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The Counter-Column: Making it Up a Notch
By Eric Turgeon
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I have absolutely no idea what I plan to write about here. I logged into the CPA, saw a front-page filled with "Comboist Manifestos" and thought to myself, I need to do something about that. And what better way to stop a barrage of crazy combo columns than with a well-timed counter-column? That, and that alone, is the onus for submitting this article.

Well, there's also a second onus (I hope I'm using that word correctly): I had a really witty reply written to Oversoul's latest manifesto and then I realized that Spiderman is on vacation and by the time he returns, the brilliant and informative response I posted is likely to be buried under a deluge of spam. So instead of trying to remember my awesome response (it was like, two days ago or something) I just decided to write a completely unrelated article.

Which bring me to my next point. If "people" are so intent to flood a site that doesn't get any visitors except, apparently, spammers, why don't they, instead of responding to existing articles, simply submit new articles? I happen to know a great Candanian Pharmasy where you can get all the same Erictile Disfunction perscriptions for up to 60%% off! And Rushian girls, too. Order here!

But that's not my point. My point is that I'm sitting at home on my computer on a Friday night typing an article about Magic: the Gathering (or is it?) into the article submission box of a zombie web forum with a semi-derelict front page and I have 100% confidence that it will not be the worst article ever submitted here. Heck, it might be better than some that got posted. But the world will never know because it won't pass by the strict editorial standards of this fine site. I will now post the image of a Magic card, so as to create the impression that my article is on-topic with the theme of this site and not, you know, a Pokemon article.

[url=http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=221104&type=card]

Hmmmm... it appears as though I have forgotten how to post the image of a card. No big deal, I'll look it up later.

To get back on topic, (which is strange, since this entire article is off-topic), did you ever have a great train-of-thought going and then just suddenly lose it? I was totally planning on making this an actual article about MTG, but I completely forgot what my segue was going to be. I mean, I can't just submit this pile of tripe as is, can I?

Here's a list of awesome formats I invented:
one of these two formats is the proper way to bold here -->Ultimate Draft
I may have written about this in the past. It's a draft format where you and your friends pool all your collections together into one big pile and throw away all the doubles. Then everyone takes turns picking one of any card until everyone has enough to make a deck (40 or 60 or something like that). Then throw all the rest of your cards away. Then go digging in the trash can and pick out all the basic lands, you'll need some of those. Then everyone makes a deck and you play with each other forever. If you happen to own just one of every card every printed, this will be really simple for you. Alternatively, you can play the format someplace, like on a message board, or maybe some bootlegged Magic-playing apprentice suitcase type program, if that makes any sense, and just pretend you own one of every card. Then you wait until the one guy who's clearly smarter than everyone else figures out some way to make a stupid-awesome deck with a bunch of crap cards beats you every game and wins the three-game tournament that you spent 4 months drafting for.

[img="http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=253538&type=card"]
Nuts.

All drafts should last at least 6 times as long as the games being played with the cards being drafted. I like drafts. Which brings me to my next format.

Sports League!
Do you love sports? Do you love sports drafts? Do you love the idea of sports, but loathe the idea of sweating or competing in physical activity or spending $60 on the latest Madden game? Then you'll love Sports League. Or maybe you won't. I don't know or care.

Ideally, the way this'll work is that you get a group of friends together who are in this for the long haul. I don't just mean people you know in passing like your co-workers, drinking buddies, or children. I mean like your REAL friends. You BFFs. Er... BFsF, as is the proper grammer. Everyone needs to make a commitment to stay in and keep an isolated card pool that solely involves cards acquired through the sports league draft. Because those cards are everyone's. It's a form of cardmunism.

Anyway, the whole thing kicks off with a big draft to get everyone to a pool of 45 cards. Each person picks three booster packs. They open them all at once and do a typical booster draft, except everyone gets to see what everyone else is picking, but like you can only pick a card from the pack you're holding. (Are you getting this? I'm net getting much of a response, here.) So at the end of that draft, everyone has a pool of 45 cards and they build a deck and play some sort of round-robin style Magic season, determined by the smartest and best-looking player in the league, who will be the commissioner. Somehow a winner is determined, maybe they get a trophy, who cares, the important thing, as is always the most important thing in any sports league, is NEXT SEASON!

After the first season ends, there's another draft, but this time, each player picks a booster (just one) and all the boosters are opened at the same time and pooled together (for added convenience, sort by color, then type, then casting cost, then last name of the artist who illustrated the card). In the first round, the loser-est player gets to pick one card and so forth until the winner-est player picks. Then in round two, each player (same order) gets to pick two cards, and so one and so forth until all the new cards are chosen.

To make things more interesting, put a cap on the total number of cards in any players pool (Do all you people know what a card pool is? If not, let me know.) Then players are forced to cut cards from their pools and any other player is allowed to add those cards to their pools. I call it "free agency". Then season 2 starts and the whole thing goes on forever.

If you play with a bunch of petty and spiteful weirdos, they may decide that some cards are too "powerful" to be allowed in the format. Try to find some method to weed out those cards through an equitable voting system, in which any card played in a game can get a vote for "retirement" and if it reaches a certain threshold, it is banned from the league. I guess whichever player had it in their deck when it retired can keep it. That seems fair.

[img=http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=185829&type=card]
Seriously?

Dungeon Magic!
This is what you do when you're so much better than everyone else you've ever known that it isn't even fun crushing your enemies anymore. And by better, I mean "having a lot more cards and money and free time."

Have you ever heard of Dungeons and/or Dragons? It's this game where one person, the dungeon "master" gets to decide what monsters everyone else can fight and what treasures they can find and I assume it has an endpoint at some point where one person or another wins or loses. I really don't know.

Anyway, to format this to Magic, one player makes a whole bunch of little decks with a very apparent theme and those decks represent monsters. Then a group of two or more other players team up to play those decks and attempt to defeat all the little gauntlet of decks before their life totals reach zero. Life totals don't reset between games. That should be obvious. Though maybe the dungeon "MasterGician" can throw in little bonuses for winning. Or how about maybe make a deck of spells that equate to bonuses or traps and each player draws a random card off the top and gets effected by it in some way. I don't know be creative.

You know, now that I think about it, I think that might be exactly how dungeons worked in Shandalar.

I ran out of things to say. I should probably proofread this, but I won't.

Goodbye.

Ha!

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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