Mixed Knuts: How To Piss Off Prospective Employers

Ted’s”Win $50 For Your Deck contest is almost over, and he wants to remind you that it’s there. Oh, and he wants to give you his statistical analysis of draft colors from Chicago, and to tell you what color skyrocketed in popularity in Onslaught drafts, and to complain about The Sideboard’s reporting. Oh, and hot chicks.

Although the title of this article makes it sound like one of Romeo’s self-help articles, this one has more of a self-hindrance style to it. You see, pretty much every writer in the Magic community would like to be able to write for Wizards at some point – as they have the largest audience, the biggest checkbook, and if you’re really good you might even get to hang out with the corporate folks like Rosewater, Garfield, and the crew (though for some of you, that might be more of a curse than a blessing). Regardless, it’s very difficult to achieve that sort of position, and it’s even harder to do when you are consistently critical of certain aspects of the company (like, you know, just as a random example, the coverage of events on The Sideboard).

Along with bitching and complaining today, I’m also going to do the same sort of analysis of GP: Boston drafts as I did with the available information from PT: Chicago, so if you”lika the Limited” and want to know how the environment has changed from the introduction of Legions, stay tuned. This week’s column will also feature the return of”The Obligatory Cheesecake Section.”

Why, you ask? Well because I can.

First, the analysis, since overall that’s the most important part of today’s piece…

Actually check that; first let me congratulate the Kibler Elf on his victory at GP: Boston. I met Brian in New Orleans, and he’s just swell (alternate terms to be used include”peachy,””spiffy,” and”keen”). Not only that, but he attends one of my alma maters (Emory), therefore he’s automatically included as part of my extended Magic family. So congratulations to him.

On a completely different note, *nudge* if Brian felt like sending me a deck to play for Regionals (or if he wanted to enter the”Fitty Dollah” contest), I also wouldn’t complain a bit.

Aside: Speaking of contests, all deck entries must be submitted to me by Midnight tonight (Monday, March 3rd) in order to be eligible. Jim and I hope to have the Top 5 sorted out and be able to post those later this week.

Let me also congratulate Zvi for another Top 8, and Jon Becker and Seth Burn for stunning 10th and 16th place finishes, respectively. Nice to see the old guys do well – and there were a lot of them at GP: Boston. It looked like it was more an AARP convention than a Magic Grand Prix. Hope the hotel gift shop was well-stocked with Geritol and Metamucil, since the key to playing good Magic into your old age is”keeping regular”.

Now the analysis…

PT Chicago Draft Results

Let me start by saying that the numbers provided to me were wonky, which explains why a lot of them don’t add up properly. If you look at Pods 7 and 8, you will notice that the records don’t quite make sense. How do six people in two pods compile 2-0 records while everybody else played three matches? Regardless, I ran the numbers anyway in the assumption that they might be right and I just didn’t understand what happened, so I’ll give them a chance to speak for a minute:

Table 1: Color Breakdown and Win Percent




Win Percent

























See that line down at the bottom there? That one is pretty new, as there were about twice as many people who splashed for a color in Boston as there were in Chicago. This can probably be written off to the informational differences between Rochester draft (Chicago) and Booster draft (Boston), but it definitely made an impact on the Win Percentages for individual colors – so I decided that in order to get a better handle on how individual colors performed, I needed to factor out the decks that splashed from the ones that did not.

Table 2: Color Breakdown Minus Splashes and Players per Pod


Record minus Splashes

WP Minus Splashes

Avg Players per Pod

























Veeeery interestink. I’ll get to more in-depth analysis in a minute, but looking at the first two tables, you should notice that:

a) White was extremely underdrafted

b) Green was a bit overdrafted

c) Blue was a heavy splash color and its Win Percent was adversely affected to a large degree by that trend

d) Splashing colors in ONS-ONS-LEG draft is a recipe for bad times.

Table 3: Archetype Breakdown




Win Percent









































The archetypes listed here only take into account”pure” decks that didn’t feature a third color splash, as what I wanted to see a strength comparison between the archetypes themselves. Obviously, the power of these archetypes isn’t going to be strictly represented when other decks are leeching off some of your cards to play as their splash in a deck – but that happens all the time in the real world as well, so I think these numbers are still meaningful.

Table 4: Archetype Comparison between Chicago and Boston


Chicago Record

Chicago WP

Boston Record

Boston WP



















































Last but not least, we have the archetype comparison from Chicago to Boston (non-stop, even). There were actually about the same number of decks measured in Chicago and Boston, but it doesn’t look like it here because of the splashing that occurred (and was factored out), and also because in Chicago people played four matches with their decks for the draft measured, while in Boston they only played three.

Now the analytical part – I’m going to break it down by looking at the tables I posted above, and then wrap things into a cohesive whole at the end.

Looking at Tables 1 and 2, the first thing that jumps out at you is the off-the-charts record that White decks had. After first glance, I realized that White was only splashed in one deck, so I thought perhaps that played a hand in the performance. However, though the gaps between White and the other colors is closer when splashes are factored out, White still performed 5% better than any other color…

Except Blue? What the hell is going on here?

Well, it turns out that Blue got splashed a lot compared to the amount that it was played, and the splashing hindered how well Blue performed as a whole. When you control the splashes (and doesn’t that sound like someone needs to be more regular?), Blue was actually the second-best performing color on the day.

Now before I get ahead of myself, let me state that this doesn’t mean White and Blue are the new colors to beat in OOL drafting. By looking at the average players per table, you can see that Red and Black are still probably capable of supporting more than a player extra per table than White, and two more players than Blue. What it instead indicates is that players in Boston really disliked White, so much so that fewer people actually drafted it in Boston than in Chicago, even though White appears to have gotten a little stronger with the introduction of Legions (and Kibler’s Mono-White finals deck wasn’t even counted as part of the final numbers). Blue performed about the same as it did in Chicago, which means it’s still bringing up the rear in the Limited color pie.

My theory on the”why” of the situation is centered mostly around the fact that packs 1 and 2 featured the same old boring White cards that everyone has been opening up since last October. It has been stated many times that White has no real signature commons that say,”Draft me!” Pacifism is good… But does it truly compare to Sparksmith, Snarling Undorak, or Cruel Revival? Probably not. In Boston players were faced with the same choices they had back in O-O-O draft – meaning White isn’t particularly sexy in packs 1 and 2, and by the time they got to pack 3 it was too late to switch into White and take advantage of the boost it receives from Legions.

Therefore going forward (and particularly in Booster drafts), players will need to make a conscious decision to be open to White if it is being passed to them so that they can reap the benefits later on.

Looking at the Average Players per Pod numbers for Green shows that the color enticed half a person more per pod into drafting it, and that negatively affected the win percentage. On the flip side, .75 more players per pod drafted Black in Beantown than they did in Chicago and still had roughly the same results, meaning Black got a lot stronger with Legions entering the format.

The last thing that Tables 1 and 2 tell us is that, if you have to (or even want to) splash a third color into your deck in the current environment, you aren’t very likely to have much success. The situation is so bad that only five of eighteen decks that splashed had a Win Percent over 50. Thus, the current rule on splashing in OOL is just like drugs: Just Say No!

Table 3 shows that the two most successful color archetypes with a reasonable n (and W/U is admittedly borderline) were R/W and W/U, defying every bit of conventional wisdom that we knew in straight ONS draft. Not that R/W performed badly in Chicago – but it certainly didn’t win 59% of its matches, either. W/U definitely looks to be a viable archetype now, especially when you consider that the fifteen matches posted with the deck include two semi-intentional draws from Zvi that could easily have been another win or two.

Along with the surprising performance of R/W and W/U, B/G and U/R continued to post strong results. B/G finished right around 50% in win rate, in spite of being drafted by one in every four players in Day 2. U/R was drafted a bit more lightly than that, but still managed to win more matches than it lost, showing that fewer chances to draft Lavamancer’s Skill didn’t affect the archetype by too great a degree.

Lastly, in spite of the few players that took the risk of drafting U/G, their results suggest that the rumbles about U/G being a decent archetype have some merit. Unfortunately, there’s only so much decent Blue to go around, and right now you’d still rather draft R/U and maybe even W/U than hopping into U/G.

Table 4 is included simply to provide a direct comparison between how the different decks fared at Chicago and at Boston. Most of the conclusions from this information have already been made above.

So what have we learned today? Well, to start with, Booster draft in the current environment is quite a bit more exciting than Rochester draft in Chicago was. People are still learning the rules for the new format, but quite a few folks chose to break out of the”Black or Red” mode and had some degree of success. The numbers also indicate that splashing is just an awful idea – which makes a lot of sense in a format as dominated by tempo as this one seems to be.

Another month or two of practice should tell us whether or not players become more willing to venture out into the archetypes that simply didn’t work in ONS draft to see if the addition of Legions makes them more viable.

Along with that, perhaps the strongest message that was conveyed at Boston is that too many people dislike White right now, and there’s no reason for it. With only 2.5 drafters per table for a color that is clearly as strong as its Green counterpart, White decks cleaned up. Obviously this condition should change as players learn more about the environment… But clearly, you can sit down at a table and draft White right now without any fear. (Ah yes, and that article about running the table with a mono-white draft under the right circumstances was the worst advice ever… – The Ferrett, laughing at the way that morons reject new ideas because well, they’re new {even if said advice was given for an all-ONS draft, but knowing full well that the guy said several times that you shouldn’t try to do it every time})

That’s all for now, but I’d be interested in seeing what sort of questions you guys have about the format. Obviously all the data isn’t available since decklists weren’t published, but if there are specific questions you want answered, I might be able to tease the information out of what I already have. If you want to have a look at my spreadsheet, just e-mail me and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

And now the bitching…

I seem to be”issue boy” lately, and I’m not particularly happy about it. Unlike Johnny”Sandra Dee” Rizzo, I don’t feel comfortable in that position. That said, I guess I’ve got a semi-permanent crank on like Becker (who, by the way, needs to write more often) and feel the need to complain about things when I notice a problem/issue/oddity that captures my attention. It’s my opinion that constructive complaints (or criticism) generally make things better in the long run, but there are going to be plenty of times where I just look like a whiny jackass.

Thankfully, I’m willing to live with that (though I kind of already live with it) if it helps improve the game and the community.

Personally I don’t care if Nick is guilty, not guilty, sick, deluded, deranged, demented, deflowered, whatever… All of that is irrelevant to what my actual concern is.  I liked Nick’s work a lot, but I knew very little about him outside of what he published; therefore, I don’t have anything to judge him against. Besides, I don’t have any information at all about what occurred, so I also don’t have anything to judge him for.

I have some modicum of faith in the ability of the DCI to sort things like this out – and even if I didn’t have any faith in their abilities, they have proven in the past that outside opinion does not directly sway their actions, so my assessment is”why bother”?

What I actually do care about is the way in which this situation (and numerous others) are handled by The Sideboard.

First off, let me say that I have attended a single Premiere level event held by Wizards, and that was GP:NO from this year.  However, I’ve read coverage of about thirty events over the last three years, and like most people I just assumed that they were presenting me with the”news.”  Since the Sideboard is often the sole source of information about an event, I just assumed that it was incumbent upon them to give me the scoop as to what’s going on in Boston/Philly/Nice/wherever. (Ha. – The Ferrett) I don’t exactly expect an unbiased account of the events that occurred at a particular tournament, but I do expect that everything important that happened will appear somewhere in the event coverage.

That didn’t occur this past weekend, when the news story of Saturday at the GP was Eisel’s disqualification, and we readers heard nary a peep out of The Sideboard.  In fact, we didn’t hear anything at all about the incident from The sideboard for the entire tournament, but instead found out about it through grapevine rumors as pros gradually returned home and fired up the chat lines recounting the weekend. (Me? I heard via Elliot Fertik, who got the story from Becker.)

To be fair, I don’t think the lack of coverage from the folks at the Sideboard on Nick’s DQ was because he is a notable writer featured prominently on their website. Very few disqualifications have ever received any coverage from the Sideboard. And that, my friends, is where the problem lies.

The question I want the answer to on this issue is”Why?” 

If the job of the Sideboard is to cover the news at an event, then for God’s sake, cover the damn news.  Somebody notable gets disqualified?  Tell me about it!  Somebody throws a chair at a judge during an event?  Give me the 411!  It doesn’t matter if the person committing the offensive acts is employed by your company; if you are there to cover the news, then it is your task to put the information on the web so the world can read it.

In fact, I not only want coverage of the facts of the occurrence, but I want on-the-spot interviews with Pros who saw the event, I want photo coverage of the aftermath, and I want to see the microphone in the face of the aggrieved party and find out exactly what they were thinking, why they did it, and what happens for them next.

Oddly enough, the only time I remember that happening was in some video clips carried by the old Mindripper website of a Mike Long incident, where they actually did have discussion of what happened at the event and even featured a video interview taped with Mike while he was waiting for the judges to come back.

Now, I can see another argument coming out of The Sideboard’s camp that says”We didn’t have all the facts, so we didn’t want to publish any information.”  Unfortunately that sort of argument holds no water for me.  There are circumspect ways of saying”something happened” without attributing any blame to the individuals involved.  You say something like,”Nick Eisel was kicked out of the event for allegedly adding cards to a Sealed Deck and given a full disqualification with more investigation of the events to follow.  More news when we have it…” and everything will be fine.

At GP: Boston, instead of actual coverage of the news, what we got from Wizards was… Well, it was nothing. 

This leaves the impression that rather than providing the primary source of news for Premiere Events, The Sideboard is instead a Public Relations arm of the Wizards machine. I’m not saying that this is the case, but one has to wonder that when a possible conflict of interest arises for them, should we expect them to attempt to protect their image instead of providing the details for what occurred?

Right now, the jury is still out.

In some sense, I can even accept a”Cover Our Asses” policy from The Sideboard as legitimate, provided that we, the readers know the policy ahead of time. Like I stated before, up until this weekend, I blindly assumed that The Sideboard was giving me”all the news that’s fit to print” (or, rather, all the news that they had time to write about) from an event, but now I realize that this was simply not the case.

To correct for this problem, what we need to create is a watchdog effect where some other major site is always covering an event alongside Wizards. That way you get at least two different interpretations of events as they happen, along with making certain that The Sideboard can’t act as a filter for what they deem may and may not be newsworthy. As long as other sources of news are available to provide the details that Wizards isn’t giving us, there is no problem. Unfortunately at this point in time, no reliable source for that information exists (though I believe StarCity is talking about providing consistent event coverage in the future).

(Indeed we are – The Ferrett, who actually wants Knutson as a writer for said eventages, but is working out the costs of coverage)

The other alternative is for The Sideboard to step up to the plate and actually provide full coverage of the news events as well as the slinging of the spells at a particular tournament. I would love to see Josh Bennett recount the important things that happened outside the match slips over the course of a weekend – be it in brief articles throughout the course of the coverage, or in a separate wrap-up article that comes out a few days after each event.

Until we get that sort of information though, this just provides me with a jarring recollection of why you must always know and understand your source(s). Until they prove otherwise, I’ll be assuming that The Sideboard covers the game for Wizard’s PR firm, and be sure to look for the real news from other sources.

[Author’s note: Since I wrote the above, Gary Wise has written about GP: Boston on The Sideboard and commented directly on the Eisel situation. I’m going to view the glass as half full for now, while saying that we still need to get the news as it happens at the event instead of having to wait a week for it.]

Moving on…

Did anyone else notice that Europe had around two hundred more players at their Grand Prix than the U.S. had at Boston? Not only that, but 90% of the sealed decks there were pre-registered (and it would have been 100% if so many freaking people hadn’t shown up), which makes me wonder why this doesn’t happen more often in the U.S. as well. If it acts as a deterrent for cheating in Sealed Deck events, then it needs to happen.

Kudos to Jun-Wei Hew for making my life considerably easier with his draft archetype breakdowns from Day 2. Kudos as well to the Sideboard Staff for responding to my last bout of complaints with Jun-Wei’s breakdown. If there’s anything I can say about Wizards that reflects the respect I have for their organization as a whole, it is that they are very responsive to requests and complaints by the community. Of course, this just encourages me to complain more, because it looks like people out there are actually listening,

Whatever the case, allow me to deliver an honest”Thank you”.

However, jeers to the folks over at Wizards Europe for leaving the entire coverage of the event to the one-man writing army named”Rui.” Lack of manpower clearly hampered the coverage over there, as Rui produced an astounding amount of work, but was unable to do decklist breakdowns or focus on many of the more interesting aspects of the game like the U.S. team did. How interesting it would have been to conduct side-by-side analysis of the two Grand Prixs and determine which trends held true on both sides of the pond, and which ones were local phenomena? Hopefully, they can work at least one more person into their coverage budget for next time.

All right – that should be enough from the complaints department. Onto the sexy ladies!

The Obligatory Cheesecake Section

After a prolonged absence, OCS makes a triumphant (and supa-doopa sized) return this week with a focus on Swimsuit Supermodels. Since it’s February, that means the annual Sports Illustrated has hit newsstands featuring the hotties with the bodies sporting even less clothing than they did last year (though I’m still of the opinion that the”painted-on swimsuit” feature that ran in the 1999 issue needs to be a yearly staple). In honor of Sports Illustrated’s yearly cheesefest (which, ironically enough, never takes place in the Winter Wonderland of Wisconsin), OCS will be running its own set of links devoted exclusively to Swimsuit models of the past, present, and future.

I also want you to know that my wife may divorce me for this running this feature, so never say I don’t make sacrifices for my craft. Enjoy!

First we have an amusing story on the history of the Swimsuit Issue from Page 2’s Jeff Merron. Consider it an appetizer…

Vendela Kirsebom (which is Swedish for”butt kissed by the Gods”):

Yet another vote for why knit bathing suits are simply incredible.

(Betting this doesn’t make it past censors) What has it got in its pocketses?

The answer is booty.

Eva Herzigova:

No spackle required.

Damn the airbrushing!:

If this damn thing doesn’t stop riding, I’m just going to take it off!


Niki Taylor, who I still can’t believe had twins before she could drink.

Avast ye lass, prepare to be boarded!

 Stacey Williams:

One of my favorite swimsuit models of all time who never seemed to get the props she deserved. Stacey is a tall, curvy girl with amazing dark features. Just looking at the pictures makes me weak in the knees, can you imagine what she’s like in real life?

Damn it, I still can’t quite get them to touch

Ya know, call me weird, but I never found Kathy Ireland very attractive:

Current covergirl Petra Nemcova, continuing to provide proof that Czech women are probably the hottest women on the face of the planet.

Everhart and Romjin-Stamos, before they were… um, (I use this in the lightest sense of the word possible) actresses.

Damn him, Goldmember got another one!

Rebecca again, wearing typical safari gear.

Swimsuit Goddess Chandra North (a Texan, and a mighty fine one at that).

Gah, what an ass!

And she has a nice one as well

Yearly feature, dammit!

House of Style hostess Molly Sims.

Now it’s time for my Top 5. Feel free to post your own opinion in the forums, but the little Kanoot has indicated that he thinks these may be the five hottest swimsuit models on the planet (and he’s notoriously difficult to argue with). They are listed in no particular order…

German Bombshell Heidi Klum.

Rumor has it that she’s getting a divorce soon, so all you Magic players who have been waiting on the sideline should now have a chance…

Still Heidi, though with buns like that, who can tell?

Needs to be a yearly feature, I tell you!

As if words are even relevant here.

For more Heidi, go here.

Daniela”World’s Hottest MILF” Pestova.

Another lady from the Czech Republic, providing further evidence for my theory. I’d go on describing Daniela’s amazing attributes, but I keep getting lost in those abs. Hold me…

Tomb Raider?

Additional pictures of the amazing Daniela can be found here.

My current favorite swimsuit model is Marisa Miller.

She also appears in Vickie’s Secret catalogs, but I first saw her in the pages of Perfect 10 magazine (divinely inspired idea that that was). If you can track down those early pics, I highly recommend it. In the meantime, I’ll give you some of her more current work to admire

Is that velvet? Oh, that’s lovely

A bottom touched by God herself.

Veronica Varekova (yet another Czech, by the way)

She was one of two or three European models (Heidi Klum is another) who apparently signed a contract that allowed nude outtakes of their swimsuit shoots to be sold to Playboy and published in their home countries. Apparently they sued to block publication of the nudes (if you have scans of them, feel free to e-mail me), but I have a plethora of swimsuit shots available for you right here:

Yes, that swimsuit represents the amount of alcohol she would need to have before she’d even consider sleeping with you.

This one had to be included simply because it’s so strange. And for the shoes. Just try to ignore the left half, as looking at it too long could cause permanent damage.

Additional pics of Ms. Varekova can be found here.

Last but not least, we have Laetitia Casta.

She’s French, she has curves that you couldn’t drive a Porsche around, and she’s gorgeous. You’ve probably seen plenty of these before, but they are worth a second viewing (and a third, and a fourth…):

Classic pinup style from the Perelli calendar:

In case of emergency, they may be used as a floatation device.

That’s all for now. Until next time, may you be sitting at a table with only three Red Drafters and two White ones and choose to draft R/W.

The Holy Kanoot

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