Thursday, August 30, 2007

Magic Article

Pretty much everything i wrote for Star City Games is now available on the free side. I also wrote an article a couple weeks ago you may have missed.

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/14660.html

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yes, it has been a while...

Our six week trip the states was a nightmare. We ran like lemmings from one cliff to another the entire time. I didn't get to see some friends as much as I would like, some not at all, and worked far harder than either of us had planned. Not good work either. Cleaning out garages and closets. Reorganizing living rooms. Trying to sell a mountain of books, DVD's, posters, books on tape and CD, backpacks, and various and sundry useful items that no one wanted.

We hosted parties, we attended parties, we had dinner with friends and family. All of it completly necessary and vital. We had been gone six months. People want to see us. They won't be denied and we want to see them just as badly.

Sure, we spent some days down at Wendy's home down at the lake swimming and drinking beer in inner tubes and water hammocks, but we did it with people who wanted to see us, had never seen Wendy's home, and people we wanted to introduce to the new life Wendy and I were sharing.

I wanted to teach Wendy how to drive stick. Every time we were driving somewhere I would ask her if she wanted to drive and the answer was always the same. "We don't have time. We have to go here and get back by this time and I need time to practice. We need to get these things done first." In six weeks there was rarely a day when we were not on a schedule to meet people.

In the past few years Wendy has spent late August in Provence with Mathieu and Collette at his parents home in Brigneau. In the guest house. Overlooking the pool. And the mountains.

Guess where I am now?

Monday we packed from noon until four. Jim drove us to the airport. We arrived in Madrid at eleven in the morning. We went home, packed a bag for Provence, slept one whole hour, taxi back to the airport, flew to Provence, rented a car and drove to Brignoles an hour away. The radio was broken and I couldn't get the car into reverse, pushing it once out of a ditch. Some fun.

We arrived and had dinner with Mathieu's parents and their guests. These consisted of their daughter the model, two spies, a stunning CFO of a private aviation firm, a former girlfriend who now owns her own PR Firm in Paris and an unemployed writer. I did my best not to say anything stupid and decided not to ask for ketchup for the lamb. (They told me it was mutton but I know they were lying just to get me to eat it. I don't eat babies, remember?)

Today we went into town to get groceries and champagne for dinner. The wine store we stopped at had two clear vats in the back. They were six feet tall and four feet around with gas pump hoses attached to them. Apparently you can come into the store with your own jugs and fill up on red or white table wine from a five hundred gallon cask with a gas hose attached to it. Wendy didn't have her camera but we're going back to get a picture of me with a hose in my mouth.

Pretty sure the book I'm writing about a year in Europe with this beautiful woman who keeps exposing me to all these adventures is going to be called "I'm not an alcoholic, I'm just European."

The plan this week is to lie by the pool and drink wine. I'm hoping to get in some writing (note the updated blog...) and maybe read a couple books.

Its only been one day here and I've done fifty times the writing I did in the states.

Expect me back on a more regular schedule at this blog, at least until Christmas when we fly home again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Blogs

Two new blogs have been added to my links on the right hand side.

"There is no Path" is my housemates new blog about his quest for inner peace. He'll have some deep stuff there as well as some fascinating stories that started him on this quest.

"Force of Will" is a friend of mine from Asheron's Call and half dozen other games, John Loggins. Slightly influenced by my ramblings he's selling everything he owns to sail the open seas with his family. some good stuff there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TENTH

Just some random observations about Tenth edition.


Aggressive Urge
Cost: 1G
Type: Instant
Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Draw a card.

Every now and then I’ll go through a period of time when all I play against is Blue and all their card drawing. Like, every week. And one day I decided to see if I could make a beatdown deck with card drawing and keep my hand full while I smashed face. I’ll add this to my deck of Kavu Climber, Carven Caryatid, Ohran Viper and Primordial Sage. It doesn’t work because most of those cards suck. I’ll add aggressive urge to it and play some casual.

Birds of Paradise
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 0/1
Flying T Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

Right now, I’m enjoying having twelve one drops that can give me 3 mana on turn 2. Right now, there’s an insane amount of busted green things at three mana. Moldervine cloak, Troll Ascetic, Ohran Viper, Groundbreaker, and Pincer Beetles are fans of such plays. I’m spitting at you Rune Snag, Mana Leak, Delay and Remand!

Creeping Mold
Cost: 2GG
Type: Sorcery
Destroy target artifact, enchantment, or land.

I love this card. This is the perfect sorcery for Green. It embodies all I love about Green sorceries. I don’t like to just smash face. I like to make them want to quit the game (the land destruction aspect) or be prepared for major problems (killing loxodon warhammer) or even shutting down cards that are an auto win for decks not prepared for them (Worship.) It’s expensive but it solves so many problems.


Gaea's Herald
Cost: 1G
Type: Creature - Elf
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Creature spells can't be countered.

It’s really too bad they’re awful. I remember when I first discovered these guys. I bought four of them right away at about a quarter apiece from some bot. I couldn’t imagine why they were not a three dollar rare. Then I played with them a bit and found out why. I’d explain it if I could, but they just never seem to work that well. Despite that fact, I LOVE them. I love the elves and will be incorporating them into my decks to see how that tribe can do in tenth.

Hunted Wumpus
Cost: 3G
Type: Creature - Beast
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
When Hunted Wumpus comes into play, each other player may put a creature card from his or her hand into play.

WUMP! Man I love this card. This is one of the best sideboard cards ever against weenie strategies. You get a 6/6 and they get a free Kird ape or Mogg Fantastic. Go them. When I play Green, and I play another deck trying to be aggressive and fast, I love siding these things in and going “Yeah that’s right. Bigger than you.” That’s what Green has going for it and in the sideboard, this guy is a beating.


Hurricane
Cost: XG
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Hurricane deals X damage to each creature with flying and each player.

Green is massively aggressive right now. With this coming back, this is a fantastic finisher for those last few points of damage. This is like the opposite of Gaea’s Herald. Every time I include it in a deck, I love it and it surprises me with its power. And then I forget about it and never include it.


Karplusan Strider
Cost: 3G
Type: Creature - Yeti
Pow/Tgh: 3/4
Karplusan Strider can't be the target of blue or black spells.

Green seems cursed to have a billion awful creatures at 4 mana. There are exceptions of course, but this is just another also ran. So close to being good but will never see constructed play.


Might of Oaks
Cost: 3G
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target creature gets +7/+7 until end of turn.

Alan calls it the “Green Hatred.” I call it a staple. I’m just glad it’s in Tenth.

Mirri, Cat Warrior
Cost: 1GG
Type: Legendary Creature - Cat Warrior
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: First strike, forestwalk, vigilance

Another “Busted at Three” addition. She’s always been amazing and at one time was my favorite creature. I think I’m just going to make up a deck of one drop mana producers, Mirri, Trolls, Oh-no ran Vipers and Overrun. Yeah. That sounds like a beating. Now imagine her with a Moldervine Cloak on her.



Overrun
Cost: 2GGG
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.

TAROOOOOOOOOOOO! TAROO! TAROO! TAROOOOOOOOOOO!

Dear WOTC,

Will you have my babies?

Love,

King Fatty.

Pincher Beetles
Cost: 2G
Type: Creature - Insect
Pow/Tgh: 3/1
Rules Text: Shroud (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities.)

I like these guys because I’m going to put the Untouchables deck back together. All the creatures have Shroud, some burn spells and some land destruction. Here’s the original list from my book “The Quest for the Pro Tour.”

The Untouchables
4 Jolrael’s Centaurs
4 Deadly Insects
4 Autumn Willows
4 Lightning Bolts
4 Incinerates
4 Pyrokinesis
4 Pillages
4 Desert Twisters
2 Kaervek’s Torches
1 Final Fortunes
1 Hammers of Bogardan

13 Mountains
13 Forests

Sideboard

3 Roots of Life
3 Earthquakes
3 Seeds of Innocence
3 Halls of Gemstones
3 Red Elemental Blasts

As you can guess, it’s going to look a little different. Molds instead of Twisters. Pincer Beetles instead of Deadly Insects. Trolls instead of Centaurs. You get the gist. Play an untouchable, blast everything out of its way, smash face until you win.


Scion of the Wild
Cost: 1GG
Type: Creature - Avatar
Pow/Tgh: */*
Scion of the Wild's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creatures you control.

I’ve never gotten this guy to work. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him though. One of the concepts I’ll be trying to make work is a token generating deck and Overrun. Sprout Swarm and Wurmcalling cry out to me. Hmm, 12 one drop mana produces, sprout swarm, Wurmcalling, Overrun, Scion, Creeping Mold, Acid Moss and I think we’re good…


Sylvan Scrying
Cost: 1G
Type: Sorcery
Search your library for a land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

I can’t believe they reprinted this. I think it’s a mistake and will annoy a lot of people for the next three years. I’ll be using it to go get my Treetop Villages.

Troll Ascetic
Cost: 1GG
Type: Creature - Troll Shaman
Pow/Tgh: 3/2
Troll Ascetic can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. 1G: Regenerate Troll Ascetic

I like these guys less than just about everyone else on the planet, but I can’t deny they are awesome and with the insane amount of cheap removal right now, will be a staple in many of my decks. And of course, I’m thrilled to have them for the Untouchables.

Verdant Force
Cost: 5GGG
Type: Creature - Elemental
Pow/Tgh: 7/7
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play under your control.

Yay!

Admitedly, I’ve never found a way to make him work without Natural Order but I’ll have to try and make this work with my token generating, Scion of the Wild, Overrun deck.

Overall? I give Tenth Green a 9.5 out of 10.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Stash



Told Lorelei I would post a picture of my new goatee.

That's me in my new birthday shirt my sister gave me. Sitting next to me is former lover, lead singer of the Horsetraders, and childhood friend of The Beautiful Wendy - Deb Brisson. We're at Amigo's having dinner and Deb is singing there tonight. And a wild time was had by all.

Want to see what I looked like the last time I posed with Deb?



Awful.

I finally had to cave.

So I get home and sign into a computer I hadn't rouched in six months. Let's see, first thing I have to do is transfer my writing and pictures over from the DVD I burned in Spain.

Huh.

Neither of my computers has a DVD drive?

I network Wendy's laptop and get the files off her DVD drive. Okay, that's one problem solved. Lets check some email. huh. No Yahoo messenger installed. Install that. Wow, look at all the emails. Okay, that was fun catching up, now for some WoW. Download updates for 2 hours. Whoops, don't have Burning Crusade on this computer, lets download that for another 2 hours. Whew. Done. Play for fifteen minutes and decide to watch some Magic replays. Download updates for 2 hours. Okay this is getting old. Wow, look at all the islands in the top eights. Lets browse the web for a bit. Okay, my bookmarks are ancient. Lets fix that next.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next few days I noticed what a pain in the ass it was to be using Wendy's extra laptop on the road, a desktop in Madrid and two desktops at my house. The coordination of data was a nightmare.

Being a struggling unemployed writer, the obvious solution was to buy a new laptop. Eating is for sissies anyway.

Having recommended them to many other people who had all loved them, I ordered an HP Pavillion DV9000T. I went for the 2.2 processor, 2 gigs of ram, 140 gig HD and the Nvidia 8400m.

And then of course, trying to avoid a nightmare like the one I had just described above, I had to relive it all again when the beast came in.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Wakefield's Paladins

If someone was to send me a link called - "How to become a Paladin in today's Modern Age" - I would go there and do it. I've always wanted to be a Paladin. There isn't a web site out there like that - so I decided to make one.

Since I was about 18 I've always tried to be a Paladin. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I've failed. I've wrestled a lot with what a Paladin should do in certain situations in today’s complex world. You certainly can't just jump off your horse and run a sword through someone any more. You can't take the law into your own hands. You can't slay dragons. You can't even rescue damsels in distress anymore unless they want to be rescued and you have the legal right to do so. And in today’s world it’s really much more PC to rescue "people in distress" anyway. And that whole fanatically pledged into service to a God thing... well that’s not working out real well for a whole lot of people right now. And that whole celibacy thing - yeah, not my Paladins.

In other words, I've been thinking about this a lot. For a long time. And I think I've finally got enough answers that people can follow my idea and when finished, actually think of themselves as Paladins.

But you can’t just wish yourself a Paladin of course. No more than you can just wish yourself a Doctor or a Marine or a Bullfighter. Nope. Everything has to have a path. Challenges to be overcome. Rules to follow. Rites of Passage that make you into a Paladin.

This path and these challenges will be combined basic moral tenets you are expected to follow, as well as physical and spiritual challenges you must complete. To be honest, I’m not sure if there are going to be 25 or 50 or possibly 100. This is an evolving process that as the years goes by, will eventually find its end. We’ll know when there are enough tasks and the list will be finalized.

I’m going to show you a sample of that list. This isn’t even close to a final version, but it will give you an idea of the premise. Each week, the list will be added to, and explained. Each entry will have a longer explanation about what the short sentence signifies.

Then I’m going to try and head off some questions with some answers.


Wakefield’s Paladins.


1. You will heal the soul of the world.
2. You will not die doing these trials.
3. You will make up a will.
4. You will give to beggars.
5. You will not sit down on the subway.
6. Your good deeds will be done in the name of the Paladins.
7. You will do 100 pushups at one time.
8. You will be humble.
9. You will tolerate all other beliefs.
10. You will do 1000 pushups in one day.
11. You will donate $1000 to your favorite charity in the name of The Paladins.
12. You will take a one week vow of silence.
13. You will swim a body of water.
14. You will not judge. You will only help.
15. You will run a marathon.
16. You will get CPR certified.
17. You will get first aid certified.
18. You will fast for 3 days
19-24
25. (optional) You will get a 2 inch tattoo of a simple green sword placed somewhere on your body. This step must be done last, and may only be done after the other 24 tasks are complete. This signifies that you are now a Paladin.

Why are they “Wakefield’s” Paladins? Isn’t that quite a bit of hubris?

The reason this is called “Wakefield’s Paladins” is because this is my version of a Paladin. Other people might have their own ideas on what a Paladin is and they can come up with their own name – “George Clooney’s Paladins” or “Satan’s Paladins” or “The Catholic Paladins,” whatever. When I brought this up on my private boards many years ago, there were many ideas about what the trials could be. Some of them I agreed with, some I did not. Rather than hurt people’s feelings by not including their idea or make decisions by committee which requires lots of talking, possibly yelling, I decided that I would just use the ideas I liked and call them my Paladins.


What is the soul of the world?

In “Ravenheart” by David Gemmel, there was an interesting passage about the world. It put forth the idea that the world has a soul. Each act of kindness, love, compassion, each good act nourishes that soul. Each selfish act, cruelty, act of violence etc damages that soul; taints it and hurts it.

The reason this spoke to me, was because sometimes you do a good deed, no one knows about it, no one is inspired and no one cares. You don’t influence things for the better. Relative to that, the opportunity for grand, spontaneous acts of kindness or courage or selflessness are rare things. It’s hard to “do good” and feel like you’ve done anything. Especially in this world of suicide bombers, corrupt politicians, steroid using athletes… oh the examples are endless.

If you embrace this feeling, it makes you feel better about doing the good things you do. You take comfort in the fact, that even if your momentary kindness is immediately forgotten, that you have nourished the planet's soul. You could call the planets soul anything, Karma, good and evil, Yin and Yang. Whatever makes the most sense to you.

The important part is believing that each small act of kindness goes to a larger pool.

Wakefield’s Paladins aren’t dedicated to one religion. They are dedicated to just doing good deeds, doing the right thing, and trying to leave this world a little better for them having been in it.

Why the physical, mental and spiritual trials?

People like to test themselves. They watch "Tough Enough" and wonder if they could win. They watch Survivor and both long for and dread such an experience. How would they do if civilization was stripped away and they were left to their own devices? How strong are they really? Are they really heroes on the inside? What would they be like if they were really tested?

When I was in high school I took an anthropology class. One of the things that fascinated and troubled me was different cultures varying rites of passage. Such rites of passage are rapidly disappearing from the world, and have disappeared from most modern industrialized societies. As a young man, I was always looking to prove myself. I longed for a right of passage. You can’t just tell people “Act like this, and you’re a Paladin.” If there are not spiritual, mental and physical trials, then you haven’t done any rite of passage. Without a rite of passage, you can’t move beyond what you are.

Let’s finish this with a couple of expansions on the trials above. A simple one, then a more complex one.

4. You will give to beggars.

Not often and not a lot. And choose wisely. A young tough that’s half drunk comes up with his hand extended; you can brush by him if you want. But if you see a bent and shriveled old woman with her hand extended it doesn’t hurt to drop a silver coin into her weathered and wrinkled hand. I give my silver to the old, the infirm and the mentally ill.

14. You will not judge, you will only help.

When I was in college, I was very full of myself. I had gone from a 98 lb 5’3 wimp, into a slightly ripped but still skinny 5’11 college man. And I had a strong moral center and a lot of determination. I was sure that all of life’s problems could be solved by these two qualities. Anyone who messed up their life, well, they weren’t determined enough. They didn’t have strong morals. I had little pity for them. They had fucked up by not being “strong” enough. By not being determined enough. Not following their conscience. They must have ignored warnings signs that let them know they were wrong, and shouldn’t follow that course of action.

And then, as divine justice always works, it was my turn to fuck up.

Hard.

It was a painful lesson. It changed my life. It hurt for years. I sought counseling. I saw Peter Pan and cried like a baby.

In the end, I found out it was necessary. I learned a lot. I became a better person. You might not have to go through that sort of thing to learn what I learned, but I’d like to pass that wisdom on to you and have you act on it, without having to go through the pain I did.

Don’t judge people. You are not in their shoes. You don’t know what they are thinking. You don’t know a lot of things. The only thing that matters is healing the soul of the world. Cause no harm. Just help.

For instance - a friend of mine has just gone through his third divorce. His family is disappointed in him. His friends can’t believe he has just left his third wife. And of course he has a new girlfriend.

As a Wakefield Paladin, you might care that he has just left his third wife. But you don’t judge him like everyone else is doing right at that very moment. If he is your friend, your job is to support him. You don’t know why he’s made the choices he’s made. You have to know that everyone else is already judging him, and you should not. You’re his friend.

He’s already made the choice.

Berating him for it, like his family and other friends, does not heal the soul of the world. It does not help your friend to be another person telling him he is wrong. Being his friend and doing your best to understand him and his choices heals the world. Even if it was the wrong choice (which it probably was) does he need another person to tell him that? No, he needs a friend.

Be that friend.

Each item on the list will be expanded in this manner. Some items on the above list will be deleted. Some will be revised. For now, this should give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Answers

Comments have scrolled off the page but I wanted to answer many people.

Rodney said...
Wakefield you are a collectors nightmare. Are you trying to drive down the price of Tournament Reports! ;0)


I hate collector’s nightmares. Like Marvel and DC. With their 37 versions of Superman #1 and Teen Titans #1 ad nauseum. Man I hate that. There should be ONE “Superman” that numbers into the thousands.

Anyway, I didn’t do that. :-) I renamed it. And sadly, the price of Tournament Reports dropped from 100 bucks to 30 in the last few months. I don’t know why. So, you’re not losing much Rodney, honest. :-)


Benjamin Wild said...
Were you excited to see a Mono-G deck in the Top 8 at US Nat's? I was blown away when I saw it.

What concoctions do you have brewing with Overrun?

I was more amazed than excited. With all the cheap elimination available right now, a creature based strategy seems risky. Of course, his deck smartly capitalizes on so many untargetables in the format right now. I think this number of untargetables is unprecedented. I once made a deck with Creeping Mold, Pillage, burn and untargetables. Deadly Insects, Autumn Willow, Jolreal Centaur I think. Combine that with the amazing Treetop Villages and hasty Insects and Timbermare and you can see the beauty of his creation. So nicely done. Nice to see Timbermare in winning decks.

Overrun combines nicely with untargetables or in a deck with a lot of tokens. There’s some excellent things to explore in both of those areas. Since I do my testing online, I won’t be able to experiment with it until the sixth when Xth is released.



Did you know that a sail boat will sing to you when you found just the right wind. the whole vessle thrumms. It is a bizare and fascinating sound/feeling.

Mizu


Yes I did know that, having just finished “The Perfect Storm.” Stay safe out there when you go out. Tell me, did my life changes have anything to do with what you’re doing or is this something you’ve been working on for a while?


Now I'm at EA, making more scratch, seeing more of the industry and growing as a person, not to mention growing a family. Good on you Jamie. Life doesn't change for the better on it's own. You've got to actively work to make it better.

-J



Yes. You certainly do. Sometimes fate grabs you by the hand and pulls, but if you go or not is what makes all the difference in the world. Congrats.


kade said...
Very inspiring. Indeed.

By the way, I missed you on Madrid Regionals last weekend. You should have come, it was fun. Lots of Red decks in the top tables (as well as Islands I am afraid). Forest were there too.
I almost made it in but I was outplayed on the final match. Not enough testing.

Hope to see you soon in a tourney.
Cheers,
K.


Sadly, I had to miss it. Regionals was so late I was back in the states by the time they happened in Madrid. Congrats on almost making it. Trust me, I’ve been there. Three times I’ve been in the top 11 and never in the top 8.


If I was not getting married in Sep, I would donate to your cause like my friend Bob Young did. Maybe when my wedding is over I will be able to.

What is this "wakefields Paladin's" you are talking about and how do I get involved?

Looking forward to more great stuff!

Sincerely

Benjamin Wild


Congrats on the impending nuptials! Bob Young was very generous. I sent him a thank you note and let him know he was the first and I’ll remember that. Paladins were supposed to be up today, but instead we’ve gotten involved in family stuff. Amazing how many things and people I have to catch up with after being away for six months. Should be up tomorrow. Hopefully I can keep enough great stuff here to keep people interested. I have a lot of ideas so I hope they’ll keep people coming back for more and linking to me. Thanks Ben.

Mr. Wakefield (aka Druss),
This is Bob Dole thee Penius. JFK and I were talking about the oldschool days not too long ago and had tried to find some of articles you wrote for The Source. It seems they no longer exist on the web and we were wondering if by chance you still had access to any, specifically ones that pertained to us! If not its perfectly fine, we just wanted to reminisce for awhile about the Yanshi days. My email is LukeDuggins@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.

Well Luke, just like the last time we met, you sent me on a merry chase. I went looking through my archives trying to find some stories about you, but they seem to be lost. I still have one place to look but right now, it’s a no show. You did get me to read some very old writings about Yanshi : Darktide and some old battles and conversations with guildies. Man I miss that game and those battles! My God nothing has even come close in a video game to those days! Longing for PVP I logged into WoW, ran around (slowly) killed someone 2 levels lower than me and felt hollow. PVP WoW <> PVP AC. It’s just… boring. Its too bad.

You two were some of the finest opponents ever. You killed me a hundred times more than I killed you, but finally getting revenge and finally getting a win atop the Yanshi Armory roof was such a terrific joy. And then to hear you say “Nice Fight” and chat for a bit was just too cool.

Good times. Good times.

You two were great opponents and added a lot to the game.

/bow

Good travels and I hope you keep reading.


Doug S. said...
Jamie, I'd like to offer you a little challenge...

You’re challenge is going to take some time. :-)
I loved the green list. Very well done and thought out, and of course, you won me over with both Natural Order and Verdant. Two great tastes and all that.

Going to have to get back to you on the rest.

Jamie