Letter From The Editor

Online Content Coordinator Cedric Phillips announces all the exciting changes taking place on the Premium and Select sides of StarCityGames.com!

Ya know, I wish I got to do this more often.

To actually, ya know, sit here and do something that I get so much enjoyment out of.

It’s probably no secret that I’m really effin’ busy nowadays. Between coordinating the content for this here website, streaming two or three times a week, and broadcasting for SCGLive two or three times a month, finding the opportunity to put fingers to keyboard isn’t something I really get the opportunity to do anymore.

But this weekend was different.

Saturday was spent officiating and being the best man in my best friend’s wedding. And after the speech was given, the tears were shed, and the drinks were drunk, I woke up Sunday morning in a considerable amount of pain and without much to do before Breaking Bad came on.

So here I am. Listening to "To Build A Home" by The Cinematic Orchestra on repeat. Thinking to myself about what to write about.

I could dwell on getting second place at the only PTQ I got to play in this season. But the deck is no longer relevant and the best player, Tom Huetson, won that day.

I could talk about how big of a scumbag Alex Rodriguez is. But this probably isn’t the appropriate forum, and everyone already knows that anyway.

So instead I want to talk about what I have in store for you. The reader. The person who decides if I get to keep my job or not. [Editor’s Note: I like my job, so please let me keep it.]

You see, when I say on social media that I want your feedback on things, I’m not blowing hot air. I truly mean it. Over the past few months, I’ve gotten a lot of it. And for that I thank you. Because without your feedback I wouldn’t be able to do my job to the best of my ability.

So what’s changing? Lots of things!

The first thing I was unhappy with was the amount of Premium content we had. There was a three week stretch in June where each Tuesday we had an Ari Lax article and a Versus video.

That’s it.

And that’s not ok.

So I’ve decided to bolster that area of our website significantly. Let’s start with a few new guys:

The newest Hall of Famer, William "Huey" Jensen, will be writing articles and making videos for us here at StarCityGames.com. He’s been running rampant on the Open Series over the past few months and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. I’m excited to follow his journey back to being one of the game’s greats, and I think you will be too.

For our Legacy fans out there, Drew Levin will now be a regular member of our staff. He’ll write about a deck one week and record video on it the next. Currently he’s pretty fond of Young Pyromancer (rumor has it that he’s trying to tag up Young Peezy with Opposition in Legacy), but it takes quite a bit for him to stay away from a broken combo deck for long.

Some of our regulars will be providing more content as well:

Ever wonder how Todd Anderson became the player with the most Open Series Top 8s? Well, he’ll finally be able to show you because our resident Beast token will be recording Magic Online content on a weekly basis moving forward. And as long as Varolz’s regeneration shield is fixed on Magic Online, I expect them to be an absolute blast. [Editor’s Note: Sorry Todd. I had to LOL.]

Ari Lax, Modern extraordinaire, will be pulling double duty for us now. He’ll still be writing his awesome column once a week but he’ll be recording Magic Online content weekly for us as well. Most of it will be Modern centric, so if you’re a fan of Magic’s fastest-growing format, he’s your man.

And finally, former Player of the Year Brad Nelson will be showing up the party every week with either an article for you to read or Magic Online content for you to watch. With Brad vs. Gerry, Brad vs. Todd, and Above The Curve already on his schedule, it’s crazy to think Mr. Narson has time to put another piece of content out each week, but the man just FFFreaking loves Magic.

With the Premium content where I wanted it, it was time to check out the Select side of the website. Turns out that wasn’t good enough either. So I got to work on that as well:

Mondays needed a shot in the arm. And what better way to do that than with Shaheen "All Esper All The Time" Soorani. Shaheen was a monthly writer for us beforehand, but the feedback on his writing was so positive that I’d be foolish not to have him on here more often. He’ll be moving into a biweekly role for us moving forward.

But who’s going to write for us when Shaheen has the week off?

We go to Joshua Ravitz to fix that problem. Ravitz’s list of accomplishments is vast, but the one that’s the most impressive to me is his writing ability. He really has a way of conveying his thought processes in both playing and deckbuilding, and his article today about Mono-Blue Show and Tell really highlights that.

Our other addition for Mondays is Grand Prix Charlotte champion Frank Skarren. It would’ve been easy to say that Frank’s win at Grand Prix Charlotte was a fluke, but he’s proven that it’s anything but. After that victory, he made the finals of the StarCityGames.com Team Sealed Open in Somerset, barely losing to the fearsome trio of Duke, Jensen, and Turtenwald. And if you’re gonna lose to someone in the finals . . .

Add in our normal Monday column from Valeriy Shunkov and the unique voices of Riki Hayashi and John Dale Beety and the beginning of our Magic week is looking a lot healthier.

Tuesdays will stay relatively the same. We’ll still have our fantastic work from Brian DeMars, Matthew Higgs, Robert Martin on Inside The Magic Studio, and the Cube duo of Usman Jamil and Justin Parnell. The two notable changes are that "Mighty" Mark Nestico will be moving from Wednesdays over to Tuesdays for the foreseeable future. So if you’re a fan of Mark and his column, that’s where he’ll be hanging out.

The other change is the Dear Azami column that is manned by Sean McKeown and Cassidy McAuliffe is moving from Mondays to Tuesdays. One of the goals I had was to have Commander here every single day of the week. And by moving Dear Azami over to Tuesday, that opened up space for more me to try a new feature on Monday. Now, I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say that we could see some camera time for Mr. McDarby and his Commander decks in maybe a little Versus video action . . .

Wednesdays will stay pretty much the same as well. So If you’re a fan of Chris VanMeter, Sheldon Menery, The Industry Standard, and The Magic Show, that’s when you’ll find em. Our only addition for Hump Day is a good one. Jim Davis was one of my favorite writers when I came on here, and he’s ready to get back to his regular gig. That means more fantastic in-game situations and more episodes of So You Think You Can Brew?

Thursday will continue to lead off with the irreplaceable Brian Braun-Duin. He’s really hit his stride as a writer over the past two months, and I always fill with excitement when I receive his newest article in my inbox to review. But past him we see quite a bit of shakeup.

Abe Sargent will be moving into a weekly role to ensure we have Commander content every Thursday. Abe’s been a long-time Commander fan and has loads to say on the format. So if Commander is your cup of tea, you’d be wise to listen.

SCGLive Event Coverage Coordinator Glenn Jones will be joining us on a weekly basis to provide us with a little more perspective on the Modern format. I’d heard some rumblings on the ol’ interwebz about how we don’t cover Modern enough, so between Glenn here and Ari’s Magic Online videos I hope I can turn that frown upside down.

On the Pauper front, Alexander Ullman will still be holding down his biweekly role, but I wanted to have Pauper content every Thursday. Enter Jason Moore. Jason is a Pauper enthusiast through and through and even has a YouTube channel to prove it. If you missed his debut article, I recommend fixing that sooner rather than later.

On to Friday we go, and there’s really no better way to start than with our FNM Hero Adam Prosak. I’ve known Adam since I was sixteen, so watching him go to battle week in and week out with his U/R deck has been incredibly enjoyable for me. And when he’s not doing that, he’s probably brewing a Storm so large that Ross Merriam can see it from a few states away.

Speaking of Storm, Carsten Kotter will be staying put on Fridays for us as well. One of the best Legacy writers I have ever read has been putting out some mighty fine tutorials on Storm lately. The only regret I have is that he doesn’t live over here in the States to give Mr. Prosak a run for his money as the best Storm player on the Open Series circuit.

Bennie Smith will still be our Commander expert for Fridays. Bennie’s been at this Commander gig for a while now and has been instrumental to the development of the format.

As far as new stuff on Fridays, AJ Kerrigan may be a familiar face, but his buddy Anthony Lowry isn’t around these parts. They’ll be alternating every Friday, and if Anthony’s first piece is what we can come to expect, he’ll be here for a while.

Next up is John Cuvelier. Back in 2012 I wrote an article about losing in the Top 4 of an online PTQ with a Wolf Run Ramp deck that was handed to me by a friend of mine. John was that friend, and he’s been handing people pristine decklists for some time now. He’s also done a lot of other things over the course of his career, and you can read about all of ’em in his debut article last Friday.

And last but certainly not least is our Select side Versus video. From what I’ve gathered, a lot of people like Mr. VanMeter and Mr. Braun-Duin, so they’ll be battling it out for your entertainment every single Friday. And I’ve had it written into their contracts that they have to determine who goes first via Rock Lobster, Paper Tiger, and Scissors Lizard for the foreseeable future.

So let’s do a summary of those changes:

  • William Jensen is going to write articles and make videos.
  • Drew Levin is going to write and record Legacy Magic Online videos.
  • Ari Lax is going to record Modern Magic Online videos.
  • Todd Anderson and Brad Nelson are gonna do more stuff because they’re awesome.
  • Shaheen Soorani and Joshua Ravitz are gonna take turns tearing up Mondays.
  • Frank Skarren is going to show that he’s not just another face in the crowd.
  • Dear Azami is moving to Tuesday so we can open up some sweet new Commander action on Mondays.
  • Mark Nestico moves to Tuesdays so you don’t have to wait so long for his awesome content.
  • Jim Davis will see if you really can brew every Wednesday.
  • Abe Sargent will bring you his unique views on Commander every Thursday.
  • Glenn Jones will be analyzing Modern every Thursday.
  • Jason Moore will be teaming up with Alexander Ullman to help you scratch that Pauper itch.
  • John Cuvelier will be making his presence know every Friday.
  • Anthony Lowry will try to make his momma proud!

All these changes were made because of you. Your feedback has been invaluable, and I expect more of it. So if there’s something you want to see me do, the comments area is your friend. I may not respond, but trust me when I say I see everything (even you Trevor Holness).

And the problems that we currently do have? Like no commas in old articles and poor audio quality on some of the videos? Don’t worry. We’re getting those fixed too.

As for me, I’ve gotta go back to work again. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be able to do this, but if you need to reach me, I’m not terribly hard to find. And if you’re lucky, Rufus will say hi too.

Pleasure as always my friends.