Greetings, my gangrenous strumpets! It is the good Doctor Mox here once more, ready to round out my Daily stint with a veritable bang.
On the subject of bangs, I must apologise for my ill-timed absence from yesterday’s StarCityGames.com update. Truthfully, the accident was beyond my control. Wednesday evening, at the Renaissance Faire, My Swiss ladyfriend Jetta and my brutish paramour Magma were clashing heads in a Suckling Pig Eating Contest, the prize being unlimited access to the Mox Sweetbreads. They both laid into their task with gusto, and their swinish snortings of mastication served to startle the participants in a nearby display of falconry. Those of you out there who have fallen foul of a startled falcon attack will know of the terror that gripped me. Suffice to say, I ran headlong into the buttress of a Medieval catapult, and woke thirty-two hours later in my local hospital.
Jetta is now by my bedside, spoon-feeding me with processed apple pulp. She truly is the perfect woman. Magma, however, is notable in her absence. It’s safe to say the flame of my desire for her has been extinguished.
But enough of my worries! After all, a broken heart heals in time, as does a fractured skull. To the mailbag!
Dear Doctor Mox,
There has been a lot of talk recently about different cultures in out fair game. The Japanese in particular have come under fire for their strange ways and piercing stares. I know we can’t all be American, although it’s a fine dream, and we’re well on the way to achieving it.
I’d like a run-down of the follies and foibles of our different Magic lifestyles. That way, we can finally put the prejudice behind us. After all, we’re all brothers. Apart from John Becker, of course – he’s our Dad.
Thanks for your letter, BBJ. It’s nice to see such a rampant xenophobe taking an interest in different cultures and creeds.
While we’re all extricably linked though cardboard elves, it’s true that different countries have different outlooks regarding our fair game. Spanish Magic players, for example, don’t play cards in the afternoon, preferring to spend their time being chased by bulls. French Magic games usually last a little under five minutes before someone concedes, and the English metagame largely revolves around crumpets.
For my final article this week, I give you the Doctor Mox Guide to the World Stage of Magic. A brief run-down of what you can expect from players of different countries.
A duel between two Americans cannot officially begin until both parties have relinquished their guns to the Head Judge. This is largely ceremonial, as most American players pack a spare pistol strapped to their leg. To decide who goes first, the players engage in a chilli-dog eating contest, which often eclipses the actual game itself for time and interest.
As for the game itself, there are a few subtle differences from the accepted rules. For instance, the Declare Attackers step has been renamed the Declare War step, and attacks can only be made under one of the following provisos:
- The defending player is tapped out and has no creatures or cards in hand — they’re literally defenceless.
- The attacking player suspects that his opponent is bluffing about the strength of the resources, or “weapons” at their disposal.
Additionally, in Multiplayer, the American player cannot enter the game until fifteen turns have passed.
American Magic cards are also fifty percent bigger than their non-American counterparts. They’re also made entirely of Twinkies.
An English duel always begins with the boiling of a kettle for a cup of tea. Usually, the players shuffle their cards for anything up to an hour before play actually begins, as the players are much too polite to initiate proceedings. Once the dice has been rolled, there’s a rousing chorus of God Save the Queen, and then play begins in earnest
There are a few changes to the game rules in an English match. First, all attacking creatures deal damage one-by-one, as the attacking player must send them into battle while forming an orderly queue. The one exception to this rule involves the card Tin Street Hooligan. This card allows the creatures to attack en masse, and permits the attacking player to stab his opponent with a Stanley Knife. Any player casting Sliver Queen must stand and salute, and every attack step is announced with the words “I’m frightfully sorry, old chap, but my monsters appear to be swinging your way.”
Each English tournament has a morning food break for Elevenses, traditionally a plate of Egg n Chips and Jam Butties. All players must wear monocles, and the Judges dress in black-and-white striped tweed jackets.
In the early days of Japanese Magic, each tournament duel commenced with three hours of ritual thigh-slapping and salt-throwing, with each competitor be-garbed in a colorful nappy. Sadly, it’s all baseball caps and high-fives these days.
Japanese Magic cards can be bought from vending machines, located on every street corner. Moves have been made to make electronic cards available for Japan, using unfathomable eastern technologies, but each would cost upwards of eighty thousand dollars. While this is of no consequence to the Japanese, other countries may have trouble following suit. Currently, the Japanese cards are fully compatible with Nintendo products, and (for a small fee) can be delivered to your door by robotic dogs.
In Japan, if there’s a rules dispute between player and official, the player in question may ask for a second opinion from the Head Judge. This is generally avoided, as it is perilous for all parties involved. If the Head Judge upholds the ruling, he transforms into an anime mass-tentacled hentai superbeast and devours the player whole. If the Head Judge overrules the decision, the original judge must commit seppuku with a ceremonial katana. Consequently, the players don’t argue and the judges live in fear.
The results slips are collected by Ninjas.
There’s more, of course: German Magic cards are five times wider than normal, to encompass their guttural names; Chinese mages can only play Red spells; Italian magicians can cast spells without fear of countermagic, because they’re “making an offer you can’t refuse”; and as Australian magicians play their games upside-down, all their creatures are technically Morphs.
I’d love to continue, but time is drawing on. I’m due a bed-bath in half an hour, which is often the highlight of my day. The nurse who administers this treatment is a winsome cutie, although I must admit I rather enjoyed the day she was replaced by Brian the Orderly.
Before I go, let’s take one last look at the Legends MegaVote being held over at MagicTheGathering.com. Again, there are four Legends for us to dissemble and digest… as a doctor, however, I don’t advocate actually eating them. Unless we’re talking about Mistform Ultimus, of course, which is a perfectly edible Brownie in one of its many guises.
Is this actually in doubt?
Verdeloth the Ancient? What in Hell’s name is he all about, then? A six-mana fat-ass tree that makes a forest of Saprolings? How very Green. If he’s ancient, he should be put to pasture. He’s a top-end creature-creator in a color full of decent token-making effects. Rubbish!
Rorix, however, is magnificent. Six mana, six to the dome. A Dragon, with Haste, used as a finisher for the mighty Goblins. Later on, he also becomes a Zombie! How cool is that?!
A Tree cannot harm a Dragon. A Dragon can burn down entire forests.
The Mox Verdict: Rorix Bladewing
Kamahl versus Kagemaro. Truly a battle of the Titans.
Kamahl is a funky fella with a fine ability. However, he still trades with a squirrel, no matter how big his sword is. Apparently, he’s a Pit Fighter. If you remember the old Pit Fighter computer game, you’ll know that this isn’t exactly a compliment.
Kagemaro, on the other hand, is a pulsating sack of joy. He’s go a rump that’d make J-Lo proud, and he can kill anything and everything in sight, given the right conditions. On the other hand, he’s probably the most Emo Legend ever created. First to Suffer? What is he, an Evanescence fan?
Kamahl or Kagemaro, Kamahl or Kagemaro… who do I choose?
I can’t vote for Kamahl. I can’t cast my choice for anyone who reminds me of this guy.
The Mox Verdict: Kagemaro, First to Suffer
The vote continues at MagicTheGathering.com for the foreseeable future. Make sure you make your voices heard.
That’s it for another day, another week, another season.
I’m afraid I’ll not be back for a while. I have no idea how long my recuperation will last, though I’m happy to be in the hands of the finest neurosurgeons in the country. I couldn’t ask for a better bedside manner. Plus, I have my Swiss ladyfriend Jetta on hand, pandering to my every whim. I can hardly remain ill for long in the face of so much love.
Later today, Jetta and I have the happy task of judging in the hospital’s Bi-Annual Clog Dancing contest. While my head injuries have temporarily robbed me of my hearing, I’ll be able to grade the contestants on visual stylings and intricacy of clogwork. Jetta is in charge of the tempo count. The hi-octane clicking of fevered clog on ceramic tile will be nothing to her: the acoustics of the Head Trauma ward transform the clog sounds into something remarkably like the chatter of dolphins, a species with which Jetta shares an uncommon kinship. Her aquatic upbringing helps, of course, but her bottle-nosed snout is the true leveller.
Until next time, watch the skies for errant falcons.