[Editor’s Note: I, David, was lucky enough to spend six months in Singapore back in 2012, and I met CK there playing EDH. He’s rad. Now we’re pumped to add him to the stable. Woo Hoo]

Hi everyone, I’m CK. I love playing EDH. I have a total of 28 decks spanning almost all the possible combinations – I’m just lacking Mardu (WBR) and Grixis (which is under construction).

I’m not even past my first paragraph, and I already have writer’s block.

How should I introduce myself so that I can leave a distinct impression on my readers?

When you sit down to write the very first article for your very first regular feature, things can be quite intimidating. The stuff I worry about, in no particular order of importance:

Will my sense of humor (if any) get through to my readers?

Is my tone appropriate for the occasion?

Will anyone even read my introduction?

I swivel away from the monitor, and let my eyes wander around my room, searching for inspiration.

photo 1

There’s a Holiday Gift Box containing my Pauper Cube, and an assortment of cards stored in various boxes – cards which I should sort and put back into my rack, but haven’t had the patience to. I really should get down to putting them away.

photo 2There’s a wall calendar of my favorite taiko group, Kodo. Taiko, or wadaiko, is Japanese percussion with big drums. I’ve been playing since 2009, although I’m currently taking a break from practice, due to personal reasons.

I remember that I bought the calendar at their concert in Tokyo last December. I was there together with my girlfriend of seven years, Mint. It was her very first trip to my spiritual homeland. We had a great time there, so much so that she now yearns to go back there again more than I do! I pride myself on my positive influence 🙂

Back to staring at my monitor. Still nothing.

What advice would I give to Mint, if she were in my shoes right now?

Then it struck me. Of course, it was clear from the start. I just let anxiety cloud my mind for a bit, but the answer was there all along.

Just be yourself.

Continuing along my train of thought…

When was the last time I introduced myself to a large group of people?

Perhaps I could try something like this… *clears throat*

Good morning/day/evening, PTQ Commander players, and welcome to XXX. My name is Chin Kai and I’ll be your Head Judge GDC writer for today! We have a total of eleven players writers, which equates to four rounds lots of fun and laughter in the house followed by a cut to top eight huge Commander slugfest!

That doesn’t seem to be working, does it?

Perhaps I can ramble a bit more about my Magic life?

I started playing in Mirrodin, when I came across my platoon mates playing. I bought my very first deck, the Mirrodin precon “Sacrificial Bam”. I stopped playing around Ravnica, when I started life as an undergraduate in the National University of Singapore. I came back around Zendikar, having graduated with Honors in Computer Science and started life as a software developer.

Aside: Conscription in Singapore requires all male Singaporean citizens and non-first-generation permanent residents who have reached the age of 18 to enroll for a 22- or 24-month period national service. While I don’t have fond memories of my active days, I do recall that playing Magic in the bunk during rest times was one of the few things I looked forward to everyday.

My first competitive deck was a homebrew UW Allies. After that I mostly dabbled with decks of my own concoction, because I felt that “netdecking” was just plain lazy. Obviously my approach didn’t take me very far, and then Mint came into my life, and I decided to call time on my time as a competitive player. I do regret my lack of achievements during that time (with my best record being a GPT semi-finalist), but if there is one thing I can take away my period as a competitive player, it’s that I enjoy the process of designing my own decks, watching my ideas come to fruition. This is why I find it so hard to take apart my creations.

Actually, the main reason why I keep all my decks and *hardly* take them apart is that I was inspired by The Godfather of EDH, Sheldon Menery, and his grand project of owning a deck of every single color identity.

I picked up EDH around the same time I quit Standard. My biggest reason for quitting was the prohibitive cost of keeping up with the latest tech – like how I splashed $50 on a Primeval Titan when it first came out. Ironically, owning 28 decks means that my total outlay no longer satisfies my initial reason for picking up EDH.

“No more getting four of insert-expensive-card-here, yay!”

Humbug.

Will my creations describe me better than my words will?

Being an aggro player at heart, my favorite deck is my Gahiji, Honored One “Red Zone” deck. Good things happen when you seize the initiative and be proactive!

photo 3

[Deck Title= CK’s BOOM Deck]
[General]
Gahiji, Honored One[/General]

[Lands]
3 Mountain
3 Forest
3 Plains
Arid Mesa
Brushland
City of Brass
Clifftop Retreat
Command Tower
Copperline Gorge
Fire-Lit Thicket
Hall of the Bandit Lord
Jungle Shrine
Kessig Wolf Run
Mana Confluence
Razorverge Thicket
Reflecting Pool
Rootbound Crag
Rugged Prairie
Sacred Foundry
Slayers’ Stronghold
Stomping Ground
Sunpetal Grove
Temple Garden
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Triumph
Windbrisk Heights
Winding Canyons
Windswept Heath
Wooded Bastion
Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]

[Creatures]
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Birds of Paradise
Legion Loyalist
Signal Pest
Akroan Hoplite
Sigiled Skink
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Dauntless Escort
Dawnglare Invoker
Eternal Witness
Frontline Medic
Pianna, Nomad Captain
Soltari Champion
Somberwald Sage
Wild Beastmaster
Firemane Avenger
Galepowder Mage
Hellrider
Hero of Bladehold
Iroas, God of Victory
Márton Stromgald
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Ogre Battledriver
Rubblebelt Raiders
Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Terra Ravager
Kalonian Hydra
Kessig Cagebreakers
Urabrask the Hidden
Xenagos, God of Revels
Angelic Skirmisher
Aurelia, the Warleader
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Hellkite Charger
Inferno Titan
Scourge of the Throne
Sun Titan
[/Creatures]

[Spells]
Explorer’s Scope
Path to Exile
Skullclamp
Sol Ring
Boros Charm
Legion’s Initiative
Lightning Greaves
Ordeal of Nylea
Raging River
Bow of Nylea
Fires of Yavimaya
Ghostway
Naya Charm
Overwhelming Instinct
Rootborn Defenses
Bear Umbra
In the Web of War
Eldrazi Monument
Mirari’s Wake
Primal Command
[/Spells]

[Planeswalkers]
Domri Rade
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Sarkhan Vol
Xenagos, the Reveler
Garruk, Caller of Beasts
[/Planeswalkers]
[/Deck]

The choice of sleeves was deliberate. This deck is capable of dishing out tremendous burst damage, which I think suits my style the most. I think of myself as a big Timmy player, and I feel this deck really describes me as a person. I value solid action over flowery words; I jump headfirst into the action and worry about the consequences later.

Astute readers might have noticed by now that this is an aggro midrange deck, with very few ways to come back from an inferior board state – a few board wipes and I’m one sad panda. More importantly, there is a conspicuous lack of land destruction – a weapon which many believes is necessary for an aggro deck to beat the battlecruiser decks or the self-gratifying combo/prison decks.

I firmly believe if you aren’t able to take part in the game actively, then you aren’t having fun. Why would anyone spend time traveling to his/her LGS to play only to end up playing on his/her iPhone while the combo player is tap-dancing with his board?

My friends, this is the social contract I believe in.

A good game of EDH should involve everyone. Someone might further the board state, someone might tear it all down, but at the end of the day, nobody should look back on the game feeling bitter about having done zilch.

I’m blessed to be part of a group of like-minded players. Maybe I’ll talk about them over my next few articles?

Right now, I’ve got an article to write, myself to introduce.

Perhaps, when all else fails, this is how I will start:

Hi everyone, I’m CK. I love playing EDH.