Filth casser-what?

I’ve been following the emergence of the unfortunately-named Magic format “Filth Casserole.” Primarily, it’s of interest as another singleton format, something which seems to be relatively out of favor among the current player base. I guess not everyone agrees with Abe Sargent that making anything singleton makes it more fun (I do, personally). It’s also interesting to me that it goes in essentially the opposite direction from EDH/Commander: smaller and easier-to-handle deck sizes. I’m an average-sized person with slightly larger-than-average hands, but I have a lot of trouble handling a pile of 99 Magic cards in sleeves – it tends to result in muscle strain, and I don’t consider shuffling without sleeves an option for a serious collector.

If you like Filth Casserole, or even a modified version of it (I personally have trouble keeping strictly to the Modern card pool – how do you say no to cards like Armadillo Cloak or Wonder?), the best thing to hope for may be that it never truly goes mainstream. Whenever something’s done that in the past, it attracts the parts of the online “community” that want to solve everything, optimize everything, and mechanize everything, and it’s hard to argue that the game doesn’t suffer when that happens. Witness the rise of netdecking in Commander.

And yes, I’m aware of the irony of posting about something on my blog and then suggesting that it shouldn’t go internet-mainstream. I guess I’m hanging on to the essence of something Paarthurnax says in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – “Those who try to hasten the end may delay it. Those who work to delay the end may bring it closer.”

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Primary research

If you haven’t visited MagicTheGathering.com recently, this might be a good time to do so, as they were doing an online survey about player spending habits. Unfortunately, it was the kind of thing that appears semi-randomly in the space on the side of the Daily MTG page, so it may not appear every time. Still, it’s worth doing if you can – especially if you’re not a regular tournament player, because Wizards of the Coast has not always shown as much awareness as it could be of the non-tournament scene’s habits and viewpoints. (I’m aware that tournament players are generally louder and more active than casual players on the internet, and that this post may have not only gone right past its intended audience, but alienated some of you who arrived here via Google or something. Well, we’ll see how things go.)

Forgotten lore

I’ve got a quick story today, one that has been floating around the aether for a while. It originally appeared in Scrye magazine, and as such was at risk of being lost for ever now that we rarely get news from any place where people don’t flame you for playing the “wrong” cards in your deck.

Steve Guitar of New Brunswick, Canada, was surprised
when a customer at his shop showed him a Goblin Mob
theme deck from Scourge. The problem with the cards?
The card backs were from the Wizards of the Coast’s
Harry Potter CCG.

“I called Wizards of the Coast, and they told me I couldn’t
be right,” said Guitar, owner of B&T Cards in Bathurst, New
Brunswick. “I told them I was looking right at the cards, and
they definitely exist. The customer wanted to give them back
to me. He just wanted a new deck.”

Guitar put the deck up for bid on eBay. “I checked the
next morning, and it was up to $210. I thought that was
pretty good.” The final bid was $13,100. Guitar split the
money with the original customer.

The buyer is a man from North Carolina, who, Guitar
said, isn’t even a Magic player or collector. He told me he
just wanted something unique to give to his granddaughter.
At press time, the check from the buyer was in the pos-
session of Guitar and attorneys on both sides were verifying
the legitimacy of the check and the cards, but Guitar was
confident the transaction would go through.

This is not the first time such a printing error has
occurred. In 1994, several Magic cards from the Fallen
Empires set were printed with card backs from the
Wyvern CCG.

The moral of the story? (Implying there’s only one.) The collecting community is real, and it goes far beyond the silent majority that favors the Reserved List. There’s a market for whatever you’re selling – no matter how bad, crazy, ugly, or useless it seems. And there’s not only one thing about Magic that people enjoy.

Uncharted Realms

Considering how free Wizards of the Coast has been recently about cutting story-related things and throwing around rhetorical questions like “If people liked Coldsnap, why didn’t they buy more of it?”, I would suggest that anyone who likes the Magic storylines and worldbuilding head over to the main site now and look at the new Uncharted Realms column. If you believe what they say, they keep track of how many hits each of their regular column gets (and how long people spend on the page, so be careful with that) and decide what to promote and what to cut accordingly.

There’s still way too many Spike-oriented deck tweaking articles on there for my liking (and I count Adam Styborski in that number), but one thing at a time.