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The Heretic's Sermon

Getting the Right Help for Your Deck
By John Hornberg

         I’ve got to rant, (rant moved to bottom by editor ... so scroll down to read the rant if you wish) ... 

         Now, here’s the actual article.  Sorry for the shortness of it, I decided to revise my style, and try something more along the lines of an actual essay, so I hope you like it.
         It’s something many of us do with our decks.  We build them, we play them, and we notice that there’s just something wrong.  There’s just that undeniable force that everyone seems to play that always beats you.  So, you turn to a friend of your or someone you trust to help fix your deck.  They make suggestions that seem absolutely implausible, and so stupid and farfetched that even you know better.  Yet, you trust their judgment and go about it in a ho-hum fashion.  You make the changes, and try it anyway. 
This seems to be a common scenario for many of us.  We build decks, and play them, and get help, try them out, decide whether the changes were for the better or for the worse, and keep right on with our day.  While getting help with a deck has the potential to be an absolute waste of time, it still should be approached with an open mind, and with the willingness to make changes as seen fit, because it has the potential to improve not just your deck, but your play skill as well.
         I recently went through this with my Stompy deck, and I can say that it has the potential to be a pain.  Sometimes, you come across a person who thinks they are better than they really are.  This is a potential hazard because they tend to make bad suggestions, and can over all wind up hurting your deck more than helping it.  Keeping your deck out of the hands of people who don’t know what they are talking about should be paramount when it comes to getting good advice.  Another potential hazard is not necessarily with the people, but with what they suggest.  Many players tend to suggest that you play four of an extremely outrageously priced card, namely Urza’s Rage, Rishadan Port, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and many many others.  The key thing is to remember that they are only suggesting, even though they may use words terms like, “you need.....”  Plus, there’s always a worthy, and usually common or uncommon substitute to every expensive rare card that is just as playable.  You just have to remember to watch out for the hazards.
         Still, it’s always good to approach any suggestions people make with an open mind.  Heed their suggestions sometimes, perhaps it’s for the good. Sometimes changing from one card to another, or playing four of a card instead of one or two is something to do.  Perhaps the combo that you’re playing is too slow.  With combo decks, people might suggest to drop it, and play something else.  Often, combo decks tend to be too slow, and too cumbersome from the fast pace on most decks in the Type II and Extended environments.  Listen to the suggestions, and keep the possibility of playing the cards suggested over the combo you’re playing.  They may actually talk some sense.  Keeping your mind open may actually help to improve not only your deck, but your play skill as well.
         You may learn things from help that could make you a better player.  Such little things as learning how a card works, or how to use a card can change you from a scrub or a newbie to a decent player.  Cards like Rishadan Port can look deceiving to an inexperienced player, but explaining how the card works, what you can and cannot do, and when to use it makes all the difference.  These little things things that are between the lines in the rule book, and are not told to you.  Another benefit to deck help is that it gets rid of the training wheels of playing.  It helps you to look at your decks, and figure out it’s weaknesses, and how to plug them up.  That trait can make all the difference in your drafting and sealed deck building.  All of these benefits outweigh by far the con’s of getting help.
         In conclusion, getting help on deck construction and help on pre- existing decks can have many benefits, but many con’s as well.  You might be forced to deal with people who have no idea what they are talking about, and people who make outrageous suggestions, using rares that are next to impossible to get.  The pro’s severely outweigh the con’s, because you have the potential of becoming a better constructed player, as well as a better draft deck builder and sealed deck builder.  Basically, you loose your training wheels in the game, and learn to go about everything on your own.

- John 



         Having to write articles on the recent events in Afghanistan for my school’s paper, La Bandera, has changed my view of the entire situation in the past few weeks.  I use to think that bombing Afghanistan was a good idea, that making them pay was smart and that an oppressive regime like the Taliban deserved a major kick in the ass.  Well, my view has changed over the last few weeks.  I feel that our involvement in Afghanistan should not be bombing the living day lights out of them, hoping that by crippling the Taliban we will force them to surrender Osama bin Laden.  We need to be diplomatic, even though it seems out of the question with the Taliban telling us no to every demand.  We need to be willing to make a few concessions.
         Bombing puts innocent civilians at risk, and merely stirs the rubble from the Soviet attack on Afghanistan in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  Let’s be smart about our action, not stupid.  Something needs to be done, but I’m saying that dropping bombs on Afghanistan is not the smartest action.
         This angry rage that is fueling the planes over Afghanistan is not working for us.  There are people all over the world, from Palestine to right here in the United States, that are calling for an end to the bombing.  We are loosing support by the minute, and to keep this up will surely cause many other nations to stop supporting us.
         Thank you for letting me rant.   You can respond to the rant if you want, but it won’t change how I feel on the matter.




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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