What is Duels Diaries?
Let's begin with a few questions -
Q: What is Duels Diaries?
A: Duels Diaries is a blog dedicated to Magic Duels, the video game based on the popular collectible trading card game. The goal is to treat Duels as a competitive product and seeks to find the best decks and define the metagame. I realize that Duels is a gateway product designed to teach new players how to play Magic: The Gathering, and that it probably isn't meant to be taken seriously, but my inner try-hard spike ultra-competitive battle-mage won't stand for that. This is my thing. I like taking it too seriously, I like trying hard, and I like writing about it. If it isn't your thing, I get that, but you can scream at me all you like about how this isn't meant to be a competitive game and I will put my fingers in my ears and sing "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU". It's my thing, and if you want to read about my adventures and maybe find some cool deck lists, insights, stories and analysis, this is the place for you.
Duels Diaries was started on a forum site called No Goblins Allowed. I a weekly long-form post there every Friday for sixteen weeks. I will have links to those posts at the bottom of this post if you want to take a time warp.
Q: Whoa, hold up, wait a minute, isn't this an online clothing store....or Whoa, hold up, wait a minute, what the heck is Haunted Flower?
A: Haunted Flower is a business I started in 2007 with my wife. We sell cool licensed clothing products on the internet. We have awesome licenses like Star Wars, Big Bang Theory, Call of Duty, Harry Potter, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Disney and many more. Our business started on eBay, moved to Amazon, and we have our own storefront here at hauntedflower.com which has been open for about two years.
I have decided to build the Duels Diaries blog into my eCommerce store in the hopes of bringing two of the great passions in my life into one place. We recently sourced licensed products for Magic: The Gathering that we will start selling in 2016, and it will hopefully be a beautiful union to introduce my readers to our cool merchandise and our shoppers to the joys of Magic Duels. I am under no great illusion that this will provide an explosion of business or readers, I know I serve a niche community, as well as my own personal audience of one. I didn't start Duels Diaries to create traffic for Haunted Flower, and I didn't start Haunted Flower to become a writer about Magic The Gathering. If we ever have some crossover, great, but in short I am taking advantage of the fact that Shopify (host of my store) offers an easy to use Blog option.
Q: Why have to stopped posting Duels Diaries on No Goblins Allowed?
A: It dawned on me a long time ago that my posting style was more suited for a blog than a forum, so I had the intention of creating a blog from the beginning if the Duels Diaries posts on NGA were well received. After sixteen posts, I do feel I had an audience of a few folks like me who enjoyed my take on the game. While I may have kept posting on NGA for a longer period of time, some things did occur over there that soured my taste for the site. As any regular from that site in that time period knows, one of my friends was temporarily banned from the site for a rules infraction, and then he burned his bridges and did not return after the ban was lifted. I have never read the rules to posting on NGA. I am one of those suckers who clicks Agree without reading the terms and conditions, and I subscribe to the general policy of "don't be a butthead", but I also make mistakes, and I found that the more I ventured outside of my Duels Diaries posts (which stayed mostly drama-free) and started replying to the posts of others, the harder it got not to get riled up.
Wizards didn't help. The chronic problems with the Duels Origins game for iOS (my platform) and the seemingly endless delay of the Battle for Zendikar update left me with little to write about, and while I tried to drum up topics it seemed that community interest dwindled as well, and while I could be wrong I think the interest decline was in the game itself, not necessarily my posts. Regardless, as I did once long ago when I quit my job in retail to sell clothing online, it is time to set out on my own into the brave new world, plant my flag on a little blog on a little eCommerce site, and Field of Dreams this place - if I build it, will they come? Regardless, I always have my audience of one.
Q: Who are you and why should I listen to you about Magic Duels?
A: My name is Dan Wagner, also known as CovertGo Blue on Xbox Live, iOS Gamecenter and on the NGA forums, Youtube comments and Twitch chat. If you want to win more games, learn a little about the format, and see some cool deck lists, I think I am your guy. If you want a resume of sorts, here are some of my favorite Magic accomplishments -
55th at Pro Tour New York, 1996, Juniors division
55th at US Nationals, 2006
2nd at Great Lakes Regionals, 2006, although I never got to play for first so I consider it a win.
1st at Odyssey pre-release main event in Detroit, Mi with over 200 competitors, it was my first games of Magic at all in over three years after my first "retirement".
2nd at Onslaught pre-release main event in Detroit, Mi, again with close to 200 competitors.
As far as Magic Duels goes, I have been playing since Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, I have gone back and played all the games, and I tried to be competitive with 2015 on the Xbox Live scene. I spent nearly all of 2015 on the front page of the leaderboards for Xbox Live, peaking at #2, and I believe I finished the 2015 season somewhere in the teens (out of nearly 400,000 ranked players).
I have played, watched, read about and reported on the game for about twenty years. I am not a Pro Tour Champion, or even a Grand Prix Champion, but I love the game, I love studying the game, I love competing, and I love Magic Duels, and I see I real void in competitive content for the game, so I am here to scratch my own itch.
For now, those are my Q & A's. I hope you enjoy Duels Diaries. I will try to update the blog once a week, usually on Saturday or Sunday.
PS Here are those links the the Duels Diaries posts on No Goblins Allowed for anyone interested.