Lotus Prey

About six months ago, following a visit to PT London (and that whole debacle in Peter Adkison’s hotel room), I resolved to give up constructed Magic tournaments; this, of course, has meant that I don’t buy boosters or individual cards any more, though I have filled the void by playing much more Limited M:TG. Recently,…

About six months ago, following a visit to PT London (and that whole debacle in Peter Adkison’s hotel room), I resolved to give up constructed Magic tournaments; this, of course, has meant that I don’t buy boosters or individual cards any more, though I have filled the void by playing much more Limited M:TG. Recently, while tidying up my study / library (ie. the spare room), I flicked through the Lever Arch folders that contain my CCG collection, and reflected on

a) the sheer quantity of cards, and
b) the fact that ALL of the cards therein were
worthless, if pretty, pieces of cardboard

Harsh words, I know, but take a look at the prices that dealers will PAY for cards – only a tiny fraction will get us the price of the booster or more in return ! And fewer still retain any sort of value once they’ve dropped off the Standard ‘allowable’ list. And think about how much money YOU give out…

"Remember – you are my son and are more than what you have become"

Remember the frenzy for foils when Urza’s Legacy emerged? Man, has that little episode dropped off in the last nine months – $100 for a foil Ring of Gix? You’d be lucky to pull in more that $30 for that foil Squee, Goblin Nabob now! And as pretty as Euro-lands and shiny Serras are, surely WotC have descended to the lowest-of-the-low marketing techniques to push their product? The message is loud and clear: Mercadian Masques and Nemesis are such gonad-achingly uninteresting sets that sales need to be hyped with promo materials!

Let me go back to Revised for a minute – now THAT was a set that was worth buying boosters for! Look at the list of great rares: Dual Lands (10 different!), Fork, Wheel of Fortune, Force of Nature, Ankh of Mishra, Winter Orb, Stasis, Howling Mine, Lord of the Pit, Nightmare, Shivan Dragon etc – it goes on! Out of 120 rare (and, therefore, the most valuable) cards, 20-30% of them were SUPERB! And because they were superb, they had value. Compare this with Mercadian Masques – 120-ish rares, and the great ones are…Squee, Goblin NabobBribery…. help me out here!

There have been many complaints about Urza’s block and the broken-ness of that cycle, but the ratio of high quality rares is up there with Revised – it’s worth buying the boosters! We didn’t need a miniature, inflatable Mirri or holographic, laser-etched, copper-coated promo chase card to convince us that a box of Urza’s Destiny was a good investment. In fact, I am surprised that ANY player bothers to buy a box of Mercadian Masques or Nemesis, given that it is more cost effective to buy singles for LatestBroken.dec.

The Acid Test

The acid test is, therefore, could you open a box of product and make your money back by selling singles?

I would suggest that since 6th Edition, the answer would be a resounding NO – thus, where is the incentive for us to buy boxes? Or is the real truth at the heart of this matter that Constructed Magic is dying? Is it being squeezed lifeless in order to make way for Sealed Deck/Booster Draft as THE primary tournament format (and the most efficient method of selling product in bulk)?

This isn’t a rhetorical question…

Changing the Subject – A Quiz!

I love quizzes – almost as much as I love puns, but not quite as much – but I still love ’em (quizzes that izzes) Anyway, here’s a little diversion for those long, lonely evenings by the fire…

1. Magic: The Gathering was designed by whom?
a. Richard Garfield?
b. Leon Garfield?
c. Garfield the Cat?
d. Gar Gar Glack Sheek?

2. A have HUMILITY and two OPALESENCE in my graveyard when I cast REPLENISH – what happens next?
a. Nothing, because your opponent has gone home while you spend the week "consulting" various Judges
b. Nothing at all – I thought it was REPLENISH, but it was really IVORY MASK
c. Who gives a monkey’s nut?
d. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…(the quiz ends at this point)

3. In a booster draft, you open your first pack which contains 16 cards; two of them are foil SQUEEs. Do you:
a. draft a SQUEE and pass the booster round?
b. draft both SQUEEs and pass the booster round?
c. Call a Judge over – he’ll keep the booster for himself and give you a replacement booster to open (this one will have a miscut CLEAR THE LAND in it)
d. Pick up all of your cards and run away – run away as fast as you can – as fast as the wind!

4. Mike Long has killed Magic. Do you:
a. Campaign for the reinstatement of capital punishment and watch his televised hanging?
b. Kill a random player every hour until he confesses ?
c. Show pictures of Mike to all children with the accompanying slogan of "Bad, baaaaaad man – no talkee" ?
d. Make him take it back and promise not to do it again?

5. Dark Ritual should be banned in Extended because:
a. the DCI says so, and I aint one to rock th’boat
b. did I say should? I meant, shouldn’t…
c. the Dojo can then print inane, abusive rants
d. Why not? Things’d be awful quite come first of the month if we had no bannings!

6. Complete the following sentence: Nemesis is…
a.…the speedy antidote to the turgidity of Mercadian Masques
b.…never having to say you’re sorry
c.…a classic cartoon strip from the comic "2000AD"
d.…an anagram of "IS SEMEN"

7. Promo cards given free with over-priced, bulk quantities of product are a good idea because…
a. er..
b. …can’t think of a good reason…
c. ..still trying…
d.…nope…no joy at all, I’m afraid

8. Complete the following sentence: I can make The Dojo great again by…
a.…getting Jamie Wakefield back on-line (but with a decent sub-editor)
b.…bringing the whole site down for a month and replacing it with an on-line shop for cow-lingerie, pig-knickers, and horse-basques
c.…removing all references to M:TG, and replacing them with references to Onanism
d.…breaking up the long-established clique and giving Anthony Alongi more air-time

Safety Curtain

Finally, my sweet-meats, I’ll leave you with this thought: if Magic stopped tomorrow and you were allowed to choose ONE, AND ONLY ONE, card – which would it be and why? Would you choose for long-term investment, sentimental value, or sheer poker-faced practicality? Maybe there’s an idea for a poll here…

Anyway, the day is getting on and the washing up won’t do itself, you know.

God Bless,

Tony Boydell
[email protected]