Before I get to the story, you’ve gotta learn some history. The Kings of Comics in SA have always been Heroes & Fantasies. They’ve had eight locations opened at a single time, made their cash quick, then downsized to four over time. The other Mom and Pop shops are slowly dying. H&F has the best players, the biggest tourneys, and the most comics. A true ambassador to the game, they’ve paved the way for San Antonio fame.
But not all players appreciate the H&F style. Some don’t go because they hatin’ on Kyle, some act like a child, some just can’t be mild. Some steal, some street, some kill, some cheat. Whatever the reason, they choose to not play with the best, and will always fail when put to the test. It’s really a shame, to see these fools degrade our game. But we’re not to blame, and Sanchez is here take your name…
Hear this ode, and hear my roar,
Because this article I’m not talking about Shadowmoor,
We’re here to throw scumbags out the door,
Burglars and thieves are to be tolerated no more!
(Especially the really stupid ones.)
Most days I finish work at around four or five. It depends… I run my own business right now, so sometimes I get stuck doing things that I don’t want to do, but absolutely have to, like meet with the IRS people that are auditing me. But this past Thursday I had no such engagements, with an open schedule from the early hour of 3pm. I headed over to H&F to hang out with Mike (one of my best friends), who owns the shop.
The place was stone dead, except for Lloyd, but he’s always there. This has apparently been the trend at a lot of U.S. gaming stores of late… stupid economy. I walked behind the counter and started looking for my Wizard deck in my classic Lightning Dragon deck box (which I’d left in the store since the previous day), but it was nowhere to be found. After searching a little more, neither Mike nor Lloyd nor I could find it, and that sinking feeling began to set in.
Mike sat atop his stool and began to recount the day so far: very few customers, and only two Magic-related people. Instant suspects.
Lloyd, who had played several games with the two, said they were groupies from another store. This store has been at Heroes throat since they opened their new store on the NW side. The owner and operator is a good guy who got mixed up in the wrong market. He’s always held a certain animosity towards H&F because they kicked him out of a prerelease for wearing a shirt endorsing his own store, with “I BUY CARDS” in bold white letters printed loudly on both sides.
After sitting in a circle and thinking for awhile, Justin strolled in. We decided to take a cruise to Wendy’s for some munchies…
Talking en route to Wendy’s, Justin, who was there earlier but left before them, remembered the pair. He recalled one in particular, a guy that was missing an ear and had a deformity on his lip.
When Justin described him, I instantly knew he was the one that took my Wizard deck. Two days prior, this guy stumbled into the shop and we played a couple of games. I trounced him handily, and he raved about how awesome my Wizard deck was compared to his awkward UW control deck. He wasn’t missing that many cards from making his own version, which is what makes this heist so strange. Either way, I’d be able to recognize him when the time came, if such a time ever presented itself. Theft in the Magic world is almost never recovered.
I was gonna have a hard time recovering from a stolen pimped out foil and Japanese version of my Wizard deck. I guess I’m just lucky I switched out the Guru Islands for Snow-Covered Islands and Mouth of Ronom.
Thankfully we had a lead, as apparently they both claimed that they’d be attending FNM at Heroes the following night. A perfect scenario… we’d have home court advantage to ambush them.
I’m rolling down Blanco with my Magical homeys.
Saw a cutie in a Tahoe with some real nice chromeys.
Pulled up next to her,
Turned up the speaker.
Kweli is murder,
She threw me her number.
No I ain’t playin’, gonna hit her up later,
But right now I gotta gets back to the paper…
At this point I was left up the creek without a Wizard deck for FNM the following day. Truth be told I could’ve built a duplicate copy minus the foily foreign good stuff, but the whole ordeal left a bitter taste in my mouth. And when the taste of Kithkin is in your mouth, there’s not much you can do to subside it. So…
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Rustic Clachan
4 Cenn’s Tactician
4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
4 Goldmeadow Harrier
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Wizened Cenn
4 Kinsbaile Borderguard
2 Mirror Entity
4 Mana Tithe
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Militia’s Pride
4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
2 Loxodon Warhammer
3 Pithing Needle
I know what you’re thinking.
“But, but… we want to see decks with Shadowmoor….”
There really doesn’t seem to be much for the Kin in the Moor. The best White cards are non-Kith, and I’m not sure if this tribal deck wants to include outsiders. Mirror Entity barely made it through the door, and he’s a pretty good imitation. There’s not much thought behind the numbers. I wanted twelve one-drops, six enchantments, fourteen two-drops, and only six one-mana tempo spells because Sunlance can’t always kill the creature you need it to. Talking about this deck is pretty irrelevant, so back to the story.
After finding the pimp versions of all the cards in the deck, it was closing time, which meant one thing: Hooters!
Pulled in the Hooters lot with David n’ Mike,
Saw a three-year-old ridin’ on a pink trike.
I’m checkin’ her Mommy’s profile,
And oh, her Mommy’s style…
She could crown this curly Kyle.
Turns out Mommy is a Hooter’s girl, and Daddy and the cutie on the trike came to pick her up from work. Her car is in the shop, but she only lives a few blocks away on a corner house that has easy access from the street. If I were going to rob them, I’d come in from the alley over their wooden fence. Creep to the back, and while a nearby train is passing, break the backdoor glass as not to attract any nearby neighbors.
The Round 1 bell rang, and there were no scumbag stealers to be found. All the foggy hopes of getting the Wizard deck back had dispersed. The Kithkin deck, however, was operating at full speed, and my round 1 opponent was none other than Mitchell Edwards. Mitchell is a fierce competitor who has been one of the few San Antonio mages over the past seven years that has defeated me more than four times. That sounds a bit haughty, but it’s a true statistic nonetheless.
He was sporting a Mystical Teachings deck, and quickly realized that turn 4 Mystical Teachings and turn 5 Teferi both get countered by Mana Tithe. He couldn’t recover from this insane tempo loss, and I steamrolled him with a flurry of Pride tokens and one-drops.
Game 2 was much of the same, except his Teferi resolved this time because I had to use the Tithe on Damnation the previous turn. The Teferi didn’t make much of a difference, and Militia’s Pride and Wizened Cenn laid another easy beatdown.
The match literally took like five minutes, and I suddenly had fifty minutes to blow. I’ve been playing with control decks for so long that I forgot the golden time advantage provided by playing hyper aggressive decks that will either win or lose within the first four turns.
It gave me time to start a list of things I’d do to the person who stole my deck…
1) Punch him in the face.
2) Use a small ball hammer to crack the back of his kneecaps.
3) Take his mother out for a nice steak dinner, then never call her again.
Round 2 was much of the same, except this time I was paired against a GB Rock player. Goldmeadow Harrier was an All-Star in game 1, as it gave me a clear route to bash his Garruk while keeping a Tarmogoyf at bay from killing the pair of Knight of Meadowgrain that I was using to annihilate him in the damage race. He hit a couple of land draws in a row, and didn’t have enough gas to keep up with the high-octane Kithkin engine.
Game 2 was a little more interesting. He had a pair of Goyfs this time, but they were quickly overwhelmed by a pair of Militia’s Pride and a consistent flow of attackers. A Kinsbaile Borderguard came down with seven counters, and his Damnation ended up giving me even more creatures. They bulked up on the next turn, becoming 3/3s when Mirror Entity showed up off the top.
More from the list…
4) Close his own car door on his head.
5) Take him to a Mexican bungee jumping stand.
6) Cut off each line of toes with a giant pair of shears, then do the same with his fingers. Then use a scalding glue gun to stick his toes to his hands and fingers to his feet. I’d finish the humiliation by taking a Polaroid of it and putting it on YouTube as a four-minute still picture fading in and out to the tune of “Lucky” by Britney Spears.
Round 3 was the mirror match: another Kyle, hailing however from the Larson family. His deck of choice was Faeries, as usual, and he already had the inside scoop on my Kithkin shenanigans. It didn’t matter, as the nut high Kithkin draw of Stalwart into Meadowgrain into Stalwart and Wizened Cenn was too much for his non-Damnation deck to handle. I also got to Mana Tithe a Mistbound Clique.
Game 2 was another quick one, with mulligans on his side giving me a big enough edge to get him to concede on turn 5 or so. Sometimes you just have those lucky nights, most likely brought on by the universe feeling sorry for me and my robbery-victim status.
I turned back to my list…
7) Rent a bullet, buy a gun, and take him to the Mexican border on Dia de Los Muertos. This makes for the perfect setting for another YouTube video, but I’d need some supplies first. Some jumper cables, red poker chips, and an old fashioned shaver, the kind that those old school barber shops still have…
I was interrupted by a phone call from an absent James Wise. He was attending FNM at the rival store! The traitor!
And, he informed me, some kid was playing with a foiled-out version of my Wizard deck!
James Wise is loyal to the end!
I didn’t hesitate. I threw my phone in a fish tank and dashed to the car, with an army behind me. Numerous cars span out, and we sped off to make the twenty minute drive to the other store.
While in the car, I borrowed Dave’s phone to give James another call. He informed me that they were just starting Round 4, and this chump was 3-0! He was about to start a match, so I’d have ample time to get over there before he left. James said he’d tell Cliff, the manager, what was going down, to make sure we got the goods back. But other than Cliff, no one knew we were on our way…
Rolling down the street to pounce on a thief,
Got my homeys behind me and we carrying heat.
Told Dave to unwrap my forty-five,
Tell em’ keep the safety tight.
All this anger built up inside,
Gonna make this sucka cry,
Gonna keep my Wizards dry.
We arrived, and leapt out of our cars. Everyone slammed their car doors at the same time, and the entire FNM turnout looked like over like deer trapped in headlights. I looked Cliff in the eyes, and he nodded his head. The he realized what was going down, and ran out to catch me. We talked for a while and I finally made my way over to the guy playing with my deck… a kid with one ear and a bulging lip. His back was toward the wall the entire time, and it seemed he had no clue what was happening.
We crept up slowly, and saw Arabian Nights Deserts and two foil Ancestral Vision suspended, along with a foil Mouth of Ronom and Snow-Covered Islands in play. Proof enough. Dave scooped up his cards mid-game, and I took the sideboard. He looked up in shock, and muttered out:
“I traded for it from somebody else.”
He was lying. We dragged him outside.
Cliff stepped in and confiscated the Wizard deck, turning himself into the School Principal that tries to sort things out before they get ugly. A group gathered around the glass and watched as Cliff, myself, and a crowd of angry followers surrounded the deck thief.
The walls were crumbling in on him; you could see it in his eyes. He was caught red-handed, playing the deck in the very same sleeves in which they were stolen a mere day after the crime. What an idiot! I started riffling through the deck to see if any cards were missing.
The card count was 78. He’d added two Wrath of God and a Crib Swap.
“Why the hell did you add Wrath of God?! The deck doesn’t need Wrath! You have Magus and Arbiter, you fool!”
“I just thought they’d be…”
“Did you steal these too?”
“No, I uh, borrowed ’em.”
“Bullsh**! You’re a thief, and now you’re banned from every comic shop/gaming store in SA. And I’m calling the stores in Austin, Marble Falls, and San Marcos too. You’re on the Red List. Sticky fingers are bad for everyone, and your fingers aren’t just sticky, they’re stupid. How the hell do you expect to show up to a tourney and play an expensive deck that you clearly have no means to get, and expect not to get caught?”
The guy stood there, speechless. He had no answers.
“I’m done with this,” I shouted, and stormed away.
Halfway out I realized I was carrying a Blue Dragon Shield box. I roared back.
“Where the f*** is my Lightning Dragon box?”
“I don’t have it.”
“Where the hell is it?”
“It, it… I, didn’t get it with a Lightning Dragon box. The guy who traded it to me gave me this one.”
“I’ll deal with you later*.”
I’ve had that deck box at every tournament I’ve played in for the past six years. Back at JSS Nats in Kansas City. Kobe, Japan. Toronto, Montreal, NY, Florida, California, the Midwest, Mexico. It was like a piece of me had just died, so I paid someone to stay in the lot and follow the kid home.
It was one of those dark red Lightning Dragon boxes from Urza’s Legacy. I indirectly inherited it from one of my Magical mentors who doesn’t play anymore. Its sentimental value is off the charts, and not nearly worth the two Wraths and a Crib Swap that I accidentally gained from this.
The whole gang headed back to Heroes, and we walked in as champions with the hunted boar hoisted over our shoulders. Poems were written, songs were sung, and wine was poured to celebrate our collective juvenile boldness. I offered my Round 4 opponent a draw, after he had waited nearly forty minutes for me to arrive. He humbly accepted. I mean, what other option did he have?
The Top 4 started, with only 3-0-1 records making the cut in the 23-person field.
I mulliganed to five in game 1, and got mana burned to death by two Horizon Canopies in the next. But at least I got my Wizard deck back!
(And I even managed to snake one of the random FNM foils!)
Thanks for reading.
Top 5 Picks
1) Oh, Mojave – The Ruby Suns
2) Sexy Sadie – Beatles
3) Computer Show – Adam Green
4) We Get Higher – Stat Quo
5) The Scientist – Coldplay
* As for the list, we did 1, 3, and 4. And we’re saving 6 for later.