Is losing frustrating? Yes. Tough on the psyche? Yes. Part of Magic? Yes. I’ll never deny that it is. You know what else is part of Magic? Whining. Complaining. Griping. Bitching. Sometimes when you’re on tilt, you gotta let it out, man. And some bad beats make great stories

Sorry to break from the Magic Online tour, but it has to be done so I can bring you something even more vital – namely, a lot of complaining.

At what price stoicism? I’d rather be a bad beat windbag than pop an aneurysm from holding the frustration in. Sometimes you just have to let it out – so when you do, why not make it fun?

That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to gripe. Bigtime. Follow along, and then join in on the forums.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks to be Geordie Tait. Even if you ignore the rapidly-growing forehead, suspect wardrobe, and lack of any sort of recent heterosexual contact, you’ve still got it rough when you step into my frayed shoes. Lately, I can’t buy a win at the Magic Online draft table. Each day I see more of Paris than an escargot chef, and Mistform Sliver enthusiasts are beating me like I stole something.

If Magic Online had a dressing area, I’d have been assaulted in the shower room by now. In all honesty, taking a series of bad beats at the less-than-capable hands of “awfuls” can be likened to dropping the soap at a maximum-security prison. One minute you’re in reasonably good shape, next you know you’re in the prison infirmary with a knot on the back of your head and a steady trickle bleeding into your rubber underwear.

Let’s talk about losing. We all know it well – it’s the opposite of winning, and instead of handing you a big check they give you the finger and knee you in the neck. There are precious few good things about losing, gentle reader, and I find that marginal positives such as”character building” and”play lessons gleaned from a tough loss” are quickly overshadowed by my desire to complain, loudly, and at length. Eventually, like a twisted sort of battery storing no electrical charge but instead overflowing with a jolt of pure and unadulterated whining power, I have to vent my frustration.

So I will. If it suits you, join in!

I am sick of losing to terrible players. Now, I frequently claim to be terrible, but the term is a relative one. Let me tell you, longtime reader, there are some awful, awful Magic players out there – and many of them know how to use a computer. I suspect that many of them are… Well… Guys just like you and me, but with one important difference. They don’t study up. The rest? Who knows? You duck and weave and jump from table to table and each time you’re greeted by a mixed grab bag of first-pick Reckless One maniacs, and dolts who think that a second-pick Gustcloak Harrier in a pack with a missing rare constitutes a good White signal.

This week, my matches have been an exercise in frustration. Many games have left me to ponder what sort of supernatural forces would have to conspire to vomit forth such an awful opponent. Were Magic Online not there to prevent it, I am 100% sure that many of my adversaries would draw before they untap, and follow that unholy caricature of sane Magic play by laying their Defiant Elves with a flourish, eyes awash in that special glee felt only by invalids and the criminally insane.

Like a twisted sort of D-Day doughboy, I try day in and day out to storm the beaches of New Awfulfield in the face of a withering .30-caliber machinegun fire of misplayed spells and grotesque mispicks. I am convinced that Gary Wise and other Limited pundits would, if confronted with the full horror of the ineptitude featured in any one of my drafts, shoot themselves for the sole purpose of having a grave in which to roll over. Like harbingers of forthcoming putrid card selection, Earthblighters hit the board on turn 3. Defiant Elves and Goblin Lookouts scamper daintily across the rolling hills and meadows of the opposing play window. Skirk Prospectors, enchanted with more Crowns of Fury and Vigor than you can shake a stick at, head into the red zone in a sickening parody of proper beatdown.

And yet… Sometimes I have to scoop ’em up against these asshats. It happens far more often than I would like.

These are my stories.

The Earthblighter in question was but a companion for the Goblin Sharpshooter that decimated by board while I flailed my way through successive double-mulligans, stopping every so often to fail, once again, to draw one of my many answers to the pesky 1/1 gunner. The Prospector? That bad boy went all the way – lugging more enchantments than Hakim, Loreweaver on coke and acid. I spent my time that game counting lands and planning to commit some form of seppuku using the plastic fork from my Michelina’s microwave dinner.

Don’t get me wrong – I beat most of the representatives of this medium-sized demographic, a group I personally refer to as “The Awfuls” in the same way a man might refer to his neighbors as “The Smiths” or the “The Joneses.” Every so often, though, I get steamrolled by one, and the taste of that defeat is as sour as a suckle from the bulbous teat of a Lemon-flavored Mr. Kool-Aid.

Come on readers, you know the feeling just as well as I! Stand up and be counted, and chime in with your complaints! Heck, I’m not done even close to done yet!

Most of the time I lose to an Awful, it’s because of a brutal landflood. Some such floods are so comical that I can almost make a game out of them. I start out with a three-card, four-land hand (I never keep the five-landers anymore) and I’m off to the races, peeling extra mana like a monkey peels bananas. I regale my computer with a litany of sarcastic remarks every time I go on a land-drawing streak in the face of an opposing nuts draw.

*hum some cheesy gameshow music*

“Welcome to the LAND GAME! I’m your host, Landy McLanderson!”

*rip another land*

“Mmm…. Full of Landy Goodness!”

*rip another land*


*rip another land*

“This gas-mining business is really paying off.”

*rip another land*

“Ooh, clutch draw!”

*rip another land*

“Ooooof course…”

*rip another land*


Then I scoop and head off to verbally punch some spine in the clan chatroom.

These complaining sessions usually last a good twenty minutes. Sometimes I lose to a mediocre player (one who can read a Wise article, but not a signal) because of a merciless and ultimately soul-shattering bout of landscrew. These are the games where I start to seriously consider abandoning the magical cards in favor of more rewarding pastimes like”selling vacuum cleaners door to door” and”setting myself on fire.”

I’m so far in draft set debt (DSD, baby!) that my only answer is probably a government bailout of some kind. I’ve gone from selling only chase rares to selling bulk rares to selling bulk foils to selling premium uncommons to selling bulk uncommons, and I’m still not above water. I’m afraid that the next step down the line might involve a the tried and true combination of “street corner+sign+something decidedly unwholesome.” At any given time I’m glued to the wall of the auction room like a remora, trying to squeeze a ticket or two out of dead-in-the-water lots like”VIZZERDRIX + WELL-LAID PLANS + GUSTCLOAK SAVIOR.”

Come on, I know you share my pain!

You too know the feverish discomfort that sweeps a would-be grifter after a bad beat – the match where you mulligan twice both games and lose to a mope who thinks”the stack” is a weight-gain product sold at GNC. Or the match where you come out slow and the 1535-rated McNugget smuggler across the table draws more bombs than the third brigade of Saddam’s Elite Republican Guard.

Frustrating? Yes. Tough on the psyche? Yes. Part of Magic? Yes. I’ll never deny that it is. You know what else is part of Magic?

Whining. Complaining. Griping. Bitching. Sometimes when you’re on tilt, you gotta let it out, man. And some bad beats make great stories. Just ask the master of the complaint, Matt Vienneau!

Got a bad beat? General gripe? Random remark about the nature of losing or your reaction to it? Chime in on the forums. And don’t be afraid to complain. Don’t be afraid to lament your dwindling bankroll or your mulligan streak. It’s an art form!

You’ll feel better after, constant reader. Trust me.

Geordie Tait

[email protected]