One thing I've never discussed in my FNM Hero series is my end point. At what point do I finish FNM Hero and call it quits? A losing condition is easy—if I run out of money and cards to sell for money, I lose. But what about a victory condition? At what point do I consider myself to "win" FNM Hero? Do I need to build a singular tier 1 Standard deck? Do I need to have it survive a rotation? Do I need a certain dollar amount? To tell you the truth, the reason I never discussed it is simple. I didn't know. I often give the advice of "cross that bridge when you get to it," and it seemed like good advice to take regarding the end of FNM Hero.
The FNM Hero will be no more.
I imagined the day that I would have to end the series. At first, I feared the scenario where I simply failed. When I was down to $10 without winning anything significant, the prospect of simply failing was very real. I didn't know if it was possible to succeed based on prize winnings alone. Without speculating and dumpster diving, was I capable of succeeding at FNM Hero? Was my deck capable of winning tournaments, and could I pilot it to those wins? Thankfully, most of my fears have passed in that regard.
Next, I feared rotation. That would still be a very real concern for me. I don't have a ton of money to spend on things, and I would probably need to save up quite a bit to get some new Theros cards—the instants and sorceries would require a huge overhaul.
Then I imagined some other reasons that I would want to end FNM Hero. While it never happened in reality, I could see a day where I wanted to focus more on tournament Magic and writing about it. Playing the same deck over and over could potentially become dry over time. The other scenario, and the one I focused on reaching, was simply having so much success that writing about winning local tournaments with the same tier 1 deck week in and week out would get stale. I feel like that was a long way away but definitely a possibility. The actual reason for ending FNM Hero is something that I did not truly envision until it happened.
I was hired by Wizards of the Coast. I will be working for the development half of R&D.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to type those words. I've been slowly telling family and friends over the past few weeks, and it still hasn't gotten old. I recently sold the vast majority of my Magic collection, and it still hasn't really sunk in that I won't be needing Magic cards in a few short weeks.
I will make the trek from Cincinnati to Renton, Washington starting on September 3rd, giving me a few days to traverse the country before I start on September 9th. If you pay attention to the StarCityGames.com Open Series schedule, you know what that means.
The Open Series in Cincinnati will be my last sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournament.
You better be there.
To properly send off the FNM Hero, I plan on playing the FNM Hero deck, at least for the Standard portion. As for Legacy, I will probably not be playing Storm. I have a deck I've loved to play throughout the years in its various iterations. Want to know what it is? That one will be a secret for now, but you'll have to show up (or tune into SCGLive) to find out! It's relatively obscure, and I'd love to see your guesses.
Being a Magic player has been a huge part of my adult life, but I never truly thought I'd be able to make a career of it. I've met so many wonderful people, and I've had the opportunity to experience so many wonderful things. Playing Magic has been awesome, and I hope making Magic will be even better. As my days with a legal DCI number wind down, I would like to thank quite a few people for making my Magic playing experience as awesome as it has been.
Pete Hoefling - StarCityGames.com has given me so many opportunities over the years, and Pete is the primary man responsible. SCG is responsible for so many innovations in the world of Magic, and we are much better off for it. Even a few years ago, if you told me that there would be $10,000 Magic tournaments nearly every week, I would have laughed at you. Today, there are two Opens most weekends, and we can watch them from the comfort of our home. That is truly amazing. Over the past few years, much of my tournament Magic has been directly related to StarCityGames.com, and I could not be more grateful. Honestly, I wish there were three or four organizations with the expertise and vision of SCG—that would be great for the game of Magic. Alas, there is but one. Thank you, Pete.
Ted Knutson - For getting me to write for StarCityGames.com in the first place. I dabbled in writing before, but it was Ted that really got me to write on a somewhat regular basis. Granted, most of that writing was for StarCityVs, but writing is writing. (RIP) Thank you, Ted.
Cedric Phillips - For those of you that don't know, I met Cedric when I was half the man I am now. No, seriously. We've been friends ever since. I could tell you stories of Ursapines and Enduring Ideals (and I might!), but the best thing Cedric has ever done for me was decide to become the Online Content Coordinator here at StarCityGames.com. As Online Content Coordinator, Cedric wanted me to write more frequently, and I told him that I needed something consistent to write about. We came up with FNM Hero, and I couldn't be happier about how it turned out. FNM Hero was everything I wanted it to be. Thank you, Ceddy. [Editor's Note: My pleasure, Adam.]
Evan Erwin - While it took some pestering, I'm really glad I was given the opportunity to do commentary on SCGLive. It was truly an experience and one that I cherish. As the man in charge, Evan was ultimately responsible for giving me the opportunity to be a commentator. Also, "Three Dudes. Seriously?" Thank you, Evan.
Anthony Avitollo, Sam Meyer, and Taylor Gunn - My BFFs. I've nearly always had a partner in crime when playing lots of Magic, and at various points of my Magic playing life, these three have been my spellslinging compadres. Without great people like these three that love Magic just as much as I do, "grinding" wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. Thank you, Anthony, Sam, and Taylor.
You - If nobody read my articles, watched my streams, or followed my decklists, the good people at Wizards of the Coast wouldn't have noticed. Thank you.
If you can realistically make it, I implore you to come to the StarCityGames.com Open Series in Cincinnati, Ohio August 31–September 1. I plan on making it a weekend I won't forget.
All good things must come to an end.
Even the FNM Hero.
P.S. Last weekend was Gen Con, and there was a tournament that I thought was awesome and should have gotten more press than it did. From a personal standpoint, I love thinking through situations that nobody has realistically thought through before. Throughout the weekend, there were eight tournaments, and the winner of each was invited to a finals. The finals was a draft, but it was no ordinary draft. To celebrate twenty years of Magic, one of each booster pack of Magic was involved. First, the most valuable packs (Beta, Portal 3 Kingdoms, etc.) were opened and drafted. This gave everyone an opportunity to get some good rare drafting in. Comically, the most valuable card opened was from the "random" pack—Zendikar.
Priceless Treasure Underground Seas are sweet.
After the valuable packs were opened, the rest of the packs were laid out and selected one at a time by the competitors. Using these sealed packs (plus the cards they drafted from the valuable packs), the players built a sealed deck and played single elimination for a pretty awesome prize. The winner received 80 packs, one from every set of Magic!
I talked to a few people about strategy including Devin Koepke. Devin had quite the interest in this, as he was one of the competitors in the draft after winning a Modern tournament at Gen Con. Sam Black argued that the more recent the set, the better it would be. Honestly, that's not entirely far off—modern sets are simply deeper and stronger than earlier sets. However, I argued that some of the sets were simply more geared toward the format than others. For example, Mirrodin block (specifically Darksteel) was absolutely insane for Sealed Deck. There are so many colorless cards, and this isn't a format full of Shatters. Scars of Mirrodin seemed to be similar, except for the fact that many of the creatures are fairly unplayable by virtue of having Infect.
Devin and I developed a strategy that was very core set heavy. Basically, the core sets do not offer much in the way of synergy. This is actually an advantage in a Sealed Deck where you will never have two of the same pack—tribal themes and other set-based synergy is incredibly unlikely to come together. Devin managed to take down the finals with a Bant deck featuring nearly every core set that is Modern legal. I thought this was really cool to think about the power level of sets in relation to each other.