A change in direction is often something that culminates after a careful time of planning and meditation. Today we’re announcing a change in this blog’s direction that happened from months of thoughts and experience, and about ten minutes of discussion.
Those of you who have taken the time to dig back through our archives might’ve noticed that we’ve only been around since May of 2019. We are indeed only six months into our run as a Magic: the Gathering blog, and the amount of traffic and feedback we’ve been receiving has been nothing short of spectacular. We hope it continues, and in order to even better serve you as our valued readers and fellow Magic: the Gathering players, we have decided to switch up our article categories. But before we tell you about that, here’s a quick history lesson on both this site and the site that predated it.
Six years ago I started a personal blog called Frantic Talks. This site is no longer being paid for, so you’ll have to look to the web archive if you want to find out what it was all about. In 2015 I decided to introduce a Magic: the Gathering section where I could talk about this incredible game, with a seemingly infinite amount of topics to cover. I enlisted the help of a good friend, and we got to writing. The remnants of that site can be found in our very first Mind over Commander and Gemstone Mining articles on this site, as they’re near carbon copies of the articles I had written almost 4 years ago.
Eventually I decided to close down that site and move on. I’d had my fun, but the traffic and traction wasn’t there. I hadn’t really tried to get any traffic either, so the thought always persisted of “what if I had?” Fast-forward to the beginning of this year when I discussed the possibility of “reviving” the site under a new name with my roommate Bob. As you can see, we decided to do it.
The problems with my initial website were easy to identify: an inconsistent content schedule and a lack of sharing/advertising the content. These could be easily rectified, but the question remained: What would we write about? Well, we aren’t Spikes, so we weren’t going to do tournament coverage or top 8 decklist breakdowns, nor were we going to crunch numbers to try and create an entire new deck in a format like Modern. We wanted to create a space that was semi-casual, mostly EDH/Commander focused, and able to inspire our fellow Planeswalkers to brew something up on their own. This is why most of our posts are sans-decklist: we want to inspire you to have ideas, not click “checkout” on a cart of cards we selected.
With all of that in mind, we started posting Monday and Thursday of each week. We ended up keeping the same categories from my original website upon launching, considering they fit the philosophy we had laid out. Those were as follows:
Mind over Commander: Pick a Commander and make a deck out of it. This can be a deck we have built or a brand new one.
Eye of the Stack: Rules interactions and mechanics breakdowns. Commander can get quite insane depending on the board state, and understanding the rules is paramount to making sure the right things occur.
Synergy Chamber: Pick a card most people know about and give them a much different take from how it’s generally used.
Gemstone Mining: “Mine a Gem” that is barely used and find ways to use it. The criteria for a card to be a gem (loosely) was being in less than 1% of decks on EDHREC.com
The first two categories are the most straight forward: pick a Commander or rules interaction/mechanic and write away. The other two, not so much. We often find ourselves either debating what constitutes a gem versus what is Synergy Chamber worthy. While our parameters might seem straight forward, the amount of content needed to be produced for a single article actually puts quite the limit on what can be written about. If we’ve decided to write about Return to Ranks for one of the articles, then we better have three or four different sections covering many different facets of the card. Ultimately, this isn’t as realistic an expectation to have. This is where we realized that these two categories shared something in common, and should be combined.
Introducing a New Perspective
When we write about a card in Synergy Chamber or Gemstone Mining, the goal is to bring your attention to either a new way to use a card or a card you’ve never heard of that you suddenly need to buy ten copies of. In both situations, we’re attempting to introduce a new idea to you. That’s why we will be combining the two categories into a singular new category going forward: New Perspectives. The content will more or less be the same, but we won’t have strict parameters on what we can write about. This should allow us to pick cards we want to write about without having to worry about the qualifiers needed to justify its existence in an article.
Hopefully this accomplishes two things:
- We won’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to our card choices
- Our freedom in card selection allows for even more interesting and unique articles
In the end, it does come down to bullet point number two. If the content we are providing just isn’t what our readers want, we’ll change it. I think this is a step in the right direction, and it will provide a fresh coat of paint, so-to-speak.
“But now you’re down to just three categories. Is another category being introduced or are you just going to shorten the time between each category?”
When categories are retired, others will take their place. With our Rapid Hybridization of Gemstone Mining and Synergy Chamber, our two-articles-per-week structure would result in a shorter time between categories than we currently have. This isn’t ideal, as we like having the two week period to research and plan. Luckily, the entire reason New Perspectives was created was in order to make space in our schedule for a new category of articles. Today we are also introducing: Lore Seeker!
I pitched this idea to Bob initially as a goal for our Patreon. After a short discussion about the idea, we determined we both wanted to write about lore too much to wait for our Patreon to come through; thus, New Perspectives and Lore Seeker were born!
Lore Seeker will begin next week and provide something we don’t feel has much support in the Magic: the Gathering community: lore breakdowns! This will range from character arcs to story arcs to anything in between. Magic: the Gathering lore has long fascinated us both, and we’re excited to learn even more about the stories behind the cards and art we love. We can’t wait to learn more, and share what we find!
On to New Horizons
To summarize: We’re still going to bring you Commander ideas and rules breakdowns just like we always have. Synergy Chamber and Gemstone Mining have retired to the countryside together, and they bore an offspring named New Perspectives, where you can find cards you’ve never seen and new takes on cards you already know. Lastly, we’re introducing a brand new article series called Lore Seeker, where we’ll dig up lore from Magic stories old and new. With these four pillars, we genuinely hope that each Magic: the Gathering player who visits our site can find something to scratch their itch. We hope you’re as excited as we are to venture down this new path together, and I’ll see you next time when I announce a new article category where we talk about the childhood and upbringing of the lead designer of each Magic: the Gathering set.