Once or twice a year, I try to answer some of my fan mail and/or death threats in a column. This serves two purposes. First, I get to share some of the answers to the more common questions that get sent my way. Second, I get another quick, cheap column. Then, everyone’s happy. Or at least, I’m happy. Really, in the end, that’s all the counts. Yes, sir, all that counts is how happy I am in the end. Okay, I should stop there before the double entendre simply becomes a cheap ass joke.
Why is an attorney who works for a multi-billion-dollar company the writer of a column about budget decks?
Dear Mr. Jetson,
Interestingly, while the company makes billions of dollars per year, I do not. I am paid using a complex formula that looks something like this:
Chris Romeo Salary = Diddly Ã· Squat
where”diddly” is how much work I do and”squat” is what it’s worth. (Often, the payroll computer systems lock up because of what the IT guys call a”divide by zero” error, whatever that is.)
In addition, I am paid in Elbonian pig knuckles, which currently trade for about twenty-seven cents a pound on the street. Because of this, I have very little extra money to buy good cards and, thus, very little experience with playing with good cards such as Birds of Paradise, which I hear is used for something called”mana acceleration.”
For example, what if I had an extra fifteen bucks to buy cards? I don’t know where this”extra” fifteen dollars came from. Oh, let’s just say I sold some sort of bodily fluid like blood or saliva. Anyway, I could use this”extra” fifteen bones to buy one good card like a Glimmervoid. Or I could use this windfall to put a really good card like Arcbound Ravager on layaway. Then, I could sell more bodily fluids the next month to pay for the rest. At that rate, I could have four Glimmervoids in only four months or four Ravagers in only eight months! Or I could just buy five packs of boosters and get seventy-five cards.
As you can see, if I had to save enough money to build a so-called Net Deck, by the time I had the money, the deck wouldn’t be Standard-legal anymore. I go for quantity because seventy-five cards is enough to build a whole deck (though, not a good deck). One card is not.
In other words, I write what I know. I know commons, uncommons, and cheap rares. Chrome Moxes? What are those?
Now that you’re married, are you gonna stop talking about how hot my mom is?
Just because I’m married doesn’t mean that I’m blind. Your mom is still a hottie. You’re gonna hafta deal with that. The only difference now is that I can’t ogle her as blatantly as I used to. At least not with Luanne around. As she tells me,”It’s like you’re on a diet now, honey. You can look at the menu, but you’d better not order anything. If you order anything, I’ll cut out your tongue before you can put it in your mouth . . . if you know what I mean.” If I could order, though, from the looks of your mom, I’d ask for rump roast with melons for dessert. Know what I’m saying, boy-ee?
Not to worry, though. There are plenty of other guys who eat at Denny’s. One of them will see your mom and end up being your new daddy.
Is it true you and Luanne got married in your mom’s front yahd wearing Bahston Red Sox caps and personalized jerseys? That would be wicked cool.
Yes, we did.
And it was her idea. Honest to goodness, her idea.
Chris, the luckiest guy in the world
We find the gratuitous cheesecake links you put into your article to be offensive. Please, stop.
President, Women Against Cheesecake and Kinky Online Sites
Dear Ms. Killjoy,
I feel your pain. I have a solution that I think will work for both of us:
Stop clicking on those links.
President, Dudes Ogling Women and Girls
Please, take this seriously. How would you like to see naked pictures of your wife?
President, Women Against Cheesecake and Kinky Online Sites
Preferably as high-gloss, eight-by-tens suitable for framing.
Founder, Guys Ogling Girls
I’m not going to get anywhere with you, am I?
President, Women Against Cheesecake and Kinky Online Sites
Not without a bottle of Wild Turkey, some Velcro gloves, and a wad of twenty dollar bills you’re not.
CEO, Mmmmmm . . . Cheesecake, Inc.
You sux. You’re dex sux. Yer writing sux.
As usual, I welcome such constructive criticism. I’m always trying to get better at my craft and entertain more people. I will try harder in the future to not suck, to write about decks that suck less, and to be less sucky at writing.
Last night, we had this big, multi-player game. Long story short, do you know how Lifeline, Planar Void, and Myr Retriever interact when one of us casts a Decree of Pain?
Thanks in advance,
Yes, I do.
Have you even tried testing the Krark-Clan Ironworks deck? You keep talking about how it can kill on turn 3. But that’s a freakin’ gawd draw! It’ll almost never happen! Besides that, it’s so fragile that it’ll never work. Yer an idiot.
Thanks for reading my letter,
P.S. Can I have an autograph?
Yes, I’ve tested two versions of the Ironworks deck. Yes, the third-turn kill is highly unlikely. So is a third-turn kill with Goblins. That requires a turn 2 Warchief followed by three third-turn Piledrivers (or two Piledrivers and a Goblin Raider) headed at an opponent with no blockers. That it can happen at all is scary and a testament to the deck’s power.
Yes, Ironworks is also a fragile deck. Combo decks are fragile. But, oh my goodness gracious, what if the opponent doesn’t have counter magic for the Ironworks, instant-timed artifact destruction in hand on the turn the Ironworks comes down, or instant-timed creature removal? It’s game over. In addition, some versions of the deck run their own counter magic along with an alternate win condition called”creatures.” Ignore this deck in the upcoming weeks and months at your own peril.
As for an autograph, yes, since you asked so nicely, I will give you one. If you will send me your street address, I will have my cousins Vito and Salvatore deliver a personal message.
power flipper hang duplex
Dear Christphe B. Romero:
Would you like a bigger erection?
Your Friends at
Cheeseball Marketing, LLP
grubby tension manic volcano
No, thanks. I don’t even know what to do with the one I have right now.
How can you say that you hate Magic Online, but you’re on it all the time?
Like your mom with her drunken, lazy, unemployed, no-good, dirty-T-shirt-wearing, Simple Life 2-watching, mouth-breathing, piece-of-trash boyfriend, you can indeed hate something and yet be on it all the time. I have the same relationship with Magic Online. I can’t afford to keep an up-to-date online collection, so my decks are lackluster at best. Frequently, I can’t get online or the server is in involuntary-beta-testing mode. Sometimes, though, it’s so convenient. I can play late at night when I can’t sleep. I get to see other folks’ interesting deck ideas, usually as they pummel me and my bad decks.
For example, I ran across a guy who was testing Elf and Nail for the post-Skullclamp era. In the Skullclamp slot, he was running one of my favorite cards: Centaur Glade. Inspired. Sure, it isn’t mad card drawing like the ‘Clamp. Then again, what is? The thing that’s great about that card in Elf and Nail is that the deck has so much mana sometimes that it’s ridiculous. The first time he dropped it on me was during the mid-game, around turn 7 or 8. He had two Vernal Blooms out when he cast it. He had so much extra mana open that he was able to make four Centaurs at the end of my turn. Ouch. When you have that kind of creature production on the board, you can afford to hold the cards you draw. Make them deal with the Glade while keeping your hand full. Seems like a solid strategy to me.
Then, again, as I am often reminded, I don’t play in very sophisticated circles. So, I’m probably wrong.
I have heard a lot about so-called”Jedi Mind Tricks” in Magic. What are those? What’s the best and worst example you’ve seen?
I’ve read a lot about the”Jedi Mind Tricks” in Magic, and I think it depends on who you’re talking to. To some people, the JMT is simply talking, gesturing, and generally distracting your opponent to keep him off of his game. If this was hoops, you’d call it trash talk. If it was baseball, you’d call it razzing. If it was British soccer, you’d call it inciting a riot.
Others, adhering to a more Jedi-like philosophy, consider only the most subtle bluffs to be actual Jedi Mind Tricks.
For example, the best one I ever actually saw myself involved Rebels versus Stompy. The Rebel player had casually mentioned how good Defiant Vanguard was against the big creatures that the Stompy player had. Rebel boy always kept three mana open and his Ramosian Lieutenant untapped. The fear of losing an attacker kept his opponent on the defensive. His opponent was hoping to build enough critters to simply alpha strike. Meanwhile, the Rebel player kept getting out 2/1 and 1/1 Rebel fliers and ended the match. When the opponent asked if he even had Defiant Vanguards in the deck, Rebel boy just said,”Does it really matter?”
The worst one I saw involved a Draw-Go deck versus Blasto-geddon. Thanks to some mana acceleration, the Blasto-geddon player had gotten down a third-turn Blastoderm and was casting a fourth-turn Armageddon. The Draw-Go player took a good twenty-five seconds to look at his hand, then the board, and then back at his hand before saying,”I’ll let it go.” Dude, you’re a control deck. You live off of the ability to leave mana up to both counter stuff and cast card-drawing spells. You’re about to have all of your lands blown up. And you want us to think that you could counter the Armageddon if you really wanted to but you don’t really want to? As Comic Book Guy would say,”Worst bluff ever!”
Of course, people will start to argue about exactly what qualify as”Jedi Mind Tricks” in Magic. They’ll argue about it like there’s a rule (e.g. 719a.2d.IIb.ii) defining what JMTs are. Whatever. They’re cute stories, anyway.
Seriously. You got hitched in Red Sox uni’s? Dude. Sweet.
It’s obvious that you know what you’re doing (most of the time). Clearly, you know the rules well. Why don’t you try to play good decks and win some tournaments?
Dear Yoko Ono,
My therapist says that I have a fear of success. I’m afraid of the fall that inevitably follows the rise. What if I qualified for the Pro Tour? What then? I’m married now. So, I couldn’t take advantage of all of the hot Pro Tour Groupies. I’d get depressed. I’d start losing again. Having tasted success, the failure would be even more bitter. I’d become a recluse, reading philosophy, religion, and Arthur C. Clarke by candlelight. My wife would leave me for our nineteen-year-old Belgian gutter cleaner. As the poet Geddy Lee once wrote,”Sadder still to watch it die / Than never to have known it. / For you the blind who once could see / the bell tolls for thee.”
Okay, seriously? There are a few reasons. For one, I get bored quickly with decks. The more I play with them or against them, the more quickly I get bored. What logically follows then is that I tire out very, very quickly on ubiquitous decks. For example, thanks to my friend Charles’ testing of the Ravager Affinity deck he designed the day that the Darksteel spoiler hit, I was tired of that deck before it was even Standard-legal. Sometimes, honest to goodness, I even feel bad if I beat someone with one of those so-called”‘net decks.” Truly. I feel guilty. I even apologize.
In addition, I really do root for the underdog. Am I a Red Sox fan because I root for the underdog, or did being a fan of underdogs draw me to the Red Sox? Chicken or egg? Who knows? Whatever the cause, I like the unloved cards. I feel sorry for them, sitting in that box in the closet, never having been shuffled into a deck. They’ve been paid for. It’s not their fault that there are better cards. Why not use them?
Magic is also a creative outlet for me. To me, creativity is really at the heart of the game. That’s why the guys in the game that I admire most aren’t the ones who win the most but the ones who can create good, fun decks: Seth Burn; Adrian Sullivan; Nate Heiss; Jay Moldyham-Saladbar (Ted, can you check the spelling on that for me? – Thanks, Chris).
So, add it all up. I quickly get bored with decks. I like to challenge myself to use the underused cards. I like being the underdog.
Yeah, I know that that’s not the way to Pro Tour Success, but I’m not really aiming for that. I just wanna have fun turning some cards sideways. A lot of folks can’t understand that.”How can you have fun if you don’t win?” I can’t explain it. I just do.
P.S. Winning is more fun than losing, though.
As usual, you’ve been a great audience. And, no, you’re still not going to get to see any honeymoon pictures.
CBRomeo / at / Travelers / dot / com