Oh Where O' Where has Our Quard Gone...?
You logged onto the Vault a while ago and looked for the latest ramblings of your favorite fly-headed Magic humorist and noticed something odd...you couldn't find a new installment of Quard's Corner. Well, hey you thought, everything's fine, it'll be there tomorrow. So you logged on again. And again. And still nothing. Over a month passed and still nada. Nyet. Zero. Zip. You frantically notified the publisher, one Joseph B. Elkouby, who tried in vain to find the Walking Carrying Case for Eight Voices(tm). Soon the readers and the publisher panicked. The police were notified. A desperate search began to locate the Master of the Imaginary Trained Typing Ferret(tm). Newspapers launched front-page headlines: "QUARD LOST!", "WHERE IS QUARD?", "WORLD WAITS FOR QUARD" and "WHO IS QUARD AND WHY ARE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR HIM?". Rag Magazines launched their own headlines "QUARD IS THE REAL FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON'S BABY", "QUARD'S FACE DISCOVERED ON MARS", "QUARD AND ELVIS ARE ALIVE" and "QUARD SEEN ON THE GRASSY KNOLL". The President held a press conference announcing that the FBI and CIA were leading an investigation into his disappearance. Even Wizards of the Coast staffers, who read my articles, but never admitted it in public, or at least to me, were depressed and laid offerings at the foot of the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness, chanting for my safe return . As more time passed people began to wonder if the self-professed Magic humorist was dead or alive. Huge crowds all over the world gathered at mental institutions to hold candle-light vigils, praying for his return and Elton John was working on an even newer version of Candle in the Wind. People around the world set aside their petty differences and held their collective breaths waiting for word of the man who made the straight jacket more socially acceptable than a dinner or sports jacket. Thousands turned blue and passed out.
So what happened to Quard?
> I moved.
Is he dead?
> No, I'm not in [insert state you dislike].
Did Bill Clinton show Quard his...
Here's what happened, and why I was missing. Ferratio, my imaginary trained typing ferret was kidnapped by a gang of imaginary trained typing ferret thieves and I, along with my family followed their tracks after selling the house and packing all our belongings in a UCan'tHaulitFar rental truck. We left New York (as did all of the good paying jobs), and as expected, the truck broke down the very first day. We were picked up by a nice gentleman whose truck was the very same transport first used to drive the original Bigfoot to all the monster truck rallies. He drove us to a small town garage where several quaint and nice fellas unloaded our UCan'tHaulitFar wreck and put all our stuff into a slightly-newer looking wreck. Before we left were quite stunned to find out that we were in Good Ole Punxsutawney (Punks-a-taw-nee), Pennsylvania (you know that place where they drag out that poor ground hog out of a stump and hold him up to tell us if we're going to have 6 more weeks of winter?). Better yet, our tow-truck driver was the guy that gets dressed up in a huge Punxsutawney Phil groundhog costume; we had no idea we had accidentally landed in such a cultural mecca. Why last week, the natives there discovered ice.
Well, armed with a newer moving van and some stories to tell all our friends, we got back on the highway and picked up Ferratio's trail (the little weasel kept dropping scraps of the last Quard's Corner showing us the way). After breaking down three more times and travelling more than 2400 miles, we finally cornered the ferret-nappers, only to find out that Ferratio attacked and ripped them into little undistinguishable bits of...well...little undistinguishable bits. It seems they had the misfortune of running out of Cheese-Wiz and tried to feed him some generic brand artificial cheese spread. They didn't stand a chance. Oh the humanity (all scattered over the ground).
Finally we were re-united; Master, ferret and eight distinctive voices, along with a truck full of all our stuff. After the grueling 2600 mile Chase for the Ferret, we decided to stay in the town we wound up in. It's a quaint little quiet town, a sleepy modest little hamlet the locals call Las Vegas. Well, we could have picked a worse place to make our new home, I guess.
By the time I found a place that allows disembodied voices, imaginary pets and people with large fly-heads (and the appropriate amount of rent money) I was off-line quite a while. I didn't have time to read the papers or watch TV during the chase so I didn't know people were looking for me. It wasn't until three Secret Service agents found me playing video poker at a casino that I was informed about the massive search for me. I was shocked that so may people missed me, and I admit I got a little misty-eyed (I was accidentally pepper-sprayed by the over-enthusiastic agents). They rushed me to the Oval Office, just in time to stop President Clinton from declaring war on Britain; it seems some bright-light in Parliament joked that they were holding me hostage until the United States recognized the Spice Girls as having talent. Well, no one was about to wait that long for my return so Mr. Happy Pants started planning an advance retaliatory strike. Thank the Maker I got there on time; I so love Earl Grey tea. The President welcomed me back and a "Welcome Back Quard" ticker-tape parade was launched in my honor. I thought people would know I was back but I found out just a little while ago that the parade was covered by CBS, so of course nobody tuned in.
I got back on-line not long ago and would like you all to know I'm back, and so is Quard's Corner. So enough huba-baloo; it's that time again, so let's start re-breaking the Irwin Brachman Hilarity Scale(tm).
While I was frantically chasing after the nasty people that kidnapped my furry pal, I stopped off at just about every Magic store between NY and Las Vegas (hey, it's not like I wasn't in a rush to get Ferratio back, really, I just...uh, alright so I wanted him to suffer a bit - he gnawed on my last pair of slippers). Well, anyways I used the time there to ask Magic players some questions and here is what I found out:
Magic Players Top Fears:
- 6th edition will suck just like 5th did
- Anything resembling soap
- Finding out that winning a major tourney will not clear up acne
- Land will be removed from 6e
- Zakk Dorn Slay Beasties from the Andromeda Galaxy
- That one day the information printed in Scrye will be accurate
Things Not to Say When Disputing a Judge's Ruling:
- You're just saying that because he paid you more than I did, fatso.
- Yeah? Well you're momma agreed with *me* the other night.
- I did not mark my cards, just the sleeves. Look.
- See, it says right here in my deck list that I have 5 Counterspells! Jerkwad.
- Bite me.
- I am so *click* sick of all you lousy know-it-alls...*BLAM!* [Orgg's Note: Don't anyone else try this joke. It will be cut by me.]
- But InQuest said...
- &*%@ you!
- But ossifer, I swearh she faid swe fas 17.
- Would you like mustard or mayo to go with your knuckle sandwich?
- Here's some breath mints. Take the whole pack, you need it more than I do.
- How long have you been paralyzed from the neck up anyways?
- If you read Scrye like I do, you'd know how wrong you are.
- Back off or I'll kill the dog! Take your ruling back or I swear Muffy here eats lead! I mean it!
- It says right here in Oracle...
- You're wrong admit it.
- Here's $5. You know you'll never see this much money in your lifetime judging for WotC. Now go away.
Now that I've shown you what not to say, it's only fear (I mean fair) that I show you the proper way to dispute a judges ruling:
(That's alright, we'll wait right here until you get the joke)
I noticed recently that people are starting to talk about coming up with a standard form of game notation to keep track of what happens during Magic games so that players can analyze their performance as well as the performance of their decks. This has tremendous potential for improving one's game, so I thought I'd take a shot at coming up with a version of game notation:
Sample Game with a Player Using Quard Notation:
1 OT Sw (1st turn, opponent's turn, lays down a swamp)
1 MT Pl WFRML (1st turn, my turn, lay down a plains. Where the ^&%$#@ is the rest of my land?!)
2 OT Sw T2Sw FA (2nd turn he lays down a swamp, taps both, plays a Fallen Askari)
2 MT JSNL Dc Is (2nd turn, Jesus, still no land????, discard Ishan's Shade)
3 OT AFSwBm P2FUs 6D C (3rd turn, another $%#@ing swamp buttmunch? Plays 2 %$#@ing Holy Strengths?! -6 life Crap!)
3 CL CL CL YgbFKM SoB Dca Is (3rd turn, Come on land! Come on Land! Come on Land! You've gotta be ^&%@ing kidding me! Son of a %^$#@! Discard another Ishan's Shade)
4 HGA Sw So Y L t1Dr N Is Fu2 tB U-FA G 8D (4th turn. Here we go again...Swamp. Sooo original *yawn* Lamer! Taps swamp for Dark Ritual casts Necromancy on my Ishan's. &*%$ you too! Taps land for Black mana, Unholy's the Askari; great... -8 life)
4 L Sw Y DuF t2Pl WK NtYDFb (4th turn, Land! Sweet. Yessss! Die You ^&*%$er. Tap 2 plains, cast a White Knight. Next turn you die fat boy)
5 OT LDN Hh At Fa Is Bk As WK ISABm UWn HWt4B DFL ID TS (5th turn, lays down nothing, Ha-ha! Attacks with Ishan and Askari. Block Askari with Night. I'm still alive, you wanker! Hey, why's he tapping all his swamps? Drain &*^@ing life for 2? I'm dead?! This sucks!!!!!)
This form of notation is unique in that not only does it cover game action but the thoughts and feeling of the individual as the game progresses. I expect this specific form of notation to be quite popular among Pro Tour players.
During a press conference, Wizards of the Coast recently announced a new look for their Magic cards, starting with the upcoming Exodus expansion. All cards will have centered illustrations credit and legal text, they will be numbered to make collecting easier, and their expansion symbols will be color-coded (a black expansion symbol denotes a good card, silver for generally weak and red for cards that suck so hard they should have appeared in Spellfire). When I asked how people would be able to see a red expansion symbol on a red card with a red background, Mark Rosewater suddenly screamed and ran out of the room in a panic. Shortly afterwards WotC announced several staffers from the Art Department were laid off for "stealing office supplies" and that Exodus' release would be delayed for a little while.
I was waltzing through WotC's website the other day and was quite amused to read one of their latest bulletins in their Tournament section:
Misinformation Alert: A recent article in a CCG magazine erroneously stated we at the DoLess Convocation were stepping up our efforts to discourage cheating at the Pro Tour. This article was in error; if we did that, there'd be no Pro Tour. Please do not be alarmed, cheating at all our events will continue as normal. Thank you.
And this news brief, pertaining to Magic comes straight from the Almost Associated Press at MSNBC's site:
Animal Rights activists the world over were reported to be outraged at Wizards of the Coast for promoting animal cruelty with their planned upcoming tasteless Magic Expansion titled: AnimalsRLame. One card in particular, discovered and secreted out of WotC headquarters by a disgruntled employee, titled Harp Seal Barbie, shocked many with its depiction of an all-too-unrealistically beautiful plastic blonde haired doll swinging a very large spiked club at a cute white seal pup. The flavor text read: "My what a pretty little thing..." *THWACK!* rrrriiipppp slash! "Can someone make me a jacket?" They were also outraged by future planned expansions titled Collect the Whales, Child Labor and Beer is Cool for Kids. When contacted, a WotC representative responded to these allegations by stating for the record "We have no plans to ever come up with such blatantly revolting expansions. We much prefer to lure our victi...I mean customers into the game with a false sense of security and trust before we exploit them like we do our certified judges." [Orgg's Note: They sold the names to Steve Jackson for Illuminati: New World Order]
The Magic community was intensely saddened, but not surprised, to see some Pro Tour players publicly state on The Magic Dojo (www.thedojo.com) that they cheat in tournaments. We all watched and shook our heads in collective grief as they horrified us with terms "passive" and "active" cheating and admitted to us readers that they cannot win on their own merits against their opponents. As the shockingly inane posts continued, a trumpet could be heard blowing Taps as the last shred of integrity for the Pro Tour died, along with their credibility. What next? Pro Tour Players on the Jerry Springer Show?
It's Q&A time now:
Q: Hey Quard, which cards taste the best? - Ian C., South Dakota
A: The blue ones; they're grape flavored. The worst has to be green, they taste just like brussel sprouts. Yeech.
Q: What is the shortest Magic game on record? - Dave A., Idaho
A: The fastest game on record was between two telepathic clairvoyants. Right before they agreed to the game, they both realized they were hopelessly stalemated two hours into the game and drew.
Q: Is the [Magic] Dojo killing Magic? - Jenny C., Brazil
A: No, that's what the Pro Tour is for. The Magic Dojo is a valuable resource for tournament and non-tournament players alike. And it's about to get even more valuable now that Frank has added the new Insta-Menta-Psychic Interface. This ingenious interface scans a player's mind, downloading their best decks straight from their grey matter onto the Magic Dojo in convenient formats compatible with Apprentice, Deckmaster and Microprose's Magic PC game. Any attempts by a player to mislead or resist the new Dojo interface will be met with the offenders screaming in horrible pain as images of their parents nekkid are implanted directly into their brains.
Q: Why doesn't the DCI start cracking down on PT players who cheat? - Danny M., Australia
A: Because it'd be a tad silly to hold a PT where only 4 people were invited to attend.
Q: A tournament player, after thinking about what decks are likely to show up at the tourney copies the appropriate anti-deck off the Net. What is this called? - Kyle P., Chicago
A: Playing the MetaLame.
Q: When will certified judges be treated fairly by WotC? - Ellen H., Nebraska
A: I called up WotC headquarters the other day and spoke to the Head Tournament Organizer there. When I asked him your question the reply was "oink! oink oink !" Then he giggled and hung up.
Q: Why didn't the psychics from the Psychic Friends Network see themselves going out of business? - Jake S., NYC
A: I just knew you were going to say that.
Q: What is the dumbest card ever created? - Fred G., California
A: There really is no dumbest card, just a whole bunch of dumb people asking each other what the dumbest card is.
Q: If WotC ever churned out bumper stickers for color specific Magic players, what would they read? - Hali, Internet
A: Blue: I stole your bike; Red: I burnt your bike; Green: I like to walk, I don't need a bike; White: My bike is good and pure; Black: My bike killed 4 people.
Q: Can you explain to me the new rating system for expansions that WotC said they came up with? - Brock, Internet
A: Sure; the new ratings are Starter, Advanced and Expert. Starter is for beginning players who won't realize a good card from a really pathetic one, Advanced is geared towards slightly smarter people where the cards are worded ambiguously so that players are uncertain whether a card is very nice or completely worthless and Expert is geared to luring the smartest of players to buy tons of cards that are worded to be totally kick-ass powerful, only to be later one rule change away from being absolutely powerless, normally right after sales of the expansion slows down and right before they get seated at a tournament where they designed a deck around the now-suddenly defunct card.
Q: When will WotC admit that 5e really sucks? - Tyler H., Reno
A: When Mystery Science Theatre 3000 plans a whole season bashing it. (MST3K announced just the other day that they were going to do it, so look for a public apology from WotC in the next Duelist)
Q: Why does WotC say Portal is a good way to learn Magic? - Gregg C., Florida
A: Because shortly after you learn how to use the cards they're useless, just like in regular Magic thanks to errata and weird rulings.
Q: What's the best color in Magic? - Michelle T., Rhode Island
A: Blue...no!no!....*twang* yeeeellloooowww! (I hate the Old Man from Scene 24!)
Q: I am a newbie and wondered why other people never answer my questions. Will you? - Jim
A: Dammit Jim, I'm a self-professed Magic humorist, not a....sorry, I always wanted to say that. Sure, go ahead.
Q: Although I feel a tad foolish with all those people that are saying Magic is Satanic, it isn't really, is it? - Jim
A: Well, if you strip away the demonic imagery, the dark, evil and diabolical settings, the gratuitous naked voluptuous nymphs sacrificed by unholy priests on ebony altars, the abstract arcane overtones and the subliminal "Feed Your Soul to the Dark One" messages, then no, Magic is not Satanic.
Q: Is it fair that WotC charges judges for certification in the United States while judges pretty much in all the other parts of the world don't pay the $25 for certification? It's seems totally unfair to me that they're ripping us U.S. judges off like this. We have to pay $25 to become certified and most everyone outside the States doesn't pay at all. We all get the same "privileges" - a crappy badge, a sheet of paper and a completely useless and outdated quarterly flier. Oh, did I forget to mention access to the judges list? - Anonymous and Ticked Off Judge, Internet
A: I get many letters from fed-up judges about this problem. Maybe the reason they're getting away with it is people didn't know of the unequal treatment they were receiving. Upon further research, after receiving your questions, mostly all of the DCI organizations outside the US do not charge certified judges anything to be certified and they have the same benefits US judges do, if you can call any of them benefits. If it looks like a ripoff, smells like a ripoff...well, you can add 2+2. If you wish to complain, feel free to tell the head cheese himself, Pete Adkison at email@example.com. Don't waste your time dealing with underlings, all they'll tell you to do is stuff it. US Judges, as do all judges do so much for Magic, the last thing they should do is pay to help WotC promote their game. And this inequity with US judges paying while others do not is an even bigger injustice. The money should be returned. If you think so, then feel free to buzz Mr. Adkison and share your views with him on this matter (and be coherent when you do so).
Q: I'm 10 and I think girls are...well...icky, but my older brother disagrees. Am I right or is he? - Jayson B., Arizona
A: You are. Girls are definitely icky, especially with the right dessert toppings.
Q: What does Buyback mean? - Doug F., New Jersey
A: Buyback, when paid in the addition to a card's casting cost, means that the card will go back to your hand if the spell successfully resolves instead of going to the graveyard. I wish Buyback would mean that WotC will buy back any sucky cards you get opening packs.
Quote to remember: "My Ogre is amazing" - Jeff Donais on IRC one day.
(We really don't encourage you people out there to think about that too much)
End of Article.
Note: Are there any Magic related questions you'd like to ask me that might see print in an upcoming Quard's Corner in Vault? If so, e-mail your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was put together for your reading pleasure by Vincent B. Navarino (aka Quard on IRC:#mtg) and his imaginary trained typing ferret, Ferratio. Vincent considers himself quite the humorist and can regularly be spotted late at night on IRC:#mtg(EFNet) tormenting the people there with his rantings. He'd also like to write Magic humor for the Duelist and someday might start submitting his articles to them, but is too afraid of rejection right now after not having a date in over 3 (5+?!) years. If you'd like to talk with him, or any one of his eight voices, please feel free to send them e-mail at email@example.com. All feedback received is welcomed.
Warning: any hate mail will be forwarded to a neighbor he doesn't like. In triplicate!
[Author's Note: I moved my Author's Notes to the bottom of these articles just to reward the smart people that are paying attention. Shhh. Don't tell the stupid people. Originally appeared in the June 1998 issue of the Vault e-zine]