The Weekly Guild Build: What Do I Have To Do To Get You To Care?

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StarCityGames.com!At StarCityGames.com, this time is known as the “What the heck can we do to keep you interested?” week. Who wants to read about Limited strategy now that a new set is going to rearrange the Limited rules in six days? So perhaps The Ferrett had better pull something more interesting out to get your attention, like… The first free-verse Sealed Deck review, as done through the eyes of a real poet!

For you, this is a week of giddy anticipation. For me, it is The Triannual Week of Pure Hell.*

See, for the casual Magic player, this is the Week of Build-Up. You hit MagictheGathering.com daily to see the new card previews (and, thankfully, maybe stop by here to see ours), and then drop by MTGSalvation.com to see their unofficial spoiler, and you spend the week gearing up for — OMG OMG OMG — the prerelease.

Whereas at StarCityGames.com, this time is known as the “What the hell can we do to keep you interested?” week.

See, because Pete is a TO for Wizards and holds Prereleases (and thus gets some advance information on the card sets, and is bound by an NDA), StarCityGames.com cannot publish unofficial spoilers.** Which means that we have to keep your attention by discussing old sets, at a time when all you care about are those hundred and sixty-some-odd cards you’ll be laying your greasy hands on come this Saturday.

Who wants to read about Limited strategy now that a new set is going to rearrange the Limited rules in six days? Who cares about last week’s Standard decks when Dissension is going to bring new and fascinating mechanics into the pie?

Hello? Is this thing frickin’ on?

So as the editor, we bug writers who are already sick of drafting this last set to write yet another article for our readers — an article that we know full well will be useless in a month or so. You start seeing issues articles, because hey, it’s not like we can talk about anything meaningful. And though it’s tempting, the idea of putting up a sign that says “CLOSED ‘TIL DISSENSION” would probably lose us more readers than it gains.

Worse, we have to endure the complaints of people who do not understand the Cycle of Doom. “Wow, SCG sucks,” they say. “There haven’t been any good articles in the last two weeks!*** I demand my money back!” And all we can do is nod sadly and tell them hold on, wait, it’ll be good again once we can actually talk about the new cards.

Until then, we’re in a holding pattern. Please stand by. Thanks for playing.

And so it is with heavy Hulk hands that I begin typing this article. I mean, okay, yeah, I’ll be dissecting yet another sample Ravnica/Guildpact Sealed for you. Whee haw. What a joy.

Even I’m bored, and I’m writing this. So what can I do to jazz it up? If I was as talented as Craig Stevenson, I’d probably do the entire thing in rhyming verse, but I can’t.

But you know, I was a poet.

Okay, I was a really crappy poet. I did a sum total of three poetry tours, where I stood in front of tiny crowds of bored Connecticut people consisting largely of our friends and relatives, and talked about depression and suicide and glorious metaphors. It was intensely silly and self-serving, but I did it because it got me laid.

Here’s a hint for you single Magic players: A large trick to getting attractive women is being on edge of society, and being there based on your own choices. There are a lot of Magic players who are on the edge of society, but this is not by choice; they’re just too dorky to know that they should shower when their pits start to stink. They don’t know how to talk to people.

No, to date a large number of attractive women, you have to give the impression that you could have gone down the road of normality and fit in with society, if you had wanted to…. But no! You chose to take a different path because you are a rebel. Oh, you could have graduated with straight As and you’d be pulling down $80,000 a year in the stock market, but instead you had to follow your dreams because your muse led you here.

You’re not dysfunctional; you’re driven.

And when you’re driven, you can get away with anything. I used to wear lingerie and stockings and dance before crowds of people****, and I was picking up at least one new semi-girlfriend a weekend. My friends were aghast — “You’re a freak!” they cried. “You don’t even shave your chest! You look nothing like a woman in that frilly teddy!”

“That’s why they love me,” I said, and proceeded to get someone else’s number.

Ironically, had I tried to look more feminine, it wouldn’t have worked; I would have been trying to look like somebody else. Instead, there I was, a guy in a lacy Victoria’s Secret wire bra and a five o’clock shadow. I was not bound by any societal convention whatsoever — I was not shamed by my clothes, nor my performance, and I was having one hell of a good time.

If you can enjoy yourself while wearing negligee before a crowd of three hundred strangers, you can probably enjoy yourself anywhere.

A man who has that kind of confidence is someone who many women will want to know better.*****

Hence, poetry’s a great thing if you want to make contact with a member of the opposite sex. There’s a theory that women are more attracted to men who have a girlfriend, because they find the confidence of a man in a relationship to be intensely sexy. And if you act as if your poetry is more important than anything else in life, it’s kind of like you’re in a committed relationship with someone who doesn’t mind you fooling around on the side.

“I love you, baby,” you say. “But don’t stand in between me and my art.”

And if your art consists of you sharing intimate, soul-baring details with a crowd of people, some of those people will want to get to know you. And if you’re looking for a series of tawdry relationships that will soon explode into tumultuous breakups, then finding dysfunctional women to match your selfish, suicidal self is just perfect.

Because then you can write poems about them. Which will get you introductions to more dysfunctional women.******

Hark! I am inspired! It’s time to write… The free verse Sealed breakdown!

“China Bone Snowsalt”

Stanza I: Introduccio
In cinema
In Japan
The color of white means death
(The snow falls and people die)
Yet in America
The color
Means wedding and marriage and union
(The bride, draped in silken crepe, virginal and trembling)

Is there a hidden meaning?
If you were
To blur
The Nippon and former-Briton
You would find
A secret message:

Unity Is Death.

Perhaps this deep, White pool is also
filled with hidden synergies
An unexpected message
Stashed in between the cards

Shall we see?
Can we see?
Perhaps like White
Our eyes
Have turned milky-white
And blind

It is no occident
That this White is mixed and yet somehow clear
On the back end, we have defense
In the form of our wise ancestors, soaking up harm for us
Yet trapped in their decrepit body
And the bureaucrats, their asses slopping over the edges of their seats
Like men with posteriors shaped from Silly Putty
(Yet they do not pick up comics on their cheeks, rendering them
seless for amusement)
Sucking up our mana, perhaps too much,
To save us from death
Yet able to fuel a strike to the hearts of our enemy
And, of course
The Fetters of Faith
Are really frickin’ annoying
(Especially when they do not stop the Gleancrawler, but that is a tale
For another time
My children)

Stanza II: The Lament
O mighty Conclave Phalanx
Why do you show up alone?

You know you want tokens
To bring me life
Yet this is the third time you’ve arrived without the Evangel
What the hell is wrong with you?

Next time bring
A door prize

Stanza III: Reverso
In Magic
Is the color of defense

Yet even the wisest, most lawful monk
Wants to lay the smackdown on some punks

So White has gifted us
With a tertiary flier with symmetrical numbers
And a Giant who swells the asses of everyone he stands with
To Silly Putty-style proportions
We all want large asses
On our first-striking knights
Did not the queen spake:
Big-bottomed earls
Make this rockin’
World go round?

“Heart of the Ocean Swells Like A Sapphire”

In this land we stand and take a hand in
Blue is 90% of the world
Blue is in the skies that hang o’erhead
And the oceans
(which are blue)
Are 77% of the planet

The Earth is girdled
By a swaying, jiggling belt of blue
Tugged by tides
Into a cosmic square dance
And I wonder
When her tides are at the fullest
Does the Earth look up at the moon with rain-swollen eyes and ask:
“Does this tide make Me look fat?”

There is a wasteland of Blue fat
All of our Blue is small,
(Like the box office grosses of Woody Allen)
Our asses have grown huge and puttylike
(Hello, Entrancer, Drift, and Belltower!)
But there is no potency to carry this assault

I have no doubt that the Magemark would be a fine spell
To rest on the back of a beastly Grozoth
But laid upon the back of a two-power thing
It is a waste
Like Michael Douglas
Breaking upon the shores
Of Catherine Zeta-Jones

You draw cards, O blue
You mill
You evade
But you cannot bounce
Nor can you counter

I will not be trapped in the mainphase again!

You may be the choice of mine O Mighty Azure King
But is it not ironic and fitting
That tricky Blue
Must wait until the end of the colors
To be told?

“Ebony Thunderstick”

How can such a shallow thing
Entrance me?

You have no depth
All you do is kill
And yet I turn to you, O Black, again and again

You bring to me nothing except beef and destruction
If my Douse does not kill you
My Brainspoil will
And if that survives,
Surely the Woebringer will void your last warranty

Am I that shallow?
Will a pair of conditional removal
Draw me into shadow?

Flat Stanley
Possesses more depth than I do
For Black….

…I must have you.

“Auburn Firesetter”

O Red
You suck.

“The Leaf That Chews Upon Itself Like An Ouroborous”

Verse !: The Dance of Chlorophyllitic Joy
They say
That no two men
See the same forest

There are too many leaves
Too many breezes
Too much to take in at once

But when I look at the verdant spoils upon which to make my deck
I see pairs
Twins, like the Olsens, joining up with clasped hands
In a way that dampens my loins
(Much the same
(As the Olsens)

Do you not see the twins, dancing merrily in the woods?


Lo! There are triplets!


O Green,
Why do you not share?
I like to splash your lush and wooded nature
Yet every time
You bone me.
Right up the butt.

Verse @: A Broken Melody Hummed By A Toothless Hobite
I want to play the Chords that Call
Yet nothing exists for me at all

To fetch

For if I spend a triple-Green
Vast effects I should be seeing

In play

Yet my creatures when they come to play
Have nothing much at all to say


I could Ogre when my foe does Seed
And cause him to do a mana-bleed

For three

Or, perhaps, I’ll fetch the Giant
And slide him in when combat’s dyin’

To save

But all of those would cost unseem
ly mana, three of them Green

Too much

So with regret, I’ll leave the Chord
And speak of it a-nevermore

My love

“The Amazing Technicolor Remnants Of The Ear-Smashing Finale”

Judge Scalia
Vetoes many things
His vote is unfair,
Manic perhaps,
Certainly inconsistent even with his own stated philosophy,
And yet he rests in the high court.

He can make obscene gestures
And turn them into affectionate Italian handwaves.

I disagree with the Scalia
Yet I must respect his power.
So too much I respect the Gold cards.

They make my deck
They fill the gaps
They manascrew me
I do not have the playables without them.

All hail the playables.

But who to choose?
Dimir cloaks itself in night and ocean,
Like a coelacanth,
Hiding from the eyes of wicked scientists
In the basins of the Amazon jungles
Where they sell books made from vines


Dimir is weak.

Twisted Justice is twisted,
For it loves
1/1s more than life itself

Gruul is tempting
Were the Red
Not so stunningly sucktacular

Gruul is very strong. You should play it. We like Green.
We are the Forums, and we know better than you.

No! I reject you, Gruul!
Leave me in my tormentuousness!

For the Orzhov
(Who refuse to give me a damned Blind Hunter
No matter who I beg)

Have the Sun that Culls
That there is no Godly Wrath
Bad enough that The Ferrett will not play it

Culling Sun
Makes you pay more mana
To kill fewer things
Isn’t that clever?

Plus, Pillory
Is a mathematician’s nightmare
If you examine its contours
You will discover
It contains both the bag of chips
Neatly stashed
Inside all of that.

Lo! My deck arrivetheses!

1 Benevolent Ancestor
1 Brainspoil
1 Bramble Elemental
1 Conclave Equenaut
1 Conclave Phalanx
1 Culling Sun
1 Dimir Guildmage
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Douse in Gloom
1 Droning Bureaucrats
1 Faith’s Fetters
4 Forest
1 Gather Courage
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Golgari Signet
1 Mourning Thrull
1 Nullmage Shepherd
1 Oathsworn Giant
1 Pillory of the Sleepless
6 Plains
1 Poisonbelly Ogre
1 Shambling Shell
1 Strands of Undeath
5 Swamp
1 Terrarion
1 Transluminant
1 Wild Cantor
1 Woebringer Demon

My decketh!
It beats with the power of the Sun!

It goes 7-2 in matches!
It giveths me what I need!

I enjoyeth the deck
In much the same way
That thou shalt enjoy my comic
Where the Strange run rampant in the Home
(lo! The week ends!
(The storyline finishes!
(All shalle click the link!)

Signing off,
The Ferrett
The Here Poets This Here Site Here Guy

* – Fun fact: “Biannual” can mean “twice a year” or “once every two years.” But “Triannual,” at least according to the dictionaries I perused, means only “once every three years.” Screw that noise. I’m making it mean three times a year.

I can do that. I’m an editor. Nanny nanny boo boo.

** – Well, actually, I’m no lawyer but I’m pretty sure the NDA would simply prevent Pete from publishing accurate spoilers. We could probably just make up a bunch of cards, claim they’re from the next set, and get a metric buttload of hits to our Webite. But I suspect this would backfire. You know how it is.

*** – Actually, I gotta give props to Craiggers, who’s kept these past two Doom Weeks as exciting as they’ve ever been in SCG history. Way to go, fella!

**** – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was Frank-n-Furter.

***** – And men, too, but that’s not my style.

****** – I should add, however, that this was not an effective long-term strategy, and I probably spent ten years trying to find women to put up with my magnificent melodrama. Unfortunately, when it comes to love, you do find precisely what you’re looking for. Eventually, I found a stable woman, who I married, and that relationship has been far richer and more rewarding than any of the ones that preceded it. Remember, kids, while consensual tomfoolery is all fine and well as long as both partners are okay with whatever psychic baggage you choose to attach to your relationship, eventually you should try to find someone who doesn’t believe that their life is part of a rich tapestry.

I lived my life like it was a wild story where I was the hero, and found women who wanted high adventure. Boy, did they get it. Unfortunately, when you’re living a story, it means that you start to kick up a fuss whenever things get boring. My life was filled with angry fights, hideous betrayals on all sides, and a bunch of needless drama, and most of it was self-inflicted. Having fun with other storytellers is cool… For a while.

Hopefully, you grow out of it. Message ends.