Hooptedoodle – Three Years

(16Editor’s Note: Being a fiction writer, sometimes all that comes out of my fingers when I write is prose that just meanders for a while. Elmore Leonard explained that the term is called “hooptedoodle” and sprung from John Steinbeck’s book Sweet Thursday. It’s a non-sense word that doesn’t mean anything; the author is just going to write a while for fun. This is one of those times. Some of you might like this, others will think I’m wasting your time and for that I apologize. You may skip this post, and I wouldn’t be hurt. This isn’t required reading by any means, but I wanted to get this semi-Magic related story down. – MtGCP)

Here’s a story I’ve never really told anyone in this much detail. It’s quite long and it briefly ties into Magic. It meanders all over the place but it doesn’t have as many asides as you might be used to with my writing. I understand I might not be selling you on this piece at the moment, which is the first thing an author has to do. Ignore this paragraph and focus on the hook:

It was just over three years ago that my wife and I brought our youngest daughter, Katie, home from the hospital. Here’s what you might not know:

Katie was born 15 weeks early.

Early Harvest

Nothing prepares you for that. We were training our 18 month old daughter Lizzy to sleep in her new toddler bed, her old crib was just moved upstairs to the new baby’s room. One night my wife feels something’s a miss, but she’s not in pain (they tell you if you’re in pain go to the hospital, that’s when something might be wrong). She visits the doctor in the morning and I meet her there. The doctor says, “You need to get to a hospital, your water broke. The baby may come early.”

Worried and shocked, we head to the nearest one with a NICU (Neonatal Insensitive Care Unit) that can take an premature baby of her age. After a quick sonogram an doctor confirms the issue. The day my wife entered the hospital she was an estimated 24 weeks of gestation, the bare minimum for there to be a chance of survival for the baby. It wasn’t a quality of life survival, but surviving at all. If the baby was born at that moment, the doctors would’ve given her 20% of living. That’s just better than rolling a 6 sided die and calling it.

Roll a die. Did you get the side you wanted?

Continue reading “Hooptedoodle – Three Years”

GP Vegas Art Show – A Kickstarter

I64ef2a6416fe92c95a12ab4e2aeaae6a_original‘m not an art guy.

Let me rephrase: I like Magic art however my expertise is not art, it’s design. I appreciate looking at art and I have several art prints of Magic cards up in my home office area (I’ve got the John Avon Unhinged basic land cycle at my actual work office, and I still have this print even though it’s not hanging at that card store at the moment). If you asked me what made X piece of art so good I couldn’t tell you besides “It’s pleasing to my eye.” I pick up lessons here and there, especially from constantly name dropped on my blog Mike Linnemann (You might have seen his work here).

So when he asked me to help promote this Kickstarter for the GP Vegas Art Show (http://kck.st/2nqMGGf) even though I won’t be able to attend, I was more than happy to help. Why?

I think Magic art is amazing, and more people should enjoy it. Continue reading “GP Vegas Art Show – A Kickstarter”

The Top 5 Sets of 2016

It’d be a little odd to do a Top 5 sets of 2017

emissarysployWhat follows is a list of the top 5 sets of 2016. Anything that was more than just a single product to buy qualified as a set (Like, a From the Vault or Anthology collection could not be considered a set). It could be a set with all new cards, all reprints, or something in between. Now, how I’m ranking these sets is going to be different than you’re used to. Sure, there’s going to be a design aspect bent to it, but I’m not going to favor a set on its limited environment, Standard viability, Modern impact or if it had the best Commanders. Ok, there might be a little Commander bias, but not much. Not one set is going to be ranked higher because of a single card’s presence; it’s got to be the whole package. Got it? Good.

#5 – Shadows Over Innistrad

Can you go home again? I don’t know but Wizards sure tried. In the follow up to the original visit to the Gothic Horror plane from 2011 and 2012, we went back to see what has happened since Avacyn, um, Restored it. Everything went back to the way it was and the angel that was assigned to protect the people were now being slaughtered by her? Great job, Sorin. You’re batting 1.000 with the women in your life. Continue reading “The Top 5 Sets of 2016”

Commander 2016 – Getting What You Asked For

As the Philosopher Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

kynaiosandtiroofmeletisIt’s a little odd to have a Commander post on the design blog, but whatever let’s roll with it.

Four-color Commanders was one of those areas that I just didn’t care to see Legends printed for. To me, the whole exercise was nothing more than checking boxes. Players kept asking for four-color Commanders so eventually WotC was going to produce them. Believe me, WotC would go back and errata the Nephilim to be legendary so fast it would make Barry Allen look slow (Insert your own timeline joke here). Alas, they don’t do functional errata so that’s a no-go there. I didn’t want four-color Commanders, I didn’t need four-color Commanders. And now?

I’m glad the boxes are checked.

This Commander product wasn’t directed at me. There are those people that want four-color Commanders to play those types of decks. The designs of them feel alright but most don’t really work with my playstyle (though Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis tickles my fancy). And that’s fine, not every product is going to be directed at me and this was something that players have been asking about for years.

Doesn’t mean I’m not buying all five decks, because I totally am. Continue reading “Commander 2016 – Getting What You Asked For”

Go PAX West, Young Man

Invent your tomorrow, today!

2016-09-03-10-45-03PAX is PAX.

It’s a weekend long celebration of gaming and getting together with friends and making new ones. PAX is the one event every year that I’ll put almost everything else on hold to attend. In the past eight years of PAX, I’ve only missed once when my daughter had surgery (a few years ago, she’s doing pretty well now). I’ve seen the invention of the Magic Party, its evolution, to its final iteration last year. Now, Magic takes over an entire theater for a weekend.

I was one of the only people posting spoilers online in the first Magic Party on Zendikar (the first time around) to Twitter and now the multinational company is streaming high quality shows on Twitch dedicated to introducing cards and mechanics from the very people who designed them.

Every year WotC tries to go bigger and grander. Last year it was a section of the Convention Center that had a huge Eldrazi arm breaking through a window and smashing a car. It was pretty epic. This year WotC took over an entire building and threw a street fair (Inventor’s Fair) with a huge moving Elk (After the 0/4 Camel was previewed, I told a WotC employee that they should’ve had a real camel there too). That’s not out of place at this convention.

PAX is PAX.

WotC held the World Championship for the Pro Tour, which finally makes sense; now it’s right before a block rotates instead of at the end of the year when a new block has been in Standard for two months. The grand Paramount theater housed a variety of panels that you could watch both live and streaming live. If you didn’t want to watch what was happening onstage, you could spellsling with WotC employees and celebrities, play in numerous drafts, play Commander, Cube, or just the basic learn how to play this game all within the same building. There was merchandise sold in the lobby (with a surprising amount of variety of what to choose from), as well as a prize wall for those of you played in sanctioned drafts.

If you didn’t want to leave the Magic area for four days you didn’t have to.

I used to come to PAX because Magic was a part of it. It was something that I would do near the end of the day because of the party. Now, I go to PAX because Magic is there and I almost ignore the rest of the convention. Sure, I walked around once in the indie section and played a game in the Jackbox section, but PAX has lost its luster when it’s not Magic related. Maybe it’s because I feel it’s my duty to try and give you what it’s like while I’m there (I did a Parascope of the Inventor’s Fair).

Or maybe WotC is just winning PAX. Continue reading “Go PAX West, Young Man”