Rethinking The Grand Experiment

Prelude: Let’s just say the response from The Grand Experiment was an eye opener. For the heck of it, because it’s actually true, let’s also say that the more "inspired" responses were from people who wholeheartedly did not agree with the scope of the article. Furthermore, we can say that the resulting dialogues were respectful…


Let’s just say the response from The Grand Experiment was an eye opener. For the heck of it, because it’s actually true, let’s also say that the more "inspired" responses were from people who wholeheartedly did not agree with the scope of the article.

Furthermore, we can say that the resulting dialogues were respectful on both ends, with some common ground being tread upon. It is in this vein that I wish to clear up two glaring errors I made in the original piece.

Glaring error number one: I did not define the parameters in which I used to define the term "Net Deck". I had always assumed that the term was taken to mean "a card-for-card copy of a successfully posted deck." Apparently, assumptions are for dogs making love… or maybe that was hunches.

This was pointed out by Michael Clauss:

"…I get the impression that you feel…that net decks are lifted from the net and are played by people with no tuning."

This is the problem with throwing around a term with no firmly defined definition attached. My response:

"I have no problem whatsoever… [with] using a Net Deck as a guide or starting point. Where the problem lies, I believe, is playing the card for card copy."

And that is precisely how I should have defined the term "Net Deck" in the article: A card-for-card copy.

He then further expanded on his point:

"For…even a net deck to perform well it must undergo some tuning…put another way, something original goes into every deck."

To which I answered:

"Recently, in Masques Block Constructed, there have been a great variety of decks and decktypes posted on The Net. I attended two MBC tourneys and did not see ONE carbon copy Net Deck. This means that people were doing just what you imply. Taking a Net Deck as a starting point and tweaking from there. And I will always applaud that."

The key words being "starting point" and "tweaking."

But he added a disclaimer (sort of) that almost drove my point home:

"…Granted, the original part might consist of four cards…"

And from Lewis Himelhoch, with similar logic to Mr. Clauss:

"[A Net Deck] begins with the inspiration of one and then is engineered into something practical and useful. Would you have everyone constantly reinvent the wheel?"

The key word being "engineered," as I attempted to point out:

"I would never suggest that someone should handicap themselves by ignoring the work of others… (Players have Taken) the success of others and translated it into their own versions. Not copied. Translated. And it made them think.

Mr. Clauss then added a little touch of panache:

FrigginRizzo: <—Not sure what "panache" means either.

"…embrace the net deck in all its decadent splendor."

As for what it was that I would embrace…

I embrace the Net Deck for what it is. A tool. A starting place. I do not believe, however, that it is the sole answer. I believe it to be a very valid blueprint. It is the big X on the map that indicates "this is where you start, and these are the directions that you may go from here."

Again the theme of "starting point" is utilized.

Then common ground was struck, and struck hard:

From Mr. Clauss:

"…in my opinion people who copy decks verbatim are doing themselves a disservice. For any deck to work well you have to make it your own."

From "I wish to remain anonymous":

"…It is quite uncouth, I agree, to take credit for success with absolutely no original input…"

My response to both:

"If I knew how to spell "Hallelujah," I would certainly use that word to respond to that sentence."

Which led to my attempt to clarify "The Big Picture":

"The [main issue] of the article was this in a nutshell: An individual’s success should be just that, individual."

Mr. Clauss:

"…It sounds as if we actually agree on your main issue. If, as you say, your point was "individual success should be individual…" then I’m definitely behind you. "

Mr. Himelhoch:

"[The Net] can’t make decisions for you, but it can let you know what other great thinkers and even just regular people believe. I think we may agree more than I thought."

The Net Deck divides. But the division is not as pronounced as it may seem at first glance.

As for glaring error two: I did not consider that many would think that my "Grand Experiment" was an actual plan to be put into motion. The gesture if printing the word "Rogue" on your DCI card is symbolism only, pure and simple. It is symbolic in the fact that if you would consider printing the word on your card, you don’t need to. Because you already understand my point.

FrigginRizzo: <—Actually went through with it though.

Mr. Himelhoch summed it up:

"I reject your plan. I hope everyone rejects your plan…"

He has since noted that that statement might’ve been a little "biting."

And Michael’s idea of "the plan":

"Your calling for Rogue decks reminds me of the socialist movements in the
United States during the late 19th century. Come back to capitalism, Rizzo."

He also noted that since he is a historian, he is "contractually obligated" to make such references.

Finally, "I wish to remain anonymous" took aim:

"Your experiment… is doomed to failure because of your flawed reasoning that [Net Deckers] will respond to an insult on their integrity."

He noted that "doomed" implies finality, and this discussion is far from over.

So I saw how the other half lives, and am, hopefully, the better for it.

Thus, in spirit of my newfound understanding of Net Decks, I begin anew.

Rethinking The Grand Experiment.

[At this point in my journey to literacy, I have figured out that teasing the reader for thirty paragraphs before revealing the crux of the article is not only annoying, but is incredibly difficult to pull off with any degree of success, which, inevitably leads to disappointment. This, of course, totally defeats the idea of writing the damn article in the first place. So, for once, I will get right to the point. Well, sort of.]

(The above paragraph does not imply that I will not continue to write in the aforementioned annoying method as described above. Just not this time.)

I am about to do something I never thought possible. The fact that this decision is final both frightens and intrigues me.

Some of you will, undoubtedly, rejoice in my decision. Others will feel betrayed. Some have long since clicked the back button. But all of you have known this day may come.

I ask those who have supported me to do so one time more. I also ask those who have awaited my demise to bury the hatchet and give me the opportunity to make things right.

I have decided to play a Net Deck.

Now, let me say that this decision was not an easy one. I have spent many a sleepless night agonizing over the pros and cons of said decision. And the pros won.

FrigginRizzo: <—Wants a recount, as the cons were imprisoned, hence, did not vote.

I have decided, nay, virtually had it decided for me, to no longer resist the urge that has been incessantly pecking at me since that first fateful die roll.

The next Constructed PTQ* is where I will take my stand. For at that event, I will discard all that I hold sacred, break the chains of my archaic morality, and join forces with a community that has beckoned me to cave to its will.

But there is one small caveat. This tiny aside may be what permits me to salvage one last toenail clipping of dignity.

This caveat involves you. Yes, you, the ones I have attempted to sway over to my side of the proverbial fence. For only you, dear readers, can help me to remain strong in the face of utter chaos.

FrigginRizzo: <—Not sure what "caveat" means, but it seems to fit the context and is definitely pretentious, hence, it’s inclusion.

Of you, dear readers, I ask:

1) Think of the absolute worst cards in the T2/1.x environment. Think hard, for some cards are not as they appear.

2) Compile a list of those that you have deemed to be the absolute worst cards in the T2/1.x environment. This list may include one card or dozens. If you feel the need to explain your decision(s), please do so.

3) Send your list of the absolute worst cards in the T2/1.x environment to [email protected].

(Please let me know if it will be okay to quote snippets of your mail, and perhaps your name if credit is due, for use in a future article. If it’s not okay, then, well… there is nothing I can do about it. Except for paraphrasing. And
I hate to Friggin’ paraphrase.)

And that, dear readers, is what I ask of you. A simple gesture towards a bent, and soon to be broken, man.

But how are the aforementioned lists going to help me on my long and arduous journey?

They will not only ease the culture shock I am about to endure, but may also become the building blocks of my future in this game we all cherish.

So send me your ideas of the weak, the junk rares, and the unwanted.
For they will find sanctuary in the form of an inbox.

Then I will perform the first of two unspeakable, yet legal as of this writing, acts:

Unspeakable act number one:

I will build a minimum sixty-card deck from the absolute worst cards in the T2/1.x environment, using only the disgusting cards that you have chosen.

This is necessary to fulfill the obligations of unspeakable act number two.

Unspeakable act number two:

At the next Constructed PTQ I will play this deck.

Perhaps you are perplexed at the oddity of such a situation. There seems no rhyme, nor reason. But there is rhyme and reason.

I have decided to play a Net Deck.


I have decided to play The Universal Net Deck.

Conceived in cyberspace. By many. Novus Ordo Seclorum, and stuff.

Yes, me, the former Patriot of Rogue, has caved. But I have caved in a way that will permit me to sell out on my terms. And the terms of my sell-out are as follows:

1) I will play a Net Deck that will be unlike any Deck the Net has ever seen.

2) I will play only the absolute worst cards in the T2/1.x environment, decided by the readers, many of whom have an axe to grind with me.

3) I will play to win.

These terms allow me to have a tiny say in the conditions of my selling out to Thee God of Thy Net. But tiny is better than nothing.

In the spirit of my new understanding, I have decided to play a Net Deck.
A Net Deck that you will help me build.

And it might just be…pretty cool.

For a Net Deck.

John Friggin’ Rizzo
[email protected]

*I have no news, of this writing, as to when the next Constructed PTQ will take place. (Or even if it will be Standard or Extended. If anyone has information regarding the next PTQ season please let me know.)
But it would be very nice if it was in Pittsburgh, as I am currently 1-7 in the great city of Columbus.

I actually tried to get the info, but you know how it goes when you actually
KNOW what you’re looking for on The Net.

Authors names and quotes used with permission.
So there goes your Grand Lawsuit.