A Gathering Of Magic

Usually, I have Friday night services at my temple that start at exactly the same time as the Friday Night Magic tournament. Last Friday, however, services ended a whopping hour before they usually begin , so I got to head over to StarCity Games for some much-needed Magic playing.

Hello once again! Before we get started, I’d like to send out a "welcome back" to my friend and fellow writer, Israel Marques. He sort of disappeared for a couple months, but now he’s going to start writing again, and I’m formally re-welcoming him to StarCity.

So, on to today’s topic: Friday Night Magic! Although the program has been in existence for several years, last Friday was the first opportunity I had to participate in the tournament. Usually, I have Friday night services at my temple that start at exactly the same time as the Friday Night Magic tournament; and, since such a casual tournament isn’t more important to me than services, I’d never chosen to attend. Last Friday, however, services ended a whopping hour before they usually begin (for reasons I can’t begin to believe you want to hear!), so I got to head over to StarCity Games for some much-needed Magic playing.

(Since Friday Night Magic is only three rounds of Swiss – and I got a bye the first round – I think I have ample time here to go on a tangent.)

Now, what do I mean by much-needed? Well, I usually get a fair dosage of Magic on a fairly regular basis – but recently, I’ve been Magically deprived. Not only that, but I’ve become increasingly excited about the November Extended format. I never thought that Dual Lands affected me… But now that I realize that they’ll no longer be legal, I’ve come to understand that those lands and those lands alone kept me out of Extended. I wasn’t willing to invest in them as much as my sense of competitiveness would make me if I wanted to play Extended. Now that they’re gone, I’ve built eight Extended decks just for the fun of it. Then, once I was in the "fun deckbuilding mood," I constructed some casual decks.

The first deck I "constructed" was actually an eight-land Stompy deck that was given to me as a gift. I consider it as a personal construction because I didn’t take it apart when I restructured my other Extended deck to be November-legal. Once November hits, it’ll be illegal but still loads of fun to play. I also happened to fashion a Suicide Black deck – it’s not extremely illegal because only one card isn’t in the format, but that Dark Ritual is what makes the deck work, so I’m willing to keep it casual instead of legal.

You know, every deck I build to play in a tournament is generally a control deck – but I find great pleasure in having fast, deadly beatdown decks available for the rush of a quick defeat. Something about the countless hours I’ve spent deliberating over intense control-oriented decisions has made me appreciate the mindless face-smashing that is beatdown of the purest quality.

So, I now have all these decks that are a blast to play (including I Want a Verdant Force Right Now, Sneak Attack, Mindless Oath, and Reanimator) and even a few competitive Extended decks (Oath, Squirrel-Opposition, and Permission) – not to mention my dozen Standard decks – but I’ve had little to no time to play Magic. So as you can imagine, I was all set to play some Magic when Friday night rolled around.

Beforehand, though, I had to get psyched up. I knew ahead of time that I was going to play, and I had to decide on my deck. I found out that most of the usual Friday Night Magic players are children involved in the Magic Academy. I considered playing a less-than-competitive deck in order to have fun and not to spoil it for the children… But once I arrived at the store, I found that several competitive players had happened to decide to play that night, so I reverted to my old favorite, my BUWUG control deck. (The extra blue is for blue-tiful.)

So, I was all ready to play. I finished off my sideboard and sat next to a StarCity regular who was playing against a young girl fresh from the Academy. I watched them play, and even though Rodney (the "old" player) was playing a sub-optimal deck in this casual game, he was still dominating the newbie. I slipped the kid a Wrath of God from my deck, which she cast at the wrong time – but it still didn’t help her win. Afterwards, I looked through my binder to see if I could improve her deck a little bit. "Say, do you want to borrow four Spectral Lynxes?" I asked her. Rodney told her that yes, she did, so I lent her the Lynxes and a Mystic Crusader to help her out a bit. Since I was in the lending mood, I lent Rodney my rogue black deck (the one with Hypnox, a Cyrillic Laquatus’s Champion, Nightmare, Chainer, etc.), and he decided to play it in the tournament. All right! He left before the tournament ended, but he went 2-0, sweeping each match with it. Way to go, black deck!

Instead of describing my moderate trading and sparse casual games, I think I’ll give a brief tournament report.

Match One vs. Bye

Game 1: I sweep.

Game 2: It was close, but I mised. Nantuko Monastery rulez. ‘Nuff said!

Match Two vs. Little Red Guys

Game 1: When my opponent played a first-turn Dwarven Scorcher, I became afraid – not of the Scorcher, but of what it could mean. Several months ago, I played against an aggressive red deck with the goblin that grows when I play spells; it was brutal – and designed to beat my deck. However, as the game progressed, I realized that this deck was more of the "common" variety, not including that fearsome Mogg and also missing certain good cards like Urza’s Rage and Obliterate. Wrath of God, being a good card, ensures my win, keeping the board clear until my Nantuko Monasteries can go in for the kill.

Game 2: …Was much the same as Game 1. I astounded him with the number of counterspells in my deck and sailed to victory.

Match 3 vs. Bobby Goodlatte with GWU Madness Beats

Game 1: I won’t say that I had poor draws this game. However, I will leave a space that would otherwise be filled with such text:



Nah, he actually legitimately won this game. It was pretty cool that he was so serious (even though we were playing for the tournament). He wrote down the counterspells and Fact or Fiction that I cast in order to keep track of what I had left. At one point, I’d cast all of my Counterspells and some Undermines. He said something to the effect of "Only a few more counterspells to go."

Then I cast Absorb.


That put three more counters that he had to deal with. I kept the two Dromar’s Charms in my hand hidden for a rainy turn, which eventually showed up and caused him even greater shock. The game was close, with me Wrathing some threats and easily out-countering him, but a poke here and a smack there whittled me down to low enough life for him to win the Nantuko Monastery race.

Game 2: For this game, I was stuck at three land for about the first ten turns. What’s exciting is that I stabilized fairly well throughout those ten turns. Although I had to counter about every turn, since I wasn’t drawing land, I had an ample supply of counterspells. Unfortunately, I couldn’t dodge fate forever, and I ended up succumbing to the odds and losing the game.

So, I came in third place with no prize. Oh well – I had a good time! It was definitely great to play Magic some, and the rest of the night was cool as well. In case you were wondering, the Spectral Lynxes won that girl a game or two, though she left before the tournament ended. All in all, it was a good experience, and I will definitely try to make it back one of these days.

In other words: "I’ll be back, Bobby Goodlatte, I’ll be back…"

Daniel Crane

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