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Great Magic Writing of the Week, November 2

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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 Art Through the Ages

Magic has changed quite a bit since the days of Alpha and Beta. One of the most prominent changes is that of the art. Over the years Magic has had several art directors and a myriad of artists, each with their own interpretations of what Magic should look like. This week, James Arnold has put together an infographic that looks at the evolution of a handful of iconic cards over the years. What's different? What's the same? Take a closer look and find out.

GatheringMagic.com: James Arnold (@thatguyjames2) - The Evolution of Magic Art


On Sea Serpents

Sea Serpent was an iconic design for many of the early sets in Magic's history, and it's easy to see why. A sea monster can't attack if there's no water; the design is a rare combination of simple and evocative. At least, that's the way Vorthos sees it. Melvin sees things a little differently, and Ant Tessitore is ready to delve into the important differences between these perspectives.

StarCityGames.com: Ant Tessitore (@AntMTG) - Perilous Flavor

Being a huge flavor goober and Vorthos, I often talk about designing both flavorful decks and cards as well as my belief that the game is far better off when we embrace the flavor as much as possible. While I am a Vorthos, and would do everything I could to make Magic the most flavorful game it could be, there are some pitfalls that I think designers and flavor goobers alike should be aware of when creating their cards. In today's article, I am going to take a look into what happens when an unflavorful design is actually the result of a flavorful one. Join me today as we go on a journey of perilous flavor.


On Halloween Magic

It's that time of year. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and ghouls are out to get you. In celebration of Halloween, Danny West has assembled a motley crew of Commanders and a horde of Zombie-themed trials to throw at them. Get in the holiday spirit with Dan's flavorful take on Halloween Magic.

StarCityGames.com: Danny West (@Tolaria_DWest) - Halloween Magic

It's that time of year when the air gets colder, the days get shorter, and there is pumpkin-flavored crap positively everywhere. It's October, which would be another boring August or September if not for that whole Halloween thing. October gives us the fun holiday that leads into the other holidays that are family-oriented, and thus, lame. (Christmas is a happy time and all, but it hasn't been the same since my gifts stopped being video games and started being utilitarian adult stuff like electric shavers and pajama pants. Remember when you got socks as a kid and it was the one gift that really didn't do it for you? When you get old enough, all you get is that gift.)

What's even more sad is that, right now, I would actually go for some new socks.

Enough about that. It's Halloween time, and Magic has a great relationship with Halloween! Today, I'm going to talk to you about the scarier parts of Magic and share some ways you can enjoy Halloween with Magic in mind. This includes a sweet underrated format that is super cheap to get into.


On Cruising Along

Treasure Cruise in all formats. Join Hall of Famer William Jensen as he runs down the best Treasure Cruise strategies in all your favorite formats. How is this card forcing formats to shift around it, and what can you do about it? Huey Jensen shares his expertise.

ChannelFireball.com: William "Huey" Jensen (@HueyJensen) - Treasure Cruise in Standard, Modern, and Legacy

Khans of Tarkir has naturally had a major impact on Standard, as it is the newest major block legal in the format, and therefore many decks are completely based around Khans of Tarkir cards. But in Modern and Legacy there are simply a lot more cards vying for the same 60 slots. The card that has had the biggest impact in those formats is almost definitely Treasure Cruise. This shouldn't come as a major surprise, as under optimal circumstances Treasure Cruise is essentially Ancestral Recall, one of the best cards in the history of Magic, arguably the single best Magic card ever printed. In this article, I'll discuss some Treasure Cruise decks across the various formats, and also analyze why Treasure Cruise hasn't quite found its niche yet in Standard like it has in the other formats.


On Cheating

In light of recent events in the Magic community, attention to and fear of dishonest play are at a high. You may not know what to look for, but Hall of Famer Paul Rietzl is ready to share his experience and help you protect yourself. Find out everything you need to know about  shuffling, slow play, judges, and more with the help of one of the game's true sportsmen.

ChannelFireball.com: Paul Rietzl (@paulrietzl)- Protect Yourself

In light of recent revelations regarding severe and systemic cheating incidents (and subsequent DCI action and expected additional action), I felt like it was important to tell people how to protect themselves at Magic tournaments.

I'd estimate that less than 5% of Magic players go into a sanctioned event with the intent to cheat. Some number more do end up committing dishonest acts at a tournament, so-called cheats of opportunity. All told, the community is honest. Most prizes are pretty small, so the financial incentive to cheat isn't there. Some cheaters want the prizes, some are simply compulsive, but I'd posit the vast majority are reasonably capable players who grow addicted to the winning feeling and associated community approval and who ultimately delude themselves that a dishonest victory can be a source of pride.

So what can we do to protect ourselves? Many things—some that will protect you in the moment and others that are designed to protect the community. I don't claim originality, many others such as Robert Dougherty, Ted Knutson, Zvi Mowshowitz, Dave Price, and Chris Pikula have written about these concepts.


On Being Green

In celebration of Commander 2014, Brian David-Marshall is running down one of the strong to est and most versatile colors in the format: Green. Why is Green awesome and what kind of goodness is there in Commander 2014

DailyMTG.com: Brian David-Marshall(@top8games) - Easy Being Green

One of the things that I love about being green (and keep in mind when I say "being green" I really mean "being Simic" or "being Sultai") is that the color is capable of keeping up with blue when it comes to card drawing. I have two different Commander decks with blue and green in them—Momir Vig, Simic Visionary and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant—and in both decks, the bulk of the card drawing is done by green cards, and usually attached to power and toughness.

Cards like Elvish Visionary, Masked Admirers, Wall of Blossoms, Carven Caryatid, Krosan Tusker, and even the bodiless Harmonize all sit in a box waiting for whatever green Commander deck I might build next. I have been pulling cards for Selvala, Explorer Returned—who is a pretty solid draw engine herself—and it feels good to know you have ways to keep up with colors like black and blue that everyone thinks have cornered the market on drawing cards.

Today's preview card is going to go straight into both of my existing decks and is heading right into the building box for Selvala. It is a great place to sink all that extra mana you get when you start Thousand-Year Elixiring and Seeker of Skybreaking your Commander. Contrary to a popular song sung by a certain frog this card makes green look easy.


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