Chad shares his thoughts on his experience last weekend in Rochester, the hurdles still left for Vintage as a whole, how he came up with his goofy-yet-techy Goblin Resistance deck, and wraps things up with his own thoughts on the Hall of Fame ballots and nominees.
Today Chad looks at the most important thing to pay attention to when doing playtesting. This is something that will not only make you a better player and teach you the intricacies of a matchup, but it will also make you a better deck designer as well and help you tune your decks like the Pros.
We’re trying something a little different today, as we bring you practical draft theory from two of the better drafters around. First on the menu today is the practical draft application section of Chad Ellis’s examination of Draft Archetypes, where Chad gives you a series of guidelines 99.9% guaranteed to improve your Limited game.
This has been a fun mini-column to write. For my final installment, I’m not going to talk about Magic – at least, not entirely – I’m just going to share a random stream of consciousness. Why? Because that’s who I am.
What must it be like to be Chad Ellis? Beautiful wife and baby, designing games for a living, gets frequent hugs from lesbians. Oh, and he has now qualified for three out of the four Pro Tours available since he came back from an extended retirement. Find out all the details from this latest PTQ victory inside.
Some games of Magic are close. Others aren’t. When one player’s deck craps out, that’s boring. But sometimes your deck works fine and the other person’s deck works fine and neither of you makes any horrible plays and it’s still a rout. That can be a lot of fun.
I would guess that most people reading my columns have never played on the Pro Tour – simply because the great majority of Magic players have never played on the Pro Tour. I would also guess that many people reading my columns would like to play on the Pro Tour and compete regularly or semi-regularly in their area’s PTQs. The unfortunate news is that when you finally qualify and go to your first PT there is a very good chance that you will fail to make Day 2 and be back on the PTQ circuit again.
That said, it’s all worth it. Playing on the Tour is a tremendous experience.
It’s Worlds – I wasn’t expecting to go, but somehow I made Top 8 at Barcelona and suddenly I’m invited to everything. A lot of my deck was proxies since I knew I could buy the cards I needed onsite. I actually had (or traded for) the rares, but I couldn’t find copies of some of the non-rare cards, like Merchant Scroll, and no one ever carries around cards like that in their trade binders. Thankfully, I knew what Merchant Scroll did. It was a Sorcery, it cost 1U, and it fetched two different kinds of Blue spells that aren’t creatures. That can only leave Instants and Sorceries, right?
When Ted asked me to take a shot at the SCG Daily column, I wondered what I could write about. Then it occurred to me – as the one of the oldest writers on the site as well as a usetabee, I’d write about my war stories. Just imagine me as an even older man (tricky, but possible), sitting on the porch, smoking a pipe and telling you about “the big one” while all the kids (that’s you readers) sit there hoping I’ll finally doze off so you can go play video games.
My last article took care of getting you to the Top 8, so now it’s time to win the draft once you get there. This week we’ll look at the nature of draft archetypes in the abstract (with specific examples, naturally) and how to think about the interaction between draft archetypes and card valuation.
Many years ago, back when I was probably Weak Among the Weak, let alone Strong Among the Weak or Weak Among the Strong, Matt Rauseo said you should always maindeck Annul in Urza’s Block Sealed. “Why?” I asked. “Because you need to beat the 4-0 decks.” Understanding this concept will not only change how you build your sealed decks, but it also can be instrumental in pushing you over the PTQ Top 8 hump.
Today I’m going to discuss building the “Oops, I win” factor into Constructed decks, giving you the tools to turn seemingly harmless or suboptimal cards into situations that your opponent’s simply cannot beat.
Good players play tighter, make fewer mistakes. Good players understand matchups better, or know the correct draft pick orders, or have a deeper understanding of archetypes. Good players have a strategic plan. All these things are true, but sometimes I think the best description of the difference between good players and bad players is that good players don’t give you extra turns and find ways to get extra turns for themselves.