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Team Legit’s Favorite Magic articles of 2012

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Magic Culture

This past month, the staff at LegitMTG have been planning new content, concepts and ideas for our readers in 2013. We hope to bring you new adventures, fresh blood and lots of Magic. It is important when trying to develop your future that you acknowledge your past: when you succeeded and why, as well as how this brilliant idea that everyone liked didn’t pan out. Team Legit would like to take a moment to recognize the hard work from its writers and staff and recognize a few people in the Multiverse who have helped inspire, motivate and keep us striving to do better.

There have been many fantastic successes this year at LegitMTG. FNM Hero sparked a craze with Medina “Pack to Power” Money himself taking a vow of poverty. 20 Tweets was able to capture some truly controversial and important issues facing the community as well as cheer champions and celebrate events of all kind. In some categories, though, there can only be one. One article nudged the others out of the way for highest view count of the year. It was close, but that honor goes to Nina Illingworth and her multi-color breakdown review of M13. We would like to thank Nina for her hard work at LegitMTG this year and for her continued support.

We would also like to take a minute and recognize some of the extraordinary work that inspired us this year. Star City Games gave us back our Magic Show and introduced the innovative and hilarious Newsening. Channel Fireball put on a clinic in “how to do it right” with Sperling’s GP report of the first team GP in years and PV’s Fire and the Zone. Gathering Magic‘s epic 52 FNMs came to a close with Corp0ra teaching us all what it means to be committed. Then they stepped a little outside the lines with Mascioli’s Chasing Kate. TCG scored a major boon when Jackie Lee joined up. Manadeprived put the fun back in casual with Boosh’s Ante League. Magic fans were also blessed with the appearance of Nathan Holt and his brilliant video series sponsored by the mothership (thank you, mothership).

There were thousands of words, hundreds of articles, heated debates and detailed accounts of Magic this year. We are thankful for them all and can’t wait to see what you bring us in 2013. We asked some of the LegitMTG staff to ring in the new year by recapping their favorite Legit and Multiverse articles of 2012. Here, collected for you, is our “best of the best.” Happy New Year!

Jason Bailey (Content Manager)



Medina’s Notebook: Pro Tour RTR by Jonathan Medina

As an editor, I have the blessing-slash-curse of being critical of everything. While scouring the expanding Legit MTG archives, I couldn’t help but think about the one change that could have made a great article even greater.

And that’s why Medina’s Notebook stands out. It looks toward the future, not the past. It was a creative idea among many (FNM Hero, 20 Tweets, Finance in a Flash) on a website that constantly forges new ground. You don’t have to care about Magic finance to divine its value. It certainly provided relevant information, but more-so provided a snapshot into the future of Magic coverage.

When Jonathan decided to try live-blogging financial information during a Pro Tour, he perfectly captured the burgeoning energy of the Magic community. The passion was evident as readers were eager to access—and supply—raw information in digestible form. I’m not sure how this latest experiment will evolve, or if it will at all. But I’m confident that Legit MTG will keep taking chances in 2013.


PV’s Playhouse: Team ChannelFireball by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

I’m guessing this seems like an odd choice, but there are some very valuable lessons hidden beneath a perfunctory reading.

Paulo writes openly, starting with the declarative statement that “Team Channel Fireball is the best Magic team in the world” before examining the strengths and weaknesses of himself and his teammates. He doesn’t pretend everything is perfect, showing that everybody has something to contribute regardless of their personality or playstyle. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of honesty. Let’s resolve to be honest both when we evaluate a deck’s chances in the metagame and when we evaluate how we contribute to the Magic community.

Because I’m primarily a sports journalist, one issues that resonates strongly is the Michael Jordan question. How do you maintain success? It’s a question Magic players must constantly ask themselves, and it’s one we wrestle with internally at Legit MTG. Paulo’s advice is particularly poignant in a year when Team ChannelFireball surprisingly struggled at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. Let’s take nothing for granted.

Sam Davis (Writer)



Sharking by Corbin Hosler

In the same vein, Corbin writes about dealing with morality not only in trading but in life. It is also written in a unique fashion that I enjoyed greatly. The thing that really struck me was how MTG Finance is viewed from different sides of the table, as it were. I also enjoy seeing a finance writer show some humanity instead of talking about calls to make and spec that is sure to pay off.


Why I do what I do by Chris Lansdell

The reason why I enjoyed these articles so much is that neither of them are about Magic in the traditional sense. Chris writes a very heartfelt article that explains why Magic saved his life, which I related to on multiple levels. I even took a swing at a similar article before I read his. Things like that, while rare,are very important for the community as a whole. Everyone struggles, and seeing how others deal with their struggles can be very helpful.

Justin Duewel-Zahniser (Editor in Chief)



20 Tweets: All are Punished by Heather Meek

Of all the things I’ve done during my time at LegitMTG, I’ve easily worked with Heather, and on 20 Tweets in particular, far more than anything else. Although I enjoy every 20 Tweets for its succinct way of capturing the zeitgeist of any event, my all-time favorites both to edit and read were the issues-based articles. This is not because I am a sucker for drama and controversy, which seems like the obvious answer. The real reason is that whenever an issue really got Heather riled up, she would step out of just-the-facts-ma’am report mode, knuckle down and really say something incredible about the topic. In 20 Tweets: All Are Punished, I really felt like Heather was sweeping the curtain aside and letting you into her psyche through the vehicle of an adult conversation about what it means to live and let live. I felt special having the first look and excited to put it out on the Internet for you all to read.


Reigniting the Fire by Brian Braun-Duin

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Brian Braun-Duin (@braunduinit, despite my insistence on @duinitintheopen). I’ve followed his progress as a player since we first exchanged victories and puns at our local FNM. When BBD, as he’s known, moved away for school, I resolved to keep tabs on him. When he began writing for Star City Games, he quickly became my favorite author both for his hilarious writing style and for his earnest and honest look at himself and the game. This particular article really stands out as both an excellent read and the quintessential BBD article. I read it around the time of my own personal Magic slump and it helped me better assess what I wanted to and therefore should be Duin in relation to the game. On top of that, it provides a lot of great insider “color” about the #SCGBlue team’s approach to a deep run at Pro Tour Honolulu. I’m a sucker for a human interest story. And a Josh Cho altered art card.

Paul Feudo (Writer)



Fear of Rejection by Justin Duewel-Zahniser

Failing is scary, no, failing is terrifying, and it is that fear of failure that drives us away from our dreams. Accepting rejections as part of the journey and a point for re-evaluation and evolution in your life is a step many people never get to or at least never realize. Justin’s piece takes us through the journey of rejections and reassessment that’s vital in understanding how you fit … in everything. Its OK to be bad at something, even something you really want to be good at. Most people are, but being too scared to find out just leaves you wondering what could be.


Why I Suck at Pro Tours by Gerry Thompson

Understanding why we do things and how those actions affect success is fairly meta, but still important. Reading Gerry being open and honest with himself makes it easier for me to do the same, and I hope it does for all of you as well. It’s not about being brutal, it’s about cutting the bullshit and understanding what’s really going on. The easiest person to lie to is ourselves.

Corbin Hosler (Writer)



Sharking by Corbin Hosler

The structure of this article was the result of me laying in bed one night, unable to sleep but dreaming about an honest way to combine my love of writing with Magic. I really enjoyed the feedback to this one and how it turned out. Conventional wisdom suggests that there’s no way to connect this style of writing with a topic as “mundane” as Magic finance. I disagree, and I hope after reading this you do too.


Traderous Instinct-Stealing This Article by Chas Andres

This article was excellent because it gave us insight into the culture of theft from the thieves themselves. When we’re dealing with a hobby in which the collectibles can be worth hundreds to thousands of dollars, this is crucial information.

Nina Illingworth (Writer)



Modern Master by Scott MacCallum

When Heather asked me to pick my favorite Magic articles of the year I figured this would be a piece of cake. After all, *I* wrote several articles this year and seeing as I’m a legend in my own mind I figured I could answer the question without even logging onto the interwebz. Then she told me I had to *explain* why I liked them and this got a lot harder. After some soul searching and review I’ve managed to break it down to the following articles

Honorable Mention: The 20 Tweets Series by Heather Meek. It would be silly to pick just one. Heather did an amazing job with this series and she’s left poor Sam Davis with a huge set of shoes to fill.

Honorable Mention: Interview with Gerald Freas. This was one of the most important articles of the year. As the saga unfolded it was very easy for everyone to align against Gerald without asking for his side of the story. I logged on the morning of March 29 and Legit MtG helped me understand both sides of what happened; it was pretty hard to see Gerald as a savage cyber bully after that. Eighteen months for what Gerald did was ridiculous and I believe the DCI later shortened his ban.

Best Legit MtG Article of 2012: Modern Mastery w/ Scott MacCallum. Once again it’s hard to pick one particular episode of this series as the best. Scott consistently brings his “A” game to an entertaining and informative ongoing series about Modern. Not only are the articles interesting but part of the experience is watching and chatting with Scott live as he streams Modern Magic at twitch.tv/legitmtg. If I had any minor quibbles it’s that the early episodes had some tech support problems. But once the techies figured out the sound levels and resolution issues, this series has consistently been my first and favorite stop on my weekly tour of MtG articles.


Ante League 101 by Jay Boosh

The truth is I read a lot of articles about Magic over the course of any given year and for the most part they are “good” rather than “bad.” I could honestly list any one of 50 articles in this spot and be happy with my decision from a pure quality perspective. In light of this I’m going to give my vote to an up and coming writer who just recently burst onto the scene at Manadeprived.com. His very first published Magic article literally blew me away; not only was it well written but it was entertaining and genuinely funny. This writer’s sense of comic timing and ability to turn a phrase is something I want to see more of; I’m giving him my vote in the hopes that he’ll write some more articles for us all.

Anthony Lowry (Writer)



A Lowry Reborn by Anthony Lowry

This article, and this tournament, was a huge turnaround point in my Magic career and my life. It gave meaning to why I spent so much time improving at what I loved, and gave me a sense of belonging in the community. This event allowed me to see things more clearly, and helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do in this vast world of card slinging.


Words Mean Things by Patrick Chapin

Chapin is no stranger to saying the difficult things and asking the difficult questions, but this piece is the epitome of such and was a topic that needed tackling. We need more people playing the game with an open mind, and this, while maybe not the solution, is certainly a start.

Scott MacCallum (Writer/Streamer)



How I Learned to Love Standard Again by Jack Grannan

My favorite Legit MTG Article was by none other than Hair Adept Jack Grannan, and his How I Learned to Love Standard Again. I related to Jack really closely in this one as most of his thoughts on the format were echoing mine, and I too felt that the super sweet list that he was writing about was right up my alley. I enjoyed the list, his thoughts on it, and mostly really enjoyed feeling closer to the author.


Why I don’t like Avacyn, Angel of Hope by Mike Flores

To be honest, there was so much amazing magic content that was released this year, as we discussed on The Eh Team Episode 109, that picking a single piece from the year would be impossible. Since I was tasked with this anyway, I thought I would pick the most self-serving choice, as Mike discusses my interview here on LegitMTG by our own RevisedAngel Heather Dawn, and naturally mentions me and our friendship in a positive and ego pump worthy way. Thanks Mike!

Jonathan Medina (Owner)



Sacking Out: A PTQ Report and Pod Primer by Peter Johnson

When Heather asked me to pick my favorite article on Legit MTG, I felt like I was trying to pick a favorite among my own children! I love all the content on Legit MTG and I’m very happy with the work we produced in 2012. After much deliberation I decided to pick an article that I really enjoyed reading; although there were many that fit that criterion I decided to go with one by Peter Johnson. This article made me laugh and it sparked my interest in the Pod archetype for Modern.


The Kitchen Table #391 – And On That Day, Like Any Other: by Abe Sargent

I usually ignore Abe’s articles because I’m not a “casual” player but there was some buzz surrounding this one on Twitter so I decided to take a look. I love that Abe is so personal and transparent in this article. It was after reading this that I had a newfound respect for him as a writer and as a man.

Heather Meek (Writer/Angel)



Things I Have Learned About Writing MTG by Justin Duewel-Zahniser

In my career as a Medic I have been in some truly nerve-shattering situations. I have been the lungs for babies just seconds old; the last face someone looks upon; held devastated ones as they beat my chest and begged for me to return their loved ones to them. I do it all without wavering, flinching or second guessing because I’m good at it. I am confident in my skills of healing.

Writing, on the other hand, is a different story. I am not gifted with the captivating storytelling abilities of Medina, the effortless sarcasm and frankness of Corpora or the ability to turn a pun like LSV.  Absolutely nothing has been scarier for me then when Justin joined Team Legit and became my editor. Being a little country girl from small town Texas, who was educated in a school district that didn’t quite emphasize the girls education as much as the boys has left some gaps I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to fill.

Writing something down and sending it to Justin, who is a college educated, accomplished author and poet, was extremely intimidating. Especially when I’m focusing on not saying “since” when what I really mean is “sense” and keeping my “y’alls” to a minimum. It turned out that I had nothing to fear. Justin has been one of the greatest supporters, challengers and tutors of my adult life. So when he posted Things I have Learned from MTG Writing on his Tumblr I knew Medina and I had to put it on LegitMTG for our readers to see and hopefully learn from. I wanted our readers to benefit from all the help he has given me. I still go back and read it regularly when I am second-guessing myself or trying to decide if what I am doing is really contributing to the community I love.


30 Day Cosplay Challenge by Christine Sprankle

Picking this one has been truly tough for me. My friend Nina wrote a personal, honest and frank piece on Manadeprived. She doesn’t like it when I get mushy about her but I was so proud and completely envious of her abilities as a writer. Abe Sargent wrote a heartbreaking piece on Star City Games that left me reflecting how precious the time we have is.

There were well-plotted strategy articles, insightful and vulnerable issue pieces and wonderful stories told this year. Though they all helped teach me something about myself and improve my game, it was tiny little slip of a girl, with bright eyes, a big heart and balls of steel who keeps me smiling. Magic to me is about fun and friends. To you it might be about strategy, collecting, conquering or building and that’s ok. The many different facets of Magic are what make it so amazing.

When I saw the first picture of Christine Sprankle dressed as fierce Elspeth at Worlds last year I thought, “girl’s got Chutzpah.” I could never walk into a room full of Hall of Famers and players from around the world in a costume I had designed myself. What if they hated my portrayal of their favorite character? One hundred doubts and insecurities would paralyze me. But Sprankle  marched in there like Elspeth descended without a care in the world. I like people who don’t give a damn about what you might think and follow their own path. Since that day she has continually supported and help grow the Cosplay community around MTG, helping inspire men and women who want to express their passion and love of Magic through cosplaying their favorite characters.

You might not get it and it might not be your thing, but I hope you can at least respect the love, time and commitment she puts in to support the game we all love in her own special way. There is a good chance she spends more of her own money creating these extravaganzas then most Pros spend on their MTG collection. I enjoyed following her 30-day cosplay challenge immensely and often after a particularly hard day on the job I would pop in and check on her to try and forget about the darkness a little while and see what intricate, wacky thing bright eyes was up to.

Tyler Priemer (Writer)



Modern Mastery: A Fortunate Series of Events by Scott MacCallum

I’ve known Scotty a number of years, and this entry was easily the high point of his Homeric epic of an article series. It hit close to home for me. I was standing in his corner for those two GPTs cheering him on. Being able to hang out with Scotty all weekend and talk Magic was an absolute blast, and reading this article brought out a sense of pride I don’t usually feel when I’m reading a tournament report. All I typically feel is “Huh, good for them.” But with this one, there was just a smile on my face. “Congrats, buddy. You did it.”


Words Mean Things by Patrick Chapin and Just a Girl by Nina Illingworth

Both articles tackled the very difficult and very real issue of homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry in the Magic community, and both spoke volumes about a topic that would cause most to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the problem. I’ve had the pleasure of going to school with and working with members of the LGBT community, and it bothers me a bit that in this day and age we still need articles like these to be written. But as long as we have strong writers like Patrick and Nina that can write such powerful articles, I’ll be there to read them every time.

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