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.

Weak Among the Strong: Rob’s Strategy for Qualifying for the Pro Tour, Part 2

Those of you who read Brian David-Marshall’s MTG.com article last week probably already know the outcome of this report, but what you don’t know is exactly how Chad got there or what he has to say about Rochester drafting Champions of Kamigawa. As a bonus, Chad has also provided all the decklists for the top 8 draft of his PTQ, so you can see exactly how things play out in this new Limited format.

Weak Among the Strong: Rob’s Strategy for Qualifying for the Pro Tour

Hey Chad, remember how you were going to try hard to qualify for the Pro Tour last season? Remember how you were going to share all of your preparation with the readers at StarCityGames.com and go over each of your PTQ experiences with them? Remember how you even built a good rogue deck near the start of the season? Remember how you missed every single PTQ and Grand Prix? If you really want to qualify for the Pro Tour, why don’t you play in a *#%$ PTQ?

Shooting Back: Why Gray Ogre is Better than Survival of the Fittest

It’s pretty rare that Mike Flores and I disagree about Magical things. The last serious disagreement I can recall was at a Neutral Ground PTQ, where we disagreed over whether I should smash all the Neutral Ground faces and take the slot home to Your Move Games. Mike was understandably bitter about that one for a while. So when I read in the front-page blurb of his recent article that Mike disagreed with me – this time about the correct build for Flea Market – I had to step up.

The Little Engine that Could?

The goal of this article is quite ambitious: in the middle of the Block Constructed season, with multiple Grand Prix behind us, I’m going to argue that there is a viable (possibly tier one) rogue deck available for Block. It’s a control deck with tremendous utility and a ton of play decisions that has game against all of the most popular decks and favorable matchups against most.

What Crystal Witness Does to MD5 Constructed

Like the ConTroll decks of Urza Block, this looks like a really, really good draft deck. I can almost hear someone walking by Cirigliano during a match and shouting,”You got three Crystal Shards? What scrub was passing to you!” When you’re talking Constructed, however, this deck seems to violate the Zvi maxim against bringing a knife to a gunfight. So why is this deck winning?


I’m a happy man. Why is that, you ask? Probably too many reasons to count…but here are a few.

Weak Among the Strong: Are You Kidding Yourself?

Ask someone who just lost a game why they lost and the answers will vary. Manascrew is always popular, as is a bad matchup.”I lost the die roll” comes up a lot on the Pro Tour, especially when environments get particularly degenerate.”He drew more X” is another, whether X is Skullclamp, Disciple of the Vault, lands, burn, creatures, spells or whatever. Occasionally someone who is modest or who just played Kai Budde will say,”I got outplayed.” All of these answers are sometimes true, or at least partly true. But what should get said a lot more often is,”I was kidding myself, and if I hadn’t, I might have been able to win.”

Weak Among the Strong: Early Days – Brainstorming a New Format

Whenever a new set comes out, two things happen. First, people look at the direct impact on existing decks in a given format. What Fifth Dawn cards might go into Tooth and Nail? What does Ravager get to replace Skullclamp? Second, people start building the obvious decks, like Krark-Clan Ironworks combo or mono-Black control. In my opinion, both of these activities are premature. First should come the brainstorming.

Weak Among the Strong: What Are You Passing?

Last week, we looked at a three-part rookie mistake I made during the final Swiss draft of Grand Prix: Oakland, where quite possibly my first pick (and its implications for the rest of my draft) cost me a return trip to the Pro Tour. This week, we’ll take a more in-depth look at Booster draft, focusing instead on signaling.

Weak Among the Strong: Owning Your Mistakes

For anyone wondering who the heck Chad Ellis is, I was once a writer of some repute, with articles on the Dojo, StarCity, Mindripper, Brainburst, and the Sideboard. Along the writing path, I managed to qualify for the Pro Tour through a few PTQs, and then finally gravy-trained with an eighth-place finish at Pro Tour: Barcelona. Now I’m finally joining StarCityGames.com on a more serious basis, as my Weak Among the Strong column finds a new home here.

Quick Thoughts On The Three-Judge System

Even Your Move Games, one of the best-attended game stores in the USA, occasionally needs the three-judge system. We could probably have found a way around it – perhaps by bullying one of the judges to skip playing that week – but I know I won’t be that judge. Is Magic really better off if one of the other people who loves it has to choose between playing and judging in a small, low-K tournament?

The Danger Of Cool Reprints

Why shouldn’t Wizards just drop the policy and make us all happy with affordable Moxen and Time Walks and Sinkholes, oh my? There is a simple reason… And it’s all about YOU!