That Lingering Taste

Posted in Feature on August 2, 2007

By Matt Cavotta

Matt has worn many wizard hats in the 18 years he has worked on Magic—art-mage, logomancer, lightning bard, and (of course) Planeswalker.

Pepto-Bismol. Sharp cheddar. Garlic. They all leave that lingering taste in the mouth. Though they all have their proper uses, they are all worse off for their persistence in hanging around on the tongue.

Magic flavor, however, can have a lingering taste that is a good thing. In fact, Taste the Magic has some flavor that still hangs around even now, after two whole years of serving it up. That's right, folks, last week's article marked the 100th TTM. Whilst out for a long jog the other day I decided to look back on those 100 articles and see which ones seemed to pop out at me as either important or fun or both. I am happy to report that there was a good bunch of them that have "that lingering taste."

I am going to do a little retrospective today—a run-down of all the TTM articles that I think represent the high points of our 2 year run. I do not expect any new reader to go back and slog through every single article (though I would be tickled). So, if you're somewhat new to the scene, you can use this article as a bit of a guide, pointing you to the most spectacular vistas that Taste the Magic has to offer. If you've read them all, then you are truly mighty, and this article may not have any news for you—but you'll have to read it anyway in order to keep claiming to have read them all ; )

I've included a little snippet from each article's message board, a bit of reaction from folks other than me. Of course, I get to sift through and pick the ones I like, but they're still the very words of some of TtM's favorite readers.

I think the beginning is a fine place to start:

#1 The Flavor of Magic

If you're reading Taste the Magic today, then it's probably not necessary to read this one. It's not really packed with important information, though I choose to mention it in this list because its publication was an important event in and of itself. Up to that point, had been the premier source of itch for the competitive player/collector scratch. But it was not feeding the hunger. It was not, outside of quick-hitters from Magic Arcana or Wallpaper of the Week, delivering the flavor the way it should have.

I do think article #1 is a mildly funny read, though it was not meant to be so. It's funny because it rode into town loud and proud, bellowing out through its megaphone, "I am here for you, art fan/story maven/flavor text reader! And you, Spike, can take a hike!" Many readers were outraged (read: many Spikes). Until then, just about all things published was expressly for them. It was a naughty little bit of fun I had riling them up. But, at the beginning, I thought it was necessary—to really carve out our niche and make our target audience feel proud and special to be (what we'd later discover right here at TTM) Vorthos.

Lots of people will dislike your writing. They are the Spikes. They are pointy, and sharp, and they hurt. Ignore them at all costs. This is not their world. – Pozerking

#2 Snack Time With Vorthos

I believe this to be one of the most important TtMs of all. It boasts the introduction of Vorthos, and forever made it easier for us to discuss the difference between Magic players and the different reasons why they are Magic fans. The article itself is not all that great, but it marks a proud moment for TTM and its faithful readers.

It also introduced us to Okra-Twinkie-Tofu, Magic flavor Home Runs, and Sekki, Pronunciation's Guide—all recurring features in the subsequent 2 years of TTM.

Haha! People want an apology and think the beginning of the second article was meant to be one? Insane. No apology needed, and the beginning of this article was more poking fun at the idiots who were offended at the last one! Good times there. :)

I'm so much more excited with the content that will be provided in these articles. Vorthos is happy. Now to make this article daily instead of weekly. Oh, wait. There is something kind of like that: Arcana. So, I guess now it's time to make Arcana better. :)

Okra, Twinkie, and Tofu. Excellent. --VeganBard

#6 Honeymoon In Dominaria

This is a good one to read if you have not done so already (especially with Time Spiral block still clicking around.) There has always been a debate, especially in the realm of Magic art, about which is better; the old or the new. This article explores the phenomenon of the "rose colored glasses" and how your feelings for certain periods in your history as Magic fan can distort your appreciation for the flavor of the cards of that era.

(There were so many really long and passionate posts in the message boards that I couldn't pick just one—so I ended up taking this dandy ; )

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die. – HeirTo Pendragon

#12 The House That Lies Built

I don't know why this is on the list...I don't even remember writing this article. Why do I have a strange tingling sensation in the back of my head?

There is no article. Move along. –Circu

#22 RT-3000, The Future of Magic Art

This article is as pertinent today as it was the day I wrote it, if not even more so. It addresses the issue of digital art vs. traditional media. With the great host of Magic artists now using computers to work their wonders, this article helps explain how these artists are no cheating, cutting corners, or relying on the computer for their creativity. If you do not know how the computer programs Photoshop or Painter work, read this—it will help you appreciate the artistic wizardry of digital gurus like Todd Lockwood, Dan Scott, Justin Sweet, Aleksi Briclot, and many others.

Nice article.
The prejudices about digital art are very common, glad someone explained that the artist remains unchanged, whether he/she decides to use traditional media or not. –Blank_

#27 Wake Up Call

If you're a fan of Ravnica, its storyline, its guilds, and its city-world theme, this article is right up your alley (cue rimshot.) The article is dominated by a powerful and evocative letter from a citizen of Ravnica.

There are no important magic issues discussed here, nor are there any historical Magic moments—just an entertaining read, with a hint of social commentary. I am very proud of this article. One of TtM's best.

Wow...I think this might be my favorite Taste the Magic article yet. I was theorizing before about the Nephilim, the Cult of Yore, and what they meant for the story of Ravnica. I just feel like this article has added immensely to the flavor, to the experience, of the block. Awesome! --einhorn

#32 Precious Gold

This article, like Wake Up Call, does not include information of lasting importance to the greater fabric of Magic creative. Its subject and themes revolve around the Orzhov guild, just a small subset of Magic cards from a set a year or so old. But, it is a story that really resonated at the time, bringing in more email than any other TTM article. Aside from a few words I'd like to tweak, this story is one that I am still happy with and of which I am extremely proud. If you decide to go back and read any one of these articles I cite today, let it be this one.

One of the best articles on this site ever. No jokes.
I totally agree. This one has pulled me into being a devout Orzh-er...Taste the Magic follower. :D
Great job Matt! I loved it! --Meldethar

#34 Building a Magic Sandwich

This is an informative article that really lays out clearly a Magic card's path through the creative processes; card concept, art description, sketch, final art, name, and flavor text.

Good article, interesting topic.
I'm not much into flavor, but Mr. Cavotta has got me looking a lot closer at cards.
Thanks. :) --Algona

#37 Makin' the Law, Makin' the Law

It occurs to me now as I pore over all these old articles just how freakin' awesome Ravnica was— and I am not talking about the "cards." I am talking about how fertile it was, absolutely burgeoning with story possibilities. This article is a story revolving around the Azorius guild, and has a fun little clincher at the end that tickles me even today.

So much yummy flavor! This was a great article. – Midget_In_The_Playground

#44 Don't Chew With Your Mouth Full

I cringe every time I read this title. It is pure buffoonery. It was meant to say "Don't Chew With Your Mouth Open." Or was it "Don't Speak with Your Mouth Full"? Whatever it was supposed to be, this article is all about how to deal with artists—getting cards signed, contacting them through their websites, meeting them at conventions. With Gen Con on the horizon, this is definitely a good one to read, (or reread.)

Certainly a very informative article (if not the best so far) from Matt. :thumbsup: - ahsburn98

#86 Spelling It Out

As the numbers climb higher, I get more apprehensive about putting them on the list, since the odds are good that you've read them pretty recently. But this one deserves mention, because it shines the spotlight on "spells", a concept and a word that has been taken for granted for a long time. It also reinforces the idea that a game of Magic is a clash between planeswalking mages.

Very cool article. A comprehensive answer to a simple question that just made the flavour of Magic all the more delectable. Kudos on learning vs assimilation and how we 'assimilate' spells.

My inner Vorthos is very happy right now. – virtual xi

#91 Blood Type V

If you are reading these very words, you should read these very words.
Yeah, it's an article from just a couple months ago, but it's one that I think is important, and one that really got me fired up while writing it. (I even get fired up when I reread it.)

As a dedicated Spike/Vorthos, I was moved to tears. – kilgoretrout103

Moved to tears, and a Spike at that! Given the reaction to article #1, I think we've really come along way in 100 articles. Who knows what the future holds for our next 100?

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