EDHREC Style Guide and Submission Guidelines

Last updated on July 21, 2018 by Joseph Schultz

The following style guide is a resource for writers and prospective writers of EDHREC.com. If anything is not addressed below, use your best judgment or check in with our Content Manager, Jason. If you are interested in writing for EDHREC, email your best pitch (or at least a very good one) to Jason at altjason17@gmail.com

A Note on Using this Guide

The goal of every article should be to convey something of value to the reader: entertainment, humor, information, advice, encouragement, the opportunity to comment on a hot-button issue, etc. If you can’t point to the value your article provides, it may be worth considering a rewrite. Your thoughts and writing should follow a logical flow, with the reader able to follow your train of thought. Clunky writing comes across as disjointed and will turn people away quickly.

This guide is designed to be used as a reference when questions arise during the writing process. Please reference this guide when you have a question about formatting or style preferences. And please note, the fact that your articles will be edited doesn’t mean you can be sloppy. Editing time should be spent polishing your paper to professional quality, not correcting simple errors.

Be sure to either compose your piece within the text editor on the site, or use the clipboard icon to paste it as plain text. Carrying over formatting from other programs can make things tricky sometimes, which is why I recommend composing the article in WordPress itself.

Finally, EDHREC is a statistics-based website. Our articles are here to provide context to the numbers on the main site. Whenever you have the opportunity to reference specific statistics, you should take it.


Submission Deadlines

Articles should be submitted at least two days (48 hours) in advance. This not only helps with our editor’s schedule, but also gives us time to rearrange in case someone misses a day, to make sure we still have content to publish every day.

On a related note, if you are going to miss a day, let our editor know as soon as you can.

But also, don’t miss a day.


Author Bio

Be sure you have an author bio in your user profile [Users –> Your Profile]. Write it in the third person (i.e. don’t say “I”). Make it humorous if you want to. Use a decent picture in your profile, also as it will be the image that shows up when you post in the comments.

Capitalization

The following items should be capitalized:

  1. All words in card names, except for articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions of less than five letters (as, by, for, from, in, etc.).
  • Exception: Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions should be capitalized when used as the first word in a card name.
  • e.g., Revenge of the Hunted, A Display of My Dark Power, Howl from Beyond
  • Tip: when in doubt, refer to the card itself.
  • When you’re referring to a card after its first full reference, capitalize the shortened version too (e.g., “Delver of Secrets dominates Standard. If you’re not playing a Delver deck, you’re doing it wrong.”)
  1. Magic formats
  • e.g., Standard, Legacy, Draft, Sealed, Limited, Constructed
  • Exception: The act of drafting is not a proper noun. (e.g., “I drafted a sweet deck…Do you want to draft tonight?” as opposed to, “My favorite Draft format is triple Innistrad…The FNM format is Draft.”)
  • Important: We play Commander, but Atraxa is your commander.
  1. All proper nouns, including but not limited to:
  • Magic: The Gathering and any shorthand reference to the game (not “magic” or “mtg”).
  • Names of characters, people, places, etc.
  • Guilds/factions, e.g., Simic, Esper, Akroan, etc.
  • Names of specific events (e.g., Pro Tour Theros, Grand Prix Miami). Exception: not generic events (e.g., The pro tour was awesome this weekend…I went to the grand prix last month).
  • Names of businesses and websites (e.g. Twitter, Star City Games, etc.)
  • It’s EDHREC, not edhrec or Edhrec.

The following items should not be capitalized:

  1. Card types
  • e.g., instant, sorcery, planeswalker, creature, land, artifact, enchantment
  1. Colors
  • e.g., red mana, blue card, green mage, black magic, white people
  1. Generic terms, even if they are referencing a proper noun
  • e.g., Pro Tour Theros  vs. the pro tour; Platinum Pro vs. going for platinum; Editor-in-Chief Jason Alt vs. I am editor-in-chief of this website.
  1. Commander vs commander
  • Commander (capital C) is the format. The cards that helm your deck are commanders (lower-case c). “My commander is Atraxa.” “Which of these commanders would you build?” “Bastion Protector gives commander creatures indestructible.”

TIP: when in doubt, look at a card. Our capitalization rules should follow the same capitalization rules as card rules text.

In short: “I play Commander. My commander is a blue legendary creature that uses Auras and Equipment. I like playing blue-black, but in this case, I went with Esper.”

Italics

Set names; “Snapcaster Mage was originally printed in Innistrad.” “Welcome to the Core Set 2019 Set Review!”

Non-evergreen keywords; “Atraxa has flying, vigilance, deathtouch, and lifelink, and at the end of your turn, she lets you Proliferate.”

Article series titles; “Hello and welcome to Underdog’s Corner.”

Abbreviations and Nicknames

Abbreviations and nicknames are acceptable, but before you use a nickname or abbreviation, be sure you use the full name or title on first reference.

  • i.e. The first time you mention Brian Kibler, make sure to spell out his full name. From then on, if you want to use something like “the Dragonmaster” or just “Kibler,” that’s fine as long as you’re using it within a context that makes it clear you’re referring to the same person.

Other examples:

  • red-white; RW; Boros
  • Dark Confidant; Bob
  • Luis Scott-Vargas; LSV
  • Mark Rosewater; MaRo

Another note on names: Just because a website address doesn’t have spaces in it doesn’t mean business names don’t. If you’re referring to Star City Games, do not write “StarCityGames.” Just because the website is starcitygames.com doesn’t mean the name of the business does not have spaces. This is true of many businesses, but not all (TCGplayer and WordPress appear to prefer no space). When in doubt, check the source!

Game and set names: Names of games or sets should be in italic type. This includes Magic, Magic: The Gathering, Magic Online, Hearthstone, Theros, Khans of Tarkir, etc. However, abbreviations are not italicized (e.g., MTG, KTK, etc.).

Dates

Dates should be formatted as MONTH DAY, YEAR.

  • e.g., January 27, 2013
  • Not January 27th, 2013—do not include the suffixes for the day. They’re implied.
  • If you’re referencing a date in the middle of a sentence, the year should have a comma on both sides. Think of it as a descriptor for the date that is set apart from the rest of the sentence. (e.g., On April 29, 2011, stuff happened; The Vintage tournament on August 8, 2015, is going to be a complete blowout.)

Images

Card Tags

When you are referencing specific cards, please tag them.

The code is very simple: it is just [ca rd]Card Name[/c ard]. (Without the spaces, though; WordPress will automatically make it a Card Tag when done correctly.) Make sure the card’s name is spelled properly and has the correct punctuation, capitalization, and spacing.

Split cards: To tag split cards, use the format NAME SPACE // SPACE NAME. So, [car d]Fire // Ice[/ca rd].

Card Images

Card image size should be 223 x 311. Scryfall is usually a good source for card images. Sometimes you can copy+paste images directly into the text editor, but sometimes you’ll need to upload images using the “Add Media” button.

You’re highly encouraged to use images of and from EDHREC itself. Pie charts, Theme Filters, card popularity and synergy percentages, etc.

Featured images:

These are important. Every article needs one, because this will be the image visible from the main page.

  • Don’t just put a large image at the top of your article. Use the “Featured Image” link on the bottom right. There’s an image just below of what this looks like before and after a feature image has been added.
  • Please be sensible about the size of your Featured Image. They should be wider than they are tall, and no wider than 700.
  • Important: do not just Google the art for a card image and use the first thing you find. Nine times out of ten, the image is way too big and our editor will have to fix it. You can use a simple program like Paint to make images a more appropriate size.

 

Adding Links

We want to support each other’s content, as well as provide readers an easy reading experience, so add links to your articles when you reference other stuff. For example, if you mention another author, make their name a hyperlink to their author page, which has their collected work. If you mention another article, add a link for it. If you mention the EDHRECast, might as well make it a link to the podcast’s page or Youtube channel. It makes things easy for readers. Adding links is super easy in WordPress. Use this button:


Decklist Formatting

All decklists submitted should be divided into sections:

  1. Creatures
  2. Instants
  3. Sorceries
  4. Artifacts
  5. Enchantments
  6. Planeswalkers
  7. Lands
  8. Sideboard, if necessary
  • Important: Organize sections either by casting cost, so readers can get a sense of the deck’s curve at a glance, or alphabetically. If you’d prefer to put sorceries before instants, or enchantments before artifacts, that’s usually fine; if, for example, you’re making a Superfriends deck and want to feature the planeswalkers prominently in the decklist, feel free to rearrange the sections.
  • You are also at liberty to separate decklists by card function (e.g. “Draw Spells” / “Finishers” / “Ramp” / “Combo Enablers” and so on). If you choose this method, however, make sure the sections are specific and distinct, and keep it to less than 10 sections; too many labels can be distracting and confusing.

Use the following outline when including a decklist in your article (again, all spaces in the middle of words should be removed for tags to work):

[deck ti tle=Deck Name Here]

[Com mander]
[/Comma nder]

[Cr eatures]
[/Crea tures]

[Ins tants]
[/Inst ants]

[Sorc eries]
[/Sorce ries]

[Art ifacts]
[/Artifa cts]

[Ench antments]
[/Enchantm ents]

[Plan eswalkers]
[/Planesw alkers]

[Lan ds]
[/L ands]

[/dec k]

 

Put the cards in between the two labels for each section, and don’t put anything after [/deck]. List the number and name of each card together on one line, starting with an asterisk (*), the numeral, and the card name. List only one card name per line. Don’t pluralize the card name, even if more than one copy is in the deck.

 

Here’s an example decklist:

[deck tit le=Small Deck]

[Comm ander]

*1 Meren of Clan Nel Toth

[/Comma nder]

[Crea tures]

*1 Leafcrown Dryad

*23 Relentless Rats

[/Creatu res]

[In stants]

*1 Entomb

[/Insta nts]

[La nds]

*4 Swamp

*3 Forest

[/Land s]

[/d eck]

And here’s how it looks when the spaces are removed:

Small Deck

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Instants (1)
Lands (7)

 

Pro tip: Don’t include apostrophes in your deck titles. It doesn’t work, for some reason. “Radha’s Journey” will show up as “Radha’s Journey” and that’s no fun for anyone.


Headings

Have a title. Not just your article series title, but a main header. If you don’t, I reserve the right to add one for you.

Use headings for sections in your articles. Major sections should use Heading 2. Subsections should use Heading 3. (To apply headings, click the menu that says “Paragraph” at the top left of the word-processing field and select the appropriate option.)

Be sure to use headings to break up the sections of your article. A big wall of text does not look inviting to read. Again, I reserve the right to break things up and add my own headers with my own section titles if you don’t.

International Spellings and Idioms

Please use American English spellings in your articles. Most of our readership is American, and while it will be in ignorance, most will see foreign spellings as wrong. Furthermore, our editor does not have the training to edit in anything other than American English.

However, please feel free to use terms and idioms unique to your location! Play up the international aspect of the game—it’s one of the coolest things about it.

Numbers and Numerals

As a general rule, numbers under 10 should be spelled out (one, two, three, four, etc.), and numbers 10 and over should use numerals (10, 25, 117, 1000).

Exceptions:

  • Sentences should not start with numerals. Either spell out the number or rephrase the sentence. (Incorrect: 20 people showed up for the IQ. Correct: Twenty people showed up for the IQ or The IQ had 20 people show up.)
  • Numbers of cards in decklists should always use numerals, e.g., 3 Squire.
  • When citing monetary prices, using numerals is okay (e.g., $27, $113.56, etc.). Also use the dollar sign.
  • When you’re citing a tournament record, numerals are okay. (e.g., I’m 6-0 so far.)
  • When using multiple numbers in different contexts, sometimes it can be more clear to use a mix of numerals and written-out numbers. As always, be consistent! (e.g., My opponent had three cards in hand and was at 4 life, I had six and was at 9.)
  • “She attacked me with three 4/4s,” not “three 4/4’s.”

Polls

Unfortunately, you can’t generate a poll without administrative access. State clearly in your article that you would like the editor to add a poll and what you would like the answer options to be. We’ll get it added prior to publication. (For editor’s reference, the tag is [po ll id=”N“].)

Profanity

Keep it infrequent and PG-13, and it’s no big deal. A rule I heard was “Don’t write anything you wouldn’t write in the Wall Street Journal” when I wrote on Quiet Speculation. We’re not QS, though, so maybe the rule should be “Don’t write anything you wouldn’t write in Newsweek Magazine,” which is basically to say, use common sense. I tend to use profanity for effect more than most writers but when I do, I write something like @#$% which makes it obvious that there is some word there but forces the reader to divine it from context or supply their own.

Pronouns

Use generic singular pronouns, with a healthy mix of masculine and feminine versions.

Pronouns to use when referring to cards: Cards should be referred to as “it” in most instances (e.g., My opponent cast Snapcaster Mage, but I bolted it before blocked).

  • Exception: Legendary creatures and planeswalkers can be referred to as “he” or “she” (e.g., “Venser, Shaper Savant is really good. He should be included in every Cube list”).
  • Know your character genders. For example, Mizzix and Vial Smasher are female. Aetherborn (like Gonti and Yahenni) are always “they.”

Pronouns for Psychographics: Don’t forget, it’s not just Timmy, Johnny, and Spike. Use Timmy and/or Tammy, Johnny and/or Jenny. Spike is already neutral.


Punctuation

Apostrophes:

Proper nouns ending in “s” should be followed by an apostrophe and another “s.” This is consistent with templating on cards (and, you know, proper punctuation in general).

  • e.g., Mons’s Goblin Raiders, Rakdos’s Revenge, Luis’s winning decklist

Simple nouns ending in “s” should be followed by just an apostrophe.

  • e.g., The players’ decks were all too expensive; the students’ scores were bad.

Its vs. it’s:

“It’s,” with the apostrophe, is a contraction of “it is” and only a contraction of “it is.” The possessive form of ‘it’ has no apostrophe: “Every dog has its day.” Its’ (with the apostrophe after the s) is never correct. Watch out for these! It is (or it’s, if you prefer) a common error.

Commas:

Seriously, use the Oxford comma. I give a f*%#. This is somehow controversial and I’ve run sites where we say not to use it. Personally, I think it has its place, so if you think you need it, use it. I’ll probably slap a few into your articles when I edit without even thinking about it.

  • e.g., “Over PT weekend I picked up lots of copies of Master of Waves, Thassa, and Tidebinder Mage” (note the comma before “and”).

Dashes:

If you’re using dashes to break up sentences—like this—know how to use them. Em dashes are preferred (make them by using Alt + 0151). The regular keyboard dash looks odd, so use the Em, please. I’ll know if you don’t.

Hyphens:

Hyphens should be used with compound adjectives. This means that if you are describing a noun with multiple words, those words should be connected with hyphens.

  • e.g., 19-year-old player; semi-competitive event; 60-card deck; up-front fees; long-anticipated wait; far-too-long-and-complicated explanation, etc.
  • Red-white; mono-blue; four-color

Percent Sign:

This is somehow controversial, but I say use it. I would hate having to write “seventy-five percent theory” every week.

Quotation Marks:

Periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks, even if it’s not part of the original quote. (e.g., He said Nightveil Specter was a “bad spec.”)

Question marks and exclamation marks can go either in or outside the quotation marks, depending on how they were used in the original quote. (e.g., Did you hear him say to me, “You’re fat”?; He asked me, “Do you know where the LGS is?”; I can’t believe she would say, “I’m not interested”!; He screamed, “I am angry!”)

Don’t use single quotation marks, use double quotation marks. (e.g., “Get out of here!” not: ‘Get out of here!’)

  • Exception: When embedding quotation marks within another set of quotation marks, only then should you use single quotations. (e.g., He said to me, “Sally told me ‘Go win the tournament!'”)

Spacing

Do not put two spaces after the end of sentences. This is an outdated practice from the typewriter days, and no matter what your elementary school teacher told you, it’s no longer necessary or correct. Did you write your article on a typewriter? No, you didn’t.


Word Count

Try to keep your articles between 1,000 and 2,000 words.

  • Cutting unnecessary language will tighten up your writing and almost always make your points more clear. It’s easier to write more than less, but writing for the sake of writing doesn’t make it better—it just makes it longer.
  • Long epics are sometimes fun, but can lose some readers. Remember that we’re competing for the time they have set aside for reading articles.
  • All that being said, if you have a long article that can’t or shouldn’t be broken into parts, don’t be afraid to go long. As long as you have a justifiable reason for doing so and you believe it’s worth it to the reader, you’re fine (but be prepared for the editor to cut it in half and spread it out over two weeks if he sees a good stopping point).

WordPress Issues

Annoying question marks: Some issues can come up due to the WordPress interface and its capabilities. One of the most common—and most annoying—is that some special characters will be replaced with question marks. This can also be caused by certain formatting options, or sometimes by apparently nothing at all. Once you’ve submitted your article on WordPress, please Ctrl+F and search the text for question marks. Make sure all that are there should be there, and remove any that shouldn’t. Resubmit your draft, Ctrl+F for ? again, and make sure the question marks stayed gone.

Importing from Word: Importing or copying text from Word files is likely to cause many of the above-referenced question marks to appear. To avoid this, use the instructions here.

Plug-Ins: If you need a WordPress plug-in installed for your article, email your request to Jason Alt with the link for the plug-in needed. I did a decent job of anticipating most of the plugins we will need, but this is a new site so I might have missed something.

Queue: Please don’t keep unfinished articles in the queue—anything there should be ready for editing and publication.

 

Editor’s Tips:

The “Preview” button is your best friend. Use this liberally, to make sure your decklists are formatting correctly, your card image tags are working properly, and that your images aren’t the size of Montana.

In Preview, I recommend doing a Ctrl + F search for the [ bracket symbol. This immediately alerts you to any image tags that aren’t working properly. Folks often miss the “/” in the image tag (e.g. [card]Sidisi, Undead Vizier[card] will not work.)

If you hit “Preview” and nothing shows up at all, it’s usually a decklist formatting problem.

 

That’s it! Any other questions, direct them to me at altjason17@gmail.com. Thanks for joining the team!

 




Set Reviews

We like to do Set Reviews upon the release of a new set to discuss exciting new cards. The purpose of set reviews is to discuss exciting new cards that we think will or could make waves in the format. Remember, we’re a statistics- based website, so use the site as much as possible. For each card, you’ll want to discuss its potential applications, commanders who could make use of it, and so on. If there’s a card you think is overhyped, this is an excellent place to discuss it. If there’s a card you think is underrated, say so. As always, draw upon the statistics from the main site as much as possible to inform your evaluations.

For a great example of a review article, see the link below:

Commander 2018 Set Review – White

Breakdown

Generally, we break reviews down the following way:

  • White review
  • Blue review
  • Black review
  • Red review
  • Green review
  • Colorless & lands review
  • Gold/Multicolor review

These are not always published in the above order, but in the order writers finish them. It can be a bit of a scramble, so finish them asap.

Set reviews are usually published in addition to the week’s regular articles.

Occasionally, depending on the set, we may change the above formula. For example, Ravnica sets always have an abundance of multicolored cards, too many for a single article. We may elect to split a review by rarity, or by guild/wedge/shard, or something else entirely. Just depends on the set.

If you’d like to write a set review, we normally bid for them in our Slack chat as each new set is spoiled. It’s generally a first-come first-serve basis; just because you wrote a review for the last set doesn’t mean you’ll always get a review slot. There’s a limited number of us, after all.

Some folks may prefer to stick to their preferred colors each time around (for example, I err toward green and black reviews) while other folks like to try a new category each time.


Titles:

SET NAME Set Review – Color (e.g. Return to Ravnica Set Review – Blue)

NOT: EDHREC Ravnica Blue Review; EDHREC Ravnica Review – Blue;

Use a Featured Image that shows the art of one of the cards you’ll be reviewing, preferably one of the rares, or a particularly exciting piece of art.

Organization: Organize cards by rarity, then alphabetically. This can be flexible; for example, you can open with the legendary creatures in the set, then move to mythics.

 

Formatting:

Generally, you should organize your reviews in the following way: 

 

Header/Title

Opening Paragraph

 

-Card Name (header 2)

-Card image (223 x 311)

-Paragraph(s) about the card

 

-Card Name (header 2)

-Card image (223 x 311)

-Paragraph(s) about the card


-Card Name (header 2)

-Card image (223 x 311)

-Paragraph(s) about the card

 

Closing Paragraph


Important:

At the time we release set reviews, EDHREC does not yet have the card image tags for the upcoming set.

 

DO: Include images of every card you discuss. Readers need to see the stuff you’re talking about.

DO: Continue to use card tags as normal, with [ca rd][/ca rd]. Once EDHREC updates, these tags will update.

DON’T: Neglect to include images. I can’t stress this enough, the image tags aren’t there yet, so we have to provide images to give readers a hand.

 

DO: Pick only the relevant cards. There are dozens of cards for each color in every new set, and they’re not all going to be gems.

DON’T: Talk about every single card. No one wants to read about the new set’s Healing Salves. Readers already know that a bunch of the new cards are for Limited, and no one enjoys reading about four cards in a row that won’t have any impact in EDH.


Extras

Some authors have given some extra flair to their reviews. You’re welcome to do this, but it is not required.

Decklists

For example, this black review includes a decklist at the end, which contains several of the reviewed cards.

Special Formatting

The formatting detailed above is simple, but effective. Sometimes, though, authors can give some extra structure to a review that makes it more engaging.

This red review, for example, discusses cards in different sections.

Separately, this gold review organizes the normal cards and the commanders differently, but it’s extremely effective.

We do want to keep the set reviews fairly uniform, as readers will often read several reviews in a row, and a different style for each article can really throw them off. If, however, you have a review format you’d like to try, you can absolutely try it, but it should be for a good reason, like the above gold review. If you’re going to change the formatting, it should be so darn good that we’ll want to change our traditional template.

 

If you have any questions, contact either the Content Manager or the Editor

altjason17@gmail.com

josephmichaelschultz@gmail.com