CASUAL FRIDAYS #119: Letters, We’ve Got Letters…

Alongi opens up the mailbag, and then closes it quickly again. Also, why Oath of Druids should be Standard legal. (Hint: it would save him from running a correction.)

NOTE: I had virtually all of this written on Wednesday. I then did not send it in to the Ferrett until Friday. Some may call it spite; I call it a campaign for more semi-colons; and who is the Ferrett to stand in the way of this punctuational onslaught? In any case, I apologize to prerelease fans for the tardiness; but I won?t stop with the semi-colons.

Following up on last week?s offer to answer some email publicly, I received correspondance from many fine, upstanding citizens of the Magic community. The topics showed considerable range. Here is a sampling:

From Andrew W.:

Anyways… The first thing I wanted to tell you was that the Spiritmonger.deq would not (in fact) make an easy transition to standard as you might think for the very reason you designed the deck: Oath of Druids?

Right on. I made a mistake there, and a rather silly one at that. I?m fully aware that Oath of Druids is not Standard legal, nor has it been for some time. How did this oversight happen? Well, I looked at my decklist from the bottom up (since I was writing beneath it), checked as far up as the screen went? And it looked good! Swift, eh? Of course, four copies of an Exodus rare were sitting proudly toward the top of the list, but my computer wasn?t nice enough to tell me that.

Fortunately, I?ve heard from my Super Secret Squirrel Sources within Wizards that Magic On-Line will contain a patch for your computer that will tell you when you are not reading critical information that may be just off the lower or upper edge of your viewscreen. (They haven?t worked out the tech for left or right edges, yet. Stand by.)

Anyhow, Andrew, thanks for the sharp eye! Let?s see what else readers have to say.

From Christopher H:

Of course you would be ejected from the tournament as soon as you laid down an Oath of Druids, seeing as how it has not been type II legal for quite some time… unless you know something I don’t know and Oath of Druids, Treetop Village, and Spawning Pool are all in Torment ™. They are aren’t they? I knew you’d slip up and reveal things you weren’t supposed to from the spoiler.

Hmmm. Another Oath email. Well, that?s all right; it speaks to the high level of accuracy my readers expect of me that I got more than one message on this. In any case, lest anyone miss the irony in Christopher?s email, Oath of Druids is not getting a reprint in Torment. (Though it would be rather swell, given threshold, wouldn?t it?)

On to the next email.

From Jeff W.:

Don’t expect to win because if you bust out a second-turn Oath in Standard, your opponent is gonna scream for a judge and get you a match loss.

Ack. Okay, I sense a theme here. What does the next email say?

From Jonathan A., who assures me that the deck IS Standard legal:

?except for that whole”Oath of Druids” idea.

I?m not trying to suggest that readers shouldn’t tell me when I screw up, because otherwise I?d live in ignorant bliss, which I hear is rather enjoyable but not very productive. I just want to assure all of you that I don?t make these mistakes on purpose, because the flood of email I get is a well-deserved, humiliating punishment. I promise that once I get certified as a judge, I won?t mislead people into bringing Extended-legal cards into Standard tournaments. (I?m sure the DCI would frown on that.)

All right, really and truly, let?s change topics. On to a letter from Andy P., who hails from the raging metropolis of Hinckley, Minnesota:

I’ve been playing Magic since Ice Age, and I used to live in Anoka. I was able to play with my friends all the time, I’m a veteran player, I had two Jester’s Caps! Back then, that was BIG. Nobody had one Jester’s Cap, let alone two back then. Then a couple years ago I move to H and… bam. No Magic.

I think I still only have one Jester?s Cap. It?s just one of those things where you want one and want one and want one, and so you get one?and then you realize you don?t want to put it in your deck, so it sits in your box, and you forget you can use it?but you don?t think any more to get another one.

Our group has rarely played it, since it punishes exactly one player and does nothing to stop whatever that player has on the board. (My writing these words has now incited at least three people in my group that I can guess at to now build a Jester Cap deck. So I?ll give you all a report next week, no doubt.) Back to the letter:

I’ll cut to the chase?I love Magic. My dream job involves working for Wizards and doing all kinds of… Magicky things. I’m 19, jobless, and willing to go to the far corners of Minnesota (I love the state – It’d take a lot to get me out of here) for a job or something to actually do! Put me to work for you! I’ll shine your shoes, feed you your lunch, case your cards, type your columns, whatever! I’d maim for a job with Wizards of the Coast.

Whoa. First of all, what are”Magicky things”? Wait, I read that Wizards expose on Salon.com last year; I suppose I can guess. Second of all, good for you for loving Minnesota, especially when the Vikings are doing so well this season. (Growing up in Massachusetts, I believe I make perfect sense when I scream GO PATS right here.) Third, my existing staff are horribly offended at the suggestion that I would need any more employees to tend to my personal or professional needs. My son already shines my shoes, my daughter files and cases my cards, my wife prepares me lunch, and my dog writes my columns. But I?ll keep your resume on file for six months.

Finally, and I say this as someone with experience in the job counseling field, please do not maim during your job search process. It turns off the HR personnel you meet ? and more importantly, makes them unavailable to recommend you for employment.

Okay, one last letter and then I have to go. This one from Anthony A.:

Dear Sir,

Your columns are my lifeblood. I don?t understand why White House staff don?t read them for their insights on foreign policy. Anyway, I?m going to the prerelease this weekend and wonder if you have any tips for players??

See, now, why don?t I get more emails like that?!? You could all take a page out of Mr. A.?s book, folks. Yessirree.

I have five tips for this prerelease that you won?t find anywhere else:

  1. GO INTO THE PRERELEASE WITH THE IMPLICIT GOAL OF MAKING AT LEAST ONE NEW FRIEND. I?m not saying you?ll invite him to your wedding next weekend; I?m just suggesting that prereleases exist for a reason.

  2. WEAR BLACK. It?s slimming, and will help you retain more heat from the flourescent lights. Less shivering = more accurate targeting of spells and abilities.

  3. USE FRIED CALAMARI RINGS FOR THE CEPHALID VANDAL?S SHRED COUNTERS. I also like Jay Schneider?s suggestion on Brainburst. (Go read it, before you start trading cards at the prerelease. Note that he?s judging on constructed value; not the play value on Saturday. That said, don?t play the Vandal tomorrow.)

  4. IN THE SIDE EVENTS, FORCE BLUE OR RED EARLY. This is serious advice. Either blue or red, not both. Wizards likes to call this the black set; and black is impossible to avoid. (That?s why you can expect plenty of it in the second two packs, no matter what you take in the first pack.) Green and white contain plenty of anti-black, and many players will gravitate toward that metagame. Stay a step ahead and notice that there is very little protection from red in Odyssey block. Blue, meanwhile, is more efficient than ever at reaching and maintaining threshold. And with madness cards, Cephalid Looter is now insane itself. (“Tap this 2/1 creature: Draw a card, then put Basking Rootwalla into play.”)

  5. BE NICE TO YOUR JUDGES. Otherwise, they may write extensively about your bad behavior on the Internet.


Anthony Alongi

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