived. Can you imagine the incredible loss that this would have been to humankind? And talk about the incredible lack of development opportunity present in poor countries, related:
In 2019, a paper proved that MTG is Turing complete with a legacy legal deck. Live demo with some hand waving: Video "I Built a COMPUTER in Magic: The Gathering by Because Science (2019)". As Ciro Santilli comments at: this was an interest addition to the previous "indefinite infinite loop" e.g. as found in a Four Horsemen combo deck
Ciro had initially Googled for the "4-card limit thought experiment" but he reached: "What if the 4-Card Limit Was Abolished in Modern?" by Frank Karsten (2018) and was much more pleased with the mathematical result. Like-minded people.
That links to the related article: "The Mythic Invitational's Duo Standard Format Game Theory Optimized" by Frank Karsten (2019) which explains well how Nash equilibrium is naturally reached: if there is any imbalance, someone can take advantage of it, and then it rebalances. Therefore once you've calculated the equilibrium, your best course of action is to pick a deck at random from a list of possible winners.
Of course, part of the beauty of Magic is that we can never really know the full matrix since deck choice is basically infinite. But at the very least it could give good archetype results.
Open source MtG engine implementation written in Java.
Seems to have an option to download art from internet as well.
Ciro Santilli wonders how legal it is. They very explicitly do not mention the words Magic: The Gathering anywhere.
Their UI does a good job at being self explanatory. Space is the shortcut to skip phases.
No online play.
TODO it appears to parse card functionality out of the human readable text! That's genius, as it helps automatically get new cards working, and squirt around legal issues.

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