SCG Daily – Radio Mox

Today Dr. Mox answers e-mails regarding Magic’s Senior Citizens as well as trying to lend a helping hand to the U.S. National Champion.

Konichi-wa, my ramshackle roustabouts! This is Radio Mox, signing on with another fun-packed episode of “Moxie’s Mailbag.”

I apologize if my typography seems somewhat slipshod this morning: late last night, my Swiss ladyfriend Jetta and I visited our local fondue restaurant. Unusually for me, I set about my Sambuca with a hitherto undisplayed relish, perhaps a by-product of the humidity of the evening. Cutting a long story short… it seems that, under the influence of liquor, I became overly flirtatious with the Bulgarian Fondue Mistress assigned to our table. Jetta nipped things in the bud by taking up a Fondue Fork and skewering my left hand to the table.

It was my own fault, I admit. Roving eyes and wandering hands can spell disaster for the closest of couples. And frankly, I’m glad it was only my hand she skewered, as her jealous outbursts of violence can often get quite imaginative.

We’ve two splendid letters to cover today, so I’ll get started.

Doctor Mox,

I am just getting back into Magic after a few years of less expensive hobbies such as Fine Art Burning, Diamond Swallowing and Caviar Sculpting.

I’m a hardcore playa from the old skool, and don’t quite know how to respond when n00bz talk about the bygone era of the game, such as when Invasion was standard-legal. Invasion feels like only yesterday to me, meaning that Planeshift was this morning and Apocalypse just after two-thirty.

I tell you, Doctor, I’m cracking up. It’s enough to make me stuff their oral orifices with Ice Age booster pack wrappers, or strangle them with their own chainstore-bought Green Day t-shirts.

Any suggestions, before I smite them all?

Josh U, via email.

Greetings, Josh. It’s always nice to receive letters from old-time players. I see you’ve managed to fathom those new-fangled computer-boxes too. E-Mail indeed!

Your question raises an interesting issue. Magic is getting older, as are we all… but the average age of the players is dropping faster than Kai’s ranking. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Games that are perceived as more mature, such as Poker, are drawing away players from the fat end of the age spectrum. This is terrible news: every time a Magic player wins a poker tournament, Randy Buehler kills a kitten.

  • As players age, their attentions are drawn in a number of different directions. Once school is over, there are bills to pay and jobs to hate and wives to woo. When at school, living in your mom’s loft conversion, you have all the time in the world to play Magic. Of course, I must warn our young Emo heroes: it’s no guarantee of success. But if they took a break from downloading porn and actually played some games, they’d be top-eighting the Pro Tour every frickin’ week.

  • Wizards have spent the annual revenue for the past six years on the development of an anti-aging serum in order to keep those who design and play Magic fresh and young forever more. Mark Rosewater bathes in gallons of the stuff. As a player, it’s available as a Level 5 benefit of the Pro-Players Club.

Of course, these facts are all well and good, but they do little to stop these precocious children reminding us fogeys that we’re nearly dead. So, other than infanticide, what options are open to us?

Here’s a little tip that I’ve used successfully in the past. I’ll illustrate it with a scenario, placing myself in the third person to add a little gravitas:

<Doctor Mox sits opposite his young opponent. They shuffle up>

Opponent: Wow, man… you must be, like, thirty years old or something.

Doctor Mox: And you can’t be a day over nine.

Opponent: So do you, like, remember the Old Days of Magic? Like, back when Onslaught was legal? Man, those days must’ve ruled.

Doctor Mox: I played Magic at the time of Onslaught, I admit.

Opponent: I heard they have a play-set of Scourge on this week’s Antiques Roadshow. Fancy crankin’ up the VCR, relivin’ the old times?

Doctor Mox: I hope you get irritable bowel syndrome, you malodorous tumor.

<the game progresses>

Opponent: End of your turn, I’ll Shock your Birds of Paradise.

Doctor Mox: Sure. <puts Birds of Paradise in graveyard>

Ok, my turn. Untap, upkeep, dr-

Doctor Mox: Remember when I had my Birds of Paradise on the table? Man, that was cool. Having him there, flying, tapping for mana… good times, good times.

Opponent: <confused> Erm… sure. Ok, I draw a card, lay a land… enter my attack ste-

Doctor Mox: Remember when you drew a card? That was gas! You were, like, drawing a card, and I was, like, wondering how many cards you had in hand… Ah, memories… Magic’s not the same anymore.

Opponent: Stop being weird, you old bastard!

Doctor Mox: Remember when you told me to “stop being weird?” Happy days, man. Where does the time go?

Opponent: JUDGE!

<Opponent and Judge hold brief counsel. They approach Doctor Mox>

Opponent: You’re screwed, Grandpa.

Doctor Mox: Remember when you called a Judge? So cool! He came over, you were talking…

Judge: <restraining Doctor Mox> Remember when you weren’t disqualified from this tournament? Remember the way to the exit? Get out!

There you are, Josh! Next time you’re faced with such insolent younglings, simply resort to senility. You may end up disqualified, but the senility means you’ll forget about it in the morning!

It’s win-win, baby!

And now, for our second letter of the day, a word from the U.S. champ…

Yo Moxie!

I’m a top-level player who deals defeat with a side-order of whack-*ss jive. I got 1337 m4d sk1llz, boyee.

Thing is, I sometimes get confused on the rules. In a recent hi-pressure match I zoned out and almost fubared my way to the parking lot. It was something to do with a Memnarch and a Shackles, but to be honest I’m drawing a blank here.

I’m off to a top-flight tournament in Japan soon. Any chance you can help this n00b with some of the rulez?

Antonino, FL

P.S.: Fancy being the Eighth King?

Congratulations, Antonino, on your recent success at U.S. Nationals. I’m sure the whole Magic community will join me in saying that it couldn’t have happened to a louder guy. And thank you for your humbling offer of camaraderie, but I’m afraid I’ll have to turn you down. While I’d relish the opportunity of becoming the Eighth King, my Swiss ladyfriend Jetta would be unable to hide her jealousy. This would lead to certain privileges being withheld, and I’m not prepared to tread that particular path no matter how big the carrot. Of course, in a perfect world you could expand the organization to encompass Jetta with the phrase “Eight Kings and a Queen”, but my sources tell me that one of the existing Kings already fills those particular ruby slippers.

As for your problem… there’s no doubt that this wonderful game of ours is incredibly difficult to play. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers have pondered its intricacies through the ages. Albert Einstein developed a unifying theory of Magic the Gathering that boiled down the famous formula E=MTG2. Stephen Hawking wrote the definitive tome on brokenness within Urza’s Block, entitled A Brief History of Time Spiral. Even Renee Descartes lent his considerable mind to the Magic scene, best typified by this oft-misquoted supposition… “I think, therefore I make a Raging Goblin and attack you for one.”

Luckily, I have a head-start on most in this mental amphitheatre as I’m a certified doctor, but what if you aren’t as smart as me?

What you need is some tutelage under an intelligent benefactor who’s willing to donate his time toward the teachings of the Glorious Garfield. Well, quite frankly my dear boy, you can go boil your bottom. I cannot be bothered.

However, the good doctor is nothing if not magnanimous. While I’m not about to present an in-depth analysis of the stickier wickets presented in the Official Game Rules, I will run through a few problem phrases and theories to attempt clarification.

State-Based Effects

Simply put, State-Based Effects are rules that have differing effects dependant on your location. Casting a spell in Alabama will have wildly different repercussions from casting the same spell in, say, Wyoming. Comprehensive rules regarding these effects can be found on the Wizards web-site, but I ask you to heed this warning: never cast Lhurgoyf in Texas. I did once, and it led to all manner of intrigue.

Card Advantage

Basically, Card Advantage describes the advantage a rich player has over a poor one. If you buy a booster case per set then you have a massive Card Advantage over the cashless sap that gets his cards solely by rooting through the dumpster at the back of Zvi’s mansion. Also, when playing a card-for-card mirror match, the Card Advantage goes to the player with the most foils.

Creating a Stable Mana-Base

The creation of a stable mana-base is paramount to success in our fair sport. Your mana-base should be made of a hard wood, and preferably have three or more sturdy legs depending on its shape. It doesn’t have to be big, mind: just big enough to support all your lands when stood on the gaming table. The ideal mana-base should resemble something like this, but of course the elegant fretwork on the legs is merely for show.

I hope my comments have been helpful, Antonino. If not, I suggest you polish your game by practicing opposite a mirror. Your opponent will thus match you in all departments. Take no heed of his trash-talking, mind, else you’ll drive your fist through his beaming face. If this occurs we’ll see you end up in hospital, and the Seven Kings will endure seven years bad luck.

Well, that’s me for another day. I’m tapped out, with no cards in hand.

Tonight, Jetta and I plan to visit our local municipal swimming facility to indulge in a bout of individual and team watersports. While I am a less-than competent swimmer, Jetta is the proverbial otter. Of course, she is aided by what can only be described as a mane of fine black hair that runs the length of her back, which is excellent for repelling water. And if I’m honest, the webbing between the toes of her remaining foot is hardly a hindrance.

Until next time, keep pulling those foils,

Doctor Mox

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

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