Among his many talents, Patrick Chapin is an outstanding Magic player and a great broadcaster, as one accompanying the Las Vegas GP through Twitch can see. As a young sportsman, a serious injury left him out of the sports that required the physical part. “There I started to play Magic straight. I was 13 years old, playing for a year at that time, since The Dark”, recalls Chapin, now 36. Author of two books on the game, Next Level Magic and Next Level Deckbuilding, he still takes time to dance, compose songs, have walks and write even more. Sports like baseball, football, football, swimming, basketball, athletics, wrestling, diving – “I’ve done it all, basically” – were remembered by The Innovator, the nickname he received.
With the experience of someone who followed Magic from its very beginning, Patrick Chapin credits the Wizards of the Coast design team, which has been questioned because of the latest bans on Standard cards. “The game has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and these changes only happen because they are trying all the time. They could adopt a conservative stance, but they always move on. Big bannings occur every six years or so in the last two decades. They may have lost it a little bit now, but they will be back on track soon. I’m very confident for the next year”, he says.
And trust is not for nothing. “For a few years now, for example, Khans of Tarkir has been released with incredible mechanics, it’s one of the best designs, if not the best. It’s a masterpiece. So, there are some hickups once in a while, but there are much more good hits”.
Evolução do jogo
For Chapin, the game has changed a lot since its origin, and if the moxes were considered a mistake – Dan Frazier revealed this to our special envoy Fausto de Souza, and you can check out the full material of this historical interview soon – the player/writer/commentator/many other things explains that the question is not just about very strong isolated cards.
“Many cards that exist now did not exist before, like vehicles and planeswalkers. The power level, formerly, came from spells (instants, interrupts and sorceries) and artifacts. But balancing was turned to creatures, so they became better. We have so many mechanics and so many cards, but none are better than a mox or an [mtg_card]Ancestral Recall[/mtg_card]. The thing is that the lower leveled cards are much better than the old ones, the creatures are better, stronger. And the player has many options”, he says.
In his books and articles, Chapin uses a chart valuation system. He explains, based on characteristics of each card, like the mana cost to play it, power and toughness (if it is a creature), abilities, why is a card is better than the other. So how do I know if a card is good or not to be on my deck?
“It depends on what you aim for as a player. If you want to play Pro Tours, your strategy will be different from the one you use if you are looking to improve your game. If your goal is to build a collection, or socialize with friends in a less competitive environment, your goals are still different. Anyway, try to find out what you want to play with and you will have a wide range of options”, he teaches.
For beginning players, he throws in some valuable tips. “Keep in mind a few important things. Try to stay in a maximum range of two colors, play with matching cards, play with low cost cards, more cards that cost one, two or three mana. One of the most comman mistakes from who’s starting out is wanting to play with a lot of high-mana cost cards because they’re attractive, but if you have a lot of them, you will not be able to defend yourself at the beginning and stay alive to play them”, sentenced the champion of Pro Tour Atlanta 2014, member of the Magic Hall of Fame.
Banning on Top
Chapin believes that many things have changed regarding the value of the cards, and there’s a kind of deck he’s a fan of. “The black and blue Delver is absolutely fantastic. I would play with it. Black, blue and maybe a third color will be very strong. And since this type of deck plays with many drop 1 cards, it has benefited a lot from the ban on [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card]. I’m also seeing tons of [mtg_card]Chalice of the Void[/mtg_card], but the presence of [mtg_card]Abrupt Decay[/mtg_card] has dropped a bit. It was played because it could not be countered, and could remove [mtg_card]Counterbalance[/mtg_card] “.
Speaking of Counterbalance and Top, a deck Chapin is enjoying seeing is the new Miracles. “It is so good, even more with a splash for red, for [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card]. And it even has [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] eand [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card]” says him, excited, remembering the interactions between these cards, which make the deck operational. The fact that Portent is drew the next turn that it was played, usually the opponent’s turn, is no longer a disadvantage when leaving a [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] on the top. And, when having the opponent as target, it allows interaction with Predict and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. And Unexpectedly Absent, as an instant, can shuffle an opponent’s Jace into his library, when he pops a fetch land, for instance. “With Sensei’s Divining Top out of the way, Portent, Predict and Unexpectedly Absent make the deck still be very good.”
On Modern, Chapin is an unconditional fan of [mtg_card]Death’s Shadow[/mtg_card]. “If I were to play the GP, I would certainly go with Death’s Shadow, no matter the color combination. Choosing between Jund or Abzan, for example, depends on the week”.
This interview was made by Fausto de Souza at the beginning of the Legacy’s second day, so he still had no way of knowing which decks would make it to the format’s Top-8. Then, Chapin left his bet. “Many [mtg_card]Delver of Secrets[/mtg_card] decks and other blue ones. At least six blues. The other two? Maybe a monored, a Death and Taxes”.
In Modern, he bets more on diversity. “We should have six different decks. A couple of Death’s Shadow, but there will be other things.
For us, Brazilians, only gratitude. “Thank you for your support, for reading my books and for the positive energies. Thank you very much, Brazil, and follow my podcast, with Michael Flores, every week!”, He bids farewell, advertising his Top Level Podcast, which he performs next to author Michael J. Flores, who writes articles on Magic since Duellist magazine was on the circuit, in the 1990s.