Quard's Corner: Foiled Again
[Warning: I am down to the last few artificially-flavored strawberry Twizzlers(tm) out of a 5lb box. I am NOT responsible for what will happen during the course of this article as I succumb occasionally to the terror of running out of my favorite sugary plastic snack food.]
I have been doing this gig for over 2 years now. Food supply dwindling. Stomach size... expanding. Water supply is plentiful, but out of reach. Refrigerator is so... far... away. Remote control batteries... weak. Forgot how to turn television on manually. Have to find something to do. Time to peruse my desk for something entertaining.
Open all drawers. Contents: 4 floppy disks w/no labels, old car registration, 3 Twiddles, 1 Ironclaw Orc, a TI 30 SLR Solar Calculator (modified by a prison inmate to detect radioactive particles), 2 wrist watches w/dead batteries (both stopped at the exact same time?!), paperback book entitled How to Get a Date for the Disfigured, $3 Rebate Coupon for a six pack of blank video tapes (offer expired 5/97!), 72 pennies, 2 quarters, Hurloon Minotaur pin, 2 cans of Emergency Cheese-Wiz, a DCI Judge Certification Renewal form torn in half and an empty 7/11 Double Gulp plastic cup. Ack; looks like its time for a new Quard's Corner. *shudder* Why do they keep coming back? Why?!
(pause to raise a weary fist defiantly at the sky)
It's got to be the ferret. *sigh* Kids dig the ferret.
Well since you're all here, it's time again for a fly-headed self-professed Magic humorist to attempt to entertain you all with the help of the 8 distinctive voices in my head (that are now enthusiastically singing old Sha-na-na tunes backwards) and an imaginary trained typing ferret named Ferratio (who rabidly consumes vast amounts of kittens dipped in Cheese-Wiz.) If you're wondering why you're here I'm terribly afraid I can't help you. It seems a certain member of the weasel family polished my metal chair with enormous quantities of Krazy Glue and I'm in no position to help, let alone get up and go very far.
Note to self: Do not leave an imaginary ferret's water dish empty for five weeks. It tends to make them a teensy bit irrational.
Some of you may be wondering why there was no Quard's Corner last month. Well, the reason is quite simple. I wanted to start doing the new Corner the first week of the month, so this one was delayed two weeks. Just in case anyone is wondering exactly when their Quard's Corner subscriptions expire, remember that this January did not count towards your subscription. If you're wondering how to subscribe, simply email me and I'll tell you where to send a certified check or money order for $123,452.27. Note to reader: If you're a might confused by what I just said, I'm afraid that this article isn't going to get very much better, so you might want to consider turning off your computer and making yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa. While you're at it, make me some too. And if it wouldn't be too much trouble please use skim milk, add a pinch of cinnamon and for heavens sake, don't forget those teeny tiny little marshmallows. Yummy.
Before we continue, I'd like to discuss a few questions that keep cropping up from all you readers out there.
Is Quard and WotC Dating?
I get asked a lot if there is any relationship between Wizard's of the Coast and myself. Some of them are quoted in the Quotes of the Month Section all the time at the end of my articles; I've made tons of nice references to *THE* Jeff Donais; absconded with The Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness; and in the last few months I've had special quotes from Mark Rosewater, not to mention that Ferratio himself made it into the 5yr. Anniversary edition of the Duelist. Am I the Wizards of the Coast Unofficial Magic Humorist? Have I made myself a secret lair in a WotC broom closet? If you dial the WotC switchboard and you ask for Quard, will they put you through?
The answer is a simple no. Although I'm sure they wouldn't miss a broom closet or two, and it would be hysterical to dial them and ask for me, I've been doing this column for over two years simply because I enjoy this game we all love. I also think it's safe to say that if I ever wandered into WotC corporate headquarters I'd be attacked by overzealous security guards, beaten with large clubs by DCI personnel and my hide would be decorating the floor of Richard Adkison himself. Why the parties alone would last weeks... (No, I'm not serious. I seldom am in case you're new here. However, I'm not making any plans to visit them and their invitations to do so keep getting lost in the mail.)
Does WotC Like Quard?
Another question I get asked is if I talk regularly to anyone at WotC, and how do they feel about me. Well, I don't have regular contact with anyone there, save for an occasional email or IRC chat; although I know a few of them read this column and laugh, cry and occasionally wince in pain at some of my comments. So far as I can tell, due to the lack of things called a Restraining Order or Subpoena, I think it's safe to say that they don't think ill of me. They're much too busy trying to convince all of us that the profoundly wacky changes they're about to make to Magic won't wreck the game.
Will Quard Be Going to PTLA?
A lot of you have written to me and expressed your desire to meet me at Pro Tour LA. Enough people have written and asked me if I'll be there that I thought I'd let you all know right here if I was going to go. Alas, it doesn't look likely I'm afraid. You see, your Unca Quard (the DNA tests are in) is a mite on the poor side and although I'd love to join you all at PTLA, I don't have the funds to go. Although several people have already offered me a place to stay (Hi KirdApe) and even to feed me while I stay with them (Hi again, KirdApe), there are a few problems to overcome like getting from Vegas to PTLA (no car/no money), the funds required to get admission into PTLA (no money) and eating at PTLA (no money). So you see, there's a few slight problems involved and unless something changes like a chauffeur, a lost wallet and a pass to PTLA, I'm sorry but I can't make it. Perhaps I should have listened to my mother as we Magic Humorists don't get paid, but I really didn't want to defuse land mines in third world countries. I'm allergic to shrapnel. Anyways, cheer up people. I'm in Las Vegas and if you're ever passing through attending Magic events here, email me and I'd be glad to meetcha. Maybe some minor miracles will occur and I'll be able to go to PTLA after all. Maybe WotC has something called a Sponsor the Self-Professed Magic Humorist to PTLA program that I don't know about...
Has Quard Really not Dated for 3+ Years?
*Sniff* I really think that *sob* it's really none of your business... I can *honk* get a date any time. I... I... I just don't wanna! (collapses into a pitifully crying heap.)
What Happened to the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness?
It is with mixed feelings that I report to you that the on-going saga of The Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness is now at an end. As you may know I stole the Idol from WotC headquarters months ago in retaliation for the tampering of my beloved furry companion (the ferret, you dolt - get your mind outta the gutter). Ransom negotiations between select WotC officials, and my attorney Mr. Tex Nicality, were held but after months of discussions a worthy ransom settlement was nowhere in sight. After a batch of last ditch negotiations broke down, along with two tables and a chair, I thought about melting the Idol. However, I realized that a certain member of the WotC R&D team was truly sorry so I decided to give the Idol back after all. So, after re-sneaking into the bowels of WotC headquarters (they really have to unclog all those toilets) I put the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness back where it belongs. After all, without the idol R&D can't create any new Magic cards and the game we all know and love is doomed (I had no idea at the time about 6th edition, so I didn't realize I shouldn't have bothered.)
Well, you'd think that was a happy ending but you're not going to believe what happened next. Come to think of it you might have trouble believing what happened first, but let's move along shall we? As I was saying I returned the Idol, but it seems that WotC did some remodeling since I had been there last. To make a long story short, I thought I left it in the Idol Display Room, but I actually left it on the Printing Materials Shipping Room. The Idol was shipped to Carta Mundi and was then tossed into the... ah... err... uhm... Gold Foil Printing Machine.
In other words, if you would like to see the Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness, all you have to do is look at a foil card from Urza's Legacy. Uh... thanks to this unfortunate accident, you can actually *heh* touch the Idol now. I'd like to point out at this time that if they didn't insist on redecorating and printing foil chase cards the Idol would be alive and well, so you see it's not really all my fault after all. Excuse me while I go into seclusion again...
[Please note: Ferratio and I are in hiding right now, due to the Idol Turned to Foil Incident and the rest of this article is being typed by an insta-stunt exploding ferret. Don't hit the page down key too hard and we'll all be just fine.]
In case you haven't heard there is a lot of angry musings on the InterNet lately by hordes of concerned and outraged Magic players in response to rumors (which sadly turned into facts) concerning the future development (or destruction) of Magic. It seems that many people out there are deeply distraught and feel that the end might be near for the game we all know and love. While I don't feel remotely qualified to comment on the upcoming status and health of the game, I'd like to discuss at this point the Theoretical But True Signs of Magic's Apocalypse If We All Lived in an Alternate Dimension.
[Disclaimer: the theories discussed in the following section of this article are all fictitious and are no cause for alarm, as they pertain to fictitious alternate dimensions. Despite their close appearance to actual events in our universe, there's no cause for alarm. Don't panic... I'm trying to sell all my cards and I don't want them devalued yet.]
Sign #1 of the Magic Apocalypse - Foil cards.
A sad day was had by all in the alternate dimension, called CouldBeTruPia, with the announcement that as of the printing of Urza's Legacy, Magic: The Gathering became the saddest excuse for a collectible card game in the history of the genre. In CouldBeTruPia, Magic now has the tragic dishonor of being the first CCG to have to resort to printing foil chase cards instead of using creativity in a pathetic attempt to increase card sales. With this announcement all hope died that the player and not the collector was the most favored of Magic buyers. Smiling WotC staffers shook hands with equally happy store owners as they watched in joyous glee as little kids all the world over were enthusiastically ripped off by stores charging them $50 for ultra-rare shiny versions of sucky $5 cards. Soon the emphasis on gimmicks replaced and displaced the concept of design. Within a few short expansions, Magic as a game was scrapped and became just another bunch of collectible cards with some weird art and glitzy ultra-rare chase cards. Strange enough it became much more popular this way... but no one remembered that the cards were ever meant to be played as a game. Within a few short months the most creativity that went into the now non-game was the box in which it came in.
Reason for this shocking development - the Anti-Rosewater and the Anti-Bill Rose tie up the Anti-Garfield with anti-ropes, release the Anti-Wylie and the Anti-Bethmo and take control of Wizards of the Coast. The anti-Adkison is too busy trying to convince the remaining 5 anti-Certified Judges that a reduced rate of 25 anti-dollars per year is not too much to pay to promote the game while getting nothing in return.
Possibility of a like occurrence in this dimension: 12.06% (give or take 87.94%)
Sign #2 of the Magic Apocalypse - Out of Quotes
Due to a technical difficulties, and busy schedules, select WotC personnel accidentally forget to keep sending in humor-laced special quotes for upcoming Quard's Corner articles. The readers are stunned to find a lack of Special Quotes of the Month by WotC personnel and hug each other in their collective grief. While they're busy hugging each other the Earth is accidentally destroyed when a Cosmic Giant mistakes the Earth for a dropped jawbreaker.
Possibility of a like occurrence in this dimension: 99.76% (I'm not going to bother explaining why)
Signs #3 - 148 of the Magic Apocalypse - The Mass Slaughter of Magic Core Rules
In the alternate dimension of CanHappen-ania, Wizards of the Coast staffers, heady with their stellar successes of Jyhad, Netrunner and Battletech CCGs use what they've learned over the years to completely gut major parts of the core rules to Magic in a valiant attempt to make the best selling card game of all time emulate the best selling car of all time, the Ford Edsel. After receiving word on the upcoming changes, hordes of discontented and angry Magic players make their feelings clear to WotC via email, Usenet messages and posts on the Dagic Mojo. Due to the negative player reaction, select members of R&D staffers chat on-line for an hour with concerned citizens on their company chat site. They spend the entire time trying to convince intelligent people that no core rule is sacred and that the very core rules that make the game what it is mean nothing (and that changing the core rules of a game does not change the game itself.)
Needless to say the people in CanHappen-ania are abnormally intelligent for CCG players and don't buy the ridiculousness of WotC's claims. The reason they like the game is the very rules being changed and doing what they plan to is not even remotely acceptable. They've been screaming for years for rules stability, only to be ignored by the company as a bunch of silly little whiners that'll buy whatever they care to give them like the good little sheep they are. Wizards of the Coast tries to counter their concerns by begging players to keep buying cards and to play with the rules for six months so they can see how good they are, but since the players know the new rules are el-stinko, they rebel and boycott all future Magic expansions. Over 75% of the players the world over, already tired of the endless and senseless rules revamps leave the game and Magic soon becomes as popular as the great sport of Goat Wrestling on Broken Glass. WotC is soon bought by Steve Jackson Games, which is later acquired by Little Debbie Snack Cakes, Inc.
Reason for this shocking development - After the accidental podding of Wylie and Bethmo, the Pod People manage to build an Insta-Podding Particle Gun. The podded Wylie and Bethmo take turns insta-podzapping other Wizards of the Coast personnel. Richard Garfield and Mark Rosewater begin to suspect something is amiss when PodBethmo informs them that creatures that are tapped while blocking or removed from the game should deal damage in combat. Rosewater scoffs and suggests that while they're at it, why don't they get rid of interrupts and let tapped artifacts function. PodBethmo agrees. Garfield indicates that perhaps Bethmo has been podded and makes circles around his ear with his pointer finger. PodBethmo zaps Garfield as a fly-headed self-professed Magic humorist rushes into the room and pulls a horrified Rosewater outside. Together the two compatriots slink through air vents and slip out of the building to safety. Quard explains the whole sordid Podding Scenario to Rosewater (the Pod People accidentally use the same radio frequency as a Las Vegas country music station for their mental communications) and the two hide out in safety as WotC and Magic fall into oblivion. Later, the two emerge from hiding when the Pod People are overthrown by the loveable and cuddly Zakk-Dorn Slay Beasties from the Andromeda Galaxy.
Possibility of a like occurrence in this dimension: 83% (for the silly rules changes), 45% (for the rebellion that will most likely follow) and 22.03% (for the Pod People thingy)
Sign #149 of the Magic Apocalypse - Quard helps Design Unglued II
Due to popular demand, The Carrying Case for Eight Voices(tm) is hired to help design the second wacky and zany humor expansion to Magic. The people of the dimension YeahRight, are so overwhelmed at the extreme humor content of Unglued II that they hock their own families to buy as much Unglued II as they can. Soon after running out of children to pawn, they raid their local hospital maternity wards and hock newborns for more packs. Not surprisingly, the second humor expansion is the best selling Magic expansion of all time. Later on, Quard is given the keys to the WotC executive washroom where he unfortunately loses 3 of his 8 voices due to a slight gastrointestinal problem after consuming 27 Taco Bell Burrito Supremes.
Possibility of a like occurrence in this dimension: 1.27% (I hate Burritos)
Well, with that obvious bit of fiction out of the way, it's time to answer your questions:
Q: Why don't you write on a weekly basis? - JasonL, InterNet
A: Something Ferratio's great-great grandfather once said to me (his name was Retreadratio.) Those that write weekly usually wind up writing weakly. Take your time between articles and think of what you want to say otherwise it'll probably wind up sucking big time.
Q: What is the best thing about the Judge Certification program? - Elias, InterNet
A: Watching the officials at the DCI scramble to keep extending the renewal dates so that they don't have to admit that they're losing most of their certified judges.
Q: Which card sucks worse, Lion's Eye Diamond or Sea Troll? - MoG6288, AOL
A: I'm sorry but my on-line Sucky Card filter cut off most of your question. Please re-word.
Q: I'm new to Magic, why does a Blinking Spirit blink? Marcel, InterNet
A: Blinking Spirits wear contact lenses and unfortunately there is a profound lack of saline solution in Dominaria. Their contact lenses get all gritty and irritate the eyes.
Q: How do you feel about not getting paid for doing Quard's Corner? Others are getting paid to write Magic articles on the Net! - Ryan, InterNet
A: I feel just fine thanks. I write for the love of the game. Besides, it gives me a tremendous advantage as I get to actually say that my articles are almost worth what I've been paid to do them, unlike some others.
Q: If I pay WotC $25 can they cut another digit off my DCI number? - Cbrangel, IRC Chat
A: After doing some checking with my friends at the DoLess Convocation, I found out that it's $75 to cut the first digit, $120 for the second digit and $412 to cut your frontal lobe so you think Magic is still a good game after April.
Q: Why do people ask for a T2 game "for fun" and then play Academy decks? - NoahGrand, IRC Chat
A: The same reason why some guys buy sports cars... large package envy.
Q: Can you be a closet claustrophobic? - Cathy N., InterNet
A: Yes. As long as you leave the door open and the closet light off.
Q: Why did they start making @#!&*ing foil cards?! - Many many disgruntled Magic players, InterNet
A: Because they don't give a darn about the players out there and cater wholeheartedly to the collectors and the secondary card market, silly. What are all you stupid players out there going to do, quit? *Snort!* Stop whining and keep buying, you idjits!
Q: We know what Ferratio's favorite snack food is, but what's yours? - Ellen P., InterNet
A: The minds of my readers. Their mental screams of anguish make a great side dish.
Q: Why don't they release a list of the cards in a set prior to it being printed? - Brad, InterNet
A: Smart business sense. This way they don't discourage people from accidentally pre-ordering hordes of Homelands II when it comes out.
Q: If Chess was created by Wizards of the Coast what would happen?
A: Every week the rules would change. The Knight would move diagonally, the Castle would become a Queen, the Rooks would move only 2 squares, Bishops would called something else and the King would be ultra-rare with gold electroplating. You'd have to buy 12 boxes of chess pieces in the hope of collecting all the white pieces only to find out that some of the key trades you just made are banned or restricted. You'd go to officially sanctioned tournaments held by the makers of the game that charge you outrageously high fees the attend, only to later corner four of their top rules employees to ask them a simple question and get four different answers. And that was AFTER they gutted the core rules of the game.
This edition of Quard's Corner has been brought to you by: happy electrons dancing on cathode ray tubes, Flaming Hot Cheetos, The Edgar Murray Driving School for the Blind, 12 gallons of garlic pickles and the Nuclear Powered Metal Spork of Death.
This edition of Quard's Corner was held up by: a non-rewound video rental of Reservoir Dogs, a slight misinterpretation of the public nudity laws in the state of Nevada, Wally the Asthmatic Whimper Whistler One Man Musical Show and a casual disregard for traffic lights in the yellow and red stages.
Special Quotes of the Month:
"Quard's Corner takes the whole 'insanity is the flip side of genius' concept and puts it in a blender." - Mark Rosewater, lead designer/developer, Magic
"You people are stupid!" - Big Daddy Jim the Tourney Organizer at PTQ Vegas, addressing a room full of players as they started to complain about the tournament running a mere 5 hours behind schedule.
"I believe the judge program has been improving steadily since its inception." - an unidentified representative of the Judge Certification Program shortly after most of the Judges in the USA that were up for renewal declined to do so.
"We removed Dark Ritual because it was too confusing." - Bill Rose, Magic R&D
"Trust us we don't want to kill Magic" - WotC R&D Member
"Trust us we don't want to kill Jyhad" - WotC R&D Member
"Trust us we don't want to kill Netrunner" - WotC R&D Member
"Trust us we don't want to kill Battletech" - WotC R&D Member
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: Finally, the swiped Golden Rosewater Idol of Greatness was returned to WotC and that ended my career as a *cough*statue-fondler*cough* err, thief. It was also around this time when you readers out there truly humbled me with your kindness and appreciation by organizing an effort to bring my poor buttinski to Pro Tour LA '99. People posted "Bring Quard to LA" messages all over the Dojo and an all-out effort was made by QC readers to sponsor me, all expenses paid to go to PTLA just so they could meet little old me. I was more than a little shocked and overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and am eternally filled with pride over the whole thing. And the kicker is, I never asked anyone to do such a thing, you all did it on your own. I'm still amazed and misty-eyed over the whole thing. Originally appeared in Feb. 1999 on the beloved Frank Kusumoto's Magic Dojo]