[Ben’s Note: When I started Blog Fanatic, I had a few columns in mind. This week’s columns are the fruition of a search for one of the most popular and interesting figures in the world of Magic. It took weeks to find the man himself, but I was determined. After much searching, I located him and arranged for a little chat. Without further ado, I present my interview with the King of Fatties himself, Jamie Wakefield. All comments in italics were added after the interview.]
BB: A lot of your earlier tournament reports have you playing heavily Red beatdown decks, or Black/Red decks with Morifen and Gallowbraid. People remember Secret Force, but they don’t remember the months you tried to get Bone Dancer to work. How’d you make the transition to green anyhow? Your name is indelibly linked with the color Green at this point.
JW: I was always a Green player. But no matter how much I loved it, it wasn’t tournament worthy. So I played Green for fun and took red and black to tournaments. When Dave came up from Florida he brought Bonedancer (which he helped design) and we played it against Secret Force (which I still have together) and Bonedancer stomped Secret Force about 4 games in a row. I think I won two games in seven.”
Secret Force, circa Pro Tour New York 1999
3 Elvish Lyrist
4 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Spike Feeder
2 Spike Weaver
3 Uktabi Orangutan
3 Verdant Force
4 Wall of Roots
4 Creeping Mold
4 Natural Order
3 Gaea’s Cradle
The Brothers Very Grimm, circa December 1997
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Drain Life
3 Nevinyrral’s Disk essential
3 Dark Ritual
4 Skulking Ghost
4 Bone Dancer
1 Morinfen (One Brother Very Grimm)
1 Gallowbraid (The other Brother Very Grimm)
2 Necrosavaant (The Black Hammer)
4 Strip Mine
BB: For the kids out there, who grew up post Urza’s Saga and never knew the pains of Green – just how bad was the color back in the day?
JW: Green was horrible back in the day. It was so bad that one Pro Tour organizer offered to pay plane fare plus 500 dollars to get to the pro tour if they qualified using Mono Green. Not only did no one collect, I don’t think even a dozen people tried. Note: The actual amount was $250.
BB: I think that was Mirvlite season?
JW: Back i the day, Wizards thought Durkwood Boars was a good card for green, despite the fact that Serra and Sengir and Fat Moti existed. Green just had nothing. I tried for years to get a good Mono-Green deck, and it was pathetic. When I finally got Secret Force to work it was the culmination of years of Mono-Green experimentation.
BB: Man, but did it work or what?
JW: Yeah it did. God I love that deck. When I qualified with that, it was almost like a life’s dream come true. It was so satisfying and fulfilling.
BB: Even years later, top players like Mike Turian were still choosing Secret Force for high level tournaments. It’s a testament to a deck that had legs.
JW: I’ve seen it’s gone through some amazing revisions over the years.
BB: Most of which involved trimming the famous Wakefield 62 to a more modest 60 cards.
BB: Why 62?
JW: I hated having less than 26 land and I hated not having 9 rows of 4 cards. I was never able to resolve that. It didn’t seem symmetrical or had enough land any other way.
BB: To this day, Mike Flores still makes fun of that. However, given how people ran too few lands back in the day, you were one of the first to really stress having a solid mana base.
JW: That doesn’t surprise me a bit. Of course, I must say, I read with relish, his article “Jamie Wakefield was Right About Everything”. Especially considering how much we fought on Cabal Rogue 🙂
BB: Now that’s old school. There are still a lot of people from that team active in the game.
JW: I know it.
BB: How’d you get the nickname”King of Fatties?”
JW: I think EDT gave it to me one day in IRC when I was explaining my latest deck of fatties, He laughed and said,”Wakefield, you are King of the Fatties.” I think that’s how it started. I made it my tagline/sig to my articles
BB: The name stuck. You’re still known as the King of Fatties.
JW: Very few people played with fatties at that time. My decks were referred to as little kid decks since they always had huge mobs no one else played with
BB: Like Verdant Force
JW: Yeah. 🙂
Nicky and the lovely Mare
BB: Back when you stopped playing, you said you were going to concentrate on writing – how’s that gone?
JW: Poorly. I’m not a novelist, and find I write best about things that are happening in everyday life. I shine when writing about Magic. People can see some stuff I’ve written at www.jamiewakefeild.com and we have some boards set up and people can read the first chapter of my novel that I think is good, but I have never returned to.
BB: I bet they can go to www.jamiewakefield.com as well 😉
JW: Skah! I just spelled my own damn name wrong!
BB: This is so staying in the interview
JW: I need more coffee apparently
BB: Jamie Wakefield: he would have been a famous writer, if only they could spell his name right….
BB: Somewhere in a shack in Oregon, Jamie Wakefeild is collecting your residual checks.
JW: he he he
BB: Your writing always did shine through when you were talking about one of our hobbies – you had an enthusiasm which I can honestly say has not been matched in anyone else’s writings I’ve seen. Even your later columns, when you started talking about Asheron’s Call a lot, really drew people in because your sheer force of interest made the game seem interesting to non-involved parties.
JW: I think that comes from my habit of only playing one game at a time and being totally involved in it
BB: I’m not buying that entirely – I’ve lost good friends to Everquest, but they didn’t really interest me when they went on and on about their raids. I did a fair share of MMORPGing, but nothing really drew me in as much as wanting to be a part of the Jamie Wakefield experience on Asheron’s Call.
Tune in on Friday for the exciting conclusion to my interview with Jamie Wakefield! You’ll see which games Jamie’s been playing these last few years, and find out the answer to this burning question:”Jamie, if I paid your entry fee into the Champions of Kamigawa pre-release, would you play in the tournament?” See you then!
Ben can be reached at [email protected].