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Great Magic Writing of the Week, July 14


A staggering amount of Magic content is published each day each day on a plethora of content sites, blogs, podcasts, and discussion forums. No matter how honest an effort you make, it's easy to fall behind and miss incredible articles because there just isn't enough time to read everything.

To that end, we've collected some of the best articles of the week covering a broad range of topics. If you're looking for articles, these are the ones you don't want to miss!

On Being Second Best

StarCityGames.com: Sheldon Menery (@SheldonMenery)- The Philosophy of Being Second Best

There is more than just strategy to multiplayer Magic (and multiplayer games in general), there is an art. There are multiple layers of politics and evaluations. Not only must you figure out what you need to do vs-a-vs more opponents, you need to figure out what more opponents are going to do regarding you. Then, adding to that you, need to figure out what all those opponents are going to do when it comes to each other. Navigating any multiplayer game is more than just setting your deck on cruise control and powering through. Your hands have to be on the rudder the entire time, and in addition to understanding the seas you're in, you also have to pay attention to the way the wind is blowing—plus, at any time, Liam Neeson might unleash the Kraken.

On Modern Masters Commons

StarCityGames.com: Jim Davis - Five Cards That Make Modern Masters Limited Work

When you think of the late 1990's New York Yankees dynasty and the four World Series championships they won together, you probably think of names like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, and Paul O'Neill. This makes sense of course, because they were the key players and superstars that provided the huge moments that propelled the Yankees into their most recent dynasty. However, while it is easy to forget a player like Luis Sojo, a utility infielder with sure hands and an affinity for big clutch hits, the fact remains that while every good team has superstars, there are many role-players on every roster than can make or break a team.

Role-players often aren't flashy. They don't blow you away with jaw-dropping plays, or put the game on their back and run away with it. The currency they operate with is not limitless talent, but rather a combination of grit, heart, and determination. It is these qualities that serve as the glue that holds a team together; it is not very often you see a championship team that does not have a great supporting cast.

This is Avian Changeling.

On Commitment

DailyMTG.com: Mike Flores (@fivewithflores) - Commitment

There are different philosophies in deck building, of course. Some are super straightforward: Playing "the absolute best cards, or the best cards in your chosen color(s), regardless of synergy" is one philosophy, and has been a successful one. Picking nine or ten cards you like and playing four copies of all of those along with twenty to twenty-four lands is another; it has also been successful, especially in beatdown decks or other proactive strategies (although you will often be accused of playing a little-kid deck). These sorts of philosophies can rack up just as many big wins as seemingly more complicated ones... but they are not necessarily the most fun or mentally engaging.

Part of what makes Magic so addictive is the deck building element of synergy, and the inter-card dependencies that are implicit to synergy. I can still remember the moment, nearly twenty years ago, when it not only dawned on me that I should play my Revised-era Kird Ape in a deck with Forests, but that there was such a thing as Taiga, and that all of these cards could link hairy arms and serve me as a sum greater than its individual parts (which was not a great leap for a 1/1 Kird Ape).

Decks relying on inter-card synergies require a bit more commitment to deck building than those with cards that all stand on their own. I am not talking about putting together a Deceiver Exarch and a Splinter Twin. Not a combo.

I am talking about commitment.

On Ockham's Laser

TCGPlayer.com: Jackie Lee (@JackieL33)- Ockham's Laser: The Shortest Path to Victory

Playing with this deck feels like one of those laser puzzles, where you have to direct the beam of unwavering destruction by dragging a selection of mirrored panels around. You can't change the direction of the beam, but you can use the fixed-angle mirrors to reflect it somewhere more useful—provided you don't Incinerate yourself in the process.

Ral Zarek and Turn // Burn are those mirrored panels.

Take Ral, for example. He has approximately one ability that's relevant in draft, which he can use twice if you're lucky.

“What's it going to be today?” you sneer at your so-called 'bomb.' “Are you going to Bolt once or twice?”

Instead of replying, Ral just grins obnoxiously and continues to rub his electrified nipples. That is so typical, you think disdainfully.

On Magic 2014 Limited

GatheringMagic.com: Max Sjoeblom (@thebloom_) - Magic 2014 Limited First Impressions

Hey there! This week, I’ll be taking my first look at the Limited environment offered to us by Magic 2014. As the full spoiler was just released a few days ago, I have of course not had the chance to play with the set, so these thoughts are purely theoretical. I hope they will still help you conquer those local prereleases! In this article, I will start by talking about M14 Limited in general and then move on to talk about each color’s weakness and strengths along with my Top 5 picks for each color. I will mainly be talking about the commons in the set, as they are the bread and butter of Limited Magic.

On Deckbuilding and Infographics

GatheringMagic.com: James Arnold (@thatguyjames2) - Deckbuilding Survey Results Infographic

If you have suggestions for next week's recap you can mention us on Twitter, or share throughout the week in the comments below.

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