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Great Magic Writing of the Week

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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 Storage

Cards and formats come and go. Magic art is forever. As long as your protect it, at least. If you're going to make a big investment into a piece of original Magic art, the least you can do is store it correctly. What's the best way to protect your very own piece of Magic history? Mike has a few tips.

GatheringMagic.com: Mike Linnemann (@vorthosmike) - Preserving the Priceless

While talking to a fellow art collector in the past week, he and I discussed how, while I’ve talked about framing andstoring cards, I’ve never discussed art storage. With sixty-seven collectors of Magic on OriginalMagicArt.com, it’s time storage is discussed—in case art is in storage forever.

I worked in an art museums registrar’s office out of college, and while I didn’t preserve all the things, I definitely learned to find out how. There are books and guides, bibles really, that tell you all the ideal ways to preserve and handle artworks. I find that’s more of what my art-management master’s degree entailed: admitting I don’t know anything but that, with time and effort, I can find the precise, exact, and ideal way to do things, all things considered. With that mini intro explained, let’s get into the art.


On Partying with Xenagod

You thought Rakdos, Lord of Riots knew how to throw a party? The A. E. Marling and the Reveler himself, Xenagos are here to show you what a real bash looks like. Not interested? That's okay. They'll come across the red zone and bring the party to you.

GatheringMagic.com: A. E. Marling (@AEMarling) - Xenagod Party

The revel hasn’t really started until a Hellion shows up. Yes, your durdling neighbors will complain about the noise when you sweep away their tokens, mana dorks, and killjoy commanders. But the best block parties leave the street leveled and lava-strewn with the dimming orange light of your enemies’ overly ambitious dreams. Laugh as you destroy their mana rocks in a Shattering Spree. Leap and dance as a Moltensteel Dragon lights the sky and burns away that snooty blue mage who just tapped out to cast Recurring Insight.

Xenagos, God of Revels makes the combat phase relevant in Commander. Whereas other creature-based decks fold to board wipes, this deck delights in creatures’ destruction. Xenagod doesn’t leave the party early, and a cleared board means Malignus doesn’t need trample to bring down the house. His power and toughness doubles, and he hastily executes anyone at the table with exactsies, preferably someone who spent his or her turns ramping to 10 or more mana.


On Styling

Commander is a format where there's nothing on the line. Nothing but pride, anyway. When there's nothing to lose, there's no reason not to go big and play for style points. This week Danny West has a few suggestions for Commanders and cards that are a little played out. Step up your Commander decks and win some games in style with some of Danny's awesome combos.

StarCityGames.com: Danny West (@Tolaria_DWest) - Playing Commander in Style

Commander is one of those formats where people come and go. A lot of that is on playgroups. Sometimes, somebody will spend good money or store credit on a Commander deck, attend the local playgroup, then get run over by a Zur-shaped train.

Thanks for playing!

And yeah, part of the format's appeal is in its freedom. You can play whatever you want, and the RC does a good job of regulating the format by regulating very little. It just seems unfair for geography and local politics to play such an important role in the user experience. Given that winning in the format isalmost meaningless (some of you need to read that about six more times for good measure), I thought I'd take a few minutes to address the commanders that have too much substance and too little style.

That's right: this is going to be about style! Flair. Pizazz. Wizbang. Airplane. Housewife. More nouns.

So let's take a look at some of Commander's worst offenders and figure out how to style them up a tad.


On the Play

Everyone knows it's better to be on the play in constructed. But how big of an edge is it really? Frank Karsten brings to bear the kind of analysis that only he is capable of, breaking down the results from the previous Grand Prix season to determine just how big of a deal the play-draw advantage is. The results may surprise you.

ChannelFireball.com: Frank Karsten (@Karsten_Frank) - How Important is it to Play First?

In Magic, the commonly accepted wisdom is that in most circumstances it is best to play first. But is this actually true, and how large is this advantage?

Let's first look at this question from an intuitive perspective: The advantage of being on the play is that you can play cards and attack with creatures one turn before your opponent can do so. The downside is that you have one fewer card to work with than your opponent in every turn of the game. However, in the early turns, this extra card usually doesn't improve your plays, so if you expect the games to take only a few turns, then the speed boost will usually outweigh the extra card. That is, playing first should be better.

But I don't want to rely on such a flimsy explanation. Let's take a look at some hard, juicy data!


On Pro Tour Teams and Personalities

Another Pro Tour, another special by Florian Koch. Which teams have surprisingly spectacular resumes? Which players are up-and-comers who may just break out? Florian has crunched some numbers and done some leg work to bring you spectacular facts, figures, and interviews for Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir.

ChannelFireball.com: Florian Koch - Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Special

The 2014-15 Pro Tour season is about to start. Therefore I would like to combine this Pro Tour Special with a preview of the next season. Actually I think future Pro Tour Specials will also vary a bit from issue to issue. I love to talk to the stars of the game, but it gets tough to come up with interesting questions for a bunch of people while you get to talk to players you know less and less about. Instead of interviewing a dozen people, and struggling to achieve the quality that I’d like to deliver, I’d rather keep the number of interviewees smaller and add some texture that I find interesting. Last time I talked to some Wizards staff, and this time I have a preview for the 2014-15 season. Next time—I have some ideas… So you'll have to wait for those to find out what they are!


On #MTGHOF in Honolulu

Paul Rietzl, Makihito Mihara, and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Three of the greatest players to ever sling cardboard were inducted into the Hall of Fame this Thursday evening in Honolulu. Who are these players, and what special role have professional events in Hawaii played for these titans of the game? Pro Tour Historian Brian David-Marshall brings you the stories of these incredible players.

DailyMTG.com: Brian David-Marshall - Tradewind Riders

This weekend marks the fourth time the Pro Tour will be played out within walking distance of the beach in Honolulu, Hawaii—almost universally agreed upon in the pro community as the best tournament destination in the history of the Pro Tour. Early in the week, before the players even registered for the event, the newest members of the Magic the Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame were inducted at the first-ever Hall of Fame banquet in front of a gathering of existing members of the Hall.

In the past, the Hall of Fame ceremony took place before Round 1 of a Pro Tour, but by creating a special banquet for the induction, it created a somewhat more special atmosphere. I had the opportunity to emcee the event, while my longtime boothmate Rich Hagon got to show off his prodigious musical skills on the piano. You will have the chance to see the video of the ceremony during the lunch break on Sunday during the Top 8 of the Pro Tour.

As we showed each player a montage of his career and presented him with his new hardware, I was struck by how fitting it was to have the ceremony in Honolulu, where all three of the new Hall of Fame members had huge moments that led them to the induction ceremony.


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