256: The Magic of Spike and Timmy

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Onyx Oblivion:
I'm a Timmy. But not with big creatures...with Cancel and it's ilk.

As long as I piss you off with my blue decks, I'm happy. As long as I cancel one thing...I'm happy.

There's a special name just for people like you.

http://mtgsalvation.com/660-the-fourth-psycho.html

...Jerk. :)

im an eldrazi
to expensive to play
to powerful to not exile
and ugly as sin

Tiamat666:
I think they missed a rather important profile. "The collector". He buys cards but possibly never plays with them, as he simply enjoys their possession because he appreciates the art or the rarity. I'm definitively of the type. I tried collecting all black rares for two years or so, even though I barely played the game. And I still own my collection of about 100 of them.

In terms of magic the gathering the profile you would fit then would be vorthos. hes the forth profile they dont talk about as often. if you want to read more just get on the website youd probably enjoy reading some of maros "Mark Rosewaters" Articles about this topic.

I played in the 90's. I have a few fond memories associated with the game. Running up to San Antonio for a weekend to compete, I nearly winning a Grand Prix in Houston. It wasn't always that way I remember for the first few months I played, discovering new cards (before I figured someone had actually made a list of all the cards). Buying boosters and finding out something new with each one. Eventually after a year ors so of playing I started to get competitive. By the time Urza's Destiny came out I was entrenched in competitive play, I almost solely played games to tweak deck ideas, all formed around solid ideas I threw around while looking over the cards. Deck construction was second only to winning for me. After I joined the military I pretty much gave up playing. I still have the cards. But seeing how it has been nearly a decade since I last played a game I am sure I am done with them.

I think getting better is what lead me to being competitive. A I grew better and better I outpaced even the friends that got me interested in the game in the first place. Soon enough they no longer even wanted to play against me. I turned to competitive play.

What I am trying to say is that I feel these profiles are more phases people go through while playing, and all everyone is some combination. Everyone likes to pull off that combo or game changing sequence of cards, stun everyone, and most importantly win.

Ah, yes, Magic. Surely brings back a lot of memories. I remember a time when I read MaRo's articles every week (because I was bored, yes, but I did it). It's kind of fun to see being quoted on someone else's article.

I'm a Johnny all the way, with perhaps a splattering of Timmy. These profiles are very interesting, specially because of how they turn out to be true. I remember back when I began, when I was way more Timmy, playing a friend who was a complete Spike. I was playing an insect time which I had created by looking at all of the insect cards, choosing the coolest ones, and adding land; it had about as much synergy as a jetpack powered by bricks. It was black-green because most cool insects were black or green. So at a point I play Nantuko Shade (for the uninitiated, a creature that gets bigger when you pay black mana). My friend just flips out, going on and on about how you should only use him on an all-black deck. I try to explain why he's on the deck in various ways - I say he's a 'special guest', I say it's a deck just for fun, I even explain my amazing deckbuilding strategy to him - to no avail. He just kept yelling at me, (well, typing in caps) about how that was not how you did it. Who's to say? Just so you know that profiles sometimes not only like different things, but can't even understand the others' existence. Hence why so many cards are labeled bad because the Spikes who write most fansites don't get it.

There's certainly some ground to the idea that these profiles exist in all games. Spikes sound like the Stop Having Fun Guys of lore,(WARNING TV TROPES LINK WAIT TOO LATE AAAAAA) who think only of winning, look down on people who don't read all FAQs and guides to be the absolute best, and think the only way to properly play the game is the most effective one. Johnnies are the guys who are always trying to find where the level boundaries fail and where the invisible platforms are, who always tries to understand the game's rules at a deeper level so that they can break them, who'll leave their consoles running for days as proof of concept if reverse engineering the source code is completely out of the questions, and who avoid FAQs and guides like the plague and look down on those who depend on them. And Timmies are those who just play for fun, make choices out of what they think would be better or how their character would roleplay, enjoy doing things that look cool even if they aren't effective, and are quite sure anyone who plays the game in any other way just is just boring and doesn't know how to have fun.

Incidentally, if I'm a Johnny in Magic, I'm a Timmy in everything else. I'm sure that every time I choose a skill at a game I'm playing everyone who's ever written a FAQ or run a fansite for it feels a shiver.

Lastly, these profiles always reminded me of Bartle's profiles, the four 'suits' of MMORPGs. It's too bad that they aren't common knowledge about gamers - they answer a lot of questions about how gamers act just by existing.

I was already familiar with these concepts from a couple of years ago (and quite a while before that) when I was much more in to Magic than I am now and read magicthegathering.com daily. Now I just get together with a group of friends each time a new set is released and we have our own little sealed tournament, which is a fun way to see the new cards in a fairly relaxed atmosphere, and without having to spend a whole heap of money on top-notch constructed decks (seriously, why is it that lands almost always being the most expensive part of a constructed deck? Damn you dual lands!).

As for what profile I fit, I'd say I'm a Timmy/Johnny (and former Vorthos, although MaRo did say that Matt Cavotta's fourth demographic wasn't quite a proper fit with the original three.) I like decks with big creatures, meaning I primarily play red (for dragons), Black (for demons and other things that go bump in the night) and Green (for everything that isn't an elf). But I do like building, well, not combo-decks of the infinite damage or creatures or mana variety, but ones built around the clever synergy of a couple of cards. But even they often end up with a big creature (or several) if I can find a way to make it work, such as my Dragon/Bidding deck, which centred around getting a bunch of Kokusho, the Evening Star in the graveyard and reanimating them all at once, only for the legend rule to kill them all off again and deliver a massive life swing. As tournament efficient as Goblin/Bidding was? No, not really. Fun when you use it in a 5 player free for all multiplayer game and each opponent loses 15 life and you gain 60 life in one turn? Oh yes.

I have been waiting for the Big Three to be brought up, as I found these profiles to describe players of all games better than any other verity. Here's my little rant about how to apply the three to other games.

Timmy

"You know, playing this doesn't make you cool like a real rock band. Guys? Didn't you hear me? Stop having fun!" -XKCD #359

Timmy's drive is to have some fun. Fun being defined as getting big rewards immediately for little effort.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
- 1 Corinthians 13:4

A Timmy usually views gaming competition as a way to be social. Timmy does not play to prove he is better or showoff how amazing he is, nor does he envy other players that appear better than him. A Timmy just plays the game for his own fun, and wants to have fun with other players.

"What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others." -Confucius

A Timmy believes he needs to set his limits; makes rules or follows a code, in order to make the game more fun. The rules can make a game easy, make things more interesting, or be followed to prevent Timmy from doing something foolish while playing. Depending on the group of players the rules can range from disallowing a cheap move to wanting to do: No Items. Fox ONLY. Final Destination.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." -1 Corinthians 13:2

When a Timmy is one of the best players he is usually seen as having a natural talent for the game. A Timmy does not get better analyzing the game; he gets better playing it, gaining experience which can translate to an apparent talent others cannot understand or overcome. A Timmy is a player noted for playing for the love of the game. Love is a rare motivation, but when love is great enough it can beat the motivations that drive most other players.

Johnny

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" -Robert Kennedy

Johnny's drive is to express his brilliance. He seeks to be original and figure out his own way of playing the game.

"There are many ways to lose the oldest game. Failure of nerve, hesitation... Being unable to shift into a defensive shape. Lack of imagination." -Sandman

A Johnny usually views gaming competition as a shape shifter showdown. Playing a game is all about making choices of what path a player takes, and since the opponent is also making choices to divert your path, the goal is to lead both players to victory you seek. However, a Johnny expresses his brilliance most when victory seems impossible, so Johnny players enjoy being put into impossible situations or using only the tools everyone claims to be useless, and still managing to pull out a victory.

"Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don't." -Confucius

A Johnny believes he needs to know his limits. Nothing is an advantage or a detriment, but merely an attribute. If you understand the attributes you have, attributes your opponent has, and attributes found in the game, you will never fear losing.

"The key to strategy...is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory." -Cavilo, The Vor Game

When a Johnny is one of the best players, he is the player who discovered, through his own relentless obsession to analyze the mechanisms of the game, the gambit that proves to demolish the competition. These are the magnificent bastards, whose book will be read carefully by Spikes before the next competition.

Spike

"I am the best player in the world and I am here to prove it." -Bobby Fischer

Spike's drive is to prove he is the best. He seeks every advantage he can find to gain the winning edge.

"The ends justify the means" -Machiavelli

A Spike usually views gaming competition as an argument between players to determine who perform the better series of moves. The player who wins is the player who makes the better argument, and the player who wins the most is the better player. Nothing else matters.

Ran Qiu said: "It is not that I dislike the Way of the Master, rather it is that my strength is insufficient."
The Master said: "Those whose strength is insufficient fall to the side somewhere along the way. But, in the present case, you draw a limit before you even get started." -Confucius

A Spike believes there are no limits. People who believe in limits will limit themselves, and a Spike seeks to break the limits others see. Trying to play fair and not play cheap is a limit. Trying to learn things the hard way and avoid copying other players is a limit. Remove the limits and you will find it easier to grow as a player.

"My God, he plays so simply!" -Alexei Suetin (speaking of Bobby Fischer)

When a Spike is one of the best players he does not have flashy or surprising victories, he wins by the numbers. The efficiency of his moves, the small advantages he can find, and the advantages he never gives away, all add up to give the Spike a higher probability of winning against the actions he predicts his opponents are most likely to make. And when a Spike is the best, he is a master competitor who knows exactly what the competition is going to bring.

I've played one game of Magic. It was pretty cool, I was angry that I had been satisfied with Yugioh for so long.

Good article.
Interesting to see where those 'unhinged' cards owe their origins to.
I've been a bit out of touch with my MTG. Haven't touched a card since the beginning of the most recent series.
I haven't played in a tournament since the Melbourne GP. It's just so expensive, and tough to play in between school.

knight of zendikar:

Tiamat666:
I think they missed a rather important profile. "The collector". He buys cards but possibly never plays with them, as he simply enjoys their possession because he appreciates the art or the rarity. I'm definitively of the type. I tried collecting all black rares for two years or so, even though I barely played the game. And I still own my collection of about 100 of them.

In terms of magic the gathering the profile you would fit then would be vorthos. hes the forth profile they dont talk about as often. if you want to read more just get on the website youd probably enjoy reading some of maros "Mark Rosewaters" Articles about this topic.

Ah, so there are more profiles other than the three mentioned. This wasn't made very clear in the article.

I'm 75% Johnny and 25% Spike, been playing for quite a while now. By the way it's 60 cards to a deck not 40.

Yea, mostly Johnny, with a dash of Spike. I love making weird decks, but I also play to win if there be prizes involved.

Tiamat666:
Ah, so there are more profiles other than the three mentioned. This wasn't made very clear in the article.

Yeah, but they don't factor into card design as much (or at all in the case of the collector), so they don't get talked about.

I'm a solid Timmy/Johnny with occasional Spike tendencies. Most of the time I just roll around dreaming up crazy stuff around weird cards (Hive Mind for example) and playing EDH (around the Johnny-tastic Heartless Hidetsugu). Sometimes I feel the need to build something nasty and dangerous, though usually around weird cards or off-beat tribes.

Met a guy a while back who told me I'd probably get more interested in tournament play after playing the game a bit longer. Yeah sure, I've been playing this game for fifteen years sonny...

And the Chandras are still my fave planeswalkers even if they suck. Hmmm, now that I'm thinking about it; what kind of deck could one build around Chandra Ablaze?

Haven't played this game once, neither have I owned a single card, since this just doesn't live where I, well, live. But this still was an interesting read.

Although, you realize, Spike was improperly represented as Red, when clearly, he is Black, because Black will do anything to win.

These profiles really can be applied to other games... like from my experience DnD :-p

The Timmy is the guy who just wants awesome items, probably happy as long as he gets to use his ultimate move :-p The Johny tries to find little cheats around the DM's current methods. And the Spike is he who looks through every book and forum for the absolutely optimal feats, spells, items, ect.

Interestingly, back in the day when I played super smash brothers melee way to much, some of my friends remind me of these profiles. The guy always playing Marth was really a Spike... cause lets face it Marth was considered one of the best if you could play him right. My brother always played peach... just to mess with people, and he was good at it :-p sounds like a Johny! The Timmy is the guy spamming a move who is just happy when he finally hits the person or group of people :-p

I'm old school Spike. I curb stomped my local shop back in the mid nineties, but sold my cards when I had to move, and didn't pick the game back up until I entered college.

I can't afford to keep up with the arms-race that is Standard, so I build casual novelty decks now. Make no mistake, I keep up with the format and help my other friends build decks to win.
If there is any game I am confident in, it's Magic.

I never played Magic, I played the spin-offs like Yu-Gi-Oh when I was younger though. Funnily enough, I derived most pleasure from building up a deck that was hand built for the way I played. And guess what my name is?

Ha ha, I guess I'm mostly a Johnny, with a little dabbling of Timmy.
The line that cinched it was "will build an entire deck around a single quirky card." I totally did that with Dragon Appeasement (a rather shoddy 6 drop enchantment that sounded fun). The deck ended up working really well, with a couple unexpected infinite combos. Best part is that I put the entire thing together for less than $10.

Still can't think of a name for it though.

Even though I quit playing over ten years ago (I couldn't afford to keep up with the new expansions every two months) I was definitely a Johnny. I had over 60 decks when I quit, all self-sufficient (land cards abundant enough I didn't have to swap them out to play decks of similar color) and each one was of my own design. Most were 60 cards, some were 90, and I had three decks that played with 120+ cards. Johnny all the way! :)

I have pretty much no Spike tendencies in me.

One of my favorite decks is a 5-color abomination with a number of absurd but cool 5-color cards. In it, just because I like the art... is Coalition Victory.

However, I have intentionally NOT played it because it just seems lame despite the fact that getting the prerequisites to it isn't easy. The only time I can play it guilt-free is when my opponent is being a jerk. Like if he has a combo with Possessed Portal that allows him to keep playing but pretty much stops you from doing the same.

I am the Spikest among my friends. But, I do love locking you our with my monoblack deck that is roughly 40% "I hate you and you having creatures" cards. But, I only play standard. EDH can go bugger off and die.

But, I am almost the anti-Johnny. If a card cannot work alone, and you have no reliable way of getting the other cards, it's bad. Unless you have enough support. Take my Goblin deck from just before Zendikar rotated. The only "combo" I had (aside from Chieftian + Goblins) was Kuldotha Rebirth + Memnite. If you've watched the LRR video about magic, you'd know what I'm talking about.
T1: Mountain, Memnite, Rebirth sacing memnite for 3 Goblins
T2: Mountain, Bushwacker Kicked, Swing for 8
T3: Mountain, Bushwacker Kicked, Swing for 10, then bolt you to death.

Or, I could go Rebirth + Panic Spellbomb for 3 goblins and a card. Yes, it is useless without an artifact, but, I have 8 artifacts in my deck, and all of them are useful without rebirth. Their are usually no dead cards.

But, I do Timmy out when I can steal your stuff. Even/especially mana producers. Oh, is that a cute little Llanowar Elf? Well, Doom Blade then bring it back with Geth! Oh yeah! Now I'm one mana ahead! More Geth stealing! Muahahahaha! *cough* Sorry, lost myself there.

But yeah, I do not Johnny mainly because I prefer a fast game. And I hate EDH simply because A) you need a bunch of old rares to be competitive and B) aside from your general, it is never consistent. I don't want to have to wait for one of my burn spells, and one that may not be adequate enough when I can have 4 lightning bolts.

Best card game ever made. Everyone who likes Yu-gi-oh can suck a fat Blues Eyes White Dragon Cock. I am out like a thief in the night.

Onyx Oblivion:
I'm a Timmy. But not with big creatures...with Cancel and it's ilk.

As long as I piss you off with my blue decks, I'm happy. As long as I cancel one thing...I'm happy.

Not to self: Make a deck entirely of shit that can't be countered.

TheAweDude:

T1: Mountain, Memnite, Rebirth sacing memnite for 3 Goblins
T2: Mountain, Bushwacker Kicked, Swing for 8
T3: Mountain, Bushwacker Kicked, Swing for 10, then bolt you to death.

I have a similar deck in green. Went something like this:

T1: Forest, Llanowar Elves
T2: Forest, Elvish Archdruid
T3: Forest, Tap Archdruid and forests, Ezuri's Archers, Copperhorn Scout, and Arbor Elf
T4: Forest, Tap Acrhdruid and Forests, Craterhoof Behemoth, Swing for 43 trample.

Not a lot of people I face regularly can match that for speed, but a T2 Whipflare makes me a sad panda.

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