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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jul 27 2017 12:58pm
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Ten years ago today I made my debut at PureMTGO.com.  It was a piece about 9th Edition Sealed and it was not very good at all.  Honestly I don't think very highly of a lot of my work.   In fact in the ten years that I have been here, while I wanted to improve my limited abilities and never really did.  I'm medium at best and embarrassing at worst in regards to the format, unless I am willing to put in a ton of time, which I think I showed I was capable of doing when I was preparing for Grand Prix Indianapolis

We've seen formats come and go on MTGO, Kaleidoscope we barely knew you.  Tribal Wars lost their filter on the client, got it back and lost it again.  Pauper become a supported format, Modern became a format and both Block Constructed and Extended were pushed off.  I know I am forgetting things, but a lot of stuff goes on in ten years.  Heck we were still on v2 when I started. 

I've been here long enough to review Duels of the Planeswalkers on the 360, it's next version on the PC (and I maintain to this day that the best Magic Duels experience is on a tablet) and then mention that WotC was pulling the plug on the project all together.  We've gotten a lot of people invited to the Community Cup, host preview card articles for sets now, and in the long long ago, used to hold contests for Wizards of the Coast. 

The best part of being at PureMTGO isn't the sweet store credit.  It's being able to work with the staff of MTGOTraders and CapeFearGames, and the writers.  The people have made this the best ten years I can recall spending anywhere.  I've been incredibly lucky in finding great people to work with.  I can't list everyone, but I've had an incredible amount of fun learning from writers and teaching them and trying to get the best from each writer possible.  
Heath Newton is one of the most incredible people that I know.  He's incredibly kind and patient.  He's charitable and cares so much about building a community, and Heath has been a huge influence for me, he did after all believe me enough to publish me here, and then give me the manager job.  He supported me through the growing pains of coming here, the sites hiccups, and my own personal loss.  He's just an outstanding human.  Heath being named to the Community Cup was one of my favorite moments while here.  Of course it was a bit of a bummer that Heath's team lost. 

Alex Ullman, Eric Friborg, Pete Jahn, George Efelis, Matthew Warkins, Keya Saleh (and gosh I'm not hoping that I forgot anyone) all made appearances on the winning side of Community Cup teams, and I was so incredibly proud of the work that everyone put in, and was just as proud when Wizards of the Coast recognized them for that work.  My one regret was missing my own chance at the Community Cup, but my body was just not having it.  Panic is the worst thing. 

The people here, the writers that are willing to submit their work and want to have their voices heard and are willing to learn and grow are what have really made this job worthwhile.  I think my greatest source of pride is whenever I get an email from someone telling me that another site asked about them, or that they are going to make a move to another site and that really makes me feel like I have done a very good job.  Developing writers, voices and building a community has been the most worthwhile part of being at PureMTGO.  I've been incredibly lucky to be here for ten years, and hopefully there will be many more years to come!

Well I guess that is about as much as I can write about for being here for ten years.  I probably would have wrote more, but my son came over for a week-long visit this week, and I couldn't sit down and research and outline like I normally do.  We've been playing a ton of video games and he taught me how to play Star Wars: Empire at War yesterday while we streamed.  We've just been having fun, which is why I am super glad I worked on the site from 5am to 1130pm Monday. 

Let's get to the 1v1 talk.  We've got 32 league decks and 32 challenge decks to see how the metagame might be shaping up.  I'd like to be able to follow that up with some gameplay but MTGO has not been very cooperative in regards to that, what with the extended downtime and then the hiccups of coming back up from that lasting into Thursday.  I think this set of numbers for the week is pretty interesting.

Here is the top five breakdown from 7-20 to 7-26:


League Challenge Total
Breya, Etherium Shaper 9 5 14
Baral, Chief of Compliance 4 6 10
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy 2 3 5
Kraum, Ludevic's Opus and Tymna the Weaver 2 3 5
The Gitrog Monster 3 1 4

For the first time in what feels like forever, Breya is not just running away with the top of the results.  Heck, she got beat by Baral in Challenge placement even!  This list is still incredibly blue heavy, and it feels like it's going to be that way until the tutors, fast mana and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn are removed from the format. 

Honestly at this point I'd rather see WotC change the starting life total.  Zurgo Bellstriker was the only aggro commander to see any play (well at least see any posted results) this week, and the format is really Control, Combo and Ramp, and it's missing Aggro and midrange strategies, though maybe The Gitrog Monster is closer to midrange than I want to give it credit for.  I think it's a Control deck that is very unforgiving to play.

Here is this week's 1v1 deck of the week, where I try to highlight a cool commander deck!  The commander this week is Horde of Notions, and this deck is both cool to me and very strange. 

Horde of Notions
- 100 Cards Total
1 Arbor Elf
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Detritivore
1 Ingot Chewer
1 Mulldrifter
1 Shriekmaw
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Wispmare
  9 cards

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Dismember
1 Dispel
1 Exclude
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Mana Leak
1 Memory Lapse
1 Pull from Tomorrow
1 Remand
1 Repeal
1 Sudden Death
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Thirst for Knowledge
13 cards

1 Ancestral Vision
1 Bribery
1 Chainer's Edict
1 Compulsive Research
1 Council's Judgment
1 Crux of Fate
1 Cultivate
1 Day of Judgment
1 Decree of Justice
1 Deep Analysis
1 Duress
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Probe
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Terminus/> 1 Thoughtseize
1 Vindicate
18 cards
1 Azorius Signet
1 Dimir Signet
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Golgari Signet
1 Gruul Signet
1 Hedron Archive
1 Izzet Signet
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Prismatic Lens
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Simic Signet
1 Worn Powerstone
14 cards

1 Banishing Light
1 Bitterblossom
1 Control Magic
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Sylvan Library
5 cards

1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 cards
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Flooded Strand
2 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Mountain
1 Overgrown Tomb
2 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Polluted Delta
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
2 Swamp
1 Taiga
1 Temple Garden
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
34 cards

1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa's Jitte
3 cards

1 Horde of Notions

The first thing that sticks out to me is the small elemental theme in the deck.  While there might be nine creatures in it, the five elementals are all extremely good.  Mulldrifter is for sure one of those cards that I want to cast over and over again!  Ingot Chewer is great against Breya.  Shriekmaw does work against Nissa, Vastwood Seer and Wispmare does things! 

The second thing that reached out to me is, yup, that's ten signets!  The land base should always be great, but with the threat of Blood Moon and Primal Order and other hate, signets make it possible to still cast things.  I think that is a really clever part of this build. 

The third thing that got me is the three pieces of equipment in the deck.  Umezawa's Jitte is one of the best Magic cards ever printed, and yeah the Swords are super great too, but outside of the nine creatures, there is Bitterblossom, Bribery and Control Magic for additional dudes.  With Bribery you should be winning the game when it resolves against most decks, and Control Magic should also be in that same vein.  I am not saying it's an odd thing, I just figured that as the control deck, that maybe the equipment would be better as something else?  Or add Batterskull!  I think that would help a ton, gives you an extra creature and in the late game is a threat turn after turn. 

This, along with Teferi, joins my list of decks I have to build and stream with as soon as possible! 

Magic right now is a lot of fun for me, I have Standard decks and 1v1 decks and both formats have just been a lot of fun, despite their flaws. 

This was my 217th article in ten years, which comes out to about 21 articles a year.  I've come to the conclusion that I love writing about Magic and love playing it.  I may be terrible at both, but it's just so great. I am going to write more, and I've even started a side project with my son that reviews board and video games.  It's in an incredible amount of fun to bond with your child over something you're both passionate about! 

Thank you all again for hanging out here.  If you have any great memories about PureMTGO, make sure you leave them in the comments section, and thank you for being great as well wonderful reader, I appreciate you all more than you know! 



I <3 Horde of Notions. Great by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/27/2017 - 15:19
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I <3 Horde of Notions. Great fun but maybe too slow for 1v1? Signets surely help a little though. Forgot to say congrats on 1 decade+. Here's to another one in the making!

I thought the deck looked by JXClaytor at Thu, 07/27/2017 - 15:30
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I thought the deck looked interesting enough, and has to be better than whatever Breya, baral stuff the format is limping along with.

Thank you, I'm not sure how much longer this will last, but I am going to enjoy it every day.

Talk about formats coming and by CottonRhetoric at Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:34
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Talk about formats coming and going... when I first started here (July 09), I thought I was going to be the vanguard guy forever. And then wizards stopped supporting vanguard like three months later?

Funny I didn't realize we by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/27/2017 - 23:24
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Funny I didn't realize we started here at the same time.

Vanguard was one of the most by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 06:56
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Vanguard was one of the most fun formats to play online and I am sad that it is gone still.

And I didn't realize you guys by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 09:20
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And I didn't realize you guys had started only one year before me (and I guess just a few months since I started reading). You both always felt so extremely established to me. Perspective is such a strange thing.

Indeed. :D by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 13:18
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Indeed. :D

Happy Anniversary! by TheWolf at Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:09
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Well done on ten years. Here's hoping to another ten!

thank you, and I think that by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 06:57
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thank you, and I think that would be pretty cool!

Congratulations on the ten by ArchGenius at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:08
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Congratulations on the ten year anniversary. I hope to see you write more on 1 vs 1 commander, which has quickly become my favorite format.

There are aggro decks other than zurgo, most of the Tymna decks are pretty aggro. The main issue is mono red decks are severely disadvantaged by the 30 point life total, unless they try for the artifact ramp/scrapper route.

I really enjoyed writing 100 singleton articles for this site years ago. I've been thinking about writing again, but I'm not sure if you could use more 1 vs 1 commander articles.

if you want to write, please, by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:21
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if you want to write, please, please do so! It doesn't matter what you want to talk about (outside of limited) make your voice heard, it's important!

I plan on writing about 1v1 until wotc kills the format or until I lose interest. I enjoy it a great deal and have played a lot more on MTGO because of it.

And thank you :D

PRE by Sensei at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 12:52
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There is a 100CS Player run Tournament every Saturday at 4PM EDT. Free entry, 11 ticket prize pool!


I remember you writing about by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 18:03
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I remember you writing about 100cs. Was always a good read.

congrat by one million words at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:38
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10 years at anything is a long time. Very well done, sir.

Every writer and content by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:42
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Every writer and content creator has made my time here better, not only as an editor or manager, but also as a person.

I'm happy to be here still.

Well done indeed! I know from by ricklongo at Fri, 07/28/2017 - 14:15
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Well done indeed! I know from twitter (and, well, from the very first paragraph of this article) that you're often very hard on yourself, and just wanted to register the fact that all you do is immensely appreciated. Cheers, and here's for ten more years!

I appreciate that, a lot of by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 15:15
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I appreciate that, a lot of times I cant see the good, but I am trying a lot more now.

To the next 10 years, by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 09:16
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To the next 10 years, Joshua!
It's funny, when I started writing 7 years ago, I thought you had been around since forever!

Well technically I guess I by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 15:07
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Well technically I guess I had been around forever. Between TheDojo, Starcity, Tcgplayer (It was brainburst back then), Blackborder and WotC I was writing regularly since 1999. I mean yeah I've taken some breaks and not pursued it as seriously since then, and did almost no writing for magic when I was playing the wowtcg (I still managed to write about it).

It's just weird to think I've been here ten years, and that is the longest I've been anywhere. I love it here, the community is nice, the bosses are great, and every writer has helped me grow not only as a player, but as a person.

I'm a better human, though filled with an unreal amount of self hate, because of the people I have met, helped, taught and been taught by, and I have pure to thank for that.

Yeah I knew of your work when by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 15:10
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Yeah I knew of your work when I was writing for NG back then. You definitely have been a positive influence on a lot of writers and players imho.

I carry a huge burden of by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 15:17
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I carry a huge burden of being awful when I was much younger. I guess I am trying to make up for things now, and I fear that I have been forgotten by a lot of people because I've stopped being capable for normalcy

There are worse things than by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 16:09
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There are worse things than being forgotten imho. I've been completely forgotten and I don't really miss the "I read your article on neutral ground about xyz and just wanted say how much I think you stink!" emails I'd get. :D

Those emails. I got those by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/30/2017 - 14:43
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Those emails.

I got those too. I do not miss them much at all.

To be fair I did get a lot by Paul Leicht at Sun, 07/30/2017 - 15:14
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To be fair I did get a lot more complementary ones. In fact some from people whom I didn't expect to hear from. Sadly mostly I remember just cringing at the "You've got mail!" thing from compuserv after posting an article. I didn't hate the interactions but it was definitely stressful because I'd get passionate about the discussions and have verbal fist fights with people sometimes. Not my best moments for sure.

Plus there was that one time I was threatened with a law suit for calling someone obnoxious in a tourney report :p

It's not the destination, by ArchGenius at Sat, 07/29/2017 - 20:43
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It's not the destination, it's the journey.

Most people can probably say that their younger selves were immature and stupid. Knowing that means you're on the right path.