AuthorChad Ellis

Chad is a Pro Tour veteran and writes primarily on general strategy and Limited. His articles are aimed at PTQ players trying to reach the next level.

Feature Article – Counting the Cost

Read new Feature Articles each Monday and Thursday... only on StarCityGames.com!
When a new set release hits the streets, people invariably go gaga over the new tools. “Look at Aven Mindcensor,” they’ll say. “It totally hoses Dragonstorm! And Yixlid Jailer spells death for the Dredge strategy!” However, while such cards do have obvious applications in the metagame, they come with a considerable amount of baggage. Are these hidden costs worthwhile? Chad is keen to find out…

Information: Perfect, Imperfect, Virtual, and False

Magic is a game of information. The better your knowledge of the game state, the better your decisions can be. The greater your information advantage over your opponent, the more likely you are to be able to outplay him.

But what is information? Let Chad explain all!

Feature Article – Mistakes Were Made

Today’s Feature Article looks at the bane of any Magic player’s life… avoidable mistakes. Chad shares two clear-cut game states in which he dropped the ball, and talks us through the thought processes behind each correct play. In order to banish such mistakes from our game, we must do more than identify such errors… we must try our best to eliminate them from future play.

Plans and Playtesting

When playtesting, it’s easy to fall into the “Playing, Not Testing” trap. How can we maximize our testing to ensure an improvement in our game? How does our sideboarding strategy relate to our overall gameplan? In this excellent and enlightening article, Chad offers some sage advice on planning for success.

A Stake Through The Heartbeat: Controlling Team Standard

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that Heartbeat is the must-have deck in Team Standard. It’s the strongest deck in the field, or so we’re told. Chad, however, has a different opinion. With Aggro on the decline, what’s the best way to combat mid-game sorcery-speed shenanigans? That’s right… Control. Looking for a deck that crucifies Heartbeat? Look no further…

Sealed Deck With Guildpact: Tricks of the Trade

With the Ravnica/Guildpact Sealed Deck Pro Tour Qualifier Season in full swing, we are finally beginning to iron out the difficulties inherent in the format. Today, Chad throws his hat into the ring, dispensing wisdom regarding mana base math; tempo and card advantage; and Limited bombs. Excellent advice for those yet to qualify for Pro Tour Prague.

The Virtues of Planning

Ravnica-Guildpact Sealed is a complex beast. Should we run three, four, even five colors? Is mana the key, or should we compromise for power? How can we ensure we beat the decks at the top tables? In this enlightening article, Chad shares his golden rules of Sealed deckbuilding, focusing his advice for the Pro Tour Qualifier crowd.

Drafting Five-Color-Green

Chad takes us on a journey through the mind of a Five-Color-Green drafter, theorizing about the archetype both with and without Guildpact. If that’s not enough, he even sings for us.

2005 Championship Deck Challenge: Taking Red to the Limit in Standard

Welcome to StarCityGames.com’s 2005 Championship Deck Challenge, where each some of the best writers we have (including Chad Ellis, who returns from hiatus today) square off against each other in a battle to deliver the best deck for States. Each deck must adhere to the theme for the week, and on Friday Supreme Arbiter Flores will choose a victor. This week’s theme: Build a Mono-Colored Monstrosity.

SCG Daily – Designer’s Journal #4: The Importance of Art

Once we’d decided that Battleground was too good a product not to move forward, we knew that there were a lot of challenges facing us. Most of them had to do with the game itself. We needed to develop three launch armies that would play very differently from each other. We had to make sure that our point-cost system was balanced such that no unit was “too good” or “crappy”. We had to resolve dozens of issues that come up whenever you try to represent constant movement of individuals (albeit individuals in units) in a turn-based system in which the shape of a unit is fixed. One of the biggest challenges, however, had nothing to do with game play. We had to get the art right.

SCG Daily – Designer’s Journal #2: The Search for a Hit

Yesterday I hinted that we’d come up with a game that was very exciting as a product – much cheaper than other games in its category, with enough rebuy potential to let us (and stores) invest in customers but not so much as to turn off a new gamer.

That game is Battleground: Fantasy Warfare.

SCG Daily – The Business of Designing Your Own Games

This week I’ll be talking about life as a game designer/publisher. Today and tomorrow I’m going to talk about game design. Instead of talking about design philosophy or some other subject best left to people like Mark Rosewater, I’m going to talk about the business side of game design. What do you want, I’m a Harvard MBA!

Lessons From London

London was no Barcelona. I didn’t expect it to be, since before my Top 8 in Barcelona I’d had plenty of practice and knew the format cold. I had tested every card, knew what I wanted to draft, and knew where I disagreed with other players and was happy to have them go the other way. Champions/Betrayers/Saviors is a different format, and I knew I was behind the curve. Presented for your edification are some of the lessons I learned – the hard way, sadly – at Pro Tour: London.

Rants and Raves

Chad sounds the **** off about things that have been bugging him, particularly certain Hall of Fame voters.