When I first came into vintage, it was a new world with new (old) cards that I’ve never gotten to play. I got to play power! Cards I said I never said I would ever own, let alone play. I was excited, I was thrilled, trying out this new world. People were classy and nice to me – people like Joe Fiorini who helped me pick out my first deck. I got to know people, I got to make new friends, and I discovered a local tournament across state. I was enamored by what I perceived to be a group of mature, helpful people. There were some bad apples in the group, but what group of people doesn’t have that?
Things changed at some point. I can’t pinpoint the exact time, but I started to notice people weren’t as nice as I initially thought.
I’m guessing the rose tinted glass came off. People dogged my ideas, my decks, people that enjoy the VSL, and the didn't seem to have any interest in vintage’s growth. Hell, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t voice my opinion, because I don’t play as often as other people do. That my opinion meant nothing. Some people promote their Meta and group of players as the authority on the format. Kind of like an old school boys club.
For example, I’ve been told multiple times that I should not play Painter decks, because Painter is a bad card. I’ve always recognized Painter is not a tier 1 strategy (or tier 2 for that matter), but it’s where I have the most fun. That didn’t matter to these people. They had the attitude if you aren’t playing a tier 1 deck, you’re doing vintage wrong.
On a side note, I would argue Painter is a good card and Grindstone is a bad card. I just love how Painter interacts with the game at an angle no other card does, so I will continue to play the card because I have fun with it. I am certainly not a tier 1 skilled player and I'm under no delusion I will win a major tournament with this deck. I just want to play what I want to play. I'll admit, this does go against the part of me that wants to win and getting enjoyment only out of winning, so I do have internal conflict with myself on this, but that's another topic for another day.
B/R discussions are train wreck syndrome for me. They are broken, ugly, and dirty, but I can’t help but stare.
It’s why I rarely post anymore on the Facebook group or the Mana Drain at this point in time. I’ve been told by people to ignore it, to not let it bother me, but that’s just not the type of person I am. I’ve done the best I can by just turning off all notifications from the Vintage Facebook group unless I feel inclined to post on the site. I still support the Mana Drain, because I believe in the site and what it is. I just see myself viewing the site less and less over time. 95 percent of my viewing of this site anymore is it's still my homepage on my browser, so technically I visit it because of that. Heh.
I have honestly gotten to the point at times where I contemplated (though immediately not that seriously) about selling out. I don’t plan to do it, but it’s a thought that crossed my mind, which in the past it never did.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the format. It's still my favorite. If it wasn’t for the people like Andy Probasco ( @Brass-Man ), Ben Perry ( @Shaman-Ben ), Kevin Cron ( @CHA1N5 ), Aaron Katz, and many others, I may have walked away from the format. They make vintage what I envision vintage to be. A fun format where I get to sling the most powerful cards in the format's history.
I probably talk to Andy and Ben more about my personal life than anybody else in the vintage community (whether they like it or not haha), because they make me feel comfortable and welcoming.
The best times I’ve had in vintage have actually not been the games (though they have been awesome), but some of the dinners I had after a tournament where everybody has gotten together that played. We joked, we discuss our mistakes, the Meta, where we think things are going, and whatever else. There is no anger, there is no venom, no judging, just people being good people. Those moments have been a blast and put such a huge smile on my face. Those moments remind me why I love vintage.
Sometimes I do believe I love talking strategy, card selections, mana curves, side boarding, more than I actually do enjoy playing the game. I love playing the game, but I find it so much fun talking the game, which is why I think I get along so well with Andy (@Brass-Man).
Maybe part of these issues I have is my anxiety issues and OCD issues. Maybe I take things out of context sometimes (I’m sure I have) and have said some stupid things. I’m sure that’s part of my reasoning, but I think it would be foolish to put the whole stock on what I’ve felt to be because of that. At best it would be a small percentage.
I just think as a community we can do a better job of welcoming people to the format. Honestly, I’ve been at fault myself for making mistakes and getting into petty arguments and being part of the problem. This is not a call out to everybody else and not me, I’m not perfect myself. Maybe its wishful thinking that we could grow as a community, but it’s still something that should all strive for.