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Rare Earths: A Farewell to Arms Dealer
By Russell Sherman
Rare Earths:
A Farewell To Arms Dealer
Dan Sakurai and the Casual Power Curve

Only once in my life have I ever seen a marker beetle beatdown, and that one time was the day I decided that the causal power curve still could exist. The player was a guy named Daniel Sakurai, and DanÖ. wellÖ. Dan had ďthe touchĒ. You know, he could grab a random pile of cards, throw in lands of the appropriate colors, and you would suddenly find, in that pile, three fantastic combos nobody but Dan knew existed. He was the king of sleeper rares, holding onto cards nobody wanted until they suddenly became good, and he was almost always the first one to figure them out.
Despite being eminently qualified (his favorite card, he claimed, was Reap) Dan never considered himself a casual player. He never went to a tournament, and didnít ever bother complaining about anything WOTC did, up to and including the banning of dark rituals. And he always won. He would sit there and throw up a kind of invisibility that only Dan ever had, and nobody would notice him, or his key cards until it was too late, he already had the game in his pocket. But the one thing I admired about Dan, more then his talent at card-spotting, more than his topdecking capabilities, more than his winning, was his use of cards.
Dan plays like I want to. He wins games using Ravenous Rats, Kingfisher, and a hundred other mediocre cards that work together like a smoothly oiled machine in his hands. Iíve only once seen him lose, and that was in a draft of mercadian masques. He lost once, and never have I seen him touch a masticore.
Now that Iíve given you an idea as to who this guy is, Iíll explain what this article is about, and why itís dedicated to him.
The Casual Power Curve, something Zadok wrote about previously, is something I personally never believed in, and hereís why: it isnít right. Rares are not powerful enough to take over a playgroup unless you let them. You just must exercise some policing.
Now, looking through my cards, I can see where I differ from some of my friends, I donít keep binders. I keep stacks. Piles and piles of them are heaped around my room, sorted by color. Well, almost sorted by colorÖ. And in these cards lies the casual power curve. Itís in the ability to beat a 300 dollar deck with 4 ten cent disenchants. Or counterspells. Commons have always ruled the game, and have always made for the denial of rares. And the situation is no different today in my playgroup than it was before. The only difference is that now Morphling is being countered, instead of Serra. And we Dark Banishing Masticores, not Uthden Trolls.
Dan still plays decks where he can swords (itís a verb, really!) creatures, and still holds on to his commons, with one or two rares, and still conistently wins. Itís a great promise to me, that someone with that talent plays with cards that fit nicely in the casual power curve. Iíve dedicated my decks to making sure that expensive cards donít take over the scene at my school, whenever life gets too expensive, I whip together a deck using one rare and all basic lands. No, it doesnít always win, but when a $10 deck can beat a $150 deck 20% of the time, it makes people rethink how they play. And Iím proud of Dan, using marker beetles to beat down on people. He may be the ratsí last defenderÖ

anachronism42@hotmail.com

Read More Articles by Russell Sherman!

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