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Great Magic Writing of the Week, January 12

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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 Kindness

Magic Online is awesome for a lot of things, like testing constructed formats and drafting at 3 A.M. It does have it's fair share of issues though. This week, Rada Rudyak takes a look at something everyone on Magic Online has experience with: rage and bullying. How prevalent is this issue? Why is it important? How do you make sure you aren't contributing to the problem? Rada answers these questions and suggests several ways to improve your Magic Online experience:

GatheringMagic.com: Rada Rudyak (@gomaketrouble) - Be Kind

Hey, you.

I want to ask you something.

Do you know that overwhelming feeling of frustration, injustice, and pain after losing a game of Magic Online that you shouldn’t have lost? What about the burning urge to hurt your bad, slow-rolling opponent with whatever you can . . . to make sure he fucking knows he didn’t deserve to win, that he better realize that his pile isn’t gonna make it next round? I know that feeling.

Have you acted on it?

If you answered “yes” to either, please stay with me. I want to talk to you.


On Rotisserie

What is a rotisserie draft, and why is it a format particularly suited for cubing? Join cube afficianado Eric Klug to learn the ins and outs of his favorite format. This is a format where the decisions are hard, the decks are sweet, and the stories are epic. Build your own cube and give Rotisserie a try!

GatheringMagic.com: Eric Klug (@klug_alters) - Rotisserie Draft

Gather ’round all, and let me tell you a tale of the greatest format of all time: Rotisserie Draft. The premise is relatively simple. Obtain one copy of every card from a given set, and have eight players draft from the face-up pool until each player makes a predetermined number of picks. In most cases, what’s called a wheel is used, in which the eighth-seated player has two picks in the rotation, and pick order snakes back to the first seat. Rinse and repeat.

Today, I don’t want to simply discuss Rotisserie Draft in and of itself, but rather its role within the context of another great format: Cube. More specifically, I’ll be discussing my Common/Uncommon Cube (C/Ube). By now, most of you are probably familiar with cubing, be it from the format’s introduction to Magic Online or its flourishing reputation within the paper-playing community. Cube is tailor-made for Rotisserie Draft. As Cubes are naturally singleton entities, the only preparation needed for a Rotisserie is color-sorting for ease of drafting.

But what sets Cube Rotisserie apart from Rotisserie drafting a normal Magic set? For me, it’s related to the spectrum of power level. If one were to draft Theros, for example, the difference in power level between Elspeth, Sun’s Championand Yoked Ox is quite large. In Cube, all the cards are typically very playable and/or of a very high power level. While there are some clear winners, it’s more difficult to discern which is the very best, and therefore, the format is not so easily solved. You can think of Rotisserie as a simple thought experiment. If you could assemble the perfect Draft from a given set (with the restriction that you can only have one copy of any particular card), what would your deck look like? With the consideration of seven other drafters, what cards would you have to prioritize?


On Goblins

Jim Davis has been playing Goblins since he started playing Legacy. He's played Gobins in multiple Extended formats, and has stayed with the deck even as Legacy has continued to evolve and become faster and more powerful. Tarmogoyf, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Delver of Secrets, and even Griselbrand. So why is it that Jim has decided that now is the time to put his little green friends back on the shelf? Join Jim Davis as he shares the stories of his Goblin friends: the good, the bad, and everything in between.

StarCityGames.com: Jim Davis - Funeral For a Friend

Greetings my friends. We gather here today to mourn the death of a friend—one who fought the good fight, punishing blue decks and their filthy Counterbalances and Force of Wills while at the same time providing tutoring and card draw that would make even them envious. While powerful and capable of doing degenerate things, in the end fighting fair was always the name of the game. Woefully misunderstood by most and loved by those closest, time has finally caught up.

I guess it would be best to start at the beginning.


On Style

Does the kind of player you are matter when you're trying to determine what the optimal play is? Sam Black seemed to think so in an article he wrote last week. He believes that you know your own strengths, and can steer the game to positions where you are more likely to play optimally. Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa disagrees, and this week his article is all about why there is one and only one correct play at any moment in any game. Which side of the argument will you fall on?

ChannelFireball.com: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (@PVDDR)- Style

A week ago, Sam Black wrote an interesting article called “Make the Right Play for You”. In this article, Sam explains that there isn’t a perfect play in the abstract, but rather a perfect play for each person, because people have different styles and what is right for me might not be right for you.

Respectfully, I disagree. Today I’m going to argue that, while this can be true in some situations, I think this line of thought will result in a worse play overall, and might actually be detrimental to your growth as a player.


On Magic in 2013

Take a look back at what Magic had to offer in 2013 with Aaron Forsythe, director of R&D. Aaron's annual column From the Director's Chair gives us an idea of what products Wizards saw as especially successful or disappointing, and gives us an idea of what to expect in the future. This year, Aaron covers everything from Return to Ravnica and Theros to Modern Masters and the new card frame coming Magic 2015.

DailyMTG.com: Aaron Forsythe (@mtgaaron)- From the Director's Chair: 2013

Greetings, Planeswalkers and other denizens of the Multiverse! It's that time of year again, wherein I regale you with all that was Magically Magnificent in the past year! Yes, thanks to all of you, Magic had another great year of growth! Many great things happened, products were released, mazes were ended, and monsters were monstrositied!

Beyond my yearly recap, I have a sneak peek at some upcoming goodies that are sure to pique your interest, so jump on in!

I'll begin with my review of 2013…


On Advanced Design

How has the design of Magic sets changed in recent years? What has changed between Mirrodin being all about artifacts while Theros  and Innistrad are about a more cohesive story and flavor?being It all started with The Great Designer Search 2 and the advent of advanced design. What does that mean for Magic moving forward? Mark Rosewater gives us an inside look into this new step in the design process.

DailyMTG.com: Mark Rosewater (@maro254)- Advanced Design

For the first article of 2014, I thought I'd finally talk about something that I've been referencing for a while in my column, something I call "advanced planning." Also known as pre-design, advanced planning is the latest innovation in how we design Magic sets. For those interested in impact of advanced design, the last design innovation of this scope and influence was New World Order. In today's column, I am going to explain what advanced planning is, talk about how it came to be, and explain why it has revolutionized how we design. I have a lot to cover so let's get started.


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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