Monk's Corner
Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego

Decks to Beat - Tournament Winning Decks!

Card of the Day - A single card reviewed by several members of our crew.  Updated 5 days per week!

Message Board 

Card Price Guide

Featured Writers
Scott Gerhardt
Judge Bill
DeQuan Watson
Ray Powers - Monk's Corner
Jeff Zandi
Jonathan Pechon
Andy VanZandt
Jason Chapman - on Peasant Magic

Deck Garage  
Paul's Deck Garage

MTG Fan Articles
Deck Tips & Strategies
Peasant Magic
Tourney Reports 
Featured Articles  
Single Card Strategy

Magic Quizzes & Polls

Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews




12.01.04  Unhinged's effect on the world

Not a lot happened last week for me. As I said last week, I had no events this weekend, instead spending this time preparing for Gen Con So Cal this coming weekend. For Thanksgiving, I had Dan Gray, Los Angeles Tournament Organizer and Becky Dodd, good friend and judge for Dan down from California, which was great times. In addition, Matt Tabak, level three Judge from Vegas, and his girlfriend Juleah Russek, who is an excellent scorekeeper, were down for the weekend visiting their relatives and came by to visit. This was exactly what Thanksgiving should be, good times with good friends, and a reminder that the real reason to be in this business is the life long friendships you forge, and the experiences and stories you gather that could not happen anywhere else.

So, coming up with a topic this week was slightly challenging. I asked my beautiful wife Kelly what she thought I should write about, and she thought I should write about how Unhinged recharges the Magic world, uniting casual and serious player alike. The problem is that I'm not sure I believe it, at least the way my wife describes it. But then I had a follow up conversation with the Pojo folk which made me think a bit more about it.

We've been doing reviews on Card of the Day for Unhinged for the past two weeks, and I was asked if I wanted to pick next week's cards. During our conversation, it was mentioned that the Unhinged reviews actually were not doing as well as most of the reviews do for Pojo, and I can see why.

Unhinged is all about playing a card and having fun with it, or watching your opponent's reaction to it. There's not much joy in reading someone else saying "This card is funny!" or trying to rate it for several formats you will never play it in. Add in the rigidity of our rating system with choices of Draft, Constructed, or Casual, and it almost seems comedic to try to rate an Unhinged card in these categories. Also, we must consider the fact that Unhinged is a set with a short shelf life. If we go by Unglued, the set will be popular for a few weeks, then die down to nothing, only to get popular again years later when its out of print, and becomes a casual player's cult classic. Gen Con So Cal has the big Release events with some great fun things for players to do, but I expect that the set hype will die down quickly after that, so doing more reviews for the cards may not really be that exciting for our readers. I think the final decision was made to go back to Champions of Kamigawa after this week, but never heard an absolute final result.

In any case, these two conversations in a row made me think more about Unhinged as a whole, and I decided that my wife's viewpoint at least deserved some air time.

Here's her take.

The day before Thanksgiving, we had a few people at my house to hang out, and we decided to have an Unhinged draft. Included in the draft was myself, Dan, Becky, Jon (who manages my store), Erin (his girlfriend), Jay, Steve, Brian (long time friend), and Zack (his preteen son). Everyone had a great time playing, although I get to spend a moment bragging here that I went undefeated in this draft, drafting B/W with four AWOL and four Fascist Art Directors, When Fluffy Bunnies Attack, and even an Ass Whuppin. In short my deck was a defensive wall with a few basically unkillable creatures to carry me the distance.

But that's not the point.

The point is that I can not name the last time Brian played Magic. I heard his son played, but never saw him play. It's not that they don't play competitively, they simply don't play very much if ever nowadays, but a chance to play Unhinged brought them out to play. Watching Zack engage in a stare out contest with Jon, or pull off his shoes for his Shoe Tree was a fun time for all. Watching Erin, with both hands stuck behind her back, unable to talk and trying to explain to her opponent how she was going to have to play Rocket Paper Scissors with her feet was a memory that will keep me chuckling for months to come. Would these people normally have come to my house to draft? Not in any situation I can imagine. But Unhinged was going to promise to be fun no matter who showed up and how good they were. It wasn't even a matter of players deciding they had a better chance of winning because it was Unhinged. No, it was because they didn't care if they won because it was Unhinged.

But is this really all to the credit of Unhinged? I don't think so. While Unhinged does indeed seem to bring the casual players out of the woodwork, it's really the attitude of the serious players that makes a night like this work. Unhinged is just the tool. As I discussed somewhat last week, this is really about the attitude of the players, and their ability to throw trying to win out the window in favor of trying to have fun. Of course, if you look at what I drafted, it looks like I myself sort of failed this test, drafting a fairly unfun control deck, but in this case Unhinged saved me, as did my own attitude, by having fun with the cards my opponent played, and the joy of people trying to decide exactly how many times I could say Toy Boat in a row before losing my handy 3/3 for three mana.

For the record, I never lost a Toy Boat due to its upkeep, but the most I ever had to say it was five times. So Unhinged did its job there, bringing together some serious players and casual players, full time players, and one a year players, and the proof lay in the fact that two days later Brian came by to show me his new car. In the passenger side sat Zack, holding several packs of Unhinged in his hands, smiling.

So, is it Unhinged, or is it the serious players willing to give up their serious hat for a few hours that really makes this work? I don't know for sure. I do have to agree with my wife on one thing, however, which is that if Unhinged wasn't around, there is no incentive for the serious player to put away his serious hat to begin with. So, in that respect, she is right.
Also, going by the store numbers, it seems like we are selling Unhinged by the pack, not the box, like we sell most new sets. This is not simply because people are not buying to collect or buy a pack at a time, but because people will walk in the door, find a few friends, and decide to do a draft with Unhinged. So they each buy three packs and off they go. It seems reasonable enough to me.

I don't think this question will get answered today, or any time soon, but regardless, its good to know Unhinged is out there for people to have fun with, regardless of the intention of the set from a marketing perspective.

Have a great week, and I hope to see you at Gen Con So Cal!

Copyright 1998-2004


Magic the Gathering is a Registered Trademark of Wizards of the Coast.
This site is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast and is not an Official Site.