Spammers & gas lighting

by wickeddarkman on 25 February 2023

Main Deck (60 cards)

Sideboard (15 cards)

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Deck Description

Deck spamming is a problem that I've been dealing with for a while now. Quickly told, some players manipulate their local meta in different ways, and there's several layers to it, based on the overall skills of these players, but at the root of the problem they feed other people with bad decks to become the better players.

In this chapter I will cover the phenomenon of "gas lighting" which is a psychological term used for a group of people who slowly manipulate their victims into isolation and distorting their worldview with a wast web of lies. According to psychology they need to control that person, but I think there's more to it, even though humans tend to control their environment.

The second half of this chapter will cover the way that the meta is ripe with gas lighting.

Gas lighting is counting as psychic abuse in the terms of law and is illegal, so it needs to be reported, which is probably why isolation is a key goal for the gas lighter. If the victim is utterly friendless noone will report anything. So if you seem to have only one good friend in your life while the rest is utterly shit, you need to get your paranoia on and start talking with some social security system. Get a camera in secrecy and start writing a diary in two copies. (Hide one).

Here's a list of tricks that the gas lighter will use.

1: If you catch them in a lie they will deny it, despite of the amount of evidence you provide (even if you use the camera or diary as proof) this is probably an instinctive reaction and they won't be able to help themselves, so if you think about it hard enough you can set up traps with which to catch them in their lies. That eternal denial is their real personality. You are a resource that must be denied for everyone else. They might steal sections of your diary, which is why you need two.

2: when disgussing past events with them, they will sometimes deny that your outline of that event is wrong and they will then tell you what "really happened" this is the key reason of keeping a diary, it never lies. If the gas lighter will claim that you are mad and you write up imaginary stuff, start keeping one on your personality and write stuff down almost seconds after it happens.

3: The gaslighter will start spreading rumours about you to your friends so that your friends will slowly abandon you. This is probably a calculated behaviour as friends serve as a naturally secondary memory and can remove any doubts. In this case your diary may come in handy as well, if you let your friends know you keep a diary, and they got questions about anything you simply show them your entries for that day. Secondary the gas lighter will also tell you that your friends are telling viscous lies about you, which is a backup plan to make you give up on your friends. A good reaction is to never react to hearsay, because it can be done by all parties. Only believe what happens in person.

4: The gas lighter will blame you and your actions. Your behaviour is what makes bad things happen. In a way this is actually true. They have a line of "natural" reactions that they are forced to react with. Your actions make them go through their own compulsions. Noone can be blamed for this as nature simply made us the way we are.
In the eyes of nature, none of you are wrong, your simply are... If the gas lighter can't tolerate that, maybe they should go. (They will try to stay for as long as you allow it, but will probably give you some time to calm down so they can continue their demeaning. They always slip back into it, it's simply their nature)

The way that you play in magic is basically down to the experiences you've had during the game with play patterns based on what you determine as a good play or as a bad play. However, since your mind evaluates things based on what is good and bad behaviour in the game, you often let others guide you to start with, and the behaviour you are taught by the first guide, might end up not being the right thing.

Just like a gas lighter can hack into your behaviour, there are players out there in the game that wants to hack into your playstyle.

For this to work perfectly, the "game gas lighter" needs a crystallized meta where everything happens according to the rules, and you can be sure that they will be trying to tell everyone what the best play is. Everything goes by routine.
In such an environment the game gas lighter can start using subtle plays that switch the odds of a game into their flavor. Flashy moves gets noticed and copied, so it has to be subtle and barely noticeable.

Because the "game gas lighter" needs as few movements in the meta as possible to be at their best, they need to stop any innovations from happening unless it's one that favors their own game plan.

The obvious way to stop this, is by sabotaging any successfull new decktype from within. Just as the gas lighter creates a gap between victims and their surroundings by spreading rumours, the "game gas lighter" will create a similar gap by winning with that decktype but placing traps within it to be exploited later with their own decks. By playing the new decks they participate in the forming of it's game patterns and from such a position they can control it.

Most of the time they will shape events so that the deck dies out and they can return to be superior within a stale meta, but sometimes they see some opportunity within the deck and decide to keep it in the meta to scew the odds of something else.

Awareness will always be the first step. Just like gas lighting is being exposed in real life, it is necessary to to show magic players that magic is a game of innovation and change. If your meta is stale and without innovation it means that it is subject to manipulation. The game gas lighter is not going to bring this, and they will probably start fighting you if you call out for innovation. They will call you a strange oddball and spread lies so people don't adapt any of your ideas. I know this as a fact since people on mtgvault have been gaslighting my material since 2006, and odds are they've gas lighted you as well. Well meaning advice isn't always truly well meant.

The web is the perfect stage for a gas lighter, they can use several accounts to roleplay individuals into believing that the world is after them, and trust me, we got them hocked into mtgvault using it for their crimes. Any gas lighter can refer a victim to a site, then spin a web of lies around them to make a catch, and it's a recipe that crooked players can also use to gain a little cash on the side.

Deck Tags

  • Spamspotting

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Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Legal in Modern
  • Legal in Vintage
  • Legal in Legacy

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