BIG EDITORIAL FEEDBACK TIME! (And then randomness.)
I could sum up this entire section by asking one question: "So – how bad do we suck?" And if you were all like John Friggin’ Rizzo, I would be bombarded with ten thousand fifteen-page treatises on What Is Wrong With StarCity.
But unbelievably, some of you aren’t like Rizzo. Some of you, I am led to believe, even refuse to be photographed naked.*
And so I must resort to different tactics.
We want to know what our average reader is like, and we’re willing to give out a random foil Rishadan Port in order to find out. So answer the questions below, send ’em to me at [email protected], and one lucky winner chosen at random will receive a foil Rishadan Port, NOT signed by me! (Hell, it’s an eighty-dollar card. I’m not lowering its value. I won’t even breathe on it for fear that Deranged Dad might gut me like a fish.)
So cut ‘n’ copy these questions and email ’em to me to win a prize:
How often do you visit StarCity? Once a day? Once a week? Once a month?
Have you ever bought cards from StarCity? If not, why? If so, were you happy… And why?
Do you think we should have more than one day’s worth of articles on the front page, or is a daily update enough?
Do you read all the articles on StarCity? If not, how do you choose the ones you DO read – is it specific writers, specific topics, or some other criteria?
Who are your favorite writers?
What writers DON’T you like to read, and why?
What is your opinion of the overall quality of our articles? What sorts of topics do you want to see more articles about? What kinds of articles could you do without?
If you could change any one thing about StarCity, what would it be?
Feel free to add any Rizzo-esque rants or tirades to tell me exactly how much we suck – or what, specifically, you like. This is your opportunity to completely flame me… And possibly be richly rewarded for it!
(Keep in mind that anyone who tries to slack here and gives me one-word answers to everything doesn’t count. This is a pretty darn big prize, and it’s coming out of my own pocket – the prize, not the card specifically – and I’m not going to give it away to just anybody. I may also give a prize for "most eloquent response," but we’ll have to see what kind of emails I get, now, won’t we?)
ON THE ASTOUNDING COMPETITION I FACED TO QUALIFY:
I got a lot of mocking regarding winning Alaska’s measly thirty-five player PTQ. But you know what?
Thirty-five was the best we’ve ever had.
What the hell else can I do?
Let’s put it this way: Our Planeshift Prerelease attendance was about seventy-five people, which was about the same number of people who attended the Invasion prerelease. And we did a LOT of advertising for the Planeshift prerelease – way too much, in fact – leading us to the conclusion that seventy-five people was pretty much the entire Magic community of Alaska.
Including the folks in Fairbanks, which is six hours away.
Let’s do the math, folks: For me to get a simple practice draft for Barcelona together, I have to get TEN PERCENT OF THE ENTIRE MAGIC COMMUNITY OF ALASKA into the room.
More difficult than it sounds.
Actually, I have to get MORE than ten percent of the local community, since about half of our competitive players live in distant Fairbanks. And then there’s Rob, who – much like dark Cthulhu in his sunken tomb R’lyeh – lies asleep in his undersea lair, waiting for the stars to align before he rises to attend the next tourney. Rob does not attend practice sessions. Rob only arises to eat the lesser players and maybe have a bagel.
Needless to say, our drafts tend to be sparse.
Living in Alaska and trying to go pro is like practicing for Wimbledon by hitting balls off a brick wall. There isn’t the level of competition here, and I know that. Practicing for Barcelona is damn near impossible, mainly because there are very few good players, and those that ARE here don’t practice that much. I do what I can, but I’m going to fail.
Put me up against Michelle Bush and Darwin Kastle and Chad Ellis; sure, they’ll stomp me like a narc at a biker rally, but I’d gladly take my beatings to be given a chance to rise to their level. If I could afford it, I’d fly Aaron Forsythe and Mike Turian over to humiliate and pound me into the sand three times a week… Because I want to learn. I want serious players, serious practice, serious learning.
But I live in Alaska. I don’t have that.
And I’m not alone.**
Lacking the pressure factory of a playtest group, I ask the question the pros never answer: WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU DON’T HAVE THAT LEVEL OF COMPETITION?
You lose, that’s what.
Sure – go online, you say. I’ve been on IRC a couple of times, but the draft channels are always empty when I get there, and even then there’s no guarantee that they’re filled with GOOD players; hell, I hear the complaints about the spotty competition on Apprentice. And I also live in Alaska, which means that by the time I get back from work it’s already 10:00 p.m. on the East Coast. Good night, folks, and tip your waitress.
Here’s the deal: Anyone less than impressed with my win out here, I dare you to help me practice. Hit me at [email protected] and set up a time for biweekly online Netdrafts where you can show me how much I suck, then grind me into the dirt with your superior play ability. If I can get seven of you, then you can all rank on me at once and maybe slap my mother around to boot. Mock me, beat me, squash me… but HELP me.
I KNOW I’m not good enough.
I’m TRYING, dammit.
ON WHY I AM GOING TO BARCELONA:
Yes, I am going to Spain to play in the Pro Tour. No, this doesn’t make me a hypocrite.
Here’s the quote from my original Pro Tour Quest article:
"Within the next two years, I will do my damndest to qualify for a national event, whether that be a Pro Tour, three byes at a Grand Prix, or the Invitational.* When I get that invitation, I will decline.** "
…But let’s face it; to get my qualification, I had to beat Genesis Garcia, whose parents had a summer home IN Barcelona… And as such, I robbed him of the ultimate cool of having him attend his first Pro Tour while he was on his summer vacation. I am NOT enough of a jerk to whomp the crap out of some guy to get a qualification, then sit at home eating Ring Dings on May fifth.
Besides, being the sneaky devil that I am, you may also note the footnote I slivered in:
"…And I might go to a Pro Tour just to meet everyone that I’ve emailed with, but I’d consider it to be more of a social outing than anything else."
I am going to see what it’s like to attend as an actual player, not just some schmuck hanging around on the sidelines like I was in LA – because dammit, I’m curious what the experience is like when you go as a champion. To get the T-shirt. To have to play against the very best AND ACTUALLY TRY TO WIN… But hell, I fully expect to scrub out. Like I said, save your Fantasy Pro Tour Points; if anything, save your votes for me in the Writer War.
If it makes you feel any better, here’s my promise: If I win Pro Tour: Barcelona, I promise I’ll never attend another Pro Tour again. Okay? Thanks.
ON SEVENTH EDITION:
Boy, does it suck.
ON DAVID PHIFER:
So does he.
Former Member, Team AWWAJALOOM (http://www.theferrett.com/theteam.htm)
* — But frankly, if you like having naked photographs taken of you, send ’em in to me. I like cheap thrills.***
** — Well, I AM alone, but I’m not alone in my aloneness. I mean, there’s lots of other people who don’t have good local competition either, so they’re alone. With me. We’re all alone together, and you are me, and we are all together. Or something.
*** — Plus, I really need to increase my collection for my upcoming sites, www.magicguysatmardigras.com and www.nakedboydell.com.