SCG Daily – Digging Into the Mailbag

Dear Doctor Mox,
Why does Wizards make bad cards?
Do Randy and Mark hate me?
Tiny Tim
P.S. I cry myself to sleep at night when I think about the possibility of opening up another Twist Allegiance.

Cordial salutations, my fine-fettered friends! Before we commence, I must import a soupcon of bad news.

My Swiss ladyfriend Jetta has decreed we spend some “time apart.”

I’ll admit it: I’m devastated. Jetta is my fire! She’s my moon and my sea, my Ace-King suited. She’s my first-round bye, my topdecked Ravager. She is the Power 9 of my heart. Unfortunately, last night she happened upon my extensive collection of Gentleman’s Literature, and was much aggrieved. I had warned her never to enter that particular wing of the house, but this is academic. The true transgression occurred sometime later that evening, when during a passionate clinch I accidentally called her “Serra.” She stormed our shortly after.

But never fear, all is not lost! I visit her at her hostel tonight, taking with me a week’s supply of the fungal foot-powder she uses. I plan a romantic evening, followed by a few hours of desperate begging should the need arise.

Enough of my problems! To the mailbag! As usual, I have a bulging sack. In fact, it has swelled considerably since Jetta’s departure.

Today, I eschew my usual talk of metagames and deck-choices to touch upon some issues that are close to the hearts of us all…

Dear Doctor Mox,

Why does Wizards make bad cards?

My name is Timmy, and I’m twelve. I don’t get much chance to buy Magic cards, especially now that Daddy’s gone to Heaven. Mommy works twenty hours a day, but the abattoir is minimum wage and money is tight. I save half my weekly allowance, allowing me to buy a booster every month. The rest of my allowance I put toward the cost of my sister’s medicine.

When I open my booster, I close my eyes and pray for a valuable rare. I don’t play with rare cards, as I need to sell them back to the store in order to buy bread for my family. This month, however, we’ll go hungry. The guy at the store just laughed when I asked him how much I’d get for my Twist Allegiance.

Do Mark and Randy hate me?

Tiny Timmy, IL.

Ps: I cry myself to sleep every night.

Dear Tiny Timmy,

The first thing you must understand is that there is no such thing as a “bad card.” They are merely “skill testers.”

So, by recognizing the card’s inherent worthlessness, both in game terms and as a financial investment, you have passed the test and proved yourself “skilled!”

Give yourself a clap on the back, little guy. Mark and Randy are proud of you. And hopefully, being thought of as “skilled” will bring a little light into your impossibly bleak life.

And secondly, there is something you should realize: by labelling a card as “bad,” you are being incredibly selfish.

Mark, Randy and the rest of the heroes at Wizards of the Coast bust their guts, day in and day out, in order to supply the World with quality, balanced and frankly spectacular entertainment in the field of cardboard-based gaming. They sweat blood and tears, often going hours without food or water, to bring little rays of sunshine into your life, sold at a competitive rate in packets of fifteen.

Who are you to say that their efforts are “bad cards”?

Sure, they sometimes miss stuff, like the power of Skullclamp or the interaction of Saproling Burst and Fires of Yavimaya, but that could happen to any of us. And hey, Mark used to write for Roseanne, so cut the guy some slack. He’s suffered enough.

These noble spend weeks designing Magic, playing Magic, living and breathing Magic, to bring us the best product in the whole World… and you have the nerve to claim their efforts are “bad”?

If your daddy were alive, he’d be ashamed of you.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh on Timmy here, but you have to be cruel to be kind. But in the spirit of goodness, I offer to set up a charitable fund to supply decent cards and cash to aid Timmy’s starving and horror-stricken family. Simply send all donations to StarCityGames, care of Doctor Mox, and I’ll see they reach him.

Now, onto a debate that we all recognize.

Dear Doctor Mox,

I’ve been playing casual Magic for over a year now, and I love it! It is truly the One Game to Rule Them All.

The thing is, I’m becoming interested in taking my play a step further. There’s an Extended PTQ happening soon, and I plan to make it my first tournament! I don’t know what to play, but that’s only part of the problem…

In my playgroup, I enjoy coming up with fun, wacky decks. They may not be competitive, but they’re fun to play. Whenever we get together to sling spells, I bring out one of my rogue homebrews.

But for the PTQ? Should I stick to my guns and go Rogue, or should I sell my soul for a net-deck and a chance at the top eight?


Chad, MIS.

Hi Chad.

To rogue, or not to rogue… that is the question.

There are pros and cons for both approaches, to be fair. I myself tend to favor rogue designs as to catch my Swiss ladyfriend Jetta off-guard. Oftentimes she has tweaked her deck in anticipation of some standard tech, only to see my new creations render her gameplan moot. Of course, now that we are separated, I may Ride with the Devil and shell out for a playset of Ravagers.

Here are some points to consider before you make a decision.

Should I Go Rogue?

If you plan your rogue deck as an antidote to your local metagame, your opponents should have limited options against you when it comes to sideboarding. This means you have a distinct advantage for games two and three.

+ Going rogue means that your opponent is unlikely to have tested against a deck of your design. This means they’ll make mistakes. If you’re against an established archetype, you’ll have the advantage.

+ In general, going rogue is a win-win situation. If you do well at the tournament, you can claim that your super-smart tech and metagame analysis reveal you to be as tight as Kai-when-he-cared. People will hail you as the new Magic Messiah. However, if you scrub out, you can simply claim that net-deckers are ruining the game for the true creative individual, thus claiming the moral high-ground and leaving the venue with your integrity intact. Superiority… the Magic player’s best friend.

+ Building your deck will be cheap. After all, a playset of Mudholes won’t break the friggin’ bank. Unless you’re related to Tiny Timmy above, of course.

- You may be the best deckbuilder in your playgroup. Hell, you may be bloody Nassif. I don’t care. Your pet deck will not be as powerful as an established deck archetype. Sure, you may win a few points through surprise factor, but for power and consistency you’re better off sticking with the Devil You Know.

- Playing a rogue deck will make your opponent think you’re a scrub. After all, if you were there to win, you’d be playing the strongest deck possible. If your opponent sees you as little more than a walking three points, you’ll lose an edge in the game. And once you’ve lost the match, you’ll be called “that random n00b playing Chimney Imp.dec.”

- Playing a net-deck makes you part of the Universal Testing Group. The deck in your hands has been thrown at everything, by everyone, and modified accordingly. Even if you test 24/7, you’ll not replicate match numbers and analysis on such a depressingly nerdy scale.

- Net decks generally require “4 insert-chase-rare-here,” thus generally require putting your hand in your pocket. If you need cards, of course, I heartily endorse Star City. Their prices are competitive, they have kind faces, and they can levitate things with their minds!

Go rogue, or net-deck. The decision is yours. Net-decking will offer you more solid results, but rogue is much more fun.

Ask yourself why you’re playing the game, and choose your weapon accordingly.

Finally, we have an understated little missive that broaches a subject on everyone’s lips.

Oi, Mox!

What the* *** is happening? Star City has gone ****ing PREMIUM?! What the blue **** is all that about, then?

I can’t believe you ****, ****-****** ****-ticklers are selling us out like this! Tech should be free, ****! You ****ing ****** ******, spider-****** up a ***** *** ******* into a ******!! I hope you all ***** **** by ****** leopards, in a *** ***** ***** covered in ****!!!!

Howdya like THEM onions, sparky?


You *****.

Quentin, CA.

Thank you, Quentin, for your measured and forthright reaction concerning such a hot-potato of a subject.

I myself have refrained from commenting on the Star City Premium issue, largely because I’ve been pouring all my recent energies into my knife-throwing double-act with the lovely Jetta.

I will, however, say this:

With Premium, you get Zvi.

Without, you get me.

I know what I’d be doing, if I were you.

Three issues broached, three issues tackled. Now I depart, for I must exfoliate before my meeting my ex-ladyfriend. Tonight, I re-woo the fabulous Jetta. Spare me a prayer (if you have one for trade).

Until next time, keep pumping your mongrel!

Doctor Mox.

NB: If you have a question for Doctor Mox, he can be contacted at [email protected].

Nude pictures welcomed.