Organ donor to the stars – the deck that didn’t get there

Given that I’ve recently pushed for players to prepare for events, it’s with some embarrassment that I have to admit that I was not especially prepared for the Standard portion of the SCG Open Series event in San Jose last week. I’d prepped for the Legacy portion in late December, then things came up, as they tend to do, and I found myself without time to do the requisite testing for Standard.
But hey, you’re not going to not go, right?
As you can see in my round one feature match, there were issues. Even so, some of you wanted to see the deck list, so I’m including it in the extended entry below…along with some notes about how I might take what turns out to be a reasonable enough structural base for a deck and improve it.
I’ll also explain the title of this post.

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This week’s The Field Report – look to the future, not the past

With my return from that work-induced break we have another edition of The Field Report. This week, I’ve spent some time making a case for using metagame data to figure out what you need to beat, rather than trying to come up with numbers about how other people performed against each other. After that, it’s a little bit of Standard metagame analysis followed by fun times with “rogue” decks.
Click here to read this week’s article and then find me on twitter to let me know what you think.

This week’s In Development – King Timmy Value Card!

We’re back to In Development time again, and I am KILLING PEOPLE WITH SKITHYRIX!
No, really.
Given my penchant for running quirky cards, and the simultaneous tendency of a very narrow slice of our audience to assume that all Magic writers are straight-up shilling out Rares and Mythics, I sometimes wonder if I’m giving the conspiracy theorists fuel for their beliefs when I propose running something like Skithiryx in Constructed.
But I promise you, I’m not. It turns out the zombie dragon has actually done right by me this week, so I thought I’d write about him.
You can click here to read the article, and then, as always, find me on twitter to let me know what you think.

The Field Report – Pacing the metagame!

The Field Report is back, and this time we’re looking at the pace of the major players in the Standard metagame.
If you’ve seen me write about deck abstraction before – and liked it – you’ll love this edition of TFR. In addition to the usual metagame roundup, I’ve done a big ol’ compare-contrast across all the major metagame choices.
Just in time, as the editorial blurb helpfully notes, for the SCG Invitational and Open in Richmond this weekend.
Click here to read the article, and then find me on twitter to let me know what you think.

Sean’s Boros dilemma

So, here’s a cool way to ask for advice about your deck:

Over on twitter yesterday, Sean asked for advice about his current Boros build, and posted a link to the video above. I’m about to head out to a PTQ, but I had a chance to watch the video, scribble some notes, and offer my thoughts about the deck.
If you haven’t watched the video yet, you probably should, or the notes won’t make much sense.
Click through to the extended entry for the notes.

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This week’s In Development – Card types, card roles, and picking card to solve my problems

It’s In Development time again (notice how that happens each week?).
This week I expand on something I mentioned in last week’s In Development – how I referred back to the Ghazi-Glare deck of Worlds 2005 to figure out what to do with my current Fauna Shaman build. More generally, this week’s topic is about finding the right card by role, while avoiding being mislead by card types.
Or, in other words, finding a Jitte in Standard.
Click here to read this week’s In Development, and then find me on twitter and let me know what you think.

This week’s The Field Report – Putting Valakut in a blender

So, I handed in another metagame analysis over the weekend, and like magic, The Field Report appears again.
This week I cover a fascinating shift from the metagame I reported last time (hint – it has something to do with the column title) and then run an experiment, comparing Premier-level Valakut decks to those that merely grind through to a 4-0 Daily result.
And I think that experiment bore some pretty interesting fruit, with pointers to how to make the “best” Valakut deck. At least for now.
Click here to read this week’s TFR, and then find me on twitter and let me know what you think.

Read me at…everywhere, really.

This evening sees the fifty-seventh (really!) In Development appear over at, and the debut of my new metagame analysis column The Field Report at
I’d like to thank LSV and Jon Saso for being cool with me writing for another site, and for Ted Knutson and Pete Hoefling for, well, the same thing for a new author. The content in the columns is quite different – everything you know and love about In Development will stay there, and The Field Report features a window into a whole aspect of my appreciation of the game that I haven’t really touched on before.
Click here to read this week’s In Development – All about tilt!
Chiba From a Thousand FeetClick here to read this week’s The Field Report – In which we take a high-level view of the Standard metagame.
…and then, as always, find me on twitter and let me know what you think.
Special thanks today to Riki Hayashi, who scooped me up from the Bay Area PTQ scene for in the first place and introduced me to a wider audience.

This week’s In Development – Smackdown!

It’s In Development time again, a day late after I spent a bonus day in Korea this week (more on that adventure in the article itself!).
This week’s topic is the crushing matchup – whether that refers to a deck that you just don’t do well against, or a specific sideboard card that shuts down your game plan. See the grudge match above for reference.
As I often like to do, I’ve combined a bit of theory – playing around poor pairings – with some contemporary metagame stuff. As a consequence, this week’s column features my take on an Elves deck and a Mono-Red Aggro deck, ready to go for this weekend’s Magic Game Day.
Click here to read the article, and then find me on twitter and let me know what you think.