We’ll, I’m back, got my lunch pail, my hard hat, and my pick-axe, I’m ready to venture down in to the Salt Mines once again. So follow along, misery loves company, and if I crush myself under the weight of my own salt, I’ll need an evac crew!

1. Magic Players Who Don’t Get “it”

For anyone who has played any level of competitive Magic, they know this guy. It’s your regular Thursday Night Modern. 4 Rounds, minimal prize, it’s just for fun. Working at a game store and judging these casual events, this guy pops up from time to time.

It usually starts out the same way, “JUDGE!” like they’re yelling for you at an understaffed GP. You casually walk over and Spike tells you that his opponent didn’t untap his lands and it’s his main phase one so obviously he floated all of his mana in his upkeep. Hello? Is this real life? After I unmercifully let his opponent untap his lands he then gives the guy a speech about how, “at a real tournament, that’s how things are”.

Hello? At what point did this guy get this memo? You know these guys, it has been ingrained in them that to be good you must literally take no prisoners. Newsflash, that’s not how things work in 2017. This isn’t 1998 where it was more important what strong arming techniques you knew than what deck you played.

If you’ve never seen the following graph, it speaks volumes in this context:

Try to take this into account next time you decide to try and rules lawyer a guy at his first FNM please and Thank-You.

2. All Magic Stores are not Evil!

Every few weeks you see it:

“Jim’s Hardware Tackle and Magic shop cancelled my order of 35 Hazoret’s at $2.50 they deserve to burn”

“Billy’s Ice Cream, Popsicle Stand and Magic Store just told me they aren’t shipping me the 79 copies of Earthshaker Khenra I bought right after Round 6 of the PT because Bill said he was up late churning ice cream or something and wasn’t awake at 5am, they deserve to have their license revoked and Bill should have to give us all 79 Earthshaker Khenras!”

Yes, terrible people exist, yes bad Magic stores exist, “Magic stores from Hell” even exist, right Des?

But, the vast majority of the time, overselling happens, inventory error happens, I understand at all points the pitch-forks are at the door waiting to go into action, but can we at least give these tiny little stores the benefit of the doubt once?

Like I said, bad Magic stores exist, and they deserve to be outed, but the up roar that people get into because the sick “spec” they thought they “got” someone on was cancelled. Do you ever notice that almost every single one of the burn em at the stake posts has the person ordering more than a play-set of a card that spiked hours ago? People are just trying to get their piece of the pie, sure I get that, but for every other lollipop stand you were able to order 19 Saheeli Rai’s from before Ralph, from Ralph’s 1 man Bake Stand and Magic Mart was able to drop his kid off at school and then change his prices there is going to be one guy who is going to say “%&#$ it” and not comply with getting gouged.

This is obviously going to be a point of contention with a lot of you, which is fine, I’m looking to drum up some controversy, so let me know how much of an idiot I am in the comments. I’ll be waiting!

3. Legacy Specialists

Ah, let’s keep the hate train rolling shall we? Do you know another name for a Legacy specialist? I do, it’s “Bad at Magic”. Magic is Magic, think what you will about skill level and decision trees, Magic is a hard game. And, let me let you in on a little secret, it isn’t that Legacy is “harder” or more “skill-intensive” it’s that it simply moves the decision trees. In legacy, match-ups matter, cards in hand matter, the stack matters, but I’ll tell you what normally doesn’t matter, the actual board.

(My board consists of 2 lands and a Delver of Secrets, my opponent has an Iona set to blue and a Tidespout Tyrant, I’ve got him right where I want him)

Compare this to Limited or Standard where the board is the most important thing, and instead of leveraging match-ups and cards in hand, you simply move the decision trees to leveraging on-board presence.

“But Austen, that proves your point, you just slam mythics back and forth in Standard!”

Right, Show and Tell isn’t a mythic, Sneak Attack isn’t a mythic, Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale isn’t a mythic. Below are 2 cards, without looking at the rarity, tell me which one you consider to be the “no skill just slam busted mythic”

Both require a great deal of skill to operate properly. One’s skill is determined by when you put it on the stack, the others is determined when you use one of its abilities. Because let’s be real, it doesn’t take Jon Finkel to put Show and Tell on the stack.

I have no problem with Legacy, I think it’s great, what I have a problem with is the people who treat it as this perfect world that is superior to every other format. No, it’s an illusion, the decisions aren’t that much more difficult, they are simply moved to places where they simply look like they are more difficult. Magic has a stigma that if you attack with creatures you are a noob. Well Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa just won 40K attacking with red creatures, is he a noob? That stigma is long dead my friends.

I’ve been to 2 SCG Legacy opens in my Magic Career and in the first, where Match 1 Game 1 was my very first game of Legacy I went 6-3 good for top 64 and in the other I was 4-2 and had to leave due to my ride. I am by no means good at this game and I was winning RUG Delver mirrors that were supposedly quite skill intensive vs actual Legacy Specialists. I even got told before one of my matches that my opponent felt that:

“Standard is more of a beginner’s format where you just jam your best planeswalker every turn and hope it’s good enough”

This guy then proceeded to try and T1 Reanimate an Iona with no back-up, that rests my case I think.


4. People Caring That Contraptions will be Silver-Bordered

Newsflash to the 67 of you. NO ONE ELSE CARES. Newsflash to the 35 of you that “specced” on Steamflogger Boss. Did you honestly think that was going to pay off? Honestly? Like seriously look in the mirror, and ask yourself

“Did I really think I was going to win on Steamflogger Boss like it was Apple Stock in 1996”.

Now that we’ve completed that simple exercise, let me ask you this. Does any of this matter? There was no way Steamflogger Boss wasn’t going to be bad, even it if was printed along with his rigger/contraption buddies in black border. Has there ever been a play-able/semiplay-able Goblin Mechanic? Ever? Seriously? Like sure, Goblins have been good, on their own. But has the tribe mechanic or theme for Goblins ever been a powerful one?

Like come on people who care about this (I know it’s only 67 of you but still). In Onslaught block, every “pay-off” goblin’s flavour was that it killed all the other goblins.

Goblin mechanics are the running joke of Magic history. People say it’s a cop out, or whatever, but you know what. This now allows Riggers/Contraptions to actually be really cool rather than just be some useless throwaway fun mechanic. Actually, you know what, that may have been a better idea, as people may have gotten even more upset at that prospect.

I’m done for this week. I hope I got you guys as fired up as I am, please comment, lease tell me I’m an idiot, all it does is fuel the fire I have burning deep inside me!


Cya next week!


(the opinions raised in this piece do not reflect the opinions of The Mana Base or of Fusion Gaming, they are the opinions of the author and the author alone)


15 Responses

  1. jaj

    I have to hand it to you–this is a genius approach to White Hat Trolling.

    96% of the population will read this, and nod at each other in agreement/acceptance/tolerance-motivated-apathy and move on. The other 4 percent, the people you are writing about, are the VERY people that are most likely to lose their minds in the forum, correcting you.

    (To be fair, what reasonable adult WOULDN’T completely lose all self-control when they had already mentally banked a life-changing $2.96 virtual profit?”…butTHAT’SNOTTHEPOINTit’sthePRINCIPLE!!!IWON!I!ALONE!WON!”)

    • Austen Hoey

      I love every bit of this comment, and you nailed it 100% on the head!

  2. Zok

    I do not speculate. I do buy things. I am bothered when I enter into a financial agreement and another party breaks the agreement. When a store makes a deal it cannot immediately honor, or when it doesn’t want to honor that deal for profit, it does not get a free pass because it a store and we are lowly consumers. Sales should be honored. Speculators may not be the world’s fuzziest creatures but they are in the right in this case.

    • Austen Hoey

      That’s not really what I’m saying. I’m saying the cases where the inventory software they use allows too many of a card to be sold, and there is literally nothing they can do because they don’t physically own the cards to ship them.

      And in the cases of “master speculator Rudy wannabee” tries to destroy some 500 square store’s entire months profit margins. Sure they aren’t in the wrong but they are still assholes and this column isn’t all about the facts, sometimes I just like to let off some steam of some people I don’t agree with or don’t particularily like

      • Kintoki

        WhiIe I don’t like the fact that people order cards just to make a profit I am happy that we have much less issues with orders that are not fulfilled in EU.
        MKM informs every seller that they disabled canceling of preorders before set launches and that they will enforce delivery of spiked cards even if the seller entered more inventory then he could deliver. Also MKMs system makes it impossible to order more cards then were actually entred into the inventory.

        They also remind their sellers to either unlist their cards during PT / GP events or accept that people might buy them for a low price.

      • Austen Hoey

        the incorrect inventory flaw of CC and TCGplayer is mostly to blame I would say

      • Damon

        Spike spec’ing doesn’t hurt a store’s profits – it simply transfers the opportunity to come up off the spike from the store to the speculator – if it was a profit an hour ago for the store, it is the same profit after the spike – just the opportunity to charge more gets lost

      • Austen Hoey

        Sure, it was more preying on small one man owned and operated businesses that i was taking offense to. And even still, there is nothing actually wrong with doing it, it is simply something I don’t agree with.

  3. alex

    This is still not a pauper pondering article……………


    I chose Nahiri as the busted mythic but I have to be honest, I peeked at the rarity.

    Also goblins was for a time very successful in pauper. At one point there we’re grumbling from players wanting Bushwacker banned…….but then other things came along that made goblins rather weak in pauper too.

    • Austen Hoey

      What I meant by Goblins always getting the short end of the stick was not, despite the efforts of WOTC giving goblins hilariously self depricating abilities the efficiency has produced good decks. If you look at most actual abilities on cards that involve goblins I expect youll find most them have some chance tacked on or they require you to kill a goblin to activate it.

      So, most likely, contraptions would have been some terrible funny mechanic that always backfired and killed a bunch of your own goblins

      • alex

        I kind of like flipping coins and doing cartwheels or whatever other silly thing that goblins get to do, but, I totally get the point you’re making here. Given WoTC’s track record with anything goblins certainly shouldn’t have led anyone to come to the conclusion that the Boss would ever be relevant. Anyone claiming such is full of slugs and thus should have some salt dumped on them.

        What I would like to see WoTC do is develop their own lore for Goblins. Take all the inspiration on goblin lore they have borrowed and just kill it off. Make a goblin planeswalker, XXXXXXX “The Last Goblin” and then slowly rework goblins into their own image to support certain mechanics suited to their creature type. I was thinking there could be a clever and cunning goblin rising through the ranks making some sort of bargain for power. in exchange, he/she stages a goblin coup and wipes out the rest of goblin-kind. then they could have other goblins in different planes get work of this and band together to confront the usurper, leading to an all out goblin war. Really just way to trick WotC into printing more goblins because eventually some will have to be good right?

        More importantly…………………….gotta get my Pauper Ponderings fix. Can you hook a brotha up?

      • Austen Hoey

        Patience is a virtue my friend, they’re coming don’t you worry!

      • alex

        Who ever said I was virtuous? Gimme gimme gimme. lol
        I’m getting tired of Ullman telling me what to do all the time. I like fresh brews, not that old cup of coffee that’s been sitting on the counter for who knows how long.

      • Eli Goings

        I took it upon myself to take a look at all the goblins in the game on gatherer in order to see if there was some long lost goblin that I could pull out of nowhere that would make goblins better in legacy. Going through the dregs, it’s honestly astonishing there has ever been a competitive goblin deck. So so much of the tribe is absolute garbage. I’ve taken it upon myself to start sending Maro questions on blogatog basically to the tune of “can you print goblins like you did during onslaught plz”. Unless there’s some new staff there that just loves goblins (like they appear to love D&T at the moment…) I dunno if goblins is gonna get any better. Here’s hoping for some richard garfield creations in Dominaria ala Goblin Sharpshooter, but I’m not especially hopeful….

      • Austen Hoey

        I’m hoping aswell, who doesn’t love goblins!

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