SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR
At some point I'll make a list of all the well-trodden Magic article tropes. Suffice it to say that there are lots of them, and they fascinate me in the same way that the TV show Mad Men fascinates me. Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, had this to say about Don Draper and company:
"There's a shot of the ceiling with a fly trapped in the light. And that's been analyzed as, like, 'well, Don has this creative problem, and he's like a fly trapped in a light.' That's not what I wanted. What I wanted to say was, 'there's no period here. We still live in those drop ceilings, the lights look exactly like that, and that fly is not from 1960. It's just a fly.'"
And so it goes with Magic. The game's been around for 20 years, and while that may seem like a long time, the same article tropes seen once upon a time on Usenet keep getting rehashed by young writers trying to make a name for themselves. For example, the article "do not tilt and drink lots of water" has been written a billion times, but every year you see some poor incurious soul serve up their take on it.
Another article that's been written far too many times is the New Year's Resolutions Article. In a bout of poor judgment, I even trotted one out, once upon a time. It was terrible.
You're going to try harder. You're going to put more work in. This is going to be your year. We get it, okay?THE TERMANENT
One of my more enthusiastic coworkers, Kristen, organized a Christmastime Khans of Tarkir sealed deck tournament at TCGplayer headquarters. My deck was pretty neat:
1 Abzan Charm1 Alpine Grizzly1 Archers' Parapet1 Bloodsoaked Champion1 Disowned Ancestor1 Ghostfire Blade1 Gurmag Swiftwing1 Hooting Mandrills1 Kin-Tree Warden1 Krumar Bond-Kin1 Longshot Squad1 Mardu Banner1 Mardu Skullhunter1 Rakshasa Deathdealer1 Shambling Attendants1 Siege Rhino1 Sultai Scavenger1 Temur Charger1 Tuskguard Captain1 Utter End1 Witness of the Ages2 Woolly Loxodon
1 Blossoming Sands1 Opulent Palace1 Scoured Barrens2 Plains6 Forest6 Swamp
There are a lot of rares there! Unfortunately I went X-2, losing to Dennis after I tapped out with a Rakshasa Deathdealer in play, allowing him to kill it, and my creatures got outclassed by Nick's Duneblast + bigger creatures.
Combining morph and a multicolor theme was a really smart move. I can't speak much for the sealed format, but I've enjoyed all the Khans drafts I've done, mostly because I'm a sucker for a lethal Trumpet Blast.
At this moment, there are lots of people freaking out on social media about the complexity of manifest. It's important to remember that during spoiler season for Khans of Tarkir, the chicken littles of the blogosphere were complaining about the potential rules headaches of morphs. Ironically enough, the most abusable aspect of Khans of Tarkir ended up being fetches, and the legitimate concerns about morphs – primarily, how failing to reveal them at the end of games could result in a game loss – have been fixed. So I'm not super worried about Manifest; there's a certain level of freaking out that happens during every spoiler season. This is just par for the course.#PROTIP
"You should write an article about how if you're playing blue in EDH you should always just play Traumatize. Like you should always just play it. It gets so many cards in EDH!"
-My co-worker Chris4 COLORS, 22 LANDS
Last Monday, I woke up to a Facebook message from my coworker Val. It was a decklist to play in that weekend's PTQ in Catskill, NY:
Caleb Durward played this deck a bit here. It was a ton of fun for me to see my coworkers' reactions to it, ranging from "this is complete trash" to "this is complete gas." I went 2-2 in the PTQ, justifying all the haters in the office. Some quick hits on the deck:
THE MALAISE CUBE
· Soul of Theros is GREAT. Sometimes they don't realize it's in your graveyard until it kills them!· Some decks can't deal with Sidisi. Some decks can't deal with a Siege Rhino. In my experience, those decks rarely, if ever, overlap.· 22 lands in a four-color deck are probably not enough!
General Malaise has caught on in a big way around TCGplayer HQ. My roommate Dan and I even started a Malaise Jar: Every time one of us starts getting too negative, the other person calls them out, and they have to put a dollar in the Malaise Jar. Think of it as a swear jar, but for negativity. All the money in the jar goes towards Modern Masters 2 boxes to be drafted. About a week and a half in, we were already up to $100 between the two of us. We complain quite a bit.
One idle afternoon at work, I got to thinking: If there were a cube that had Fluctuator but no cycling cards, how else would that cube look? As a group, my coworkers and I came up with some interesting ideas.
The only three elves in the cube are Elvish Champion, Skyshroud Sentinel, and Voice of the Woods.
The only things you can get with Crop Rotation are the tri-lands from Homelands and the pain lands from Tempest.
Crucible of Worlds is present, but there are only two ways in the entire cube to get cards into your graveyard: hitting them off a Golgari Brownscale dredge, or Crop Rotation.
Playing Evermind is possible, but the only card you can splice it onto is Cranial Extraction.
It's called the Malaise Cube, and it's going to be great. Where else are you going to be able to play Dream Chisel with the full knowledge that you have no morphs in your deck? Important Note: Actually playing this cube will, at best, make you question everything you think you know about Magic. At worst, you'll quit and go pick up Hearthstone like everyone else. But talking about the highlights is fun!
· Urza's Mine and Urza's Power Plant are in. Urza's Tower, not so much.· Squadron Hawk, Howling Wolf, Accumulated Knowledge, Kindle, Skyshroud Sentinel, and Nesting Wurm? All accounted for!· Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Tibalt, the Fiend Blooded, and Nissa Revane comprise the Malaise Cube's planeswalker population. I personally love Nissa Revane here, given the aforementioned three elves in the entire cube.· There are no ways to cheat Progenitus or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play, but they're in the cube anyway. I'm pretty sure Emrakul's still the first pick in the entire cube anyway.· There's not even any mana fixing to cast Progenitus, unless you count Naked Singularity (you shouldn't).
I could go on and on forever. And I should, because the Malaise Cube is great. Expect to see more of these.
Until next time,
Jon CorporaPronounced Ca-pora@feb31st