I had a lovely holiday, thank you for asking.
Didn’t miss Magic at all…
…not even a little bit…
Moving Swiftly Along
If, like me, you don’t find tournament reports particularly interesting and, like me also, you’re fed up to the back teeth with Masques-block ‘tech’, then I imagine that life on the World Wide Web at the moment is about as interesting as watching the inside of your eyelids. Add to this an alarming drop-off in the number of sites that are regularly updated, and things are just going from bad to worse. Let me expound my opinions* a little further**
Problem#1 – Tournament Reports
Man, is this getting dull! Bill plays Pete, then he top-decks for a win; Bill plays Mike, but Mike is a scrub so it’s an auto-win; Bill ID’s with Bunty in Round Three, because Bunty is his girlfriend and he won’t ‘get some’ later that evening if he scrags her ranking***; Bill gets a game loss for – oh, that’s enough already! And to cap it all off, Bill then introduces us to his local Chapter of the Mutual Admiration Society, followed by a well-publicised kick in the arse for anyone that he didn’t get on with during the day. This is not useful. In fact, in most cases, it is also sphincter-clenchingly uninteresting.
Tony’s Solution: Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
What most people want to know is which decks were in the top 8 and, of the decks across the board that are:
a) The most prevalent, and
b) The most dangerous.
It’s all very well slapping up a batch of ‘decks to beat’, but how about some evidence to back these selections up? My solution is to introduce a tabular record of the current ‘hot decks’ with point allocations and totals assigned according to tournament finishes. This wouldn’t be restrictive in any way – you can still send in the stats for your locally-sanctioned mini-club tournaments, but it might make things a bit more readable. The methodology could be comprised of the following rules:
1. Assign eight points to a deck that came first, seven points to the second place deck, etc.
2. Against each deck type, record the number of instances of that type in the top eight (used for tie-breakers later, perhaps)
3. Record ancillary information such as tournament format, date of format, level of tournament, etc.
e.g., A typical result could be:
Point allocations would be:
RDW2K: 8 pts / 1 appearance
Replenish: 11 pts / 2 appearances
Trinity Green: 12 pts / 3 appearances
Flores Black: 3 pts / 1 appearance
Accelerated Blue: 2 pts / 1 appearance
Then, these results would be forwarded to the ‘repository’ (wherever that may be) and added to all the others – then you simply display the top 10 deck types according to their "total points", and then by "number of appearances". This could provide even more information if you plotted the points allocations for deck types across a season, across the boundary of a set becoming legal, re-sort by etc., etc. Then, typically, the ‘deck listing’ could be the most commonly accepted form of that particular deck.
Problem#2 – Too Much Tech
Now I’m sure that some would argue that this is actually a ‘good thing'(TM), but ‘interminable’ is probably the word I’d use – I mean, this stuff just keeps going on and on and on – spewed out of the great Magical Sausage Machine. In fact, just as we’d all recovered from the myriad Prophecy set reviews, we were besieged by MBC tech ad infinitum. By the way, you know things are getting desperate when the latest article focuses on CLEAR THE LAND combos, or why LASHKNIFE is an under-rated card.
Tony’s Solution: I’ve stopped reading them – preferring to, maybe, come up with the same ideas/conclusions within the team play-test environment (it’s ever so much more satisfying that way).
Problem#3 – The Joyous Union / Bastard Offspring**** of Problems One and Two
Oh man – if you find problems one and two more than a little irritating, then the tournament report follow-up to an MBC deck design the week before must really take the sweet, baked wheat snack! There is no refuge!
Problem#4 – Web Site Stagnation
Am I the only person to have noticed that fewer Magic-related web sites are being regularly updated, i.e., updated daily? Star City, New Wave, Neutral Ground, Mindripper, and Meridian have risen to the top of the heap through a combination of this regularity and good (sometimes excellent) writing. But what about those formerly-glorious virtual residences such as the Dojo,
Magic Campus, and Brainburst, who all have gone into hibernation over the last couple of months – why have they dried up? Not enough writing? Are topics becoming too narrow? Is too much emphasis being laid at the door of a single editor and/or webmaster until they burn out? Is this web world perceived as an enormous private boys club with only friends-of-friends, and those who know the secret handshake, being allowed in?
And where is all the fun?
*- Opinions are like anuses – everyone’s got one, but some of them stink
**- You have no choice
***- We know a song about ‘Scragging Your Ranking’ – don’t we, children?
****- Delete as appropriate