Five by Flores

I was reading Star City Games this week and until I saw a poll for most popular articles by some author or other, I totally forgot they had end-of-the-year awards.

What do you think the chances are that this two-time Writer of the Year gets a nod now that he is no longer in the weeklies? Winky-wink.

Anyway, I decided go go over my eight or so months at Star City in 2008 and pluck my favorite articles. I am pretty sure they are all non-Premium now for those of you who don’t have that service.

Dictating the Field of Battle

michaelj sez:
This article is superbly written. Ego, yes; but still a fact. That is, it is a good read and would have been the kind of article I would have liked to have read had I not written it (actually I liked re-reading it, so I guess it has nothing to do with whether or not I had written it). This article features Dune battle strategy, lightsaber duels, basically everything awesome including passably awesome Magic strategy.

My favorite forum post:

Just wanted to say that as of now this is currently my favorite magic article ever. Like, it was pretty unreal. I’ve read every enderverse novel many times, and I also really like Kurt Vonnegut. I alreayd knew most the startegic content, but if someone didn’t and was looking for a new way to attack a wide open format with many powerful linears like extended, it’s pretty excellent. 

[Had to get a shout out to my man Spencer!] 

Never Settle

michaelj sez:
Just a fair number of good ideas in this one, including getting the pat on the head from Pat, actually learning something while I was working on it, and answering a request by Adam Prosak. Just a pretty good article. I had actually forgotten doing the Wrath of God math; at the time (“that” time, actually) I was playing at my absolute best (this was right before Charleston and my States win)… I think combined with my The Touch tee shirt, GerryT’s mulligan advice, and remembering to do the math when I am pressed with a difficult decision, I will probably knock off a Honolulu PTQ win in one try. On that note…

My favorite forum post:

this article helped me a great deal. 

I see myself as a talented player that never reached his potential for several reasons. Flores points to several directions I should look upon to improve.

Modeling Grand Prix Excellence

michaelj sez:
I had just come back from meeting millionaire copywriter Dr. Harlan Kilstein the first time, and I had inadvertently invented a sub-array of NLP theory, and was all excited about learning how to do modeling correctly. I actually want to do more modeling exercises in my writing in the future (in fact I have been thinking of creating a mulligans model inspired by GerryT’s post in The Hidden Value of MTGO Ringers; I don’t know if you noticed but I am pretty excited about that one. Just a great contribution to the site by Gerry). Also this one has a maddening amount of hand-written sections from The Confusion as well as the best opening page of any novel: madness and goodness both.

My favorite forum post:

And then there’s Thomas Pynchon, who does (almost) everything Stephenson does, but better.

[Actually this is like my least favorite forum post of all time. Ravitz and I went out and bought Gravity’s Rainbow after this forum post and it’s been close to a year and neither of us has finished it yet.]

The Basic Test of Metagaming Competence

michaelj sez:
I actually forgot that I wrote this one. This was both one of the best articles I ever published and not as good as it should have been (I had been keeping it under my hat for about three years to be honest, and didn’t get to flesh out everything I wanted to in one article… It was meant to be a video series). This article lays out the advanced rock-paper-scissors theory I use (or more aptly, “used” when I was really good at that kind of thing during Kamigawa- and Ravnica-era Standard formats) to pick the right deck consistently. Certainly my favorite of the five, and a short list contender for Article of the Year (provided anyone remembers I wrote it… Like I said I didn’t).

My favorite forum post:

Flores! I knew you still had it in you! 
This article hit home with me like no other article since that fateful “How to win a PTQ” last year…” 
Grand Slam. Not close.

A Case for Scissors, and Building the Anti-Deck

michaelj sez:
“What’s a girl to do?”

My favorite forum post:

Man I love the people flaming the advice on sideboards. Honestly, I bet everyone one of you played cards that were awful in your bad matchups for no reason.

So I hope you like reading or re-reading some of 2008’s best stuff, from me, on Star City. Hopefully I will continue to be able to produce passably awesome content now and forever. Hopefully.


PS In case you haven’t noticed (and I think I mentioned it roughly DI times in this article, you should read GerryT’s comment in The Hidden Value of MTGO Ringers. Like right now!).

PPS Follow me on Twitter. Please! I want to feel loved.

facebook comments:


#1 Joe on 01.28.09 at 12:32 am

Thanks for getting these together, I’ve been meaning to backtrack through most of your work now that I’m back into Magic. Now I don’t even have to make an effort to do so!

#2 KZipple on 01.28.09 at 8:06 am

Dictating the Field of Battle was probably the best from a writing perspective, but I think the most tangibly useful thing you wrote was “On Losing.” I also really enjoyed “Utilizing a 52 Card Skillset,” especially now that I try to play poker with some level of competence.

#3 admin on 01.28.09 at 9:55 am

Look man, I write a lot of good articles. That’s just how it is. Had to pick five. But those were on my relatively short list. Conrad Colos asked me IRL about the Poker one; I’ve always thought the betting analogy was interesting to think about explore. Might re-visit it but I am pretty far removed from any kind of gambling right now.

#4 zsievers on 01.29.09 at 5:54 am

I liked The Basic Test of Metagaming Competence personally. Also, that center425 sounds like one smart dude 😛

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