Hello again, everyone.  I hope all is well with each of you.  I’m in recovery mode at the moment, having just returned from a three-day business trip that involved plenty of travel across New England, odd work hours, staying on my feet for fourteen-plus hours at a time, buckets of caffeine, and not much sleep at all to speak of.  My life is a tough one.
…Of course, it was held in the conference facility at a casino, so it also involved plenty of table gaming for money and complementary beverages.  And the sleep part was probably my fault, to be totally honest.
Fun note – I was actually able to live out one of my fantasies while there.  Standing at a craps table, I proclaimed “Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!” in jest (mostly…) and tossed the dice.  I hit my point and got paid out two-to-one on my bet, immediately reversing my usual pattern of winning at a casino.  (This is to say I never win at casinos)  As a result, I threw the dice quite a few more times over the course of the next few days.  And it was consistently good.
On the way out, I cashed out, and caught sight of a store in the shopping district on the way to the parking garage. 
Fifteen minutes later, I strolled out to my car wearing a brand new pair of Pumas.  Living the deliciously ironic dream, folks!

(…Okay, okay; that story sounded *way* cooler in my head.  It’s also interesting…I think I could actually feel my wife rolling her eyes at me from 140 miles away while I was at the checkout counter…)
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Anyway, today we reach our final regular-scheduled stop in the exploratory steps of our little project.  We’ll talk about the cards that will serve to protect Sharuum today, and next week will bring the ‘wildcard’ round, where you guys can get in your last remarks and suggestions on the potential card selections and strategies as you see fit.  From there, we’re going to re-group, look at the entire list, and come to a consensus on how to make the final push towards a polished finished project. 
We’ll also talk a little bit about how I’ll make you all whole for your contributions; I promised everyone who contributed would be getting in on the goods in return for your hard work, and I see no reason why you guys shouldn’t also have a say in how this last part goes down as well.  Start thinking about what cool ways we can finish the project in style, and I guarantee that we’ll end on a fun and worthwhile note for everyone involved.
That said, let’s look at what keeps this deck ticking!
PART 7: IN DEFENSE OF THE GENRE
This is a broad category, so let’s open it up a bit.  Y’all know how this works:
CARD CATEGORY #1: REMOVAL
CARD CATEGORY #2: PROTECTION
MECHANIC #1: COUNTERSPELLS
MECHANIC #2: “PRISON” EFFECTS (Ensnaring Bridge, Lodestone Golem)
QUESTION: How important are permanents (Executioner’s Capsule, Ethersworn Adjudicator) in protecting the deck, compared with instants and sorceries?  (Swords To Plowshares, Decree Of Pain)
CARD IMAGE #1: FORCEFIELD
CARD IMAGE #2: PLATINUM ANGEL
The usual disclaimer:  The four seven components above are talking points: These ar simply ways to make you think about the elements and cards we’re putting into the deck.  I ask only that you address all components, but how you choose to do that is up to you. Tell me you hate prison-style decks, say you’d rather chew broken glass than play counterspells, let me know exactly where in my anatomy I can stick my copy of Norn’s Annex…Say anything you want, as long as you tell me why you’re saying it.  The only other requirement is to include five TEN card choices (this time) to go along with your reply. Send me an E-mail here, with the subject “Sharuum Community Project Part #7 – PROTECTION”
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This has been a fantastic ride, everyone.  I can’t stress it enough; the numberof responses and level of enthusiasm you’ve all given me is phenomenal.  I can’t thank you enough for this, and I’m confident we’re not only going to put a huge dent in the Sharuum stereotype with this deck, but we’ll also show the community what’s possible when we put our heads together to work toward a common goal.
Rock on, everyone!
àDJ