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My Magic Resolutions, 2015


Hello, folks! It’s that time of year again when we are gathered together to look all things old and yet consider all things new. In our culture, we have the awesome tradition of creating resolutions that we use to help focus the new year. A majority of resolutions, goals, promises, are broken quickly. Many are never even started! But a few see the light of day. And even if I tried to lose twenty pounds, but only lost eight, that’s worth doing, right?

New Frontiers
Magic resolutions are just as important. Do you have boxes of old cards under your bed that you need to sort or sell? Do you have a Commander deck you haven’t updated in two years? Do you have a trade binder that’s badly out of date? Are you growing bored of the same old decks or archetypes when you play casually? Are you looking for a new format or a new way to play the game in order to put some spring back into the game you love?

Awesome! We all have our Magic resolutions. We have new decks to build, new cards to acquire, and new vistas to explore. Maybe you want to get back into Legacy or perhaps you want to take that Standard deck for a spin outside of local Friday Night Magic. But whatever you want to do, let’s make some resolutions and use this as a time of looking back to see where we are—and looking forward to see where we can go.

Last year, I wrote an article for y’all in which I shared my five Magic resolutions for you. I thought it would be only prim and proper to look back over 2014 and see what worked and what didn’t work. Then, I can look ahead to 2015 and create some new resolutions.

Let’s start with the last five!

Resolution for 2014, Number One: Try to Connect with a Local Gaming Group

Join the Ranks
Well, after it stopped being so cold outside (I live in Connecticut), I began exploring Fairfield. There is a nearby store—about a mile off campus—that has Friday Night Magic on the back tables. So in late March, I walked down there and arrived around 5:15 P.M. (It began forty-five minutes later.) This would give me the time needed to enjoy myself, relax, and meet some folks.

The good news is that there were a ton of people playing, trading, and hanging out. Yay! About ten to twelve folks in all, taking up most of the seats, were engaging each other and talking about Standard and such. This is exactly what I want, right?

Here’s the problem. Every single person playing was, roughly, ten to thirteen years old and looked to be in late elementary school or early middle school. So I thought for a few moments, walked around as though I was looking to buy something, and then left. Because, frankly, this is 2014, and I know a lot of parents might be really concerned if a strange, thirty-seven-year-old man sat down and played card games with their eleven-year-old sons or daughters. So I didn’t. I’m not against playing folks younger than I am, but I’d like a stretch of ages, from eleven to eight-one. I just felt awkward, so I left. I didn’t go back. And I always found something else to do on my Friday nights. So I still, after thirteen months of living in Connecticut, have not connected with a local gaming group (LGG). And that is awful.

Result? Abject Failure

Resolution for 2014, Number Two: Play More Magic Online

With the new client out, and with it still having a lot of problems, I’m not sure if Wizards of the Coast can make a better version of Magic: The Electronic. No matter which version you are discussing, it’s always had a clunky interface and issues that would stun a squirrel from twenty paces. I think the command audience is an unconscious reason not to ever really clean it up.

Anyway, I want to play more Magic: The Electronic for the very same reason I haven’t connected with an LGS. I want to flip some cards! I have had a chance to pay the occasional pick-up game on campus, but that is not what I want, right?

And I certainly played more Magic Online in 2014 than in 2013, so that’s a plus. But frankly, I still didn’t play that much. I need to push it some more.

Result? Decent Success

Resolution for 2014, Number Three: Knock Out at Least Ten More Cards on My AbeDraft List

Burning of Xinye
So, I have a huge, real-life draft set of almost every card ever printed. It creates some of the most fun you’ll ever have in a real, live draft set. Imagine a Cube with one of every Magic card! However, I include a copy for each card in each expansion set, so a set of all of the commons from Khans of Tarkir was added even though Act of Treason and Cancel are reprints.

I had whittled AbeDraft down to thirty-eight cards from normal sets and thirteen from Portal Three Kingdoms. My goal was to knock another ten cards off this list, which would drop me to forty-one cards total.

Well I was lucky. From the Vault: Annihilation printed two P3K cards that I needed for my Abedraft—so both Burning of Xinye and Rolling Earthquake were knocked off the list. I also just decided to fully commit, and I added in all ten dual lands into my Abedraft as well. Might as well, right? I also picked up a few cards here and there to peck further at my list.

So where are we at the close of 2014? I only need thirty cards from here on out!

Result? Unqualified Success!

Resolution for 2014, Number Four: Overhaul Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy

I have a huge Highlander deck, roughly at three thousand cards, that I constantly tune and work on. My goal this past year was to strip it apart for a while and retune it more than I ever had before. I did precisely that. In fact, right now, it’s still in about seven boxes or so, spread out by color, in alphabetical order and sorted by creature and noncreature. I was able to see things that I needed and were missing as well as identify redundancy that I didn’t want. Good job!

Result? Done

Resolution for 2014, Number Five: Create a Few New Ideas for Magic Articles

Personal Tutor
It’s easy to churn out the next iteration of my small series-within-a-series that I like to do in my columns. Now add to that the ease with which you can dole out columns when a new set hits the market. This year, I had Magic 2015, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx, Magic: The Gathering—Conspiracy, and Commander (2014 Edition) hit the market. All of those sets required a variety of articles around them—what are the best cards? What decks can you do with them? If I write four articles on each of those five sets, there are twenty articles done for the year. Now add in my various series, like my Budget Commander one or my Top 10 series, and there’s not a lot of article space left.

And since hacking out those articles is timely, easy, and fun, they can dominate my articles for the year. How many articles this year did I write for Gathering Magic that were a bit outside my usual fare?

Nineteen articles. Of those, about half were articles about budgets and prices. So that leaves around ten articles that weren’t budget, series, or about the latest set. I wanted to be creative and clever with this space. And looking back, there are three articles I think really were strong in this area. I loved my two-part Portal Art series I did in May. (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to see if you agree with my assessments.)

But I love my multiplayer strategy article “Threat Assessment 101.” I think that was among my best articles this year on figuring out what the threat is at the multi-player table. (See if you agree.)

Overall, I did okay, but I still want to push myself in 2015 even more.

Result? Meh

With that said, what are my four resolutions for next year? Well, three are going to sound familiar!

Connect with a Local Gaming Group, Take Two

Can you believe there were weeks last year when I spent more time writing about Magic than actually playing it? That’s crazy! Sure, the occasional week might see Magic night be canceled or some such while I’m still churning out some article-age, but last year, it had to be around half of the time. That’s just not right. It’s not healthy.

I have to get in more card-flipping. This is no longer acceptable. I have to connect with an LGG—or else it’s just not Magic.

Push My Writing Even More

I need to push my writing more. I have to avoid the tendency to rehash topics and columns that are just more spins on what I’ve penned before. As you saw in last week’s article, one of the things I want to bring is more of the underused cards from older Magic sets. Another thing I want to do is find new avenues and new articles.

The game is bigger than ever! Shouldn’t my writing follow suit?

Drop AbeDraft to Twenty Cards

I need to push my cards needed even further. If I can knock down another ten cards this year, that would be downright awesome. I’d love to finish this year needing just the Power 9 and the mega-expensive stuff like Imperial Seal and Moat. Want to see the thirty cards I still need? Check out the appendix!

Finish My Mono-Black Cube!

Laquatus's Champion
I started working on a mono-black Cube, which is about half-finished or so. I’d love to finish it for y’all so you can enjoy it, too. When I’m done, I’ll write it up here and give you a link to it all completed and such over at CubeTutor.com. This is a real-life Cube project, so it follows my actual collection, and those projects invariably take longer to get together.

This is my first Cube that’s designed to be good at drafting your typical forty-card deck, and it will be around the usual size. It’s the best choice, in my mind, for a mono-colored Cube for a lot of reasons I can go into when I finish it and hash it out!

I’d also like to spend more time on my other Cubes, such as editing my Pulp Cube, among others.

So what are your Magic resolutions for 2015?

See you next year!

Abe Sargent

I actually own nineteen of these cards, and I run them in Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy. I have the full Power 10 plus Moat, Eureka, The Abyss, Temporal Manipulation, Imperial Seal, Imperial Recruiter, Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen, and Chaos Orb. I don’t like pulling cards out of my iconic deck for this project. But my guess is that when I knock off the other eleven cards, I might just commit and finish it off—but maybe not. Who knows?

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