An Evening At The CMU “O”

At the end of pack one, Nick Lynn makes the mistake of talking.
“I’m drafting Mono-Artifact.” – Nick
“You’re drafting Mono-Idiot.” – Turian

Stupidity level rising.

Tuesday, December 2nd

3:36 PM: Beep.. Beep.. Beep.. Beep.. Beep.. Bee….

Man I hate waking up to that sound.

Why do alarm clocks have to be so friggin’ annoying? I guess without that obnoxious sound awaiting me in the morning, I’d probably sleep through the rest of the day.

Whoa, it’s almost 4pm already! And it’s a Tuesday?

“Aren’t you in school Nick?”

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, I’m off on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“How Lucky!”


So why would I find it necessary to be sleeping so late on one of my days off when I could be out doing other things?

Oh c’mon, you already know the answer.

Obviously I spent the entire night playing Poker and running moneydrafts on Magic Online.

So anyway, I was reluctantly getting out of bed. I do my usual thing, hop in the shower, eat, all that good stuff, and I’m ready to roll by 4:15. Suddenly I remember why I set my alarm clock to begin with. It’s Tuesday! Tuesday is Magic night at the O on CMU campus, and quite possibly my favorite day of the week.

It’s Tuesday!

For the past couple months, a number of us have been running the all night drafts from 5pm to 5 or 6 a.m., with the average drafts per week being five or six. While this much drafting may seem insane to some people, we’re all quite used to it. The bad thing this semester has been that I have an 8 a.m. class Wednesday morning, and then have two more classes with breaks in between which usually keeps me on campus until 5 or 6 p.m. Wednesday night. This results in me getting little or no sleep Tuesday night and coming home after class all day and crashing on Wednesday. But hey, the drafts make it all worthwhile.

4:18 PM : I call Downtown Andrew Brown to see if he’s coming along like he does every week.

Brown informs me that he’s almost done painting his bathroom and isn’t sure whether he’s going to go tonight or not. After some convincing on my part, he agrees to get ready so I can pick him up on the way to CMU.

I jump in the car, and head for a night of gaming and laughs. When I’m about halfway to Brown’s house, my cell phone goes off. It’s Brown informing me that his mom changed her mind and wants him to paint another part of the bathroom or something and that he will try to get a ride down later. Bummer. Brown always comes along on Tuesday nights, and even if he only drafts a couple of times, he’s still a pretty funny guy.

5:03 PM : While being stuck in traffic, I realize that most people are on their way home from a long day at work, while my day is just beginning. Go figure.

5:14 PM : I arrive on the CMU campus, park in the garage, and head into the student union building where the Original Hotdog restaurant (The O), and a night full of drafting await me.

Since I’m a little later than usual because I woke up so late, four of the guys are already there when I walk in. The first thing I see is Jason Martel and Nick”Beverly” Lynn engaged in a grueling game of DC10 (infinite mana magic).

Jason’s board features such hits as Groffskithur and Woebearer, each equipped with a Vorrac Battlehorns.

DC10 is so fun because all of the bad cards get to come out and play. It’s the only format where topdecking a Galvanic Key to counteract your opponent’s Inertia Bubble is considered to be lucky.

While I’m stashing my bag and coat in the back of the room, I hear an uproar of laughter followed by..

“Damnit! I walked right into Dream’s Grip.” – Nick Lynn

Like I said, DC10 is full of winners.

As I’m walking back to where the guys are playing, Mike Turian and Mike Sabatino, a.k.a. Saby (he wrote an article here last week on Mirrodin uncommons, check it out) are walking in.

Turian, being the goof that he is, comes over and starts writing random things on my notebook.

Soon, more people show up, too many in fact, and we have to give out cards for seating and include four Sorry cards since we have twelve people. Luckily, I don’t get Sorry’d and the draft starts soon after.

5:29 PM : Draft One

Somehow I get caught in”The Squeeze,” being fed by Rachel and feeding Turian. Thankfully, Mike and his girlfriend never have any intentions of cooperative drafting, so I’m not really worried. Back at Grand Prix: Tampa a few years ago I was in a similar situation seated between Brock Parker and his girlfriend Tammy and I know for sure that they’d worked out some cooperative draft plan or signals ahead of time just because of the way the draft went. The one thing that always stood out in my mind was Brock trying to ship through a fifth pick Violent Eruption to his girl. After I hated it up, you could see that Tammy was visibly upset. Even though I foiled their teamwork, I still didn’t like my position in that draft, that’s for sure.

My first pack for this draft is pretty busted, containing Skeleton Shard, Skyhunter Cub, Slith Ascendant, and Neurok Spy. Obviously I take the powerful Shard here and I am rewarded when Rachel ships me Betrayal of Flesh pick two with a rare missing. Must’ve been a good rare too since Betrayal is better than most. The rest of the first pack goes okay and I’m firmly entrenched in Black with a Fangren Hunter and a couple Green cards going into pack two.

At the end of pack one, Nick Lynn makes the mistake of talking.

“I’m drafting Mono-Artifact.” – Nick

“You’re drafting Mono-Idiot.” – Turian

Stupidity level rising.

Pack two offers a real dilemma for my deck. I bust open Goblin Dirigible, Goblin Replica, Myr Enforcer, Wizard Replica, and Electrostatic Bolt.

So since I’m still kind of hoping to put that Fangren Hunter to use, what’s the correct pick here?

It comes down to Goblin Dirigible, Goblin Replica, and Static Bolt for simple reasons. While Enforcer and Wizard Replica are certainly high picks, and good with the Skeleton Shard, the others are simply better. The only time I’d take Enforcer over Dirigible would be if I already had at least four to five Artifact lands.

Back to the pick. Goblin Replica is clearly absurd with Skeleton Shard, and also very splashable and helpful if we pick up any Moriok Scavengers. The Bolt is simply the best card in the pack without considering any of the contents of our deck, and the Dirigible is a solid flier.

I went with the Goblin Replica simply because I love abusing it with the Shard and it’s a better splash card if I end up running Green, since it’s basically a morph creature if I don’t draw a Mountain.

The other tough call from this draft occurs right after I take the Goblin Replica. The pack Turian ships me has a Spikeshot in it, which I gladly add to my pile. The pack after that, though, has both Promise of Power and Shatter. If this pick had been on Magic Online, I certainly would’ve timed out on it.

Honestly, I’ve had a lot of bad experience with Promise of Power. I always draw it in situations where I can either make a 1/1 flyer or go down to two life and let my opponent kill me with his on-board Pyrite Spellbomb. However I am aware of how good a turn five, 4/4 Flyer can be, and I also like the fact that you can refill after an attrition war or during a stalemated board position. Or both.

Shatter is the definition of brutal efficiency in this format, being able to take down most of the important cards and at the low price of two mana, instant speed.

I really don’t know what correct pick here was, but since I was almost mono-Black, and not much Green was coming I went with the Promise assuming that Turian was in Green (he was). This was the first draft where it actually proved it’s worth and won me a couple of games but the pick is definitely debatable.

I also defy [author name="Mike Turian"]Mike Turian’s[/author] logic in this draft, taking Pewter Golem over Consume Spirit twice. These picks were certainly correct, as I was still looking for more reasons to play the Green cards. Dilemma that.

At the end of the draft, I’m looking at a core Black deck with a double-splash of Deconstruct and Spikeshot Goblin plus Goblin Replica. I also had two Copper Myr and a relevant Tree of Tales to support the splash. My deck was the ideal creation of anything Nim, including Nim Devourer, Nim Shambler, Slagwurm Armor, Fireshrieker, and Neurok Hoversail. I also had lots of targets for the Skeleton Shard, namely Nim Replicas and a Clockwork Condor.

Since we play for the cards in these drafts, it’s always a good idea to see if any of the money rares are floating around so you know what you’re playing for (Chrome Mox, Glimmervoid, Broodstar, since you’re not getting passed an Oblivion Stone unless someone opens it in the same pack as Loxodon Warhammer). This draft was pretty saucy, containing a foily Glimmervoid and a Solemn Simulacrum as the highlights.

Round 1 vs. Mike Turian (G/W)

Mike’s deck is a nice collection of ground-pounders and fliers, as he clearly took the hint when I shipped the Slith Ascendant, and got into the color.

Game one is basically over when I get the Hoversail on my Myr Enforcer and Mike is kinda manaflooded and can’t really find an answer or continue to push his Skyhunter Patrol through.

Game two is hilarious. By turn six I have a 9/1 Nim Devourer equipped with Hoversail and Fireshrieker. Mike’s Tel-Jilad Archer gets in the way, but after that he’s forced to scoop to the awesome power of the Devourer. Strike!

While I’m waiting for the second round to start, four more people have arrived, and are about to begin a second 8-man draft. One guy is waivering on whether or not he wants to draft, which prompts our in-house master of all things Sun Droplet, Phoenix, to try his hand at getting the draft started.

“I’m Bigger than you, Draft!” -Phoenix, self-proclaimed Black Man

Eventually their draft gets underway and I watch some of Mike Saby’s picks.

5:52 PM : Mohawk Scott, a Magic-playing employee of the Original Hotdog arrives for his graveyard work shift, and drops off the Moons of Mirrodin Book. And yes, he actually has a Mohawk. The conversation goes something like this..

“Here, I brought this book in case any of yins wanna read it.” – Mohawk

“Dude, I really doubt anybody is gonna want to read th..” – Me

“Shutup and Take it!” – Mohawk


Soon after, my second round starts.

Round 2 vs. Mike Patnik (G/R)

Patnik’s deck is quite good, featuring Shrapnel Blast, double Fangren Hunter, Simulacrum, and a bunch of other goodies.

Game one Gauntlets crush me on random guys, despite my best efforts to stop the beatings.

Game two my hand is complete gas and Mike mulligans down to five. He still puts up a good fight though, forcing me to use my Betrayal of Flesh earlier than I want to. Eventually that and Promise of Power allow me to overpower his double mulligan and we’re on to game three.

The third game is quite weird since I play out a Slith Bloodletter and he has a Tel-Jilad Exile, and neither of us really do anything for a while. Since we both have Neurok Hoversails out, I joke that the person who’s Hoversail isn’t blown up is going to win the game. Eventually, I draw into my Goblin Replica and have the Skeleton Shard waiting in hand. Once his Hoversail is dealt with, my Devourer is free to rule the skies, and ends the game in short order.

In the other draft, the pinnacle of boredom has been reached. The two slowest players at CMU, and possibly also in the world, Phoenix and Carlos, have been paired in round one. During the draft, it was basically a rule that anyone feeding Phoenix had to hate Sun Droplet if there was a chance it’d get to him. If you think you’ve seen slow play, you’ve never seen this man with a deck containing four copies of Droplet. [I’m picturing Da Hump, Trey Van Cleave, and Dan Clegg combined. – Knut]

Last week he took well over two hours to complete one game. Not a match. Not an entire draft, like most normal people would finish in that amount of time. A single game. The man regularly bluffs a counterspell for five minutes every turn if he has a Blue mana untapped.

I was going to go watch the match and take some notes, but I figured I’d probably die of boredom before one turn was even completed. Plus, my finals match was starting.

Finals vs. Ben I don’t know your last name but you come every week (U/R/g)

I knew before the match that Ben’s deck was a monster. He has Viridian Shaman, Crystal Shard, and Loxodon Warhammer, just to name a few.

Game one my deck decides it would be a good idea to stall on five mana and draw both of my Pewter Golems while I get wrecked by Shaman plus Shard.

Game two is much of the same, except this time I get stuck on three lands and he again has the Shard off of a Myr on turn three with activation. I fail to draw land and die. Meh.

It turns out Rachel picked Altar of Shadows over the Betrayal, saying that she just didn’t see the Betrayal in there. Betrayal is definitely better regardless.

In the raredraft, Ben took the Foil Glimmervoid first, and left me with the Jens and some other decent rares.

8:19 PM : Draft Two

While the Carlos vs. Phoenix Marathon Match had entered its second hour of play, Mike Saby was thoroughly sick of waiting to play round two of that draft. We’d already finished our first draft, and they were still waiting to start the second round. That’s Phoenix for ya.

In the meantime, we decided to start up a two-on-two since their match would still be going for quite some time.

We randomly selected teams and it was Jason and I against Saby and Jeff.

First pack I cracked nothing but a Fangren Hunter and took it. I got some late Blue stuff, including two Wizard Replicas, and slowly slid into the color.

Pack two I opened the bomb: Crystal Shard. Right into my stack it went. Jeff passed me a completely insane pack, which still had Betrayal of Flesh, Deconstruct, and Living Hive. An uncommon missing could only mean Warhammer or Grab the Reins, since I knew Jeff was in Black at that point. At this point I was still considering the Green (just like the first draft) since I like Fangren Hunter so much, but I quickly came to my senses and took the obvious pick from that pack, Betrayal of Flesh. My deck filled out quite nicely during this pack, picking up a slew of good creatures, and a recursive Moriok Scavenger to go with my Shard.

At the end of pack two, Nate Heiss and Turian were both watching the draft, and I convinced Nate to go get a Cherry ICEE and bring one back for me.

When I busted pack three, I was greeted with an Oblivion Stone. Unfortunately I had to ship a Spikeshot to Jeff who I knew was B/R at this point. Saby shipped me a very quality pack, still containing both Looming Hoverguard and Skeleton Shard, with the Rare absent. This is great for my deck, since I get the Hoverguard to go with my Shard, but I really don’t want Jeff getting his hands on a Skeleton Shard. Oh well, Hoverguard it is, as I didn’t even have enough artifact guys to even consider the Black Shard at that point. Hoverguard is just nuts anyway. So guess what was waiting for me in the very next pack? Yet another Looming Hoverguard! How Lucky.

My deck ended up a few cards short and I had to run double Lumengrid Warden and a Scrabbling Claws. This wasn’t that bad though, considering Saby had at least two of the pro artifact guys, which Warden puts the brakes on, and Jeff had the Skeleton Shard and a Moriok Scavenger which my Claws could handle.

My teammate, Jason, had other ideas during the draft. Apparently he drafted a four color, no Journey of Discovery monstrosity. He did have Solar Tide and all of his cards were pretty solid, but I was pretty sure I’d have to 2-0, which my deck was more than capable of doing.

8:35 PM : Phoenix and Carlos have finally finished their match. At this point, Phoenix decides to engage in an argument with everyone who was making fun of him about how slow he plays.

“I’m not slow, I’m misunderstood.” – Phoenix

Saby runs off to play his match from his first draft, and Jason and Jeff have already started playing. Guess I’ve got some time on my hands.

I use my spare time to become completely enthralled with my foil Silver Myr.

I began tilting the Myr at different angles in Jason’s face.

“Look at him, he’s soo shyyneeee..” – Me

“Oh God, shutup about that thing.” – Jason

Somehow Jason 2-0s Jeff, and confirms that Jeff did in fact open Warhammer. Jeff’s deck is also peppered with removal, containing two Consume Spirits, a Bolt, Shatter, and the Spikeshot I passed him. Not to mention the off-color Titanium Golem. He’s a nice one..

Saby has finished somehow losing to Phoenix in the other draft at this point and comes over to play Jason while I suit up against Jeff.

Game one is retarded, as I mulligan twice and then get stuck on one land. It’s okay though because Jeff is also stuck on two. He eventually gets to three mana and starts beating me down with dorks and we’re on to two.

In the second game, Jeff decides it would be a good idea to get stuck on three mana again, and I draw Crystal Shard, making short work of that situation.

Game three takes forever, even though it was basically over for quite some time. Jeff gets down Warhammer and I don’t have a way to destroy it for quite some time. What I do have, however, is Crystal Shard, which effectively halts the Hammer beatings, since I can kill his guys and prevent some of the lifegain by bouncing my own. That all stops when he gets Skeleton Shard out though. For a couple of turns, he’s hitting me for two, and digging up his splashed Cobalt Golem after I kill it. At one point he’s able to equip his Longbow and take out my Foil Silver Myr. Noo!

“Look at him! He’s all shiny in the graveyard!” – Me

“If you talk about him again, I swear to god…” – Jason

It’s a fairly stupid affair, and my deck gets sick of it quickly and offers up a Looming Hoverguard. Jeff ends up drawing that same Cobalt Golem over twelve times for the rest of the game. I draw my Stone and also have Wail of the Nim in hand to set up the 11 mana, destroy-your-team, regenerate-mine combo, but it isn’t even necessary as my two copies of Stalking Stones are unaffected by their big brother the Oblivion Stone anyway. All I have to do is put a fate counter on Crystal Shard and ship the Hoverguard back to my hand. The only reason it took so long is that I wanted to keep Jeff in the draw step lock so that he couldn’t draw anything to get out of the situation (like his Shatter). Once the Stone went off though, it was all over.

Somehow, Jason managed to 2-0, negating my match against Saby, and also allowing us to move on to the next draft.

The rares for this draft were pretty crappy all around, with the only one worth any money being the Oblivion Stone that I’d cracked. Jason and I flipped for it, and I won the flip. As a consolation prize, Jason also gave me my Myr lovechild which is arguably worth more than the Stone. He’s so shiny.

While we’re waiting to start another 8-man, the topic of conversation changes to Jason’s place of employment: Chuckie Cheese. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a place for Children’s parties, similar to Discovery Zone or something like that. Anything with giant ball pits and tubes to crawl through. Jason is what we call a true Childcare Professional, and for this, he’s earned the nickname of Doctor Martel. Obviously we just couldn’t stop there, and Andrew Brown and Jeremy Darling were laying the real smackdown on Jason during one of the drafts last week. They were both bombarding him with insults and it in turn caused Jason to misplay and lose against Turian.

< LittleKidVoice >

“Doctor Martel to the Ball Pit” – Brown

“Doctor Martel, what can I get for 584 tickets??” – Jeremy

“The Skeeball machine is broken will you come fix it?” – Brown

< /LittleKidVoice >

You get the idea.

Time for the third draft.

10:31 PM : Draft Three

As we all sit down to begin another 8-man, Jason inflicts more embarrassment upon himself by talking…

< LittleKidVoice >

“I’m a Muppet, I’m a Muppet, I’m a Muppet..” -Jason

< /LittleKidVoice >

He’s definitely a strange one.

If you thought the last deck was insane, this one is an absolute monster. Pack one I crack Plated Slagwurm and get shipped Spikeshot. Seems good. I continue into G/R, and have a solid deck going into pack two. I open Grab the Reins and not much else, and happily include it in my stack. Pack three is where it breaks wide open though, as I open Warhammer and get shipped Betrayal of Flesh (anyone sensing a pattern here?). The guy took Shatter and he was B/R, which seems incredibly wrong. Why in the world do I always get shipped Betrayal. It’s Terminate and then some. I’m sick of telling people not to pass it, because they don’t listen anyway. Oh, it was foil too.

There were three copies of Soul Nova in the draft, so I made a mental note to play around them whenever the mana was left open.

So yeah, my deck was the nuts. I ended up with two Leaden Myrs to splash the Betray, and only had to run one Swamp. I also had a solid creature base with Fangren, two Exiles, and some solid Red men.

Round 1 vs Jason (G/W/u)

Jason informs me that his deck is terrible, which is basically what he always says. This time, he’s not lying though.

Game one I get Hammer on Spikeshot and soon he’s packing it in.

Game two I get the Hammer again and play around Soul Nova (which he has and eventually has to use to less than optimal effect), and he Viridian Shamans my Hammer. Then I break out the reserves in Grab the Reins and some large Green boys like Trolls of Tel-Jihad, and it’s all over.

Round 2 vs Ben I still don’t know your last name (U/G/b)

Ben crushes my clunky draw game one by just dropping a plethora of men before I can even get on the board. Hmm.

“All my deck does is play guys.” – Ben

“Great, what’s your point?” – Jason, who was sitting nearby

“Well, Guys are good aren’t they?” – Ben

“I tend to prefer Girls, myself.” – Jason

Game two seems much more favorable for me. That is, until Ben drops out Molder Slug. During my upkeep I shoot the Slug with Spikeshot and throw my Myr at it with Shrapnel Blast, removing Ben’s only hope of winning this game as I have Hammer in the grip. The Elephant is stalled by Regress and Aether Spellbomb, but eventually has his day.

Game three Ben drops Molder Slug again, and this time I have no artifacts on the board. He’s a little stalled on land, and drops a Flayed Nim with two mana up. On my turn I cast possibly the greatest Grab the Reins ever, throwing his Slug at his Flayed Nim, and consequently winning the match.

While I’m waiting for the finals I remember a stupid occurrence from the day before that I hadn’t told anyone about yet. I received and email from the DCI informing me that I was more than welcome to play in the PTQ season for Kobe and also play in GP Anaheim. This email was not from a mailing list, and was addressed directly to me. If this isn’t proof of how ignorant and unorganized the DCI is, then I don’t know what is. I’ll print out that email and see you at the GP.

Round 3 vs Nick Lynn (B/w)

Well, Nick’s deck also appears to be insane, being near mono-Black with triple Consume Spirit, Jens, Abunas, and others.

My draws are just awful in both games and Nick crushes me handily. Doesn’t really matter though since there are two copies of Jens in the draft and it’s the best rare there is. We both get a Jens, and there are still good rares after that, so it turned out to be a pretty good draft anyway.

1:05 AM : The Muppet informed me that he was going to take a piss.

By the way, one of the dudes in this draft had double Skeleton Shard and was taking Ogre Leadfoot over Clockwork Condor. This is simply awful, as when you have double Shard, you build your entire deck around it. Take the damned Condors.

1:12 AM : Draft Four

The night is still young enough to feed the addiction.

This draft was another two-on-two with Jason and I versus Nick Lynn and Saby. I didn’t take too many notes on the games because I was starting to feel tired, most likely because I’d stayed up all night Monday night as well.

The actual draft was awful, as they completely out-opened us. Saby’s deck contained Pentavus, Arc Slogger, and Warhammer, while Nick Lynn’s had Grab the Reins, Warhammer, Plated Slagwurm, and two Spikeshots. Nick and I both opened packs with Grab and Spikeshot, and took the Grab and shipped a Spike to each other. Pretty lame.

Anyway, we somehow forced a tiebreaker when Saby went 0-2, but my Black/red deck simply could not handle Nick Lynn deconstructing his own Cathodion into a fourth turn Plated Slagwurm. Whatever, it’s pretty hard to beat Team Warhammer.

Jason was again running four colors in this draft, though he did have Crystal Shard, which he took over Slagwurm.

3:27 AM : Draft Five

I’m really feelin’ it now. Usually I don’t get tired on Tuesday nights, but I also usually manage to get some sleep on Monday. This draft has even less notes than the last one, but I do know that I was B/R again, with a pretty decent deck which had two Slith Firewalkers, Spikeshot, Scythe of the Wretched, Bonesplitter, and Mask of Memory. Teams were Nick Lynn and I vs Jason and Saby.

At this point, the cleaning crew for the campus is cleaning all of the tables around us and we continue to play. We’re true addicts.

I crushed Jason in our actual match, but then he returned the favor in the tiebreaker as Nick Lynn went 0-2 this time. Funny thing was that there wasn’t a single good rare in either of the last two drafts so it didn’t even matter who won.

Works Cited

  • Jason can be reached at ElfManDingo on Magic Online or xVerdantx on AIM. Please contact him if you wish you set up a party for your child at his expense.

  • The word”rich” was said 211 times over the course of the night. Yes, I kept track.

  • Bananas are yellow.

  • It is now 5:17AM, I have a class to attend

  • Nick Lynn is looking into legally changing his first name to Beverly

  • Next week : Mohawk Scott gets a buzz. Don’t miss it.

Nick Eisel

[email protected]

Soooooo & ThatsGameBoys on MODO