Friday, July 8, 2011

scg writer roundup

Patrick Chapin

Style: enthusiastic descriptions that make no sense whatsoever- so he can be viewed either as a version of Evan Erwin that has played nonzero games of Magic or as a schizophrenic professor that wildly oscillates between theories that won them the Nobel prize a dozen years back and the rantings that had them institutionalized six months after said prize. Talks about levels a lot. Popularized the phrase “semi-soft lock,” often used to describe the feeling of eating a DQ Blizzard.

Significant accomplishments: wrote a book. No one read it, but he still like sat down at a keyboard and wrote a bunch of words that were then sold at some places, so congratulations.

Nadir: in non-magical interludes, talks about his exploits in the same smirking passive-voice style a frat boy would use to “subtly” inform you that he totally boned your sister last night dude (the younger sister that gave you Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems for Christmas with a note saying “enjoy it, or not”).

Looking forward: currently in talks with various theater producers about adapting his Tha Gatherin rap project to a traveling minstrel show. Coming soon to a town near you, yassuh!

Mike Flores

Style: find a long post on MTG Salvation. Get a list of famous Magic players. Sprinkle list onto post.

Significant accomplishments: wrote a bunch of important theory articles and then the continents started to drift into their current locations.

Nadir: MS Paint illustrations that resemble either a MOMA exhibit or Timecube.

Other nadir: after I wrote two sentences mentioning him in my critique of GerryT, he spent a half hour on Twitter in what can only really be described as “A Huff” refusing to respond to my criticism and insisting that by objective measurements he was at the top of his game.*

*Also that criticism of him was from “people who have no concept of the numbers, just based on skewed personal perspectives” [sic]. Also asking “Do you ask the taleban [sic] about physics?” Also that yours truly was “painting a counter-factual picture of *me*.” (W/ “me” referring to himself- Flores; usage of decorative asterisks [sic].)

Looking forward: he’ll probably mention in a future article that he won a tournament. Just a hunch.

Drew Levin

Style: the top Legacy writer at the site, moved over from the free side once some Legacy player paid $10K for a foreign signed altered foil Metalworker. Self-reflective to a nearly Drake-like degree, his favorite topic is his own mental attitude or what he thought about something months ago and how he was right. Also this isn’t exactly style but his author pic makes him look like some sort of Brazilian supermodel, so what I’m saying is stop using PVDDR’s photo, Drew, you’re not fooling anyone.

Significant accomplishments: on the heels of Chapin’s widely-praised article that didn’t use the letter “e,” Levin wrote a theory piece using only the word “I.”

Nadir: AJ Sacher chewing him out. I’m going to call this the nadir because Sacher hasn’t written much after that and I’m choosing to blame Levin.

Looking forward: in a world where thieves run rampant, unchecked in their power to steal Magic players’ Legacy decks, one man decides to boldly stand for justice. This summer, Drew Levin is... The Mind Sculptor.

Jonathan Medina

Style: like a blue-collar uncle showing you the ropes at the job he helped you get, kid, stick with me and you’ll be running this place in no time. If you follow Medina’s expert advice on trading, at tournaments instead of playing you can make close to $6 an hour with an initial investment of only a few thousand or so on cards to stock your binder, but be sure to have the prices of every rare memorized (SCG, eBay, player-to-player value) or you won’t make a dime.

Significant accomplishments: giving hope to a new generation of Magic players that realize they’ll never win a game of Magic, and valiantly chose instead to become the most-disliked people at a GP other than Rich Hagon.

Nadir: pointing out that really when you get right down to it, people trading cards aren’t usually paying that much attention to what your hands are doing when you’re going through their binder and it’s not like they were really using that Phyrexian Dreadnought in the first place.

Note: it’s come to my attention via his Twitter feed that Medina seems to have fairly thin skin with regard to his trading practices. In which case, Medina’s prices so bad he only offered Judas 23 pieces and a throw-in Sindbad (4E). Medina’s prices so bad, someone said “no thanks I’ll buy from StarCityGames.”

Brad Nelson

Wait, Nelson is with SCG now? When did that happen?

Gavin Verhey

Style: undoubtedly the most readable of SCG Free writers, because he is an SCG Free writer and is readable. He’s an English major, so hey, actual writer.

Significant accomplishments: due to a mixup involving having too many Word documents open at once and multiple pressing deadlines, half of a Standard article was replaced by 700 words of analysis of how the backlash to New Criticism paved the way for late-20th century linguistic analysis. This led to multiple SCG Open Top 8’s by readers who interpreted this section as an allegory of how to play the midgame of UW Landstill vs BUG in Legacy.

Nadir: his column is named after a Magic card. Haha what a dork am I right guys?

Looking forward: after avoiding using foul language his entire life, makes up for lost time in his final SCG article. It ends up well short of suggested article length, with only 247 of the original 13,983 words being deemed printable on a family website.

Sheldon Menery/Abe Sargent/etc etc etc

These writers cover something referred to as “EDH” which as best I can tell is the genius result of a brainstorming session amongst card retailers on how to inflate the price of dime rares from Ravnica block. Gameplay seems similar to overly-polite people debating who gets into a car first, except they’re trying to one-up one another with worse decks than the guy next to them so they don’t make the social faux pas of ending the game (oh heavens).

Sheldon, especially, is widely-known for an almost puritanical view of playing EDH The Right Way with The Right Way directly correlating to His Way. This includes holding EDH tournaments with entry fees and prize money followed by chastising (for going against the Spirit of the Format and Having Fun) those who dared tarnish his delicate format by bringing decks optimized to win games within a half-hour of them beginning. He holds a view of EDH similar to a Tea Party activist’s view of America and/or Heston’s view of the world in Planet of the Apes and/or Heston’s view of the world in real life: that Magic has been tarnished by the great plague of competitive play and we must return to a mythical golden age where everyone played fair, no one was overly competitive, Magic was fun, the birds were chirping, Black mana users knew their place, etc.

An enclave must be established, where the true believers can play Magic in peace. Except that among them grows a plague, the desire to play Unfun Decks and do Unfun Things, and this must be eliminated everywhere it is diagnosed. A hunt gets underway and no one is safe from the watchful eye of the Fun Police (except Menery himself, obviously).

Evan Erwin

Hopefully readers at this point understand that for the most part, what precedes this has mostly been good-natured ribbing at some of the better writers about this game, and that occasionally people will make fun of writers while enjoying them at the same time.

I sincerely loathe the content produced by Evan Erwin. It is the worst audience-pandering ever published in Magic-related writing. Hopefully it has all been a grand ploy to get a marketing job within Wizards, because I cannot imagine any person being genuinely excited about everything Wizards is doing all the fucking time. To quote from his latest article:

“So our new core set is upon us and boy is it sweet.”

I haven’t seen much reaction to M12 beyond “it has some interesting cards” or “it is a Magic: the Gathering set.” The man simply cannot restrain his enthusiasm about what is- let’s be realistic here- one of the most bland releases in years. It attempts nothing spectacular or even out of the ordinary, so it’s incapable of even teaching designers real lessons by failing in an interesting way like Coldsnap.

Evan Erwin has nothing interesting to say about Magic: the Gathering. His content amounts to a small child running around the room at the prospect of going to Disneyland. Constant kneejerk opinions serve only to validate the equally vapid kneejerk opinions of almost the entire Magic-playing population and thus cancels out a good portion of what legitimate theorists are doing to try to understand the game better.


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