Vorthos, Spike, Timmy, Johnny and Mel Explain

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Collecting magic there’s a lot of slang. Know your bolts from Selesnyas is important, but some of the weirdest slang out there describes the players themselves.

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These are the types of players, the different terms that Wizards of the Coast use to describe what players get from the game and how they actually play it. By identifying these demographics, it can ensure that every group has at least anything else that attracts them. But what are the types of music players, and how do you know which type of player you are?

Note that player types and aesthetic types are archaic, to them was first codified in 2002 by principal designer Mark Rosewater of Magic. As a result, some names have odd genders, even after efforts in later years to update them to be more inclusive.

Players can be divided on two axes: aesthetic profile and player type. Aesthetic profile is more about what excites players in a Magic game, rather than how they act in it, and it can be divided into two camps, Vorthos and Mel.


Wisnu Tan's Airplane Celebration
Wisnu Tan’s Airplane Celebration

Vorthos players care a lot about the story and world of Magic. They can read the story is going, knows who the characters are, and is more excited about a setting or theme than a mechanic.

For Vorthos players, cards that show key moments or have old stories call back are what makes Magic so great. For example, a card like Ikoria’s Blade Banish is of interest to a Vorthos because it features the Wanderer, the mysterious Planeswalker we were introduced to in War of the Spark. Or they may like cards like Ruxa, The Patient Professor because this artwork is related to the Muraganda Embroidery.

Magic has a large amount of lore and storytelling that can be skimmed by most players without much fanfare, but a Vorthos player notices and appreciates the interconnectedness of each series. Predicting where the story will go and imagining the potential of the multiverse is what makes Magic so great.


Octavia, Living Thesis by Simon Dominic Brewer
Octavia, Living Thesis by Simon Dominic Brewer

Player Mel, on the other hand, is excited by the mechanical potential of the cards. They treat Magic as a game first and a story second, and will search through deck lists and reveal cards to see what happens in each new deck.

It’s important not to confuse a player focused on mechanics with a player focused on winning, competing (which we’ll get to). While powerful cards with a lot of potential will appeal to many Mel players, anything new, quirky or cleverly said will stand out as well.

Take a card like Octavia, Living Thesis. It’s a great card, but it’s also- an Octopus with eight syllables in its name, eight lines in the card text, which is 8/8, has exactly eight “8”s on it, has wards eight, costs less than eight uses if you have eight or more instances and witches in your graveyard and have an initial overall mana drain of eight. It’s an example of the Mages getting creative with the game’s mechanics as well as the art of flavor, and it’s something Mel players can love as well as a powerful new combo.

Mels also likes to think about basic aspects of card design, like color cake that determines which mechanics can appear most often with which colors or the complexity of the rules themselves. Most players know the basics, but a Mel player will be more interested in edge cases and annotations of comprehensive rules.

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The other axis where the player is classified is the player type. While aesthetic profiling focuses on what attracts players from a product perspective, player types are concerned with what they actively do in each game they play.


Spike, Tournament Grinder by Zoltan Boros
Spike, Tournament Grinder by Zoltan Boros

Spike players want to win and will do so by building strong decks and following the metagame. They take pleasure in beating other players and proving they understand the game better, even if it means sacrificing some of their deck’s creative abilities in exchange for raw efficiency.

Spikes usually stick to the game and like to try to gauge the strength of new cards as they appear, then use those cards to refine their deck as they come out. They are also less likely to have ‘pet cards’, and will be more than happy to pull out the aged cards in their deck if something better gives them an advantage.

It’s important to remember that Spike does not mean “aggressive” or “malicious”. A lot of the competitive scenes that could be described as Spikes are also pillars of the community and have good player behavior. These types of players are not judgments of one’s conduct; it’s just about how they like to play the game.

Timmy / Tammy

Treeshaker Chimera by Vincent Proce
Treeshaker Chimera by Vincent Proce

Timmy and Tammy players love big, meaty plays. Performing massive spells and large creatures is the main objective of this type of player. Although they enjoy winning with decisive, overwhelming wins, they don’t care as much about winning as Spike; they just want to be in the game.

As chief designer Mark Rosewater notes, Timmy players tend to younger or newer to the game. This is possible because one of the first measures of a card’s usefulness we learn is strength and toughness, and we quickly make a connection between the high cost of energy and great effect. But it’s not just younger or newer players who enjoy this, as seen by the popularity of the ‘Stompy’ deck that uses a lot of large creatures.

Another major characteristic of Timmy players is that they are generally more social than other types of players (and therefore may be more attracted to Command Format, slightly slower and more social than competing, one-on-one formats). They love creating memorable in-game moments with other players, remembering the time they got the Ironscale Hydra on the board and making it super big, or love tossing Honey Mammoth into every deck they got their hands on. body.

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Johnny / Jenny

Alrund's Epiphany by Kieran Yanner
Alrund’s Epiphany by Kieran Yanner

The final player focuses on creativity and self-expression. Winning is good for Johnny/Jenny players, but winning with a deck you build from scratch is even better. Net-deck (copying an online decklist) is the antithesis of everything this type of player loves.

More than just crafting a deck, players Johnny and Jenny love the challenge of building around optimal or appropriate cards. Finding new combinations and synergies, discovering cards they’ve never seen before and combining them together in creative ways is the real appeal of Magic, winning is only part of it. more.

There’s a lot of flow of opinion among Johnny/Jenny and Spike players, as you’ll often find that Johnny/Jennys will find cards that are then included in the metagame and into Spike territory. Eg, The Epiphany of Alrund just a fine extra turn card until the release of Expressive Repeat in Strixhaven and Galvanic Repeat in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, when it becomes an important player in the current Standard format.

Find your player profile

Lorehold Apprentice by Manuel Castañón
Lorehold Apprentice by Manuel Castañón

For most players, knowing your player profile is not so important. It’s not a mechanic you need to learn, nor does it have any impact on the story. However, knowing where you stand on both Aesthetic Profile and Player Type can help improve your enjoyment of Magic.

No one will be completely and exclusively one type of player, and everyone will have elements of each that they resonate with. For example, I consider myself a Vorthos player with both Timmy/Tammy and Johnny/Jenny elements. I love the story and lore of Magic, and I love the presence of a large board. But I also love creating my own deck, discovering the right cards, and seeing what I can put together. Winning isn’t everything to me, as long as my deck does what I hope it does.

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