MTG: Stuff to Watch on Quarantine

As the global crisis continues, a large portion of the population is stuck indoors. I suppose in other times we wouldn’t have had the Internet, cable and streaming services so we’d probably want to spend more time outside or visiting other people, etc. This type of freedom of movement has been severely restricted for much of the world, so being stuck inside is the only option if you are deemed unessential. We should all be feeling pretty fortunate that this is happening in 2020 and not 1991, because the Internet gives us plenty of things to get lost in. This is the sort of post that could apply to anyone and any topic, however I’m only going to stick to Magic: The Gathering Content Creators today. But if you happen to be into something completely different, I’m sure a cursory search of YouTube can get you to your chosen hobby, and you could probably make a similar list for your niche. To wit, I’d imagine you could learn a whole new skill or find a brand new hobby simply by perusing the annals of the web. With that said, here are several of my favorite MTG themed YouTube channels that are helping me get by in these the boring-est of times.

The Command Zone


I believe this was the first MTG themed podcast I started listening to, and only started really watching their channel back in 2017 or 2018. So it’s been a little while and I have to say that I’ve liked most of their content. There’s a dud episode here or there, but I like the way they find topics to discuss that is more structured the way I used to try and structure my own (dead) show. I also met Josh at GPVegas a couple of years back and that brings it that much closer to home. What I really find mesmerizing about their channel though is the sub-show “Game Knights” where they have live reality TV style games of magic in their studio. Here is where their production value really shines. The show is presented as if they are only minimally edited though a bunch of great animations and sound effects really bring the games to life. As a source of information, the guys are typically some of the first to relay important announcements from WotC themselves, and they have presented helpful tips about the game and its many rules interactions. Highly recommended even if you are fairly new to the game as these guys skew more towards the casual side of things.

Casually Competitive


Truth be told, The Command Zone was pretty much the only MTG related channel I followed for a long time. I only more recently (say the past 3-4 months) became more interested in watching gameplay videos, and this is probably in direct correlation to the fact that it’s around the same time I started playing paper Magic over webcam. As such, this ends up being like watching professional eSports though the games are heavily edited and narrated. Apparently there is a whole crop of newer players in the community that are starting these sorts of channels, because these aren’t the only new kids on the block that have found a fast following. Whatever the case, the bulk of Casually Competitive’s work are these edited and narrated gameplay videos. However, they do some instructional videos as well that will help you sort out the difference between Casual, Competitive and Casually Competitive decks. I like their stuff and you might too.

The Spike Feeders


So if The Command Zone skews more towards casual and Casually Competitive is sort of there in the middle, then The Spike Feeders are definitely the higher end of the spectrum. These guys do a variety of gameplay videos, but do have a know your combo series as well, though everything skews towards the highest end of competitive MTG. With that said, all power levels of Commander appeal to me for different reasons, and well, I like all three of these shows for the same ones. The Spikes give me games with cards in them that I cannot afford and I get to live my cEDH dreams by proxy. Speaking of proxies, I’m not sure if these guys play with those, but if they don’t they’ve got quite the collection regardless.

Play To Win


Play to Win is another newcomer to the community. They have only been around for a couple of months but already have quite the following and I can understand why. Honestly they are probably my favorite aside from The Command Zone, and that’s mostly due to the chemistry between the show’s two main hosts, the way that they edit the gameplay videos, and the little cuts back to the hosts in the middle of play. If The Command Zone is the big budget summer blockbuster film, this is the low-budget indie flick that you ended up liking better. Your mileage may vary, but I’m sold and hope they maintain their pace.

The Commander’s Quarters


There’s some irony in my inclusion of the above video, in that I had started working on this draft a couple of days before it went live. The day that I finished this draft and scheduled it for posting, the above video released. Looks like great minds think alike. While I will have named several of the same channels in this post as Mitch does in his video, he does touch on some other options that I did not include here (mainly because I watched his video after the post was done) so I’d watch that video for more suggestions. Mitch’s typical content is about building budget EDH decks, and his typical limit is $50 (though it used to be $25). I’ve taken some inspiration from his deck techs in the past, so if you’re looking to get into the game on the cheap, this is a great place to start.

Tolarian Community College


I’ve been watching Tolarian Community College for almost as long as The Command Zone, probably because there has been some overlap between their shows. Last year at the Magicfest in Vegas he was present along with Josh and Jimmy from TCZ but I never managed to catch them. Anyway, he’s a long time member of the community and has some great and varied content. He covers more than just Commander like most of the other channels I’ve mentioned, but he also has interviews with WotC personnel and a couple of different podcasts with varying content as well. His personality is probably what keeps people coming back, as he’s a loveable goof that we’ve all known at some point in our lives.

Jumbo Commander


Jumbo Commander came across my radar when Jimmy from TCZ was in New Zealand filming for Mulan so Josh pulled DJ over to co-host a few shows. He was also a guest in the past. Whatever the case, I took notice and have followed him since. He makes a variety of non-gameplay videos but has recently jumped into streaming a bit of his MTG Arena gameplay (which I’m not really a fan of watching, but it’s there if you like that). I’ve mentioned his channel plenty of times in some of my own deck tech style posts, where I’ve said that I took his inspiration and then made it my own. he’s another likable guy and he’s got a lot of content to dig into.

Playing With Power


Playing with Power is essentially the same sort of channel as Casually Competitive though they strictly put out narrated gameplay videos of cEDH games. I have enjoyed their matchups and think the videos are well done. There’s not a lot of commentary here because I’ve only recently started following them and they don’t have a huge back catalog. It’s worth watching if you’re into higher end gameplay.

That’s all I have for today. Happy binge watching!

Couch Podtatoes Episode 77: A Guide To YouTube

CP4

I’ve seen quite a few conversations on blogs and social media, about how the poster just doesn’t “get” YouTube. Why it’s popular, why so many people are watching it or producing content for it. We attempt to answer the question “What makes YouTube a valuable resource” in this episode. We go over various types of videos that we’ve seen and watched ourselves, along with sharing some of our favorite channels. You can find some of those channels listed below if you’d like to check them out. Hopefully this will help some of you dip your toes into the service. Let us know if it did help! Otherwise, enjoy the show.

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 77: A Guide to YouTube (runtime: 49:14)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:25)
Discussion: YouTube (starts at 12:01)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Our favorites:

Izlain’s List:

Eri’s List:

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Francis PS4 Remix” by WTFBrahh (from the YouTube page of the same name)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page. Or view it here:

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

Quote of the Day: On-Demand Programming

From a recent Game Informer Article:

Having a young child paints a clear picture for me about the way different generations use resources like YouTube. While I visit mainly for research, help with tricky sections of games, or the occasional comedy video, my son uses it as a primary source of entertainment.

He started by learning about Beyblade toys. Then he stumbled onto Minecraft mod videos. From there, it was parkour and Nerf guns. He’s always finding new things, and most recently was watching educational science videos.

When I was a kid we dreamed of on-demand scripted programming and movies you call up at the touch of a button. For our children, they have that, and a wealth of authentic and diverse content on any number of subjects. It isn’t all high quality, but there’s gold there if you’re looking.

The article itself is a list of the most popular gaming-themed YouTube videos this year, along with another list of the top 10 most viewed videos about specific games (based on views and minutes watched) on the service. It’s no surprise that many of these titles are recent releases or in-development games that are popular across many platforms. The quote is from the tail end of the article, where the author gives his own personal spin on what this means for today’s youth.

I don’t personally remember wishing for anything like YouTube to exist, but my youth lacked Internet access. That came when I was a teen, and YouTube not until I was in my mid-20’s. So yeah, my ten year old brain couldn’t even fathom what we’re talking about today. Still, I do get where the author is coming from despite the fact that I lack children to make things of this nature more apparent. I still realize that the technology of today is light years ahead of where it was when my ten year old self was watching TV on a set that still only received channels 2-13.  Ditto that for the games of this generation as opposed to the 8-bit wonders of my childhood. With that realization comes jealousy of the newer generation in that they have smart phones that are more capable than anything yet conceived when I was their age. But I wouldn’t trade my knowledge of the way things work in the real world, regardless of if it’s made me somewhat cold over the years. Nor would I want to be lacking the maturity gained over that same period of time.

I consider myself pretty adaptable, and I hope that persists throughout the rest of my life, so I’m not one of those 75 year old men that detests anything that’s new and won’t learn how to use the newest iteration of cable box remote controls. Because of this fact, I tend to keep up with new trends (though some I still find laughable and avoid), technologies and other shifting social/cultural norms so I can see where I use YouTube and the Internet in general much like the author, but still can find it to be a main source of entertainment much like his son as well. I suppose this is due to the fact that my generation was born on the cusp of the technological era humanity finds itself in. We had gaming systems and cable right from the start, and watched the dawn of the Internet age. We weren’t too old to shy away from it, but weren’t quite old enough to harness it’s power just yet. Those born in later generations had a head start on us, having the Internet from birth and having all of this information at their fingertips. I imagine they will be even more adaptable as a whole.

I wonder though, if the constant inundation from the time you are old enough to comprehend such things is a good or a bad thing? On the one hand, you can use Google to answer nearly any question, to solve nearly any debate. On the other hand, doesn’t it seem like all of that potential is wasted on dumb shit?

Information at the touch of a button can make you smarter, if you absorb it; if you depend on it like a crutch you won’t be doing anyone any favors. Food for thought.