See You on the Flip Side

Posted in Feature on February 27, 2003

By Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

Today marks my last weekly House of Cards article.

Of course, I never had illusions that my time with MagicTheGathering.com would last forever. But I kind of thought that I would reach the end of the road because:

1) I burned out... fizzle. pop.

Making 3-5 decks every week plus coming up with a weekly article 51 weeks out of the year can be pretty challenging. Add a new baby to the mix (the call from Mark asking me to write for the site came two days after returning home from the birth of my son) and a full-time job (most people don't realize that Anthony, BDM, and I actually only work for Wizards as freelance writers), and you have a really exhausting recipe (can you believe I put three parenthetical statements in one sentence?).

2) It stopped being fun... yay. woo.

Let me tell you, I didn't agree to this job because of the spectacular health insurance. I agreed because of how great it sounded to think about new decks every week, to see sets in advance, to have regular access to the people who make Magic, and to contribute to the game I love in really cool ways. In short, I did it because it sounded like a hell of a lot of fun. Was it? You bet your bippy it was. But at some point I figured the luster would wear off and I would realize how much work being a columnist is. Maybe this is just the precursor to burnout, come to think of it.

3) They fired me... seeya. slam.

I mean, really, Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar? Who is this shmuck? It was a tremendous risk for Aaron and Mark to give a weekly column to a guy who had never played much competitive Magic. The joke was, I guess, that at every Pro Tour event Aaron or Mark attended, the really good players would whisper that they loved the site but, well, do they realize that the decks from Jay kind of suck and was there any chance of getting a different deck guy? Even though Aaron and Mark continued to encourage me towards creativity in deckbuilding without making excuses for the power of my decks, I expected Aaron to eventually come to his senses.

4) I lost credibility... oops. hello?

As I said, I don't have a competitive Magic career to lend me credibility. I only have my wacky deck ideas, almost all of which are first-draft creations with minimal testing behind them. I figured one of these days that I would make one boo-boo too many and people would stop caring what I said.

But you know what? None of these explain me leaving the site as a regular contributor. In fact...

1) I still have too many deck ideas floating around in my head.

2) I am still having loads of fun.

3) I still get positive feedback from Aaron and the other writers.

4) I still get loads of positive feedback from you readers.

Instead, I recently realized that I need to write novels. Which is to say, I need to write novels. Birthright, gave me the confidence that I can actually finish a book-length piece of fiction. Birthright also has a ton of flaws, common writing pitfalls that are embarrassing now and which I hope to avoid next time. The writing bug has hit me--hard--and I want to get cracking while I have some momentum. Since my family and job aren't going anywhere, I just don't have time to write both novels and a weekly deckbuilding column. Or if I did I would soon burn out, become grumpy, get fired, or mess up a lot.

Let me be clear: This decision in no way means that I'm leaving Magic. I'll still be on Magic Online, and I will definitely log into the site every day to read about the game. My identity as a Magic player isn't going away.

I promise to write the final chapter of my “Deck For doctorjay” saga once I've had some time to tinker with Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, Goblin Sharpshooter, and Legions. Until then, I'll continue the “Diary Of doctorjay” series on StarCity Games. I've also let Aaron know that he can call on me any time to contribute an article to this fine site.

Hopefully the result of my decision will be you someday cracking open a Magic or Dungeons & Dragons novel with my name on it. I've already followed the submission guidelines on the Wizards Publishing site, in fact. Because their process is slow (read: s. l. o. w.), I fully support you posting to the “Novels & Storylines” Message Boards to bug everyone incessantly about giving me the chance. If you wish me well in my writing career, turn those well-wishes into a letter campaign. Fly banners and rent blimps. Pray. Storm the offices in Renton. Demand a boycott. Hold your breath. I'm pretty eager over here, so help get me started however you see fit.


Jay tosses down his sword and shield and walks away...

Thank you to everyone who tuned in every Thursday to read about “bad” rares, Deck Challenges, lite decks, set previews, theme decks, and unused gems. Thanks especially go to the hundreds of people who wrote me each week with deck ideas, feedback, and a general love of the game. The toughest part about my decision is severing my direct tie to Magic's passionate worldwide audience. Whoever shows up next Thursday is awfully lucky.

So it is with great ambivalence that I leave a fun, sure thing to pursue a hopefully-also-fun, unknown other thing.

Waitaminute... what the heck am I DOING!?!?

-j

P.S. Aaron said I'm still not allowed to write a House of Cards article without decklists. It seems fitting to show off some of the cool decks you all have sent me over the past fourteen months. Enjoy!

Easter Bunny Gone Nutty

Verdant Succession

Sorcery (2)
2 Creeping Mold
Land (20)
20 Forest
Other (11)
4 Penubra Bobcat 3 Penubra Kavu 4 Verdant Succesion
60 Cards

The Cantrips

Sorcery (13)
3 Recover 4 Last Caress 4 Unhinge 2 Soul Burn
Instant (3)
3 Afflict
Enchantment (4)
4 Scavenged Weaponry
Land (4)
4 Cabal Coffers
Other (25)
23 Swamps 2 Phyrexan Gargantuan
60 Cards

Infinite Squirrels

First at FNM

Cover Me!

Sorcery (2)
2 Vengeance
Instant (4)
4 Reprisal
Enchantment (6)
2 Lure 4 Armadillo Cloak
Land (20)
12 Plains 8 Forest
Other (4)
4 Wax/Wane
60 Cards

First at FNM II

Lost in a Maze of Telekinetic Brokering

Instant (8)
2 Boomerang 4 Memory Lapse 2 Syncopate
Enchantment (12)
4 Psionic Gift 4 Wild Growth 4 Telekinetic Bonds
Other (28)
12 Islands 8 Forests 2 Warebear 2 Imobolizing Ink 4 Aether Burst
60 Cards

Worldgorger Type 2

Creature (4)
4 Balthor the Defiled
Land (20)
11 Swamp 5 Mountain 4 Tainted Peak
Other (4)
4 Worlgorger Dragon
60 Cards

Solitary Haven

Land Shuffle

Slide of Darkness

Jay may be reached at houseofcards@wizards.com. Editor's Note: Fear not, gentle reader! Yes, we shall miss dear old Jay--miss him greatly--but the show must go on. Tune in next week when the House of Cards will have a new inhabitant, someone who has shown up on this site before. Who? You'll see next week… --Aaron

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