October is shaping up to be one of the craziest months of my life.
This time next week, I will be a father. This time in three weeks, I will be playing day one of the 2022 Magic: the Gathering World Championship. Perhaps the biggest event of my life as well as the most important tournament of my career in one month? That's a lot!
And to top it all off, today I get to celebrate my 200th article here on CoolStuffInc.com!
When Evan Erwin contacted me about leaving StarCityGames.com to come produce content for CoolStuffInc.com, I was skeptical. I had been with StarCityGames for many years, writing my first article for them in 2013, and they also ran the tournament series that I was extremely invested in. It was a big jump, but ended up working out perfectly. It has been an absolute joy producing a written article and a video article every week for the site, as well as being part of a wonderful content creation team.
I just wanna give Evan, Rob, Rich, Jerry, and everyone else at CoolStuffInc.com a shout out for being so welcoming, flexible, and great to work with, I love y'all!
As such, today I wanted to look back at some of my favorite articles I've produced in the last four years of producing content for CoolStuffInc.com. It's a trip down memory lane, so let's roll!
It's not easy to write a deep theory piece every week, but the best part about them is that they are timeless.
Magic is a complicated game, which sometimes causes players to get wrapped up in the minutia of a single turn or combat step, and in doing so lose sight of the macro picture of winning the game. This article goes over those spots and showcases a big difference between how professional players and less experienced players approach the game.
Magic has broken a lot of new ground in the last five years, some good, some bad.
While the game is currently experiencing record sales once again, as it has for the last few years, there is a feeling of rot in the core confidence of the player base. As Wizards of the Coast pumps out more and more exceedingly expensive products ($1,000 booster packs anyone?) while organized play continues to flounder and both the digital and paper games have quality control issues, one has to wonder what the direction of the game is.
2019 was a tough year for Magic design, with a whole host of cards seeing print that are now banned in various (and sometimes almost all) formats.
This article was a fun exercise in game design, as I picked out eight of these cards and made slight edits to try and maintain the flavor and mechanics of the cards, but pull them down to a more reasonable power level. Designing and developing Magic cards is insanely difficult as you try and balance power and fun, which made this exercise both great food for thought as well as catharsis from some of these wildly overpowered cards.
It's still crazy to me that I get to do what I do for a living, but for every successful content creator there are hundreds, if not thousands of folks out there producing content that almost nobody ever sees. That's tough! But like all things, successful content creation is a byproduct of hard work and luck. You've got to do everything right, but still hit your spots and be in the right places at the right times.
This article is a simple guide for aspiring content creators, but honestly the advice herein applies to almost any creative endeavor. Playing in a band? Trying stand up comedy? Podcaster? The advice all applies and I hope this one is a helpful one.
Magic players, especially less experienced players, hate counterspells. But what they don't realize is that playing against and around counterspells is actually one of the most fun things in Magic.
When you play against a control deck, you are the one that is in control because you're the one who will be dictating the play as they react to you. Once you reframe it like this, you see the amount of agency you have when playing against control decks and can learn how to make your control opponent squirm as they're forced to cast spells at all the times they don't want to.
Another general theory piece, I am very proud of this one.
One of the most divisive things in Magic over the last year has been the introduction of the digital-only Alchemy format on MTG Arena.
Original intended to be sort of a "fixed Standard" where they could rebalance cards, Alchemy has really lost its way in recent months now that Standard is fun again, while the community has rallied heavily against the existence of the format.
There are a lot of good things about Alchemy, as I think many of the digital-only designs are awesome and explore new territory, and there is potential in rebalances, but the execution leaves something to be desired. In this article I lay out these issues as well as my potential solutions.
To 200 More!
If we're talking about 2000 words per article, plus about 500 words for each video article, I've produced somewhere in the realm of half a million words for CoolStuffInc.com. That's more words than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy!
I'm extremely thankful that I get to do what I do, and CoolStuffInc.com is a huge part of that. However, perhaps the most important part is you! Thank you for reading over the course of these 200 articles, as well as watching videos and streams and consuming other content. I look forward to the next 200, and hopefully many more!