3rd Best American Player – Oh the Irony: Worlds Report *38th*

If you would like to read the story of how the third best American player not named”Torben Tweifel” did at the recent World Championships, you have but to click on the title.

To be honest, I don’t want to write this. There are many other things that I would rather be doing, including:

-playing Chrono Trigger on my SNES

-chasing my cat around the house

-attempting to put the songs on Blindside’s album Silence in a subjective order of quality


-watching the Cack play league matches on MTGO and bothering his opponents

-daydreaming about eating a warm pan of cinnamon rolls with icing

-eating a warm pan of cinnamon rolls with icing

-gazing lovingly at the picture of Gerry Thompson that I stole from his house

-showering for the first time in almost three days

-MTGO drafting *shudder*

This list is by no means comprehensive; all those items were just off the top of my head. I can’t imagine how long the list would be if I mentioned everything I would rather do, or God help you, listed fake or sarcastic stuff like”migrating from garage sale to garage sale for a whole day (a popular Ohio activity)” or”wearing a shirt that Valentin Moskovitch was just wearing for the past week.”

In addition, while I was, all things considered, pleased with my performance at Worlds, I didn’t exactly post the most prestigious finish. I’m sure no one skimming the Magic websites is going to observe that I finished 38th at some tournament and be lured into reading my article. Nevertheless, I suppose my ethereal flair for the literary explication of our zeitgeist obligates me to record even the most modest of my endeavors, so I can’t leave my public wanting.

Ha ha ha. I’m kidding.

Seriously though, even though it’s my birthday tomorrow (or, by the time you read this,”yesterday”), I still feel this urge to honor my promise to Herr Knutson to write weekly. If the writing is plain awful, or if I try to overcompensate and it ends up pompous to the point of condescension*, you know who to blame. If it’s good, I get all the credit, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I only have twenty hours until my deadline, so I’d better get started. For reference, here is what I said at the end of last week’s article:

“Join me next week when I finish up my Seattle report, tell you about a ‘cute’ draft deck that actually won a few rounds, and give you my heartbreaking tale of woe that is my Worlds report: part one.”

I’m actually going to make good on all of those claims…but before I write about that nonsense, I’m going to present to you a long-overdue Top 5 Songs of the Week list and a Magic Online log that made me actually laugh aloud.

Super Happy Fun Modo Stuff

The following chats transpired during round 2 of a Magic Online 8-4 draft. Since there still may be four or five people who don’t know my newest, most secretest MTGO identity, I’ve changed my nick to Clown Shoes for the purposes of this article. I didn’t bother to change the ornery foreigner’s name, so feel free to harass him if you ever have the displeasure of playing against him.

Game One

4:26 DylanBRazil: 5 spells against 12

4:26 DylanBRazil: f***ing ridiculous

4:28 DylanBRazil: well..ppl like u must win somehow

4:28 Clown Shoes plays Looming Hoverguard.

4:28 Clown Shoes plays triggered ability from Looming Hoverguard targeting Battered Golem.

4:28 DylanBRazil plays activated ability from Atog.

4:28 Clown Shoes: see if you had sacked in response you could have made me target one of my own things

4:28 Clown Shoes’s triggered ability from Looming Hoverguard is countered because of no legal targets.

4:28 DylanBRazil: doesnt matter

4:28 DylanBRazil: i dont care

4:31 DylanBRazil: land in hand

4:31 DylanBRazil: there is 5 left in 24 cards

4:31 DylanBRazil: lol..thats how awfuls wins

4:31 DylanBRazil has conceded from the game.

Game Two

4:53 DylanBRazil mulligans down to 4 cards.

4:53 DylanBRazil keeps this hand.

4:53 DylanBRazil: there u go awful

4:53 DylanBRazil: the only way u could win this

4:53 DylanBRazil: lol

4:53 DylanBRazil: go tell ur fat mom

4:53 DylanBRazil: haha

4:53 Clown Shoes: hahaha

4:53 Clown Shoes: : )

4:55 DylanBRazil: ur a shame

4:55 DylanBRazil: idiot

4:55 DylanBRazil: lol

4:57 DylanBRazil: do you know what a girl is?

4:57 DylanBRazil: rofl

4:57 DylanBRazil: u must be a 20 more years old no girls nerd

4:57 DylanBRazil: killurself sad

4:57 DylanBRazil: and ur not even good at this

4:57 DylanBRazil: rofl

4:58 DylanBRazil: lol..if i draw a land u still would lose

4:58 DylanBRazil: see how bad u suck nerd?

4:58 Clown Shoes: lol

One of the funniest aspects of this, other than the obvious”see how bad you suck nerd?” line, was the alarming accuracy of most of his insults. I think I’m guilty on all charges except for maybe the”fat mom” diss. I’m not sure exactly what he was trying to convey with”killurself sad,” but man, does he ever have my number. It’s like he knows me or something. I’m still not 100% sure that that wasn’t Morgy. [Or Efro, which makes it all the more entertaining. – Knut]

Mr. BRazil obviously lost the match, and his petty barbs did little to slake his thirst for revenge. After my finals opponent declined the split, I specifically asked if DylanBRazil told him to play it out, which he had. Following my game one victory over the hapless pawn, I took the”thanks Bearl”** split at the start of the second game because my opening hand looked pretty bad, because his deck was better than mine, and because, quite frankly, he didn’t really know what he was getting into. Not that it matters from this range, but I’m a f$#%ing surgeon with this shotgun.***

Since I’m already talking about MTGO, I suppose now might be the optimal time to give you the list of the”cute” deck that actually allowed me to make the finals of an 8-4.

2 Myr Moonvessel

1 Auriok Transfixer

1 Copper Myr

1 Leonin Den-Guard

1 Coretapper

1 Trinket Mage

1 Slith Ascendant

1 Arcbound Hybrid

1 Auriok Salvagers

1 Skyhunter Patrol

1 Wanderguard Sentry

2 Spire Golem

3 Conjurer’s Bauble

2 Spawning Pit

1 Relic Barrier

1 Healer’s Headdress

1 Stasis Cocoon

1 Crystal Shard

1 Talon of Pain

1 Stir the Pride

8 Plains

7 Island

15 lands seems to be plenty given the Myr and the three Baubles. Coretapper only combos with three of the cards in the deck, but I guess that’s okay, since I have a decent shot to draw one of them. Stir the Pride naturally makes an excellent finisher in a deck that tries to make”infinite” creatures and can draw every card in the library. I won two games, one against each opponent, by making lots and lots of Spawns with the Salvagers/Moonvessel/Spawning Pit combo. In a third game, I got Trinket Mage/Crystal Shard online, and targeting a Bauble with a Bauble ensured there would always be something for Big Trinks to find. This sort of strategy wouldn’t work every time; if my opponents’ decks had been more aggressive or if I had drawn the Salvagers less frequently, the deck would have gone from very powerful to mediocre. Also, I seem to recall that Wanderguard Sentry didn’t report for duty too often.

PT Seattle: The Endings

I’ve put this off for long enough. There is no longer a single person who is eagerly awaiting this portion of the article, two months have passed, and I have since played in two major tournaments, but I am not a quitter. I’m going to finish this godforsaken report.

Round Nine vs. Craig Krempels (The American Way)

I don’t remember too many details from the draft since I was too busy playing with my battery-operated plastic dog that follows your every command, as long as your every command is”Spin in a circle, then stop after an arbitrary interval and start barking.” I think we were outdrafted, but I always think that. I do recall that my deck was incapable of dealing with large creatures or fliers, as it was Black/Red with no removal and no fliers of its own. I basically had to pray for mana screw. Gadiel emerged victorious in a seemingly unwinnable game when Jon Sonne tapped below Altar’s Light mana to play a random Ogre Leadfoot. He had already used his other artifact removal spell, and Specter’s Shroud knocked the Light out of his hand, so Gadiel was able to break through multiple Loxodon Anchorites and multiple Thunderstaffs with a Cranial Plating for roughly +17. Hm. I just remembered that both of the children already wrote reports, so I should really focus on my own damn match.

My opponent was Craig Krempels, American Hero. I have a piece of paper with his autograph on it if there are any Krempels fans or stalkers out there. I could be persuaded to part with it for $50. Craig has a Blue/Green deck with some sunburst cards as well as fatties and fliers.

Game One: He kills me with a Spire Golem and an Iron-Barbara, which are a flier and a fatty, respectively. No need to click on the links to the cards, folks; I’ve got you covered.

Game Two: I get the”God draw,” which involves Fleshgrafter, Skeleton Shard, and Arcbound Worker. I play around his Baton of Courage expertly, which naturally means he does not have it. Nevertheless, I manage to put enough pressure on him in the early game that he is forced to chump block rather than counterattack, and I somehow actually win a game.

Game Three: By now, the children have already both won, so I’m playing for pride. I lose in about two minutes. Pride is overrated. Despite the ego blow, as you all know by now, I’d much rather strap a saddle on two able-bodied youngsters than do any actual work myself. When Cack and I are on the same team, he’s BenS and I’m Geddes. His job is to win the actual matches; my job is to just sit there and”lol” at the giant beats my teammate is dishing (and eat cheese fries).

1-2 on the day

Round Ten vs. Igor Frayman (The Max Fischer Players)

My irony detectors are top-notch, but I’m sure even someone as”differently-abled” as the Mauler could have predicted the outcome of this match. In every draft we’d won as a team, I’d felt we were out-opened and out-drafted. This time, the exact opposite was true. Plus we were playing against renowned munson Joshua Ravitz for a potential top 4 berth. Plus we’d beaten his teammates at GP:DC, and they were completely rusty. As much as the situation ostennnnnnsibly called for a healthy dollop of confidence, I knew for a fact that we weren’t going to win.

Game One: I get horribly flooded and fail to see any of my three Barbara J Lightnings or other removal spells. I think his Skullclamp helped to further turn this game into a blowout.

Game Two: I get horribly flooded and fail to see any of my three Barbara J Lightnings or other removal spells. But wait. I somehow manage to get him down to ten life in the early game, but his Oblivion Stone helps him stabilize. No, I didn’t overextend into a card I knew he had because it was a Rochester draft, thankyouverymuch. I’m clenched firmly in the jaws of defeat in the late turns of the game; he has a Vedalken Shackles (Stealing my Myr), a Thought Courier, and a Goblin War Wagon administering beats. My board is eight lands, at least four of which are Mountains, and a Hematite Golem tapped down by Psychic Overload. I’m high enough on life to survive for a few turns of attacks.

I draw a Battered Golem and go to play it, but in a rare moment of clarity, I hold it back in my hand and content myself playing land #9. I take another beating from his War Wagon and draw Magma Jet. On his turn, he attacks with just War Wagon then loots post-combat. I examine his graveyard, which has swollen to around seventeen cards, and I deduce that both of his cards in hand are likely lands. At the end of his turn, I Magma Jet my Leaden Myr and leave Goblin Replica on top. I play land #10, pitch my artifacts to untap Hematite, and tap it and all my lands expectantly. Igor thinks for a moment, then proceeds to scoop up his cards as Ravitz watches in dismay. Or he may have already left by this point; I forget. The way I told it sounds better though. I know that at one point Ravitz was watching in horror, but he eventually left the table when he could stomach no more.

Game Three: Igor stumbles on his mana during the early turns, but he hits four consecutive land drops at just the right time in order to stabilize. Oblivion Stone and Skullclamp turn my early tempo lead into an Igor rout. I had the opportunity to use a removal spell on a Myr the turn after he started to draw out of his mana problems, but it’s hard to say if it would have mattered. In the later turns, he blocks my Hematite with his Clockwork Dragon (had to toss the name of his other bomby card out there) and later still, Consume Spirits me out after an alpha strike to squelch any hope I had of a Magma-Jet-into-Barbed-Lightning deus ex machina victory a la game two.

1-3 on the day

Round Eleven vs. Dave”Texas Dolly” Williams (Bottom Set)

This match report could have been so much more epic; at the time, I was rather passionate, consumed by a resolve to not to let the children down after failing to win but a single match on the day. (It’s not as though I was playing poorly, but in the end, the team needed me to win, and I could not). Now, though, I’m calm and complacent; Gadiel has long since joined the military; and the Cack is an emu rancher in Wellington. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are a distant memory, but I know that the fire still burns within us all. Maybe someday we’ll reunite and rediscover that fire, our burning desire to prove to the world that we are the best and

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What in the holy mother of God am I talking about? That was uncalled for. I guess I can still attempt to return to my July 10th frame of mind and probe my memory banks to give you an appropriate prelude to one of the most important matches of my career.

Many of us have one person that we simply cannot beat. The cycle starts off with a few losses; then dejection and despair set in, followed by a few more losses. Soon enough, despite any outward bravado we try to muster, we resign ourselves to not being able to defeat the person, and we are rarely disappointed. Eventually, we don’t even bother trying to bluff strong hands or confidence, since both we and that person we can’t beat know that we’re not going to win. We may even make more mistakes than usual or become careless with mulliganing or planning attacks.

For me, that person is…

Well, at the moment, it’s no one.

For Dave Williams, that person is me. Since his Ali-like return to Magic after his banning (last Rounders reference in the discussion of this match, I swear) we had played each other upwards of seven or eight different times in money drafts all over the country. His team won sometimes, probably more than half the time even, but he never beat me in our match once. There were probably some instances where only one card in the deck would save me, and I ripped it on the last possible turn. I’m not sure how this came about, but I sure wasn’t going to complain. At the same time, I was starting to get worried that Williams would eventually break the streak, and then I’d be unable to beat him for some ungodly stretch.

His”need” to lose to me continued to outweigh my fear of the streak ending through Grand Prix: Columbus, the last time we had played. Sometimes, these streaks just end naturally. Other times, a milestone occurrence could lend a person newfound confidence to confront old demons… winning $3.5 million in a large poker tournament, perhaps. That certainly worried me. Also, irony had been the story of the weekend, so I had to suspect that Dave might very well win.

Dave wanted us to scoop because he believed he had an outside chance at making top 4. As it turned out, he didn’t actually have a shot, but he didn’t know it at the time. There was no way in Hell we were going to concede anyway. The children had to qualify for PT Columbus, so we had to play, and we had to win.

The draft was uneventful, with neither side emerging the clear favorite. My deck was somewhat”experimental,” as it was nearly mono-White with a splash of Green for Sylvok Explorer, Predator’s Strike, 2 Horned Helms, and maybe one or two other cards. It had 15 lands, and if its initial onslaught wasn’t enough to overcome Dave, I wouldn’t have a chance. At some point before we started drafting, Mr. Williams mentioned with a certain degree of eagerness that he thought the whole round would come down to our match. After Gadiel kept a one-lander game 3 against Neil Reeves and the Cack administered to Bob Maher a sound, sound beating the likes of which most people only have nightmares about, Williams’s prophecy was fulfilled.

I was up a game and had gotten off to a good start game two, but, as seems to happen a lot, my opponent had stabilized. His deck, like mine, was no picnic, featuring a singleton Relentless Rats and virtually no removal. He always seemed to draw just enough creatures to prevent me from winning with an alpha strike. Our forces grew, his Stasis Cocooned Arcbound Crusher amassed counters, our libraries dwindled. Throughout the game, I was pretty sure he had no tricks up his sleeve, but as I said, I had no idea how his WSOP success would affect how he played against me.

Since he knew I had Blasting Station somewhere in my deck, he knew that he couldn’t play the waiting game forever, so he attacked with a flying Thermal Navigator and a Clockwork Condor. I had a Skyhunter Prowler as my only flying blocker, and I put it in front of the Navigator. Before damage, he sacrificed his Crusher to the Navigator, putting his modular counters on the Condor. Unfortunately for Dave, I had the Awe Strike. I also had a Stand Firm to kill the Navigator. (He may have had something to save it, but it was no longer relevant). I scryed into Predator’s Strike, untapped, studied the board, and swung with everyone. Dave spent a good ten minutes determining blocks before saying,”I know you’ve got the Predator’s Strike and you’re just f***ing with me, but I’m still gonna try to get this right.” If this had been a money draft, I would have shown him the Strike, but he could have been cajoling me, so I kept my mouth shut. After five more minutes, he had figured out the perfect blocks to stay alive assuming I didn’t have the Predator’s Strike. When I showed him the Green instant, I was 75% sure he had nothing. He consequently examined his hand and the board, shook his head, and packed up his cards.

I hope Williams isn’t too offended by my analysis (if he even reads Magic articles), since he is a pretty cool guy. I also apologize for the gratuitous melodrama. I don’t actually believe the fate of the world rests on my shoulders or anything like that. I also apologize for missing details or poor quality of writing, but writing is hard when you have to do it every week. Not just hard. Real hard. Try it out for yourself sometime.

And now, before we get to even more boring match coverage…

Top Five Songs, Week of 9/4/04

5. Chronic Future”Time and Time Again” — This is one of those songs where the artist gives up any semblance of caring during the verses and then goes for broke on the chorus. The verses, which have actually grown on me, are trite, moronic rap-rock. The chorus has an amazing melody, and I actually appreciate the lyrics even though they are also rather trite. I think the song’s bouncy cartoon video pushed me on the path toward loving it, but I doubt I’ll be buying the album anytime soon.

4. The Stills”Lola Stars and Stripes” — This song’s okay, I guess. It’s #4 on the list because it was in my head all week. I guess it’s in that genre of Radiohead wannabe Brit rock/quasi-Brit rock, which is admittedly not one of my favorites, but it’s nice background music. I had fun singing along with it, replacing the word”Lola” with”bola” or”Chola.” The Stills CD was one of the ten or so CDs in the case that disappeared from my car earlier today, which is a real shame, since I kind of want to listen to this song before putting”Still in Love Song” on repeat.

3. Taking Back Sunday”A Decade Under the Influence” — On its surface, this is just a stock screamo song.”Decade” is deceptively powerful, though, and few are able to resist the charms of the ubiquitous”I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Like many songs I grow fanatical about, it’s really hard for me to tell if this is a”good” song or not. I enjoy its break from the”verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus” convention you find in most songs, though, and it was on top of my list for a solid month before being dethroned by the current champion.

2. Blindside”Where the Sun Never Dies” — I think I know who I have to blame for the fact that this song was in my head all day Friday at Worlds, Pelcak. This song has three blatant strikes against it: 1) Its backbeat is a little too similar to that of AFI’s”This Celluloid Dream.” 2) It degenerates into some sort of bizarre techno music at the end. 3) It’s about Heaven. Yes,”the” Heaven. Despite all that, I can’t seem to help”getting into it” whenever it’s on. You know, like, head-bobbing and singing along and all manner of embarrassing mannerisms. About a Burning Fire, perhaps the best CD of the year, was also among the CDs that were either stolen out of my garage or flew out my window while I was delivering pizza today. I’ll have to replace it tomorrow.

1. The Killers”Somebody Told Me” — Before I heard this song, I was 100% sure I wasn’t gay. Now I’m down to 99%. Interestingly, The Killers’ Hot Fuss was not among the CDs that went missing. Go figure.

Actual Worlds 2004 Report Time

I had been dreading Worlds pretty much since the moment I found out I was qualified. I’m usually not the biggest fan of Constructed, and as the countdown to Worlds neared its end, I was no closer to finding a Type Two deck I liked than I had been in July. I didn’t want to play unprepared, I didn’t really feel like going on a”vacation,” and, pathetically, I didn’t really want to play in the draft portion of Worlds either. I had been losing nonstop on Magic Online, drafting horrible decks and not knowing what I could have done to make them better. Additionally, as inevitable as I knew it was that reality would hit and I couldn’t stay 2100 forever, I wasn’t looking forward to putting my bloated rating on the line. Isn’t that stupid? I know that rating doesn’t mean anything, I know that mine’s higher than it”should” be, and yet I didn’t want it to go down. Pathetic.

As for the Type Two part, I guess I could have tested, but the odds of me finding any significant tech seemed slim. There had been some Nationals and a few Grand Prix to provide some juicy net decks to choose from, so I at least had a decent idea of the possible Worlds metagame. The only problem is, none of the decks beat anything. Nassif’s Red deck, Tooth and Nail, U/W, Goblins, and so on…not a single one of these decks has more than like a 54% matchup against anything. There are a few exceptions – evidently, G/W Slide can’t beat Tooth and Nail – but Type Two looked to be a giant coin flip format. In a situation like that, the only way to improve your odds is to find a viable deck you like and practice with it until you’re comfortable and/or adept. I was too lazy for that, so I chose the de facto path of excessive, fruitless stress.

I arrived at the Oakland airport on Tuesday, August 31st around noon, met up with Dollarsign, and was whisked away by my dad’s 1946 Ford Bronco to the magical land of make believe. My dad had warned me about the modest nature of his apartment, but considering that it was a free room twenty minutes from the site, I was willing to make sacrifices. Nothing could have prepared me for the reality of this hovel, though. Located in a seedy area of Oakland, the”apartment” was actually an upstairs office in a humble two-story office building in a truckyard. There was barely enough room on the floor for air mattresses, the bathroom was downstairs adjacent to the main office and featured a miniscule shower, and the whole general atmosphere was depressing. Maybe I was experiencing excessive perceived empathy for what Gerry was probably thinking, but, as much as I love my dad and appreciate the gesture, I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect of spending four days in that place.

A few more exciting things happened on Tuesday First, we got to experience the Oakland/San Francisco public transportation system firsthand. The first day was particularly rough, since we had no idea which bus to ride or where the stop for it was or even how to purchase a train ticket, and even once we got used to all the procedures, the path from the Aten Truckin’ apartment to the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center remained rather arduous. Every morning, my dad drove us three minutes to the train station; we waited anywhere from two to five minutes for the train; we took a ten or so minute train ride; walked for five or so minutes to the bus stop; waited there for a good twenty minutes before the bus came; stayed on the bus for fifteen to twenty minutes; and capped it all off with a final ten-minute walk to the site. The site itself was rather nice – right on the bay with an excellent view – as was the weather; however, the environs surrounding the building left quite a bit to be desired. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the Fort Mason center was.

We got our lanyards, deck registration sheets, and Worlds playmats (anyone wanna buy mine?), and returned to the apartment. As you could probably imagine, the apartment was not the most conducive environment for slumber. Not only was it unfamiliar territory, and not only were there truck engines whirring through all hours of the night…but additionally, my dad was there. Lots of people like to complain about other people’s snoring, or perhaps speak of their own with a hint of pride. Such people may even bust out the superlatives, as I’ve found people are wont to do:”My uncle is the worst when it comes to snoring.””My brother snores Louder Than Anyone.”

I would like to inform each and every one of you that trying to sleep in the same room as my dad is like staring into the dark, hollow void of the abyss. It’s like the icy touch of the grim reaper on your quivering flesh. It’s like a Jimmy Fallon movie. The loudness, while a concern, is the least worrisome part of it. The intervals at which the noise grows to a frenzied crescendo are also rather erratic. Those two factors might still allow for one to grow accustomed to the sounds and ignore them long enough to drift off to sleep, but there’s a third factor: randomness of the noise produced. Sometimes it’s traditional snoring; other times, it’ll be wheezing; other times it’ll be ominous backward talking.**** The pitch and timbre change with each iteration, basically. Fortunately, Gerry and I went to bed exhausted every night, and Gerry had headphones.

I arrived at the site the next morning all excited for a wond’rous day of Type Two with the following decklist in hand:

4 Exalted Angel

2 Eternal Dragon

4 Decree of Justice

4 Mana Leak

3 Rewind

4 Thirst for Knowledge

4 Relic Barrier

3 Akroma’s Vengeance

3 Annul

4 Wrath of God

3 Coastal Tower

4 Flooded Strand

2 Temple of the False God

8 Plains

8 Island


4 Purge

3 Circle of Protection: Red

2 Condescend

1 Decree of Silence with Blindside lyrics

1 Decree of Silence borrowed from Ted Knutson

3 Stifle

1 Rewind

Blue/White control is one of my favorite decks to play, so it was rather fortunate to have a GP top 8 list as a jumping-off point. Gerry noticed that some people in San Francisco were planning on playing the deck that won the GP, Red/Green Goblins, so he opted for Silver Knights instead of Circles of Protection. This was a masterful decision, as the random U/R Obliterate decks that sprang up also lack a good answer to a turn 2 Knight. I didn’t have Silver Knights, and I decided that, all things considered, they wouldn’t be worth buying. I didn’t want to have to get up, walk alllllll the way over to AndyStok, pay him six dollars, walk alllllllll the way back, and then have to change my decklist. My laziness didn’t cost me too much, but the Knights were definitely the correct choice.

We only made two changes in the maindeck – We moved the completely random singleton Decree of Silence to the board (even though I tend to like that sort of thing) and replaced it with a third Akroma’s Vengeance. We also took out an Eternal Dragon, which isn’t that hot in this deck, for a fourth maindeck Exalted Angel. The Angel is good against just about everything, and it has the potential to steal some nice victories.

Round One vs…

If you think the first thing that happened on Wednesday morning was the tournament itself, you are sorely mistaken. For the record, here are the parts of Worlds on Wednesday that I could do without:

Randy Buehler introduction

-speech by Richard Garfield

-flag ceremony complete with techno music

-rounds 1-6

I don’t understand the need for all this pomp and circumstance. Is anybody actually interested in ceremonies and formalities? Seriously, speak up if you are. Maybe I’m just a heartless killjoy misanthrope as has been repeatedly alleged, but maybe I’m just the only person who’s not afraid to speak his mind. I think the only people who like such things are those polite people who either pretend to like them or who have gotten so good at pretending (in order to garner favor with the more prestigious, powerful people who are putting on such presentations) that they actually truly revel in them. One day, they hope that they, too, can deliver such oration to rapt audiences who are also only pretending to care so that they may one day be the center of attention.

This isn’t a criticism of Wizards or Buehler in particular; it’s more of a social commentary. It’s the biggest tournament of the year; the people at Wizards probably feel they have to do something to pay tribute to the special occasion. I feel like Donnie Darko, when he was questioning the”life line” assignment or exposing Jim Cunningham for the fraud he was. I have this need to explore what I think is the truth under the surface of the facades, not taking into account that we need these facades and delusions to make it through the day without wanting to open a vein, to give ourselves the illusion of order and meaning. That’s why Donnie Darko had to die. The world is no place for people like him.

That got pretty cryptic and preachy, so I’ll move on without further explicating the flag ceremony or Richard Garfield’s lame jokes about his children playing Magic. What I will say about the flag ceremony is that there’s simply no need for the f$%^ing”USA” chant. You’re embarrassing yourself, and you’re embarrassing me, especially considering we don’t have too much to be proud of in the realm of Magic these days. Look at the final standings. The second highest U.S. finisher was a member of the German national team. And even if we were still Number One, that chanting nonsense is like school on Sunday – no class. No wonder the rest of the world hates us.

Not that the rest of the world has a lot going for it either… Canada for example. There’s no place I’d rather be than the good ol’ USA, except maybe like Sweden, home of Anton Jonsson and Blindside.

I hate this article. It’s so smug and disjointed, and I sort of wish I hadn’t written it. Hopefully, other people won’t react the same way, but I won’t hold my breath. I think the introduction has gone on long enough. It’s time for…

Round One vs. Peer Kroger (Tooth and Nail)

For all the reasons I mentioned before, I’m ill at ease when I sit down for my first round. Even though I’m past the point where I should care who my opponents are, I’m mildly disquieted that I had heard his name before. I hope he at least has a high rating as we shuffle up.

Game One: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Oh, I’m sorry. You know what that sound means. Our time’s up for this week. Next week will be the conclusion, and as it turns out, the start of my worlds tragicomedy, including a special section I like to call”barnecdotes” as well as (perhaps) the”Great Barns in History” spotlight which I’ve been planning for months and, if I remember correctly, is, conceptually speaking, a ripoff of a PTR or Osyp bit.

Tim Aten


The Most Diabolical Hater This Side of the Mississippi

elvinpalidin on Modo

paul431796 on AIM

[email protected]


*Perish the thought.

**”Thanks barn,” in MN dialect. The”thanks barn” or”bitch” split is the name for the phenomenon in which a person who is up a game agrees to a 50/50 split or in which a person agrees to a lopsided split before a match.

***Sometimes I quote movie lines that don’t seem topical, but actually do parallel the sentiment I’m trying to express rather closely. Cupofjoe does the same thing, and we seem to understand each other. In this case, I mean”Not that it really mattered against this guy, but I’m a f&^%in’ master.” And please, when I”brag,” take it with a grain of salt. I don’t actually know how good I am, and I can’t find the proper balance between excessive humility and brazen arrogance anyway, so just assume I’m half-kidding whenever I talk about how good I am.

****Just kidding. Only my brother and Pelcak talk backward in their sleep.