For my first article of the year, I could’ve gone down the easy route, providing some kind of retrospective of 2011 â€” just recap some of the highlight
stories for competitive Magic in general, my own play over the year, or worse still, a thinly-veiled advertisement for my previous articles that adds
nothing to my oeuvre.
Instead, I’m opting to give you something new. Well actually, these are some things that are old to me, but new to you, in that I either never found
time to write them up fully, didn’t have a full article (or enough for a part of one) on the subject, thought it wouldn’t be good enough/would be
received poorly (knowing what to not write is more of a skill than you may think), or that got pushed aside by a more pressing matter.
In short, here’s a taste of the unused material from my first two (full) notebooks of notes and ideas for Magic articles:
Legacy at Grand Prix: London
fetching food and drinks for
helping out the coverage guys at Grand Prix London, I opted to spend a round looking for interesting Legacy decks in the big (well, sixty-six players
is big by English standards) side event, rather than try my hand at writing another feature match. Bad call. You can never practise writing feature
Friends Phil Dickinson and Jason Welsh promised me they had good and interesting decks (Jason even boasted an undefeated in matches and games streak at a recent GPT), but neither managed a decent enough record to be worth reporting on. Still, in case you want to try and
innovate something new in Legacy, here’s the gist of what they played and why.
Phil: Was clearly lying when he said he had “the Legacy equivalent of G/W hatebears.” However, in a
low-powered local metagame, his Mono-Blue Control deck could probably win a few games. It was pretty old-school, featuring Morphling as the win-con of
choice alongside new boy Jace, the Mind Sculptor, with the two-card, one-sided Armageddon combo of Parallax Tide and Stifle to reset the opponent’s
lands after countering everything coming in with Force of Will, Daze, Counterspell, and clearing up the rest with Ratchet Bomb. Acceleration came in
the form of Chrome Mox, card draw and selection in Thirst for Knowledge and the obligatory Brainstorm, and additional threats/creature removal in
Vedalken Shackles. A single Volcanic Island splashed the sideboard Firespouts.
Most interesting was Dust Bowl, which feels like it could be really good in a deck with so many basics (and perhaps Crucible of Worlds).
Jason: Was playing a homebrew reminiscent of AJ Sacher U/R deck, only with a great deal more basic lands to assist his
Price of Progress and Magus of the Moons, and white as an additional colour. Trinket Mage fetched maindeck bullets including Tormod’s Crypt, Meekstone,
Basilisk Collar (for Grim Lavamancer), and Chimeric Mass. The rest of the deck was much what you might expect — Force of Will, Brainstorm, Ponder,
Lightning Bolt, etc.
Most exciting were several Retribution of the Meeks in the sideboard. You may need to look that one up â€” I certainly had never seen the card before. On
at least one occasion, it wrecked an opponent’s board of Tarmogoyfs and Knight of the Reliquary. It’s narrow, sure, but as close as I can find to a
Perish in white.
The take-away from these decks is that while expensive dual lands are omnipresent in Legacy, you can make basics work for you when you build around
them with cards such as Magus of the Moon, Price of Progress, or maybe even Dust Bowl (if you are heavy on “real” lands, and have Wastelands as well).
(Also that my friends sometimes overstate how good their brews are, but I think your friends probably do that as well.)
Top Two Funniest Opponents Ever
I was hoping to play enough hilarious opponents in 2011 to make this a top 5 or even a top 10 list, but sadly I just kept getting Games Club regulars
and nice, but quiet folk. These two guys though, greatly increased my enjoyment of the game:
Ben I played at a Core set prerelease, and had told me this was his first Magic event ever â€” but he didn’t have the usual new player jitters. In fact,
I would go far as to say he had mad swag and plain didn’t give a crap what anyone thought about his Magic playing… Or anything else, for that matter.
He certainly talked the part. At this point in our game, he had an active tapper against my Serra Angel and little ground blokes, and I had just
declared my intention to attack.
“Bow dat b****.”
“Excuse me?” I asked, shaking my head as if awaking from a daydream.
“Yea, dat b****,” He reached across and tapped my Serra Angel, “She bows to me!”
“Oh, tap her?”
“Hmm.” He leaned in and inspected the card a bit closer. “Yeah, I could get behind that.”
I cracked up laughing and shipped the turn. I went on to lose the match, but laughed a lot more in the process.
Tom Reeve later informed me “bow” is the equivalent of “tap” in Legend of the Five Rings TCG, and I’d been totally duped by one of the UK’s best
players at it.
Jerome, well, him I played at FNM draft. He carried an unsleeved deck and a beaten-up backpack in one hand, and had a pint held loosely and
precariously in the other, his arm hugely swollen, bruised, and in a sling as if it were broken.
“What happened to your arm then?” I asked, as I shuffled his deck for him.
“I’m the one-armed bandit now, huh?” He laughed, “Well, I was playing drinking games with some mates last weekend, and it got a bit out of hand, and I
let one of them inject vodka into my arm.”
“Inject… vodka…into your ARM?!”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time, you know?”
I still have no idea how injecting vodka into your arm could ever seem like a good idea.
I’m No Geordie Tait, But…
Don’t get me wrong, I think Innistrad is awesome. It’s the first Sealed format I’ve actually not hated playing, the Draft format is deep and contains
archetypes in which nearly every card in the set is playable to some degree, the horror setting of it is great, and it seems a
resounding success with players the world over. However:
2 — Some of the flavor text is just awful. Take Doomed Traveler:
“He vowed he would never rest until he reached his destination. He doesn’t know how right he was.”
The tenses don’t agree, and thus this reads terribly.
How about Woodland Sleuth:
“Whatever did this is near. Death reversion has not yet occurred. Be alert!”
This is actually taken directly from a bad piece of alternate universe Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction, in which Holmes is a robot, investigating space
And now look at Fortress Crab:
“Unbreakable and unappetizing, the crab grows uninterrupted, sometimes to the size of a cottage and beyond.”
The repeated use of “un-” annoys me, as does the lack of ambition in use of a cottage for scale. This is a big-ass crab, right? Why not a compare its
size to that of a hamlet or village? Or a city?!
I then looked at the rest of the cards in the set and found none with flavor text I liked.
On closer inspection, I may just hate flavor text.
I Am A Failure
I am disappointed in myself that I never found a suitable point in an article to use this image when mentioning card advantage or a card that is a
two-for-one. Please someone else include it in a limited primer sometime:
Dos and Don’ts
Vice magazine, a semi-hipster, East-London (and magically free) publication, amongst its various regular features, has a ” Dos and Don’ts” section, which is loosely considered fashion advice, but in reality is just horrible
criticism and backhanded compliments of the way people look and dress. Example:
Three Cosmopolitans later and Mary was finally making her hideous gothic hammock work for her.”
(and that’s on a “do”!) — It’s laugh, but feel guilty for doing so kinda stuff.
I briefly considered doing something along these lines using photos from a GP/PT for the second round of the Talent Search, but was correctly advised
by Geordie Tait that it was very risky and would probably come across as “nitpicky and mean,” which is not really what I want to be.
“How To Be A Douchebag”
Much like the previous entry, this I did some work on during and then a while after the StarCityGames.com Talent Search, but set aside permanently
fearing it would be way too negative, would create animosity toward me from readers, and most likely, be unpublishable here anyway. Essentially, a
tournament report from the eyes and (foul) mouth of the least-likable grinder to ever play the game, full of cheats, rip-offs, and back-stabbing.
I have a 62-card decklist jotted down under this title that is trying to be a draw-go deck, that also is centred around Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. The
name sounds like “Tesco,” one of the UK supermarket chains.
This obviously doesn’t work on any level, because the deck has nothing to do with shopping, only UK players could even know what I was referring to,
and you can’t play draw-go while casting a lot of artifacts and planeswalkers at sorcery speed. If only Etherium Astrolabe were legal!
There’s a lesson here, for sure — if your deck exists purely because you thought of a “funny” name for it before you even started writing cards down,
then your deck is probably not very good, you should not play it, and should feel bad.
“Solemn Simulacrum Infomercial”
I have this written, on its own, in capital letters, at the top of an otherwise blank page. I have no idea what I meant by this. Likewise, I have
another page, containing what I can only assume is a shopping list: “Myr tokens, new wok, jigsaw puzzle?” Moving swiftly onwards…
The Best Way To Win
This was the subject of an early assignment in the “casual/other” group of the SCG Talent Search (which I finished second in, sick brags!). I wrote
down, but never used, the following three quotes for an alternative take than what I ended up writing:
“Have ****loads of money so you can buy the good cards you have to buy to win anything” — Hana
“The best way to win at Magic is to play a deck nobody knows how to play against, and be a skilled player on top of that” — Kyle Sanchez (I
“I completely understand that denying the opponent(s) the opportunity to play the game they want to play is the best way to win at Magic” —
This is why Sheldon Menery bans all of the “best” cards for Commander, heh.
All I Want For Christmas
This was going to be a letter to Santa asking for a few things, such as a team Grand Prix in 2012, and most importantly, to give us World’s back. Which
we got, along with some PWP changes I was also going to as for, with the Magic World Cup announcement!
Every Magic Article Ever
I feel like there are a lot of clichÃ©s in Magic writing we would do well to try and avoid where possible. I was going to (still could?) highlight these
by writing an article containing as many of them as possible.
The Greatest Evil In Magic
If the community ever irks me enough, to the point where I want out, you’ll get this one. Hopefully that time will never come.
Until next time, when I hope to have some exciting and interesting things to say about Dark Ascension — I hope we all can have a great 2012 in the
world of Magic!