May 22, 2022
Magic: The Gathering
Team CFBUltimateGuard, Magic: The Gathering
The year was 1995. I was six years old and had learned to play Magic: the Gathering on the bedroom floor with my older brother, Ian. Soon, enthusiasm for the game started to take over all aspects of my daily life. I’d spend hours playing games against Ian, and when he wasn’t around, I’d spend the rest of my time studying my slowly-growing collection. If I saved a month’s worth of allowance ($2/week when I did all my chores), I could buy two new booster packs to add to it.
Ian had the same competitive spark, and got a subscription to InQuest magazine. Among other things, InQuest featured content about Magic card prices and strategy. Not quite as sophisticated as what we offer through CFB Pro in 2021, but it was absolutely groundbreaking for two kids new to Magic. We devoured every word of it.
In particular, we loved the top 10 lists, where the columnists would rank the hottest cards from each expansion set. For Ice Age, the rankings probably went something like: #1 Jester’s Cap; #2 Stormbind; #3 Necropotence; #4 Deflection.
The thrill of opening booster packs
There was one particular day when we’d just returned from the local card shop, and I had my two hard-earned booster packs of Ice Age clutched to my chest (I was never one to open them during the car ride; such a momentous undertaking ought to be done with quality). Anyway, we sat down on opposite sides of the living room floor and commenced unwrapping. My first booster was mostly a dud - the rare was probably something like Ice Cauldron, far too complicated and wordy for me to understand, let alone get excited about.
That made the stakes higher for booster pack number two. If I couldn’t pull something special to help me beat my brother, it would be another month of mostly losing before I could get some new cards and try again. I flipped through the commons and uncommons, trying my best to understand and savor each one. Then something vaguely familiar caught my eye. Could it be? Inside the deep blue border were blinding streaks of red, yellow and white. I was dumbstruck.
Deflection! The #4 ranked card in the whole set! Could this actually be happening? Ian said something to me, but I was powerless to respond. I just sat there wide-eyed, staring at the card with my mouth open. Ian asked his question a second time. I turned the card around so he could see it.
“Duuuude!” He was shocked, but not quite paralyzed like I was. “Don’t touch it!” He bolted to the staircase, stumbled on the third step, but righted himself and disappeared up to the second floor. He came back with a hard-shell plastic case. With shaking hands, I gingerly slid the card inside.
Up and down, over and through, back around - the joke’s on you.
It was the coolest thing I’d ever read.
Despite my young age, I was the owner of a Deflection, the #4 ranked card in Ice Age
according to InQuest. At its peak, I think it clocked in around $12 according to the magazine’s “high price” trading value.
In reality, Deflection is not a very good or useful card. Over the years, they’ve printed many upgraded versions of the effect including Misdirection, Divert, Swerve and Ricochet Trap. The truth is that it wasn’t even very good back then. Nonetheless, I’ll never forget the joy I felt when I first opened it, or the excitement of exploring Magic when it was fresh and new.
I still have that Deflection, kept safely in a hard-shell plastic case. And no, it’s not for trade.
runs in the family for Reid. When Reid was five, his mom came home one
day with two Magic starter packs for him and his brother Ian. They both
hardly knew the rules but they muddled through as best they could with
the rules inserts. 26 years later, Reid’s now one of Magic’s most
successful and respected players in the world. Learn more about Reid.