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Magic: The Gathering Player Spent A Year In Jail Recreating Decks From Memory

You get put in prison for ten months over an undisclosed crime, what do you do? Try to break out with a tattooed map of the jail layout on your stomach? Sleep in bed to skip time? Or do you make a whole bunch of Magic: The Gathering cards?

That's what HeidenOvTheNord did, and they didn't do it by looking at the cards on the internet for reference, or by having a friend show up at visitation to give them the descriptions. They did it completely from memory.

"It isn't that hard," they said, underestimating how bad my (and many others') memory is. "Especially if you have played the deck a lot. If you can't remember 4 key cards from a deck, then you just need to sit and think for a minute about what other cards were interacting with those cards from within that deck. Eventually more cards will come to you. It was kinda like piecing together puzzles."

According to the poster, the jail they were in wasn't an ideal staying place. They claim to have seen someone get beaten to death, that there was a "giant 20+ person brawl", and that "40% of the guards were corrupt". To try and avoid all of the horrors going on, some of the inmates had "mountains of Mangas", as well as sci-fi and fantasy novels. Luckily, the poster landed a cell with another MTG fan, and so they got to work on making some decks to play together.

But among the cards they made was the Cat Oven, a combo that is incredibly controversial with MTG players. Essentially, you sacrifice the cat (Cauldron Familiar) to the Oven to get a Food token, and then use the Food to bring the cat back into play. Rinse and repeat, infinitely sacrificing and resurrecting your cat turn in and turn out. Don't do that in real-life, mind.

He also taught other inmates how to play Magic, who will no doubt get a shock when they get out and see the real deal with all its fanciful art. Who knows, maybe one of these lot will end up in the pro scene, eh?

It's not even a unique phenomenon. Someone in the comments said that they did jail time and their girlfriend would copy their MTG cards with a copier and send them in, and everyone would come together to fold them to get the creases right so they could be ripped off separately. And then, they'd "play all day."

Another added that they live in New Zealand and their LGS claimed that there "is a large prison population that play Magic." But one of the maximum security prisons banned it. Regardless, it looks like Magic is a hit with people in jail. It's certainly a fun way to pass the time.

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