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Quard's Corner #18 from the Quard's Corner Archive
By Vincent Navarino
Quard's Corner: Barmaids, Idols and the Real Pro Tour

...and verily did the bubbly, busty, barbarian barmaid proceed to caress the antennae of the fly-headed self-professed Magic humorist. Her skilled hands didst slowly slide their way to the tips of his sensitive sensing stalks as hundreds of her milky-white images reflected in his compound eyes. The Voices cheered and clapped and drank frosty cold non-alcoholic beverages as they watched their host's cerebrum light up with pleasure. Never before had the fly-headed wonder ever experienced such a buzz...
Ah...*ahem* excuse me, I was *cough* working on a new romance novel. Sorry.

Hey there boys and girls, once again it's time for the old Quardster to dance, delight and entertain. No, I'm not doing it for you so don't get excited; I'm doing it because there are several people that are pointing sharp sticks in my general direction. Very sharp sticks. Lotsa sticks. Did I mention they're pointy? If you wandered in here by accident or because of a malfunctioning Ouija board, don't go - stick around. A little later we're going to be showing a 122-hour Martha Stewart marathon on The Joys of Sheet folding! Yaaaay! ...

You're all still here? *sigh* Oh well, I guess I have to keep going then. You people are NO fun...

Idol Theft Response

As one could expect, Wizards of the Coast was not delighted to find that I swiped the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness (if you have no idea what the idol does, not to worry, as it probably won't be around much longer) and that I'm holding it for ransom. Without the Idol, WotC R&D staffers will not be able to make any new Magic cards. Some of you people are trying to point out that I must have stolen the idol a long time ago (roughly before the release of 5th edition) but I assure you that those who think so are in error. There have been plenty of new cards out there since 5th edition (and before you all disagree, I said plenty of new cards, not plenty of GOOD new cards. There's a difference. So there.) Remember, if you're going to grumble about something be accurate. Otherwise, it makes you look silly and women won't dance with you. Or was that just being silly in general? It couldn't be the Voices, could it? Oh well...

I'm sure you're all one the edge of your seats wondering if the ransom I was asking for the idol has been paid. While I am happy to announce that I received a top-level communique from their headquarters, it did not contain what could be considered a counter-offer for the ransom (but it was quite amusing and I notice things like that). So, I have decided to postpone the Idol Smelting Party of 1998 for another month while the on-going negotiations continue. I was laughing quite a bit after reading all the creative suggestions that you people out there have for what should be done to the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness if a proper ransom is not forthcoming:

Quard's Corner Reader Responses for What to Do with the Idol:

1. Melt it anyways, even if the ransom is paid! (the most responses)
2. Use it to get better reception on a 5" B/W TV.
3. Toilet plunger.
4. Drive by idol-pelting of select high echelon WotC employees.
5. Use it to wedge the accelerator down on a Greyhound bus while R&D crosses the road.
(Mana Drain for 6e!)
6. Behead the idol. Re-attach head to neck with hinges. Hollow out the chest cavity, fill with
candy making the best looking Pez-Dispenser ever.
7. Modify the idol to look like *THE* Jeff Donais and rename it The *THE* Golden Jeff Donais
Altered Idol of Jankyness.
8. Walnut cracker.
9. Press the left eye to reveal the secret access to the Quard Cave.
10. Melt it down and make signet rings for all the members of Magic Rules Suck Committee.
It's a biiiiig idol.
11. Mail it to Rosewater missing its head. Take head and glue it to the hood of a rusty 1978
Chevy Chevette.
12. Return it to the people of Galaxy G-1045, it is actually the stolen power core for their entire
civilization and without it they cannot make toast, for which their civilization totally depends
upon.
13. Melt the Idol all over large chunks of chocolate and graham crackers, making the richest
Smore ever!
14. Reshape the Idol into the Golden Donut of Heavenly Sprinkles. Donuts...

Some of you out there were awfully creative and I thank you for your responses, while some of you were so graphic that Ferratio actually blushed, which is hard for an imaginary trained typing ferret to do. While I'd love to post some of the more lurid suggestions that involved things from alternatives to asexual reproduction to outright worship of contortionists, I have some ethical writing standards to maintain as a member in good standing of the Fly-headed Voice Carrying Humorists Organization (or as we like to secretly call ourselves - the Stud Muffins).

Being open-minded (thanks to a freak chainsaw accident), I went on IRC Chat (EFNet, #mtg) the other day to ask people there what they thought would be an appropriate alternate ransom demand for the return of the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness. After listening to their suggestions, as well as their wild cheers at my pilfering skills, this is what we all came up with - a fair, just and incredibly funny ransom demand for the return of the idol, which WotC R&D members needs back in order to be able to continue to create new Magic cards:

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Pay This Ransom or Your Idol is Toast):

The Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness will be no more next month if you do not pay the following ransom:

One Lion's Eye Diamond card plus one Look at Me I'm the DCI card plus one card, that sucks, from every set or expansion in which Mark Rosewater had any design influence in. Cards that Mark personally designed that bite are encouraged, but if he can't admit to some, he may use sucky cards from expansions/sets wherein he was part of the design team. While we know that a card that Mark designed rarely sucks, we do know some exist.

All cards must be personally signed "I'm sorry - Mark Rosewater" by none other than his eminence, Mark Rosewater. Having a card signed "I'm sorry - Mark Rosewater" by Charlie Catino or someone other than Maro will be considered forgeries by all eight of Quard's voices, which are experts in verifying the authenticity and lunacy of a person's signature. Upon receiving the acceptance of the terms for the idol's release, the Idol will be safely returned to WotC corporate headquarters, from which it was taken and the ferret-tampering thingy that started this whole thing will be forgotten. 'Nuff said. ('Nuff said what? 'Nuff says anything he wants to say.)

Quard's Corner Dojo Controversy:

There have been a few *meow* people spreading a vicious rumor that the *meow* reason Quard's Corner now appears on the Dojo is that *meow* the Dojo's owner has been supplying me with *meow* vast quantities of kittens covered in cheese-wiz for Ferratio's consumption *meow* at below-wholesale prices. I'd *meow* like to take this *meow* time out to state for the *meow* record that this nasty vicious and totally *meow* erroneous rumor was started *meow* by my own personal Internet chat heckler *meow* and it is totally without merit. I sincerely hope that the person *meow* that started this whole *meow* unfortunately blown-out-of-proportion *meow* Kitty Controversy will use *meow* his time to do something more *meow* worthwhile like *meow* running for Congress. To re-iterate I have *meow* never ever received *meow* below-wholesale kittens *meow* from the Dojo; it's a vicious lie; just like *meow* the Re-print *meow* policy was made in order to *meow* protect (and not ) 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
for it.
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 mavra@wizards.com. It has been widely reported that emailing dcijudge@wizards.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!)

End Article.

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 quardd@hotmail.com.

___________________________

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 quardd@hotmail.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]

Read More Articles by Vincent Navarino!

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