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January 1, 2011


New Year’s Day State of the Site Address

by Dredd77

Welcome to 2011!

At the start of a new year, it’s always useful to take a moment and reflect upon the one that’s passed, and having missed our site’s six-month anniversary, I thought it fitting to do so here.

First of all, a huge thanks to all the members of the Precon Community who have made Ertai’s Lament as successful as it’s been. We really didn’t know what we were getting into when we put up our first post on 03 June, but since that time we’ve gone from a few-hits-a-week site to one that averages somewhere between 500-1000 a day. It was great to see so many folks out there have the same interest and passion as us! Certainly, we could not have done it without all the thoughtful feedback we’ve recieved from all of you.

On that note, here are a few things on our minds as we enter 2011.

Ertai’s Meddling: The site’s surprise hit, we get more requests for these features than most any other, which tells us there’s a real appetite out there for moulding the precons into better decks! We’ll be wrapping up the final two from Scars of Mirrodin with time to spare before Mirrodin Besieged, and have really enjoyed the great deck ideas that have been posted in the Comments. At some point, we’d like to go back and close out Meddlings for the remaining M10 decks we didn’t do the first time around, and would like to touch every standard-issue set each release.

Ertai’s Trickery: A lot of fun, but tends to run a bit long as we saw with the Mad Machinist’s Mash-Up. We’ll still be doing these on an occasional basis, as cobbling together several precons is a great learning exercise.

Precon Championships: Another sleeper hit, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from folks who are really enthusiastic about this competition. We’re close to wrapping up the 2009-10’s, and will be working forwards as well as backwards. Certainly you can expect to see the 2010-11’s sometime this October, but we’ll also be running them for previous years in the months ahead. Stay tuned!

Website Design: We’ve given some serious thought to moving Lament from a WordPress-hosted site to a professional one. It would still have the same general look and layout, but we’ve never been satisfied with the card links in each article. The “hover-over” effects used by the main sites are tremendously attractive, but presently are enabled by a plug-in on WordPress. With plug-ins prohibited for us ‘free’ users, the only way to get that feature is to upgrade. I can’t say for sure it will be soon, but odds are more likely than not as we continue to research and gather information.

The Streak: To our own amazement, still intact! We’ve thought from time to time whether or not the streak is “new content every other day,” or “a new review every other day.” So far, it’s been the latter, using “off days” to post things like Meddlings and the Precon Championships. Things are tighter than ever with the new baby, and while we’ve managed thus far I wouldn’t be surprised if we move to the “new content” model to give ourselves some breathing room. This still means something new to read here every 48 hours, and for a site with a single writer (that’s me!), I’ll give myself a little pat on the back regardless.

Quiet Speculation: I couldn’t be happier with the new site layout- if you haven’t checked it out yet have a look. We are very excited to spread the “precon gospel” to another venue, and have plenty to look forward to in the weekly feature there.

Thoughtsieze: Periodically I’ve wondered whether or not to share the little bits of trivial fun that come out of this feature- certainly we’ve found them quite useful, interesting, and even surprising! A few for a lark:

* Who knew that only 14% of you own Garruk vs Liliana, while nearly a quater of you picked up Phyrexia vs the Coalition? Easily the least-acquired is Elves vs Goblins, which only 7% declare owning.

* 45% of you predicted that either The Slivers or one of the Duel Decks would provide the winner for 2009-10 Precon Championships. Whoops! Don’t feel bad- my predicted pick to win it all was The Adventurers.

* Ertai’s Lament has a decidedly casual audience. When we asked you which three Magic-related sites you visit, Gathering Magic came out on top. Next up was Channel Fireball, followed by a split-third with MTG Salvation and Mana Nation.

* More than half of you claimed to be “very interested” in reviews of older-set precons, and we’re delighted to continue them! This amount surprised us- we knew there’d be some, but not a majority!

* To our disappointment, most of you aren’t regular listeners of podcasts. I couldn’t live without my Eh Team, Deck Construct, and Monday Night Magic! We’ve entertained thoughts of chancing an Ertai’s Lament podcast, it might happen in 2011. Likely a short, 30min. dissection and in-depth review of a specific precon, or perhaps several.

* Here’s another surprise- most respondents in our “how long have you played” poll have been playing for ten or more years. Right behind them? 0-1 year. Quite a spectrum!

* The “Ertai’s Lament formula,” where each deck gets a two-stage review, was arrived at quite by intuition. In fact, only the first deck we ever reveiwed was given a one-part treatment. The good news is, the vast majority of readers enjoy both halves equally!

Contests: Look for these to continue, with a giveaway guaranteed for each new set that’s released. We’ll also try to sneak in a few more for off-set launches like the Duel Decks. If we ever decide to pursue site sponsorship, you can be certain that they’ll be helping fuel more giveaways. We’re quite aware that a great many players live as we do- on a budget. Giveaways are a great way to get a little extra, and it’s always fun to win!

And that’s it for the now! Look for today’s review for Garruk vs Liliana to come along in just a little bit, and as always thanks for reading, commenting, and participating!

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stric9 (aka Steve)
    Jan 1 2011

    I love this website. By the way, I stopped by the store to pick up a booster pack yesterday and noticed several vintage era Pre-Con packs made newly available. While I’m tempted to get a booster pack to predict my future I may have to meddle my prediction a bit by buying those pre-cons instead. I mean, they seem to be my passion and I’m one of those players on a budget so I’d rather go for the pre-con prediction than that in the boooster. But, it’s Ertai’s Lament that caused me to go to the store in search of a booster and find “new” old pre-cons anyways. Thanks! Oh by the way, you mentioned different contests/giveaways a while ago and I headed over to Don’s Sundry to sign up. And I won a set of Fallen Empires tokens! Thanks, Jay and family, for being such an integral part of a long childhood diversion. Happy New Year!

  2. Stric9 (aka Steve)
    Jan 1 2011

    Oh, and it was only after reading the review of Rakdos Bloodsport that I realized I actually had purchased that deck among a pile of cards I got off of Craig’s List for $12.50! What a steal! Keep up the outstanding work and remember to always enjoy your time among family.


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