Who to Follow – Podcasts, Part 2
The response from Part 1 of the podcasts article was much greater than I’d anticipated. Everyone has opinions about which Magic players they like, whose streams are worth watching, and so on. It stood to reason that people had opinions about which podcasts they thought were worth listening to. However, I was completely blown away by the response to Part 1—there was a much greater volume of positive e-mails than normal—but I was introduced to a new concept in response to this article series: people literally incredulous that I didn’t include their favorite podcasts.
Let’s be clear what I mean by that. This wasn’t a simple case of, “I really like X podcast,” nor was it, “You should have included this podcast.” It was, “I can’t believe you didn’t include,” and, “How can you possibly not have talked about . . . ?” People practically lost their minds. One response in particular surprised me.
Would be lying if I wasn't a little put off by the exclusion of us on part one of @jasonealt article on podcasts.
— Scott MacCallum (@MrScottyMac) May 20, 2013
The point here isn’t to make Scotty look bad at all. He’s a great guy, and he was just joking around on Twitter, and he calmed down.
— Scott MacCallum (@MrScottyMac) May 20, 2013
I think the point is that, if only for a second, a cohost of arguably the number-one Magic: The Gathering podcast saw my humble article and dropped everything to tweet about it. He wasn’t wrong; I didn’t, after all, cover The Eh Team in that article. I guess I felt that The Eh Team’s fame and popularity did a good job of speaking for itself. I wanted to highlight a few podcasts that focused on specific sub-genres within Magic (Commander, finance, etc.), but based on the response I received, people don’t think it’s a waste to talk about their favorite podcasts just in case there are four Aboriginals in a remote tribe that’s never been contacted by civilization who haven’t heard of it. I read you loud and clear, folks. Let’s talk podcasts. Again.
Focus: Try to guess
Without a doubt, hands-down, the single podcast that received the most, “Are you high? How can you not include this cast,” responses was Limited Resources. MTGCast has their most recent episode at #184, which is almost four years of weekly recording. With Marshall and Jon (until he was recently hired by Wizards of the Coast) providing some of the best commentary about the format that you can find anywhere and locking down interviews with some of the biggest names in the game, such as Zac Hill and Brian David Marshal, it’s no wonder the cast has a legion of loyal fans (and vocal—don’t forget vocal).
Was initially excluding this cast a dig on its quality? Certainly not. Few of you have not heard of this podcast already, but I’m nothing if not willing to listen to popular demand. If you have heard of this cast but not heard it, let this serve as an excuse to download the latest episode and give it a listen. The quality is consistently high, and the information is very valuable, especially for players who want to become better at Limited. There’s a reason quite a few people consider this the finest Magic: The Gathering podcast around.
Focus: Some podcast names are less ambiguous than others.
Regulars: Matt "Kranny" Kranstuber
Joy of Cubing is featured on this website, and I’m always only too happy to point out what I think is great content on this site in case you needed an excuse to finally tune in. Joy of Cubing is issued monthly, and that wait is a long one for dedicated fans of this cast. In terms of podcasts about cubing, this is clearly the best. There aren’t that many Cube-specific casts, but there really is no comparison. But what makes the cast most remarkable isn’t its information about the subject matter (although that’s obviously relevant) but rather its strict adherence to podcasting fundamentals.
The audio is very high quality, the length is almost exactly an hour on the dot each month, and it’s safe for work. If you threw all of the best podcasts into a pot and boiled them down the pure, unadulterated essence, what you’d be left with would be this podcast. If you want to start a podcast, this is the kind of cast you want to aspire to be like. Regardless of the subject matter, aim for the bar this cast sets. I heard a rumor that this cast was semi-scripted, recording a trial run, writing down the good points, and re-recording to get the best points, eliminate “ums” and “ahs” and keep it right to an hour. If that’s true, it explains a lot about the quality (and why it only comes out once a month).
If you have a Cube, want to make a Cube, or just want to hear what the best-produced podcast for my money sounds like, look no further than the side bar of this very website. This is a cast that more than belongs on this list.
Focus: I dunno—judge stuff I guess.
A lot of us are not judges, but let me put it to you that a podcast by and for judges can have some relevance to you as players. This cast gives some very good insight into what judges deal with and how they approach situations, what their challenges are, and what they think about the notion that judges are bad players.
This is an exemplary podcast just like the rest, but I feel that it gives a perspective many of us are missing as players. If you’re thinking about becoming a judge or rules advisor, there are worse ways to spend your time than listening to a few of these. All of the hosts are knowledgeable and seem to have the fundamentals of podcasting down. Of all the podcasts devoted to judge . . . stuff, this is the oldest and, for my money, the best. Even if you don’t think this cast would appeal to you as you have no interest in every becoming a judge, I still think it’s worth listening to. Each episode is so packed full of tricky rules interactions and explanations that make them seem simpler that there’s no way listening won’t help you become a bit better as a player.
Besides, I’m pretty sure Rob Castellon proved that judges are anything but bad players.