Hiya, kids! People seemed to generally enjoy the last installment of Blasts from the Past, so here is another trip to yesteryear, with five (well, five and a half) articles ranging from 1997 to 2002 that you probably have not read. Okay, well, if you are an ancient dinosaur like me, or you used to post on Usenet back when your computer had a vacuum tube and the best game machine on earth was an Amiga, you have… But otherwise, these may have slipped under your radar.
1. Investment Theory – Mike Flores
The obligatory Michael J. offering, Investment Theory from the Stone Age of 1998 takes a look at investment, in terms of cards, mana, and/or time, in exchange for card advantage. This is one of Flores’ earlier bits, which Flores considers”somewhat primitive” and”not really up to par for what [his] writing should be” when compared with more recent works.
I understand his point, as it is somewhat less polished than Mike’s more modern stuff – but I think it is an important article just the same, and I believe that EDT associates the underappreciated investment theory with Flores by virtue of this article in the same way that card advantage is associated with Brian Weissman and Rob Hahn or the mana curve is associated with Jay Schneider. While Mike reaches some limited conclusions, he also poses a number of questions, and this is because the bit was originally done more as a theory discussion rather than a lesson or statement; I think that Mike was looking for feedback on whether there were areas into which this theory could or should be expanded and applied. Regardless, Investment Theory makes a bunch of fairly important points with respect to the investment in card advantage that serve as underpinnings for a lot of what have become commonly-accepted theories today.
2. Virtual Card Advantage – EDT
This is a nice related bit discussing card advantage in a more abstract sense – that generated by virtue of the effects of one or more cards on gameplay, or indirect card advantage, if you will – rather than on a straight card-for-card analysis, as Flores’ article did. For example, as EDT points out, if you have three one-toughness men in hand, and I have a Masticore and adequate mana, that Masticore generates a three-to-one virtual card advantage the turn after I cast him (okay, three-to-two, once I discard), since you cannot practically play any of those cards without having them immediately die. Of course, virtual card advantage is much more ephemeral than actual card advantage, since if you deal with Masticore though, say, a Pillage, you have immediately regained use of those weenies… But it is a form of card advantage just the same. EDT, in his usual sense, gives us another way of looking at things that we might not have initially considered.
3. Recipe for Success – Gallitz
Donnie Gallitz is historically known as one of the most-respected East Coast players, a vital part of Tongo Nation, and a Pro Tour mainstay (until his semi-retirement, which will hopefully end with the upcoming team Pro Tour), all while holding a full-time professional position and having a girlfriend (now his wife, Rose). Of course, Donnie is also known for his unnatural attachment to Lobotomy – in fact, Donnie may or may not have performed at a pro-caliber level only in Constructed seasons where Lobotomy was legal. (Donnie always rocks out in Limited, however.)
In this short Usenet piece, Donnie talks about what he believes is the recipe for success for aspiring players, and I think he hits a lot of the elements right on the dime. A balance between Magic and other things, pushing yourself by playing with the best opponents you can find, networking, and practice are things that most accomplished players you know have probably done for some time; remember, everyone was a scrub with a seventy-two card deck once.
A lot of people might not find this article useful if they have never had to achieve this sort of balance, but being the only other player I knew at the time who managed to pull off the same thing (okay, well, other than Donnie being really good and me being terrible), I thought that this was – and is – a good perspective to have. In fact, I thought about this article when I was playing hoops on Sunday after last year’s Nationals in Orlando with Skaff Elias, Jon Finkel, Ed Fear and others. While I didn’t actually play all that much, since I had new shoes and am a fat piece of s**t, and after about six minutes was sidelined for another twenty with what seemed like borderline cardiac arrest while Finkel, Skaff, Fear and a bunch of fifteen-year-olds bounded around the court like superballs, I eventually made it back for a second brief stint, and had a fantastic time doing non-Magical stuff with friends that happened to have been made through Magic. Balancing elements is a Good Thing.
Oh, and so is moneydrafting all night and drinking beer. Preferably in tandem.
4. Impulse Like a Pro #1 -“Three Guys”
2002 Update -“Porky”
Impulse, U1, has inspired probably more humor articles than any other card in magic. While there are probably thirty or forty”How To Impulse Like A…” articles available on the old Dojo archives, I have provided only the original – attributed to”Three Guys in a Car”, and the most recent offering, a modern take by a Misetings contributor, both of which are pretty funny (though much moreso if you know the Impulser) – primarily because a lot of the others are regionally slanted, and thus of far more limited appeal. I am sure many of you know at least some of the subjects, or at least know of them, and I hope you get a chuckle out of these.
5. 1998 Worlds Report – Randy Buehler
Randy is probably one of the best strategy writers that you have never read, except on magicthegathering.com, where his offerings are necessarily limited in scope. But when he was an up-and-comer, he wrote solid tournament reports which generally had more than their share of”strategery” in them. This is Randy’s World’s 1998 report, in which he plays (and discusses) the Workhorse–Survival of the Fittest deck and how CMU arrived at that deck choice, and which contains a very good Type II metagame and deck selection section make this one a valuable (and interesting) read.
I hope you enjoy these. If you would like to see more of these older strategy articles and (what I consider to be) some of the best reports that are, for the most part, lost in the net, let me and/or the Ferrett know, and I will see what other stuff I can come up with.