Is it cold in here? Letís warm things up with a 20-Point Fireball!
Boy howdy, what a great run of April Foolís Day jokes by all the biggest Magic websites! I have no idea why such a retarded holiday has become so important to so many people.
- Anyway, in case you missed it, Wizards ran their 2nd Annual You Decide! bracket. If you remember, last year they started with 64 very random cards and no explanation and decided that the winning card would be banned. Of course, it was all one big April Foolís joke. So this year, they started a similar bracket with no explanation that pitted all of the most popular legends in Magic against each other. Speculation ran rampant on the message boards. Some people voted for flavorful reasons. Some people voted for the most powerful legend. Some people just voted for the card they liked better. I, of course, voted for the hottest legend. (Side note: Why was Jasmine Boreal left off of the list? I don't care how bad her card is.) My assumption was that the winner would be featured on a special Promo card wearing a thong in some new art. Sure, Sliver Queen is cool, but do I really want to see a close up of her butt crack? Anyway, it seemed like a lot of people were thinking like me, leading to an all-female final four: Akroma, Ink-Eyes, Reya and Visera. Hey, three of them could even be considered attractive (why couldnít Mirri get past the second round?) Anyway, I think itís great that Akroma won the whole thing and now I will be anxiously awaiting her new promo card with the thong art, set for release the first week of June. Anything else will be a severe disappointment.
- Oh yeah. I forgot the whole April Foolís thing. The joke this year was that there was no joke. Seriously. All theyíre going to do is feature a special Akroma, Angel of Wrath week on MTG.com. And one of the bonuses is a special ďAsk AkromaĒ feature, where you can ask Akroma any question and sheíll answer it for you. UmÖ Iím not sure if theyíre aware of this, but Akroma is a fictional character. They should call it ďAsk Some Combination of Matt Cavotta, Brady Dommermuth, Scott Johns and Possibly Mark Rosewater Pretending to Be a Pasty White Superchick.Ē
- Speaking of bad April Foolís jokes, apparently both StarCityGames and Londes decided to use the same joke this year. The joke was that they would write fake articles and credit them to prominent writers from other sites. Although it was painfully apparent that the articles were not written by the people they were attributed to, I have to give credit to StarCity for actually trying to make them funny. And actually running them on April Foolís Day.
- Has anyone else read Oliver Ruelís column on MTG.com? Did you even know it existed? Apparently, for the past few weeks, Oliver has been writing a column dedicated to all the European Magic players in the world. He discusses draft strategy, constructed formats and interviews some of the most popular European players, such as Geoffrey Siron, Julien Goron, and, umÖ Kenji Tsumura, who I, for some reason, thought was Japanese. The weird thing is that it seems like Wizards is completely trying to hide the column from non-European players. There arenít any links to his articles from either the front page or from the tournament center. The guy writes a column three times a week and the only way to read it is by clicking for More Articles and finding Oliverís picture scattered somewhere in between all the regular weekly writers. I think itís about time Oliver got the publicity he deserved. He just needs to go to Scott Johns and say, ďPlease sir, I want some more.Ē
- Congratulations to Anthony Alongi and his wife for getting a new book published: Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light. This long-awaited sequel to Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace will have to be immediately added to the list of books that no one outside of Magic players will ever hear of or read.
- Congratulations to Evan DeBack for coming in first place in my Winning Combination Writing and Combo Contest! His article, along with the others that I felt best captured the spirit of this contest, will be appearing today or later this week or whenever Spiderman wants to post them. Thanks a lot to everyone who entered. Perhaps next year I will run another contest.
- After the Guildpact Prerelease, I made a couple of 60-card beefed-up quasi-sealed decks with the cards I purchased and won at the event. One of these decks was a Gruul deck, which included two Leyline of Lightnings to help enable the bloodthirst mechanic. So far, Iíve played two games with the deck and both times I started out with BOTH Leylines in my opening hand! Needless to say, I won both games and it gave me a great idea: an all Leyline deck. Of course, youíll have to include twelve copies of each, but youíre guaranteed to get seven free cards in your opening hand and everyone knows how powerful free cards are. Imagine starting a game with two Leyline of Lightnings, two Leyline of the Meeks, two Leyline of the Voids, and a Leyline of Singularity! On second thought, donít imagine that.
- Does anyone read BMoorís Deck Garage column at Pojoís MTG Site? In every column, he takes a reader-submitted deck and fixes it by adding playable cards, removing the junk, tweaking and focusing the deck to make it a little bit better, sort of like what Anthony Alongi used to do at MTG.com for multiplayer decks before he got swamped with emails asking for deck help and went crazy. Anyway, the thing I like about the Deck Garage is that the name of the column is obviously a play on all those shows that take an old, beat-up car and fix it up. This gave me a great idea for an all-new column: Pimp My Deck. It would be similar to the Deck Garage, except instead of replacing card choices with better, more playable, or more efficient cards, it would just replace all the cards in the deck with foil versions, identical cards of a higher rarity (as in replacing the Mirrodin Loxodon Warhammer with the 9th Edition version), and functionally identical reprints that cost more. Finally, all the cards in the deck would get some phat new shiny card sleeves and a brand new deck box.
- Am I the only one who noticed something really strange about Mark Rosewaterís latest mailbag column? He got one letter from a guy who was apologizing for being a bully as a child. The thing that didnít make any sense to me was that the bullyís name was Alvin. Alvin? Iím sorry, but itís pretty sad if youíre getting beat up by a guy named Alvin.
- This is, of course, my April Foolís Edition of a 20-Point Fireball. And StarCityGames, Londes, and MTG.com werenít the only sites to run crazy April Foolís jokes. So hereís a rundown of all the other fun pranks that went on at the beginning of the month:
- MTGSalvation started a thread stating that they were being sued by Wizards and would be forced to change the siteís name to Card Game Salvation. This is funny because MTGSalvation will be sued by Wizards if they donít stop running their spoilers featuring cards from illegal scans.
- Magic Deck Vortex pretended that it was going to be bought out by Star City Games. Then they pretended that they overloaded their server and had to shut down. Except that second part wasnít so much a joke as it was, um, real.
- MiseTings didnít do anything. But anyone who had never been there before April 1st thought the entire site was a really weird joke that didnít make any sense.
- Every other Magic site didnít do anything because it was a Saturday and theyíre just too damned lazy to update their sites on Saturday.
- Dissension previews are starting already. Can you believe it? It feels like Guildpact was just released. As always, Wizards is starting out with a little guilded backstory, as can be found on the Dissension preview page. They also provided a neat little jigsaw puzzle to solve. When completed, the puzzle forms a picture of some new Dissension artwork. There were two major problems with the puzzle, though. First, I need to work off of the picture on the box to solve jigsaw puzzles. And second, I think my set was missing a piece.
- Still having trouble getting your significant other into Magic? Well, if Magicís not her thing, maybe you should try interesting her in a role-playing game. As much as you might think that RPGs are even harder to get a girl into, itís not true. In fact, Wizards just released the new My Little Pony RPG, which is sure to bring back fond memories for any woman who remembers growing up with the toys. In fact, I guarantee that last line will get my wife excited before she realizes that itís just another April Foolís joke.
- Worthless Combo of the Month: Isochron Scepter + Glimpse the Unthinkable. This one was suggested to me by almost all of my Magic playing friends when Ravnica came out. How awesome is Glimpse the Unthinkable! You can tack it on to an Isochron Scepter and mill your opponent in five turns! Slow down there, buddy. Actually the combo doesnít work since Glimpse is a sorcery and Isochron Scepter requires an instant. Luckily, Guildpact provides us with a new combo enabler in Quicken, which allows us to turn that sorcery into an instant.
- For those of you who are out of the loop, a couple of months ago, the CPA started a Casual Card Hall of Fame. Since then, every month (or is it every two weeks? I canít tell) a new casual card is nominated and voted on by a rotating committee. I expected to see a new article on the front page announcing the choices and the reasoning behind them. Well, seeing how lazy everyone on this freaking site is, I decided that I may as well pick up the torch before it burns the whole place down.
The first Casual Card Hall of Fame Inductee was chosen from the Alpha / Beta / Unlimited sets and is Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. This card exemplifies the creativity of the casual player, since it inspired the name for one of the most popular formats in casual circles. The Two-Headed Giant format (or 2HG, for short) is fun because players can work as teams, where they share a life total, take turns simultaneously, and argue about who gets protected by a Circle of Protection and how much damage gets dealt by cards like Sizzle. The very fuzzy rules of 2HG later became bastardized when the DCI decided to make it a sanctioned event, clarifying the rules and no longer allowing players to use their mana to pay for their partnerís spells. Two-Headed Giant of Foriys is also a delightful casual card for flavorful reasons. It was originally intended to be a tribute to the hilarious three-headed giant from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but due to errors in templating, art commissioning, and design process, the card ended up in its current form. It also contains a clever pun in its name since a two-headed giant has four eyes. Four-Eyes. Foriys. Get it? Of course, this caused quite a commotion in 1994 when a group of bespectacled Magic players (who had previously been pronouncing it ďfoe-riceĒ) discovered their folly, took it as a joke at their expense, and consequently hacked into the computers at Wizards of the Coast and created Homelands. And so, Two-Headed Giant of Foriys will forever live in casual card infamy and now owns the honor of being the first inductee into the Casual Card Hall of Fame.
- Since I was a little slow getting this ball rolling, I will also be reviewing the second Hall of Fame inductee, taken from Magicís first expansion set, Arabian Nights. The inductee from Arabian Nights is none other than Shahrazad. What? Shahrazad didnít win!? Man, you people suck. So I guess the actual inductee is Bottle of Suleiman. Bottle of Suleiman is a casual or ďnoobĒ card because it makes you flip a coin. And anything that makes you flip a coin is automatically considered a casual card. Seriously though, the Bottleís great. I used to play one in a deck for no other reason than because I owned it. Thereís nothing more fun than either paying five mana to deal five damage to yourself (combos with Sun Droplet!) or creating a 5/5 flying creature that can be permanently killed with a Disenchant, a Naturalize, a Dark Banishing, a Shatter, or an Unsummon. Bottle of Suleiman takes its name from King Solomon (donít let anyone tell you otherwise), who loved to force people into making no-win decisions, like cutting their children in half, something every casual player enjoys.
- Wow! It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Wizards of the Coast has held its one millionth Magic Tournament. Over the course of all these tournaments, the company has given away prizes totaling $28,000,000 in cash and scholarships! Wait a minute. Thatís, like, $28 per tournament. Is that good?
- Online Multiplayer Free-For-All Tip of the Month: In every game, mulligan your hand down to two cards and donít do anything for the first five turns. Hopefully, all of your opponents will have forgotten that you exist and you can quietly take control of the game.
- I like card sleeves. Theyíre great for keeping those valuable rares in mint condition, but I hate the fact that I have to put all the cards in my decks in sleeves. Seriously, who really cares about protecting the edges of all their basic lands? No one, thatís who. Anyway, Iíve decided to screw what everyone else says and started just sleeving the cards I need to preserve. Itís worked out pretty well and saves me a lot of money on card sleeves. But I still get some nasty looks when I manage to topdeck my only copy of Umezawaís Jitte for the tenth straight game.
- Iím fairly disturbed by the rise of the creature type ďberserker.Ē What exactly is a berserker? What sorts of credentials are required for this position and where can I apply?
- A lot of people seemed to notice that my article from three weeks ago didnít make any sense. It was entitled Real Money, Fake Cards: Sticking it to the Man, but didnít really have any advice that actually stuck anything to any man. Nor could it actually save anyone money. Nor could it be of any use, outside of screwing over a few random kids trying to have fun while drafting. Nor was it funny. Yeah. Actually, I realized this all before posting it. APRIL FOOLíS! See, itís even funnier because the article wasnít written, submitted or posted on April Foolís Day.