Posted in Serious Fun on December 1, 2015

By Bruce Richard

Bruce's games invariably involve several friends, crazy plays, and many laughs. Bruce believes that if anyone at your table isn't having fun, then you are doing it wrong.

When you click on the link to read a Serious Fun article, you expect to see something written by me. Perhaps you picture a solitary figure in a dark room, illuminated only by the glow of a monitor, pecking out articles about ancient cards, bizarre plays, or descriptions of kitchen-table glory. The lot of the writer appears to be a rather solitary one. Take an idea, flesh it out, and put it into words to share with all of you.

This is pretty far from the truth, particularly for me. Serious Fun is very definitely the product of a team effort. With this being Team Week, and Thanksgiving just past us, it seems like a good time to give thanks to those who are a big part of making Serious Fun what it is.

Blake and Chris

Blake and Chris are the guys I interact with the most at Wizards. Yes, I need so much help that I've been assigned two handlers. These guys are very much the "before" and "after" for my articles.

Most of you know Blake as the guy who runs the site. I know Blake as the guy who keeps me interesting. Blake takes my bad ideas ("a Magic variant involving no pants") and throws them away, takes my ugly ideas and cleans them up ("newbs and how they suck" into "new players and guiding their improvement"), and encourages my good ideas (I'll come up with a good idea I've had at some point). Blake is a fountain of ideas when the well runs dry, and he helps keep me on track. Blake makes making Serious Fun far easier than it would be otherwise.

Chris is my editor. Without Chris, all of you would know me for the uncultured moron I am. My grammar is weak at best, and Chris cleans that up. More than once I've made mistakes with card interactions, and Chris picks those out too. Chris is still fairly new to editing my articles, but I'm confident that as our work relationship develops, he will begin to realize the difficulties inherent to working with someone who has such a limited skill set.

Josh and Jesse

Josh and Jesse are two of the guys in my playgroup. If anyone in the group lives and breathes Magic the way I do, it is these guys.

Josh is my source for tournament-level information. Josh doesn't watch a lot of Magic streaming, but he is always aware of what is happening. Contrary to popular belief, I follow the Pro Tours and many Grand Prix fairly closely as well, so we are often left discussing the recent successes of Seth Manfield while the rest of our group is giving us quizzical looks. Our discussions have spurred several article ideas wherein I'll transpose tournament-level decks to the casual world, or apply metagame analysis on a micro level.

Josh's decks, coupled with his strong play, make him the most dangerous player around my kitchen table. Many strong kitchen-table decks are those that can draw extra value from cards. While drawing more cards is one way to get that value, Josh's decks tend to focus on the graveyard. His decks use and reuse cards again and again, getting as much value as possible from every card he runs. As someone who still struggles with building decks that reuse cards, I rely on Josh's expertise more than I should when it comes to building solid decks.

Josh's Karador, Ghost Keeper

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Karador, Ghost Chieftain
Planeswalker (1)
1 Garruk, Apex Predator
99 Cards

Josh's grasp of the rules makes him an invaluable resource here as well. More than once, I've sent the skeleton of a decklist to Josh only to discover a rules issue that leaves the deck falling flat. Often I'll send a decklist past Josh before emailing the article to Wizards, just to be sure I'm not about to look like an even bigger fool than I intend.

Josh is also my group's Cube expert. He has a rare cube and a common/uncommon cube that get regular play with our group. He takes the time and care to make his cubes the best they can be, right down to having every token each cube needs.

Jesse is the wild card of the group. Jesse shares my love of crazy things happening in games. The difference is that Jesse builds his decks with the goal of making those things happen. Jesse builds Homarid theme decks. Jesse runs Jaya Ballard as a commander just to watch the world burn. He runs a coin-flipping deck that regularly reaches a point of lunacy where he is flipping a handful of coins, looking for one of them to land "heads." Our group was recently discussing the limitations of burn in multiplayer formats. It tends to be very difficult to rely on burn to win games, since card advantage is difficult to maintain when you are trying to use direct damage to kill more than one person. Jesse took this as a personal challenge and came up with something a little unusual.

Jesse's Spiteful Underworld Dreams

Download Arena Decklist

Jesse is the member of our group with an encyclopedic knowledge of every Magic card in existence. While Gatherer demands a perfect search, Jesse can give me a list of every creature that taps to do a point of damage just by asking for all the creatures with a Tim ability. We'll be in the middle of a game, and Jesse will ask why I am playing with Dwarven Warriors when Goblin Tunneler is the exact same card for one fewer mana.

Jesse is also aware of everything Magic that happens online. When news breaks on Reddit, Twitter, or any Magic-related site, an email from Jesse is sure to follow. His predictions tend to be uncannily correct as he sees patterns and pieces falling into place.

Brandon and Daryl

Brandon, Daryl, and I started working together when we created the Muse Vessel several years ago. The site focused on casual multiplayer Magic, and we put out three articles every week for a year. Brandon's articles tended to focus on unique deck ideas. He sees applications for cards that others just don't see. The value of someone like that is immeasurable. Brandon's thoughts have colored several of the decklists you've seen in my articles.

Brandon's Selesnya Deck

Download Arena Decklist

While working on the Muse Vessel, we would regularly edit each other's articles. Brandon would make suggestions for altering decklists that always made the decks more interesting. I continue to try and run deck ideas past Brandon in hopes of adding a twist that makes each deck just a little more appealing to the Jennies and Johnnies reading my articles.

Daryl set me up early on with a variety of great ways to lay out articles. Daryl's practical writing knowledge is something I've long admired and continue to enjoy whenever he writes. His writing style emphasizes clarity and light humor. I strive to bring that to every article I write.

Daryl's specialty has been the strategy in multiplayer games. Since the Muse Vessel, Daryl has laid out various strategies and created a well-defined theorem in relation to strategy and politics in multiplayer games. Almost everything I've ever mentioned with regard to strategy in casual Magic games has come from Daryl's writing.

Daryl has a special passion for black mana. His playstyle is best suited to black decks and he thrives in that environment. When we produced the Multiplayer Hall of Fame, I knew I wanted Daryl to write the article for black. Whenever I look for suggestions relating to a black card, I talk to Daryl. Although he hasn't updated it in a while, his Kresh deck is all about black.

Daryl's Kresh the Bloodbraided

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Kresh the Bloodbraided
Planeswalker (1)
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
Artifact (2)
1 Birthing Pod 1 Sol Ring
99 Cards

Daryl and Brandon both continue to write at GatheringMagic. I recommend you check them out!

I can't thank these six people enough. These guys bring decklists and ideas galore when I'm stuck. With a team like this, you should expect to keep seeing the crazy and fun from me for a long time!

Bruce Richard



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