House_of_Cards

Jay rides off into the sunset

See You on the Flip Side

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The letter T!oday marks my last weekly House of Cards article.

House of Cards

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.

Path of Peace
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

Main Deck

60 cards

10  Forest
10  Island

20 lands

Jackalope Herd
Vizzerdrix

8 creatures

Cultural Exchange
Darkwater Egg
Fact or Fiction
Frantic Search
Mossfire Egg
Nantuko Shrine
Rites of Spring
Skycloud Egg
Sungrass Egg

32 other spells


Verdant Succession

Main Deck

60 cards

20  Forest

20 lands

Anurid Scavenger
Diligent Farmhand
Druid Lyrist
Gurzigost
Llanowar Elves
Penubra Bobcat
Penubra Kavu
Twigwalker
Wood Elves

34 creatures

Creeping Mold
Verdant Succesion

6 other spells


The Cantrips This deck has no rare cards.

Main Deck

60 cards

Cabal Coffers
23  Swamps

27 lands

Crypt Rats
Phyrexan Gargantuan
Phyrexian Rager
Urborg Skeleton

13 creatures

Afflict
Last Caress
Recover
Scavenged Weaponry
Soul Burn
Unhinge

20 other spells


First at FNM

Cover Me! This deck has no rare cards.

Main Deck

60 cards

Forest
12  Plains

20 lands

Angelic Page
Crossbow Infantry
Heavy Ballista
Llanowar Elves
Seeker of Skybreak
Serra Advocate

24 creatures

Armadillo Cloak
Lure
Reprisal
Vengeance
Wax // Wane

16 other spells


First at FNM II

Main Deck

60 cards

28  Island

28 lands

Amugaba
Giant Octopus
Phantom Whelp
Thought Devourer
Vigilant Drake
Vizzerdrix
Wind Drake
Wonder
Wormfang Crab
Wormfang Drake

32 creatures


Lost in a Maze of Telekinetic Brokering

Worldgorger Type 2

Main Deck

60 cards

Mountain
11  Swamp
Tainted Peak

20 lands

Balthor the Defiled
Worlgorger Dragon

8 creatures

Buried Alive
Chain of Plasma
Chainer's Edict
Dark Banishing
Flaming Gambit
Mutilate
Shock
Smother

32 other spells


Land Shuffle

Main Deck

60 cards

Barren Moor
15  Forest
Swamp
Tranquil Thicket

32 lands

Maro
Nantuko Cultivator
Rowen
Terravore

16 creatures

Ghastly Demise
Infest
Innocent Blood
Moment's Peace
Morality Shift
Naturalize

12 other spells


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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