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Writing for Vorthos and Taking Stock


I won’t be writing a deck list today on Vorthos Wednesday. I probably won’t write more than three in an entire year, and today is no exception. I find writing them to be terribly boring; like a never-finished painting, you always want to tweak them. Picasso used to sneak into museums and “finish” his paintings. The light was different than in his studio, and the white walls changed his composition.

A deck list is no different.

That’s why Vorthos doesn’t really care about deck lists. It’s not because he doesn’t use them; he does. It’s just that the information is subjective. Deck lists will change up to a major event’s beginning, adding and removing cards from the sideboard to fit the metagame. The deck changes and needs to adapt as new information presents itself. Vorthos works on facts. An artist painted this or that book stated that. In other words, Vorthos loves canon and logically becomes so damn furious whenever a retcon appears because it wasn’t what he originally learned. His trust in the creative team is nullified because if the story is altered, the beginning, middle, and end don’t matter. Vorthos feels cheated because he took the time to learn the game beyond the game, and in doing so, he wasted his time.

Compare a retcon to a kid whom others let win in chess for years on end, and who later finds out that he wasn’t that good at all, others just felt sorry for his inadequacies. That life-altering moment and the fury behind the realization is what Vorthos feels.

I haven’t played chess since I heard Bobby Fischer’s racist remarks. Perhaps it was my incessant playing of Searching for Bobby Fischer and winning small local tournaments in my rural area. (There really wasn’t much to do in rural Minnesota. There’s a reason that STDs are crazy high in Nebraska—there’s nothing really else to do.) Perhaps it opened my eyes to a game played largely by white people . . . where black plays white . . . and white goes first. Every time I sift through a board game to play, the chess/checkers tin we have always gives me a very vivid memory of watching CNN Headline News that morning. I stepped away from that game preemptively. When I decided to stop running after our Big Ten Championships, it felt nice to walk away of my own accord with nothing to prove or to still accomplish.

On my list of life things to do is to pick up chess again. Also on there is to write a deck list that matters. I also want to write a retcon—a seamless loophole that Vorthos will nod his head to and say, “clever girl.” (He’s always been bad at gender cases. It’s why German is impossible for Vorthos to learn. “Goetterdaemmerung!”)

Before I am able to write this Moses-from-the-Mount retcon that will shake Vorthos and force him to reminisce on his formative experiences, I need to get into Wizards.

“But Mike, you already are. P.S. Can you get me a job?”

No and no. I’m a freelance writer who doesn’t live in Seattle and I have no connections to the human-resources department.

I’m not Jenna Helland talented in writing. Obviously, since you’re reading this, you know that.

I’m not Jeremy Jarvis talented in winning Spectrum awards.

I’m not already working in the WotC office, able to take a horizontal promotion. This would allow for more red-pen “knife” fights with Jarvis and Cavotta. (Whitters officiates. The only rule is, “No touching of the hair or face… AND THAT’S IT!”)

I didn’t apply for the Assistant Brand Manager under Mark Purvis. It’s not because of the job or Mark. Purvis is great for the brand. I had Pad Thai with him when I visited Seattle, and his Midwestern friendliness really made a great impression on me.

I’m not applying because I’m not ready yet. I have matters to attend to first.

My master’s degree will be completed in May, and my life will not change before that date. I’m now past the point of turning back on this degree. If you want something, you need to go get it. You just need to get one thing at a time and never lose focus of your eventual goal. I’ll get in those cubicles, just not this week.

That begs the question:

Why do I keep writing for Vorthos Wednesday?

Should I even be kept on, as my main rationale is using it as a stepping-stone for greater things?

Prior to GM having a day set aside, we would have Doug’s weekly article, and the rest of the articles from the Vorthos peanut gallery were infrequent. Of those flavorful articles written, the vast majority were reviews. Of those reviews, most were simply love/hate articles on flavor.

I hate this book.

I love this artwork. These are my top ten.

I hate this artwork. I hate these artists.

Forum posters would also look for the sexy art. Of course. I’m just as baffled as the rest of you wondering how some pieces got by censors. I’m more baffled that people buy the eBay anime alters. I’m not surprised they exist; I’m surprised that people will buy poor-quality pieces. They’re largely awful. Yes, I want a singleton of a schoolgirl half-naked in a forest, off-center, blurry with enough paint to make me think of high-school girls caking on makeup. Yes, I want that.

Vorthos needed a voice, and I’ve been able to provide something of value, twice, to this community.

Sometimes a critical eye is fun.

Anyone else notice that the belt is flipped? Did the gender change too?

Sometimes a critical eye isn’t so much fun.

Birch bark is a pretty weak wood. Unless it’s magically imbued, it’d likely break. My Eagle Scout knowledge for you for the day.

Sometimes just giving a part of the game a louder voice is enough.

To continue on the road of innovation and widen the path for marginalized Vorthos, let me pitch to you a few things. Let me know which one you’re interested in, or if you’re not interested in either.

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Until next week, fellow flavorphiles. I’ll be back . . . 

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