Zac Hill is a former member of Wizards of the Coast R&D. He worked there for three full years before deciding to move onto The Future Project as Chief Operating Officer in NYC. He also teaches, writes for the Huffington Post and The Believer, was a Luce Scholar in Malaysia, and authors poetry and short stories.
Wednesday, April 15th – Round one, Singapore PTQ. Third game, three life, two Mutavaults and four other lands on my side, a grip full of counters. Venser and a Clique, too. In hand. My opponent has himself a Gaddock Teeg, a Mogg Fanatic, and an Isamaru. I am not afraid of whatever he might have in his hand unless Iâ€™m out of mana. Itâ€™s my end step, he taps three. I ready counter mana and pause. â€œVolcanic Fallout,â€ he announces.
Wednesday, April 8th – Rap Sheet, Chatterâ€™s last seven PTQs: 9th on tiebreaks, Finals, Finals, Top-8, Top-8, Top-4, 9th on tiebreaks. Oh, and a GP top-32 somewhere in there. But guess who isnâ€™t qualified, guess who isnâ€™t as of yet going to even start thinking about leis, tropical fruits, and slack-key guitars?
Wednesday, March 25th – The feeling that comes with truly reaching the next level is almost indescribable. It feels like youâ€™re walking in one smooth transition from the brown dense rush hour of Jakarta into one of those pure-100%-oxygen chambers inside which I imagine Michael Jackson chooses to sleep.
Tuesday, March 17th – I think itâ€™s time to start seriously considering the card Remand again, even if out of the board. Right now thereâ€™s very little danger to simply running mid-sized threats out there in the Faerie mirror, because there are only so many Mana Leaks to go around.
Tuesday, March 10th – Lists with singletons often appear to the outsider to be cobbled together at the last minute, haphazard scraps of â€œgood-enoughâ€ that contain enough tools to get the job done, but are rarely optimized. Yet increasingly weâ€™re seeing more and more lists from very good deck designers that feature numbers like â€œ1 Terror, 1 Celestial Purge, 1 Pithing Needle,â€ stone absent any tutors whatsoeverâ€¦
Tuesday, March 3rd – I talked a little bit last week about a Tezzeret deck I had been working on for Standard, and enough people asked for a primer that I thought I would oblige. Besides, itâ€™s been a little while since Iâ€™ve done one of these, and I wouldnâ€™t want yâ€™all to think I had gotten rusty, now, would I?
Tuesday, February 24th – A lot of players talk in the forums about how decks by authors like Chapin, GerryT, and myself are light on â€˜win conditions.â€™ Without a big tap-out fatty to end the game quickly, they worry they wonâ€™t be able to finish their matches on time. This sentiment isnâ€™t entirely unreasonable, but there are so many ways to solve the problem of time limits without having to resort to making your deck worse. This article will outline a few of them.
Tuesday, February 17th – I hope this article might expand our conception of the existing definition of a â€˜gamer,â€™ might incorporate elements that appeal to a more expansive array of competitive pursuits. Magic may never become properly mainstream – though thatâ€™s another argument, I suppose – but I do think the imagined â€˜marketâ€™ that most people try to target is fundamentally flawed.
Tuesday, February 10th – When I wrote Interaction Advantage, I knew Iâ€™d want to take some time after my initial excitement had dissipated to sit down and test the theory, to make sure it really works, to explore some of its intricacies and examine some of its quirks. To see if it actually accomplishes something.
Thursday, January 29th – What I propose, and hope to outline in this article, is a theory called Interaction Advantage. It aims to reconcile the competing existing concepts of Card Advantage and Card Quality with one another in a coherent fashion.
Tuesday, January 20th – Designing an unbeatable Phase Three deck is interesting because you really have to solve two different problems. The first is â€œhow do I avoid dyingâ€ and the second is â€œif I take it as a given that the game is going to go on for N turns, how do I ensure that the likelihood of my winning the game keeps increasing the longer the game progresses?â€
Tuesday, January 13th – Is this game we play, somehow, art. And perhaps more relevantly – really, more to the root of why I want to write this article – are the gameâ€™s creators, maybe even its players, in some sense artists?
Tuesday, January 6th – I remember cracking the first Onslaught pack I ever opened, only to see this awe-inspiring Blue guy staring right back at me. His eyes flashed with energy; his hands melded into an inferno of like ectoplasm that seemingly wanted to engulf him, swallow him fully. And then I looked at the text box: Draw three cards.
Wednesday, December 31st – Two weekends, two second-place PTQ finishes. â€œKowalifying.â€ Certainly not satisfying. At least the guy I lost to this time around was Cynic Kim, i.e. An Actual Player, but still. Stings, daggers, grail-shaped beacons in the sky hovering exactly one micron beyond armâ€™s length, all glowing and neon and come-hither. An almost profound and certainly reinvigorated respect for how difficult this hill is to conquer.
Wednesday, December 24th – The Patrick Chapin/Manuel Bucher Standard list that several people ran to several solid finishes at Worlds is one of the most perfectly-tuned decks in history, one of the single most unfair-feeling and is-everyone-else-really-playing-the-same-format-as-me-seeming machines I have ever touchedâ€¦