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The Inner Workings of Team Wingman

by Clayton Tinervin
09.05.2008

Team Wingman: A group of guys who get together and love to play Magic.

The idea was brought up to me by Bud that an article on my perspectives of each member of Team Wingman would be a good addition to the site. If you happen to come by teamwingman.net you may be asking yourselves; who are these chumps? If so, then go to the bio page. You may be asking yourself, what do these guys think about Magic? If so, read their articles. But, you are likely asking yourselves; That Flavor of the Week guy, he really knows his stuff, what does HE think about the different members of Team Wingman? If you are one of the wise seekers of wisdom that fall into this category, then this article is for you!

Team Wingman: Bud, Clayton, Mike and Will.

I'm going to do a brief write up on each player. These are being listed in alphabetical order, take no significance from which players are first or last.

I'm not going to rehash the bios for you. If you want basic information about each player then go read about them somewhere else. I want to communicate to you what it's like to sit down across from each member of Team Wingman on a Friday night. I want to tell you about the strengths of each player, and the corresponding weaknesses.

Bud.

If Team Wingman had a captain, it would probably be Bud. But we don't. And we won't. So Bud, don't get your hopes up.

All around Bud is probably one of the best Magic Players I've ever met. And when I say "all around" I mean it. Bud is listed as "Timmy" on our site. I would like to propose that limiting each of us to a label is a dumb idea. I don't know whose it was (it was probably mine) so I can be safe in saying that I think it's dumb.

(It should be noted that some whiny baby member of Team Wingman will probably say... "we're not labeling each team member, we're just trying to find a perspective for each of them to write from." Whatever. I respond by pointing and calling that person a whiny baby.)

Here is Bud as a Magic Player. He reads over cards. He internalizes them. His knowledge and general "feeling" for the cards allows him to look over a new set and instinctively find cards that will work together. He builds a Goblin Homebrew he's just "testing" with, and it beats what I'm bringing to FNM. He builds a Doran "net-deck" and pilots it brilliantly. Bud loves this game, and he is very very good at it. He's capable of incredible creativity, excellent play skills, and making a strategy that nobody else is looking at work very well. It is true that every weakness is just a strength that is overused or misapplied. This is true for Bud. Bud is very good at Magic. He's good at draft, he's good at constructed. He loves the game. His weakness is that he expects to win. And when he doesn't it hits him harder than it does the rest of Team Wingman. A loss takes away his objectivity. He gets angry, disheartened, and loses that edge of excellence that separates him from most Magic Players. You want to beat Bud? Catch him on a bad week. Otherwise, you're probably screwed.

Clayton.

Me. The best looking man on Team Wingman. In fact, the reason the name Team Wingman was created. I should really allow someone else to write this part of the article. But oh well.

My strengths with Magic come in areas other than playing. I'm the collector in the group. I have all of my cards organized by set and color and alphabetical order in separate binders. I pick a theme I want to play and then build a deck around it. The strength of this philosophy is that normally I play a strategy not too well represented in the metagame. My most recent creation (aside from Mono-Blue Merfolk) was Mono-Black Korlash Control. Sure, if you look on Deckcheck.net you'll find a decklist for that archetype. Mine was a homebrew.

The deck went to FNM 3 times. It took 3rd, 1st, and 8th. After the last week I knew it was time for a new idea. Freaking Heartmender.

I'm a good player, but I know I'm not the best. I don't know the cardpool as well as Bud or Will, so I don't anticipate my opponent well. Sitting across from me on a Friday night means that I don't care who you are, you better bring your A-game, because you've probably never seen what I'm sporting. I'm a good sportsman, I lose and win well, and if you beat me I'll probably brag your win up. Unless your name is Oak. (See previous article).

My weaknesses? Again, every strength can be a weakness. Most of the time I'm bringing something that started out as a net-deck that I've sufficiently transformed into a homebrew. That means that it is untested against most of the deck archetypes out there. I brought Mono-Blue Merfolk last week, and it's never played against RDW. Or Faeries. Or anything else all the cool kids are running.

You want to beat me Friday Night? Bring a really good deck, get through my tricks, and you'll probably swing for the win. I'm steady and consistent, but if you're exceptional you're likely to win.

Mike.

Mike is the wild card. You will rarely sit across from him on a Friday night and see anything besides mono-black something. It happens. He brings Elves, or burn, but mostly Mono-Black. He earned the nickname "The Rat King" by winning FNM a few times with Relentless Rats + Thrumming Stone.

Mike loves his favorite cards. He owns more than 300 copies of Grinning Ignus. His strength is that he feels driven to be completely original. Mike is of the opinion that if you build or play a "net-deck" you are taking something away from the game. He believes originality to be a crucial element of deck building.

This is both his strength and weakness. Mike occasionally has an idea that is mind-blowing. He loves Relentless Rats and so searches and searches for something to put together with them to make them amazing. He finds Thrumming Stone and wins FNM. He loves Grave Pact. So he searches for cards to put together with Grave Pact and he top 4's last week. When Mike has a good idea, he has a really good idea.

Mike's weakness is that you can't force a good idea. If he's in a dry season then he'll construct something in a short amount of time and bring it to FNM knowing it's not going to do well. And then it doesn't do well and he leaves feeling discouraged. It's a vicious cycle that is going to make him amazing some of the time and not amazing some of the time.

Sitting across from Mike at an FNM means you need to be feeling lucky. Because if Mike has come up with a really good idea you are probably going to lose, or he's at least going to give you a really really good run for your money. If he's in a dry spell, you still need to play well, but the odds are in your favor.

Will.

Will is the most frustrating Magic Player who has ever lived. Seriously. Will sticks to one deck archetype: Mono-white; usually White Weenie. And he's a really really good player. Will looks at a new set and only looks at one color, picks out the best cards, and makes winning decks. It's incredible.

Out of Team Wingman Will and I have been to the fewest FNMs. But when he goes to constructed, you can know ahead of time what he's playing, and you can know that it's going to be really really good.

Here is how Will wages war.

Eventide comes out. Will has already decided he wants to really dig into magic so he's going to make a killer Mono-White deck. He watches the spoilers closely and knows when the set comes out which cards he wants. He looks at Light from Within, a card everyone raises their eyebrows at and then ignores, and he makes a deck around it. He analyzes the metagame (correctly) and brings a deck that is very strong against RDW. And he wins FNM. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

His deck beat Bud in four turns.

Seriously.

Will's strength is that he brings a focused eye to deck building. He only needs to see one color. Out of an entire card pool Billy only needs to look at 20% of it, and he uses and refines it to make a deck. Will is also a very very good player. He practices online, gets to know the card pool, and instinctively knows the right plays. If he's at an FNM, you had better be ready to deal with a really good Mono-White deck, and a really good player.

His weakness is, you guessed it, the same as his strength. He only looks at 20% of the card pool. This is a little bit different with sets like Shadowmoor and Eventide which are so full of hybrid cards in Will's color. Will essentially cuts himself off of some amazing card types and deck types by limiting himself to Mono-White.

Sitting down across from Will on a Friday night means that you need to be ready to deal with White. You need to be ready to deal with a really good player. And if you aren't ready for either of these, you're going to lose. And probably badly.

Team Wingman: Not afraid to tap the phatties.

This is who we are, as I see it. The other players may disagree with what I've written, but I stand by my analyses.

Until next time; Suck it Trebek!

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