The Judge goes from structured decisions to completely
psychotic rantings! What kind of drugs is he taking, and can we have some?

Now that we’re doing the "Ask The Judge" bit, it’s a little more difficult for me to come up with rules material for the column, so you’re going to get to wander around Inside My Head* for a while. Of course, I’m not into writing about what everyone and their brother is writing about, so I’ll stay away from the following topics:

"The card that makes me a good player got banned"

<whine, whine, whine>

"Some other card that makes me a good player got banned."

<whine, whine, whine>

Insert whichever card got banned and repeat ad naseum.

Okay, I’ll write about what everyone is writing about anyway, but only to shed a different light on it. Before I do, I’d like to ask a favor of everyone in non-English speaking countries that also have Magic printed in their native language.

Send me some cards. They can be commons or crap rares or Homelands; it doesn’t matter. Just send me stuff. I’ll reveal my master plan at a later date. If you wish to send me cards (I swear it’s for a good cause), drop me an email at [email protected] and I’ll give you my mailing address. I’ll print the name of the person that sends me the biggest box of foreign cards and send them something uniquely Alaskan. Did I mention the Iditarod started this week?

To all of you who think my column is the result of a well-developed plan:
you’re wrong. This column is so Joycian that I’m muttering "Honeys wore camelia paints" under my breath the entire time, which brings me to the thought that’s just popped around: Are there cards in the Queen’s English? Is there a "Colour Spray" or "Jorael’s Favour" or maybe even
"Avataur of Woue?" Who can help me out here?

Back to somewhere near a point. What’s the big stink this week? In some order:

Some cards got Banned from Extended.

7th Edition may have some cards in it (I can indeed confirm this without
violating any NDA’s)

Turbo Chant is either broken or a pale imitation of Turbo Abeyance (your

By far, the biggest story is the banning of some cards** from Extended. As with any banning, there are people who are ready to jump off of bridges, sell their collections, listen to Britney Spears, or just give up the game "because the DCI is ruining it." I’m told this is a family site, so I’ll avoid saying "what a load of bulls**t."

If it wasn’t for the DCI Bannings and other policies, such as the creation of formats (Vintage, Extended, Standard, et al), the game would have gotten so stale by now that no one would be playing it save a few Mox-hoarding Mr.Suitcases and Necro-philiacs.

We need the freshness that set rotations and well-thought-out bannings gives us. We need new ideas, new combos, new archetypes. In order to survive long-term, there must be a continuing dynamism to the game. As the game’s governing body, the DCI provides that freshness.

Cards aren’t banned capriciously. The DCI even has a policy on *why* it bans cards. "Our aim is to increase the number of viable deck archetypes, while promoting player interaction."

Sounds pretty good to me. The game is much better as a two-player game, not a contest of Lotus/Time Walk onanism***. To be successful in the broader market, it must be about competition, not about hoping you can do your thing before your opponent. To appeal to viewers and thereby sponsors, there must be some drama, some greater interaction between the players. Sometimes cards which defeat this purpose slip through R&D (or marketing, or whomever is responsible). Without the check-and-balance of the DCI Policy Team, the environment could get out of hand very quickly.

I applaud creative deckbuilders who take cards and break them, thereby
redefining a format. I further applaud the DCI for ensuring that they’ll have to do it again and again.

And that’s my Final Judgement.

Sheldon K. Menery

* – You can check out my web page for essays on non-Magical things: http://web.acsalaska.net/~juggernt/inside/inside.htm

** – If you don’t know which cards, where the hell have you been? And it
doesn’t really matter, in an important kind of way…

*** – Silly Stroke and Twiddle jokes are NOT obligatory…