Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chasing the Hashtag

Youtubers tend to chase what's trending so that their videos show up on the recommended list of videos to watch when you end up trying to find out what PubG or Tidepods are all about. They have a very fast medium, and many are able to respond to trends quickly.

Blogging has its own niches that if fills, and trending on those topics can be very specific based on not only what the blog is about, but the site it is on. With blogging though, its usually about something that happened, and it can usually be a conversation about it, rather than doing the thing yourself.

I've been writing a fanfic, and it is very much within a category, but all the currently updated stories have been trending to very similar ideas. Fanfiction tends to act more like live writing, with chapters published before the next section is even planned or thought of. As chapters can take time to write, people who read a story and like it, will sometimes do their own version of it quickly. It feels very much like how doujinshi ends up being.

It would be like live streamers watching live streams as they live stream, and imitating the most popular live streams as they stream.

Thing is, that this work, this chasing is what brings views, and depending on the platform, audience and what not, it is what brings in money. But, does longer form media (novels, movies, games) trend this way? Usually there is so much time and energy required to finish these works, that chasing a trend could just leave you being dated. I feel like this kind of work has to do its own thing and in part create its own trend.

As Ford is quoted as saying but probably never did, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

But how do you show up in a search result, if people don't know to search for you? At least SOME of what you do has to chase the hashtag. Some of it has to be based on what is trending. Otherwise, people will never stumble across your content. Chase a little, create a little. Hope that people like enough of your quality and content to want to explore what else you have done.

Some sites make it easy, like being able to browse people's profiles for similar work. Other sites, are a bit more obtuse. Authors for example slowly start replacing the name of their novel, with their own name on the cover of books to help people who liked their other work to find them again.

Actors and directors become the headline of the movie, rather than the movie's subject or plot. Eventually a streamer becomes popular for who they are, and not the game they play. But they had to play that game first. Game Theory had to make theory videos first, and now they make... I don't know, some sort of streaming quizzes or something.

I think that if anything, that is the current state of entertainment right now. I'm not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing. But if you want to get started in any of it, start by chasing a trend or hunkering into a niche, and then go on from there.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

My Magic the Gathering Spellbook: Pangoria

With The Jace Spellbook announced and coming soon, mamy Magic the Gathering players are asking, "What is my Spellbook?" This would be a collection of 8 cards that define you as a planeswalker. I came up with mine:

1. Kiln Fiend

2. Simian Spirit Guide

3. Nahiri, the Harbinger

4. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

5. Eternal Witness

6. Ghostly Flicker

7. Well of Lost Dreams

8. Words of Worship

What is in your spellbook?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Deck Tech: Budget(?) Mogis God of Slaughter EDH/Commander Deck

So a buddy of mine asked for me to take a look at a few of his decks, which I gladly do for food. So if you ever want to buy me a sandwich I can give you some quick recommendations. Now at my FLGS (faluhgus) I'm known as "that guy who does a bunch of infinite combos in the same deck, what a pain in the ass, his wife is so right about him not having any friends", and because of this, people have fun. I specifically go out of my way to make my combo convoluted. It takes multiple pieces on board, and it is ridiculously difficult to pull off without people letting me do it.

In commander, where Bane of Progress and Terastodon are common ways of destroying EVERYTHING I need to go off, it's not a bad thing to say, "It is entirely the fault of the group I won."

Even when people KNOW that they can't let me keep things, they forget, and suddenly I'm winning. So, like I said, a bit of a reputation. Anyways, the first two decks (and footlong I got out of it) that I did were more of a fix on a philosophical scale, in that he was playing giant dragons, without enough ramp.

This deck he handed me the other day though, is built kinda sideways. It has Mogis, but I think a huge chunk of the deck is just red/black cards he had laying around. So, I went looking for themes that are just built in. I think Mogis decks often try to be control decks. They want to stick Mogis, and then spend the rest of the game destroying EVERYTHING. This makes sense, but with Mogis, that is such a slow clock, that not only will you run out of cards, but eventually your opponents will just grow out of reach.

So my first instinct was to build towards that. Well, actually, the first thing I did was try to stuff more mana rocks into this deck, I mean, seriously, every deck has that deficiency. Well, okay, it's a bit harder in a 2 color deck. Surprisingly the more colors you have, the easier it is to justify rainbow lands, but with two colors, it becomes more of a challenge.

So a lot of his sub themes were: Attack for big effect (discard, destroy or damage, etc), a light discard effect/damage theme, and big creatures theme. There was already some good removal in there, but not enough board wipes, and there was also a lack of ways to deal with certain things.

Overall the subthemes were weak and under represented, but I liked the big spells theme. I liked the control theme, and I wanted to throw something extra in there. Now I know that for me personally, I would have made an aristocrats deck. And if I didn't at least stick to one of his themes, I'd end up changing 70 cards instead of only like 30. Though, 30 cards in an EDH deck is practically changing the entire thing.

To top it off, I'm also trying to keep things within a certain budget. He does proxy things to scope out results before investing into it, but it should still be reasonable. Because of this, I find it hard to recommend cards like Liliana of the Veil, even though I think it should absolutely be run in this deck. In the end I think I changed quite a bit from what he had, over 50 cards changed!

So Step 1: The Lands

The deck starts with 30 basics, and 4 Duals. I think step 1 is just adding more dual lands, more utility lands, and maybe some gold lands.

The more I think about it, the more I do want to run Blood Moon in this deck. So for calculation purposes, we count the duals as Red Lands, and stuff more basic mountains. We'll come back to this at the end after we figure out mana curve, but for now we throw in: Akoum Refuge, Bloodfell Caves, Dragonskull Summit, Geier Reach Sanitarium, Hanweir Battlements (more on this later), Terramorphic Expanse. He already had Temple of Malice, Evolving Wilds, Rakdos Carnarium, and Smoldering Marsh. I also would want to add BlackcleaveCliffs, Blood Crypt and Bloodstained Mire when money is more available. Overall we want to stay at around 32-34 lands.

Step 2: Mana Rocks and Ramp

This became a bit of an interesting question, how many 2 and 3 mana Mana rocks do we want?

I feel like we want to shoot up in mana. Things like Lotus Bloom, Dark Ritual in combination with Sol Ring and Thought Vessel. I also liked the Idea of Thaumatic Compass if we are going to maintain a relatively high (20 or more) basics in the deck. Rakdos Signet, Cluestone and Keyrune should probably find a home somewhere.

Step 3: Take Out the Trash

So these were cards that are generally draft chaff, or that don't play well in multiplayer (single target discard spells, single target planeswalkers, etc). I also took out some powerhouses that are better off being built around, and that just didn't have the support in this deck. This was 16 cards. I still had 13 cards in a theme (the attack benefits theme) that I could keep in to maintain or support the theme with changes and a couple of just okay effect cards. If I take them all out I have 31 spaces to add to the deck. This is where I started having trouble deciding which direction to take the deck. I'm not sure what would be the best direction. Now he already has a couple of aggressive 5 color dragon decks, and so I think maybe some of these are not the best themes to be going in this deck with.

Step 4: Acknowledging Strengths and Weaknesses

Mogis is strong in the same way that most Theros gods are strong, but it gives opponents a choice. That is its biggest weakness. But since that choice can allow us to choose how we mess with opponents, or allows us to remove the choice entirely, we have some things we can do with the way we build the deck around it.

The other thing is that we want to keep things as one sided as possible. So we want to avoid us not being able to gain life, we want to avoid us taking damage as well, and we want alternate win conditions to speed up the game randomly.

Step 5: Winning the Game

Revel In Riches. This card was already in the deck and I love it in the deck. It punishes opponents for sacrificing creatures, and with board wipes it can help us out. So lets get some treasures going! Brass's Bounty, Captain Lannery Storm, Contract Killing, Pirate's Pillage, Trove of Temptation.

Star of Extinction. This is the killing things portion. Languish, Terminate, Dreadbore, Hero's Downfall, Never//Return, Cruel Reality, Torment of Scarabs, Blasphemous Act, Unlicensed Disintegration, Chaos Warp, Decree of Pain, Black Sun's Zenith, Void and In Garruk's Wake.

Then a few cards to make sure they have a hard time gaining life, like Tainted Remedy and Erebos.

Finally a discard theme with Raider's Wake, Liliana's Caress and Megrim. Torment of Hailfire, Blightning, Rakdos's Return, Skull Rend, Chandra Ablaze, Dark Deal, Incendiary Command, Molten Psyche, Myojin of Night's Reach, Words of Waste, Syphon Mind, Pain Magnification.

Sunbird's Invocation. Now we are just going to find value and value like things. Koth of the Hammer, Kaeverk the Merciless, Hanweir Garrison for that random combo with Battlements. Goblin Rabblemaster, Tilonalli's Sumoner, Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury, Steel Hellkite,  Rakdos Charm, Vial Smasher the Fierce, Angrath the Flame Chained, Obnixilis Reignited, The Scorpion God, Defiant Bloodlord, Exquisite Blood, Sanguine Bond (a combo by themselves), Thundermaw Hellkite, Rise of the Dark Realms, Lightning Reaver and Wound Reflection.

And that's what I figured would be a good EDH deck for him that wasn't about beating face.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions or replacements? Let me know in the comments!
Deck: Budget(?) Mogis, God of Slaughtering Everything {b}{r}
1Akoum Refuge 1Angrath, the Flame-Chained {3}{B}{R}1Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}1Mogis, God of Slaughter {2}{B}{R}
1Blood Crypt 1Black Sun's Zenith {X}{B}{B}1Defiant Bloodlord {5}{B}{B}
1Bloodfell Caves 1Blasphemous Act {8}{R}1Erebos, God of the Dead {3}{B}
1Dragonskull Summit 1Blightning {1}{B}{R}1Goblin Rabblemaster {2}{R}
1Evolving Wilds 1Blood Moon {2}{R}1Hanweir Garrison {2}{R}
1Geier Reach Sanitarium 1Brass's Bounty {6}{R}1Kaervek the Merciless {5}{B}{R}
1Hanweir Battlements 1Chandra Ablaze {4}{R}{R}1Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury {3}{B}{R}
7Mountain 1Chaos Warp {2}{R}1Lightning Reaver {3}{B}{R}
1Rakdos Carnarium 1Contract Killing {3}{B}{B}1Myojin of Night's Reach {5}{B}{B}{B}
1Smoldering Marsh 1Cruel Reality {5}{B}{B}1Steel Hellkite {6}
14Swamp 1Dark Deal {2}{B}1The Scorpion God {3}{B}{R}
1Temple of Malice 1Dark Ritual {B}1Thundermaw Hellkite {3}{R}{R}
1Terramorphic Expanse 1Decree of Pain {6}{B}{B}1Tilonalli's Summoner {1}{R}
1Dreadbore {B}{R}1Vial Smasher the Fierce {1}{B}{R}
1Exquisite Blood {4}{B}
1Hero's Downfall {1}{B}{B}
1In Garruk's Wake {7}{B}{B}
1Kolaghan Monument {3}
1Koth of the Hammer {2}{R}{R}
1Languish {2}{B}{B}
1Liliana's Caress {1}{B}
1Lotus Bloom
1Megrim {2}{B}
1Molten Psyche {1}{R}{R}
1Never // Return {1}{B}{B}//{3}{B}
1Ob Nixilis Reignited {3}{B}{B}
1Pain Magnification {1}{B}{R}
1Pirate's Pillage {3}{R}
1Raiders' Wake {3}{B}
1Rakdos Charm {B}{R}
1Rakdos Cluestone {3}
1Rakdos Keyrune {3}
1Rakdos Signet {2}
1Rakdos's Return {X}{B}{R}
1Revel in Riches {4}{B}
1Rise of the Dark Realms {7}{B}{B}
1Sanguine Bond {3}{B}{B}
1Skull Rend {3}{B}{R}
1Sol Ring {1}
1Star of Extinction {5}{R}{R}
1Sunbird's Invocation {5}{R}
1Syphon Mind {3}{B}
1Tainted Remedy {2}{B}
1Terminate {B}{R}
1Thaumatic Compass {2}
1Thought Vessel {2}
1Torment of Hailfire {X}{B}{B}
1Torment of Scarabs {3}{B}
1Trove of Temptation {3}{R}
1Unlicensed Disintegration {1}{B}{R}
1Void {3}{B}{R}
1Words of Waste {2}{B}
1Wound Reflection {5}{B}
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