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Theory

What’s Magic’s most popular format? I realize this is the sort of question most ask around the gaming table just to have an argument, but I’m actually curious. The problem is that I can ask 100 players and get 100 different answers. It will frequently come down to what they last played and how much they […]

Time waits for no man, as they say, and Magic is the same for all players. Good advice will always be good advice, but relevance is relative. By the same token, Magic players need advice that is relevant to formats as they actually exist. And that must be re-evaluated periodically. The second Beginner’s Guide article […]

It’s time, once again, for a return to The Beginner’s Guide to Modern. This my long-running but periodic series where I cover the fundamentals of Modern for those new to the format. Though, as happens with a series that’s four years old at this point, I’ve already covered all the fundamentals and obvious misconceptions long […]

In terms of data, it seems Modern is at a crossroads. This is the problem I found myself with last week. Half the data said that Hogaak was a busted, dominate deck. The other said that it was successful, but only as a function of its popularity. The narrative coming out of last weekend is that […]

Core Set 2020 spoilers are under way, and a couple cards have already caught my attention. The one we’ll discuss today is Elvish Reclaimer, a potential 3/4 for one mana… with upside! But can its drawbacks be mitigated effectively? Let’s find out by comparing Reclaimer to Modern’s other one-mana combat creatures, seeing in the process […]

Determining a deck’s tiering is a fairly simple process: take the decks that place in tournaments, compile them in a spreadsheet, rank them by population, done. This is a fine system, and is the only remotely objective way to determine the tier list. However, it doesn’t tell the full story because it can’t explain what […]

Yesterday, Brian Braun-Duin published “When Playing to Win Is a Loss,” an article detailing the dangers of getting caught up in the competitive spirit. It admonishes angle shooting and makes a case for sportsmanship in a gaming environment. Brian’s thoughts resonated with some of my own, especially as relates to the place of ethics in […]

Assumptions and collectively-held beliefs are fickle and powerful things. They can affect perception and, in a way, become reality if unchallenged. Therefore, it is critical for the skeptical mind to evaluate and investigate these ideas for validity, especially in the wake of recent bannings. After being challenged on long-held beliefs about Splinter Twin’s effect on […]

It is a common trap to look only to hard data when making decisions. After all, numbers are clear and unequivocal. However, they don’t tell the full story of the data. Confounding variables and intangible effects color the results and complicate the data. The data from my latest banlist test indicate that Green Sun’s Zenith […]

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