Alright, faithful readers… I have a question for you. Was my article posted at the top of today’s articles? If it wasn’t, I need a favor from you. Mailbomb our good editor with your outrage that you had to scan down the page to find my article. I mean, do you really want to have…

Alright, faithful readers… I have a question for you. Was my article posted at the top of today’s articles? If it wasn’t, I need a favor from you. Mailbomb our good editor with your outrage that you had to scan down the page to find my article. I mean, do you really want to have to work to find my articles? Do not rest until my name is in lights on this site! Bloody Revolution!

And who is this One Man Crowd, anyway? Why is he getting top billing for writing such fluff? I mean, granted, it’s well-written, tasty fluff, kinda like cotton candy, but where’s the strategy? How much is Pete paying this guy, and is it more than me? Hubrisvision?!?

Actually, I really like Josh Bennett. He cracks me up. In a way, this article is an homage to him, so picture me as a One Man Small Crowd as I climb upon the revered, well-loved Rant Pulpit. Envision a dark-haired Sam Kinison, only a little more lively than he is nowadays.



Has anyone else gotten pissed about this announcement? Has anyone really thought about the implications? I mean, when I first read the announcement, I sorta shrugged and moved on from there. But as the days have passed, my mind keeps coming back to it and I have to tell you I am not pleased. I’ve never had the chance to go to Origins, though I really wanted to go last year. However, I was moving in a few weeks and didn’t think the wife would be pleased with me traipsing out of town for four or five days to play games while she stayed home to pack.

Guilt is a powerful weapon, one of many possessed by the fairer sex, let me tell you.

Late last year, I won the Virginia States Championship, and got involved in some debate that flowed in the aftermath of States regarding why States doesn’t feed any bigger tournament. Some folks felt that States should qualify people for Nationals, but my thought was that it would cool to award byes to the champs for Regionals. Thoughts of Regionals and Nationals naturally got me thinking about the summer, and how I was going to try and go to Origins this year. The Mrs. and I are firmly entrenched in a house for a few more years now, so there’s no summer moving on the horizon. The time is ripe for a road trip…

Origins 2000! Origins, The Mother of Gaming Conventions! Where it all started!

If I’m not mistaken, Magic the Gathering got it’s first start at Origins back in the early 90’s, and it was a huge hit. Gamers tend to love games, and Origins has a huge concentration of them. They scarfed up the game, got word of mouth rolling, and when Magic hit the market, it exploded. Wizards of the Coast went from being a tiny RPG house to a mammoth feather in Hasbro’s cap (kinda like the Polar Kraken earring in the Big Furry Monster pic). But without Origins, would the game have been as big a hit? I mean, bringing Magic to Origins that summer, filled with gamers, was like dropping a match in a pool of gasoline, and the rest is history. And bags of dough.

So having Wizards drop out of Origins this year strikes me as a smack in the face, totally lacking in grace and gratitude. It’s like Wizards is saying they’re too good for Origins now. I mean, why exactly CAN’T they bump Nationals to accommodate? Does it make that big of difference? But on top of that, it’s effectively screwing the gaming community. I mean, having the Magic Nationals happen at Origins is amazing; not only can you go and observe or participate in one of the biggest Magic events in the world, but you also get tons of role-playing, board games, and other stuff on the side. It’s a smorgasbord of fun for any gamer. But now, said gamer has to choose between Origins or Nationals. Sure, they’re on separate weekends, but who can afford to spend a long weekend in Florida, and then turn around and spend a long weekend in Ohio a couple weeks later? That’s not going to happen for most gamers, finances are going to dictate a hard choice of one or the other.

What is going happen is that all the Magic players are going to have to go to Disneyworld instead of Origins this year. That loud sucking sound you’re hearing is the vacuum created by all the space Origins has reserved to accommodate the huge Magic crowd that’s not going to show up. You can hear it in the plea for a Grand Prix at Origins that came out shortly after Wizards announced Nationals would not be there. People who have been really good to Magic over the years are going to lose a lot of money to this careless maneuver.

But it gets worse, people. Not only does it suck where Nationals is NOT going to be held this year, the place were it IS going to be held sucks, too.



Now, first off, I don’t have any problem with Mouseland and the House that Mickey built. Heck, back in the Stone Age when I was a child, I actually went to Disneyworld and got to see Walt’s Cryogenic Chamber, Space Mountain and everything. It was fun, and I’ve good memories of it.

Notice something in the last paragraph? Let’s zoom in on it–


The key word is… CHILD!

Disneyland is for children! Hel-lo, Wizards… how many 8 year-olds qualified for Nationals last year?

To paraphrase the Press Release…

“With the success we’ve had with the Junior Super Series in Disneyland, we thought it would be nifty to hold Nationals down there to accommodate all the kiddies instead of it’s traditional home at the Mecca of Gaming, Origins.” Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck!

Why does this smell so familiar? Hmm… I’ve encountered this reek before… (sniff… sniff… sniff) Aha! Here it is coming from the latest issue of Top Deck lying here in my bathroom trashcan!

What a friggin’ joke, that magazine. They take a perfectly good monthly magazine, the Duelist, filled with good quality articles and information about Magic, kill it, and resurrect it as an in-depth strategy guide to… Pokemon? I mean, how much strategy is there in that game? How hard is it to figure out that playing Professor Oak to draw seven cards is a good thing? How many different ways can you flip a coin? Anyway, somehow, they fill 75% of the magazine with Pokemon”content,” and then we get some token Magic strategy articles. I mean, do they figure that Magic players are going to buy the magazine for the Magic stuff and then get lured into playing Pokemon?


Poor Jamie Wakefield. He finally gets his big break writing for Wizards, and the magazine turns out to be a Pile of Tripe (TM). No wonder he’s been driven from this reality and is running around with a big magical ax rounding up followers in some virtual fantasy world. A lesser man might pick up a real ax from his woodshed and-

But I digress. Back to the issue at hand.

Disneyworld. There, I said it without shouting and cursing… but I’m not smiling, folks.

Let’s dig a little deeper into this whole Disneyworld thing. Let’s do a little free-association just to free our minds and get to the root of the problem. Relax… breathe… alright, here we go…

Disneyworld? Kids.
Florida in June? Hot.
Florida in June, during summer vacation time? Very hot. Lots of people. Tourists! High prices! Temperature in the triple digits! Oh! Oh!! OHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
For God’s sake, man, settle down! Get a grip!

Let’s take a look at our subject here while he’s trying to calm down and get his breathing back to normal. Name? Joe Average Gamer. Carrying a little extra weight on him, but that makes him lovable, right? Probably not well-tanned, because his idea of a great afternoon is getting together with friends in a nice, cool, shady enclosure shuffling up cards or slipping into his favorite role-playing game. He’s probably much more into cerebral activities than the whole sand in your face thing.

Does this sound like a beach kind of guy to you? Does this sound like the kind of guy who is going to enjoy walking around in the kind of heat Florida has in June, elbowing kids and elderly people out of the way on his quest for lunch that doesn’t cost him a week’s rent? Does he really want to pay good money to travel towards the equator during the hottest time of year and hang out in a tourist town during prime vacation time?

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I suggest to you… he does not!

Now, let me interject this quick disclaimer – I am not anti-Disney! I am”anti-Nationals-at-Disney.” It just doesn’t fit. Sure, people are going to go, but I’m willing to bet it’s going to be a lot smaller than it would be at Origins, and that Origins is going to suffer for it.

I’m looking towards Regionals now with a lot less enthusiasm than last year. Of course, I could turn it around and compete strongly, eliminating someone from the top 8 and then not go myself, so I would effectively be personally reducing attendance to Nationals by two in protest. So there!

With my luck, though… this year will be the year I qualify for Nationals, and have to decide between not going on principle… or suffering through the setting to play the game I love.

Thanks, Wizards! You guys are great! (said through grinding teeth)

The crowd erupts into applause, then musters into a mob to storm the Wizards’ castle with protests! Bloody Revolution is at hand! Death! Destruction! Plunder!

Wait! Wait! Don’t go yet…

I have a BONUS RANT!

Pretty small potatoes in comparison, but…

Is calling the Donate/Illusions combo deck from Extended”Trix” retarded or what? I mean, calling the Necro Pebbles deck”Cocoa Pebbles” makes sense, because it’s got the Fruity Pebbles combo added in a”black” deck. Adding the Fruity Pebbles combo to Rec/Sur and naming it after another cereal (“Wheaties”) makes some sense, too, but at this point the trend is getting tiresome.

Then along comes a completely different combo and they name it after another damn cereal with the cutesy moniker of”Trix.”

But the deck only has one Trick! Cast Illusions of Grandeur, Donate it and win. That’s it. There’s no other”tricks” up it’s sleeve. It doesn’t have an alternative way of winning, like flying over for Skirge Familiar beatdown. The deck has a single-minded purpose, and the whole deck is designed to pull off that one single trick. If all of it’s Donates are removed from the game (say, by a Lobotomy or Quash), then it has no way to win. It is strictly a one-trick pony, like the venerable Bloom Drain deck.

“Trix.” What a stupid, unoriginal, inappropriate name for a good deck that’s going to be played by thousands of players. Do me a favor, folks… when you refer to the deck, call it Donate/Illusions, or Necro Donate. If you say”Trix” in my presence, I might just turn around, pour milk on your deck and eat it, plastic sleeves and all.

Okay, I’m done now. Let the rotten vegetables fly!

Bennie Smith