Hidden Values in Magic: The Gathering for Kids and Parents - Massdrop East/West: Article #12


Hi! My name is Scott Lipp. I’m a gold level pro and a team member of Massdrop West. I have been playing Magic:the Gathering since 1995. I played in Pro Tours in the mid-late 90’s and started playing competitively again during the last few years. One of the major reasons to start playing again came from my seven year old son, Niko. Teaching my son how to play and seeing the joy out of us bonding together gave me a spark to pick up the game competitively again. I’m going to share some hidden values that kids and parents might not know about Magic For anyone that knows nothing about how Magic works: the main goal is get your opponent’s life points from twenty to zero using strategy by attacking with creatures and casting spells. Although it might seem simple, it takes a lifetime to master. First, some backstory about myself and why I believe learning how to play Magic is one of the greatest assets for a child. Growing up I played baseball, basketball, and bowling which got me interested in sports cards. Then, my neighbor showed me some Magic: The Gathering cards that he got from our local store. I was intrigued and was hooked by the end of the night after he taught me how to play. After school we would all go up to our local store, get a few packs, play a few games, and talk about what awesome decks we could build. Through this process I developed many critical thinking skills. I would ask myself questions and try to solve them in a fashion similar to solving puzzles.This process of deck building and learning from my mistakes during the game helped a great deal when I went to school. I applied the same methods to with homework which helped form a better understanding on how to learn. This led to getting better grades, learning how to socialize with different types of people, and made me strive to achieve at a higher level in school and Magic: the Gathering!
Hidden Value #1: Friendships
I can attest to the value of long friendships in Magic, having been around the game for a little over 20 years now. You will find true friendship in this community. The friends I met over 20 years ago are still great friends today. I even run a business with one of my first friends I met playing Magic back in 1995! The more you play Magic the more it becomes about enjoying the time you get to spend with your friends alongside with having a great time playing Magic. I see so many circles of friends that love Magic. They make it a point to have multiple nights a week to meet up and enjoy each other's company. The feeling of this friendship is like the locker room effect in sports. The bonds you create through Magic will be long lasting and I truly believe is one of the most important values that the game can bring to any individual. The majority of Magic players will often travel with a group of friends to a local event or a bigger event called a Grand Prix. During this time it’s great to catch up with old and new friends while you travel.
Hidden Value #2: Developing a Love for Reading
Every kid is different, but when I learned how to play Magic it opened up a totally different way for my brain to process information. Reading the cards and the rules are both important parts of the game. I fell in love with reading because of Magic. I read every article I can find about Magic as well! There are also many great fiction novels with the lore behind Magic and its characters that are quite fun to read.
Hidden Value #3: Critical Thinking
During any given game of Magic you are using lots of mental energy while constantly thinking of ways to defeat your opponent. You are doing arithmetic, observing the battlefield, predicting what cards your opponent could have, and determining why the opponent made a specific play. The list of things to think about is endless! But every game is a great exercise for anyone that wants to solve questions that involve hidden information. After about a year of playing Magic I started to see the game a bit differently. I started looking ahead, analyzing all of the details of the cards and my opponent to predict future outcomes like a game of chess. Without even realizing it, I began to apply these same critical thinking skills to everything. My grades improved, I came up with innovative ideas for work, and of course my Magic game improved as well.
Hidden Value #4: Bonding with your Parents/Kids
I see parents my age that played Magic when they were younger. Their kids are playing with them now, and seeing the bonds that they have with them is something amazing. My son and I love to play Magic together as well. Playing Magic gives you a great deal of 1 on 1 time with your child. A way to decompress the day, talk about school, or any other events that went on. During this process my son is reading, doing math, thinking about which card to play and why. This process can give you a great time to focus on deep thought, what your kid is thinking about and the process of why he/she came to that conclusion. I can already see the difference in my son when we break down other events that happen at school.

Hidden Value #5: Sportsmanship
Learning sportsmanship at a young age can be difficult. When you lose a game of Magic, it’s not because your teammate missed a three point shot, it’s entirely on you. I see a lot of Magic players learn how to be gracious in defeat. I took every loss as a learning opportunity and it made me strive to get better. At the more advanced levels of Magic you will see the players talk to each other about how great the game was that they just played and what they were thinking during the match. Then they shake each other's hands and wish each other good luck in future games. At a later stage in Magic you develop the ability to be gracious when you win.

Hidden Value #6: Understanding Money and the Value of your Belongings
A huge part about Magic is that it is also a collectible trading card game. Growing up I had to get my cards through doing chores, trading, or by winning local tournaments for store credit. Cards have monetary value but not every card is worth the same amount. You begin to understand that things in life have different values. You start to appreciate the value of your collection which makes you less likely to lose them. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment that you acquired your collection through hard work.
I truly hope some of these values and stories I have posted have inspired you to pick up and try the greatest game ever made, or teach it to someone you know!
Thanks for reading, and please post any questions or feedback below!

We had an exciting reveal of two Amonkhet masterpieces , check out the video here:
If you are curious about our team, check out our intro: or, read our previous weekly articles:
1. How to Prepare for an MtG Pro Tour by Ben Weitz (
2. Approaching New Magic Drafts by Ari Lax (
3. Constructed Testing for Pro Tour Aether Revolt by Jarvis Yu (
4. Breaking into Eternal Formats - Case Study: GP Louisville by Jon Stern (
5. In Good Company - Top 8 at GP Vancouver by Eric Severson (
6. Adapting to Full Block Kaladesh Limited by Jiachen Tao (
7. Sorry My Felidar Guardian Ate My Homework by Mark Jacobson (
8. Taking a Mardu Vacation - Top 8 in New Jersey and Heading to an Eternal Extravaganza by Jarvis Yu (
9. A Guide to the Grind by Pascal Maynard (
10. Asking Aggro-vating Questions by Timothy Wu (
11. The Meat and Potatoes of Jund by Paul Dean (

Oct 6, 2019
Scotty i completely agree, MAJOR PROBLEM though - you guys got rid of the board game/card game categories. PLEASE BRING THEM BACK!
Jan 12, 2019
Totally love this article! Reminds me of myself when I was 5 and my Brothers tried to teach it to me. MtG is still the main, since 1996. I better keep those hidden values in mind when I got my own children.
Apr 18, 2017
Got a 19 month old son and I'm working hard to seriously organize my vast collection and prepare to teach him all about the game that really made a mark on me as a kid. It was discouraging that my parents and school teachers saw the cards as satanic (Unholy Strength and Fire Elemental were cards I had to "hide" for fear of being judged) and bad for me, so they never pushed me to get more into the game. My mother feared that my love for the game would lead me to play Dungeons and Dragons and start to attempt to cast real spells and lose my mind (wut?) As such, I never had much pocket change to buy cards, never had the guidance of an adult to help me understand the concepts we well as I should have, and did what they could to keep me from playing it. I really hope to turn the tide and encourage my son to play this wonderful game with me once he's old enough. And hell, if he decides not to play or just isn't interested, then he's got a very large collection that will go towards a college fund, so either way Magic will benefit him!
Apr 14, 2017
I fully agree with Hidden Value #1, most of my adult friendships can be traced back to Magic, I have been playing since Unlimited. Life long friends, relationships all happened because one day a socially awkward 13 year old kid walked in to the local comic book shop and saw a funny brown box and was curious about the artwork.
Magic has been good to me.
Apr 14, 2017
Love it! I agree! All my childhood friends still play and it's great to travel with them now that we are older.
Apr 14, 2017
Should do a monthly report
Apr 14, 2017
Great article sir! Keep it up!