The Magic Show #58 — Post-Ballot Bliss

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Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we see some important events happening in the Magic universe, and none quite so important as me being your official 2007 Invitational Storyteller. What do I think of this honor and why did my nomination stir up such intense debate? Let’s get started! Warning: Contains Spoilers.

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we see some important events happening in the Magic universe, and none quite so important as me being your official 2007 Invitational Storyteller.

What do I think of this honor and why did my nomination stir up such intense debate? Let’s get started!

Stingy Invi

Oh boy, where do we begin? Thank you! Oh my God, I can’t believe it! I’m going to the motherf***ing invi! I’ve been reading about this tournament and its impact for a while now, and I’m extremely excited, as you can tell.

But my nomination was not without controversy. It showed a somewhat darker side of the separation between what is now called the “Joes and the Pros.” After quite a few unkind remarks, the two camps were established: Those who thought that the Invitational was an All-Star lovefest, and those who were open to the interpretation that not everyone at the Invitational needs to be a Level 18 uber mage.

On the Pro side of the debate, you can’t argue with history. The fact is, the Invitational was originally conceived as an All-Star Game with the Best of the Best, and that’s how it stayed for a long time. Then, last year, baby steps toward change were made. Our own Mike Flores, a guy who has went to a few pro tours but whose success is almost entirely in the writing and deckbuilding category, made Resident Genius. Gasps were heard in card shops around the nation. It demonstrated that the public wanted to see not just the best of the best get a shot, and the precedent has only grown from there.

But up next I have a little something special for ya.

[Special Comic Book Section With Flores and Kenji]

For the Joe’s, it’s a bit different. The fact is this: It’s just hard to get to know a pro. And it’s much harder to cheer for someone you don’t really know. For example, how much do you really know about someone like Willy Edel or Mark Herberholz? Is your experience limited to what you’ve read about them, what few articles they’ve written, or which performances you’ve watched on Wizards’ website?

The fact is, if you know anything more than what I’ve just listed, you’ve probably met them and/or interact with them regularly. But Magic is a worldwide game. I’ve only met two of the players voted in so far. I love Kenji for his amazing ability and his articles. He just looks like a kick ass Magic player. But that’s all I got. I’ve never heard him say a word. I saw him once at a Grand Prix but didn’t approach.

Sure, these guys have fantastic reputations at the Pro Tour amongst their peers. But that’s a hell of a tough clique to get into. And yet, here I am, about to go head to head with the best of them. What makes me so damn special?

Because people know me. How? They’ve heard my voice. They’ve seen my face. They’ve watched me Top 8 States and make absolutely retarded draft picks. I’m not perfect, and everyone recognizes that. Simply, the only time I ever see a big pro doing anything other than staring at me from their player card is when they’re in Oh My God I’ve Got To Be Super Serious Mode on a Pro Tour Sunday appearance with Buehler and BDM blabbering on in the background.

Take, for instance, the famous photo of Herberholz with the trophy in Honolulu. You know what would’ve been awesome? If we had video to go along with it. If we had a post-win interview with Mark bursting out of his skin to thank all of his buddies and so on. It would’ve endeared him in ways that a simple photo, and later bragging rights, would not.

Zac Hill brought up the sort of rivalry between Joes and Pros but framed it thusly: The casual players he’s used to hate pros because of their insistence on winning. Their goal of taking home the prize and fun be damned. Always dropping out of the tournament when they’re X-2, and so on. And that’s a hell of a mindset to go up against. But that’s where I come in.

What I hope to accomplish with this opportunity, among other things, is to show that these Pros whose faces you see and whose names you’ve read about are real, actual guys who love the game. I love the game, and I think you get that. But if the only vibe you’re getting from the Professional Players is that of arrogant jerkiness, then I hope to rectify that.

I bear no ill will towards the pros who dogged me silly. They don’t know better. And I’m bound to show to the world that Professional Magic Players are more than just a few angry posts about their favorite go-to donkey representative.

Video content lends a certain humanity to the proceedings that I think can be lost in pure text coverage. I try to focus on the fun aspects of the game most of the time, but as last week demonstrated, you can learn a lot just by having conversations with good players. I was really excited to share what Feldman and Hill thought of the game, and hoped you dug it as much as I did.

Next week I’m sure I’ll chat about this further, but we’ve got a lot more to cover. Let’s keep it moving.

The Decklist Agenda

Here’s something that’s been on my mind for the past few weeks. What is up with tournament organizers not reporting their top 8 decks to Wizards? Of all the PTQs that occurred this season, how many Top 8s do we really have to look at? I’ve heard of a kick ass Green/Red/Blue Storm deck that won a German PTQ. What’s the list? Couldn’t tell you. Why? Because it’s not a priority to Wizards to get these lists in.

Let me tell you: Decklists are the lifeblood of a tournament player. I can tell you from playing in endless PTQs, the tournament scene hinges on the ability to look at and analyze a large data set.

The problem is there is no penalty for not reporting these lists. You don’t get written up or put on some probationary list. There’s just “Well, I sure hope he sends us the lists next time.” Which may or may not happen. Ever.

What I would suggest is that Wizards get serious about this. I mean cutting off funding or threaten some other monetary action. Money talks, and unfortunately this would probably need that kind of leverage.

After a Saturday PTQ, those lists should be in somebody’s email box the next day. If they’re not, then make it a directive. I promise that by the next day they know who the Top 8 were and their standings. They had to arrange for the winners to get plane tickets, and they had to provide the rest of the Top 8 with prizes. If they went to all of this trouble, why don’t we see what those players came up with?

Are you going to tell me that these organizers didn’t have Internet access? What excuse do you have for the missing lists? The lists that are scoured over by judges to ensure there are sixty cards and fifteen card sideboards. So which is it, Wizards? You gonna lay down the law, or are we gonna get those Top 8 lists whenever the TO’s get around to sending them in?

This Week’s Random Thought

Being a card storeowner is a lot like being a sort of Magic bartender. Guys come in there, have a bad day, and what he does is give them events to bide their time, sell them wares, and serve them food and drink. And whenever a girl comes in, all of the guys flirt with her, get rejected, and then leave shortly after.

The only thing missing is Happy Hour, where the “drafts” are half off.

You Make The Invitational Card — Part 1

Okay everybody, today we begin what will undoubtedly be a big hit amongst the viewers out there. I want you, yes, you, the people that got me in the Invitational, to help me pick out what card to submit.

First up, a few guidelines: I’d like to make a creature. As you could or could not guess, I’d like to name it Captain Tickles. The type would be a Legendary Pirate. As you can imagine I’ve signed many a Cap’n Tickles in my day, and what would be cooler than an actual Captain Tickles?

So to get things started we need a color… or, we need two or more colors. What do you think? Use the forum poll to vote on what color you wish the card to be: White, Blue, Black, Red, Green, or Multicolor. The poll will close on Monday night and next week we’ll move forward with mechanic submissions and cost of the card, followed by the flavor text.

This is my way of showing my gratitude to you, the viewer. You tell me what you want to see, and I’ll happily comply.

And now we end this week with some very special Lorwyn previews.

First Sneak Peek At Lorwyn

Thanks to our good friends at Scrye, we now have the prerelease foil card and four other very interesting cards to look at. Let’s get started with the biggie, the prerelease foil, called Wrens Run Packmaster. Take a look:

Wrens Run Packmaster (Prerelease giveaway)
Creature- Elf Warrior
Champion an elf (when this comes into play, sacrifice it unless you remove another elf you control from the game. When this leaves play, return that card to play.)
2G: Put a 2/2 green wolf creature token into play
Each wolf you control has deathtouch.

Now this is a hell of a man. I don’t know about you, but Champion as a mechanic is so damn tribal it hurts. Do I love it? Oh, I love it. Of course this guy is a Green rare, so he has to be undercosted for his power and toughness, but not only does he give you a 5/5 to scare your opponent silly, he makes Deathtouched wolves to chew up your opponent’s creatures.

A huge bomb in draft and sealed, and what could become a monster in Constructed, I love me some Packmaster. But we’ve got little time and four more cards, so let’s move on.

Epic Proportions
Enchantment- Aura
Enchant Creature
Enchanted Creature gets +5/+5 and has trample.
From mite to mighty.

Now this is a kick ass enchantment. Wow! Its Flash element keeps your creature alive, and it’s game-breaking +5/+5 and trample makes your opponent think twice before chump blocking that meager looking 1/1 or 2/2. Diggin’ it.

Fodder Launch
Tribal Sorcery- Goblin
As an additional cost to play Fodder Launch, sacrifice a Goblin.
Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn. Fodder Launch deals 5 damage to that creature’s controller.
Leave it to a Boggart to come up with a projectile as disgusting as it is deadly.

Now this is Goblin Grenade 2.0, and also shows how the color pie is bleeds between the popular races. Goblins are now Red and Black, just as Merfolk will be White and Blue. You can see this in the land artwork they spoiled already, but it’s great to get further confirmation with a spell such as this. This also has that lovely word “Tribal” on it, sure to play nice with a Tarmogoyf near you.

Creature- Merfolk Wizard
Whenever Fallowsage becomes tapped, you may draw a card.
Memories of ages past are said to swim the minds of lounging fallowsages.

Ah yes, the return of the Merfolk! Man, I tell you, I left Magic just before Stronghold, and the Mermen were mighty and plentiful. I come back to these sucky ass Wizards from Onslaught block replace them, and it’s taken five years to rectify the problem. While this guy has no obvious uses, anything that can be activated for free is always something to watch out for. I mean, a card like Second Wind alone would be such a beating with this one. But that’s for the Johnnies to play with.

Last, we have this spicy number, the Galepowder Mage. And while his name is really, really bad, the card is not.

Galepowder Mage
Creature- Kithkin Wizard
Whenever Galepowder Mage attacks, remove another target creature from the game. Return that card to play under its owner’s control at end of turn.

So, four mana for a 3/3 flier? Check. Can royally screw up a combat step? Check. A first pick in draft? You betcha. This guy has an absolute ton of potential. You know why? Because it doesn’t have to target only your opponent’s creatures. It can use and abuse any comes into play effect as necessary. Attacking with this guy with a Maelstrom Djinn morphed on the table is just a wee bit unfair.

Next week we’ll talk about the tribes and the colors they represent, from the ass-kicking G/W Kithkin to the G/W/B Treefolk. I’m sure we’ll know some more info by then as well, and you know I’ll be happy to share it.

So until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
myspace dot com slash evanerwin
Written while in awe of my fans. Thank you guys so much!

Music credits:
Title — “Men’s Needs” by The Cribs
Stingy Invi — “Human After All” by Daft Punk
Flores Comic — “Superman” by R.E.M
Decklist Agenda — “Brainstorm” by The Arctic Monkeys
Random Thought — “Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well” by Mike Houghty
You Make The Invitational Card — “What A Wonderful Man” by My Morning Jacket