Jason Chapman



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4.17.03  A Frustrated Peasant

Well, I bet you all expected to find a list of Sligh cards ready to be slung into your next deck build. Im working on it; Sligh Part II will come. Its not just that it is time consuming and sometimes even boring to throw out card names. There is something else getting me on as well.

First off, Im worried about my writing and my style. Is it good? I know what I am capable of and I know what good writing is. I think my articles have fallen short. I think I have always known this. I tend not to rewrite or review my articles before submitting them even though I know better having been an editor myself. Even worse, I tend to lose focus and drive at the end of articles. Part of this is the length but also, when I write an article, it tends to be on a subject that I have just put a lot of thought into already. By the time I finish the article my thought process has pretty much run its course and Im already looking at the next issue that excites me. I have often said that I work 2 jobs, and do debate research for my old high school team, and go to college, etc. Well that is all true but that is also just an excuse.

I thought I could get away with it. Then, yesterday, I read Abe Sargents PEZ article (http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=4786). He offered much greater praise than I feel I deserve but he also did something else. He reminded me what a good article was. His writing style was much closer to what I myself would like to write and the consistency, focus, and thought put into previous articles were something very much lacking from my own. It wasnt really about learning about the format, and there are card choices I very much disagree with. Instead, it was about what I really wanted from my Magic articles.

I realized that at least for me, I read Magic articles as much to learn from others as I do to more fully participate in a common dialog with others. Lets face it, Magic is a great game but there are many great games. People enjoy Monopoly and Yahtzee gets pretty vicious around my house. Still, we dont get together with friends to talk about this stuff. Really, we play CCGs and RPGs not just because they are fun but because of the community because we can share with others so much more about ourselves through these more complex games.

Does that mean I dont want to use my columns to teach others no. Teaching others about what I have discovered is important and it serves a vital role as PEZ continues to grow. What it does mean is that maybe by opening up and sharing my play testing experiences, my deck building faux pas, or just the little ideas that I cant get to work then, maybe, I will have more fun writing my articles and you can enjoy them more.

I also realized that many of my past articles make it sound like I know everything about PEZ. I am passionate about the format, I am a decent player, and I think I am a very strong and creative deck builder yet I dont know everything. I am still learning both from my own experiences and from others. I think perhaps it is time that I include yall (or you all depending on geography) in my own learning process through my articles. I think I have always done this through the personal e-mail that I receive but it is time I started doing it here as well.

Anyway, that wraps it up - almost. In summary, I will finish the Sligh article I started and I will always be available via e-mail but it is time that this column loosened up. I will write about the things Im thinking instead of the things I have already thought, and we will have a lot more fun and learn a whole lot more. I cannot, however, leave without putting in anything helpful in regards to the game so here is a list of random Magic musing on cards, decks, and combos:

5) Shades Form is good. Pumping creatures are good, they absolutely beat and this enchantment can help prevent card disadvantage and can sometimes race Empyrial Armor. Maybe it deserves a closer look. . .

4) Land Tax + Forbid = maybe control is possible. As more PEZ decks, especially MBC, emerge to control the creature element, decks meant to control the control decks become increasingly playable. With White cards like Prismatic Strands and Blue counters maybe this deck will see play.

3) Is Burn wrong? I have never liked Burn decks. To me they remove the intellectual aspect of the game that I cherish so highly. It is not that these decks are so great overall but in PEZ, with Browbeat, they are very good within the context of the metagame. These decks fail to capture any of the good within Magic and within the PEZ format. Even worse there is no way to quickly alter the format against them (unless everyone starts playing WW). What can I do to discourage people from wasting their time with burn?

2) Are the experienced PEZ players stuck in a mental rut? I know when I build my own decks, no matter how open I try to keep my mind; the list of Uncommons often fills up immediately. If I am playing Black, I know I will have at least 2 Tutors and probably more unless there are Hippies. If I play White, Land Tax and Enlightened Tutor will be there. Red, better pack Browbeat. In fact, I think that stagnation is setting in and maybe the players that break out of the mold will find rewards not from the bombs but from good solid cards like Nakaya Shade and Soltari Priest/Monk.

1) What PEZ needs from future sets are some good old Enchantments and a big creature or two with low casting cost and huge drawbacks. Historically, bomb Enchantments have had the most impact on the environment, literally making changes overnight. In the Uncommon slot, it is unlikely PEZ will see a real bomb anytime soon, but a good strong Enchantment to build decks around for Green, White, or Blue is needed to break open and shake up the Tier 1 decks. To compensate, Red or Black will need to get a big creature with some major drawback so it is nice and cheap and has a chance to get in some beats before the enchantment effect hits the table.  

0) Lift off Ill see you next week!!!

Jason Chapman chaps_man@hotmail.com



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