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Some Things Are More Important Than Magic

It’s been a hectic couple months here at Matledge Media. At the end of March, my wife and I flew to the Midwest to visit family for a week. Then, almost immediately in April, I flew back to attend my Grandma’s funeral.

In between those two trips, my wife and I finished apartment hunting. As I’m writing this, we’re in the midst of the moving process. That process has taken longer than expected because, last weekend, I hooked up with some friends in Denver and spent the weekend hiking, drinking quite a few craft beers, and reading the heck out of A Memory Called Empire (which I would recommend; it’s very good).

All of which is to say, Magic has largely taken a backseat to more important things in my life over the past couple months. Because some things are more pressing than keeping up with War of the Spark spoilers or catching coverage of the latest Modern tournament.

And yet …

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Gelectrode Featured Image - Matt Plays Magic

The Power of Gelectrode

With Guilds of Ravnica‘s Izzet-themed cards just released, I wanted to spend this week talking about Magic‘s most powerful card:

Gelectrode - Matt Plays Magic

Oh. From the look on your face, I can see I’m going to have to explain myself. Don’t worry; that’s what this blog post is about.

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Zephyr Scribe Banner - Matt Plays Magic

Duel Decks: Wife Vs. Husband

Recently, my wife and I had a variation of the “Are you going to Magic tonight?” talk:

Her: “Are you going to Magic tonight?”

Me: “I’m not sure I’m feeling it … but I do kinda want to play.”

Her: “Well, stay home. I’ll play.”

Me: “You will?”

Her: “Sure.”

This is, as previously described on the blog, a rare treat. Typically, when Kat and I play, we play a loose variation of Pack Wars. But that evening, because it had been awhile since I’d built any new decks, I wanted to try something different.

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Matching Basic Lands - John Avon - Matt Plays Magic

Matching Basic Lands: Yes or No?

There are largely two groups of Magic players who care about Basic Land art: Those who want to use as many different Basic Land arts in their decks as possible and those who want to use only matching artwork.

For the most part, I find myself falling into the second camp. I enjoy the aesthetics of using the same art for the same land within the same deck. There’s something about lining up or tapping a row of matching Islands or Forests that just feels right.

However, being an art-centric person, I’ve found other ways of maximizing the number of Basic Land arts I use. I use matching Basics within each of my decks, but I go out of my way to find and use vastly different Basics in different decks, based on each deck’s aesthetic and gameplay.

For an example of what I mean, read on, as I show off the Basics I’m using in my Modern and Commander decks and explain why I chose them. The rationale might interest you, it might not. But at the very least, you’ll get to look at a number of stunning pieces of art before this article is through.

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Scalding Tarn Price Graph Magic Finance - Matt Plays Magic

Magic Finance Is a Hard Sell

I had originally titled this article “Why I Don’t Play Standard,” but I think the new title sums up my reasons pretty succinctly. In case you skipped the title, I’ll reiterate:

It’s the Magic economy, stupid.

Magic finance is itself a game, one with much higher stakes than a typical Friday Night Magic tournament. Your typical FNM costs $5 to attend and pays $20-30 worth of prizes to first place. FNMs are a casual, low-cost way to spend an evening. Buying and selling the cards you use to play at those tournaments, however, is often a hundreds-of-dollars affair.

Not everyone can handle that price point or manage the ups and downs of Magic’s secondary market. I’m invested enough to write a bi-weekly blog about the game, and even I’m thrown by Magic’s price point and the expense of cards. I am absolutely sure that Magic’s status as a “Collectible Trading” card game puts players off the game because, at a certain level, I am one of those players who is put off.

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