Thraben University: A One Year Retrospective

June 23rd marks a few important things for me this year: my birthday, the day I leave for my summer job at Virginia’s Latin Academy, and the one year anniversary of Thraben University. It’s been a hell of a trip for me, and I’d like to thank you, dear readers, for your support over the past year. When I first imagined this site, I expected to get traffic from a couple hundred D&T players…uh, it appears that I underestimated how much people would appreciate and enjoy my content, that’s for sure. I smashed most of my personal goals for the site. Let’s look at some numbers as of Friday morning (the 16th) when I first sat down to write this post:

  • 37,537 unique visitors
  • 173, 680 page views
  • 37 articles
  • 42 other pages of content

I could wax poetic about how pleased I am with those numbers, but I think they speak for themselves given my initial expectations. I averaged a little over a piece of content a week (ignoring the content I had in place when I launched), and I did not feel like I ever sacrificed the quality of my content in order to “just write an article this week.” My only poorly-received article was my guest article about the math of a 61 card deck. This discouraged me from doing collaborative work for a little while, but my podcast with Zachary Koch was a smash hit, so I’ll be revisiting collaborative content again in the future.

I’ve made a number of small changes around the site in the past two weeks. The home page has an edited logo that looks a little bit sharper (Thanks to Phil Park from Germany for that!). Some of the core pages have been updated a bit, including the decklist and FAQ pages. The Miracles matchup page is being adjusted to be a page on the emerging UW Control deck (I’ll update it more once I play more matches!), and I’ve removed most of the other references around the site to Miracles warping various deck choices.

While I’m largely happy with the progress of the site, I do think I failed to meet a couple of small goals:

  • The matchup section is still missing some common matchups (e.g. Delver, Sneak and Show)
    • Reason: I spent much of my time writing articles on decklists, spoiled cards, and tournament reports.
  • The “How to Port” article never happened.
    • Reason: I finally figured out how to convey the information, wrote it, and WordPress logged me out when I tried to save. /tilt
  • I didn’t start stream despite multiple offers to borrow the deck.
  • I didn’t pretty up the site.
  • I didn’t change urls to display something meaningful instead of random numbers.
    • Reason: I (unexpectedly) rewrote the Latin II curriculum for my county this year, which ate up a ton of time.
      Also, I may have messed up a few things with WordPress at some point that made my life more difficult…

That’s the past year. Here are my goals in the following year.

  • Gain high level proficiency with another deck.
  • Write at least three articles on that deck.
  • Buy/acquire/borrow a deck on MTGO once I get home from Latin Academy (mid-July)
  • Stream at least three days a week during the summer.
  • Stream at least once a week during the school year.
  • Become a Twitch partner.
  • Use funds from Twitch, donations, and winnings to acquire another deck on MTGO to increase stream variety
  • Add primers on at least five more matchups.
  • Keep the decklist section more actively up to date; include builds other than my own.
  • Do at least three collaborative pieces of content.
  • Write at least two heavily data-driven pieces.
  • Add some sort of recommended video section.
  • Make a more active effort to attend every reasonable paper Legacy event, including side events at Grand Prix or SCG events

If you’ve enjoyed my content over the previous year, get ready for a ton more! I love Legacy and the Legacy community, and I’m going to do everything I can to promote the format and make great content for it. That’s my promise to you. I have a couple of stretch goals not listed above, but I’m going to keep those close to the chest until I know if they are possible. I don’t want to make promises I can’t deliver on, but I have a few cool ideas floating around…

[shameless plug] If you’ve considered donating in the past but never got around to it, I hope you’ll consider donating or subscribing once i get that whole Twitch thing rolling. In addition to the cost of buying a deck, I’m probably going to need to acquire some nice headphones with a mic (if you have recommendations on that front, let me know!), pay the entry fees for events, and get flex cards for the deck. I’ll also need some artistic types to help me make some Twitch emotes for my stream once I figure out how that whole process works[/shameless plug].

At the one year mark, I’d like to thank a few people in particular:

Kerry Milan- You helped me launch this site and answered all of my really dumb questions about html and such. I couldn’t have done it without you. You also magically fixed the site every time it crashed. You’re a wizard.

Shawn French and Harley Cox- You two helped immensely with my travel plans and playtesting. Thanks for putting up with me every time I wanted to try a new version of D&T. I can’t ask for much more from my roommates. “Phil, that’s not a new deck. That’s just D&T with two bad cards…”

Elton Wong and Sean Brown- Recently you two have been invaluable in discussing the Red Prison / Dragon Stompy archetype, but more generically, you two have been instrumental in helping me find good lists to play and test against. Sean, keep up the good work on those articles!

Zachary Koch and Louis Fata- I bounced a ton of ideas off you two in preparation for a few of my bigger events. Thanks for being my sounding boards.

The D&T Community- Whether it was on Reddit, MTG:Salvation, or The Source, you all gave me wonderful feedback and ideas. Even when we disagreed, we largely had constructive and positive discourse; that’s more than I can say about many other Magic communities.

I’ll be taking a three week hiatus from content production while I teach Spoken Latin to Virginia’s finest group of Latin students at Randolph-Macon College (unless there are some sweet spoilers, then I’ll find time somewhere). When I return, I’ll be back with a vengeance. I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell Legacy!

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Phil Gallagher

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