Friday Nights: Constructed
Episode 2 of our commodoreHUSTLE spinoff! Produced in association with Wizards of the Coast. Deciding to play Magic is all well and good, but what deck should you play?
Date: March 1, 2012
Category: Friday Nights
Writing: Graham Stark
Editing: Graham Stark
Music: Bradley Rains
Thanks To: Yellowjacket Comics
Having learned the basics of the game, Paul begins constructing decks. He shows his first deck to Alex, who immediately criticizes it for not containing the cards and colors used by the best players in professional magic. Alex becomes confused when Paul attempts to explain to him that he's not necessarily looking to imitate the pros. Paul then consults Jer, who shows him a deck that can win on the fifth turn of the game provided the player has a specific opening hand. Paul is unimpressed, citing the unreliability of a deck based entirely on a specific combo. Jer tries to find the right analogy for his construction philosophy. He goes through several variations:
- "Look, I think of building decks like a house of cards. It's very, very difficult to construct and somewhat unwieldy, but when you put it together and it works, it's beautiful."
- "Think of it like defusing a bomb: it might explode and ruin everything, but it's so good when you finally get that combination of skill and luck."
- "It's like building a gun from Ikea...[s]hut up and go with me on this. You've gotta build it yourself and the directions are in Swedish, so most of the time, it just sort of backfires and blows up in your face - but once you finally find the allen key and get all the pieces to fit together just right, it does exactly what it's supposed to do and looks awesome doing it."
Paul goes to Graham and Kathleen's apartment, where Kathleen is dismissive of Jer and Alex's deckbuilding techniques, claiming that she likes to make "crazy theme decks", such as her trademark "angry kitties" deck. He then goes to see James, who explains to him how some decks are poor fighters against other decks due to variants in construction strategy. This gives Paul the idea to apply his scientific mind to deckbuilding. The next day, he has filled up most of the free space in the Moonbase with dozens of variations on a few different deck designs, which he set out on paper the night before. He has been rigorously testing them to see which ones were the most effective, but thus far all that he has managed to truly learn is that he is "both a bad winner and a sore loser."
Meanwhile, Matt has been searching throughout the episode to either trade for or purchase an Angelic Destiny. He eventually forces the clerk at Yellowjacket Comics to take him to his brother, who lives over an hour away, but discovers that the clerk's brother has already traded his away. Back at the comic shop, Matt runs across a patron who finds one in a booster pack. Matt is so desperate for the card that he trades two Snapcaster Mages (which are extremely valuable) for it; however, he soon regrets it as he discovers that Paul had several copies of Angelic Destiny, though Matt had not thought to ask him.
- The player archetypes portrayed in this episode are similar to the Wizards R&D "psychographic profiles" of typical Magic players, named Timmy, Johnny, and Spike.
- Alex and Paul are Spike the metagamer, who employs whatever tactics have the highest success rate.
- Jer and Kathleen are Johnny the deck builder, who structures elaborate strategies around unusual combos or themes.
- Matt has elements of Timmy the power gamer, who is drawn to big creatures and flashy tactics to dominate the opponent.