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Hype and Performance


The title has a few significant meanings depending on how you look at it, so I will let you think what you want and jump right in.

Well, it's that time of year again. Summer is just upon us and with summer, WotC gives us new cards to play with. Yep, I'm talking about Apocalypse. Since our site is doing so much coverage of the set I am not going to waste your time with more Apocalypse ramblings right now. I just want to open your minds a bit. I am also going to warn you that I have so much to do and this is going to be short. We are going to have a ton of good reading material on the site to keep you busy over the next few days, so don't worry :)

Anyway, I was wondering about a lot of card sin the past that got hyped and didn't turn out all that great. Are cards that don't see regular tournament all that bad? Usually I don't think so. I mean, there are obviously some dogs out there. Planar Void, Pale Moon, Kavu Lair, Dwarven Pony, Cyclopean Tomb, and the list goes on. What purpose do they serve in the Magic community? Come on, we all hate to get one of these types of cards as a rare. It's OK though. I think some of those cards ONLY work in a few decks. There should be some cards out there like that. If someone makes the bad cards work, and they can get some wins, that's great. It makes that feeling of winning that much greater when it happens. It's always a greater reward winning because of a weak card. Sometime shaving that feeling, especially when playing with a group of friends just starting makes you realize a few things about deck construction indirectly. It also gives you some experiences you wouldn't normally get. Now, admittedly, there are better things you can learn and do, but why not have these around. It might get a little old having a set full of power cards.

Another thing is that many cards aren't obviously good at first glance. I think that's another neat part about new sets coming out. It's also another part of the game that is interesting to see new players develop through. Many times I'll have a customer come up to me with a deck and ask me to look at his deck. So I do just that. I flip through the cards and look at it. Usually I give a one word response...Interesting, Commonplace, Original, Nice, etc. Some people understand what I am getting at. Other ask me, "What does that mean?" Then I break their own deck down for them. I ask them why a certain card is in there. I ask them what cards work best with other cards. I ask them what cards help them the most. I listen to their answers. Then I help them find the best cards for what they are trying to do. I don't just jump in a tell them what cards to play or what good tournament level deck is similar that they can build. I help progress them through the stages of the game. I think those experiences are important to everyone.

I still remember that during Rath Cycle there were a ton of cards that had great abilities for tournament play that were overlooked in their first few weeks. Even some popular metagame mainstays like Tradewind Rider, Propaganda, and most importantly Cursed Scroll, got overlooked in the early days of their respective decks.

A lot of players I see have just relied on other people for decks. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The bad part is when those same players have no clue why certain cards work well together. Some don't even know why some cards are better than others. They just know that everyone is using it, so it can't be terrible.

I think the last few sets from Wizards of the Coast have been exceptional. Almost every store I know of has seen a huge increase in Magic players. Not only that, their ad campaigns have gotten a lot of people aware of the game and made it more commonplace and socially acceptable. Many people aren't aware of it, But Magic: The Gathering was an official sponsor of a WWF pay per view last year. That in itself is a huge amount of exposure.

Wow, I'm doing more rambling than I had planned on. Regardless, my point is imply that we just need to help players progress through the game. We can get them into tournament play without just throwing extreme decks at them and trying to force information down their throat. One of my newest regulars even printed out a sheet with all the set names and expansions symbols to give to new players to help them differentiate all their cards to build decks for tournament play. My store keeps a stack of all the unwanted cards from drafts and games of DC-10 and give those to new players that come in the door. This at least gives them a decent pool of new cards to work from when building decks. This is great for players that have cards get damaged, or stolen and have to start over, or even players that used to play that are just now getting back into the game. There are several players returning to the game as of late.

With Apocalypse, there will be a ton of new deck strategies coming about. This means more cards will be needing consideration for play. More importantly, you might want to get more familiar with some of the cards you already have. I bet Magic R&D has already found a billion good combos and decks that we haven't even touched yet. The bad part is, with new cards, come new possibilities.

Remember, the more new players that get started, the longer the game will last. Be polite. Be helpful and respectful. And just be careful not to turn people off from the game. Now is a great time to be a player. Make the most of it.

DeQuan Watson 
a.k.a. PowrDragn 

P.S. It wasn't as short as I thought it was going to be. Also, if you haven't read the magazine yet, please go out and buy it. Support us so we can keep it going monthly :)


name: DeQuan Watson

    Many readers have gathered a lot of information about me through my
writings.  For those of you that haven't though, this should tell you a
little more. 

    I'm 23 years old and I own my own business. Well, more accurately I own a
game store.  The Game Closet, my store is one of the premiere places to play
in the Texas.  I play Magic on a pretty regular basis.  I help people build
decks and teach the game to people multiple times a week.  Owning a store is
neat, because it gives me another perspective to write my articles from.  I
can usually tell what the average player likes and can judge some of the
tendencies of the average player a little better.

    However, I know a decent bit about pro level play as well.  I myself have
played on the Pro Tour.  I have multiple Top 8 finishes at Pro Tour
Qualifiers.  I also have made Day Two at two Grand Prix tournaments.  I was
also invited to the Event horizons Invitational last year.  These are not
stellar achievements, but high enough to let you know I have my head on
straight when talking about the game. I also spend lots of time each week
talking to, e-mailing, or chatting with top level players.  I get to see
their perspective on a lot of things as well.  Between the two, I think I get
a good sense of balance of the game.

    Most importantly, I still enjoy the game for the sake of the game itself.
 I like the time, the competition, and the general interaction of players.  I
plan to be playing it until it goes away...if it ever does.


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