For most of my Magic career, I haven’t had a place to go for Friday Night Magic. I attended high school in a town that was too small to support
FNM (or a dedicated game store, for that matter). In college, I was That Guy Without a Car, so unless I could bum a ride into town to play at the
Raven’s Nest or the Game Closet, I wasn’t attending FNM. In the working world, I’m still That Guy Without a Carâ€”long
storyâ€”and FNM is a very different experience when you need to budget two hours to getting there by bus and train and you have to check the clock
every round so you don’t miss the last run back.
This summer, though, life is a little different. At work, there’s a summer intern in another department. His name is Jeff. He plays Magic; he has
a car; and he goes out to Gunslinger Games on Friday nights. I have a more extensive collection on-hand and can lend him cards. So for the summer, I
have an FNM.
Interns. They’re useful.
To celebrate this short-lived but happy state of affairs, I’ve put together a little package of FNM-themed goodies, including my favorite FNM
promo cards (then and now), an FNM tournament report parody song, and a tale of what happens after FNM that does not involve a 24-hour restaurant.
The Top Five Friday Night Magic Promo Cards I Wanted at the Time (and the Top Five I Want Now)
I’ve only been playing Magic since Odyssey and tournament Magic since perhaps Judgment, so my list of cards I wanted when they were the current
FNM tournament prize is rather skewed. Unfortunately, this also means that I missed out on some of the really awesome toys of bygone years, and I also
missed the point on a few cards that were big deals at the time and bigger deals now. Hence, this list is a two-parter, with the top five cards I
wanted at the time, and the top five I want now.
I didn’t get the art on this one until it was explained to me in a Magic Arcana way back when. I think a zombie assassin holding up a frilly
heart-shaped pink pillow with a menacing grin would’ve been more effective.
The card did its job, though, and considering I was the Zombie-playing type at the time, I wanted some shiny Smothers for my own, but I never won one.
Rebecca Guay can be a polarizing artist, but to me, she got Wonder perfectly right. Surreal, mysterious, powerfulâ€”timeless. I wasn’t even
going to use the card in a deck. I just wanted it. Alas, it was not to be.
The art it should’ve had the first time, with the flavor text it should’ve had the first time? Sign me up! I wanted this Eternal Witness, a
Regrowth on a shiny, shiny stick. But say it with me, folks… “I didn’t get one.”
2. Krosan Grip
I didn’t win one of these, but I got to trade for it during the month it was available, so…go me? This is another case of the art
being far more awesome than that of the original, and I wanted that art. Yeah, I’m shameless.
Long, long ago, back when I was a college kid throwing articles at StarCityGames.com and seeing what stuck, I played Lightning Greaves with Daru
Spiritualist and Starlit Sanctum, won a few matches at States, and
wrote about it. I’ve had a soft spot for the card ever since, and when the August 2009 FNM promo came up Lightning Greaves, I wanted one badly.
I didn’t win one. I still don’t have one. One of these days I’ll remember to spend the extra $5.99 on a StarCityGames.com order and
have one delivered. Someday.
Those are the cards I wanted then, but here’s what I want…
My initial thoughts were right on this card, at least.
Because it’s not enough to bring a creature back for one manaâ€”you need to do it with pizzazz.
I want to play with shiny Brainstorms. I don’t want to shell out $75 each for the old frame. $20 apiece is rough enough on the wallet. I could do
a lot with $20. I like eating, for example. But I also like shinies. What’s a player to do?
I keep threatening to build an Elf deck for Legacy, and when I do, it’s going to be shiny. Well, Elvish Spirit Guide won’t be, but just
about every Legacy deck has that one card you can’t foil in it. But even Priest of Titania falls short of…
The streamlined wording on the FNM Swords to Plowshares may still feel a little clunky compared to the Oracle wording, but it gave Wizards plenty of
room to pull a John Milton quote from one of his more obscure works and slap it on there. I’m nothing if not
a sucker for real-world flavor text. That’s not the reason this is ranked at the top, though. The reason is simple: money. StarCityGames.com wants $60 for just one of these
puppies, and because it’s the only foil printing of Swords to Plowshares, that’s what the market will bear. That would make me very happy
to own one…because I could trade it for several copies of a card I really want!
“Last Friday Night Magic (T.G.I.F.N.M)”
An FNM tournament report in song, with apologies to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night.” Many,
Round one, Phyrexian O’
Four black, what a way to go
Drew Dismember, made me glad
But Inquisition made me sad
Round two, newbie playing green
Arbor Elf is pretty keen
But an Arc Trail left him cold
Won with Hero of Bladehold
Decklists from last night
Ended up online
Not mine! Woohoo!
Tried a different deck
Was a total wreck
It’s true… yeah…
Last Friday night
I went out to FNM
Lost to Mono-Black again
Only Jace was Beleren
Last Friday night
Cast a Plated Geopede
Geth’s Verdict at instant speed
That’s the last thing that I need
Last Friday night
Facing down Nantuko Shade
Counted out the Swamps you’d played
Said good game, drank Gatorade
Last Friday night
Scribbled down a sideboard plan
So next week I’ll be the ma-an
This Friday night
Yeah, I’m going back
(Yeah, I’m going back)
This Friday night
I’ll beat Mono-Black
(I’ll beat Mono-Black)
This Friday night
Round three, Mono-Black once more
What’s with people in this store?
made me yelp
That one misplay* didn’t help
Round four went by in a blur
Can’t remember who you were
And I’m not sure how I won
But smashing face is always fun!
(gratuitous saxophone solo)
And now for something completely different…
12:45 AM, Saturday, July 2, 2011 – A stoplight in Uptown Dallas.
It’s the ride back from FNM. I’m semi-conscious in the front passenger seat of Jeff’s car. He’s stopped at a traffic light. The
music switches off, and a computer voice announces, “Incoming call.” There’s no Caller ID.
Jeff’s been expecting a call from a gal. Maybe not this early, but he’s been expecting it, and he’s stopped, so he dives for it and
A young and drunken squeal comes over the speakers. “Hey,
Jeff, understandably not wanting to have me listening in on a late-night chat with his gal-pal, tries to stall. “Can I call you back in three
minutes? I’m almost to my apartment…”
“You’re gonna be a daddy!”
If Jeff has a turntable in his car instead of an iPod dock, the needle would be ripping halfway across the record. Even with my rational brain telling
me that the saving-myself-for-marriage plan is still in place and she isn’t even calling me, I’m stuck for a moment pondering the
The light turns green. Jeff hits the gas and tells her, “I think you’ve got the wrong number.” He hangs up with a beep, and we drive
half a mile before I say something.
“Did that just happen?”
“Yeah.” Jeff flips on the right turn signal. “I think it did.”
“She didn’t get your name right. She called you Shaun.”
“Shaun? I thought she said â€˜hon.’ Now that you say it, though, it did sound like Shaun. Maybe it’s just because you said it,
but it totally sounded like Shaun.”
“Is it possible that…”
“I haven’t seen her for seven years. I don’t think that was her.”
A city block of silence.
“I think you just got drunk-dialed by a pregnant woman.”
“Yeah, I think I did.”
We go through possibilitiesâ€”it could have been her and she meant to dial her exâ€”all the way back to the apartment. We come up with
several more on the sidewalk outside.
“Man, I should call, but I don’t want to call now.”
“You don’t know who called you.”
“It sounded a little like her…”
“Dude. Make the call. You’ll know in five seconds.”
The sidewalk conversation peters out and we drift off to our separate apartments. When I dream, I am a newlywed Ward Cleaver, and my June has only one line: “You’re gonna be a daddy!”
Me: So was the call…
Jeff: Wasn’t her. Drunk dial.
So remember, folks: you too can win shiny promotional cards, lose to Phyrexian Obliterator, and get drunk-dialed after midnight by wielders of home
pregnancy tests! All you have to do is come out to FNM. Maybe I’ll see you there.
As always, thanks for reading.
@jdbeety on Twitter
* That one misplay: if you have to sacrifice all but two lands to Phyrexian Obliterator, make sure you keep access to as many colors as possible.
Failure to do so cost me my third-round match, when I topdecked a Journey to Nowhere and went to play it, only to realize I hadn’t kept a source
of white mana. For as long as I play at Gunslinger Games, I’ll have people walking up to me at random and saying, “Now remember your
“Last Friday Night Magic (T.G.I.F.N.M.)” recounts the first four rounds of my July 1 Friday Night Magic at Gunslinger Games. (Sorry,
fifth-round opponent who beat me with Blade Splicer and Primeval Titanâ€”you just didn’t fit the structure of the song.) I missed FNM on July
8, but if I had gone, here’s the 60-card maindeck I would’ve played. Reaching turn four means you lose, but it’s an incredible
feeling winning in Standard on…