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20-Point Fireball: 2005 End of Year Burnout
By Eric Turgeon
The only thing more fun than a 20-Point Fireball is casting one with Furnace of Rath in play! That's right, it's the end of the year (or beginning, depending on when I submit this and/or when it gets posted and/or when you're reading it) so all thoughts must go. I've cleared out my brain and dumped all the stupid things I previously deemed unworthy into one giant Fireball, the likes of which you've never seen. So without further ado...

1) My new favorite room in Magic Online is the Moderators and Support Staff Room. It's hilarious to go and listen to all the stupid stuff that the moderators and players have to deal with. Here's a few gems I heard while in there:

  • i just want to bring to your attention a very rude remark just given to me @ the end of my last match. i cast the gamewinning spell, announced "Good Game", and was given the comment afterward "Eat A Turd Sandwich".
  • why is dark ritual not allowed in EXT?
  • i got mana screwed in the first rnd of my draft. how do i get refund
  • is this the moderator and support staff room?
  • what's magic?

2) I like lists. I think they're a great way to express a series of ideas in a simple straightforward manner. Comedy writers, most notably David Letterman, love using top ten lists because they're so easy to create and make an ideal format for ten jokes on any particular subject. The idea behind a successful list, though, is to create a complete original thought for each point. If you want an example of how not to create a list, check out Bennie Smith's 50 Reasons to Play in the Ravnica Release Events. About half of the items in the list basically state one of the following reasons: New avatars, New cards, and the stupidest reason of all: "I dare you." The sad thing is that his list could have been really good if it was ten or maybe twenty reasons, but the quality really thinned out by going to fifty. In fact any list with over twenty items will probably show a significant drop in quality.

3) I was over at StarCityGames earlier this month and saw this article by Kelly Digges. He talks about his thoughts and impressions on Coldsnap and even includes a clever comparison of Wizards to Big Brother from 1984. Wow! How original! I've never seen that done before. And he did it in such a timely fashion, too.

4) Speaking of getting ripped off, apparently Chris Romeo decided to copy my idea of rating all the hot babes on Magic art. He even went so far as to go back in time and post his ratings before I even started writing about Magic. My list is still better, though.

5) There are no uncommon avatars on MTGO. This just seems stupid to me. There's five common avatars: Prodigal Sorcerer, Serra Angel, Erhnam Djinn, Goblin King, and Grinning Demon. These are free when you open an MTGO account, so it makes sense that they're common. Everything else is rare. But every time a new set is released, two new avatars are introduced. One of them, you can get by entering various release events. The other requires winning or doing really well in an event. Why aren't the harder to get avatars listed as rare and the "just-enter-to-win" avatars uncommon?

6) I was reading this article by Aaron Forsythe where he, along with Mark Rosewater and Richard Garfield, competes against the Japanese High School Magic All-Stars (my name for them) in a match of Team Standard. In the article, Aaron makes decks for the three of them and then gets upset because Garfield gave away his four Russian Volcanic Hammers to one of the high schoolers for a big plate of lasagna. (Well, everything but the lasagna. You know, cause his name's Garfield. Oh, nevermind.) Apparently, Russian Volcanic Hammers are hard to get a hold of, so why the hell did Aaron put them in the deck? Did he forget that he works for Wizards? The WotC headquarters should have a giant vault filled with Volcanic Hammers that R&D members can go swimming in. They should be able to wallpaper their offices with Volcanic Hammers. They should have rolls of Volcanic Hammers for staff members to wipe their butts on. Why did he pick his "rare" Volcanic Hammers, that he owns, and decide to put them in a deck being played by a man who probably thinks they can just print more? If we continue to see oversights like this from members of development, then Skullclamp will probably be reprinted in the next Core Set.

7) I hate the end of the year. All the writers at go on vacation and I have nothing to complain about other than all the writers at going on vacation.

8) I dare you.

9) I saw the following message the last time I went on MTGO: "Reminder: Playing for ANTE is a violation [of] the Code of Conduct and not permitted on Magic Online." Isn't it amazing that what is now banned by the Code of Conduct used to be a rule of the game?

10) Why are so many Magic players so pompous? I can't figure this out. So what if you're good at a card game? Believe it or not, some people just play for fun. I can't stand reading a story by some random tournament guy who refers to lesser players as scrubs or noobs or barns. Unless you were conceived on the table of a top 8 and born the day before a PTQ that you then went on to win, chances are you started this game just like the rest of us. So try to show a little respect for your past and give a little encouragement to the people that aspire to become better players, because one day they might be better than you.

11) I'll tell you why Fallen Empires was such an unpopular expansion set: Homarids. A race of lobster people? How lame is that? If they needed to include a race of crustaceous monsters, they should have gone with crab people.

12) Too many common male names start with the letter M. I have two friends that I regularly play Magic with named Matt and Mark. When we're playing together, I want to call them both Mike.

13) Speaking of Matt, I have to give him credit for coming up with my new favorite thing to say after beating a cocky opponent on MTGO: "How does it feel to get beaten by an 8-year old?" Try it out. It's fun.

14) I was playing Magic Online the other day when my opponent played Recoil on one of my lands. That's why I don't like playing Magic with astronauts.

15) There has only been one gremlin ever printed in Magic. I think we need more. R&D always says that goblins are the small red creature and will probably never be replaced because they're funnier than dwarves. Well what about gremlins? They're small and funny and impulsive and stupid and they enjoy blowing things up. Watch the Gremlins movies and tell me you don't think they'd be better than goblins.

16) I double dare you.

17) I know this has nothing to do with Magic, but the other day I was watching a PBS special on World War II and saw an interview conducted with a former Japanese Kamikazi pilot. I can only assume he was either a liar or really bad at his job.

18) Online Multiplayer Free-For-All Tip of the Month: If your deck has enough lands in play to run smoothly, try to keep some in your hand. There's always someone who thinks it's funny to destroy every land in play.

19) I hate Magic writers that use obscure references that will only make sense to maybe 5% of their readers. I know it makes you feel smart, but you just lost the train of thought of the other 95% of your readers who had to stop and think, "Was that supposed to make sense?" When you make really obscure references without explaining them, it only exposes you as a myopic hack of a writer.

20) I have zero hat points.

21) Corrections, clarifications and retractions. Now it's time to look back at all the crap I've been spewing out over the past six months and admit where I've been wrong.

  • Players can start their own draft queues on MTGO. I had no idea. Apparently that room within the Casual Play area labeled "Limited Games" allows anyone to start up a private draft with no prizes. Unfortunately, you still can't pick any three packs to draft.
  • Zvi Mowshowitz has really improved his articles. Instead of twenty questions that all lead up to the next, he's cut it down to a few important questions regarding play decisions and thought processes. I still don't like how open-ended some of these questions are, but it's definitely an improvement. I'll just assume that he read my criticism and decided to change his ways.
  • I have no problem with AOL-begat abbreviations such as "lol". Although "lol" is the stupidest of them by far, it has a certain point to it in that it helps express a humorous response in a very short and simple manner. Others, such as "brb" or "ty" similarly help save time when expressing an idea. My problem is with leet and trademark symbols, which can convolute an otherwise simple statement and serve no real purpose of either saving time or enhancing the meaning behind a statement.
  • Char is not a junk rare. I still don't like it though.
  • GFY apparently does not stand for "Good fun, yeah!" You should probably stop using it now.

22) I triple dog dare you.

23) If you're trying to make a point, but your arguments aren't convincing anyone, try talking louder.

24) if your tryiing to make a point on a massege board it would grately helps your coz by using corect speling grammer and punctuctuaion unless of curse your point is that ppl on message boards dont use corect speling grammerand pcuntuation :mad:

25) A couple weeks ago, the Magic Lampoon ran an article submission contest with the top prize being a box of Ravnica boosters and the only guideline being that the article had to be about Black Lotus. The winner was this semi-funny fake news article about a Black Lotus getting auctioned off sometime in the future. The postscript stated that the judging criteria included sheer humor value, quality of incorporation of Black Lotus, effort expended and creativity, using creativity as the scale tipper. In my humble opinion, reviewing the other published entries, the funniest one was The Art of Mulligans, Part III; the best incorporation was Black Lotus: An In-Depth Look; and the most creative was Interview with Black Lotus. I think the only reason the chosen article won was because it also had the most photoshopped pictures. Cheater.

26) Creatures are spells when you cast them. They used to be called summon spells, but apparently that confused a lot of people. Actually, I agree with the change of card type from Summon to Creature. Or else artifacts should have been called "build" spells and enchantments should have said "enchant something" instead of just having the card type enchantment.

27) When referring to the Wizards of the Coast sanctioned online game of Magic, use either Magic Online or MTGO. There is no MODO. Using MODO is like speaking Latin. It's archaic, a bygone from another era. MODO is dead. It's time to move on.

28) A while ago, I was waiting at a red light while driving home from work. When the light turned green, a car making a left turn in the cross traffic had not yet cleared the intersection. The driver in front of me immediately honked their horn and before I could even look up, the driver making the left had raised his middle finger in response. It was easily less than two seconds between the time the light turned green and the time that finger was in the air. This has something to do with why I'm not surprised by the maturity level found on MTGO.

29) There's nothing funny about a broken humorous.

30) What's up with having people autograph cards? Are they really worth more that way? I could understand that a collector might be interested in acquiring cards autographed by Richard Garfield or some other influential creator of the game, but having player autographs is just sort of silly. On the other hand, having a virtually unknown Magic writer autograph random cards is the perfect way to increase the value and posterity of your collection.

31) I've always wanted to test the amount of censorship used by the editors of this site. I know the submission guidelines say I should avoid using controversial words and phrases, but just for a second, let's see if they're doing their jobs or just skimming through the article: oink, oink, damn, oink, oink, oink, oinkhole, oink, poop. Which words got through? I'm kind of curious myself. Hell, why not turn this into a contest? The first person to email me a complete list of all the censored words and only the censored words I just used will receive an autographed Fireball and 21 random autographed basic lands. (Sorry, but administrators are not permitted to enter. I also offer no guarantee that the cards will be in good condition. If no words got censored, then I'm probably in a lot of trouble and no prizes will be awarded.)

(Editor's Note: You're bad turgy22 It's a good thing you've already invested some time here and you are a great, reliable contributor and so I got the humor here; otherwise I probably would have oinked the entire 31st point and left your readers to wonder what the heck went there - Spidey)

32) I still need eight more things to talk about.

33) If you're thinking about submitting an article here or any place else on the internet, don't forget to read the Ferrett's article on how to write an article. His self-described best piece of advice is as follows:

Always assume your reader is just on the verge of going out for a ham sandwich.

The Ferrett explains that if you assume your reader is about to eat a ham sandwich, your writing will be more captivating, since you're competing for his attention with a ham sandwich. Well I have even better advice. Start each of your articles with the following line:
Hey you, about to get a ham sandwich! Go eat already and then come back so I can have your undivided attention.

This will ensure that all your readers who are about to go eat a ham sandwich will not be thinking about sandwiches while they are reading.

34) I quadruple back flip dare you!

35) Never underestimate the value of a shiny card. I've seen fights break out over a foil Plains.

36) I was online and someone had the following quote in their profile: "You’re a tool if you play net decks...You walk in other pple's footsteps.Try thinking for yourself ! Be original, Play Rogue"
I could tell they were being honest because their ratings sucked.

37) Jank is my new favorite word.

38) Bonus Online Multiplayer Free-For-All Tip of the Month: Don't waste your removal spells on damage-prevention permanents until you're ready to kill the person. You have no idea how many times I've seen people waste a Naturalize on a Sun Droplet and then have no answer when any number of broken-as-hell game-ending artifacts and enchantments hit the table. Of course, if you're playing a fast deck, it makes sense to get these permanents out of the way, but if that's the case, then you probably can't win anyway.

39) I quintuplet bikini-babe dare you!

40) Finally, I'd like to wish a Happy New Year to everyone. As a Magic player, there's a lot of directions I could go in making resolutions for improving myself as both a player and a writer. However, after careful consideration, my only New Year's resolution this year is to stay the course.

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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