Category Archives: Standard

I Can’t Stop Talking!: Spewing Opinions on Standard-Related Issues: Thragtusk

It’s Thursday. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. Thanksgiving Thursday.

You know what I hate? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yeah, I’m guessing you didn’t even bother thinking about it, and skipped ahead to this part. That’s cool. Truth is, I don’t expect anyone to read this, so you don’t exist anyway! Ha! Take that, imaginary person! You don’t think, therefore you aren’t! Suck it!

Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way…

I’m a cranky old man, thus, I hate LOTS of things. Here’s a non-exhaustive list, partially inspired by the holiday today. Happy Turkey Day!

There’s #1 right there. I fucking HATE bullshit cutesy names for holidays like “Turkey Day.” I HATE it when people try to be clever when they’re leaving the office for the day on 12/31, and say “See you next year!” My old coworkers used to LOVE saying that to me once they learned how much I hated it.

I worked with a bunch of bastards.

I hate it when someone thinks it’d be “appropriate for the moment” to go around the table at Thanksgiving and have everyone spout out what they’re most thankful for. What if I’m thankful for Jesse Jane’s continuing career? What if I’m thankful that the dentist prescribed 30 Lortab for me instead of just 5, even though the pain was gone the first day? You REALLY expect me to express my deepest, most personal feelings, even if they aren’t inappropriate? No? You just want me to say something superficial to be saying something? Yeah…that pisses me off.

I hated it when my mom thought Christmas day would be the best day to go to Disneyland one year, because she thought no one else would go. (NOT the case. It’s one of their busiest days of the year.) My mother’s a brilliant woman, but sometimes she’s not quite ALL there. That’s a fact I remind her of regularly when I see her or call her.

I hate lots of holiday bullshit. Like Thragtusk.

No…not that kind.

That’s called a segue, people.

Quite possible the WORST segue ever actually committed to written form, but a segue nonetheless. This IS a Magic blog, and thus, I can’t just rant uncontrollably about whatever I want…as much as that might make me happy.

Thragtusk sucks. Period. I hate him with a burning passion that will see me through to the end of my days. Or until I get distracted by something shiny. Whichever comes first. Probably the thing about shiny somethings.

Why do I hate it so much? Because it’s BORING. There’s NO thought involved in playing it. This is an oft-repeated argument on the MTGSalvation forums, so no, I don’t claim this as original thought, but honestly, here’s a quick flowchart to determine if you should be playing Thragtusk in a deck.

Yep, it really IS that simple.

Part of the fun with Magic is making choices on what to include in your deck. Turns out, choice-making is actually a big part of the fun in a LOT of games. With WoW, they’ve taken the talent system through a number of changes over the years to try to avoid cookie-cutter builds and offer “fun” choices. Having played WoW for years, I can tell you that cookie-cutter builds were definitely the norm, rather than the exception. Talents were, for the most part, a non-factor. Depending on your chosen role (I was a tank…) you looked up a talent spec, copied it, and then never changed it unless a patch changed your class, with the exception of situational builds. It was a mostly non-involved system, so you really didn’t worry about talents. Set and forget.

That’s Thragtusk. There’s little/no question involved on if you include it. It’s often more of a question of HOW MANY.

*YAWN*

Now, let’s get things completely crystal clear. I don’t pitch a fit when I see someone playing Thragtusk. I don’t immediately scoop (unless it’s obvious that Thrag is just the final piece of their combo clicking into place. If he’s just the first part, I’ll go out kicking and screaming, and trying my damnedest to disrupt their combo. If you play Thrag, you’re just being smart. It’s a tool that Wizards has provided its players with, and utilizing it is simply prudent.

It’s just one that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like I said previously, part of the fun in Magic is deck-building. Unless you’re the Spikiest Spike who ever Spiked, and even then…

This isn’t a tirade against netdecking. I think the sharing of information is both smart and important. But a card being so incredibly ubiquitous, and having NO downsides to choosing it just doesn’t sit well with me. Thragtusk is unbalanced, and unfun.

Who’s to blame? Wizards is the only one we can really point a finger at, but it’d be silly and petty to do so. I can’t even dream of suggesting that they should be able to foresee ALL circumstances for ALL cards when they release a new set.

Honestly, the only solution is for it to rotate out. You could have a gentleman’s agreement in your casual meta…but that doesn’t solve any big picture problems. Wizards could, and may still print some stuff in Gatecrash and Dragon’s Maze that turn Mr. Tusk into jank, but it’s unlikely, and honestly, the cure could be worse than the solution.

I’ve got nothing here, people, so it’s a damn good thing I’m not a designer for the game. I’ve just got a simple frustration that it seems like no matter what deck and archetype you’re playing, adding more Thragtusk seems as obvious as adding more cowbell. I just think choices should be exactly that, a choice, rather than a decision already made for you, which is, in fact, the opposite.

Tomorrow: Part 2 out of 3 of my personal Magic history. Epic.

NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

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