SCG Daily – Ask The Editor

Today, I open up the floor. Not literally, of course… that’d cause all manner of carnage. Instead, I give the floor to you… well, I don’t actually give it to you, because then I’d have no floor.

What I’m trying to say is… it’s Ask the Editor.

Today, I open my daily slot to the public at large, with Ask the Editor.

I’ve received a number of interesting questions… plus some rather confusing insults, a proposal of marriage, and a selection of photographs so graphic I had no option but to contact the police.

Without further ado… Ask the Editor.

Q: Are you really bald in real life?

Wow. Thanks for asking. Jesus…

In real life, I am bald by choice. Almost. The thing is, I’ve always had a high hairline. While it’s receded a little of late (for “of late” read “since I hit thirty”), I’ve always had a forehead so large it can be used as a rudimentary satellite dish.

I first shaved my head to the bone while in university, and am sporadically both shaved clean and sporting tennis-ball fuzz. At the moment, I’ve some hair… largely because I now work from home and no longer need to maintain a perfect chrome-dome for dignity’s sake.

It’ll be going again soon. When I can be bothered.

Q: What was your favorite deck that you ever played?

Man, that’s a tough one…

I suppose I should say Red Deck Wins. It helped me to Top 32 of my one decent Pro Tour finish.

Or maybe I should say the Odyssey Block mono-Black Pirates deck, which saw me finish 4th at Grand Prix London 2002.

But in the end, it’s neither of these.

The two decks I’ve loved the most are old-Extended Counter Sliver, which just loved me right back, or a bizarre Extended U/G Madness build that splashed Red for Anger, with Flametongue Kavu and Fire/Ice in the sideboard. I won a PTQ with it, and I got the deck from the forums of this very site. I remember it had Genesis maindeck too, and some form of Daze countermagic… it was great fun to play, and powerful as hell.

Sadly, I’ve lost the list… and I’ve tried finding on the forums a few times since playing it, to no avail. I’d love to throw credit around, and tell you more about it, but there we are. Maybe someone will locate it and spill all in the forums… I hope so, at least.

Q: How do you decide what deck you want to take to a particular format/tournament?  Do you approach each tournament separately, or do you try to pick up one deck for an entire format and hone it?  How much does a limited budget factor into that decision?

Usually, I favor the beatdown. It’s my style, and I’m comfortable playing it across the formats.

However, sometimes the little red men just don’t wanna party. In such cases, I try mid-range decks, or beatdown decks like U/G Madness that offer a modicum of disruption.

Each Constructed season, I tend to settle on a deck type early and hone it during multiple PTQs. Unlike my friend Craig Smith, who plays nothing but the Rock in Extended, and has been known to take the same Standard deck, card for card, to every tournament available for eight whole months.

We’re looking into therapy there.

As for the budget factor… usually, it doesn’t enter into it, at least for tournament play. As part of Team Leeds, we can usually lay our hands on any cards we need to complete a range of decks. It helps that, amongst our number, we have fans of beatdown and combo and pure control. That way, when we attend a tournament en masse, we may not be playing a consensus deck to sweep the field… but we’re playing strong variants based on our own particular likes and dislikes.

Q: How many Pro Tours have you made Top 8?

All of them. Every single one.

Is this a trick question?

Sadly, although my name is Craig, I am not Craig Jones. My highest finishes are, as I’ve mentioned, a PT Top 32 and a GP Top 4.

I hope to make one, two, three Top 8s in future, if not more. Then again, who doesn’t?

Q: Why don’t Tim Aten and Ben Bleiweiss write for StarCityGames.com
anymore? They are my favorites!

Ben is a busy guy. When he’s not angering the Vintage community, or fielding calls about Mole Worms, he’s got that whole “World Domination” thing going on. I’ve found it best not to ask, lest my memory be deleted by one of his legendary Mind Rubbers.

As for Mr Aten? Good question, my friend… good question.

Q: What is your favorite Goblin?

Ooooh, what a great question!

Magic, as we know, is a collectable card game. Little is said of the whole “gotta catch ‘em all” side of our noble pursuit. Sites demand strategy, and tech waits for no man…

As a collector, I’m partial to two things. The first, somewhat bizarrely, is foil Mossdogs.

I have thirty-five of them.

Second, and more pertinently, is my swelling collection of foil Goblins.

I’ve one of each of the biggies… Piledriver, Sharpshooter, Siege-Gang, Goon, etc. I’ve a Ringleader, which is worth a fair deal, and I’ve recently picked up a Kiki-Jiki.

As for the simpler lads, I try and pick up a playset. I’ve four Warchiefs, four Sledders, four Sparksmiths, four Incinerators, four Prospector, four Mogg Fanatic, etc. Then we hit the chaff… Cohort, Striker, Psychopath, Lookout, and so on. I’ve even branched out… Burrows, Replica, Dirigible, Cannon.

Overall, my favorite is my foil Goblin King.

Probably because I used him to great effect in the mirror matches, wheel-slamming him down and screaming “D’you like getting nailed by the King?” in my best American Beauty voice.

Q: What’s your favourite episode of “The Mighty Boosh”?

Another great love of mine… Comedy.

For those baffled by the question, “The Mighty Boosh” is a new British sit-com. It is, perhaps, the most bizarre thing on TV. Really, I can’t do it justice here… if you’re interested, Google them up and off we go.

I’ll keep it brief, as it’s a minority interest.

My fave episode changes weekly, usually fluctuating between “Old Gregg” (which sees our heroes pitted against a strange undersea creature… “some say he’s half man, half fish… others think it’s more a 70/30 split.”) and “The Legend of Milky Joe” (which sees our heroes stranded on a desert island pursued by coconuts. Don’t ask.)

Gotta love “Tundra,” though. “Look deep into the Parka!”

Q: Is Monty Python as popular in Britain as it is here?

Well, it was. I suppose it still is.

Thing is, Monty Python was incredibly huge over in the US, no? I mean, Live at the Hollywood Bowl? Man, you could fit all of England in there. Twice, if necessary.

Plus, there’s none of that screaming and wailing over here. We show our appreciation with a polite round of applause, and a quick burst of Canasta.

I’ve a question for you…

Benny Hill. In God’s name, why?

Q: Who would win in a fight — You, the Ferrett, or Ted? A real fight, mind… no BS “word fights.”

Well, the glib answer is “me,” but that’s plain unfair on the other guys. So, I’ve canvassed their opinions…

Ted’s Opinion
I covered something like this in a past Ask the Editor, but since that was a while ago, I guess it bears repeating. For over three years now, while most of you have been drafting and testing Constructed, I’ve been spending 8-10 hours a week doing Mixed Martial Arts. You know the stuff you see referred to as Ultimate Fighting on SpikeTV? That’s what I do, except on an amateur basis. It’s fun and challenging, both intellectually and physically, making it nearly an ideal way for someone like me to keep in shape.

To answer your question, there are generally two determining factors in picking the outcome of a fight: training and size. Almost regardless of size, someone well-trained should stand a pretty decent chance against a complete novice, but all things being equal, a good big man will generally beat a good little man. (For those who care about such things, 10-15 pounds of muscular weight difference can be a real problem to deal with.) Anyway, Ferrett and Craig aren’t bigger than I am, and last I checked, they don’t spend much time in the dojo either. In fact, I haven’t really met many people in the Magic community the particular martial arts experience that I have (they probably exist, I just don’t know them), meaning I’d be pretty confident slipping on some gloves and hitting the mat against most Magicians, and especially my fellow editors. I’ve heard Ferrett is in good shape these days while Stevenson is likely a biter, but I’m pretty sure I could take ’em both… likely at the same time.

I guess you could say I’m one of the few members of the community as comfortable with beating up as beating down.

The Ferrett Opinion
THE FERRETT: I’ve never been in a fight.  Ever.  I’ve been close to a fair amount of fights, but because I used to be six feet tall, burly, and vaguely threatening-looking, all I had to was thrust my chin up to people and say, “Do you wanna f*** with me, buddy?  Huh?  Do you?”

If they had, they would have kicked my ass.  Fortunately for him, no one ever did.  But now that he’s old, balding, and middle-aged, I live in fear of the day the fight actually comes, because I’m now as threatening as Papa Smurf.  On a good day. 

CRAIG: Hard to say, since I’ve only hung out with him in person once, and he smoked a lot.  Then again, he’s English, and I just got done watching Snatch not half an hour ago, so I’m convinced everyone with an English accent is a complete bad-ass.  I might be able to beat Craig, now that I’ve been running, but no.

TED: Back when we were covering one of the Power Nine tournaments together, Ted was telling me about his new Tae Kwan Leep program, or whatever the hell it is.  “Basically, you keep smashing things into the most sensitive areas of your body until the pain is dulled.  Eventually, you start hitting people with the hardest parts of your body.”

“With what?” I asked. 

“Well, the shin, for starters,” he said.  “You bang on your shin with wooden sticks until it doesn’t hurt any more.  Then you have this huge bony club to go pound people with.”

“Show me.”

He yanked up his pants leg and bap bap bap he pounded his knuckles against his shin, which had the sort of knurled, pitted look that you see on old biker leather.  It made a noise like someone banging coconuts together, and yet Ted did not react at all.  He pulled down his pant leg and shrugged.  “No pain,” he said, not knowing that one day Eric “EDT” Taylor would attempt to convince him otherwise through the power of science.  (But that’s another story for another day.) 

So basically, Ted beats the crap out of people two or three times a week.  Craig smokes.  I’ve never fought.  So obviously, I’ve gotta give the edge to me.

Why?  Because if there’s a fight, I’m running.  And I’ve been jogging for the past sixteen months.  Just have Ted try to catch up with me.  I’ll run like a bitch for as long as it takes.

My Opinion:
Frankly, it’s a no-contest. Ted all the way. Having said that, he has me pegged wrong… I’m not a biter. I’m a gouger.

However, I’m actually gonna buck the perceived logic here, and plump for the Ferrett. Why? Because, as he mentioned, he’s spent the last sixteen months keeping fit with a daily jogging routine. What he didn’t mention is that while he does it, he watches an episode of the hit show 24.

Fitness and Jack Bauer? My god, he’ll kill us all.

Thanks to the guys who sent in questions. They are, in no particular order:

Stephen Mackintosh
Kevin Binswanger
Charley Sutphin
Dan Paskins
Sibbene Lewis

No prizes for guessing which question Dan submitted…

That’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed my Daily Series. If not, blame the editor.

Until next time…

Craig Stevenson
Scouseboy on MTGO
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