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The Questing Beast
By Russell Sherman
The Questing Beast

*Note to CPA users, Rare Earths will be concluding operations this month. The articles will be available, in their present state, but they will not be updated. This will allow you the opportunity to browse the features that already exist in the articles. We very much appreciate all of the support you have shown the column over the past months.*

It’s gone, it’s all gone: The Dojo died. Again. I remember when it first was being used. When Zvi and Alongi and Wakefield would write for it on a regular basis. It was THE magic site. No site now, not even this one, can match, for terms to sheer impressivness, what the old dojo put up. But, when it came back up, after the collapse of Psylum, it was different. No more Zvi, no more regular updates. The members, dissuaded by it’s silence, had scattered to the wind. The collapse of The Dojo had more to do with the rise of the CPA than any other single event, I believe. We had a flood of people suddenly coming in. Of people who were more than just casual players. Some even stayed.
When it returned it was weaker. The other sites were on par, and many were even more up-to-date than it was. It lost many of it’s writers and it’s readers. And I stopped checking quite so regularly.
But now it’s gone, and Mike Flores believes it’s gone for good. He offers a good suggestion: get your articles while it’s still online. Find all the tournament reports and articles you loved, before they’re gone forever, and save them onto your hard drive. That may be where some of the greatest magic writers ever will stay…… I hope they bring it back. I hope the Dojo doesn’t die, but I’ve copied four wakefield articles, 2 Zvi ones, 2 Flores ones, and I’m looking for more. Send “must read” articles to anachronism42@hotmail.com. I’ll review and post the best you send in, for you to go through and read, and save.


There’s a silence everywhere, now, as planeshift is eagerly awaited. I’m going to a prerelease, my first, and waiting for the spoiler to come out. It seems like the magic community has fallen on hard times, and I hope planseshift helps revitalize it, at least a little. I went to a tournament, and managed to come in 7th, despite making top 4, playing counter-rebel, against Counter-rebel, Machinehead, machinehead, Fires, Machinehead, and another, and final Machinehead. Now, you ask, who the hell faces 4 machinehead decks in 6 rounds? Yours truly. With Counter-rebel, which Machinehead should crush.

Vs. Machinehead
# of wins: 2
# of losses: 2
# of decks faced: 4
# of decks in the tournament: 4

I went 4-1, losing to one machinehead deck, to make 2nd place, right below Danny Flannegan, who says he’s the next John Finkel (He went 5-0 with a mono-white rebel deck that wasn’t the best I’ve seen, maybe there’s something to that…..). Then, the shop-owner-person decides to make it top 8 instead of top 4. Apparently, 6th and 8th were friends of his. Okay, fine. 2 machinehead decks in the top 8 and (Surprise!) I’m facing one.
The guy was explaining to me earlier how his deck just beats counter-rebel, and he’s upset because he hasn’t played against it yet. He figures he’s due against me, but I’ve done pretty well so far.
The first game gets off to an explosive start. Island, go. And Daze a ritualed apparition. “How many do you have in that deck?”
“Three” I reply, and grin. Unfortunately, his third main decked tsabo’s decree went uncountered. And 3 blazing specters flew in for the win. I had, by that time, used every daze in my deck. And I had only 3 lands, total, EVER in this game.

The next game was played after a great deal of worry on my part. 8 sideboard cards went in. I know because he took 8 out and THEN put 8 in. The game went similarly. I laid an island. And he played a swamp, stared at me, and said 3 words “Fear the Daze.” Ritual, Rebel Informer. I had no daze.

10 turns later, I was at 11, and my wrath went off, and I began establishing board control, but by that time it was too late, and I lost the game, with him a 8 life. Oh well. So much for moneymaking. The reson these reports aren’t more interesting is that the games themselves involved long periods of me waiting to draw a creature or a land, and discarding/countering.

Interestingly enough, all the top 4 players lost, so 5-8 made the top slots at the tournament.

Questing Pheldagrif is coming out, and I intend to make it my personal quest to break that card. I already worked out the searing ray/ lotsa green token manuever. My brother points out that it’s some good with Rith, as well, but surely the other abilities can be used. The general consensus seems to be positive. I like this card. Hippos forever!

I just got back from the Oregon Symphony, with a friend of mine, who’s a French Horn player. (How can you tell if you’re dating a french horn player? He has his tongue all the way down your throat and his hand all the way up your……) anyway, it was a sprinkling of Chopin, who I always thought was a little too sedate, followed up by Gustav Mauler, who, though not as famous, I enjoy more. It was a wonderful concert. The Mauler piece, his 5th, was excellent. Every french horn the oregon syphony had was sitting out there, so my friend enjoyed it too (What’s the range on a french horn? About 35 feet, with a good arm….). And these things always put me in a good mood, so I came home and decided to tell you something that was made clear to me as I sat back and listened. Magic is a game.

What a relevation.

Or not.

But it is important to realize that magic is a game. Now, by that I don’t mean that I disapprove of serious players, or that I think money shouldn’t be involved. Hell, Basketball is a game. What I mean is that there are a series of more or less arbitrary rules that magic has that you must follow, and I think that, before you take it up, you should agree to abide by those rules. And not whine about them. Relax, WOTC knows what it’s doing (Feel free to quote me on that). They’re working on it. And the rest….. well…. the rest is just fine. Yes, I know necropotence is broken. It’s just another tactic. Soon there will be a rule against it. The sky is no longer falling, feel free to look up.

Hooray for Paul Barclay, getting into R&D. We need people who can not only understand the rules, but can see abuses of the rules, too. That way they can put a stop to it before the cards get printed. I think that, had he not developed Full English Breakfast (The combo deck based on abusing Volrath’s Shapeshifter w/ Survival) he would have been longer getting in, if he ever did.

Now, to end on a message of hope: It’s all gonna work out. Seriously. Give it a month or two. Planeshift will come out and change the environment, WOTC is rumored to be preparing a shift in the legal extended blocks, and the dojo, though it may not be saved, will never be forgotten. The sky is not falling. Even Chicken Little agrees……

Read More Articles by Russell Sherman!

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