A Limited Article – Doing Time In Jersey

Friday, March 18 – Jon Corpora tells one helluva story about his journey to the StarCityGames.com Open in Edison, where he played Boros, but really, this article is all about the times.

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I’m awake.

I’m in a king-sized bed in a bedroom just big enough to fit a king-sized bed, a nightstand, and a dresser.

I suddenly remember that I’m in Pennsylvania. I do not live in Pennsylvania. It is Monday.

The analog clock on the nightstand reads 8:14. I have a presentation in Oswego, New York, in two hours and six minutes. It’s for a 400-level
playwriting class. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

I can hear the sounds of a shower happening on the other side of the bedroom wall. The dude in the shower is a guy I met a little less than twelve
hours ago while in line at this very hotel.

Out the window, there’s two feet of snow, snow that happened all overnight.

This —-ing blows.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I skipped my three classes on the day because they’re stupid and headed on down to my mom’s house, where I had to wait for a Boros deck that was being
mailed to me by my buddy Jeff, who just so happens to date my girlfriend’s sister. I hate waiting
for things. I am horribly impatient and neurotic, and I ended up texting Jeff incessantly, which probably led to him regretting sending me cards or
even ever meeting me. I have unlimited texting. I texted him a lot.

I had it shipped to my mom’s house in Cortland, New York, because my current place of residence in Syracuse is in a pretty sh—y part of town, and I
don’t trust an unsupervised box, even if it does just have Magic cards in it. I don’t need Grimy the Crackhead trying to smoke a playset of Stoneforge
Mystics he found on my doorstep. So I had them sent to momma bear’s house.

They didn’t get there till one, which sucked, because I was staying at my buddy Brad‘s house
near Atlantic City, and to drive there, you have to go through Philadelphia. So I was in a pretty good position to get blasted by rush-hour traffic in
Philly, but hey, a gamer’s gotta game. So I was off.

I plugged in the brand-new FM tuner my lady bought me, and it was super quiet, so I cranked up the car stereo. The car stereo decided it didn’t like
that and shorted out with a pop. My car’s stereo does this a lot, but usually it pops again, and we’re good to go. My car’s stereo would not pop again
for another three hours. I was only a half hour in at this point; I wasn’t even out of New York. So that sucked, but other than the slow erosion of my
sanity as evidenced by my talking to myself for three consecutive hours, it was a pretty smooth ride until I hit Philly.

My GPS has a function that allows you to avoid traffic. This sounds like a pretty awesome feature, but if I have any advice for anyone driving under
the guidance of one of these GPSes, it would be DO NOT —-ING USE THIS FUNCTION EVER IT’S THE GODDAMN DEVIL, AND YOU WILL WISH YOU WERE DEAD. I never
got this advice, so my GPS gleefully took me through the heart of Philadelphia, where I committed no less than 57 major and minor traffic violations, drove on a —-ing trolley track, and almost died seven times. Reader, I’m sure you’ve seen worse and blah blah blah, but believe me when I say:
I don’t care.

A four-and-a-half drive turned into six hours, four of which I experienced with no music of any kind. The only solace of the journey to South Jersey
was that it doesn’t cost anything to get across the Delaware over to Jersey, presumably because New Jersey is awful.

I got to Brad’s place at seven and found him playtesting the RUG/Angry Birds matchup against none other than Rob Vaughan, who would go on to Top 8 the Standard portion of the event, despite punting round ten no
less than twelve times. I hastily ate a couple slices of bacon pizza, a delicacy in South Jersey among those with an irrational fear of vegetables, and
we were off to games club.

Brad is a professor at Stockton University in South Jersey, and he’s the faculty advisor of a games club there, which basically means the school pays
him to draft. I think. I’m not really too sure. But anyway, I hung out there and playtested the Boros/Angry Birds matchup with Vaughan and never, ever
drew any Lightning Bolts. The list I tested against him is the one I ended up playing:

Into the Core in the board was pretty greedy on my part, and for the record, I never got there with it in eight rounds.

While Vaughan and I playtested, there was a 6-man draft happening around us. The guys drafted triple Mirrodin Besieged, and there was a cut to
top four, which makes my brain throw up. Then I went back to Brad’s and crashed in his guest bedroom.

Friday, March 4th, 2011

I woke up at 9 am to an e-mail telling me that Brad convinced his wonderful wife Melissa to let me use her computer for MTGO purposes, having just
obtained 73 of the 75 I was to play the next day in digital cards. While that was very nice of her, and, having met me, not something I’d ever
be kind enough to do, the fact of the matter was that I’d just picked up my 75 the previous day and needed to play some more games out in paper, in my
hands. I like to get a feel for what I’m playing, and plus, I hadn’t played paper Magic since the Mirrodin Besieged release tournament. So I passed up
on MTGO to goldfish the deck a little bit and play New Super Mario Bros on their Wii.

First, though, I had to take a shower. Their guest bathroom didn’t have shampoo or toothpaste, and since I wasn’t about to violate their hospitality
and traipse into their master bathroom for some toothpaste and shampoo, just to find a camcorder and tripod set up facing their marital bed, I decided
to take a trip out to the nearest Walmart. I figured I’d have to buy the stuff sometime down the road anyway, so mise, right?

Fun Fact: The phrase “so mise, right?” dates whoever is using it by precisely twelve years. Don’t use it; it’s dumb.

First of all, the Walmart in Mays Landing was waaaaay too crowded for 9:30 am on a Friday. The place was hopping, which made me want to die. Secondly,
the roads in New Jersey are nothing short of retarded. They’re two-lane highways complete with medians, but in South Jersey, they don’t let you make
U-turns. There are roads that cross the median, but they don’t let you do U-turns. Instead, there are little loops off to the right every
mile-and-a-half that spit you out perpendicular to the highway. These are the spots where you have to make your cross into the opposite lane. I’m not
making this s— up. By the time I had driven the ten miles to the Walmart that was a mile away, I was ready to forsake the toiletries I had sought
prior and instead start browsing their automatic weaponry selection.

Eventually I got home, and Melissa got home, and we hung out and watched Face Off and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia until Brad got
home, and then we made tacos, and Brad let me sample some beer, namely, some kind of beer that was aged in whiskey barrels (I’m sure he can fill you in
on what it was called in the forums), and it was delicious. I washed that down with some six-month-old Boston Lager, aaaaand then I was drunk.

Let me talk a little bit about my alcohol tolerance. As I’m writing this, I’m on my second pint of Dogfishhead’s Aprihop, and I’ve already thrown up,
called an ex and told her she was a [expletive deleted], and then called my mom and told her that I loved her a lot, like really a lot, and that that
would never ever change even if she went on a murdering spree in the middle of a Walmart in South Jersey.

So yeah. I was drunk at that point. Brad, in an effort to compensate for not having an infantile alcohol tolerance, downed some more crazy stout, ones
that could support the weight of rocks. Now that we were buzzed, the course of action was clearly for Brad’s wife to take us to Carlo‘s house, who would then take us to FNM.

We got to Carlo’s and then arrived at FNM, only to find that they were running Two-Headed Giant Standard that night. This frustrated me, so I defiled
one of their release event posters and wrote that there was a tournament happening on my birthdate in 1989. Not my proudest moment, but hey.

And also, I know what some of you are thinking: “Hey, man, if they wanna have their casual tournament, just, like, let them be, man.” NO. No, I will
not let them goddamn be. They’re an hour and a half away from a huge Standard tournament taking place the next day. Some of us picked up our decks 24
hours ago and would like to drunkenly play it at an FNM before driving two hours to goddamn Edison, New Jersey.

This move ended up costing the little shop of “I’m-not-plugging-them-because-they-are-a**holes” at least four tournament entries because we all left
and headed back to Carlo’s place, where I sobered up very quickly thanks to getting demolished by Brad all night, who was playtesting RUG. The games I
did win were usually thanks to Sword of Body and Mind on a Goblin Guide. Let me tell you, running out Goblin Guide turn 1 is the dumbest thing you can
do. Unless I have two Goblin Guides in hand, I never run him out turn 1, even if I don’t have Steppe Lynx. The turn after they tap out for Day of
Judgment or Slagstorm or whatever, you only need three mana — one for Goblin Guide, two to equip a sword — and you’re right back in it. Also, Sword of
Body and Mind on Goblin Guide is awesome because they can’t kill it with Inferno Titan or Bolt. That stuff ends up mattering a lot.

We got home at around 11:30, and I passed the F out.

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

I woke up to Brad calling my cell phone and telling me to wake up. I quickly put on some clothes, brushed my teeth, headed downstairs, and sat down,
and stared into space.

Seconds later, we pulled up to a Wawa, which blows my mind because a) I was just in Brad’s living room, and b) who put shoes on me? I’m not familiar
with what a Wawa is, but I became quickly acquainted with their no-surcharge ATMs, which I really wish existed nationwide. I guess New Jersey has to
have some sort of draw other than less snow and not ever having to pump your own gas.

Side note: Last summer, I went to GP DC with Brad and Carlo, and I got to witness firsthand Carlo, a South Jersey native, trying to pump his own gas.
If you ever get the chance to watch a Jersey native pump his/her own gas for the first time, I strongly suggest you pull the trigger on it because it’s

I ordered a breakfast sandwich with egg, sausage, and onions on it, and I received the most poorly assembled monstrosity of a sandwich I’d ever gotten
in my life. The onion slices were massive. They might as well have sliced an apple, sautéed it, and put it on my sandwich. It was awful.

I got to the site and encountered some Syracuse guys, including Adam Barnello and the incomparable Alex Artese, both of whom are solid dudes. I asked Alex what deck he was on at least twelve times, to
his frustration, and honestly, I still don’t remember what he played. There’s something wrong with my brain.

I registered my deck and bought a Magic Show playmat. I’m normally of the opinion that playmat = bad player, but these tables were unfinished wood, and
after getting to chat with Evan Erwin on a nightly basis for a few weeks while helping out with an episode of The Magic Show, I found that he is
actually nicer and cooler than his persona on The ‘Show, which I really never figured possible. Way to live the dream, bro.

Megan Holland walked up to our group and greeted us, and after Vaughan rudely demanded a sticker from her, she politely asked us how many people we
thought would be in the tournament. I boldly predicted that it would break a thousand, which drove Brad The Guy With The PhD In Math And Can Count
People In The Room Good to instant laughter. Megan was much kinder than Brad when she told me that she didn’t think that was going to be the case.


Round one: Femi Badmos

Femi is on Grixis Tezzeret. I’m very jittery, thanks to this being my first tournament in about three weeks. I can remember locking myself out of
double white and being stranded with a Mirran Crusader in hand after screwing up a Terramorphic Expanse fetch. He sticks a Tumble Magnet, but I’m able
to outlast it, and when the Tumble Magnet goes down to zero counters, he’s got a Pyroclasm for my two guys. The next turn, I roll out a Goblin Guide
and a Plated Geopede, and he hits Mindslaver off the Goblin Guide trigger. He’s got a lot of lands in play, but he can only play Mindslaver and pass. I
crack back for a lot, putting him to eight and breaking all my existing fetches in play and sit on a hand with five creatures in it. He activates
Mindslaver on his turn and neglects to crack my topdecked Scalding Tarn and fail to search.

I play that game awfully slowly, and as a result, we have ten minutes left for game two. My only excuse for my slow play is rust, but either way,
that’s where we are at. He sticks two Tumble Magnets, but I draw four Lightning Bolts that game for his Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Jace, the Mind
Sculptor, and two Jace Belerens. As his Tumble Magnets start wearing down and I finally start to get in there, time is called in the round. He has a
little game left with Treasure Mage for Wurmcoil Engine, but I’ve been sandbagging the Journey to Nowhere, and I end up winning the match 1-0.


At the end of the round, I just want to go outside and calm down a little bit. On my way outside, I see a couple that looks like they could be Justin
Treadway and Thea Steele, but I walk right past because I just need to sit someplace and breathe some fresh air, which is a pretty hot commodity in

Round two: Kenny Mayer

Game one of the mirror match, I make the executive decision to attack into double Plated Geopede. From there, it’s never really a contest.

Game two, I just sideboard wrong and get blown out by all the cards I should’ve boarded in, like Cunning Sparkmage and Arc Trail. The highlights of
that game include getting ravaged by a Germ token wearing both a Bonehoard that he didn’t search up and a Basilisk Collar that he did search up.


In between rounds, I spotted Steve Sadin, Justin Treadway, and Thea Steele, and introduced myself. Sadin blasted me with finger gunz, as he is wont to
do and made sure I got my free shirt okay and was very nice to me, as I had ran into him earlier before round one. I felt it prudent to introduce
myself to Justin and Thea, since I’d done enough cube drafts with them, and Justin made fun of me for going to time in round one even though I’m
playing Boros.

Round three: William Hudecek

Will is on U/W Caw-Blade. Game one is unexciting, as he mulls to five and is never really in it.

Game two is one of the many games where I make the skillful play of attacking for nine with a Steppe Lynx and a Plated Geopede on the table. Those
games are hard for me to lose.


At the end of round three, there was a massive breakdown in the DCI reporter, so SONG YOU SHOULD DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK BABAY!!!!

“Westbound Sign,” by Green Day. Green Day is my quote/unquote “favorite band.” Before they started rocking platform shoes and eyeliner, Green Day wrote
three-minute songs that kicked incomprehensible amounts of a–. I got Insomniac for my 16th birthday, and it was 22 minutes of pure awesomeness.
That summer, I stole my uncle’s wife’s Jetta while they were out and took it for a ride around, but then I remembered I was in Maine and didn’t know
where anything was, so I turned around and went back home. A car also almost hit me. Insomniac was playing while this all went down. Halftime

Round four: Tom Robbins

Tom is on Boros as well, but this time I know not to attack into double Plated Geopede, so I am much better off this round. I mull to five, while he
keeps a shaky seven, something I don’t understand. You’re playing 26 friggin’ lands. Mulligan aggressively! If your deck gives you the opportunity to
mulligan with impunity, friggin’ do it. I mulled to five that game, and it never mattered because I kept two lands, a Squadron Hawk, and
a Steppe Lynx, and that was that. The score sheet looked closer than the game actually was thanks to his Searing Blazes in lieu of Lightning Bolts, but
it never was.

I get all worked up when people don’t mulligan when they’re on Boros. It’s just a whole ‘nother avenue the deck has available for itself. You can
really mull to five and be perfectly fine. There were other games in this tournament where I mulled to five and was still able to win, certainly, but
this one stands out in my memory because my opponent had the same line of play open to him and neglected to take it.

Game two, he leads with a Goblin Guide, and I know there’s no way I’m losing this game. My turns are land; land, Plated Geopede; land, fetch, swing for
five, Mirran Crusader; chump Mirran Crusader, take one; Arc Trail two guys, land, fetch, swing for nine. I am miles ahead and only played three spells,
but since he fed me lands with Goblin Guide on turns where I was otherwise doing nothing, he pretty much gave me the game.


Another awesome thing about Boros is that it can so consistently put your opponent in the awkward position of trading their spells for your fetches. If
you can get your opponent in a spot where they’re doing this, it’s gonna be pretty hard for you to lose.

Round 5: James King

James is on Valakut without Green Sun’s Zenith, but I still have no idea how to play against it. I just get rolled in game one. Game two, I play out a
turn 1 Goblin Guide because I think it just might be right in this matchup to play your Goblin Guides as fast as possible before they combo out. He
Bolts my Goblin Guide, and I end up hitting him with a Squadron Hawk that has an Adventuring Gear on it to get him to 13. The turn before he goes off,
I draw another Adventuring Gear, equip it to my Squadron Hawk, and play a Terramorphic Expanse. That Terramorphic Expanse, along with the Scalding Tarn
I already have in play, is good for 13 damage, or exactly lethal.

Game three he mulls to six. I have a turn 1 Steppe Lynx, turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of Body and Mind; I am able to get in for six damage total
with the Steppe Lynx before he casts Slagstorm, but that’s fine, as I have the Goblin Guide to go with the Sword of Body and Mind I flashed into play
in response to Slagstorm. I really, really can’t stress enough how strong it is to sandbag that Goblin Guide. My first mill is rather unimpressive; my
relevant hits are two Avengers of Zendikar and a couple of Mountains, but my second mill is nuts: three Primeval Titans, three Valakut, the Molten
Pinnacles, the fourth of which was in play. He wants to play the game out after that, which I don’t mind (but feel bad for twisting the knife, so to
speak), but I have the Journey to Nowhere for his last Primeval Titan. When he goes to search his deck with a Terramorphic Expanse, he finds that his
deck is four Pyroclasms, two Slagstorms, and fetchlands, and scoops it up. He was a very classy dude throughout the match and handled the epic second
mill much, much better than I ever would have.


Round 6: Josh Herr

Josh goes turn 2 Overgrown Battlement, and I am pretty much cold to that, as I don’t have any Squadron Hawk, Stoneforge Mystic, or Hero of Oxid Ridge
at my immediate disposal. In the time it takes me to get past the Overgrown Battlement, he has played an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. In the interest of
time constraints, I scoop.

Game two is just another one of those games where I swing for nine on turn 3 with a Steppe Lynx and a Plated Geopede. I love those draws.

Game three he has a couple of Obstinate Baloths, but they don’t really battle well with my double Sword of Body and Mind draw. He has the Nature’s
Claim for one of them, but the other one goes the distance.


Round 7: Dustin Taylor

I keep a sketchy six-card hand of Steppe Lynx, Plains, Plains, Stoneforge Mystic, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Goblin Guide. On the play, he goes Darkslick
Shores, Inquisition of Kozilek.

Sshhheee-t. Didn’t see that guy coming.

He nabs my turn 1 play, and I groan audibly, foreseeing another Inquisition of Kozilek, but I’m semi-bailed out when I peel a Steppe Lynx and cast it.
He then goes Plains, Squadron Hawk, which was something I hadn’t seen or heard of up until I was playing against it, but it dawned on me in that moment
that Caw-Blade with black makes perfect sense just because Inquisition of Kozilek is so much better than Lightning Bolt.

I play out Stoneforge Mystic and grab Sword of Body and Mind like an idiot, and of course he has the second Inquisition of Kozilek for it that I forgot
all about. I eventually get him down to nine with dorks, but he stabilizes with Gideon Jura. I hate Gideon Jura. Day of Judgment is an unfair card as
it is. Did W/x control really need Gideon Jura?

Game two, he has Squadron Hawks again, backed up by a Grave Titan that I have the Journey to Nowhere for, and after that, his 2/2s are just outclassed.
Gideon Jura is just no match for Bonehoard this game, and Doom Blade can’t handle a black Germ token. I’m pretty sure if that Grave Titan had been a
Phyrexian Crusader, he would’ve won that game. HINT HINT.

Game three I just mull to five, and he rolls me. Most games, Boros mulling to five isn’t the end of the world. This wasn’t one of those games.


I was out of Top 8 contention, but despite the drag of seven rounds, I really wasn’t tired at all. Winning helps, I guess. I had to win out to Top 16,
and I was ready to do so.

Round 8: Scott Oldson

Scott had been hanging around all day because he knew the South Jersey constituent I was hanging around with, so we knew what the other was playing.
Before the round started, Scott remarked how it was a bummer that neither of us would be able to win. I assured him that it was okay and that the last
tournament I won was a 15-person FNM in 2005. This prompted Michael Pozsgay, who was sitting next to Scott, to high five me.

Game one, I attack for nine on turn 3.

Game two he gets down an Overgrown Battlement and is able to hide behind that until he safely combos out at fifteen life. I have a hard time beating
Overgrown Battlement without a quick Sword of Body and Mind.

Game three, my turns are land, Adventuring Gear; land, Adventuring Gear; Goblin Guide, equip, land, equip, swing. He shows me a Titan on the top and
the land in his hand to play it.

And that was how my tournament ended.


Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Vaughan ended up making Top 8 off of an 8-1-1 record, despite shuffling away a Scalding Tarn in game three of the tenth round that would’ve let him
cast Inferno Titan and win the game outright instead of drawing. That happened at 12:30 in the morning. Now we, as a group, had a decision to make. We
could either drive back to Atlantic City and let him drive himself back to the site at five am so he could get there at seven or we could get a hotel.
It’s important to note that Atlantic City is two hours away from the tourney site in Edison. SO. We could drive home at 12:30, getting there at 2:30,
and then have Vaughan wake up at five am, having gotten two-and-a-half hours of sleep, and drive himself back to Edison. Being the borderline sociopath
that I am, I was all about going back to Atlantic City and letting Vaughan fend for himself, but his dad ended up footing the bill for a hotel room, so
the four of us ordered a couple of pizzas and went to bed at two in the morning. My contacts spent the night in a pair of single-serving condiment

We woke up and dropped Vaughan off at the tournament site, and Brad and I went to find a Starbucks. Since the roads make no sense in New Jersey and my
GPS is a godless a–hole, we drove 20 minutes to get to a mall that was closed. The mall did have a Starbucks in it, though, but the guy flat-out
denied to serve us before the Starbucks stand opened in 20 minutes.


We drove back to the site coffee-less in time to see Vaughan lose his quarterfinal match, and since Carlo had signed up for the Draft Open, he opted to
stay behind without a ride home while we left for a McDonalds. Carlo’s phone was also dead, so Brad, ever the mensch, loaned Carlo his phone so he
could call someone for a ride when he was done.

We’re sitting at McDonalds, praying for death, when my phone rings. My caller ID tells me that I’m getting a call from Brad Forrest, who is sitting
right next to me.

Me: “Brad?”

Carlo: “Hey, are you guys still at McDonalds?”

Turns out Carlo lost his first match. YEE HAW. We drove back to grab him, and then we were off for Atlantic City.

From Atlantic City, I left for New York at about 3. It rained the whole way back, and since Pennsylvania has sh– for roads, water doesn’t drain from
them, so I had to go 50 the entire way until it started snowing sideways, at which point I slowed down to a modest 15 miles an hour. At about 8:30,
after the 12th tractor-trailer decided it was okay to pass me going 65, I decided enough was enough, and it was time to get a hotel room.

I get in line at a Holiday Inn Express near Scranton, Pennsylvania, and it’s me, then an old lady, then this dude Kevin who’s about my age, and then a
bunch of other people ahead of us. At this point, the three of us start talking about how much we all hate our lives. I wonder aloud as to where one
could procure some hard alcohol, and lots of people laughed because they thought I was joking around. Idiots.

Eventually, Kevin got to the head of the line. The guy at the desk told him there were two rooms available: a Jacuzzi suite (BALLER!) and a two-bedroom
suite. Kevin balked at the prospect of having to pay $150 for a room. This was my in.

“Did you just say two-bedroom suite?”

Kevin: “Yeah, man, you wanna split it?”


Kevin turned out to be a very solid dude. He even let me have the bed even though it was his card at the desk, and he slept on the foldout couch. We
pretty much just hung out, did homework, and watched the Boston @ Milwaukee basketball game. After a while, I announced that I did not believe Kevin
was going to murder me in my sleep and went to bed.

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I’m awake.

I’m in a king-sized bed in a bedroom just big enough to fit a king-sized bed, a nightstand, and a dresser.

I suddenly remember that I’m in Pennsylvania. I do not live in Pennsylvania. It is Monday.

The analog clock on the nightstand reads 8:14. I have a presentation in Oswego, New York, in two hours and six minutes. It’s for a 400-level
playwriting class. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

I can hear the sounds of a shower happening on the other side of the bedroom wall. The dude in the shower is a guy I met a little less than twelve
hours ago while in line at this very hotel.

Out the window, there’s two feet of snow, snow that happened all overnight.

This —-ing blows.

Jon Corpora

Pronounced Ca-pora