I recently got talking to a long term payer who when I asked him why he got into MTG told me that he was heavy into the FPS shooters of the 90's but as a teenager developed a tremor in his hands that made dexterity-based FPS games impossible for him to play competitively.

He told me that he read somewhere that MTG is not a game based on dexterity and he got curious as to what that meant and got into the game from there.

I'm curious as to where this phrase originates from. I have heard rules experts quote it before. It seems rather famous.

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    Long term payer....god I know that's accurate. Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 18:07
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    The only cards I can think of where this is not true: Chaos Orb and Chaos Confetti
    – MT0
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 1:08
  • The reasons for mentioning dexterity might well be pretty different from mentioning reflexes.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 1:49
  • This answer states the message slightly differently: "MTG is not a real-time game, it's a turn-based game. In other words, it's not a game of chicken." It then proceeds to explain this.
    – ikegami
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 2:04
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    @MT0 The black-bordered dexterity cards are Chaos Orb and Falling Star. Dexterity cards are also banned in all formats, along with ante cards.
    – Brian S
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


When people say "Magic is not a game about reflexes", they mean that you never have to react quickly to anything in the game. Beginners have frequent misunderstandings of the rules such has "Whoever announces that they're casting a spell first gets to have it resolve first.", which is incorrect because spells and abilities use the stack, and there is a turn-based priority system to ensure that only one player has the opportunity to take action at any one time. Similarly, people commonly believe some variation of "If you don't respond within five seconds, the spell resolves unopposed", which is simply incorrect: you have as much time as you need to respond to anything.

Brandon Burton has cerebral palsy. Brandon has competed at Worlds and the Pro Tour (two of the highest levels of competition in Magic). That goes to show that dexterity and reflexes are not a requirement to play competitively.

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    That is, this probably isn't really a famous quote, it's just something that a lot of people have had to explain and they tend to end up saying it in about the same way.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 17:37

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