There was a recent thread over on the Neutral Grounds forums about how Filipino MTG players often “netdeck” or use decklists off the internet. To anyone who starts playing MTG, the ability to build your own decks has always been one of the primary appeals. For this reason, every MTG player would like to think that they have in themselves some level of deckbuilding “skills” and that using netdecks should be treated as a loss of pride in one’s own work.

I don’t feel strongly about this issue; I’ve used both netdecks and my own homebrew designs in tournaments before. Checking my own stats (one advantage of this blog is that I have a record of every tournament I ever played): I have a 59% match win rate when using a netdeck, and 54% when using my own homebrew designs. There’s a statistically signficant difference, so I can’t claim that I am an awesome deck designer. (Maybe in the future.)

I think that netdecking makes more sense the less time you can dedicate to Magic. For people like me who barely have one hour a week to playtest before playing in tournaments, netdecking makes a lot of sense. Definitely, if you have the time and inclination to design and develop your own original decks, you should do so, especially since having a Filipino-designed deck taking the world stage would be a big source of pride to local Magic players.

But for people like me especially at times like these when I’m busy with work, if I try bringing a self-designed deck to a tournament with minimal preparation, usually disaster happens . For the time being, I should focus on learning the ins and outs of the known decks so that I can make less mistakes and choose a good deck to play in the coming GP Trials and Nationals Qualifiers.

Above Average

Above average – a level of competency at a given subject such that:

  1. You are good enough that average people look at your work and tell you “You’ve got a lot of talent!”
  2. You are good enough that you know there’s a huge gap between you and those who are truly excellent.

I was wondering the other day whether being above average was a curse. It’s like being good enough to be in movies, but never good enough to be the star. Everyone around you is happy that they know someone who appears in movies, but deep inside you wish you were the star.

I don’t think anyone ever dreams of being above average. Unfortunately most of the time there’s a huge gap between “above average” and “excellent” that requires so much more effort for incremental gain. When looking at that plateau, it may seem insurmountable so many people just settle for being above average.

I find myself thinking about this now because I’m often faced with one of those plateaus in one aspect of life or another. And when you’re there looking at that plateau you need to ask yourself: Is it worth it to devote your time and energy to becoming the best you can be in this particular area?

My curse then, is that there are many areas where I consider myself “above average”, such that it’s difficult for me to decide on the path I want to take in life. I don’t want to have to choose just one path, I don’t want to choose just one area to be excellent in. I’m greedy; I want it all damn it! And this might be why I’m cursed to remain merely above average.

For now.

Free Wi-fi @HK International Airport

I’m blogging from an airport; I feel like such a seasoned traveler. Actually I’m writing this post just so that I can claim to post on the internet from airports.

I am of course flying back to Manila after a short 3-day visit to Hong Kong. People always ask me where I plan to go while in HK, even though I always come here to work. It’s even worse this time, as I flew in Sunday evening, attending a three-day seminar until Wednesday, working during the evenings then flying back Thursday morning. Not much time to do anything really.
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Laptop Keyboards Suck

Seriously. Having to hit an extra key just to use “Home” or “End”? For some reason, PrintScreen and CapsLock keys are higher priority than Home and End, meaning you don’t need to use “Fn” to access them. Do people not use Ctrl+Shift+Home and Ctrl+Shift+End all the time? I’m sure a lot of developers do. Whenever I’m on this laptop and need to use Home or End, I mentally pronounce “Fn” as a seven-letter word starting with “F” and ending with “ing”.

I like laptops, but keyboards need to improve in some way. My suggestion? Remove the trackpad and have an extra row for those keys that you would have relegated to “Fn” status.  While using the keyboard is around 200 times more productive than using the mouse (citation needed), the mouse is around 200 times more productive than the trackpad.

Who designs these interfaces anyway? Do Mac users have similar issues?


I usually have a stack of random printouts on my office desk. I also usually take one or two sheets of paper with me for meetings, supposedly to take notes (I never do). What usually happens with these papers is that I end up doodling. It’s not a sign of my not paying attention to stuff mind you. Doodling helps me think, in some way.

I took photos of some of my doodles (yeah, no scanner): Roy’s Doodles

An Uneventful Holy Week

Due to pressing work concerns, I was unable to go to confession for Holy Week this year. So much for being a devout Catholic.

As is tradition, most of the long weekend was spent watching a whole lot of stuff:


– I’ve been keeping pace with the episodes so far. The thing about 24: people die. A lot of them. And amazingly, Jack Bauer gets off every single time. They should have a season where Jack Bauer dies around episode ten or something (or at least gets hospitalized and taken out of the game) That would shock people. Still a very entertaining show.


– still need to watch the latest episode (18), luckily they decided to take a break so I can catch up. Heroes started out strong and with solid writing, but the plots and subplots started to get a bit messy after Peter saved Clair. It looks like they’re finally getting on track again these last few episodes though.

One Piece

– I finally caught up to Kaizoku Fansubs, having started watching One Piece from the very beginning last January. I had to skip most of the fillers though to catch up. And from the pirated DVDs I’ve seen in some stores, there’s probably some other group subbing One Piece that are already at least eighty episodes ahead of KF. That being said, I think I’ll follow their pace for now, as their subbing is of really good quality. One Piece is an awesome series and continues to be entertaining. The best arc in the series so far has been the Alabasta arc, and I’m looking forward to Movie 7 which supposedly covers this arc.


– a new series that people at the office got to know from Jump Ultimate Stars for the NDS. It’s mostly a parody/comedic anime, often breaking the fourth wall and using a lot of puns, references, toilet humor and visual gags. There are some really funny bits that made me laugh out loud, but it’s a bit of hit-or-miss unlike, say, Excel Saga, which would have me laughing a good 70-80% of the time.

As I said, uneventful.