Down And Dirty – Envy For The Invi

Read Kyle Sanchez every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!
It has painfully come to my attention that many of my “readers” don’t know who I am, or what I’m about. I tend to write in similes and metaphors, and as such many of my true feelings about Magic, its players, and my true personality are lost in translation. It was several angry emails from several very serious detractors, early on Friday morning. that really opened my eyes. Many of the things that were written to me wouldn’t make it past the StarCityGames.com censors…

My Invitational Video

It’s the middle of the night, and I pull up to a red light. I look over my shoulder to see a dark-haired Goddess toying with her cell phone, sending a glorified text message to someone surely not deserving, providing enough lumination for me to absorb her true beauty. Her eyes are dark, her lips are full, and her jet black hair is turned to gold as shimmering dust falls all around her. She’s wearing a golden bikini now, and is rubbing the gold dust all over her sacred body. She gives me a wink as she tosses the cell phone over her shoulder and struts toward me like a runway model, showing off Gucci’s finest. We engage in a long drawn-out-romantic kiss, and she licks every inch of my face before putting my finger in her mouth while starring me down with those icy browns.

The light turns green, and she drives away down a long dark road I cannot follow. I sit there a few moments to get my mind straight, before the honk of an impatient driver behind me brings me back to reality. This situation happens to me countless times each day, each Goddess different from the last, with me wanting more from each encounter.

It’s now Friday afternoon, and Carrey and I wanted to partake in a Chinese buffet before engaging in an epic FNM adventure. Everything’s normal… we walk in, sit down, grab an enticing plate of sushi. Everything is wonderful. Half way through my plate of sushi, with a piece of tuna hanging from my lip I see her walking in with her parents; brown shirt, abercrombie jeans, cute brown flip flops that gently pat the floor after each glorified step, and gorgeous shimmering blond hair that bounces in tune with her other assets. We make brief eye contact as she passes our table before the waitress eventually seats them on the other side of the partition. My heart fell, and I wanted to touch her so bad. Not a perverse type of touch, mind you… I wanted to caress her and admire her “unique” beauty to the fullest. I’m a romantic by nature, and every time I seem to drift off into Sanchez Land I always seem to fall in love in the most random of situations. Eager, I spit out the sushi and got up to obtain another plate. She was standing next to the soup buffet when I passed her, breathing in her glorious taint. I failed to speak a word, but we did exchange several awkward glances whenever I got up to refill. She wanted me. I know it. But I fell short.

We could have had a happy life, with many a Sanchez running around our magnificent seventeen-acre estate in central Texas. A pool shaped like Roller Girl from the movie Boogie Nights would be the highlight of the grounds. However, we would also have an evergreen labyrinth in the back where we would play hide and seek with all of the mansion’s staff. Charles, our butler, would blow a whistle every time we found someone, and Benita, our ethnic cook, would prepare authentic fried chicken in the evenings as we dined beneath the starry night. I don’t even know her name, but our life had already been planned. If I had to guess, she looked like a Katie, or Ashley, or maybe even Sarah. She was definitely an Ashley.

Ashley, as aspiring as an autumn’s ambient afternoon.

They’re all a bunch of Ashley’s…

It has painfully come to my attention that many of my “readers” don’t know who I am, or what I’m about. I tend to write in similes and metaphors, and as such many of my true feelings about Magic, its players, and my true personality are lost in translation. It was several angry emails from several very serious detractors, early on Friday morning. that really opened my eyes. Many of the things that were written to me wouldn’t make it past the StarCityGames.com censors, so I won’t bother repeating them. I just questioned why someone would ever get so worked up over a Magic Invitational nominee.

It was Steven Donald Sadin who put it best…


Then it dawned on me the prestigious plateau that I was nominated for, unfortunately too late to make any changes to my Invitational submission. I’m just like you, a Magic fanatic that loves to follow stories and watch the game’s best players sling spells around like a baseball player cutting a line drive, or a basketball player having an open court to dunk the ball with more intensity than Michael Clark Duncan getting the chair in Green Mile. That last sentence was a bit of a stretch, but I’m sure ya feel meh. Unlike you, however, I’ve had the ability, thanks to StarCityGames.com, to spin my own stories over the past year. A lot of people like my articles. However, there is a small population (hopefully) that apparently despises me, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m just ignorant, or perhaps my intentions were not fully understood.

I’ve approached everything that I’ve ever done in my short span with a lighthearted attitude and a love for all things fun. My articles are no different. Sure, they don’t have the backbreaking content like Feldman, or the in-depth perspective of Tiago’s work, but does that really make me worth hating? I realize some of the things I write about are a bit racy, but I’ve never said anything in here with the intention of actually hurting someone; it’s all been said in good (or sometimes bad) humor. So when the final ballot was announced on Thursday night, I really wanted to measure myself against the other nominees, but each time I always came short.

I’m definitely not the most deserving person on the ballot. That honor goes to Gerard Fabiano. He’s been playing Magic on the Pro Tour for seven years now, and has never played on the Invitational stage. Gerard is a good friend of mine, and definitely “deserves” to win this ballot, no matter what anyone else says. That said, the most deserving doesn’t always win, but as the only “pro” on the ballot, I doubt he will have a hard time winning, especially with his entertaining re-enactment of Donnie Brasco. The thing everyone needs to know about Gerard is that while his eyes may appear shifty at times, his heart is in the right place, and that same heart is a die-hard gamer at its core. So if you haven’t voted yet, and were planning on voting for me, I’d appreciate it if you kicked Gerard some votes. I had originally planned on forwarding all of my votes over to Gerard, but I got lost in my own delusions, and as a result, he will probably miss out on his best opportunity to play in the Invitational.

I haven’t had the biggest impact on the Magic community on the ballot. That honor goes to Evan Erwin. He puts out quality YouTube videos every week about the game we all love, and does it in possibly the most honest and genuine manner I’ve ever seen. I’ve never met Mr. Erwin, but I’d imagine he is as true and pure as he is in his videos. In a World where Magic seems to be degenerating to ignorant and pompous youngsters who have no respect for the bricks that were laid by the founding fathers of high level play, Evan is a breath of fresh air, and one that is continually welcomed every week by his growing fan club.

I’m not the best actual writer on the ballot. That honor goes to Stephen Menendian, without even trying. He writes about a format that 0.4% of the Magic community even cares about every week, and still has something new to bring to the table that keeps people who’ve never cast Force of Will deeply interested, myself included. If he actually set his sights on writing in other areas, such as Standard or Limited, I have no clue how writers like myself and others would still be in business. I believe Steve’s biggest asset is the fact that he is quite possibly the best forum debator in the history of StarCityGames.com. Thankfully for myself and the other candidates, there isn’t a public debate for the Storyteller ballot, or else he would surely win by a landslide margin.

Okay, so Jeff Cunningham is actually the best writer on the ballot, not Stephen Menenedian… but Stephen comes in second.

The worst part is that I can’t even get the minority vote on this ballot for my Hispanic heritage, as Cedric Phillips trumps me completely. Yeah, I don’t really have anything inspiring or unique to say about him. He’s just a super cool dude with a heart of gold, and balls to match.

Le sigh.

So why would people ever vote for me? Izzet my cute cartoons? Or dashingly infectious looks?

Probably not…

It’s because I try and bring happiness to all around me. As incredibly lame as that sounds. When I made the decision to move from Premium to a weekly series, it definitely wasn’t for financial means. I genuinely like to write, and it’s really more of a challenge for me that keeps me on my toes. I can only imagine the hard times Craig has had editing my monstrous pieces of work. In fact, I submit hundreds of words in each of my articles that get edited out for content reasons. A lot of the stuff I say is simply far too risky to publish. Oh, how the detractors would bark if they knew the truths about my trip to Japan, or what went on when the lights were off at Nationals. This brings a story to mind…

No, not really.

But I guess what I’m getting at, or rather straying away from, is that I’m Mexican. And how awesome would it be to have a Mexican at the Invitational?

Yeah, I didn’t think that pitch would work either. But I really do appreciate being nominated. If the forums are any indication of who will win, it looks like Evan Erwin will have no problem. A lot of people don’t really feel like he “deserves” to go to the Invitational, but I find the idea of Evan versus Kenji pretty amusing, and would actually like to see it happen.

YouTube Video of the Week

The Sanchez Gallery

A nose for detail


Flawless [card name=

Dave's not here

I’ve had a pretty crazy week of insomnia again. I’ve stayed up each night til’ seven in the morning partaking in some combination of Type 4*, Shandalar, and watching the Discovery Channel. I was planning on making an actual video about me getting lost in the woods or something equally confusing and random for my Invi video, but by the time Monday rolled around I had stone nothing, and only a day and a half to compose a video. So I went to what I know best — Paint – and actually did the entire fight scene between the pink headed monster and that cute, curly headed, freckled hero in one take. The sketch where I drew myself thinking in the room was a bit trickier, I kept messing up on the NSYNC poster.

Anyway, back to Shandalar.

I’ve always dreamed of playing a game like it, and I really have to thank Frank Karsten for opening my eyes to it in his article over on the Mothership this past week. Basically, it’s a Magic RPG. You start off as a wizard with whatever color deck you want, then you walk around the land of Shandalar battling against other beings with magical cards. You upgrade your deck by playing with ante against these people, and buying cards from all the various towns, and winning the most powerful spells by fighting your way through dungeons scattered about the plane. I’d also like to write Karsten a very mean-spirited letter entailing how much of my life I’ve wasted this past week walking around dueling against stupid AI’s that keep attacking their Savannah Lions into my Mishra’s Factory.

An important note if your going to start playing is that to buy cards from the towns you have to click on the card, then press “y” to indicate that you want to buy it. This took me foooooooorever to figure out, and my game suffered because of it. Theres also some random boxes that pop up talking about “Domination Spell” or something along those lines, and they tell you to go to a certain location. Make sure you go to those locations. After ten hours of playtime on my first try I was just ignoring them the entire time, and eventually the game will flat out end if you ignore too many. No rebuys. No extra life. The game literally just closes itself, and you have to start a new game.

If only I had someone to share with me this stuff before I started playing…

My decks were soOoooOOo insane too. Tsk tsk tsk, such a waste.

3 Mishra’s Factory
3 Taiga
1 Mountain
8 Forest
3 Llanowar Elves
3 Elvish Archers
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Giant Growth
3 Erhnam Djinn
2 War Mammoth
1 Thicket Basilisk
1 Lure
2 Sylvan Library
2 Untamed Wilds
1 Fireball
1 Disintegrate

This deck is a real winner. In the game everyone starts out on average between 7-12 life, so if you draw a Lightning Bolt and a Giant Growth its all but game over. This decks late game is also especially honed with Untamed Wilds synergy, with Sylvan Library leading up to a giant Fireball or Disintigrate to finish them off. The best card in the game so far for me has been Mishra’s Factory. It’s the perfect offensive and defensive weapon. Was it like this back in the old days? I really wish I had started playing Magic when I was five years old… must have been an exciting time filled with confused game play and strange rulings. But regardless, Mishra’s Factory has seriously jumped up into my Top 5 magic cards of all time. And I thought Urza was supposed to be the superior brother? Didn’t he win the Brothers’ War? It’s hard to imagine how since his factory just plain sucks compared to brother Mishra.

3 Mishra’s Factory
3 Tundra
1 Desert
3 Island
8 Plains
3 Moat
2 Wrath of God
2 Mahamoti Djinn
3 Serra Angel
2 Wall of Swords
3 Savannah Lions
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Remove Soul
1 Disenchant

I’ve actually only lost two games with this deck. Theres this stupid rule that sometimes you or your opponent get to start with a creature in play, and it just so happened that my opponent started with Black Knight in play. And on his first turn he used two Dark Rituals to power out a Hypnotic Specter and a pair of Unholy Strength on his Knight. That happened twice, and since I only start with 11 life, I could only take a couple of hits. Completely absurd.

But other than those occurrences, this deck completely crushes anything you might face, and is especially strong against the Green mages who have no way to get rid of a Moat. I take that back, they have Desert Twister, but like I said earlier, the AI’s are sooOoOOo stupid. They always save the Desert Twister so they can kill Wall of Swords or Serra Angel, instead of destroying the card that completely shuts down their deck.

Again, Mishra’s Factory is another All-Star here, and is much better suited on defense since they will always attack into it with their random 1/1s and 2/2s.

I was also working on this one, but I didn’t have the Swamps for it…

3 Black Knight
3 Bad Moon
3 Scathe Zombies
3 Hypnotic Specter
3 Dark Ritual
2 Drain Life
1 Contract From Below
3 Terror
3 Mishra’s Factory

This deck is pretty straightforward. Contract from Below is probably the best card in the entire game, and the only reason I have one is because I defeated a random dragon that had it in his deck. Terror is completely broken. It kills everything, except other Black decks of course, but your full set of Hyppies should be enough to finish them off all by themselves. The real reason I made this deck is because each dungeon has some kind of special card that starts in play on each of your opponent’s boards. In one dungeon the game begins with Bad Moon in play, and my G/R deck just wasn’t enough to keep up with multiple Black Knights and Vampire Bats.

Yeah, I’ll be honest. I don’t really have anything else to say. I’ve been super busy this week, and didn’t really have the time to play any actual Magic other than Type 4 or Shandalar, or FNM with a Mono Green deck splashing white for Hierarchs, or several hours of Block Constructed testing, but next week should be really good. I had this idea while I was making my Invi video that I could actually record a draft and do commentary on it for an article. Then I could also record the games, and give you a good idea of my thought process along with any and all interesting plays that might occur. Needless to say, Evan beat me to the punch, but I’m still gonna try it out. Hopefully my commentary will be a little better than his, and I promise I won’t pass Intet. Unless of course there is a marginal removal spell that I can take over it.


This will probably be something close to what I’ll be playing for an upcoming PTQ. It’s really good. Test it if you feel so inclined. I’ll talk about it a little more next week, once I have a better grasp on some of the adjustments I’ve made from my GP: Montreal decklist.

I approached the large waterhole with intentions of release, but when I sat down I detected moisture.

Thanks for reading,


Top 5 Picks

1) Nights in White Satin, by Moody Blues with the London Festival Orchestra
2) Gulag Orkestar, by Beirut
3) Lazy (Lazy), by Architecture in Helsinki
4) Even Now, by The Owls
5) Citizen Erased, by Muse
6) Citizen Erased, by Muse again.

* Type 4 – definitely on my Top 5 favorite format list. Maybe if I spent a little less time making Top 5 lists, and a little more time doing something productive…