Data Mining in Action: Could Dave Price be Wrong?

There are many universal truths held high in Magic Theory. One notable example is “there are no wrong threats, only wrong answers,” an idea put forth by the great Dave Price. In today’s Flores Friday, Mike scrutinizes this Sacred Cow under the white-heat of examination. Could Dave Price actually be wrong? Backed by extensive data mining, Mike vows to find out…

There was a time when I had pretty exhaustive knowledge of everything written on the subject of Magic: The Gathering by any writer of any merit (for example I knew who made that one Sligh deck from the old Usenet days). However today I read only a small percentage of the available Magic articles. Now look at that, I already categorized available knowledge as “articles” whereas once the idea would not have even occurred to me.

There was a time when the primary source of tech, innovation, or knowledge mere on Magic was the message board. In the golden age of Usenet, Top 8 players like Chris Pikula, Brian Hacker, and even Jon Finkel posted semi-regularly, Brian Kibler team got into online flame wars with older – but sadly not wiser – players, and future Top 8 stars (and R&D members) like Worth Wollpert even solicited deck help for the next Pro Tour Qualifier. As time went by, signal gave more and more ground to noise, until Usenet was replaced by the first iteration of The Dojo, and then even The Dojo became flooded with more and more noise by percentage — until the Psylum era, when the idea of a weekly columnist first entered the Magic mindset. I don’t remember the first line-up much, other than that Fridays were for The Deadguys; under my eventual banner, we had twice weekly Mowshowitz (he was gearing up for his train-like eventual Brainburst run even in 1999), Wise on Mondays, Wakefield Wednesdays (I think!), with an overall focus on regularity. In my mind at least, this is when the big division between “Featured Writer” and “other” first appeared.

Aside on the new The Man: This is neither here nor there, but rumor has it that Aaron Forsythe is the man you want to go to for exhaustive knowledge of all written things Magical these days. End aside.

Over time, I think that the message board has lost maybe too much of its cachet as a resource. There is no denying that for every gem there are two or three or a hundred pointless and off-topic posts, but there are gems that are being ignored for want of patience (I am as guilty of this as anyone, by the way… like I said, I don’t even read all the featured columns). While I can’t aspire to becoming the message board master I may once have been, I want to highlight one or two things that I’ve learned in my own StarCityGames responses.

The first one is the innovation of Culling Scales in Kuroda-style Red. If I hadn’t been for a semi-spat with Gydion I would never have figured out to play Culling Scales. The forums had Damping Matrix in their White Weenie decks months before the Pro community. The Pros, on the other hand, were surprised and smashed, finding that their toys no longer worked. Kuroda-style Red, anticipating this problem due to Gydion’s posts, played aware that the previous strategy of blowing up the world with Oblivion Stone just wasn’t going to cut it.

Just last week, in response to Deck Fundamentals – Paradigm Shift: When Attacking is a Bad Deal, Ryan Soh asked what can only be considered a brilliant theoretical question:

Thanks for this article and congratulations on winning the Resident Genius vote!

So, just to be sure, are you suggesting (from what I can gather) that whereas it was once true that attacking is the default strategy for success, in terms of diversity of threats making it difficult for control strategies to be viable (“there are no wrong threats, only wrong answers”) it is now the case that control strategies are the default strategy for success, in that modern approach towards building these decks are sophisticated enough for handling these, and that “something extra” (such as Affinity) is required in order for an attacking strategy to work?

If so, then your trip down memory lane makes us wonder whether the ‘no wrong threat, only wrong answers’ theory was ever correct to begin with – most of the seasons ended with the conclusion that attacking was a suboptimal strategy.

Perhaps, too much has been said about “no wrong threats, only wrong answers” as a theory. Was it even a theory? From one standpoint, it could simply have been a comment (but still highly significant) of the current state of the game at the time of the relative lack of sophistication in control.


First of all, it had never occurred to me to question Dave Freakin’ PRICE’S read on beatdown decks – this was basically like questioning one of the two base tenets of Einsteinian physics as far as I was concerned – but Ryan, approaching the question from a standpoint of sound intellectual progression (including PMs, not just the initial post) had me re-thinking one of the most universally held tenets of Magic quothery.

But you know what? I really don’t think beatdown necessarily beats control, and is necessarily beaten by combo… which in turn is always beaten by control decks. Most of the time, in my experience, the poor beatdown deck fails to get the right draw before the control deck steals the tournament, and the sluggish control deck folds to the overwhelming speed and card advantage – and strategic play – of the combo deck anyway. As far as pithy statements go, I certainly don’t believe “everything happens for a reason.”

The thrust of Ryan’s follow-up PM was:

… Within this paradigm, attacking as a strategy becomes less viable as the control decks mature and develop in sophistication, thus being able to handle them. Once this has developed, then it is up to the attacking camp to either die off and join the control players, or reinvent themselves. Thus Extended season’s Affinity – BDW – Psychatog – Friggorid timeline, or say even Kamigawa Block’s WW – Gifts – Critical Mass.

This would explain why (usually) at the start of every season it is the aggressive (or should we say proactive) decks that tend to do well, being the ‘obvious’ strategies that present themselves that do not focus too much on what it is the opponent is doing, but rather win on the strength of the card interactions and power effect on the game.

A reactive approach from the control camp then learns how to beat this – and well, does what you would do, which is to try and pre-empt their fundamental turn. Then the ball is thrown back to their court… and the question is whether they can find a way to score before the buzzer? Otherwise the season ends and we are left with the conclusion that attacking is not a viable strategy… when in fact it may instead be repositioning.

For good reason, I found this a compelling line of argumentation. When I talked about “mature” formats, there was a necessary END to those formats. When we thought of an “evolved” format… Evolution in the case of Magic formats past may have been less about coming to some solution than simply being curtailed and finished before they could further grow, change, or perhaps degenerate.

I immediately started thinking about small and big formats. For some formats – like Onslaught Block, and especially Mirrodin Block – I had serious doubts about how far they could evolve past their ends. That said, both of those formats saw interesting changes before hitting even their limits. Onslaught started off as a hotbed of weird strategies – Beasts, Beasts Bidding, all manner of Zombies – before setting on the ultimate active and reactive decks. Even Goblins, simplest and most “obvious” of mechanics-driven decks, had to slough its automatic Goons before embracing Siege-Gang Commander. And as for the White decks? We tend to reduce Onslaught to Red Deck and R/W, but Mono-White and even U/W Control decks had representatives, may have eventually gained significant share had the format continued long enough.

Big formats, or at least less mechanically-driven formats, show even more interesting twists and turns near their ends than Blocks like Onslaught and Mirrodin. Odyssey, long considered a “two deck” format (forget that one of those two ran on at least three different distinct mechanically-driven models), gave birth to children as diverse as Pirates! and Burning Wake, as disparately tuned as Solitary Confinement and the highly influential Cunning Wake; and Odyssey, with its Madness, its Wild Mongrels, was as mechanically-driven a format as any.

Now think back just one PTQ season. Friggorid hit the scene in a serious way with only two weeks of qualifiers left. It made an unparalleled splash with unparalleled speed. How much farther than Firemane Angels would the deck have gone? Three or four weeks in, would there still be short-sighted reactive players trying to beat the two-pronged and irresistible Friggorid offense with Caltrops? With glacial Engineered Plagues? As far as we know, Friggorid was the most evolved and powerful deck for Extended 2005-2006, but like Hausman’s Long Distance Runner, Friggorid “finished” before its potential decline. Could it, for instance, have contended long term with Heartbeat decks packing Composts?

This same idea of constant repositioning past what the mainstream Magic media (with myself the chief offender, if, in truth, an offense is being made) spreads around as The. Decks. To. Beat. Consider the random and inexplicable composition of Magic Online 8-Man queues. The first week I played 8-Man queues, I could barely win a game. I was pretty sure that my decks were strong (of course, I would be)… but my opponents were sometimes highly rated White Weenie decks… with Flames of the Blood Hand, Eminent Domain… with all Copy Enchantments main, unending personal tweaks I had never seen in the chronicles of real world Magic. My friend Josh Ravitz, formerly the #1 rated Constructed player of the digital realm, passed me what was supposed to be his best deck for Magic Online: a nearly Mono-Black Ink-Eyes beatdown deck with three Civic Wayfarer and other puzzling oddities. “MODO’s random,” he said. “Trust me, this is what passes for good.”

Because tournaments are being played almost constantly on Magic Online, the metagame is slightly ahead of paper Magic; the problem is that in order to continue to innovate, or at least metagame, decks progress past what might be considered a healthy terminus in the real world. They “advance” to such an inbred state that while the Three Civic Wayfarer deck may be the right solution to the Magic Online problem, it is incapable of beating regular old – and in their own way, expertly tuned – tournament decks played across an actual table. I have no idea if this is actually true, by the way, but it sure would answer a lot of the puzzlement I sometimes feel when avowed Magic Online players complain about rogue decks that post superb real world percentages.

What I decided to do was a little mining on previous big formats. If any of you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the same mailing list with me, let your appetite be satiated. Here is the second email I sent to the post-TOGIT mailing list, the expanded Seven Kings (when there still was a Seven Kings) for this Pro Tour LA past:

I always find it interesting to go back and look at what decks have done well in the past. Here are the Top finishes of the past few Extended Pro Tours.


Canali – Affinity; beatdown/combo; rogue
Nakamura – RDW with Pillage; beatdown; stock
West – U/W Scepter; control/combo; rogue
Ruel – Goblins; beatdown; stock
Szleifer – Reanimator; beatdown/combo; stock
Oiso – Desire; combo/control sb; neutral
Arita – Loop Junktion; combo; neutral
Siron – Madness; aggro-control; stock
Fujita – RDW with Pillage; beatdown; stock
GoodmanAluren; combo; stock
Twiefel – Red Rock; mid-range board control; stock
Warmenhoven – U/W Scepter; control/combo; rogue
Dominguez – Cephalid Breakfast; combo; rogue
Da Costa Cabral – Scepter Finkel; control/combo; rogue
Carvajal – Cephalid Breakfast; combo; rogue
Garza – Reanimator; beatdown/combo; stock

neutral = known; may have been in the gauntlet in similar form but not universal for all test groups
rogue = not known or unexpected; was not in the gauntlet of most groups or was dismissed if known
stock = known; was in the gauntlet of most or all test groups

stock 11111111
rogue 111111
neutral 11

beatdown 11111 (includes Affinity and Madness)
combo 1111111 (includes Reanimator)
control 1111 (includes Scepter decks)

Columbus had a majority of stock decks in the Top 16, but nearly as many unexpected decks considering the metagame prior to the Pro Tour. This seems to support ffeJ and Osyp’s ideas of an open format [this year] as the metagame is not 100% known going into the Pro Tour.

Combo was the most numerous in this year, and control was the weakest. The only “pure” control deck, if you can call it that, was Red Rock, with all of the Scepter decks including a combo in Orim’s Chant.

New Orleans:

Osterberg – U/R Tinker; Tinker/Combo; neutral
Nassif – Clock; combo; stock
Hamon – Clock; combo; stock
Oiso – U Tinker; Tinker; stock
Hoh – U/r Tinker; Tinker; stock
Harvey – U Tinker; Tinker; stock
Yokosuka – Scepter Tog (+r); control/combo; stock
Labarre – Clock; combo; stock
Cato – RDW; beatdown; stock
Asahara – Seething Gobvantage; beatdown/combo; neutral
Kaji – Angry Hermit II; combo; stock
Wright – Clock; combo; stock
Stark – U Tinker; Tinker; stock
CanavesiPsychatog; control; stock
Walls – Scepter Oath; control; stock
Pascoli – Clock; combo; stock

stock 11111111111111
neutral 11

I only marked Osterberg and Asahara as neutral because their implementations were slightly off-stock. However, the same tactics that might be used to fight Tinker (spot artifact removal) don’t work against Osterberg, and Asahara had outs and reach (Charbelcher) that the typical Goblin deck couldn’t boast.

I also think this was a dumb format, though, with 10 of the top 16 decks playing the card Tinker. However it is also an interesting look to see how specific Tinker decks given that limitation chose to tune. Osterberg’s deck is quite different from most, for example.

beatdown 11
combo 11111111111 (includes “Tinker” category)
control 111

Pretty clear which category of decks won New Orleans…


Gary – Oath; control; stock
Dougherty – Reanimator; beatdown/combo; neutral
Kastle – Rock; mid-range board control; stock
Larkin – Reanimator; beatdown/combo; stock
MyrvigPsychatog; control; stock
JorstedtAluren; combo; stock
Maher – Angry Hermit II; combo; rogue
Remie – Rock; mid-range board control; stock
RosePsychatog; control; stock
Labarre – Suicide; beatdown; stock
Ranks – Sligh (+ Blue); beatdown; stock
AsaharaAluren; combo; rogue (totally different implementation of Aluren)
Ishihara – Rock; mid-range board control; stock
Minieri – Suicide; beatdown; stock
NitterPsychatog; control; stock
Warmenhoven – Turbo Oath; control/combo; rogue

stock 111111111111
rogue 111
neutral 1

beatdown 111
combo 11111 (includes Reanimator)
control 11111111

Again, beatdown is pretty thin.

Other New Orleans:

BuddeDonate; combo; stock
Walamies – Dumbo Drop; control; rogue
Wiegersma – Oath; control; stock
Humpherys – Benzo; beatdown/combo; rogue
Jonsson – Three Deuce; beatdown; stock
Gennari – Secret Force; mid-range control; neutral
Kastle – Benzo; beatdown/combo; rogue
KlauserDonate; combo; stock
Rush – ?
Sorino – ?
Lyons – ?
Guevin – Benzo; beatdown/combo; rogue
Dougherty – Benzo; beatdown/combo; rogue
Hegstad – Turbo Land; combo; rogue
KiblerDonate; combo; stock
Harvey – Zombie Nation; combo; rogue

stock 11111
rogue 1111111
neutral 1

beatdown 1
combo 111111111
control 111

Again combo kicked ass and beatdown was thin.


It seems that combo and control decks have done best in Extended for the past few years, and beatdown has never been the best (Anton’s Three-Deuce seems intriguing though, so I think I’ll try to make something like that when Ravnica is fully revealed). Anyway, I think I’m going to switch gears and start working on control decks rather than beatdown decks (as I’m never good at making combo decks).

In a very open format, the macro archetypes break down like this:

Beatdown – has to be fast and have a nice side plan to be successful. We can see the combo side suite of Affinity, or the counters of Madness, or the Tangle Wires of the few successful Red Decks here. In general, it seems like massively overpowered control decks, or simply faster combo decks, have drowned beatdown for the past four years or so.

Combo – benefits greatly from inaccurately built or inflexible control decks. For example, it is nice to be Donate when the control decks focus on anti-board control elements like Oath of Druids.

Control – must have massively overpowered control elements (Oath of Druids) or flexible answers to win; also important is the ability to win a control mirror. Control is actually the hardest kind of deck to build for an open format, because if you get the answers wrong, then your deck sucks. Even incompetently-built beatdown decks have a certain goldfish turn in a void.

Anyway, here’s a new deck that I started working on based on these findings. I’m usually pretty good at making controllish decks that are good against combo and creatures.

Nassiferson First Pass:

4 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
1 Haunting Echoes
1 Skeletal Scrying
4 Smother
2 Undead Gladiator
4 Vindicate
2 Akroma’s Vengeance
4 Decree of Justice
2 Eternal Dragon
4 Renewed Faith
4 Wrath of God
1 Barren Moor
4 Caves of Koilos
10 Plains
1 Secluded Steppe
8 Swamp

I want a million cards for the sideboard already – Boseiju, Cranial Extraction, Nezumi Shortfang, Kataki, Disenchant, and Sphere of Law; Hacker would definitely play a catch-all like Gerrard’s Verdict in the sideboard. I think that if you pair Black with White, you can shortcut Engineered Plague and go straight for Sphere of Law against Goblins. The thing is that a redundant Sphere of Law is still relevant, because a prepared Goblins player is going to try to overwhelm enchantments either with Naturalize, making the first Engineered Plague (assuming you’ve drawn the second) fairly useless – whereas a redundant Sphere will keep you alive against a Naturalize and counter something like a Goblin King or Dralnu’s Crusade. It also has nice Splash Damage against any kind of a RDW resurrection. Anyway, once you’ve jumped at that level you can shore up holes with more Akroma’s Vengeances, Decree of Pain, or Innocent Blood to finish.

In the case that Tooth and Nail becomes known or good (ffeJ bashed me in testing the other night – even when I was ‘Tog), this kind of deck can be very strong because of Vindicate on Urza’s Lands (not to mention just random strength of cards like Duress against big spell combo). Also, I am seeing a ton of Balancing Tings online, and Smother (and possible Innocent Blood long game) seems very attractive there.

I would actually be happy to play versus Psychatog all day with a deck like this, winning on Gladiators and hand destruction. Cycling is pretty good against them, etc.

Any thoughts?


Previous mining didn’t seem to support Ryan’s supposition, because while beatdown took both the top spots in Columbus, it was consistently below par at finding Top 16 spots, and failed to field a full third of the spots over the past four years. However, I thought that Ryan had something for one reason: The Rock. Compared to other Extended contemporaries, from Oath, to Psychatog, to the latest version of Red Deck Wins, The Rock has consistently under-performed in the hands of even the best players on the Pro Tour… but is a perennial PTQ standout regardless. Maybe it’s not so much a question of beatdown purely, but an overall focus on threats. I decided to assess the same formats (plus Los Angeles) based not on control/combination/beatdown, but instead just proactive/reactive differentiation.

Los Angeles:

RuelPsychatog; reactive
Moreno – MadTog2020; proactive
Tsumura – Dredgatog; reactive
McDaniel – Heartbeat; proactive
Fujita – BDW; proactive
Chang – RDW; proactive
Tormos – RDW; proactive
Arita – U/W Scepter; proactive
Leong – RDW; proactive
Shinkins – Dredgatog; reactive
Ruel – Affinity; proactive
NassifBalancing Act; proactive
Da Costa Cabral – Trollatog; proactive
Levy – Aggro Rock; proactive
Pettersson – Dump Truck; proactive
Peebles-Mundy – RDW; proactive

Proactive: 1111111111111
Reactive: 111

Wow! Categorized as only “mostly threats” versus “mostly answers,” the threats have it. Big format Magic may not be about the beatdown pure, but first stage (that is, Pro Tour) formats seem to favor tapping mana on one’s own turn quite a lot: 13-3 in this case.

The format finished on Friggorid, but a “control” deck (albeit proactive control) in the CAL may have been the best deck. In the case of the most recent Extended, I think it was just an issue of players not seeing the Dredge cards they could put together, and missing the big mechanics, rather than the format taking any kind of twists and turns of its own. That said, Boros Deck Wins and similar continued through to the end, possibly because complex strategies don’t like two-drops into Molten Rains.


Canali – Affinity; proactive
Nakamura – RDW with Pillage; proactive
West – U/W Scepter; proactive
Ruel – Goblins; proactive
Szleifer – Reanimator; proactive
Oiso – Desire; proactive
Arita – Loop Junktion; proactive
Siron – Madness; proactive
Fujita – RDW with Pillage; proactive
GoodmanAluren; proactive
Twiefel – Red Rock; reactive
Warmenhoven – U/W Scepter; proactive
Dominguez – Cephalid Breakfast; proactive
Da Costa Cabral – Scepter Finkel; reactive
Carvajal – Cephalid Breakfast; proactive
Garza – Reanimator; proactive

Proactive: 11111111111111
Reactive: 11

You may be wondering why some Scepter decks (West) are proactive, while others (Da Costa Cabral) are not; it’s simple… In some decks, Isochron Scepter is just a card advantage card; in others, it is specifically set up to lock the opponent out of the game, kind of like a combo card… Scepter could be a positively proactive in central strategy, even amidst a lot of counterspells. Da Costa Cabral’s deck, while strictly capable of the same, merely sideboarded one Chant, and was not centrally focused on setting up that lock.

Like the subsequent format (previous for our purposes), I think this Extended ended before it really hit its equilibrium point, but in general, it was another mostly active one. Grand Prix standouts were combos like Sneak Attack, Aluren, and Glavin’s Life. That said, I will go to my grave thinking that the B/G deck was the best deck of the format. Even after decks like Aluren came up at Grand Prix Boston, the format accepted weird evolutions like Temporary Solution; the all-Goblins version of the format was solved almost too easily by Pyschatog with Engineered Plague starting.

New Orleans:

Osterberg – U/R Tinker; proactive
Nassif – Clock; proactive
Hamon – Clock; proactive
Oiso – U Tinker; proactive
Hoh – U/r Tinker; proactive
Harvey – U Tinker; proactive
Yokosuka – Scepter Tog (+r); reactive
Labarre – Clock; proactive
Cato – RDW; beatdown; proactive
Asahara – Seething Gobvantage; proactive
Kaji – Angry Hermit II; proactive
Wright – Clock; proactive
Stark – U Tinker; proactive
CanavesiPsychatog; reactive
Walls – Scepter Oath; reactive
Pascoli – Clock; proactive

Proactive: 1111111111111
Reactive: 111

Dumbest Extended since Rome… Thinking about the PTQs probably doesn’t tell us very much either way, especially because of all the bannings.


Gary – Oath; reactive
Dougherty – Reanimator; proactive
Kastle – Rock; reactive
Larkin – Reanimator; proactive
MyrvigPsychatog; reactive
JorstedtAluren; proactive
Maher – Angry Hermit II; proactive
Remie – Rock; reactive
RosePsychatog; reactive
Labarre – Suicide; proactive
Ranks – Sligh (+ Blue); proactive
AsaharaAluren; proactive
Ishihara – Rock; reactive
Minieri – Suicide; proactive
NitterPsychatog; reactive
Warmenhoven – Turbo Oath; reactive

Proactive: 11111111
Reactive: 11111111

This is where it gets good. The fact that the format started on more of a balance probably helps, but Houston was the year that The Rock really came out as a PTQ deck, along other more middling decks (aggro-control) like Cunningham’s Deep Dog.

Other New Orleans:

BuddeDonate; proactive
Walamies – Dumbo Drop; reactive
Wiegersma – Oath; reactive
Humpherys – Benzo; proactive
Jonsson – Three Deuce; proactive
Gennari – Secret Force; proactive
Kastle – Benzo; reactive
KlauserDonate; proactive
Rush – ?
Sorino – ?
Lyons – ?
Guevin – Benzo; proactive
Dougherty – Benzo; proactive
Hegstad – Turbo Land; proactive
KiblerDonate; proactive
Harvey – Zombie Nation; proactive

Proactive: 1111111111
Reactive: 111

This was the year of The Rock’s debut on the amateur scene. Sol had been playing like decks for years, but it was the success first at Neutral Ground, then in Las Vegas, that brought it what would be much wider acceptance. The Rock, expertly played, was actually quite serviceable against the format-defining Donate deck. The initial problem – both for Donate and The Rock – was the emergence of Miracle Grow (which crushed both), then re-tuned Oath and other control decks. More than any of the preceding (subsequent for the real world) formats, 2001 PTQ era Extended cleanly shows the progression away from proactive to reactive.

The answer to an answer is an answer.”
Zvi Mowshowitz

All the formats showed some movement, in most cases significant progression, in the reactive direction (you will always see more Pernicious Deeds “per capita” in a PTQ than at the Pro Tour, with Canali’s Columbus possibly excepted), even if they didn’t seesaw entirely to the defensive camp. The reason is simple: Control decks have to be tuned against threats; when you don’t know what threats you will be facing, it is quite difficult to anticipate those with any accuracy; I went 4-4 with the eventual version of B/W I took to the Pro Tour, mentioned in the email above. Despite the presence of almost half Red Decks in the Top 8, I sided Sphere of Law in exactly zero times. Ryan’s lack of “sophistication” is one way to label this, but I prefer to look at it as a lack of role or relevance. You see, even when we segmented decks by proactive/reactive, there were many control elements present in the five years of Extended Top 8 decks discussed in this article. The combo decks had permission spells, the lock-oriented Scepter decks did too. The difference for a lot of those decks was that they had something they wanted to do, and permission just helped them to protect their core strategies. Similarly, in fields with wide threats (Brain Freeze and Isamaru, Donate and Ashen Ghoul), control decks need powerful finishers (like Psychatog) or superb draw engines (like Intuition) in order to win quickly enough, or stay in games, before the threat-based opponents win first.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t one? You could argue for ten years about the veracity of Dave Price’s simple statement, bring in a hundred, a thousand, tournaments worth of data and not reach a conclusion everyone would accept (everyone being defined by all rational persons who understand the basic operations of tournament Magic: The Gathering). In this case, I think it’s enough to look at the idea of a format having a potential life past its last PTQ.

Plug Time: DECKADE

Speaking of ten years of Magic arguments, now it’s time to answer poor Mark Young question of when we are going to update Top8Magic.com. The answer is the site has already been updated. You can visit Top8Magic.com and listen to a brand new set of podcasts with me reading everyone’s favorite Magic article and twenty or so minutes of “DVD Extras,” where BDM and I discuss the significance of Who’s the Beatdown, which is highly entertaining in this writer’s opinion… as well as the much delayed Grand Prix Philadelphia pods featuring superstars like Chris Pikula, Antonino De Rosa, and, um, Star Wars Kid.

While you’re there, you can check out Top8Magic.com’s first product: a book by yours truly. DECKADE covers the last ten years of Magic writing by moi – from Usenet, through The Dojo, to StarCityGames – with more DVD Extras and new material you can’t find anywhere else, by Randy Buehler, John Shuler, Eric Taylor, Albert Tran, BDM, Zvi, and Teddy Cardgame (I really hope I didn’t miss anyone), and me of course.

DECKADE is awesome… But don’t take it from me. Instead, take it from the guy on the back of the book:

“When it comes to the history or theory of Magic: The Gathering, few are as well qualified as Mike Flores. I should know: It was a deck of his design – Napster – that I piloted to the 2000 National Championships. What I learned then is equally true today: When Mike Flores says something about Magic, you’d do well to listen.”
Jon Finkel