I have been playing Magic for a really long time. Sometimes, I come upon reminders of this fact. After we moved into our new apartment a month or so ago, my girlfriend Natalie surprised me while I was away at GenCon by unpacking all of my boxes of books and setting up my office area with bookshelves and everything organized. One thing she found in those boxes was an old notebook from my high school days. As you can see here, my high school notes had very little to do with my actual classes. They were nothing but old decklists.
By the look of these, I’d say most of this was early 1997, in my sophomore year of high school, recently after the Visions set had been released. That’s over 16 years, or literally half my life ago. The specific notation used for the decklists – “pockets” of four cards with ditto marks – was something I’d picked up from reading the George Baxter Magic strategy books, one of which happened to also survive the trek from storage at my mom’s house out to California.
I also happened to find a couple other gems in the notebook, like my life totals and some notes from the first time I ever played against William “Baby Huey” Jensen:
Most of the rest was decklists – lots, and lots, and lots of decklists. Except I found one bit of actual schoolwork that managed to sneak its way in there.
This is probably the most significant of the decks here – this is an early sketch of the “Five Color Green” deck I worked on a group including Nate Clark, Dan Burdick, and Matt Place that took US Regionals by storm
But that deck was only one among many. A lot of people ask what it takes to be a good deck builder, and I think this is a good example – lots of trial and error over a long period of time, and a willingness to try a wide variety of different things. You’ll see a number of Vintage decks in here (then known as “Type 1”). I didn’t actually own Vintage cards, nor did I play – I merely found the idea of trying to build decks for the format to be interesting. Similarly, you’ll see Mirage block constructed decks in here, prior to the release of Weatherlight when it was a PTQ/GP format. I was messing around building decks in the format for the Pro Tour just as thought experiments – well, that and because it was something to do other than my actual work in class.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my – and Magic’s – past.