That afternoon, while getting into my car, I dropped my bag. Bad omen.
Oh yeah. I’m all about some bad omens.
Aside from my almost getting strip searched (who’d have known there was metal in the hair-pull-back-majigger I use?), and Pete being harassed by a crazy x-ray detector guy, the actual trip was uneventful. Then we get to the hotel. The Southgate Tower, right across the street from Madison Square Garden. Oh yeah baby, we have arrived in New York. Pete Hoefling, my partner in crime for practically every Magic-related event, reveals the total cost of the room. It’s pretty high.
“Well,” I said,“for that much money, there better be a telephone in the bathroom.”
And I’ll tell you why. When I went to Milwaukee to cover Gen Con (for Scrye), I stayed at the Pfister, THE hotel in Milwaukee. When I got there, the first thing I noticed was the ridiculous telephone, right next to the toilet.
“Man,” I thought,“there HAS to be a better way to spend money than THAT!”
For two days, every time I went in there, for any reason, I shook my head at the ridiculous telephone. Then, the last night I was staying there, while I was, um, facilitating, it rang. At that instant, that one split second, came an instant and absolute appreciation for the telephone.
And ever since, when staying in a room that costs way more than a hotel room should, I’ve been adamant that a telephone be available in the privy.
But there was no privy-phone.
What a crime.
Then I was thirsty. I grabbed a glass, hit some ice and filled the cup from the tap. Woah there, captain, don’t be doing that! The water, it was grey.
Grey. There was Stuff in it. As the cup settled, you could observe Stuff moving upwards, leaving clear water at the bottom.
Sounds a little toxic to me. Maybe I’m just used to the gutter water from Atlanta, but something told me not to put a straw into that New York stuff.
That, and you know what else stinks in New York? There isn’t a glass of iced tea in the entire city. Everywhere we went, I ordered iced tea. And, everywhere, they brought me, what, iced tea? No. Not iced tea.
Nestea, the Digimon of tea-related beverages. The Digimon! I was an Unhappy Camper. At least there was Sobe.
Sobe, ahh… the Pokemon of bizarre-drug drinks. It was, unfortunately, 2.00$ a bottle. I think I spent the majority of my money on Sobe, in New York.
And the Penguin Mints. I’d better never move to an area where these can be bought at gas stations– I’d get addicted. Could any product have been better designed for Magic tournaments? Cures sleep deprivation and its accompanying halitosis in one fell swoop. Broken.
Yes, and believe it or not, there was a Pro Tour, too! And I went there, too!
We took the taxi, indicating that we wished to go to the Armory, 68 Lexington. He stops at the Armory. We get out. It’s an empty looking warehouse-ish building, with guys hosing the sidewalk, and no sign of Magic players, anywhere. We go up to the very New York guy washing the sidewalk and ask him about it.
“Youse mean that Pokeman thing? That’s at the other Armory, on 26th and Lexington.”
Oh. The other Armory. On the same street. I look at the street sign. We’re at 68th and Lexington.
Apparently, by some cosmic coincidence, there are two Armories. One at 68 Lexington St. and one at 68th Street and Lexington. As if this gigantic metropolis wasn’t complicated enough!
So, an additionally cabbie later, we arrive.
And wow. It’s just an explosion of people. People everywhere. Magic people. And of course, 90% of everyone in the entire place has one of two decks: Rising Waters and Rebels. Rather than bore through any analysis of what I consider to be the most boring Pro Tour metagame EVER, I’ll just talk about the interesting things I saw.
Playing at the Pro level. If you’re aspiring to the highest level, there are a few things to keep in mind. I’ll touch on the first, and leave the rest for the next article (otherwise, it’s in depth Rising Waters analysis, rife with puns).
Buy two packs of new sleeves. I don’t know how many Pros follow this strategy, but I did notice a lot of sleeve-related mishaps. Gary Krakower received a match loss for marked sleeves (though he, most likely, was not cheating) and there were many other incidents and comments about marked sleeves, straight out of the packaging. Many players noticed this problem in an opponent’s deck, but chose not to have any possible penalty enforced, as it was very obvious that the other player wasn’t cheating, but simply the victim of not-so-great sleeves. The problem is in minor errors in the sleeves themselves. A player can buy a fresh package, and have marked sleeves. Worse still, the markings can look suspicious, if you’re deck is sorted by card before sleeveing, as the errors seem to run sequentially. If you put four Ports into four sleeves in a row, it could look very bad. Some sleeves are miscut, a little long or short. On some, the hologram has pressed a tiny indentation into the back. There are factory defects of all kinds. Your safest bet is to buy two boxes and scour them for these little problems, picking the best seventy-five.
“A perfect contradiction
Intrigues not only fools but also sages.
This art is old and new, forsooth:
It was the custom in all ages
To spread illusion and not truth
-Should have been the flavor text on Illusions of Grandeur.