PV’s Playhouse – Top Five Part II


Today we’re going back to doing top 5 lists, which is basically me ranking a lot of random things that people suggested they wanted ranked. This is, of course, only my opinion, and many of these things are subjective.

Top 5 Things I Hate About MTGO

Honorable mention – There is no way to “un-drop.”

Right now, if you lose a match due to inaction, you get dropped and there is no way to get back. This exacerbates the problem with random errors and disconnects, since now you’re not only punished by losing the round but you’re actually dropped from the entire tournament. I see no reason why you wouldn’t be able to just click a button and un-drop, or why a drop wouldn’t just take effect right before next round started.

Honorable mention #2 (it was really hard to pick only 5 things!) – The program won’t let you make your entire collection tradeable or untradeable.

Right now, there is a limit to the number of objects you can change at the same time (2000 I think) and since my collection is bigger than that, I can’t do it—I have to split it in sets and do it by chunks at a time, which is very annoying when I want to make everything tradeable or untradeable in a given moment. The program doesn’t recognize that two of the same card from different sets are actually the same card.

5 – The program doesn’t recognize multiple versions of the same card as the same card.

There are many occasions in which I save a deck on an account and then transfer to another, and suddenly it tells me I don’t have the cards—except I do, they’re just from another set. This has actually caused me to buy cards that I already owned because the program told me I didn’t, and I forgot to check for different versions. I don’t see why there isn’t a functionality to simply match the cards with whatever version you have so you don’t have to build the deck all over again.

4 – Misclicks.

Not a problem for most people, but they annoy me very much. It seems like I just can’t play a tournament without skipping an attack phase, killing the wrong target or doing something just as stupid. In real life those things would never happen—there’s no chance I’ll go, “ok, pay U, blink my [card aetherling]Aetherl[/card].. OH WAIT I MEANT PUMP.” Of course it is my fault that I do those things, but I dislike that the program makes it possible (though obviously there is no fix for this).

3 – No human interaction.

I know that for some people this is a plus, but I really like the social aspect of Magic, and it’s gone when you play Magic Online. You don’t see your opponent, you don’t even know who they are. I’ve made some of my best friends through Magic, and there are a lot of people I enjoy spending time with that I only see in Magic tournaments, and that’s something Magic Online will never have.

2 – Crashes.

We’ve all been through them. You’re playing, and suddenly MTGO closes in a flurry of errors and won’t come back, or you’re stuck without being able to do anything. They make the online experience really terrible every time they happen, and they undermine the credibility of the online-real life connection. In anyone else’s ranking, this would be the number 1 thing they hate about Magic Online—you might be wondering why it’s not my number 1. Well, that’s because of the…

1 – Scroll Bug.

For the past many months/years, MTGO has been bugged such that if you scroll down, it’ll quickly jump back up—which is very, very annoying when you’re trying to find someone in an event. The reason I hate this the most is that it’s been going on for so long and it seems such an incredibly easy and basic thing to fix, that and the fact that they haven’t done it yet is really a slap in the face every time it happens.

Top 5 Things I love About MTGO

5 – No shuffling.

Shuffling is kind of a waste of time, and it’s nice that the program does it for you.

4 – You can qualify for the PT no matter where you’re from.

Magic Online PTQs are (were?) a huge boon to Brazilian Magic, and I’m sure they had the same effect in a lot of other places. Before, we had one or two opportunities to qualify to the PT in a season, and with Magic Online that number got ten times bigger. Sure, the PTQs are very expensive and too big and they crash and so on, but the idea that you have the opportunity to qualify no matter where you’re from is very important to me.

3 – I can play in my underwear.

Sometimes you don’t feel like leaving your house, and with Magic Online that’s not a problem. It requires nothing from you—you don’t need to be presentable in any way, no preparation, you just log in and play at the comfort of your house, in your air conditioning, eating your food and wearing whatever you feel like. That’s great.

2 – No Cheating/Stalling.

Like it or not, you’re always subject to someone trying to cheat you. With stalling, it’s particularly bad, since it’s hard to properly identify and rule against. Magic Online eliminates that, and that’s a huge plus.

1 – You can get drafts at any time.

This is by far the best thing about MTGO if you don’t live in a place with a lot of players. When I was younger, it was incredibly hard to find a draft, even in our local store—we drafted maybe twice a year. Most people who Top 8’d a Sealed PTQ had never actually drafted before. With Magic Online, you can do it at any time you want, and you even pay less for it (at least if you’re from Brazil where packs go for at least $5).

Top 5 League of Legends Champions

I don’t think I am qualified to tell you what the five best champions in the game are, so I’m just going to name the ones I like the most:

5 – Gragas.

Basically deals infinite damage with his insane AP Ratios. I also like the plays you can make with his ultimate.

4 – Lee Sin.

Lee Sin is super complicated to play, but he’s also super awesome. I’m not very good with him (I’m a lowly Silver 4 right now, so it’s expected), but when I manage to make sweet plays with him I get very pleased at myself. He’s my preferred jungler.

3 – Caitlyn.

Caitlyn is a big lane bully and I like her because she brings the pushing aspect of the game in a way that no other champion really does—when you play Caitlyn, you will play differently in lane than when you play any other character. By far my favorite ADC.

2 – Lux.

It’s a shame that Lux isn’t a very good mid right now, because I really like her. She has a lot of range and is very skill-testing with all her skillshots, and people usually underestimate how much damage she actually deals. She’s also the only support that I can reasonably play and do well with.

1 – Moderkaiser. Numero uno. #Huehuehue.

Top 5 Magic People to Follow on Twitter

Honorable Mention: Me! @PVDDR. I complain a lot though, so be warned—if you’re going to complain that I complain too much, better not follow.

<>Honorable Mention #2: @PVDDR_Quotes. I don’t know who owns it, but it’s great!

5 – Brian Kibler. (@bmkibler)

If you are interested in knowing the future state of Organized Play, what tournaments are going to happen, and what programs are going to be terminated, you need to follow Kibler. If he complains about something, sell immediately.

4 – Worth Wollpert. (@mtgworth) and Mike Turian (@mturian)

Those guys are your go-to for Magic Online issues. They’re probably not the most popular people in the world right now, but still worth following.

3 – Paul Jordan. (@magicpj)

Paul does something stats-related for Wizards, which prompts random interesting tidbits of information from time to time, like pro player’s stats, deck percentages in certain tournaments, and so on. Certainly worth following, especially during the PT.

2 – Mark Rosewater. (@maro254)

Maro is the Head Designer for WOTC. He tweets a lot of questions for his column at Wizards, so if you want to participate you should follow him. Some “Tales from the Pit” are also quite funny.

1 – Helene Bergeot. (@HeleneBergeot)

Helene is the director of Organized Play for WOTC, and she’s very active on Twitter. If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, she will usually reply or deal with it very quickly. A must follow if you’re a competitive Magic player.

Top 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Spent Money On

5 – A suitcase with four wheels.

I used to travel for long periods of time, and as such, I always carried a gigantic suitcase with me that was a pain to take to most places. My life changed when I found out I could have suitcases with four wheels—they’re more expensive, true, but they’re so so much easier to handle that they’re worth every penny. If you want to buy a suitcase, make sure it has four wheels.

4 – An iPhone.

I don’t actually ever use the phone function of the device, but the ability to browse the internet during boring classes is invaluable. Tweeting at tournaments also a plus.

3 – A Kindle.

I really, really like reading, and most of my time in flights (and it is a considerable amount of time) is spent doing that. I can’t find many of the books I want here, though, so I used to go to the US and buy 5-10 books every trip. Buying a Kindle gave me the opportunity to acquire a lot of books that I just can’t find in Brazil, at any time I want, for a price that is at least three times cheaper than I would find here if by any chance they were available. It also lets me read the originals, in English, which is both better and helps my English skills as a side benefit.

2 – A new computer.

Every time I am on the fence as to whether I should buy a new computer or not, doing it is always the best decision I’ve ever made. I spend most of my day on a computer, and my happiness is very closely correlated to how well it performs and how quickly I can do the things I want to do.

1 – Traveling.

Though my list so far might not reflect that, I’m a big believer in spending money on experiences. I’ll go to a very fancy, expensive restaurant, for example, but it’s not for the food—it’s for the experience of going to an amazing place, and I’m not likely to go a second time because I’ve already experienced it. There are few experiences that compare to traveling to a completely different place, and I’m glad that I decided to use my money to know those amazing places.

Top 5 Best Magic Players of All Time

5 – Kenji Tsumura.

Kenji doesn’t play much nowadays, but he was extremely dominant when he did, and he was also universally liked. An incredibly smart, talented, and funny individual who I feel was proficient with every kind of deck in every format.

4 – Gabriel Nassif.

Nassif is insanely good, though he is prone to making stupid plays from time to time. When he played more seriously, he was also a fearsome deckbuilder, and even to this day he randomly shows up at events and does very well. If it wasn’t for a technicality, he would have been the French Champion last year, and maybe would have qualified for the World Championship.

3 – Luis Scott-Vargas.

I think Luis was the best player in the world for a very long time period. He might still be, though now it’s debatable, whereas before I was pretty sure he was the best. He is very talented and solves incredibly complicated situations quickly. He’s also very good at playing opponents, instead of just playing their cards, which is an ability that sets him apart both against amateurs and against the super pros. On top of that, he writes, does videos, and commentates and is universally liked.

2 – Jon Finkel.

I have no idea who is/was better, Finkel or Budde. I’ve heard a lot of opinions on the matter, but there’s no consensus on who is the actual best player of all time. Finkel’s results are obviously very impressive and he is an insanely talented individual according to anyone who’s ever interacted with him.

1 – Kai Budde.

Kai might not be as consistent, or even as talented as Finkel (though I don’t actually know about that), but his results, in my opinion, are more impressive. Four Player of the Year titles and seven PT wins are something that I don’t think will ever be matched in the history of the game, so in my mind he’s the number one player.

Top 5 Books

If I’m going to be honest , my top 5 books will be 5 Harry Potter books (5, 6, 4, 3, 1; in that order). I don’t think I’ll ever find a book series that I like as much as I liked Harry Potter—I must’ve read them a combined 30 times at least, and to this day I still kind of hope someone is going to show up and take me to Hogwarts. That wouldn’t be a great answer, though, so instead I’m going to try and rank my 5 favorite books that you might not know about:

5 – Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop.

Daughter of the Blood is a fantasy book very different from anything I’ve ever read, with characters and plots spawning multiple realms (like Hell for example) and societies where women rule and enslave men for sexual pleasure. And the main character is a little girl. There’s definitely a chance you won’t like it—it’s a little over the top—but if you’re in for an experience, I recommend this series.

4 – Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder.

Poison Study tells the story of a woman who is caught committing a crime, and is giving the choice to become the Commander’s food taster as punishment—where she then has to learn about various poisons so that she can, well, not die. It’s very different from most things I’ve read and I really liked it. Unfortunately the next books in the series aren’t as good, but I also rather liked her “Healer” series (which is not completed yet).

3 – Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

Name of the Wind suffers from the same, “this will never get finished, will it?” problem that Game of Thrones suffers, but it’s nonetheless a very interesting read. The second book in the series (Wise Men’s Fear) has some bad moments, but I actually liked it more overall. I like the main character, I like the side characters, and I like the plot.

2 – Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson.

For me, Brandon Sanderson started as “The guy who finished Wheel of Time.” After that, he became, “that writer who plays Magic.” Now he’s definitely one of my favorite writers and I’ll immediately read anything he publishes. I’ve read a ton of his books, and I’ve never seen one I didn’t like. The Mistborn series, Alloy of Law, Emperor’s Soul, Elantris, Rithmatist, Steelheart, Way of the Kings, the Wheel of Time books, I recommend all of them. They’re well written, with good characters, interesting and different magic systems, and the plot is always very well thought of. More importantly, there is almost never a character or a semi-plot that I don’t like—you know when you read Lord of the Rings and then you think, “oh god another Frodo scene” and you just want to skip it and go back to the real action? This does not happen with any of his books (with the small exception of the third Mistborn book for me). I named Mistborn here, but, really, try any of his books, and if you like it, read them all.

1 – Arena, by William R. Forstchen.

Arena is a Magic: the Gathering book, though its not based on any specific set and the characters are not cards (like, for example, Teferi or Squee)—it’s just based in the Magic universe, and not very much so at that—you can easily understand everything even if you don’t play. The story is compelling, the characters are good, and there’s a lot of battling and Magic involved. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend giving it a try, it’s by far the best Magic book I’ve read.

Top 5 Best Magic Countries

5 – The Netherlands.

There aren’t many new high-profile players from the Netherlands, but it has historically been a source of good players, and two of its most prominent players—Frank Karsten and Kamiel Cornelissen—are still playing and doing well.

4 – The Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic is an incredibly small country, with an incredibly small population, yet it concentrates a lot of Magic talent, having many of the game’s best players, like Martin Juza, Stanislav Cifka, and Lukas Jaklovsky. If they were USA-sized it wouldn’t be very surprising, but the fact that they can get so many world-class players with such a small pool is very impressive.

3 – France.

France has always been somewhat of a Magic powerhouse, with the Ruel brothers back in the day and now with Raphael Levy, Gabriel Nassif, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa and all the “new” players, including the latest PT winner Jeremy Dezani. Getting a team together really did wonders for the French.

2 – Japan.

There was a period of time in which Japan was the best Magic country, but that is no longer true. It’s still home to a lot of remarkably skilled individuals, though—Shuhei, Yuuya, Shouta and Mihara are all world-class players, for example, and either of them could reasonably be at any given point the best player in the world. The big thing about Japan is that everyone knows the superstars, but there are actually a lot of very consistent players, who qualify for every PT, who work very hard, and who play very well that no one has heard of. It’s very unfortunate that they no longer have any PTs close to them, as I’m sure traveling so far is an impediment to much of the local talent.

1 – Brazil!

(Fine, fine, it’s the U.S.)

There’s no question that the U.S. is the best Magic country right now—it has the best players and the biggest number of world-class players by far. You might have a debate on who the best player in the world is right now, but all your options, in all likelihood, are American. Of the 25 players in the top 25 rankings list, 14 are American. Part of that is because they have more access to GPs and PTQs than anyone else in the world, but the biggest factor is the fact that the best Americans (and there are a lot of them) are just better than everyone else right now, and they also organize better.

Top 5 Favorite Cards

5 – [card]Cryptic Command[/card].

Power and versatility are basically what I’m looking for in a card, and [card]Cryptic Command[/card] has all of it in spades.

4 – [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card].

I like versatile cards, and [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] is the epitome of versatility—it can be played at any point, as a creature or as a creature and a spell, and it brings back any spell. A really powerful card in the type of decks that I love to play.

3 – [card]Muddle the Mixture[/card].

Muddle the Mixture is an odd choice, because it’s not a particularly great card and I doubt it’d make anyone else’s top 5, but it happens to be a card I really like, especially in combo decks where you can use both effects to their fullest potential. I’ve played 4 [card]Muddle the Mixtures[/card] in a [card]Dark Depths[/card] deck before, as well as 2 in a [card]Scapeshift[/card] list, and some number in a [card]Griselbrand[/card]/[card]Goryo’s Vengeance[/card] deck.

2 – [card]Fact or Fiction[/card].

[card]Fact or Fiction[/card] is just super cool. It was the best card in Standard for a while, and the effect is unique and interesting—every Fact or Fiction is completely different from the last one.

1 – [card]Vendilion Clique[/card].

[card]Vendilion Clique[/card] is just a perfect Magic card—it’s very strong, very versatile, gives you a lot of information, a lot of choices, and can even give your deck an angle of attack it didn’t previously have. It also does all that without being broken.

Top 5 Cards I Hate the Most

5 – [card]Autumn Willow[/card]
4 – [card]Sigarda, Host of Herons[/card]
3 – [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card]
2 – [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]
1 – [card]True-Name Nemesis[/card]

I really hate hexproof.

Honorable mention: [card]Rite of Flame[/card].

Top 5 Board Games

I’m honestly not a big fan of board games in general. I think they’re usually overly complicated and take too long to teach and to play. I rather like party games, though, so I’m going to include those. I don’t really drink, so they aren’t drinking games, but I’m sure you can add drinking to anything you want.

5 – Say the Same Thing.

Say the Same Thing is actually an iPhone app, but you can play it in real life. The idea is that two people say a random word each at the same time, and the goal is that, next time, you say the same word—so ideally something that connects the things you’ve both said. For example, if the words are “fruit” and “monkey,” clearly the next word is going to be “banana” from both players. Assuming I said “banana” and you said “Vizzerdrix,” though, then we have to keep going with those two words until we can meet in the middle. It can be very easy or very hard, depending on which two words people come up with.

4 – Pictionary.

I suck at drawing, but I’m generally pretty good at guessing. I like any games that involve trying to understand what the other person is thinking.

3 – Scattergories.

I’ve never played the actual game of Scattergories, but we play something very similar with just pen and paper. The idea is that you have a lot of categories (animal, fruit, color, profession, illness, movie, actor, book, country, capital, part of the human body, Magic card—whatever you want basically) and then you randomize a letter and fill the categories with things that start with that letter. When someone is done filling all categories, everyone has to stop writing, and then you check answers and everyone gets 5 points for a repeated answer and 10 for a unique one.

2 – Catchphrase (or Articulate in the board version).

I like how dynamic Catchphrase is—you can play for as long as you want, with no setup, and you can stop at any point. I like that you have to think quickly and still be coherent.

1 – Dixit.

Everyone I teach Dixit to loves it—it’s easy to learn and you have to think a lot, but not on unnecessarily complicated things. As a bonus, every time you play is incredibly different from the other, especially if you’re playing with different people.

Top 5 Cards I Wish Were in Every Core Set for Standard

5 – A [card]Rampant Growth[/card] variant.

I really like being able to ramp from 2 to 4 and fixing your mana in multicolored decks—it’s a very powerful and somewhat unique effect that is hard to abuse, but sometimes very good (i.e. Jund or Bant). I don’t like when that’s the only reason to play green (so you’re basically splashing the fixer), but that’s not the card’s fault.

4 – [card]Dissolve[/card].

I feel like having playable counterspells that counter anything is very important for Magic, and I think [card]Dissolve[/card] is a good one that has upside but is not broken.

3 – [card]Llanowar Elves[/card].

[card]Llanowar Elves[/card] is the quintessential green card to me, and it’s the card that sets green apart—no one else can have three mana on turn two. I like that about green and I want it to stay there forever.

2 – [card]Wrath of God[/card].

[card]Wrath of God[/card] keeps creature decks honest. I strongly dislike any format that does not have a wrath effect because it basically makes one of the core decisions of aggro decks (do I run into Wrath or not) disappear, and it makes coming back when you’re behind a lot harder.

1 – Dual Lands.

I strongly prefer formats with good mana over formats with bad mana. I like it when you can play multiple color combinations, including up to four colors if you so desire. A lot of people dislike that about Modern, but I think the cost is significant (if it wasn’t everyone would play five colors, wouldn’t they?) and I strongly prefer when people can cast spells than when they can’t (like Scars block where every deck had to be mono-colored because you had to play [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] and there were not enough duals). If I had my way, every core set would have at least one set of dual lands, possibly two.

Top 5 Disney Princesses

5 – Aurora.

When I was very young, Aurora used to be my favorite, but I’ve since come to realize that her personality is kind of bland and she doesn’t even add much to the story, so I think the three faeries were actually what I liked about the movie. Still, she gets a spot for historic considerations.

4 – Ariel.

Ariel is very cool and different, with the whole, “not knowing what a fork is” thing, and she is also a very good singer (though there aren’t any bad singers in Disney, really). The fact that her dad has superpowers doesn’t hurt her cause either.

3 – Mulan.

Mulan is just very awesome on all levels. She’s not an actual princess either, which is certainly a minus, but I feel like she’s earned her place there. Mulan is probably my favorite Disney movie of all time and I regularly re-watch it.

2 – Anastasia.

Anastasia is not actually Disney, but hey, who cares about that? What I like about Anastasia is that it’s based on a real story. So many girls when they are younger want to be princesses, and somewhere there’s a little girl that actually is one and doesn’t know it. The movie is quite good and has also helped a bit with my history tests in the past, since the names and the dates are actually accurate.

1 – Belle.

Belle spends her first Beauty and the Beast moments going to the library and reading, and for that she already deserves to be in my top 5. She also seems like a witty and genuinely good person, and someone I’d like spending time with. If I had to marry a Disney princess, I’d probably choose Belle, with the caveat that she remains a princess even after divorcing Beast and that I can become a prince by marriage anyway.

Top 5 Suggestions that Did Not Make the Article

5 – Top 5 Worst Decks that Have Won a PT (I actually tried and could not come up with 5 bad decks)

4 – Top 5 Abilities on [card]Bow of Nylea[/card]

3 – Top 5 Words PV Pronounces in a Funny Way

2 – Top 5 Drunken Team ChannelFireball Moments

1 – Top 5 Players Who Should Not Have Been Elected into the Hall of Fame

That’s what I’ve got for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, see you next week!


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