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Great Magic Writing of the Week, August 4

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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 the World Championship

Did you miss the first two days of Magic World Championship competition? Florian Koch put together an incredible piece on the players and the format of the tournament, inspired by the style sports magazines. Florian's booklet has everything from statistics to interviews to tables of results from various events for easy comparisons. If you want to know more about some of the very best players Magic has to offer, this is a great resource.

ChannelFireball.com: Florian Koch - World Championship Special Issue

As in other sports, watching the coverage is more interesting when you know the competitors and have favorites to root for. Befitting of a World Championship, most players that will be in Amsterdam are indeed Magic celebrities already. However, some might be not as well known yet, or you might just want to know more about a few of them.

When I started this booklet, the idea was to create something similar to the special issues sports magazines publish when a new football or baseball season starts. I can compete neither in professionalism nor in man hours with something like Sports Illustrated, of course. Nevertheless I think this booklet is a good first step to bring an analog to those magazine’s to Magic.

In the course of this booklet, the tournament, its history, and all the players are introduced. For each competitor there are stats, a brief description of the player, a picture, and an interview with the player. Without a doubt the interviews are the heart of this text. I am very grateful that all 16 players took the time to answer the questions I sent them. This is where this document comes alive instead of being just a collection of stats.


On Worlds and Infographics

James Arnold has put together a special infographic in honor of the Magic World Championship, featuring interesting statistics about the competitors including winnings and career wins at professional events in all relevant formats. Are you looking for a quick introduction to the players and their Magic careers leading up to Worlds? Then this is exactly what you're looking for! If you're watching the coverage tomorrow, keep an eye out for James' work being featured on the Live Coverage of Worlds Week.

GatheringMagic.com: James Arnold (@thatguyjames2)- 2013 World Championship: An Infographic, Part Two


On the Hall of Fame

DailyMTG.com: Brian David-Marshall (@top8games)- Introducing the 2013 Hall of Fame Class

Players must have spent ten years since their first Pro Tour appearance and amassed 100 Pro Points in their career to be eligible for the Pro Tour Hall of Fame. The requirements are simple. Meeting them is not.


On Young Pyromancer

Young Pyromancer
Young Pyromancer is one of the most exciting cards in Magic 2014. We've already seen a few people trying to break the card in Modern and Legacy. We've even seen different takes on Burn at the Stake combo in Standard. But FNM Hero Adam Prosak is committed to his UR Delver of Secrets deck, and he thinks Young Pyromancer was printed just for him.

StarCityGames.com: Adam Prosak (@aprosak)- FNM Hero: Looking Ahead / Looking Back

Magic 2014 is upon us, and I am excited about one card in particular: Young Pyromancer.

It's almost as if Wizards of the Coast saw my deck, figured it needed a little extra juice, and went back in time to create Young Pyromancer just for me. Sure, other players and deckbuilders might be interested in Young Pyromancer (hi Drew Levin!), but for now I'm going to assume it was made just for me.


On Magic Personalities

We've all heard about Johnny, Timmy, Spike, and Vorthos. But those talk about why we play Magic and the kind of games we enjoy, not how we think about the game. After spending a significant amount of time observing high level play at events like Pro Tours and Grand Prix, Lauren Lee has put together a set of parameters that make for an interesting scale for Magic personalities. So what kind of player are you? Introverted and intuitive? Focused on thinking and judgment rather than feelings and perceptions? Read more about Lauren's ideas to find out!

Mulldrifting.blogspot.com: Lauren Lee (@mulldrifting) - The MTG Personality Types

Many of you know about the Myers-Briggs personality test. It labels your personality based on four different dichotomies: Introvert vs. Extrovert, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perception.

I've come up with a similar test specifically for Magic players, after observing the different kinds of people in the game and their unique play styles.

This isn't anything like Maro's Timmy, Johnny, and Spike categories because it isn't about what you enjoy in Magic. It's about the kind of player you are and where your strengths lie. It's about what motivates you to play and how you make in-game decisions.

I believe understanding yourself as a player will help you use your strengths more wisely and help overcome your weaknesses. A certain level of self-reflection is needed in any player with the ambition to win a tournament—whether it is FNM, a PTQ, or a Pro Tour. Knowing more about your own play style and preferences will also help you connect better with others, such as teammates who need to combine their skill sets. (Voltron it up!)

Note that everyone has some of each quality; no one is 100% one or the other. But often they will have a stronger preference for one over the other. The question is, which is stronger for you?


On Playtesting

Playtesting is an important part of your preparation for any tournament. This week Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa goes into some of the common pitfalls he has observed during his extensive playtesting with team Channel Fireball for pro tours over the past few years. Step up your playtesting; let Paulo teach you how to isolate the appropriate variables and avoid inbreeding in your testing groups.

ChannelFireball.com: Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa (@PVDDR) - Seven Playtesting Traps

Hello!Originally, I was going to write about the traps you can fall into when you’re deckbuilding, which was a suggestion I received on Twitter. As I wrote them, though, I found that they applied more to playtesting than to deckbuilding, so I changed the focus of the article. Of course to deckbuild you have to playtest, so it’s not that different, but hopefully it helps when you need to tweak a deck or even just figure out which of the already existing decks you like more.

Throughout the years, I’ve worked with different kinds of players, of many different levels. I’ve been a casual player, I’ve been a PTQ player working with other PTQ players, I’ve been a first time PTer working with other first time PTers, and I’ve been a Pro Player working with other Pro Players. For all their differences in skill and experience, most players in those groups (as well as myself) have fallen for the same playtesting traps.


On Sexism and Newbs

One question. One answers. How do we deal with what happens afterward? Sexism in Magic is not a new issue, but one answer during the PAX Australia panel has sparked the issue once again. Heather Lafferty and Natasha Lewis Harrington have taken this opportunity to talk about their thoughts about this incident and our community in general. Perhaps the issue isn't about gender at all, but rather has more to do with our willingness to be ambassadors of the game, and share the game we love with new players, regardless of gender, age, or any other identifier. Maybe we just need to be the change we want to see in our community, and do what we can to make the game more accessible to everyone:

GatheringMagic.com: Heather Lafferty and Natasha Lewis Harrington (@Revisedangel and @natasha_lh)- On Sexism and Newbs

A post goes live, and a link appears like a beacon in the night. Little link tentacles begin to reach out to Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, and the discussions explode. The experts on everything with “studies” they found in their Google search bar begin dispensing knowledge justice.

Here come the trigger words: sexism, white knights, oversensitive, crybabies

The Backfire Effect  is in full display, and nothing is really solved. Nothing changes.

I received several e-mails and more direct messages on Twitter from both men and women asking what I thought of Aaron’s comments. I too could respond with studies. I could become gleefully link-happy with study after study accounting how not only can women be just as competitive as men but when needed can display a viciousness unique unto ourselves. I mean, have you ever been to cheerleading tryouts? I could explain to you that law-enforcement agencies across the country are now recruiting women with intensity to combat toxic and brutal cop cultures. We can read studies together finding women are more likely to deploy empathy over ego, attempting to keep volatile situations from escalating. We could examine statistics by Fortune 500 companies showing there is a direct correlation between having a strong female role model and recruitment levels. I could. I’m not.


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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