With the Pros:
Sullivan, Part II
Welcome to part
two of my interview with Adrian Sullivan, we'll just
plunge right in!
One of Adrian's more recent popular decks is
a deck called "Chevy Fires", a unique
version of Fires in Standard.
Even more recently is "Chevy Blue".
I wondered what the story was behind the
names of these two decks, exactly what makes a deck
a "Chevy" deck?
"It's a reference to a story.",
Adrian said. "One
of my friends would always go out driving with his
hick friend. One
rainy night they were driving down the bluffs in
their truck, and they saw a truck ahead of them
hydroplaning on the road.
My friend started getting really worried,
because the driver moved to pass the guy.
"What are you doing?
He's hydroplaning, we shouldn't be going
FASTER than him in this weather!"
"He's drivin' a Ford.
This is a Chevy.
This story gave 'Chevy Fires' its name."
So, I said to Adrian, this means that a deck
that has a better design is a "Chevy"
Adrian told me.
As I've established, Adrian is well-known for
his deckbuilding skills, and for good reason.
However, sometimes in a format it seems like
there really is only a couple decks to play, so I
asked Adrian if he has ever "mailed it in"
and just played a typical deck for the format?
"There is always innovation.
For High Tide season, for example, Cabal
Rogue made a High Tide deck that just beat other
High Tide decks.
Little innovations are always doable.
For Example, we ran main deck Disrupt, and no
Mind Over Matter.
With PT-Japan, it was Crypt Angel in Black/Red(green),
which is now almost standard.
In tournaments, there are always small things
you can do to a deck to give you an edge."
True as that may be, I often see players
making small changes to decks with little or no
testing to make the deck more unique, and I tend to
think that oftentimes they make the deck weaker or
less focused. I
asked Adrian what he thought the odds were that such
changes would actually improve the deck versus
making it weaker.
"Well, if you change someone else's
deck, you have to be aware that they are more than
likely to know the deck better than you do.
Changing cards is fine, but you HAVE to test
the deck before and after the changes, you can very
much make a deck a lot worse by changing a card.
For example, with Chevy Blue, I've had tons
of people come to me with changes for the deck, and,
most often, it included adding a land.
I know from several thousand playtest games
that that change would be an error.
I've had people cut Powersink.
Again, I know that that is an error.
They did it because they thought it was
right, and they never bothered just to try the deck
Finally, to wrap things up, I asked Adrian if
there was any one thing he could change about Magic,
what would it be?
"If I could change Magic I would change
one of R&D's major tenets.
They firmly believe that printing 'Wallpaper'
cards is a good idea.", said Adrian.
"Cards like Pale Moon?", I asked.
I asked him why they do that and why he was
so opposed to it.
"They feel that cards such as Pale Moon
give newer players an experience that is important.
Basically, they feel that new players get to
feel a bit superior to their previous self and other
new players when they begin to recognize cards are
I think that there are other experiences that could
easily be just as valuable.
Like recognizing that cards don't work well
you see someone with Aether Flash in play, and they
cast a 1/1 for example."
I asked Adrian if he had any final words that
he'd like to share to wrap up the interview, and he
had this to share:
"Well, I'm trying to get back into the
swing of my game.
I've spent a lot of work on it and I hope to
find that the work will pay off.
I'm hoping US Nationals will be my coming out
party, so to speak."
So when you're keeping an eye on the
Nationals coverage at http://www.wizards.com/sideboard,
be sure to take a look at how Adrian Sullivan is
doing, and let's see if he can finally get that
elusive major title this year.
Again, please let me know what you thought of this interview, and if you'd like to see more in the future! I enjoyed doing it, and hope that you guys liked reading it too!