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Jan 8, 2004 ... Fiery Randors

Man, has it been a week already?!?!

Well, I guess it has, since it is Thursday and you're here reading another one of my articles. In the last week, I had to write an article for Scrye magazine, some Card of the Day stuff, a Raw Deal (which is a great game) article for Undefeated magazine, do inventory for my store, answer lots of e-mails and figure out something to write for you guys.

The general theme for today is: Most of the time it's not about where we've been, but more about where we're going.

Needless to say, it's been a busy week. Let me take a moment to give all of you readers your props. Well, it's more like thanking you. When I pulled together the recent set of writers, I wasn't sure how they were all going o be received by the public. Judging from the hits on the site and everyone's e-mail, you guys like us. You really like us! These guys are working really hard and we are trying to cover a lot of different aspects of Magic outside of just playing the game. I feel like we're done that so far. And on a personal level, I want to say that I am glad that you guys like my weekly tidbits of information that I am slipping into my articles.

My sympathy of the week this week goes to Mr. John Carney. For those of you that don't know; two weeks ago, Mr. Carney missed and extra point that effectively knocked the New Orleans Saints out of playoff contention. That's not the bad part. What sucks is that the kick was preceded by what was possibly the best play in the history of the NFL and it ends up meaning nothing because of the missed extra point. Unfortunately for him, no sportscaster on the planet has forgotten about the incident yet.

And my Dallas Cowboys got romped out of the playoffs. We really need some offense. It's OK, there's always next year. And Bill Parcells is a coaching god, so it can't be all that bad. Besides, Corey Dillon is most likely going to end up playing in Dallas next year from the looks of things.

Damn, I sure know how to run my mouth. I'm starting to feel a lot of Jamie Wakefield from back in the day. Or even like Seth Burn from recent memory. I can talk forever about anything and at some point, I will get back to talking about Magic.

Anyway, my sports related talk does have a point (if you can believe that). I saw these events unfold and immediate thought about what they were going to do in the off season. Carney's been around a while. Is he going to retire and end on a bad note, or try to have one more good season to finish on? Is Parcells gonna stick with Quincy Carter at quarterback or is he going to bring in Kurt Warner from free agency? Then later I went to mess with my cards. That started my mind turning.

How many players analyze themselves after they are done. I mean in depth. More than, "Maybe I should have taken a mulligan," or "Maybe I should have waited one more turn to cast Wrath of God." I think that as players we need to look at our performances in their entirety.

For example, I used to know this guy that would check his rating every week. We wasn't even close to qualifying for anything. He was just obsessed with getting his rating higher. This was a good goal. I wasn't knocking that. But, if you seriously want to see an honest progression of yourself, you need to look at your performance over a period of time. There will be so many fluctuations from week to week that it may not be worth it to check out. You may also get some false readings. But if you look over a period of a month and see a ratings increase of say, 25 points, you can see honest to goodness progress.

I think this same idea applies to observing yourself during a match. Have a friend watch your matches for questionable plays. If you are on Magic online, go back and replay your entire game. There are a lot of elements to look at and observe. Maybe to get better many people need to start paying attention to what they do after a game or match.

Most games are won or loss on mistakes that happen throughout the game. Many times your situation that was created that allowed you to make the mistake that cost you the game could have been avoided if you did things differently previous to it. Did you catch all that?

What I'm saying is this...sometimes your situation gets bad. You get backed into a corner. That's that moment that sticks out in your mind. You start pulling all of your knowledge and playing skills together to try and win from here. However, had your mentality been different earlier in the game, or maybe if you had casts your spells in a different order, the situation you are staring at could have been avoided. There are so many points in a game at which things can get out of hand. Many times it's hard to pinpoint one spot where things went bad.

But let's say that you've taken the time to properly observe everything. That's great. But don't make excuses for yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Learn where you messed up. It's OK to make a mistake and learn from them. We're human. However, if you don't learn from them you are wasting your time. I have personally cost myself a trip to the Pro Tour about five years ago in the finals of a match. Two turns from the end. However, when a similar situation has come up, I haven't made that same mistake again. And I probably won't. Ever.

Don't just walk away from a game when you are done. Absorb it. Don't kill yourself analyzing it. Just take the time to think it through a bit. Learn from the mistakes. Figure out what you did wrong or what you could do better. Sometimes it can be just as important to pay attention to what you do when the game is over as what you do when you play. Be careful to not just walk away.

Kick your ego to the curb. Learn to just accept when you get outplayed. Sometimes you can learn from your opponent. No matter what their skill level is. I have gotten some ideas for some really good decks from some pretty average players. Everyone out there has something to offer. People do so much to cost themselves games that they aren't paying attention to all of the elements at hand. In the last month, for multiple games, every tournament game that I have sat and judged, has been won because one player made a mistake. Not because one of the players got outplayed. Not because one of the players didn't topdeck a needed card. Just one player flat out made a mistake.

This brings me to another subject...what's up with people trash talking lately. People are so worried about making witty banter with their opponent (which really isn't all that witty most of the time) and they get distracted. I see frustration creep into the game. I see people start getting silly. Funny thing is, it seems that most of the time, the quiet opponent makes more of the correct plays. There is something about trash talking that seems to cause people to wreck their own game. It's almost like a karmic backfire mechanism. I'm cool with that too. When I see people running their mouths during a match I quickly issue a warning and tell them to chill out. Then we just give out game losses for unsportsmanlike conduct.

OK, that's enough of the negativity for the moment. Let's get to my card of the week. This week we look at the under appreciated Worship. Worship is such a strong and powerful card really. Yeah, you need to have a creature in play. Most of the time, you want to bring this into play against red or black decks. Those decks have trouble getting rid of Worship once it's in play. Also, with creatures that are color protected, like Silver Knight and White Knight, Worship's stock gets even better. If you have the option of playing white, you might want to take a look into playing Worship this extended season as a sideboard card against Red Deck Wins.

Here's a good tip this week. Pay more attention. Worry less about trying to disrupt your opponent and don't bother playing stupid mind games. Most of the time you can't play them well and even when you do, they aren't that effective. They are a waste of time and are a huge distraction to you more than your opponent.

This week I have a neat surprise for you. You guys get to take part in the viewing of a rogue deck I tossed together. The deck is fun, reasonably competitive and a bit tough to play. Take a look and let me know what you think. The sideboard is weak, so make adjustments as you see fit. Here's a peek at Fiery Randors.

Fiery Randors

2x Chrome Mox
4x Savannah Lions
3x Leonine Skyhunter
2x Glorious Anthem
4x Isochron Scepter
4x Shrapnel Blast
4x Silver Knight
4x White Knight
2x Weathered Wayfarer
4x Raise the Alarm
3x Bonesplitter
4x Shock
7x Plains
4x Great Furnace
3x City of Brass
4x Ancient Den
2x Mountain

3x Shatter
3x Wipe Clean
3x Sulfuric Vortex
2x Boil
2x Second Sunrise
2x Scrabbling Claws

The deck is really fast and fun. You have to be really careful to not over extend. However, you have potential get some turn four and five kills. You match up decently against zombies and goblins. Against control decks, you have to hit hard and fast while trying to dodge Wrath of God. It takes some time to learn what cards are more important to play when.

There are a few rares in the deck, so it might be difficult getting all the cards if you don't have them yet. I'll be honest with you. They are all pretty important to the deck, but there are reasonably replacements if you have to do without them. Find a combination that works to you. This could be a great deck to play this weekend in your local tournament. It's a good change of pace. It might even catch some of your opponents off guard.

I hope you guys enjoy. Let me know what you think of the article and of the deck. If there's any topic you want me to discuss, anything, let me know.

Until next time,

a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn on IRC
PowrDragn on MODO

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