Ahoy planeswalkers. If you have been following my column, you probably have noticed I’ve fallen off the map for the last couple of months. There’s been a lot going on in my corner of the multiverse, and as a result I’ve made a challenging decision. I am hanging up my keyboard for the foreseeable future and stopping writing Scry Five.

There are many reasons for this. The biggest is time. After being unemployed for a large chunk of 2017—when I was writing my articles about Amonkhet and Ixalan—I started a new job last March. My struggles to find a writing rhythm with my job have been exacerbated by a change in my responsibilities at work that has tended to leave me without the brain power for writing during my lunch and breaks. I am also ramping up to my Ph.D. dissertation’s defense date, and drafting that is taking up a lot of my potential morning writing time. I have a pregnant wife at home, and taking care of her and various household tasks takes up most of my evenings. I cannot commit the sort of time to writing that this column needs.

It also doesn’t help that Magic doesn’t really fit my life currently. I enjoy playing Magic most at the LGS organized play level, but now that I work a job where I get home after 9pm and miss my son’s bedtime twice a week, and I am just not willing to miss more bedtimes to go play. Dungeons and Dragons has risen in Magic’s place, and planning for the game I now run has taken over the time I used to use to stay caught up on Magic Story. I’ve fallen badly behind on the conversations in the Vorthos community as well. Catching up is currently a daunting challenge, as if I am not following others’ articles my own column becomes less part of a conversation and more one man yelling.

The natural thing to do with a farewell column might be to look back on the journey that got me here; but, well, I feel like I already did that when I got to reveal a Dominaria card back in April. So, instead, I just want to use this column to say thank you.

I want to thank Rich Stein and the rest of the Hipsters of the Coast leadership for the opportunity to write for this site. Before I became a columnist here, Hipsters was one of my favorite Magic sites for their willingness to tackle challenging subjects and fight the good fight as well as for their quality content on Magic gameplay. (I also found your Vorthos marathon of reading 52 Magic novels in 52 weeks helpful as I began to find my own way with Magic content creation as a fledgling Vorthos.) Getting to be a part of the team here for the last year and a half has been an honor and a privilege.

I want to thank Brendan McNamara, our editor, for your patient work to make sure my articles, almost always submitted late Thursday night, were always ready for the light of day on Friday. And thank you for your insightful analysis of draft and sealed gameplay.

I want to thank Katie Bates for being the archetype of what a Hipsters writer should be. Sharing a publication day with you for many months, I took a lot of pride in my own writing, but I always felt like you were the writer doing the more important work.

I want to thank Aaron Gazzaniga for your kindness. I generally don’t know Legacy well enough to follow your articles, but you are the one member of Hipsters with whom I have interacted more in the real world than online, and I appreciate the welcome you gave me to the Hipsters crew.

My time at Hipsters did not overlap with hers as an active author, but I want to thank Jess Stirba for being one of the most insightful writers whose work I have read regularly. Dear reader, if you have started reading our site more recently, do yourself a favor and check out her archive. She is a true treasure.

I want to thank Mike Linnemann for the pushes you have offered from time to time, be they being better about citation, trying a set review, or just doing a lot of push-ups. (I’m back on the push-up bandwagon, incidentally; I’ve set myself a goal of 10,000 push-ups between September 1 and December 31, and I crossed the 4,500 mark this week.)

I want to thank the larger Vorthos community for being so kind and welcoming. It has been a delight to watch the rise of some of the other vorthos content creators who have a bit more hustle than I do—Jay Annelli getting contracted as Wizards’s curator of continuity, Loreley Weisel joining Wizards’s flavor text team, Michelle Rapp of the Loregoyfs making Vorthoses proud by helping to raise over $33,000 for charity at CardKingdom’s Chalice 2018 event.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has taken time out of their days over the last year and a half to read my columns. Magic has much that helps it appeal to a wide range of players, and it’s been a pleasure to share my joy in the game with you.

In time I am sure I will return to Magic. (With a little luck, I might come back with time to write, and Rich might even let me re-launch my column.) A year from now, I may have completed my dissertation and moved to a job where I work a regular nine-to-five, so that I have room in my life for Magic again. Five years from now, my son will be the same age I was when I started playing Magic, and I have boxes of cards from Battle for Zendikar, Dragons of Tarkir, Ixalan, and Kaladesh that I look forward to using to teach him the game. (When he turned one, I set five foil basics out before him and he cheerfully snap-grabbed the plains and the mountain, so I may be raising a nice little Boros aggro player.)

To wrap up this column, as a final offering, I have something for my old hobby and something for my new hobby: a prediction for Ravnica Allegiance, and a magic item for Dungeons and Dragons that I am very proud of.

Prediction: In Ravnica Allegiance, the guilds under Bolas’s influence will be the Orzhov, the Gruul, and the Azorius, while the Rakdos and the Simic will be clear. This will give Team Bolas two guilds in each color and team not-Bolas two guilds in each color, which is the sort of color mortality balance that Wizards has been moving towards in recent years. (Also, I just really want the Rakdos to be on the side of good here.)

D&D 5th Edition Magic Item: The Wand of Binding

The wand of binding appears to be a smooth wooden stick wrapped in a thick layer of yellowing linen. It can carry up to seven charges, and at dawn each day it recovers 1d4 charges. As an action, a player can touch themselves or an adjacent character with the wand, utter its magic word, and expend any number of stored charges. The target heals 1d8 hit points for each charge expended as spectral bandages wrap around them and sink into their skin, healing their wounds.

If the Wand of Binding would have three or fewer charges left after use, its user rolls a d4. If the roll is higher than the number of remaining charges, the spectral bandages become real and wrap the target up tightly, binding them with thick, strong bandages. The target is restrained, but may use their action to break out of the bandages (a DC 15 strength check) or wriggle out of them (a DC 15 dexterity check). Another character can also use their action with a slashing weapon to cut the restrained character free.

Farewell, planeswalkers. Until we meet again.

Beck is a financial aid counselor and theatre history Ph.D. student who lives in the greater Boston area. He believes in playing standard like a Johnny, drafting like a Spike, and only playing modern decks that involve the number eight.

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