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Pojo's Book Reviews




Greetings all!

            I have the honor of beginning a new column for Pojo magic. Deviations from the Norm will be centered on alternate formats.  For reference, I consider an alternate format any format which the DCI does not support for any open tournament (one in which you do not need an invitation to compete).  There are literally an infinite number of ways to play Magic, and often the personal tastes of a particular player aren't tailor-made for type 2, extended, sealed deck, and the like.  So we have alternate formats, some that are heavily skill-intensive, and some that are considered to be lots of fun.  See what you like the most.  However, it is my contention that I, and most of those who may read my articles, have a broader range of interests.  Hence I'll touch upon other subjects, but I make one promise and one promise only.  That is that each article will contain a discussion of at least one alternate format.

            One may wonder where the title comes from.  For quite some time it's been a personal joke that, "I am the norm.  That is to say I am the standard by which the rest of society is judged."  Of course, few that do not know me will understand why that is funny, but there's something else to it.  I actually am quite normal.  If one considers all white males my age from the Northeast quadrant of the US, then I am as normal as someone can be while still being factual and human.  The other part of the title, Deviations, comes from the fact that I'll be writing on alternate formats, those that deviate from standard Magic play.  So my writings are themselves deviations and their coming from The Norm, throw it together and you have a bland play on words.

            I highly doubt many of the readers are interested in my personal life, but I've been asked to write a little about myself, as an introduction.  My annual age is 21 (born 7/3/80, so that this doesn't get outdated on my next birthday).  My Magic age is technically Ice Age, though I really wasn't playing on anything close to a regular basis until Weatherlight, and even then I was quite the scrub.  I'm certainly no pro now, but I can look back and laugh at the way I played back then.  Case in point: I wanted to put Fire Whip on a Zuran Spellcaster.

            The places I've lived include (in order of when I first lived there): Farmington Hills, MI; Muncy, PA; outside Mill Hall, PA (you know it's rural when I describe it as OUTSIDE Mill Hall); Forward Township, PA (Evans City mailing address); Springwater, NY; Alliance, OH; Four Corners, FL (Clermont mailing address, but closer to Kissimee); and now Orlando, FL.  How many of those places do you know?  Orlando?  It looks as if by the time I leave I'll have lived in or near Orlando longer than I've lived in or near anywhere, or at least rivaling Mill Hall for that distinction.  Where do I consider myself 'from'?  That's a toss-up between Pennsylvanian, in which I lived the longest and which I have a certain fondness for, and Florida, in which I currently reside.

            Because I'm writing to Magic players, I get to describe myself in ways that I don't often get a chance to.  I'm a notoriously blue mage, but in recent years I've enjoyed other colors (particularly green and black) with increasing zeal.  I typically play control, but I've also found enjoyment in aggro-control, combo, discard, and land destruction.  So I guess I'm typically the guy you hate playing against.  I certainly have become more moderated in the past couple years, and much less narrow-minded when it comes to Magic.  There was a time when I contributed to the image of control players as being pretentious by saying things like, "Creature combat is a mindless alternative to game play," but have since recanted such strong and quite incorrect statements.

            Ever since I started writing Magic articles for online publication (a whopping 2 months or so ago) I've wondered why I think I'm qualified to do so.  Well the answer to that is simple: I think about Magic almost constantly.  I may not be the best strategist in the world, but as I get feedback, and as I write more articles, I feel confident I will get better.  It has often been said that if one wants to learn something, he should try to teach it to someone else.  I've found that very true for me.  There's another point I'd like to bring up.  When I took Kung Fu several years ago, there was a set of rules posted on the wall, and it was on the honor system that we all followed them.  Some were specific and some were general.  One was, "Respect all instructors.  You never know from whom you will learn."  So even if you're better at Magic than I, I ask for this sort of respect and hope that I can enlighten you.  I also expect all of you to enlighten me.  So perhaps we can all learn something together.

Farewell for now,

John B. Turpish


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