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Great Magic Writing of the Week, December 29


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 Budgets

As far as hobbies go, Magic isn't exactly cheap. This week Mike Cannon celebrates his 101st article on Gathering Magic by taking a look at his approach to building on a budget. No matter what format you're building for, Mike's budget tips can help you get the most Magic for your money.

GatheringMagic.com: Mike Cannon (@MTGCannon) - Budget Deck-Building 101

This is my 101st budget deck-building article here on Gathering Magic. Over the last few years, I've given you a hundred different deck ideas. Today, I'm going to help you make your own. Building a deck on a budget can be difficult, but by considering these rules and strategies, you can be crushing Friday Night Magic in no time.

Know Your Limits

One very common mistake I see among people who try to build on a budget is that they do it backward. They start by building a deck, and they then look at their budget at see how they can make that deck cheaper. This is very wrong. Figuring out what your budget is should be the first thing you do. Then, you need to keep that in mind from the very start of deck-building.

On the Best of 2013

2013 was a great year for Magic. It was the year we returned to Ravnica, the year of Reid Duke, Huey Jensen, and Owen Turtenwald, and an incredible year for Magic media, from writing and coverage to video content and streaming. This week Blake took a moment to reflect back on the best moments of 2013 before we head into the new year.

GatheringMagic.com: Blake Rasmussen (@blakepr) - 2013 Year-End Rewards

I think I did this backward.

Last week, I looked forward to 2014 with fourteen predictions that have roughly the same probability of coming true as Jon Finkel does of not forcing Storm in the Magic Online Holiday Cube.

This week, with the new year nearly upon us, I’ll be looking back, throwing out end-of-the-year awards. I have a lot of words to give out a bunch of awards, so let’s not waste our time on an introduction. These are the best of the best from 2013 in a bunch of categories I felt qualified to comment on. Sound off in the comments if you agree or disagree with my picks.

On A New Year

It's the end of the year, and that means a great opportunity to reflect on the previous year and look and what can change for the better in the next. In this article Jon Corpora looks at what he wants to improve about his Magical life in 2014. Will you join Jon in some of his resolutions? What about some of your own?

ChannelFireball.com: Jon Corpora (@feb31st) - Resolutions

The holiday season might be the worst. I mean, unless you’re a small child; then the months of November through January are the best. You have no school, no work, and there’s snow everywhere. At the ages of 7-10, the average day for me on those months was either:

a. Wake up, play Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64, and drink hot cocoa until I fell asleep.

b. Wake up, go outside and start sledding until it got dark out, then come back in and drink hot cocoa until I fell asleep.

That’s a pretty sweet existence. Christmas is basically made for kids at this point. It’s just not really for adults. I get that that wasn’t the original idea, but for adults, the holidays are usually associated with Christmas carols popping into your head for no good reason, the people around you becoming 100% more tense and irritable, and an uptick in auto accidents. I haven’t been an “adult” long, but it hasn’t taken me long to discover the adult method of coping with the holiday season: loading up on food and alcohol beyond the pall of good sense.

New Year’s resolutions really make a lot much sense as an institution because by the time you’ve made it out of the holidays alive, you’ve gained fifty pounds. While this is a great coping mechanism, that still doesn’t stop you from wanting to die. It’s a lot like a hangover, and grown-ups react similarly, vowing to, “make some changes in {their lives}, things gotta change, {they} can’t keep going like this.” Basically the holidays are just one big bender that you either make it out of or you don’t. It’s not really up to you.

With this in mind, I’ve set up some handy Magical resolutions for myself for next year. I mean, I didn’t go on any benders this year, but it’s always good to have a plan. It’s also nice to have expectations for yourself, so that when you fail to achieve them you can take it out on friends and family through surliness, tantrums, and passive-aggressive remarks.

On Magic Trivia

The end of the year means a lull in competitive Magic events. That gives us a great opportunity to take a break from the hectic coverage schedule and metagame cycle to look back on the awesome history of Magic. In this article, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa shares a few stories from the early days of Magic and the Pro Tour, and challenges you to choose which are true and which aren't. Test your knowledge of Magic trivia!

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

The year is almost ending, it’s the holidays and there isn’t much to talk about, so I’ve decided we could play a little game of True or False. I’m going to post some stories here, some of which are true, some of which are not, and you’ll have to decide which ones are which. Ready?

On Oloro

Do your New Year's resolutions include building a new Commander deck? Consider trying Bennie's take on Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, featuring all the life-gaining, card-drawing, and face-smashing you can handle. Bennie has built a controlling deck with plenty of incidental lifegain that looks to get ahead on life and cards and keep things that way throughout the rest of the game. Get your control on and give Oloro a try!

StarCityGames.com: Bennie Smith (@blairwitchgreen)- Kicking Back With Oloro

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas and found time to spend with family and friends. As I write this, I've just finished up visiting with my kids and left them with their mom. At thirteen- and eleven-years-old, they're at the age where many of their gifts are fun for grownups too—at least those of us who are still kids at heart. I still haven't managed to get 'em hooked on Magic yet. But my mom gave us a Kindle Fire HDX as a family gift for me and the kids, and I've downloaded Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers (the full version) as a trap for them. Currently they seemed to be near obsessed with Scribblenauts Remix, but I have faith that eventually they will tire of it and one day when they're feeling bored they'll click on that little funky Magic icon and get the bug. Fingers crossed . . .

I got some great feedback on the Shattergang Brothers deck last week. Apparently there are a lot of y'all that like to break things and inflict misery on your opponents! Even though I included Hammer of Purphoros in the deck as a dual-purpose enchantment and artifact, I forgot to mention that the creatures that the Hammer can hit the trifecta by turning a land into an artifact enchantment Golem creature. That's pretty darn sweet for a Shattergang Brothers deck!

Also, thanks to everyone who provided a vote for which new legend from Commander 2013 they wanted me to cover next; I got a good response and was a little surprised by how the votes tallied.Roon of the Hidden Realm and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic tied for first place and just barely edged out Gahiji, Honored One, with Prossh, Skyraider of Kher way behind and Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge dead last. As much as I love Roon and can't wait to build a deck around him, since I just did the other new Bant Commander two weeks ago I think I'll step over to Esper and give Oloro, Ageless Ascetic a whirl.

On Learning

What are some other lessons we can learn for the new year? Glenn Jones has managed coverage teams at many Magic events and has watched a lot of games. In his article this week, Glenn shares some of his experience by identifying some of the more common mistakes made by all manner of players. Can you pick up a couple of percentage points and improve your game by resolving to make small changes in the way you play? Join Glenn and find out.

StarCityGames.com: Glenn Jonnes (@SecludedGlenn)- Lessons Worth Learning

As a professional railbird for about seven years, I've learned a thing or two about the bad habits of TCG players. From mistakes to information leaks to breaches of etiquette . . . I've certainly witnessed more of each than I could ever remember, and I've got a pretty good mind for the stuff! Today I'm going to reflect on a few of the most common I've seen. Hopefully, you find it helpful—if not, then perhaps the personal anecdotes will tide you over.

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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