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A ’Walker All-Male Revue

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A Long Aside: Run the World (MtG Girls)

“Magic cards might crush my dreams, but they won’t break my heart.” – Jackie Lee

There’s a storm brewing. It has nothing to do with a deck in Legacy that I know nothing about. Nor does it have to do with a particular Tha Gatherin song that I’ve listened to about ten million times. This storm has to do with women in Magic. Over the last few months, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to notice a definite trend: Estrogen has been aggregating out of the community pool with the force of a Kiora Atua tidal wave. Several times a week now, I meet a new female personality, and whether casual player, artist, nonplayer friend-of, fangirl, or serious competitor, I am repeatedly impressed by their passion for the game, their savvy observations, and their sassy eloquence in expressing these opinions.

One of my very early comments on GatheringMagic was in response to Titus Chalk’s article, “Women in Magic: The Game’s Lost Tribe.” I said something to the effect of not really being a proponent of a huge surge in females in the community because I’ve always been a tomboy, and was afraid of cattiness. I said I liked the few women who were involved in Magic that I’d met, and that if I wanted to hang out with more women in general, I’d go shop at Victoria’s Secret more often. I’m so happy that the growing network of MtG ladies has proven me wrong: There’s a definite lack of mean girls. I’ve never met so many cool women in one place.

The lost tribe is out there. And they have great contributions to make to the game and Magic culture. I feel incredibly lucky to be involved in the community at a time when it seems that women are actively reaching out to one another and are interested in getting involved to make a bigger impact. While Lauren Lee and Megan Holland were the two women who primarily encouraged me early on, I also want to note there were countless men who also reached out and made me feel welcome with their assistance and kind words. I hope all new players getting into Magic can have a similar experience. So . . . yeah. To borrow a tagline from the NBA: I love this game. And if any of you ladies or gentlemen ever want to hit up Vicky’s Secret with me for a little weekend bro-bonding . . . well, I’d be honored.

This week’s article is dedicated to the ladies of MtG, and damn it, girls just wanna have fun! So, as Sunie would say, let’s BRING THE BEEF.

The Meat and Potatoes of It: 2011 Hottest Male Planeswalker Countdown

All male planeswalkers are not created equal. When I put the question to the ladies, there was resounding feedback as to which really sparked and which kind of fizzled. As usual, my process was decidedly unscientific, so what you’ll see below is simply the distilled visceral reactions of a bunch of red-blooded MtG women. Various attributes were intuitively taken into consideration, from game-changing qualities like raw power level and utility to Vorthos-realm stuff like personality (drawing from novels, flavor text, etc.) and looks (a type of art critique, if you will).

The ’walkers are ordered from least hot (#11) to hottest (#1). ’Walkers are judged as characters, not as cards, so Jace is just one guy—we’re not looking at Jaces Beleren, Mind Sculptor, and Memory Adept separately, in other words. But they did have to have a planeswalker card to be eligible—so no Urza or Teferi in this battle.

Read on for insights to the female Magic mind and to see who was crowned 2011 Hottest Male Planeswalker.

#11 Sarkhan Vol

Poor Sarkhan got no love from the ladies. First he was a disheveled Eastern-European-ish ’80s metal band member, and then he became this loony Chinese psychopath. The transition is baffling. Despite potential from a physical standpoint, the lack of relatable personality, the sloppy hair, and the crazy eyes means Sarkhan’s not exactly The Bachelor material. Can you imagine if Sarkhan the Mad was your ex? Um, can you say “stalker”? He’s peering in through your bedroom window right now with that bloody red gaze. Shudder!

#10 Karn

Karn apparently won’t be our father figure. Despite a nice physique and a sensual paternal nature that shines through in novels such as Planar Chaos by Scott McGough and Timothy Sanders, chicks just don’t dig him. Maybe it’s the fact that his snuggly personality doesn’t line up with his physicality. Trying to spoon with your boyfriend when he’s the equivalent of a Brock Lesnar–sized metal thong would be somewhat uncomfortable, after all.

#9 Garruk

Garruk’s bid for Hottest Male Planeswalker was derailed by the fact that women do not appreciate his increasingly steroidal looks. The general consensus was that as a “hunter” he should have the physique of an active person who spends time outdoors, more like a rock climber or triathlete instead of glory-days Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s pretty clear that (1) many MtG women pay attention to the details of artistic representations and (2) the bodybuilder look alone is not enough to win hearts of the “fairer sex.”

#8 Ajani

Surprisingly (or not, depending on what circles you run in), the Big Furrie got some voting action! And perhaps it’s deserved: Ajani is well-groomed, experienced, passionate, physically strong, and a formidable fighter. Or, perhaps there are just some kinky MtGers out there. Or perhaps it’s the Monsters, Inc. effect, where fluffy, handsome “Kitty” will always be desirable by little girls everywhere. In any case, Ajani posts an impressive finish in the ratings considering that he’s the least humanoid of all the entrants and that voting was restricted to human females.

#7 Jace

Being the poster boy of Magic couldn’t boost Jace to a win with the women. Jace’s abilities are powerful, but he’s not in control of his own destiny yet, which was a big strike against him. The “too emo” issue came up, though some were willing to overlook it because of cuteness of Jaces like the Japanese Jace vs. Chandra version. Honestly, I’m having a hard time digesting the amount of eyeliner on the new Jace. Other guys have done it better, hon.

The wannabe-rocker, hipster-combover thing Jace has been working lately isn’t fulfilling his sex-appeal potential. How much hotter would a Jace be who was depicted as a classic loner/intellectual? A buttload hotter. Right now, Jace’s aesthetic is somewhere between Ke$ha and that weird kid from Wedding Crashers. WotC should be thinking more like Hamlet or Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. I’m hoping Jace’s looks mature along with his storyline.

#6 Koth

Look at your opponent, now look at me . . . The Mountains are now diamonds that burn face.

Beefy, firey Koth is pretty self-explanatory. He’s got an enviable physique that’s not over-the-top, he’s very home-oriented and exhibits the desirable traits of loyalty, wisdom, and a straightforward “just get it done” attitude. Koth doesn’t place higher due to a slight lacking in approachability, a possibly explosive temper, and the fact that that his molten-lava/crunchy rock Vulshok attributes would make it awfully hard to hold hands in a theater while watching The Hangover 2.

#5 Tezzeret

Despite his ruthless personality and ties to Nicol Bolas (or perhaps because of these things), Tezzeret has a female fan base. Tezzie’s drive, ambition, pursuit of his goals, and power are attractive traits in the eyes of some MtG women. And the wicked-looking etherium arm is apparently an aphrodisiac.

#4 Sorin

What can we say? Ladies love some vampire action. Sorin is worldly and well-traveled, younger only than Nicol Bolas among planeswalkers. Sorin’s expansive knowledge of food, beverage, and magic is quite the turn-on. While his motivations are usually hedonistic, he nevertheless involves himself in politics and current events with some regularity. Mysterious, dangerous, and with a “good” side to his dark heart, Sorin is the kind of Most Interesting Man in the World whom many women consider a worthy conquest in the battle of the sexes. Sorin probably would have posted a higher finish, but some expressed a specific dislike of “pretty” vampiric or elvish-featured types of guys, which dropped him a bit.

Note: Michael Komarck, artist for Sorin’s card, also did Rafiq of the Many’s art. Rafiq was a popular mention with the women for hot non-Planeswalker characters. I suspect Komarck is great at creating portraits of enticing males. www.komarckart.com

#3 Venser

“Venser was lean and underfed, but he was not as wasted as the denizens of Keld. His skin was pale, almost untouched by the sun, but his hair was lush and healthy.” – Time Spiral

Ah, the iconic vulnerable nice-guy geek, tinkering around in his garage (which in this case, are the swamps of Urborg). Nerdy white-boy Venser, with his talents for building and blinking, has straight girls, lesbians, and even dudes voting for him! Looks like the now-martyred underdog resonates with quite a few. Some standout attributes: his awkward affection for Jhoira, intense dedication to his craft, and a highly accessible and relatable personality. Can a good guy finish well? Looks like the answer is yes. Pro tip: A really big journal, and the knowledge to use it, will never hurt your cause.

Emblem by Inkwell Looter, www.inkwelllooter.blogspot.com

So, though it was really close, in the end Venser was edged out by . . .

#2 Gideon

Yummy. Strong. Dreamy. Gideon Jura was not only part of the most annoying and most powerful deck of the year, he’s also personally dominating the fancies of MtG ladies everywhere. We are sural in love with this guy that we’re ready to jump aboard his white Hummer and start giddily spreading the influence of the Order of Heliud ourselves.

From his tense-to-tender-and-back-again relationship with Chandra in The Purifying Fire to his rock-hard bod in all his art, Gideon has girls swooning. Gideon is reliable. He protects you. He’s hard to deal with. He’s stubborn. He’s overpowered. Like Jace, he has inner turmoil—but this guy is definitely a man, not a boy. He’s the guy you want to slap but you fall for nevertheless. He’s the guy you fight with even when you know he’s right. Of course he’s right. He’s always right.

In The Purifying Fire, Mr. Jura is described as having black hair, but all his art shows it more brown. I’d like to see a black-haired version at some point just for kicks. If you haven’t read it yet, Laura Resnick has a romance writer’s credentials, and she did quite a nice job crafting The Purifying Fire. There’s less blood and guts than some of the older novels, but the boy–girl stuff is plenty entertaining on its own without being too squishy. The bonus? Cover art by none other than the aforementioned Michael Komarck, who apparently does very sexy women as well as men.

#1 Nicol Bolas: 2011 Hottest Male Planeswalker

I actually didn’t have any choice in giving out this award . . . Nicol Bolas is clearly the most captivating man, er, Elder Dragon—in CCGs and in the world. Nicol Bolas’s breadth of experience, depth of knowledge, and ruggedly pleasing facial features are just the tip of the iceberg of reasons he should win this award.

Nicol Bolas commands you to visit his Facebook page.

Nicol Bolas also demands that we recognize he’s too sexy for this contest.

In closure, Nicol Bolas is awesome.

And . . . that’s all for this week. I feel a bit woozy. Maybe it’s being immersed in so much beef during the writing of this article, or maybe . . .

Until next time, I highly recommend picking up (or revisiting) the Time Spiral book cycle. Venser, Jhoira, Radha, Teferi, Karn, and Nicol Bolas himself make for a hugely colorful cast. Special thanks to all the ladies of MtG who contributed to this article. And special thanks to Nicol Bolas . . . Wait, what?

— MJ

@moxymtg on Twitter

www.moxymtg.com

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