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Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego


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03.30.04

Who The Heck Are You? - Magic Strategy Article Writing

 

 

 

So, IĎve stopped reading Magic articles.

 

I know, last week I promised Iíd wind up on GAMA, and how the rest of the trip went, but the reality is that none of it had to do with Magic.  In fact, Magic was not really strong represented at GAMA this year. It makes sense, if you think about it. Last year was the 10th year anniversary for Magic, and it was at the forefront of everything done by Wizards of the Coast.

 

This year it was Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons is hitting its 30th anniversary, which is pretty amazing when you think about it, and Wizards wants to promote this fact as much as they can.

 

Also, they have Duel Masters out, which I personally love, and am having a great time with. Duel Masters has been announced as targeting the younger age group. Apparently, I am younger than I think. I have been playing Duel Masters a lot lately, and really enjoyed the variation in strategy it affords. I have also been doing Pojoís Card of the Day for it, and with any luck will be doing some strategy writing about it soon.

 

I know I said never to trust my strategy writing, but I may actually be good at this one. If it happens, give me a chance.

 

Finally, they have the G.I. Joe trading card game coming out in a few months, and wanted to showcase that as much as they could. Itís a strong license, and they want people to know they are making new games. With Marvel coming out soon from Upper Deck, and Decipher pumping out a new game every other month it seems, Wizards probably wants everyone to remember who the real leader in trading card games is, and that they arenít taking a break any time soon.

 

And, in all of that promotion, Magic just kind of fell to the side. I donít think it was deliberate, but thatís what it felt like.

 

So, for me to spend an entire article talking about the rest of GAMA, when Iím supposed to be talking about Magic, feels like a bit like I am ripping off you, the reader. You paid for your ticket, so the least I could do is talk about the subject you wanted to hear about.

 

SoÖ MagicÖ..

 

I realized something this week. I donít read Magic articles any more.

 

I read Pechonís articles, because I know him well, and I like to see what he is talking about. I read DeQuan every week, because he tends to write about what its like being a store owner more than anything else, and itís a perspective I understand and like to read about. And I read Flores, because I know Mike from way back, and I like his writing, and I always feel I can trust what he says.

 

AndÖ thatís about it. I used to read a lot more, but most of the writing turned Rock Star style. As I talked about before, I prefer my writing dry and factual, or witty to the point of fictional. There is very few of either of these right now.

 

To make it worse, I want to prepare for Regionals, but I donít see anything I want to read. I could read the thousandth article on Ravager Affinity, but I donít know whom most of these people are, and I really donít know if they are any more clueful than the guy who goes 0-2 at my Friday Night Magic every week.

 

This is my problem with some of the current articles I see about Regionals tech, or evaluating standard, or whatever. I have no idea who these people are. I donít know if I can trust them. I have no idea what real testing they have been doing, and against who for how much.

 

So, allow me to write a short primer of what you should do when writing an article about strategy for Regionals. Actually, this should be about any strategy article, but I may get a little ďspecificĒ in some of my comments:

 

1. Who are you?

 

I would like your real name. I would like to know your current rating, in the format you are talking about.  I would like to know if you have any Pro Tour History, or some greater accomplishments.

 

2. I would like to know where you play.

 

I know this sounds weird, but where you play does matter. The guy who plays at Your Move Games every week is in a very different world than the guy who plays at Mom and Popís Game Shop in Buzzard Gulch, Wyoming.  The guy playing at 8 man events is in a different world than the guy playing at 40 man events. Where you are and where you are playing matters quite a bit in deciding if your articles are applicable.

 

3. Who are you playing with?

 

This also affects greatly the ďvalidityĒ of your metagame, and of your testing. All too often an article comments about how the deck is 20-0 against Affinity, only to find out that the Affinity deck was being played by little Timmy, who just started playing Magic yesterday, and still doesnít understand why you donít get ďprizesĒ in this game like you do in Pokemon. Repeat number one for your play test partners. Who are they, what is their history? Do they know how to play the decks you are handing them?

 

4. What are you playing against?

 

Have you verified the metagame? Is your metagame the same as the rest of the worlds, or at least close? Iím happy that your new tech deck beats Turbo Fangren Hunter, but I will never have to play against Turbo Fangren Hunter, and if I am so far down the loserís bracket that I do have to play against Turbo Fangren Hunter, then I have already lost.

 

5. How often have you played?

 

Please be prepared to have played at least five to ten matches against every other metagame deck when you want to give us percentages. More than likely, it will take at least two or three matches before the way each decks plays against each other will become apparent, and at least that long to begin understanding how the decks should sideboard against each other. Also, make sure to switch places. Hand your play test partner your deck, and play with their deck. Make sure you are not just showing results that represent your play styles, but the actual capabilities of each deck.

 

Also, if you can, include a Tournament Report. How the deck played in a ďlive environmentĒ is invaluable to a reader. They want to know how it did not only in the expected match ups, but how it played against the random rogue deck you ran into in round three. Make sure to include how you did in the tournament, and why you think the deck did that well or badly.

 

Finally, donít be cocky. The reader wants to know how the deck really performs, faults and all. They donít want to know about what an amazing deck builder you are, or how you play flawlessly every game. Let us be the judge of the deck. Lay yourself bare before your audience, faults and all, and if your deck is great, it will become known.

 

Donít try too hard to be the next superstar. Thereís already too many of those out there, and all it does it get you lost in the crowd.

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helped in some way for aspiring writers out there. If nothing else, I hope it inspires someone to write something I want to read.

 

Iím greedy like that.

 

 

E-mail me at rayp-at-primenet.com.

Have a great week!

 

 

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