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The Comboist Manifesto: Introduction
By Stephen Bahl
The Comboist Manifesto Volume I, Article 1: Introducing the Comboist Manifesto

For some time now, I've wanted to write a long series of articles. I have a variety of reasons with which I shall not bore you. But even though I've had this idea in the back of my mind for a while, my hypothetical series of articles, as yet, has not emerged, also for reasons of some sort. Writing articles isn't that time-consuming, and yet somehow, I've only managed to write a few dozen articles about Magic, most of them rather short. Incidentally, this article will be rather short. Well, it is short. It will still be short by the time you finish reading it. Although the length of the article that you'll have read by that point will be greater than it is as you read this particular sentence, the true length of the article will not have actually increased. It is, and continues to be short. My convoluted method of stating this fact doesn't really mitigate it.

The CPA divides articles into six categories: weekly articles, decks, other, variants, and fiction. Shouldn't “other” be listed last? “Weekly articles” has been, for as long as I can remember, an overly ambitious category for the CPA. No one contributes articles on a weekly basis. In 2013, the site has been updated with just one article. And I wrote it, so it hardly even counts. In 2012, there was just one article, and I wrote it, so it hardly even counts. 2011 and 2010 each saw one article, although at least those ones were written by people other than me. So the CPA doesn't have “weekly articles.” It has annual articles. I aim to change that. Notice how I totally changed the subject from one paragraph to the next? Even though I was talking about myself and writing articles in the first paragraph, I suddenly switched to talking about CPA. A professional writer would use something called a “transition” there, but who has time for that junk? Not me.

In 2014, I intend to alter the CPA's current pattern of annual articles. The year has only just started, and look, here's a new article already. Throw in one more and we'll have a bi-annual schedule. I actually intend to do much more. My goal is nothing less than to make “weekly articles” a reality. And I can't fail, at least not at first, because I'm going to cheat. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that I have already cheated. You see, by the time you read this, I'll have already written a bunch of articles, but only submitted this one for editorial review (we do have editorial review at the CPA, but it mostly just consists of the replacement of all one's best swear words with onomatopoeic farm animal utterances, or so I've been told). In order to fulfill my lofty article-per-week goal, I need only submit one of the articles from the collection of articles that I've prepared in advance. Barring some disaster, I cannot fail in this endeavor, at least not until the number of weeks passed catches up to the number of articles I have prepared, which won't happen for at least a month or two. Then, and only then, can I fail. To highlight the extent of my failure, I'll title these articles first by volume number, putting up the pretense that this series will last multiple years.

You may have noticed that I have gone three paragraphs without yet telling you the nature of my new series. This is further evidence of my total lack of professionalism. What I should have done was written something in the very first sentence that would provide sufficient information on the topic to draw the reader's interest. In journalistic parlance, this is known as a “hook.” I could have done it, but I didn't. One might protest that, since I am obviously aware of this, I should have gone back and fixed my article before publishing it. In that case, one would misunderstand. I elect to take a different approach here. I begin with the proposition that my readers are animals. Rather than approaching these animals by immediately attempting to placate them, I assert my dominance by initially withholding information. And now you've waited long enough. This new series of articles will be about combos. Surprise! Oh, wait. I gave it away with the title, didn't I? Oops. Yeah, the new series will be called “The Comboist Manifesto.” I was trying to think of a good name, but I came up with that instead.

Forum regulars will probably not be surprised that I would choose combos as my theme. My avatar on the forums has been the art from Tendrils of Agony for some time now, and I'm known to be enthusiastic about combos and combo decks. I don't know if a series dedicated entirely to such matters is the series that the CPA needs most, but since I'm the one writing the articles, that's the series the CPA is getting. You want a series that's all about control decks? Go write it yourself. This one is mine. Wait, don't leave just yet! Look, I can see that maybe I am a bit more enthusiastic about combo decks than some. Don't worry: this series will touch on other topics too, like aggro-combo and control-combo decks. Other future topics in this series may or may not include analyses of rules issues as they relate to combos, examinations of historic combo decks, gameplay theorizing on combos, set reviews with a focus on combo, individual card spotlights for versatile combo components, themed lists of combos, and combo contests with fabulous prizes (note: there will not actually be any prizes—I just really like “fabulous prizes” as a phrase).

If that still looks pretty combo-heavy, well, it's not like I have much competition at this point, so maybe just bear with me if you're going to this site anyway? Who knows, maybe you'll appreciate a combo-oriented perspective as a change of pace from whatever your usual Magic fare might be? I don't really know. I'm mostly just grasping at straws over here. The point is, this is a new series of articles and you will find it interesting. You have to! You've already read five paragraphs of this stuff, so now you're invested in it. Oh yeah, didn't see that coming.

Come back next week for another installment of The Comboist Manifesto. Like this one, it will mostly still just be about why I'm writing articles about combo in the first place. Oh yes, this series is moving so very, very quickly.

Read More Articles by Stephen Bahl!

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