Jason’s Archives: Splendid Ways to Experience Magic, WotC’s Need of Editors & Innovation Not Good for But Silver

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Greetings, Speculators!

It isn't every day you get to touch a part of Magic history.

Recently I got to bear witness to a transaction that involved moving a copy of "Splendid Genesis" to the winner of a private auction. For those who don't know what exactly "Splendid Genesis" is, there is a Magic Wiki online that offers next to no help.

Basically, Dr. Garfield wanted to think of a way to commemorate a very special occasion in his life and then he remembered he had created the most popular trading card game in the history of ever and could just make a card to celebrate.

At 110 copies in total, Splendid Genesis is one of the rarest cards in Magic. Its intimate nature and collectible appeal mitigate its unplayability and makes it a chase cards of the highest order. The demand is low among players, which is fine, because so is the supply among ... everybody.

Snapping a grainy camera phone pic of this gem during its transition to the buyer was a fulfilling experience for me. It's easy to get jaded in the world of MTG finance when you routinely buy collections of power and duals only to out them as quickly as possible for profit. It's usually only later that you remember to slow down and remind yourself of the cooler aspects of having this many cards passing through your hands. "Woah, I owned a set of Power 9 there for a minute. How cool is that?"

In this instance, however, I didn't need to check myself at all. I was fully aware that I was holding a piece of Magic history (not literally; it was encased in an inch of polypropylene casing that could stop a Barret .50 caliber round [citation needed]).

The only card on earth more rare than an Alpha Fungusaur.

I work 70-hour weeks, have no retirement or health benefits and spend most weekends away from home, but it's moments like this that remind me that I have the best job in the world.

Does WOTC Need a Copy Editor? (I'm Available and Work Cheap)

I'm not even going to lie. I'm a bit of a pedant sometimes.

It genuinely bothers me when people use the wrong "your" or the wrong "its" or the wrong "to". While in most cases attacking grammar, syntax or spelling are the feeble tools of a losing argument, my assault on inaccuracy is my opening salvo. After all, how persuasive can your argument truly be if you can't make the simple distinction between "you're" and "your" (let alone more common and understandable errors like "enquire" vs. "inquire")?

Pedantry can lead to a few embarrassing situations when one makes an error of one's own; situations like that are so common they've spawned their own law. My editors both past and present can attest to my own writing being far from perfect. But it's nice to have hobbies; mine are Magic and nitpicking.

But I don't think it's nitpicking to point out a few of the more glaring errors made recently by a multi-million-dollar subsidiary of the world's largest toy company.

Do you guys remember my post a few weeks ago about the incorrect power and toughness of Firewing Phoenix? Refresh your memory here. It turns out they may not have been quite finished with their screw-ups in Duel of the Planeswalkers.

Let's face it, she was underpowered at 4/4.

Keen-eyed Redditor tellerfan caught another DotP error. It appears the missing toughness from the Phoenix ended up getting tacked on to a creature that probably didn't need the help. I already had to suspend my disbelief to accept the premise of a scantily-clad elf, who likely weighs 75 pounds when soaking wet, surviving a lightning bolt or killing four people in one attack-- let's not make it tougher by letting her survive a A-Cabaretti Charm to the dome.


Pottery may not be super manly, but he's still better than all in my book.

Redditor Figworth noticed a pretty hilarious typo on a survey about cube drafting on the Magic Online website. Spell check won't help you if you accidentally type in a real word!


Someone let these go out like this. Talk about the end of wits.

I'm sure everyone has noticed by now the typo on Wit's End. Just remember not to correct Nicol Bolas. It sickens him.


Happy accident or the mark of anti-Magic ecoterrorists?

Redditor Chemaba shared this pic of what looks like the result of a leaf falling onto the printing sheet. What a nice binder page those four cards would make!

Buffalo Dreamstomp

A rare white buffalo was born this year in Goshen, Connecticut. This is a big event in the lives of the local Indian tribes, serving as a sign that things are going to get better. Unfortunately, it seems the universe has decreed that for this buffalo dream to live, another buffalo dream has to die.

This weekend in Buffalo, New York, Kurt Crane proved that if you come up with a novel and entertaining decklist, test it exhaustively and play the tightest Magic of your life, you too can live the dream of losing in the finals to the same stupid deck everybody has been playing since the printing of Restoration Angel. Isn't Magic fun?

Top 16 Standard Decks

Running four copies of both Genesis Wave and Green Sun's Zenith, Crane's Elf deck had multiple ways of building to a lethal crescendo. Village Bell-Ringer is one of the linchpins, untapping the elves used to cast a large Genesis Wave or Craterhoof Behemoth so they can join the alpha strike. [card Ezuri, Renegade]Ezuri[/card] is a great mana sink as well. While not quite a Glimpse of Nature, Soul of the Harvest has great potential for keeping the stream of elves going or just smashing domes in on his own. This is the kind of deck you really want to see win events.

Conversely, Carl Dillahay piloted a pretty unoriginal concept, albeit with a few updates that incorporated M13. Augur of Bolas and Talrand, the Sky Summoner both fit with the "play lots of instants and sorceries to flip my [card Delver of Secrets]Delver[/card]" theme we're all used to by now. Moving the Restoration Angels to the sideboard, this deck makes great use of Talrand. Great job, Carl!

The Top 8 consisted of three Delver decks and two Pod decks, which is becoming par for the course.

Also worth noting is Fabiano's Wolf Run Blue deck, which uses four Temporal Mastery to go all-in on the "I'm a big lucksack" plan, popular among Bonfire of the Damned proponents these last few months. Just how big of a lucksack is Fabiano, anyway? 40th place.

40th place is pretty good compared to the 319th place finish of Josh Cho. Maybe Standard isn't his format.

Top 16 Legacy Decks

But maybe Legacy is! Making room for Master of the Pearl Trident by trimming a few Coralhelm Commanders, Cho fishslapped the competition in Sabretown (is hockey big enough there to call it "Sabretown?" -- I feel like I made that up), warming the heart of Corbin "tha hussla" Hosler and other merfolk enthusiasts worldwide.

That hot European tech of jamming Omniscience into Show and Tell decks has caught on in a big way. Scoffing at hate like Gilded Drake and Stingscourger, this play off of a Show and Tell is good stuff. It also helps a bit to get the extra turn trigger off of [card Emrakul, the Aeons Torn]Emrakul[/card]. I don't know how permanent this development is, but seeing four copies in the Top 8 is encouraging.

Two copies of eight different decks comprised nearly the entirety of the Top 16. To me, that indicates what continues to be a healthy format. The anxiety revolving around Sneak and Show seems to have been unfounded as players have found myriad ways to keep its explosive power in check. Unbanning Land Tax seems to have been OK as well as zero copies appeared in the Top 16 here.

They may screw up the occasional flavor text, but WotC knows what they're doing when it comes to the Banned and Restricted list.

Divine Providence

Providence Standard Top 8 Decks

Shockingly, U/W Delver won in Providence. Oliver Tiu took an approach opposite the one from Buffalo and jammed Restoration Angels main and [card Talrand, the Sky Summoner]Talrands[/card] in the board. Otherwise the two winning decklists look very similar. That may not mean an unhealthy format, but it does make analyzing decklists boring. I really hate when the same deck keeps winning.

That's why I'm glossing over Tiu's list (Congratulations are in order though, no question. Way to go, Oliver!) to talk about something exciting that came out of Providence: this bad boy.

A Smallpox deck?! In Standard?! This kind of innovation is why I love looking at weekend decklists. I am definitely sleeving up this seventy-five for FNM this week. This deck was always nearly possible, and it may have been Ravenous Rats that finally gave it the gas it needed. Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger are obviously nutty with Smallpox, and Liliana of the Veil helps keep the edicts coming long after you run out of poxes. Attacking both their hand and the board, this deck mitigates the pain of symmetrical discard and sacrifices by recurring zombies to great effect.

Sure, neither of them won their events, but I think Joseph Snyder and Kurt Crane deserve a brofist for keeping Magic fun.

That's All for Now

Join me next week when I'll have some previews of the good times in store for the web's only financial podcast crew at Gencon.

Until next week!

5 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Splendid Ways to Experience Magic, WotC’s Need of Editors & Innovation Not Good for But Silver

  1. "You forgot to mention something else that took place this weekend, Cedric Phillips won the MTGO ptq with a sick bant pod list."

    Wasn't MTGO, it was the Seattle (or Portland) PTQ

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