Some people are fans of the Magic: The Gathering. But many, many more people are not fans of the Magic: The Gathering. This article for those in the latter group. Feel free to tell me in the comments how much you hate me.
You've grown soft, SCG trolls. Very soft. In my year away from you, I've read your pathetic attempts to chide various authors over what you perceive to be "bad articles" or "terrible points," so the brass brought me back for a one-shot deal to help you remember how terrible it can really be.
Welcome to your nightmare.
When SCG Editor Danny West approached me about writing to fill some space in the aftermath of the SCG Invitational, I was elbows-deep in changing a relatively heavy diaper belonging to my (now four-month-old) son, Charlie. If ever there was an analogy for my time spent entertaining you, this would certainly be it.
We bounced a few ideas off each other before I decided that, much like the song belonging to C-List nu-metal band Dope, Everything Sucks. And so that's what I have for you today.
Your year in review of why absolutely everything you like is stupid and how terrible you are for liking it.
Why Modern Sucks
I was totally digging Brennan DeCandio and Ari Lax's attempts to rip off my article style a few weeks back. Ari scored points for trying to be funny, but came off like your dad trying to tell dirty jokes to your high school friends while you uncomfortably put your hands in your pockets and beg him to quit. Brennan, on the other hand, contacted me a few days before:
Brennan: "I'm going to do a 'Why Modern Sucks' article. I hope you like it.
Me: "Wow, man! I can't wait to see it!"
Fast forward two days.
Me: "What the hell is this?"
Brennan: "Yeah, I suck."
You're damn right you do.
Look, Modern is awful and amazing at the same time, but both of them completely botched it with how to present it to a sophisticated audience like you.
Why is Modern great?
Being able to play over twenty different decks is absolutely ridiculous. They don't even have that many choices when you go to Sonic to get one of those ballin' slushies that give people diabetes. There is something for everyone: Storm, Tron, Burn, Infect, Dredge, Collected Company, TitanShift, Affinity, Death's Shadow, and more. That kind of diversity is completely indicative of an on-the-surface healthy format.
Why is Modern awful?
Modern is inherently terrible because it's a goldfish format where the games occasionally devolve into gutter wars that last past Turn 10, but it generally feels like a mad dash to Turn 4 or 5 where you kill your opponent, and that's totally cool. But let's not put lipstick on a pig and act like you're down in the trenches playing the most wildly intricate Magic of your life.
But that's not even the worst thing about Modern!
Modern fans are almost as insufferable as Doctor Whovians or whatever they call themselves. If you bring up the slightest criticism of their fandom, they are literally ready to burn your house down and pour Mountain Dew on the ashes.
"Hey, folks, maybe we should try to cut down on the inherent speed that Modern has?"
Oh boy! That's when the fedoras and fingerless gloves come off. Shield your waifu pillow's eyes from the onslaught about to ensue!
"Maybe you should stick to Standard," they whisper to assert their intellectual superiority.
"Maybe you should suck less at Magic?" Killing blow delivered.
Little man on the side of the screen pops out and yells "Toasty."
With their foes vanquished, they return their katanas to their hilts and see what other internet monsters they can slay for the rest of the afternoon, or at least until mom is done cooking dinner.
Why Energy Sucks
Energy is without a doubt (period) the worst (period) mechanic (period) or gimmick (period) that Magic has ever created (period), and I played through Kamigawa block where someone could mana burn themselves and not die to the Hidetsugu's Second Rite I had expertly set up.
Why in the hell would you create a resource that cannot be interacted with on any level? Where is the "Remove X energy from your opponent's stockpile" or "Deal X damage to target player, where X is equal to the amount of energy they possess," eh? Wizards, were you too busy throwing darts at a corkboard whilst coming up with Pirates riding Dinosaurs swimming with Merfolk opening up Treasure chests to notice that Standard is, like…pretty stupid?
Attune with Aether is the most insanely nonsensical card to have been printed without any level of repercussion, and people want it banned. Are you serious? People want Lay of the Land on steroids banned? I lived through Skullclamp; Umezawa's Jitte; Disciple of the Vault; Memory Jar; Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero; and more…and we want Lay of the freaking Land banned?
I guess that's what happens when you print a mana fixer that gives you a ton of value down the line. The last big tournament I played in, my team and I played a garbage fire G/B Aetherworks deck. Didn't matter how trash the deck was, because Attune was like a little Faerie that sat on my shoulder all day and granted a terrible player like me wishes. I even came home from that trip and found out my wife was pregnant! Attune very well could be the father.
I hope you all are really enjoying all those awesome Dinosaurs that Wizards of the Coast printed.
Wait, you're not?
You're all playing Energy variants?
Cool, I guess.
Why Bullying Sucks
This weekend a pretty awesome MTG cosplayer decided to quit Magic and attending events amidst claims that she was been harassed, threatened, and bullied to the point where she has to walk away for the purpose of self-preservation. I wish I could tell you that this is isolated, or that she's overreacting, or that we live in an inclusive community that thrives on love, tolerance, and respect.
We don't. The Magic community is beautiful, embracing, hideous, and disgusting all at once.
And that absolutely sucks.
In this portion you won't be getting playful quips and humorous banter. Skip to the end if you want to see me make more stupid jokes.
The problem is symptomatic and, as such, the causes need to be removed so that Magic may continue to thrive on a local and worldwide level. When you see someone being harassed or bullied, if you are under age, I implore you to find the owner of the store or perhaps the admin of a Facebook page and report it. Go with your gut: if what you're witnessing makes you feel uneasy and nervous for the person on the receiving end of it, imagine what they are going through. Combat bullying with having those people removed.
If you are a grown-up and you witness this happening, it is well within your rights to report it. You can also say something. Call that person out. Tell them it's not okay what they are doing.
The only way this toxic behavior gets exiled from the community is if you stand up for those that are being cornered. Be bigger than the bullies, and refuse to allow anyone to feel inferior for taking part of things they love. We know what's wrong, and we know how to defeat it. These people are cowards, and they reside behind a computer screen where their ilk is emboldened by a lack of repercussions. Show them that you will not let hatred defeat love, kindness be overridden by fearful rhetoric, or ignorance overcome reality.
And most of all do not be afraid of them, because I assure you that you are not alone in your struggle.
What Might Not Suck
Being a dad is awesome! I created this little life, and all he does is smile 24/7. He sleeps eight to ten hours a night. He barely fusses or cries over the course of an entire day…maybe about ten to twenty minutes total.
When I gave up Magic to take care of my wife and stay home more, I had a lot of doubts about the overall quality of my life and how "boring" it would be. It has been anything but, and I mean that. Changing diapers, however, is the nut low.
Balancing being a parent with recreationally playing Magic has been difficult, but incredibly rewarding. I play a lot of Commander now, and would like to use this platform to page Sheldon Menery about banning Paradox Engine.
So yeah...Sheldon…use those freaky-deaky-old-ass-Dragon powers and do something about it.
That's basically why I agreed to do this piece this week: so I could shoehorn in something to make my local Commander group a little better for my Gisa and Geralf / Brago, King Eternal decks. Suckers!
Why Not Writing Sucks
I kind of miss you all.
I'm overwhelmed at the support from a lot of you that I've been given over this last year while I went on my journey from Magic writer and grinder to Pappy Mark.
The best part about doing this today is that I was able to get one more jab in there at most of you.
I hope you enjoyed the SCG Invitational this past weekend and whatever Magic has in store for you next.
As for me? I'll see you next time things get too boring around here, which I assume will probably be in a few weeks.
Whether you like to admit it or not, you need me, kiddies.
Toodles, and let's hear from everyone in the comments!