Thursday, October 28, 2010

The SCG Talent Search Initial Entries

What a crazy week! All right, quick overview of all the SCG Talent Search Entries! I have so many thoughts, after all, and Ted said I could share :) Mwahaha.

If you wrote any of these, don't be too offended if I didn't "like" yours. (Unless you're Sixten, then you can be offended.) I tried to offer at least one good thing and one thing that could use work. Eat your cookie, eat your veggies.

Mixed Media:

Alterations: An Introduction
I like this series, even though it's definitely not for me. I would be one of those who just clicked to watch the progressive pictures and oo / aw at the end result. Still, this is a great idea, and there are tons of ways to take this kind of article series. Alters are getting much more popularized now; I remember back when it was basically just a few people that did them, including CardKitty. The business sure was more lucrative then... but there's certainly still a market for good alters.

Deep Analysis
Some people complained about his voice. I think his voice is amazing. He also mentioned in the email that he was a little sick; thus it's possible his voice isn't exactly as you hear it, here. This was an entertaining podcast; my only concern is what kind of content it will have in the future.

Angel Beats
It's basically blasphemy to say you don't like Lotus Cobra Is Evil (this isn't that, but it's by the same person). But I have to be honest, and I will accept all flaming. I don't really like LCIE or its humor. Let me just say that I'm not a girl who's into Love Hina or other light-hearted, comedic anime / manga. This reminds me a lot of that. SHRUG. That said, the art is amazing.

Very Poor Magic
A mini Evan Erwin? Perhaps. It did remind me of the Magic Show quite a bit, but I think he has his own voice in there, and this podcast entertained me quite a lot. Even if he doesn't come to SCG, he should definitely keep making Magic videos because I'd watch them! The forums already voiced valid concerns like organization, decklist content, etc. I thought it could've "filled out" a little better. It was too short.

Magic Talk: Elves Invading Standard!
I think he chose the wrong example to show us. Classic mistake when you already have a large body of work and can't figure out how to present yourself in the best light. This video probably wasn't his best, considering he has a full archive with like thirty videos. I like that he's prolific and clearly wants to keep doing these. I saw this example as a good "middle of a series" type episode.


Pack One, Pick One: Prognostic Indicator
Ah, the gimmicky images. How they do turn me off a little. An article, if it has one very funny and excellent image, fares better than if it has lots of amusing to meh images. That's how I see it, anyway. If you want to see how to do funny images, check out Geordie Tait's body of work. As for the actual content, I didn't pay attention that much to every pick and decision, but I got the impression he could have condensed things. Instead of a large conglomerate of information jumbled together, I'd prefer a cohesive lesson. It needs more flow and more continuity - he needs to explain more about what's holding the deck together and what's driving his choices beyond "good" versus "bad." That said, Daniel has a good voice and his general sense of humor seems to be on the mark.

The Keyboard is Mightier than the Camera
When you're an editor, the "foreign accent" can actually be really distracting, unfortunately. All the word choices are just a little off. That said, I love that we had so many international submissions, and I love the representation. So I'll just "get over it" and say this article hit the nail on the head. I thought it was poignant and made good points. The question is, where is he going to take it from here? What's next?

On Giving Up
One of my favorites from the Limited section and vastly underrated. I thought it was very touching and felt moved. I love bowling, too, and the analogy was so obvious yet something I'd never thought of before. It truly taught me a lesson. I think his journey has just begun, and I want to see where he can take this. That said, I'd appreciate a little more Magic in the next one.

A Limited Article
Great style, great voice, very funny. I thought the "joke" of the article was great, too, and overall, I appreciated its irony and devil-may-care attitude. Does he really belong in this category of writers? Perhaps not, for the future. But I don't care. I'll read whatever he has to say. Hopefully with more substance next time.

Finding the Dampen Deck
Probably my favorite if not second favorite. I learned the most from this article - maybe just because where I'm at. It also just touches on a subject I'm vastly interested in - Draft Archetypes. More people need to think the way this guy does about drafting to get better. I think he's got a lot in him to teach others. If he continues laying down lessons like this one, he'll go far.

Screwing Up Scars Sealed in Sydney
Ever wondered how far puns could go? Because this certainly pushes all the limits, even by LSV standards, I think. I love puns, but thinking back on this article, all I recall now are the puns. The gimmick overtook the actual content, and I don't remember much about what he actually said! The thing that worries me - if we took out all the puns - what would we be left with? Possibly a pretty generic Limited article... don't let that happen! Make it memorable beyond the puns, too.


When Trinky Met Sparky
I actually really liked this guy's introduction. It had a lot of personality. I'm sure the deck's fine, too, but let's just say I'm not really in the market, and so I didn't pay too much attention to the actual list. (I edit most articles without the luxury of being able to examine the list itself while I'm editing.) I feel I need a little something more / else to judge properly.

Building Valakut
Something about this author's tone and voice distracted me a little. He may have been a little TOO self-assured, a little too cocky. The guy knows a lot about Valakut, I see that. But I don't know if he let his knowledge and expertise speak loud enough - it was overtaken by the declamatory tone. Apparently some people like that, but I'd be careful to not mistake assuredness for expertise. But he does seem to know what he's talking about.

Dr. Hipster, or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Play Jace"
I like this for a lot of reasons, most of them the obvious ones. Great jokes, a great lesson thrown in about choosing a deck, and awesome MS Paint images (I'm a sucker for MS Paint). I see nothing wrong with this article. How will he top this though?

Recycling Undiscovered Cards
I liked this article despite barely understanding it because I don't know any of the cards... well I do, I do. But it's just not a format I'm invested in. And yet he was still able to connect it to a general principle and keep me engaged! I really enjoy articles with "lessons" in them - ideas that can be generalized for multiple uses. I guess I'm not a judge, so it's possible this isn't as important to the Content judges. But it's important to me, as a reader, and I think it's just a better way to write an article. That said, I wouldn't mind a more modern example next time?

My hands-down favorite of the Constructed pieces. It is obvious from this article that Michael has an eye to improve, in many walks of life. In his game and hopefully in his writing. He demonstrated thoughtfulness, subtle humor, and honesty. A person that demonstrates these qualities will surely have no end to interesting things to write about. His only error was to not more carefully and clearly explain the situation presented in the article, for readers not knowledgable about the format and cards.


Many Many Many Many Azami
Sometimes it's hard to separate my opinion as an editor from that as a reader. This may be one of those times. This took much more work than the other entries for reasons obvious and non-obvious. But ahem, anyway, this article was a little verbose. I think he could cut down on the parentheticals, the excess word-age, and come out with a much cleaner, sleeker product. I thought the intro was the strongest part; it really felt like it was leading us somewhere, into a story. But then I think it got a little side-tracked? It was hard to follow after a while. Again, images don't make the article.

Don't Be a Menace
A very solid piece of work on EDH, a format I never play. The fact it still engaged me speaks volumes. I think there is a lack of solid work on EDH right now, and this is a series I think would be very good. I like the way he discusses this format. I can't even think of a bad thing to say. It was just overall solid.

This article was hilarious, and I enjoyed his storytelling capabilities. His friends sound amusing and honestly a little over-the-top, but maybe they're really like that. Magic players are crazy. As much as I enjoyed this, I think this might actually send a bad message to much of the community about the way Magic players are... eh, who cares? Keep on, keep on.

Laying Down the Line: Odds for Worlds 2010, Chiba
What is this, I don't even... was my initial reaction. It was amusing. But I was also a little confused. What was this even about? Also, I'm just a little tired of the Craig bashing, but this amount was not the worst I've seen. But no, this was definitely funny. Definitely maybe?

Flirting at Magic Tournaments: A Primer
I'm curious why people didn't like this one. I thought it actually had very good information inside. But it may have been a little too narrow in terms of its audience... I think most Magic players aren't the flirting type... Might've been better to start with a lower common denominator. But I rather liked that it put everyone on the same level... it wasn't useful for same-sex relations, but I assume the guy doesn't know enough to say.

The Spirit of Saint Johnny: A Play in Three Acts
I enjoyed this one, too! He seemed like a smart, decent player putting his Magic skills to use for a format that doesn't get a lot of attention. Seriously, Wormfangs? I've never even heard of such a thing. It was like reading an article written by a Magic pro but for a Casual format. That is not something I've ever seen, I think. Except when Sam Black wrote that EDH article, which was my favorite casual article hands down. Hopefully though we bring out some new talent in that department.

There are two more articles in this category, but that's it. Stopping here.

Hope you guys enjoyed this week as much as I did. I may have said some harsh things, but don't misunderstand. I enjoyed all the entries and thought they were quite well done. I could also tell everyone put a LOT of work and thought into their piece, which is a very good sign. I am greatly looking forward to the weeks ahead. :) But I do want to see improvement, too. Yes?