Ask Ken, 05/04/2004

Are you not winning as much because you are taking a less competitive approach to Magic or is it the other way around?

Welcome to the latest installment of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Kartin’ Ken. I am sure you are all still recovering from the marathon that was Regionals. Sit down. Take a breath. Inane double-digit round tournaments only come around once a year. That sense of impending doom can mean one of only two things. Either George W. Bush pulled ahead in the polls again, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! Good, because I want as much false hope as possible until they”find” Osama Bin Laden sometime in October.

Today’s letter comes to us from one of my most faithful authors. Ian Mac writes:


Are you not winning as much because you are taking a less competitive approach to magic or is it the other way around?

How much is your attitude toward the game dictated by the twists and turns within the game and how much are the twists and turns dictated by your attitude?

I am curious to hear a pro’s perspective on this issue.


Well Ian, to answer your first question, the events were unrelated. I stopped winning when I moved from Rochester, NY to Albany, NY. When I lived in Rochester, I played the game almost daily. Since my return to Albany nearly a year ago, I have only cashed in one event. It was simply my lack of practice that caused me to lose, I believe.

My casual approach to the game started when I became close to Alex Melnikow, Aaron Lipczinski, and Jill Costigan. Ironically, these are three of the best players in the Northeast. There are plenty of others in this group, but those are the mainstays. I had never in my life had as much fun playing Magic as I did with them, and it was this that caused my more casual approach.

In general, my winning and losing streaks affect my view of the game greatly. I don’t even like to blame luck for my losses. When I lose, it means I played badly. When I play badly, it makes me want to stop playing. Having top 8’d Worlds and top 4’d a Grand Prix, it is very embarrassing to throw away matches in Friday Night Magic.

But as my last article indicated, I love this game. So I am here to stay.

The source of everything about KK,


Hope you all are ready for Cinco de Mayo. Party time is almost upon us. G’night Everybody!


Welcome back to a brand new month of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. You know, when I think of May, I can’t help but think about the coming summer. There are few other seasons in the year that can cause me to sweat sitting in one place… three, tops. That wave of depression I feel can mean one of only two things. Either my gross obesity has finally gotten the better of me, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! That’s great – I was afraid I was going to have to stop eating myself into an early grave.

Today’s question comes to us from Max from Pittsburgh, PA. Max writes:

I’m kind of just getting started in the whole magic scene… going to regionals (failing miserably), prereleases, and drafting with friends. I was just wondering if there was any were to play Type II in or around Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is one of the most historically significant areas of the country for Magic. While you are starting playing the glory days are over with Randy Buehler and Paul Sottosanti working for Wizards, Mike Turian retiring, Eugene Harvey moving to New Jersey, Nate Heiss moving to DC, and Erik Lauer leaving to start a farming community made up of Swedish bikini models, there isn’t much left in terms of top level competition.

There are, however, several solid players remaining there. Nick Eisel, while not as active as he once was, will likely be leading the next wave of Pitt players despite his current DCI status. There are several lesser-known players at or near his level. Aaron van der Beek, Jeremy Darling, Carlos Chada, and Nick Lynn are some of the players to keep your eye on in the area. On again, off again pro Andrew Cuneo still lives there, but with the exodus of Pros from the area, expect his participation to drop off as well.

The regular place these and other players assemble is the O at CMU. This is a dining area that has great food and great Magic players. They assemble there on Tuesday nights.

The source on competitive Magic the world over,


Well that’s all the juice I got for today. If you are wondering how I did in Regionals, I made out better than all the 581 players in the tournament. I opted not to play. Eleven rounds is suicide. I love Magic, but lets be reasonable here. Hope y’all enjoyed the weekend. G’night Everybody!

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