Seedborn Musings – A Very Special Interview

I’m here today with one of my favorite players, Mr. Inverse McDumbpants.  I’d introduce him to you, but my words don’t do him justice, so I’ll let him do his own introducing through this exclusive interview.

Seedb. Muse: So tell the readers something about yourself:

Inverse McDumbpants: Well, I started playing in Homelands, sucked in as I was by the flavor of the An-Havva.  Sixth Edition rules changes forced me out of the game – @#$^# stack! – but M10 changes brought me back, largely from changes in token ownership.  Let’s see; what else is there?  I love playing multiplayer, and by day I run a mental hospital.  I take a very hands-on, sympathetic approach.  You can’t help them without understanding what’s in their heads, you know?  So in that sense we’re sort of a Boys and Girls Club for the insane.

Sounds like a demanding job.

That’s because it is one, although it’s no trouble for someone like me.

So let’s talk deckbuilding.  This is a deckbuilding column, after all, so I’m sure my readers would like to get your thoughts on it.

It’s just a rumor that was spread around town, by the women and children.

No, not shipbuilding – deckbuilding.


So how about it?

It’s mostly metal these days, although you definitely need some wood to get it going.

SBM: Not shipbuilding.

Oh, right.  Sorry.  There are two main things that make sense to me.  I hesitate to call them rules or strategies because, let’s face it, from the first time you play Magic all the right things to do are obvious.  That’s what I love about the game – no learning curve.  Anyway, the first main thing that makes sense to me is that you should play with a lot of cards in your deck.

Do tell.

I was telling.  The thing is, putting extra cards in your deck is like preparing for a long trip.  You don’t know if you’ll need that spare tire, those wet wipes, that gas mask, this chess set.  So you take them all just to be sure.  And who will be laughing at you when, gun to your head, you can produce the requested wet wipes?  So I put the same philosophy into my decks.

That certainly is telling.

Thank you.  Actually, it’s really easy to figure out what to put in decks.  They give them names like what you’d want on a trip.  Bandage is probably my favorite card, because sometimes you get hurt and want a bandage.  You don’t want to take damage, do you?  So Bandage is awesome.

Fair enough.  So what’s the second main thing?

Don’t put in any more lands than you have to.


Obviously.  I mean, the most expensive thing in Magic costs 16 mana, right?  So – math alert! – why would you need more than 16 lands?  Again, it comes down to preparation.  You don’t prepare for a long trip by packing lands, do you?  Your trip is going on the lands, not with the lands!  Besides, you only need one land and a Bolt on the first turn anyway.  You have to start winning as soon as possible, and that’s how you do it.

Have you ever thought about saving that Bolt for a creature so that you don’t take so much damage?

That’s what Bandage is for!  Pay attention.

Sorry, Mr. McDumbpants.

It’s all right.  Tons of players I know make that mistake.  See, Magic is a game about life totals.  You start at 20 and want to end as close to 20 as possible; that way people know you’re really good.  That’s why Lightning Bolt is so good – everyone in the game knows you mean business when they’re at 17 before they even take a turn!  That’s closer to 15 than it is to 20!  *Laughs*  I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten people with that.  And then when they try to do it back to me – which takes them forever because their deck has too many lands and not enough spells – I’ve got Bandage!  Egg on their face.

I think we’ve covered deckbuilding sufficiently for now.  Let’s talk about multiplayer strategy.

The first thing to remember about multiplayer is that people will get irritated at you, no matter what you do.  You take them to 17 before they start playing and they’ll be upset.  Even if you don’t (and why wouldn’t you?), they’re supposed to dislike you.  They’re opponents.  They oppose.  So all this threat assessment stuff people talk about is rubbish.  Everyone’s a threat until they’re dead, so treat them like one.

So does this mean you home in on one opponent at a time?

Don’t need to.  Every time I hurt my opponents, I hurt my opponents!  You can’t lose when you hurt your opponents.

Psionic Blast says you can.

Bandage!  Hello!

Right…um…what do you think about politics?

I’m Anti-Masonic.  William Wirt had it right.

I meant in multiplayer.

Politics in Magic?

You know, when players will form temporary alliances or induce one player to act for another player’s benefit.

Are they still called opponents?

I guess, yeah.

Then what kind of politicking pansies are they?  When you pack for a long trip, do you pack opponents?  No!

Do you compare everything to packing for a long trip?

Isn’t life just one long trip?  And isn’t everything part of life?

In a manner of speaking.

Yeah.  My manner of speaking.

Oooookay.  Back to the topic.  Do you never try to make another player sweep the board for your mutual benefit or bear down on the nasty creature that is threatening to put you closer to 15 life than 20?

Opponents have cooties.

Come again?

Cooties.  I don’t what care what’s happening on the board.  The threat of cooties is too high to do any sort of alliance.  And what kind of sissy are you for doing things with an opponent?  Do you then become your own opponent?  You have to think about these things, Mr. Muse.  Use your brain.  It’s good for you.

I try.

Well, not everyone can be as smart as me.  You’ll get there one day.  But as I was getting at, if your deck can’t handle opponents without pretending they’re your friends, then you need to change your deck.  Plain and simple.

It’s about time to wrap this up, so I’ve got a couple final questions.  How often do you win?

I don’t know how often I straight-up win, but almost all my opponents lose every game.  I take satisfaction in that.  And the opponent who wins usually is well below 20 life, like at 10 or something.  So that’s not really a win.  Can’t hold their heads high on that one.  I often just point burn to the face of the opponent who’s about to “win,” just so they can’t feel as smug about it.

Do you play regularly with a group of friends?

Group of opponents, you mean.  That gaffe aside, I don’t get together with the same group that often.  I’ve found that, after you oppose your opponents as strenuously as I do, they’re so embarrassed by their defeats that they ask you to leave.  That’s fine by me – they know when they’ve lost.  I just find more opponents.  I find there’s a pretty consistent group of players at my job, at least.  They’re usually the ones I beat, although some of them do get very upset when I win.

Well, you’ve certainly given the readers a lot to think about.  Any parting thoughts?

Bolt the face!


About Brandon Isleib

Author of Playing for a Winner: How Baseball Teams' Success Raises Players' Reputations; sometimes-writer at GatheringMagic and Muse Vessel; card name/flavor text team for Magic 2015; Wizards of the Coast's first Digital Event Coordinator; directly responsible for the verb "create" on Magic cards; legislation editor for Seattle; voracious music consumer; Christian.
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2 Responses to Seedborn Musings – A Very Special Interview

  1. shmebula says:

    While I don’t have friends this dumb, I do have one friend who’s smart IRL that I can’t convince to build 60 card decks. He’s always around 70 cards even if his deck is built around 1 or 2 playsets of a card. I helped him trim his Powerstone Minefield deck down to a strong, focused 60 but it keeps creeping up for Bandage type cards. “Do you know how good this card could be?!”. “Sure, but I know how much better your other cards are.

    Another mistake he makes is not understand sample sizes. Regardless of the land/spell ratio of his deck, if he floods he removes land, screws he adds lands.

  2. Pingback: Friday Flashback – October 6 « CommanderCast

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