Diary of an Online nOOb: Days Later

I’m documenting my sojourn into the world of MTGO. To recap the last four days: I couldn’t play online, then I could. I was home with the flu when I started. I played in the sandbox, in leagues and in drafts. I tried some Constructed. I recovered from the flu and went back to work. Now I have a day off, and I want to try an online premier event.

I’m documenting my sojourn into the world of MTGO. To recap the last four days: I couldn’t play online, then I could. I was home with the flu when I started. I played in the sandbox, in leagues and in drafts. I tried some Constructed. I recovered from the flu and went back to work.

Now I have a day off, and I want to try an online premier event.

I tried for an 8th Edition sealed last night, but it didn’t happen. Not enough players to start, I guess. I considered playing in another, but it started late – like 10pm. I’m just recovering from the flu, so something starting late, then running 5 hours plus a draft, if I’m lucky, is a bit insane. Even for me.

I’m doing some online work, but I can probably play at the same time. It’s my day off, after all. I blow out the product and tix, and I’m in the tourney. Sort of. The start time comes and goes and we have 18 people. Then 21. Now we are holding at 23.

I wonder how long before they hang it up…

Never mind – I suddenly have a sealed deck spread out on the deck builder. I guess we got to 24 players and the tournament launched while I was typing.

Let’s see. This looks nice. I start with the artifacts. General’s Kabuto – I lost to that in draft. First rare. Orochi Hatchery – I haven’t drafted enough to know if this is any good, but it is the second rare.

On to Green – double Orochi Sustainer, Leafcaller, so-so creatures. And – Strength of Cedars. Okay, that’s fine.

Red – Mind Blaze is the first card. Third rare, and I never know whether it is any good – sideboard usually, and it comes in if the decks are slow and the opponent has a bomb. Plus Honden of Infinite Rage, Frostwielder and double Ronin Houndmaster. No straight burn, though, but there is a Blind With Anger.

You know, if I was ordering a deck piecemeal, there’s really only one other big-name card (other than dragons) I would think to add. Meloku – but I seem to have a lot of the other bombs. Wheeee!

On to Black: double Swallowing Plague (one foil), double Rend Spirit, Rend Flesh. The bad demon and three ogres. (Plus Deathcurse Ogre, but he doesn’t count.)

Blue: Meloku. Zowie. Fish Parade. A couple Reaches. Some random creatures, like Callous Deceiver. Not worth playing as a main color, but I can splash for Meloku.

White: some Kamis, including Ancient Law which might be useful for Constructed, but the White is a lot worse than the other colors.

Okay, I’ve built the deck. Red/Black, splashing for Strength and Meloku on 2 lands each. I should probably chose one and get the mana right, but I’m a noob. Submit. Wait. 12 minutes left. I make coffee and run the dogs. I split my time between 2 Word windows – work and writing this.

Game on! No response to my "hi & gl." Maybe he speaks no English. Maybe he’s a social retard. Since "hi & gl" is probably the most common line in the game, I’m betting social retard.

He wins the die roll and gets a reasonable start. R/U/B, with a River Kaijin. I drop an Ogre, then Rend Spirit the Kaijin (I have another Rend in hand and need to get the Ogre through.) I drop Houndmaster. He drops Brother. I’m beating, and he tries for Blind With Anger targeting my Houndmaster. I Rend Flesh in response: better to lose one than two creatures, amIright? I’m stuck on 4 land, 1 Red, and Frostwielder in hand. He has burn. He gets some creatures and I rip Swallowing Plague. Game – except that my Swallowing Plagues have somehow become Struggle for Sanity. Insane.

Was I really stupid enough to play Struggle for Sanity? Apparently. And I have Meloku in hand – and double Forest, no Island. He beats me down with fliers, including 2 Callous Deceivers that hit land four turns in a row.

Some quick sideboarding – they were Struggles, I am an idiot, and I should read the frickin’ cards more carefully. I just scanned the names and mana costs, and made a stupid mistake.

It’s what I do best.

I need a better monitor.

Game two I start reasonably fast, and he decides not to block the Houndmaster with Ashen-Skin Zubera. Okay. He drops a Soratami Savant, but I have the Rend in hand. I’m faster, my critters are better and he’s soon dead.

Game three is anti-climactic. He is mana screwed and I am not. He is indeed a social retard – lots of griping. I attack with two creatures, he Blinds one, I Blind it back. He is pissed. He types something along the lines of "I can’t believe I am losing to a noob." I tell him I’m new online, but I’ve been playing since forever – I’m the oldest noob he’ll ever meet. I offer some commiseration, and tell him my deck is insane. He responds "ur deck is crap. pupils is a noob card." Whatever. Meloku, Blind, Red Honden, Strength, etc – and my deck is crap because my 23rd card is a 23rd card? (Let’s ignore my Struggles for Sanity. It’s not polite to mention a person’s mental state.)

Round 2: I drop a turn 2 Deceiver. The opponent drops a turn 2 Kiku, Night’s Flower. I have a Houndmaster on turn 3, and an Ogre turn 4. I have nothing by turn 6 – but I manage to get a Rend around Blessed Breath and kill Kiku. I have five lands, and Painwracker Oni. Finally, I draw a creature I can cast – Brutal Deceiver. He is at 9 – I draw a Swamp and gamble: I cast Painwracker Oni. I also have a Blind With Anger, but all he has is a Scuttling Death and a 2/1 – Blind will not resolve unless his is stupider than someone who maindecks Struggle for Sanity. If he has burn, Bt4B – if not, I can pull this out.

He has Glacial Ray, and kills the Deceiver. Then he plays Mothrider Samurai. Cool – I put the Oni trigger on the stack, Blind his Samurai and sac that. I beat and he trades the Scuttle for my Ogre, so we stall some more. I drop another Houndmaster, but he gets some fliers, including Hikari, and he gets me to 4. I have Meloku in hand, and rip an island the turn before I die. I make a bunch of illusions and start sending, but the game turns when he Rend’s Meloku during combat and splices on Candle’s Glow. I take him to one, but not to zero.

What really annoys me is that I misclicked on Frostwielder at least once. He should have been dead. The other thing that concerned me was that I used up way too much time in that game.

Game two I got the fear Demon and an Ogre out, and won despite messing up twice – including missing an attack phase that should have given me the win. I won a turn later – but at that point I had two minutes left on the clock. I didn’t explode out of the blocks, so I lost the round on time.

Round 3: I mulliganed a no land hand for a one-land hand – and drew no lands. I cast my first spell on turn 5 or 6, after he already had 4 creatures beating down. My first creature was an ogre that cannot block. Game two was worse – I had my stops set wrong. (I had turned off the EoT stop to save time last match, but then I set it to cleanup, not EoT, so I missed an EOT ping with Frostwielder.) Later I tried to ping on his Sakura-Tribe Elder, but apparently he had priority or something – or maybe I missed, so my pinger did not kill his Elder, it killed my 3/1 Ogre. Man – I stink. What’s worse is that I let the interface woes bug me – so I made game mistakes. I set a personal record – five mistakes in five turns. Needless to say, it cost me the match.

The worst error – or whatever – was that I didn’t kill the pop-up box from his he revealed land. It wound up covering an attacking creature. I didn’t see it. I didn’t block it. He had Burr Grafter and such – and that five damage sealed the match.

The strangest misclick – or whatever – happened in the following round. I cast Yamabushi’s Storm to kill some weenies during my second main phase. He had priority – the box said "waiting for ~him~." I leaned back to scritch the dogs and waited. Suddenly, his lands untapped and it was his upkeep. I hadn’t even been touching the desk, much less the computer or mouse. Straight from resolution of a sorcery to his untap – I did not have an opportunity to cast the creatures in my hand. It skipped the end of second main stop, the end step stop I had on my turn and the upkeep stop on his – straight to his draw.

I have no clue what happened. Needless to say, I did not recover from basically skipping my turn 6.

Whatever – I’m not going to bother describing all these games

A side note: The one problem with real life tourneys is the waiting for a round to begin. In the league and casual rooms, I never had to wait more than a few minutes to get a game. Now I’m waiting for quite a while. The one big advantage online had over real life was speed. Waiting stinks.

Final result – I had amazing deck, even if it was crippled by wasting two slots on Struggle for Sanity. I lost one match to a better player and deck – and two matches to the interface. A record of 2-3 does not win any prizes.

Yay me.

Onwards. I enjoyed the week far more than I expected – especially since I had the flu most of it. I also enjoyed writing this series. If Knut likes it, I’ll write more. I have just begun exploring the casual rooms, and have just began thinking about singleton, multiplayer and so forth. I also will learn to trade – hopefully not the hard way. Ingrid has an online account now, and she is playing in a few leagues. Verizon also thinks it can get us DSL – and they are talking install in weeks, rather than the years they used to mention. If we get DSL, both Ingrid and I may be able to get online at the same time.

In the meantime, I am headed for PT: Atlanta and I’ll have a lot of work to get caught up when I get back, but my dogs play my account when I can’t. The account is named after them. "Judge n bailiff." Look for them online.

My dogs are good. Give them a cookie.