Hey all; Seedborn here to pick out Premium Article: Graveborn.
When we were in the StarCityGames.com Talent Search, it was clear we were writing on largely the same subjects. There were 2 other Commander writers who were the first to exit our section, and 3 others (who went to the finals and/or get a column at SCG) who weren’t writing about gameplay or strategy.
When we were voted off, the judges commented that either the audience for our work had dried up or SCG hadn’t cultivated it. If you look at vote totals (which weren’t known to us until a month ago), you can see that the three of us combined into a nice audience; we might have split each other’s votes.
Anyway, when I thought about it, I realized that casual players only had a few historically significant authors; it’s just that those authors had worked so hard that they made and sustained an audience. The line of columnists at Magicthegathering.com – Alongi/Ferrett/Digges/Styborski – was, apart from Abe Sargent, pretty much it. So I thought that if multiple authors combined at one website, casual players would have enough content to coalesce into a recognized audience again. And I knew I wanted Bruce and Daryl on board.
From my 2 years writing a baseball column at The Hardball Times and seeing how that site was run, I knew that the people involved with a project are everything. Passionate, competent, mature people at the start of a project let you build around sustained quality content, and I saw that in Bruce and Daryl. We didn’t know how much we’d have to say, but we had momentum off the contest and we cared.
You proved us right, far beyond what we imagined. But you wouldn’t have stuck with us if the quality hadn’t been there. And that quality has started every week with killer theory from Daryl. Without Daryl you would have gotten the same type of work perspective every article – not only are Bruce and I lawyers, we’re in the same segment of the profession. But Daryl’s expertise in International Studies, learning the top theories of how nations interact and “win,” gives him a singular perspective on how players interact and win. So far as I know, nobody else has the knowledge base to write what Daryl does about Magic.
Multiplayer theory had stagnated in a post-Ferrett world; Daryl revived it and gave the definitive take on the subject. He took it upon himself to differentiate politics from strategy and define all manner of things no one had even thought to define, and in doing so he’s elevated the tone of Magic discussion to a completely new level. If you ever wondered whether Magic is a serious intellectual exercise, Daryl’s articles prove it.
And the most important of his articles to my understanding was his 2-parter, linked below, on security curve theory and its application to Magic. What sold me on its efficacy was when players in my group started using the concepts to talk about their decks – it had solid academic footing yet could explain a Commander deck with ease. I never understood what precisely bothered me about “broken” decks until Daryl showed that the best decks skip the middle of the security curve. For being a product of academic theory, the ideas are so easily visualized and utilized that I had to call extra end-of-year attention to this series.