For Our Consideration: 22 years in, Magic: The Gathering is the brainiest it’s ever been

A shouting match has broken out on the early morning streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn between two 9-year-old boys.

“This card sucks!” one says.

“Well yeah, but it’s not that bad,” says the other.

They’re politely discussing the merits of a Magic: The Gathering card from the game’s newest set, Magic Origins, and doing so at an unreasonable volume for a sunny summer day in a neighborhood known for its double-wide strollers, triple-shot espressos, and, especially at 8:30 a.m., its quiet. A small crowd gathers—other players ages 7 to 12, pushing their way to the front so they can see what all the fuss is about. They want to see the Magic card in question, Demonic Pact. What does this card say that would summon such outrage? “Owen sucks”?

It reads (paraphrased):

At the beginning of your turn, choose one that hasn’t been …

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