) us Magic players... *mrrrroooowwww*
Many people that I have met, or received email from, have asked me from time to time if I'd be able to recognize the impending death of the game we all know and love. Usually I just say YES, or DUH (depending on the intellectual prowess of the person I am talking to) and leave it at that. But I have finally decided to list the known signs that Magic is dying for all to see so that such a disaster, if it ever comes can be headed off in time...
Known Signs that Magic is Dying:
1. WotC realizes that they have only one great product and devotes all of their attention and
loving care to their cash cow, ensuring the game (and company's) continued health and
prosperity. And we're not talking Dragon Dice, people.
2. Phil Foglio's What's New humor series is reduced to one page in the Duelist.
3. Portal cards appear in a new revision of the core set making it weaker than Flabby the
Wonder Wimp; proving that they ran out of card ideas long before "well into the year 2000,"
as earlier predicted.
4. The DCI Judge Certification program charges judges to promote their game and as a result
the smarter judges are rarely the ones that are judging.
5. Scrye editors embrace the use of spell and grammar checkers for all articles that see print.
6. *THE* Jeff Donais is no longer involved in the Professional Tournament circuit.
7. Changes are made to the basic rules that existed since the game was created (i.e. trample,
tapping lands for mana, no interrupts in Magic, etc.)
8. Members of the Magic Rules Team finally admit to all that they're completely lost as they
create a special mailing list where they invite select numbers of rules-lawyers and ask them
to help them do their job for free. Later, the obviously desperate Rules Team members ignore
all logical ideas and embrace all the obscenely stupid ones, wrecking the game totally in the
next core set revision. Remember: free help is never worth what you pay for it and if it's your
paid job to know the rules and you don't - then you shouldn't be getting paid any more. Also
if the rules are so confusing that the company employees don't known them then it's high
time the rules were simplified. It might be smart to hire people that actually play the game
and want to make the rules simpler and not more complex.
9. When a new Magic expansion comes out the next Duelist does not become a 128-page flier
10. Quard and Ferratio start a new Magic puzzle segment in Quard's Corner.
11. (I don't believe in Top10 lists save for Letterman's) Zakk-Dorn Slay Beasties from the
Andromeda Galaxy are not mentioned at least once in a Quard's Corner.
Moving right along...
From time to time, my mind wanders. Some times it comes back when I call it; other times I have to chase it down and run it over with my car. I've been thinking a lot about the Pro Tour and (wait, don't run yet!) a lot of it makes absolutely no sense to me. Oh not to worry, I'm not going to talk about inconsequential, insignificant, meaningless topics like cheating, silly rules, or how it's ruining Magic for most of us. What I'm talking about is that if there really is something that's called a Pro Tour, shouldn't the game be harder for the Pros in it? I mean if they really are Pros, shouldn't they be able to face more of a challenge?
Quard's Modification to Make the Pro Tour a REAL Pro Tour:
:No more stupid mulligans, Mr. Professional Magic player. If you can't learn to deal with the hand you've drawn, go play Portal. Or how about a nice game of Chutes N' Ladders? Hint: Next time use more lands that produce mana.
:Players start at 12 life. Hey, you're a PRO - that means you don't need as many life points as the rest of us do. You are better after all, aren't you?
:No intentional draws - you're a Magic Pro, what do you mean you don't wanna play a game?! *smack*
:There is no appealing a judge's decision. Judges are the highest form of life. They are to be obeyed at all times and showered with your praise, adulation and expensive gifts. Oh, and don't forget them shiny apples!
:When time is called, that's it. No extra turns. Running out of time is a simple concept; it means you've run out of time. Build a faster deck. Quit stalling.
:Players draw up to 4 cards in their first draw phase. You're a Pro - you don't need a whole 7 cards. You can make do, can't you?
:You have to be able to drive to a Pro Tour. You don't see Joe Montana or Michael Jordan being driven by their mommies do you?
:All players must be able to write a decent tournament report in their native language. If you can't describe how you won, then you didn't. (By the way, stupidity is not a language; it's a curable disease. Read a book. Stay in school.)
:No free rides. If you qualify for a Pro Tour, you're not invited to another big-time Magic event unless you qualify for it from the bottom like everyone else. You're a Pro. You made it once and you should be able to make it again, shouldn't you?
- end of Pro Tour modifications
Well, they're only suggestions but I think if they were implemented then it would really be a Pro Tour! And now it's time to answer all of your burning questions:
Q: When might Magic start to be recognized as a sport? - Steve J., Internet
A: When the players wear head-cams. Also, it will never be seen as a sport if it appears on ESPN2. If it's on ESPN2 it's definitely not a sport. And don't anyone even think of mentioning golf or bowling... *shudder*
Q: I remember way back that WotC specifically stated that it was illegal for them to print a price guide in the Duelist, yet they've now said they are going to print a price guide. I'm confused, what's changed? - Ellen S., InterNet
A: They've fired all their good lawyers and hired cheaper ones instead. It's the only thing I can think of that makes any sense.
Q: Why can't I get a correct answer from the WotC Customer Service people when I call?
- Francis K., Internet
A: Rumor has it for the same reason there is a profound lack of quality judges in the DCI tournament scene. About the same time WotC decided to charge judges for their Judge Certification program, they started charging their Customer Service people to be their Customer Service people. So they all left and WotC is now using the Microprose's Magic AI to handle all customer calls. Explains a lot, doesn't it?
Q: What's your favorite kind of cheese? - Jason, Internet
A: Swiss cheese. For some reasons it reminds me of Oracle, rules-lawyers and why WotC thinks that people who don't really play the game should make and/or help modify the rules.
Q: Is there any way for a certified Magic judge to actually make money? - Cathy L., Internet
A: Other than bribery, none comes to mind. I don't think there's a high demand for those cool plastic judge cards that cost $35.
Q: Why isn't Quard's Corner in a printed Magic magazine? - Richard S., Internet
A: Economics, really. A normal Magic article is rather short appx 200-500 words long and the writer makes either so much per word or about $150-300 per article. If you took a Quard's Corner article and printed it, I'd get about $12,500 and take up half of the magazine. Ack. Who'd want to see that? I wouldn't! Besides, I thoroughly enjoy doing the Corner on the Web as it provides me a format where I have full control over its content and size. See, I told you I'm crazy...
Q: I'm judging a high-level Magic event. A player does something that requires a verbal warning. What is an appropriate verbal warning under the new maximum rules enforcement guidelines in a tournament? - IRC user
A: The verbal warning should be the sound rushing air makes as you swing the bat at the offending player's head.
Q: When we all signed up for the Judge Certification Program, clearly stated in their advertisements and literature that one of the privileges for being a judge was we'd get "The Oracle judges' reference: a COMPLETE list of cards, including the MOST CURRENT RULINGS, ERRATA and ALL FUNCTIONAL CHANGES." I think since Oracle is such a piece of junk that WotC is definitely guilty of false advertisement. How can they get away with this?! - Darryl J., Internet
A: Well let's take a look of the key words you stressed in your complaint. Is Oracle a COMPLETE list of cards? Nope. Did it contain THE MOST CURRENT RULINGS? Nope. Oracle did not have any current rulings since last year. That's not current (that's ludicrous). Did Oracle have current ERRATA? Nope. No 1998 errata made it into the Oracle that was shipped. Did it contain ALL FUNCTIONAL CHANGES to the cards? Again nope. Since it had no current RULINGS or ERRATA it could not contain ALL FUNCTIONAL CHANGES. Is this truthful advertisement? I can't see any way it could be. How do they get away with it? Because you people let them. I certainly don't think that they should be able to charge people money until they've fulfilled all their obligations, and Oracle is an obligation (and currently a very sad sad joke). I also hope that you people get a little wiser and demand your money back, while demanding the retaining of your certification. Also, I don't believe they should be able to charge any judge for renewing their certification until their Oracle obligation has been filled - an Oracle that is, as they advertised, which is "a COMPLETE list of cards, including the MOST CURRENT RULINGS, ERRATA and ALL FUNCTIONAL CHANGES." The Magic Netreps and WotC's own high level judges have said many times that Oracle is incomplete, error-filled, full of holes and that they don't even know what's in it that's official or not. Yikes! And if you wish to complain about the mess that is Oracle or the stupidity that is charging judges to promote WotC's game, email WotC president Pete Adkison at firstname.lastname@example.org. It has been widely reported that emailing email@example.com on this issue and other issues gets you nowhere. You might as well send email to yourself.
Q: What is the most valuable thing in the Anthologies boxed set? - Michelle S., Internet
A: The box Anthologies comes in. For once, I'm not kidding.
Q: I know R&D doesn't like to create cards that are automatically better than another card for the same cost but they don't seem they have any problem creating cards that @#$!ing suck for the same cost (like those damage lands compared to Duals, for example). Why is that?
- Jon K., Internet
A: It's simply their way of making sure that you treasure the Serra Angels and the Hypnotic Specters that you have. If they made all the cards worthwhile, how would you learn to appreciate all those Portal cards no one buys? And by the way, there are a lot of good cards in Magic and if it wasn't for the design team this game would have died a long time ago.
Q: How do you really feel about rules-lawyers? - Kyle G., Internet
A: Well, as long as they change my oil, pump my gas, flip my burger and super-size my fries I like them just fine.
Q: Hey Quard, why don't you make your own Magic team? - Nahuel, Internet
A: Unfortunately even though I have more than enough members, the current tournament rules state that each member of the team must have a corporeal (physical) presence. The Voices and Ferratio are sure livid about this discrimination and we all are currently appealing with the Do Less Convocation (aptly named) to get this changed. You'd think they'd be happy that with the crowded events they run that my team of 10 only takes up one chair...
Q: Exactly how inaccurate is the DCI's rankings database? - Scott A., Internet
A: Let me put it this way, it was designed by the same team of engineers and number crunchers that built the Russian MIR space station...
Q: Are you the guy that does the Magic Fishbowl cartoons on the Dojo? C'mon, give! - Quite a few people, Internet
A: Nope. If I was, I assure you they'd be funny.
Quote of the Month:
"If you ever have need of me, rub this and I shall appear." - *THE* Jeff Donais after handing Quard a gold-plated curling iron. (What were you thinking he handed me?)
We also have a special quote for you this month:
"Before I read last month's installment of Quard's Corner, Unglued had no chicken cards. Afterwards, chickens aplenty. You make the corrolation." - Mark Rosewater, lead designer/developer, Magic (He said what?! Grrrr! Well at least I know how to use the proper word in that sentence - correlation instead of corrolation. Pbbbffttzz!)
Note: Are there any Magic related questions you'd like to ask me that might see print in an upcoming Quard's Corner? 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: The saga of the Quard-pilfered Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness continued in this installment of Quard's Corner. If you'll look up a little you can see by the quote sent in by Mark Rosewater that the theft of the Idol was not only noticed but he was a little put out by my thievery. A special note though, an olive branch was extended by Mark Rosewater when he put Ferratio in the 5yr. Anniversary edition of The Duelist (Issue #33, Jan. 1999). My imaginary trained typing ferret appeared in Mark's well-known Magic:The Puzzling piece and the headline was appropriately titled "Protection Racket." Yes, Ferratio's appearance was due to my theft of the Idol. And they say crime doesn't pay? Bwahahahaha! Originally appeared in Nov. 1998 on the beloved Frank Kusumoto's Magic Dojo]