Do You Love Magic?

No, Do you really love Magic? Actually, you probably don’t right now. You’ll be getting sick of testing and playing Invasion Block Constructed, or maybe you’ll be sick of reading about it, no matter how much strange, infertile, bald old men make it look like fun. (How often can one man play out an inside-out…


Do you really love Magic?

Actually, you probably don’t right now. You’ll be getting sick of testing and playing Invasion Block Constructed, or maybe you’ll be sick of reading about it, no matter how much strange, infertile, bald old men make it look like fun.

(How often can one man play out an inside-out Skizzik?)

(Hands up who thinks Kai Budde read my last article before proceeding to win GP London with a Domain deck?)

(No no…. Hands up.)

(Ah, I see.)

So you’re like, maybe I’ll play some Type 2… Oh yeah.




Bust out the Extended deck then, and head down to the local card flop shop, and herald your desire to go,

Swamp, Ritual – no, wait…

Island, Vault – uh…

Forest, Birds, Survival of the – um… yeah.

Well, herald it.


At all?



Whaddaya know? Not a sausage.

You could maybe play some Invasion Limited, Draft or Sealed, and after a few mana screws you can sit there and say,

No, I don’t love Magic.

Not like I used too.

(Not me, you.)

(I love Magic.)

(Well, why don’t you marry it then?)

(Um, because I’m married to Alice.)

How’s this for dedication? The last three tournaments I attended, I didn’t play a single game of Magic. Not one, not even half.

(Well, not including Friday Night Magic – I have and will always be there to hand out free ratings points to all comers.)

(Which is not entirely true, but I’ll get to that…)

We only get one PTQ in our city per season, and this past weekend, I didn’t play in it.

But I was there, oh yes indeedy.

You see, I’m one of the few level 1 judges who actually judge Magic events.

(All you other level 1 judges, that was your cue to not email me about all those events you judge. I’m using my artistic licence to just plain old make things up.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I much rather play. But If I don’t help run these events, I’m not sure anyone else would.

And then everybody misses out.


(Obviously, I don’t write these things in one sitting.)

(Can you guess at which point in this story I woke up to a changed world?)

I was listening to the radio in the shower.

(I’m telling you, once you get used to it, a shower feels so empty without your favorite breakfast show being drowned out by a cascade of water.)

(The use of the word drowning in the same sentence as the word water was purely unintentional.)

And I heard Jon Bridges say something about four planes being hijacked.

(Brain – breakfast = lack of comprehension.)

Then with a bowl of cereal in hand, I checked my email.

Now why on earth is Oscar Tan asking our mailing list if everyone in New York is okay?

(Brain online in 5… 4… 3…)


(…2 …1 …0. Brain is now technically active.)

(In a sense that my brain is not usually active in a useful way, but at least active in comparison to the bowl of cereal in was holding.)

I load a random news site.




(A word best left unprinted.)

(And then a few more.)





And that’s all I’m going to say about it because someone, somewhere else will say it better.


(Ah, Magic.)

You know, this kinda ties in.

I’m going to tell you why you should love Magic.

Because we’re a community. An international community.

We’re the biggest group of friends you’ll ever have, and we’re all here for each other.


If you’re still not inspired to get out and play some games, read on.

(If you are, then keep reading on too, because I’ll talk about how I did at last Friday’s FNM a bit.)

What you need to do, is pack up your trade binder, make sure the cards you want to keep aren’t in there, and the ones you don’t want are.

(Don’t you get sick of people saying,”No, that one’s not for trade”?)

(Cue sarcasm.)

(“Oh, I see. That’s why it’s in your trade folder.”)

Make sure you don’t have a deck with you.

(This is important.)

And head on down to the next tournament near you.

Don’t register; you’re not playing.

(You didn’t want to anyway, if I’m not mistaken.)

(I often am, yadda yadda.)

Today, you’re going to watch.

You’re going to watch everyone else play.

You’ll see people enjoying themselves, people playing spells, thinking about how to outplay their opponents, trying to figure out the best way to advance to the upper tables.

You’ll see people making mistakes, people missing the optimal plays, people walking into Jedi mind-trick laden traps, and people getting mana screwed.

(And you’ll say,”They weren’t mana screwed, they clearly should have mulliganed.”)

And you’ll see people making plays you never would have thought of, people making apparently questionable decisions and being rewarded for possessing insight far greater than yours, you’ll see people triumphing over adversity.

It’s much easier to see this from the sidelines.

As people finish playing each round, you’ll trade with them.

(“Your Destructive Flow for my Global Ruin? Sure, Flow is the new Ruin anyway.”)

And before you know it, the next rounds pairings are up and the players head back into the pit and you’re left alone.

Wishing you were in there playing…

…Because you love Magic.

(It’s not your fault you’d forgotten.)

They call me the good doctor because hot damn I’m good.

(You are cured, my brother!)

(Actually, Neil is my brother. Odds are you don’t know him.)

(But to me, you are all my brothers and sisters.)

(And Rizzo’s the one who always steals your toys and tries to get you into trouble.)

(Ungrateful little…)



Last Friday, I tried to make up for the fact that I wouldn’t be playing in the PTQ by playing FNM which would, conveniently enough, also be IBC.

(IBC, FNM, PTQ, FOF, PTNY, FTK, IPA, tight, strong, mise, ‘tings, savage, arrgghhhh!!!)

(Sorry about that. Some random Magic lingo caught me off guard.)

(Won’t happen again.)

(Not for at least three or four lines, anyway…)

For this tournament, I was going to experiment somewhat.

I’d seen Darwin Kastle’s creatureless GP: Denver deck, and noted that he’d managed to score many draws with it throughout the first day.

(From here on known as day 1.)

(But you probably already knew that.)

I was curious to see whether the deck was actually capable of winning actual Magic, the Gathering sanctioned tournament matches, or if Darwin’s ability to stretch out a Fact or Fiction split somewhere close to nine minutes had anything to do with it.

(To be fair, his opponent was just as bad.)

(Stalling is for old-school cars, and old-school skateboarders. And I’m not either of those.)

(I might have been, if somebody hadn’t stolen my skateboard a couple of years back.)

First off, however, I thought I’d better fix the deck somewhat.

(Who doesn’t play with Prophetic Bolt?)

(Early on, not long after Apocalypse came out…)

(Yes, my attention span is that short that”early on” is only three months ago.)

(…People nicknamed it”Pathetic Bolt.” I’m telling ya, not even close…)

The problem with Kastle’s deck was its inability to draw into its win condition anytime it the next fortnight. Adding Prophetic Bolt to the mix helped me draw through the deck like I was cheating, and allowed me to drop from two Tsabo’s Decrees down to one. But this was done at the cost of two Excludes, which weakened me against fast decks, so I replaced one of the Recoils with a Repulse to facilitate additional cheating… Er, card drawing.


I also figured that the deck was weak versus fast decks (mainly G/R beats, which is dwindling in popularity) so why bother pretending I can beat it game one by throwing silly little Excludes around?

I also switched an Island for a Mountain.

(Best card in Magic.)

Or in the words of the Comic Shop Guy from the Simpsons:




My final list with its ever so important adjustments.

4 Fire/Ice

4 Undermine

2 Exclude

3 Recoil

1 Repulse

2 Urza’s Rage

4 Lobotomy

4 Fact or Fiction

4 Void

3 Prophetic Bolt

2 Yawgmoth’s Agenda

1 Tsabo’s Decree

4 Salt Marsh

4 Urborg Volcano

4 Shivan Reef

7 Island

5 Swamp

2 Mountain


4 Emblazoned Golem

4 Gainsay

3 Disrupt

1 Recoil

1 Urza’s Rage

1 Prophetic Bolt

1 Tsabo’s Decree

Ah, Friday.

I got up, did some around seven or eight hours of stuff, and went to the tournament.

(I trimmed that last bit down somewhat for Theron Martin’s peace of mind.)

Next thing I know, it’s five to six…

(Well, that’s how I’d say it. Nobody goes around saying five fifty five, do they? Surely they’d say five to six?)

(Okay, okay…)

Next thing I know, it’s 5:55…


…And I still haven’t submitted a deck list. In fact, I’m still struggling with my dinner.

(Which, in true Magic player form, was about as healthy as anthrax.)

(Scribble scribble, chew chew, tip, spill, curse, swear…)

And I’m in.

There were precisely three other team members I could get paired with in round 1.

(Because Martin was cleaver enough to just plain forget to bring his deck, which would have made it four team members. But instead, it is – as I stated in the sentence some two or three lines above this one – only three team members.)

And thankfully, I was paired against none of them.

But I have been paired with young Ashley Glue once again, and once again I feel like some kind of big psycho bully kicking Ashley’s pet bunny wabbit around in fwont of him as his mostly commons, Red/Blue deck played out silly 1/1s and 2/2s that cost two mana each.

Game 1.

Hi. Ashley, meet Void.


Game 2

Void, meet Ashley.


(A small note for those of you who have just tuned in: There will be no play-by-play here. Here, there will be no play-by-play. Play-by-play, there is none here.)

(The lack of play by play will however be made up to you in entertaining, artistic-licence-laden, pointless-but-wonderful drivel.)

So, a good start. I’m 1-0. Which, unfortunately, can’t be represented by a creature card.

(Which is a shame.)

But wait! A couple of good friends of mine, Donald and Farrell came up with the following.

I am.


An attacking Wood Elemental (which ate no forests) with a Castle and an Orcish Oriflamme in play.

You see, it’s an 0/2 before it attacks (because of the Castle). And then it attacks and loses the +0/+2 bonus, gaining +1/+0 from the Oriflamme and promptly dies because it’s…

… A 1/0 creature.

(Actually, that might not be the case according to Sheldon, but it is at least quite funny.)

(At least I think so.)

Oh yeah, the tournament.

Round 2.

Carrick Partridge.

To all uneducated bystanders, Carrick may appear to be a innocent ten-year-old kid with what is probably a harmless deck.

Which is, of course, not true.

I’m talking Domain, complete with Sunscape Familiars, sideboarded Gainsays and… Um, other stuff that you’d normally find in a Domain deck.

(I should know…)

I win game 1 by Lobotomizing this and Undermining that, and eventually channeling Yawgmoth to cast a kicked Searing Wind from the graveyard.

I lose game 2 by only having four lands in play when Carrick casts a Rith, the Ginormous and Gainsays my feeble attempt at a counter.

(If you can call Undermine feeble…)

And before you know it, time is called and I lose a couple of ratings points because we can’t finish number 3.)

(Ah, Mr. Kastle, I see your conundrum…)

Round 3 and it’s my arch-nemesis.

(And if by nemesis, I mean”guy I can never beat except that one time”…)

…The infamous Digby Carter.

I think Digby is playing a deck like the one Danny Mandel played at GP: Denver – at least that’s what he told me.

(Yes, Digby is one of the three.)

(The other two being Giles and Disco Dave.)

Things are looking bad for me because, well, it’s Digby.

Somehow I manage to win game 1…

(It might have had something to with the fact I Lobotomized his Mystic Snakes along with something else, which kinda rendered him defenceless – poor little fella.)

(No wait, this is Digby. No poor little anything. Time to win game 2, if that’s at all possible…)

Now I kinda wish I’d remembered more about this game than,”I Lobotomized his Absorbs and won” but it’s true, it’s true.

Maybe Digby has fallen from his throne as my nemesis. Either way, he’s definitely sick of me going on about it, so I’ll stop.

(I beat Digby, I beat Digby.)

(Ok, it was just that once. I’m done now.)

But with that done, I’m now two wins and a draw going in to the final round, with my only game loss being to mana screw.

(Seriously, I had three lands in my opening hand and only drew the fourth one the turn he cast Rith.)

Disco Dave also has seven points, and one of us gets to beat Pete for the win.

(Peter being 3-0.)

(I would have said more about him, but I wanted to say”beat Pete,” because I’m a poet, and I know it but I certainly wouldn’t show it…)

Of course, it’s reasonably over confident of us to think that we’d beat him, but there’s no point in being pessimistic about it now is there?

(At this point, the shop owner has entered the match between Digby and I wrong. Because he doesn’t print the standings, we were none the wiser at this point.)

The pairing are announced and Disco Dave is fighting for the big prize, and I’m playing for second place verses James Wilson.

(We had it all figured out that whoever beat Pete (there I go again), would have the better opponent’s win percentage.)

Hmmm, James beat me at the first IBC tournament we had. Better be on my toes.

For some reason, he’s playing straight Blue/Green beats, which we all know is sooo last month. This shouldn’t be too hard, because unlike U/G/r, he won’t be able to randomly draw burn for the win.

Game 1.

James should have worn sunscreen because he was peeling in a nasty way, dropping a Kicked Kavu Titan the turn after I cast Void for two.

I’m seriously not impressed, but I manage to deal with it and before long I’ve won because my deck’s utility seems to be lethal.

(Oh dear James, what with all those Undermines and Prophetic Bolts, you’re somewhat dead.)

Game 2.

James failed to stop having Kavu Titans on top of his deck, but this time I match his peeling with a savage swipe off the top of my own.

Void number 2 leaves him with two Rushing Rivers and a land in hand, and gives me all the time left in the round left to kill him.

And it would be rude not to, so with a quick chop and a nasty ha-soi! I’m three wins and a draw.

By now, Disco Dave has also mashed Pete and we sit around saying something along the lines of”Go team.”

(Digby’s only loss was to me so he finished 3-1, and Giles… ah, I can’t remember. It might have been 2-2 but nobodies perfect.)

(Now don’t get confused here, the storeowner is also called Pete.)

ShopPete hauls in the last result and announces,

“And the winner is…”

(It could be me, but we know it’s Dave. Go team, go team.)



Everyone thinks he’s joking, but he’s not. According to the final standings, Digby has twelve points and is sitting at the top of the list at 4-0.

We all tell him he’s entered the result wrong, but he’s adamant someone’s told him wrong.


A full week later, I distinctly remember turning to ShopPete and saying,

“I beat Digby two nil.”

And Digby remembers going up to him and telling him that he lost 0-2.

But oh, well – sure enough, we get the result re-entered and Disco Dave is in first place and scoops up his foil Quirion Ranger, and I’m sitting pretty in second with nothing to show for it.

(But I can’t help but think that if the third round’s results had been entered correctly, maybe I would have been dealing to otherPete…)

(He was playing B/W, by the way, and would have walked right into my Disrupts and Lobotomies.)


It could have been worse couldn’t it?

Let’s see how I do tonight in the draft…

Seriously look after each other this time, I mean it.

(And when you’re done looking after each other, look after each other some more.)