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CardShark Content - Matthew Smith (6/3/2002)

Hello again. Well, I’ve had a good time reading all of those pre-release reports and Extended musings throughout the week. With over 22 new websites in my Favorites folder, at about 3-4 new articles per site a day, I’d say I’ve read about 65-80 articles this week.

Phew…Let me take a break for a minute.

(Do you realize how much random STUFF that is? I mean, I’ve read about soccer, baseball, kids, Star Wars, dogs, girlfriends, car rides…I’ve learned about your life, and oh yeah, some Magic related stuff as well.)

You know, there are some really nice sites out on the web that not many people know about. Like everyone else, I’ve always had two or three magic sites that I visit—if they linked to other sites I might check out the article if it sounded interesting. Now that I’ve jumped out of my little pond I’ve seen all that the world has to offer and I must say it’s not bad.

I’ve also had the chance to work on my filtering system. Last week I explained how the grading scale works, this week I’ve constructed a means of reading and organizing over sixty articles into something seemingly manageable. (Next week I take over the WORLD) The new process keeps me from getting my eyes glued to the computer screen like a tongue on a frozen pole, and it frees up some time for me to play Utopia online. One thing I did notice from last week is that my links are not being hyper and all. If I’ve gained your trust since my last article then you won’t be disappointed and you’ll simply cut-n-paste the link to your address bar.

I began to wonder this weekend: Will my articles only be read by those people who write articles themselves? Would anyone else want to read this column—other than to see if they are on the list? It is not my intention for this series to become an awards show. The real purpose behind creating this animal was that I wanted you to be able to go to one article and find out one person’s opinion about what he thought of all the “life stories” of the week. You see, we live in a pick-n-choose world. We really do. What would you have on your menu today? We pick-n-choose our religion, our politics, and even our behavior. I just wanted to offer the public a chance to pick-n-choose from a narrower field of literature. If it is not seen as that…then, in the immortal words of Vonnegut, “so it goes”.

Before I get started with the festivities this week I’d like to share a few words from my inbox. One point that I retract from last week’s bottom five is my comparison of Sean McKeown’s article to those of his premium brethren over at Brainburst. Seeing as that I’ve never read anything from the premium section, (although I received an offer from Chedy to put the section up for contention in this column—what do you think?) I had no basis on which to make a comparison between the two. After talking with Chedy, I’ve been told that Brainburst only pays for their authors to write quality articles. I’ve apologized to both parties for making the link between what Sean does in his “off time” and what he does when he’s punched in.


I’ve received numerous emails from other websites wholeheartedly supporting the task I’ve taken on. I want to thank the Ferrett for sending me his personal list of magic sites to peruse through daily. Please remember to send me a line if you see an article that changed your life; I’m always so busy and I don’t want to miss a good one.

Unfortunately I received letters from people who just didn’t read what I had to say. I know we live in a pick-n-choose world, but please do justice to an author if you’re going to write to him and make a point! (i.e., read the whole article) It is NOT my intention to hurt any feelings, step on any toes, or hinder the writing drive in any person. I WANT YOU TO WRITE! Just because you show up on the bottom five for one week, doesn’t mean that I think you are loser. I want you to come back and hit me in the face with something so good I can only say one word: Testify. The only way that I can continue to do this is to be honest with myself. It can’t be personal and it’s not. If it gets to be then it’s over.


Exactly as I said last week, understand that no one site will escape the eye of scrutiny. I will remain in CONSTANT VIGILANCE as I painstakingly filter through article after article, week after grueling week. Because of this, if you find an article particularly disgusting, or surprisingly life-altering, then please, send it my way! I guess this is my way of saying to not be afraid to let me know what you think. I’ll be tagging my email address along with all of my articles, so if you want to give suggestions, then go for it.

With everything being said that needs to be said, I suppose it’s time to commence with this week’s Best of the Best.


TOP FIVE –May 2002



5. Compost
Compost
CompostSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Whenever a black card is put into one of your opponents' graveyards, you may draw a card.
My Eye (A Statement, Not A Request)


Blisterguy @ StarCity Games http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=3111


´´Any mono black deck that ventures headlong into a tournament knowing full well that they will die to a C.O.P. or an Aegis is either downright foolish, or has stones you could crush a 1972 Ford Mustang with.´´

Ron, or by alias, Blisterguy as he seemingly prefers to be called, makes an excellent choice for an article this week as mono black makes it re-emergence to the scene due to the current metagame. Compost
Compost
CompostSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Whenever a black card is put into one of your opponents' graveyards, you may draw a card.
has indeed been labeled the “Corrupt
Corrupt
CorruptSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Text:
Corrupt deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each swamp you control. When Corrupt successfully deals damage to a creature or player, gain life equal to that damage.
er Killer” in some circles, as finding this little piece of tech was said to have shut down anything with a swamp in its casting cost. Some went so far as to splash a second color, hence defeating the purpose and definition of “mono colored” deck. But lo and behold, someone touts that the deck idea is not dead—and I happen to agree. (But really if you just want to flat out win you’d choose to Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
, right?) How close is Ron to money? Well, look at Hiroki Okamoto’s deck from the 2002 Japan Nationals. Just a few cards away from a perfect match and even then who would have thought mono black would do anything? Overall, a well thought out article strategy wise—oh, and it wasn’t painful to read either.


4. Another day, another Set, another Site.


Nate Heiss @ Starcity Games
http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=3051

´´Back in the day at Team CMU we had a very strict motto, and it went like this:
´´WHOOOOOSH!´´
That, my friend, is the sound of a fire breathing Shivan Dragon
Shivan Dragon
Shivan DragonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying, R: +1/+0
taking a big chunk out of your precious life total…´´

It warms my heart to see Nate Heiss, of notorious Team CMU and Magic Word fame, writing for Star City. I’ve long been a fan of his work. Doesn’t Star City seem like the Detroit Red Wings? They’ve got a roster full of some of the most talented writers on the internet—even after losing one of their best; they continue to bring in new talent. Someone is doing something right on that end. Nate explains the cards that he likes from Judgment and basically lets us know who he is and what to expect. I’m looking forward to reading more articles by Mr. Heiss.



3. The Twelve-Step Program for the Strategy Impaired.


Scott Gerhardt @ Pojo
http://www.pojo.com/magic/Featured%20Writers/12StepProgram/052902.html

´´ People will put in the silliest cards, and leave some real bombs in their sideboard. So, for the purposes of this article, I want to talk a little about the process of how to build a good sealed deck.´´

I liked this article on the basis of my Bible strategy. The Bible strategy is something I always wanted to publish. There are certain types of articles that are very useful for the beginning player. I’d like to take all of those articles and put them into a single book: The Bible. This is a leather bound book of goodness, telling the beginning and expert magic player everything they need to know about the game. Trading, Sealed, Block, Standard, Extended, Vintage…all of it. Everything you ever wanted to know about strategy. Well, this article could find a nice home in the Bible. I like the way that Scott works out all of the subtleties of building a sealed deck. I noticed three steps in his Twelve Step program. We’ll see if there are nine more.


2. Magic Cards and Girlfriends


Kevin Knack @ Card Shark
http://www.cardshark.com/content/view_article.asp?article_id=437

´´Actually, now that I think about it, maybe a girlfriend is the better choice than Magic. After all, when Magic screws you, whether it be with mana or two Petrified Field
Petrified Field
Petrified FieldSet: Odyssey
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
323
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
Tap: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Tap, Sacrifice Petrified Field: Return target land card from your graveyard to your hand.
s in three packs, you’re not smiling when it’s done.´´

There’s a good article on Card Shark? Get outta here. Well, contrary to popular belief Card Shark does indeed have some talented writers. Kevin has just begun his writing career and already he’s starting to catch on. People are enjoying his writings because of his from-the-hip wit and real-life humor. It looks like Kevin’s articles are contagious. Since his less than dramatic entrance into the magic writing scene, his number of hits have exponentially gone nowhere but up. This week Kevin discusses a topic close to many of our hearts, our girlfriends. Now I know what you’re going to say, “Yeah right, Magic players DO NOT have girlfriends.” Well, according to the number of hits Kevin got, I guess they do. Kevin’s article acted like the light at the end of a tunnel, the prize at the end of the game. Don’t worry, there’s hope for gamers everywhere.


1. CASUAL FRIDAYS #131: Vision And Reality.


Anthony Alongi @ StarCityGames
http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=3064

´´It all starts with a six-year-old's crayon picture of a balrog.´´

Mr. Anthony Alongi is simply one of the best. Perhaps it was because, I too have children, maybe it was due to the fact that I felt like I was there with Anthony all the time, or conceivably it was owed to the mist in my eyes at the end of his article. You know what? I think Anthony slipped one past us. This article isn’t about Magic at all. What?! Magic’s top article for the week and it’s not about the game of Magic? Well if you want strategy go check out Alongi’s “The Fastest Crush
Crush
CrushSet: Mirrodin Besieged
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
61
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Destroy target noncreature artifact.
in the West” over at Magic the Gathering. There was a real toss up for the number one spot this week, and both of the articles belonged to Anthony. It’s scary what this guy can do. I’ve always said that if you want to see how it’s done in this business with integrity, then make your next Friday casual.

BOTTOM FIVE

5. The Day The Magic Died.

Jeremy Edwards @ StarCityGames
http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandsub.php?Article=3092

“So bye bye, little Friggin' Bald Guy
You brought up issues, now we miss you
Friggin' G-to-the-Y
And if I e-mail you, I know I'll get a reply
Saying: Sorry
Sorry
SorrySet: Unglued
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
27
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Text:
Before playing any spell, if a copy of that spell card is in any graveyard, the spell's caster may say Sorry. If he or she does not, any other player may counter the spell by saying Sorry as it is cast.If any player says Sorry at any other time, Sorry deals 2 damage to that player.
, Chief, but this is goodbye
Sorry
Sorry
SorrySet: Unglued
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
27
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Text:
Before playing any spell, if a copy of that spell card is in any graveyard, the spell's caster may say Sorry. If he or she does not, any other player may counter the spell by saying Sorry as it is cast.If any player says Sorry at any other time, Sorry deals 2 damage to that player.
, Chief, but this is goodbye”

Rizzo’s dead.

R.I.P


4. Judgement Phantoms and Epic Struggle
Epic Struggle
Epic StruggleSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt

Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 20 or more creatures, you win the game.
s

Rory Donahoe@ MagicCan
http://www.magiccan.com/articles/judgement_phantoms_and_struggles.htm

“As for the new green win condition, Epic Struggle
Epic Struggle
Epic StruggleSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt

Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 20 or more creatures, you win the game.
its easy to win. If you pull the perfect hand. No, I'm not doing the math on the odds, just showing an example.”

This article was insightful. I found out myself, days after the prerelease, that because of the way the phantom creatures are worded they can become indestructible. The only real beef I had with this article was the fact that I didn’t get to see a deck list. I understand that not every article needs a deck list, but I wanted Rory to show me the next broken phantom deck or how he would approach building the deck to break Epic Struggle
Epic Struggle
Epic StruggleSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt

Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 20 or more creatures, you win the game.
. Why is it so easy to win with Epic Struggle
Epic Struggle
Epic StruggleSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt

Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 20 or more creatures, you win the game.
? What do you do to protect yourself, what colors do you run, and what will you have to worry about? Good article Rory, but I’ve found that lately I “just need more”. Oh, and a word about the new set for other writers: The American spelling is JUDGMENT with no E.

3. Zevatog Beatings in the Mall.


Unknown @ Brainburst
http://www.brainburst.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26885

´´ He plays weenies, I take some damage then I fact or fiction an lay tog'. The turning point in the match was when I sat down and shuffled, good game kid good game..´´

This article just didn’t do it for me. The grammar was horrendous, spelling errors abound, and his report was lacking in the information department. The only thing that was going right in this article was the deck list, but then again, Zevatog is dead, right? He tried to save some of himself at the end when he tossed around “mize” and “anti-mize”, but I’m afraid even the catchiest of catch words couldn’t save this poor beast. My advice? Give me more detail. What happened in those games and why is U/G/b a bad deck to play? I thought he was setting us up for some slick foreshadowing. What did you sideboard and how does the deck play against the field? Just…give…me…more.


2. Viability of Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
.

Mike Lacroix@ BreaktheFormat
http://www.breaktheformat.com/mlacroix052202.html

“Tog, in my opinion has become a suboptimal deck to play right now in a
field of higher quality decks.”

So many articles about the ‘Tog this week... First off, the article is a bit tiny. I wanted more explanation on this man’s opinion. Mike tells us why Mike Flore’s says Zevatog is dead, and he explains that Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
without Standstill
Standstill
StandstillSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
When a player plays a spell, sacrifice Standstill. If you do, then each of that player's opponents draws three cards.
is bad, but he basically just reiterates what Flore’s says about Zevatog. Why is Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
still bad and what version are you testing? Are you aware that people are now putting cards like Deep Analysis
Deep Analysis
Deep AnalysisSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Text:
Target player draws two cards. Flashback - 1U, Pay 3 life.
, Mana Short
Mana Short
Mana ShortSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All opponent's lands are tapped, and opponent's mana pool is emptied. Opponent takes no damage from unspent mana.
, Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
, Chainer’s Edict, and Engineered Plague
Engineered Plague
Engineered PlagueSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
51
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
When Engineered Plague comes into play, choose a creature type.All creatures of the chosen type get -1/-1.
main? Engineered plague wrecks Trenches doesn’t it? Mr. Lacroix then goes off on a tangent about something with squirrels and Upheaval
Upheaval
UpheavalSet: Odyssey
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
113
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Return all permanents to their owners' hands.
. Overall I’d say that the article lacked focus and the argument being proved was weak. I think those players at Nationals may disagree with your assumptions Mike.

1. Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
/Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
.

Lee@ MtgPlanet
http://www.mtgplanet.com/Articles/Decks___Type_Two/Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
/Haunting_Echoes.html

“When I first thought of this deck, my friends said it was s**t, but after i kicked their butts at friday knight magic, they quickly changed their minds.”


What does Scalpelexis
Scalpelexis
ScalpelexisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
50
Artist:
Mark Tedin

Power:
1
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. Whenever Scaplelexis deals combat damage to a player, that player removes the top four cards of his or her library from the game. If two or more of those cards have the same name, repeat the process.
do? Is that a Magic card? From the article: “But their has always been one way that many people have never used, and that is decking. Decking means destroying the opposing deck. and now, one combo basically does that.” Decking is cool, and by cool, I mean Totally Sweet. Decking is so sweet it makes me want to crap my pants. Another quote: “Braids decks kind of hurt, but then you could always Ghastly Demise
Ghastly Demise
Ghastly DemiseSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
139
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature if its toughness is less than or equal to the number of cards in your graveyard.
it, or Mutilate
Mutilate
MutilateSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
73
Text:
All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.
it.” Ummm...Hertz dude, Hertz.

Okay, it’s not all that bad. Yes, the sight of an open wound makes it look worse than it is, but it can be healed. First thing you want to do is send this deck list to Quentin Martin and the boys over at Cutting-edge cards. From just looking at this thing I can tell you’re spells are too mana intensive. Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
, Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
, and Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
are all very costly, and rightly so, Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
lops off HALF of your opponent’s library, after all. Secondly, you need to wash this animal with a spell checker my man. A good dose of spell checkin’ never hurt any article. Finally, keep writing. Continue with your writing education, ask your English teacher to browse over your article, and don’t be afraid to use that dictionary.


That’s it for this week. Hopefully next week we’ll see more of those Judgment cards in action. What else can Wizards possibly do this week to get our panties in a bind?? What new author is going to amuse us with zany tales of magical adventures?

Watch those articles, because someone else is definitely watching them!


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