Kyle attended the Invitational and had quite the adventure. While his Invitational time ended rather abruptly, he had a good run in the Legacy Open with Hive Mind.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me! After bombing out in Charlotte, I suffered a bad head trauma when I slipped and fell while opening up my warehouse last Thursday. Since then, I’ve been in and out of the hospital, sleeping DI, and drifting in and out of a blurry consciousness.

I had a defense written up for Bertoncini that was going to kick this article off—how inspiring it was to see him silence the whispers in the hall that weekend by taking down the whole tournament with everyone looking over his shoulder—and reference some famous cheats in the past that have still proved their worth as great magicians… But then things blew up, DCI dropkick banned him, prize revoked, and it’s a little too sensitive a topic for me to go into too much detail about without derailing whatever substance this disgusting excuse of a tournament report offered in the first place.

Here’s a couple of FNM reports that didn’t get written due to awkward scheduling from Worlds, turkey day, and my inept ability to sit down and hammer these fingers on the keyboard.

FNM 11-18

Deck: Phyrexian Obliterator-Tezzeret Control (POTC)

Round 1 – Beat Jacob Dugan with Solar Flare!

Round 2 – Drew with a slow control BW deck!

Round 3 – Lost to Christian Dawson with U/B Infect!

DROP! I can’t make Top 8!

FNM 12-02

Deck: Phyrexian Obliterator-Tezzeret Control (POTC)

Round 1 – BYE!

Round 2 – Beat Jonathan Hiett with Infect!

Round 3 – Beat Ben Henkes with U/w Humans!

Round 4 – Lost to Adam Booker with Infect!

Top 8 – Beat Adam Booker with Infect!

Top 4 – Beat Jacob Dugan with U/B Sorins Vengeance!

Finals – Split! Got out at about 12:45!

In four FNMs, after three titles and a combined record of 19-4-3, POTC had exceeded all my expectations! It’s very well suited for the current Standard metagame, and I was anxious to play it this weekend at the Invitational; unfortunately, calamity surrounds many events I attend, and this one was no exception…

I got a sweet deal on Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” deal and snap bought a $200 ticket, where the next closest price was $380! I had a layover in Detroit, where I sat with the esteemed Ari Lax. We discussed the organized play situation, which he is much more informed about than I, before heading to Charlotte.

When I exited the aircraft, lo and behold Steve Sadin was sitting in front of my gate, looking like quite the professional doing some last-minute editing in a stained white T-shirt, generic black hoodie, along with a heap of unshaven chin hair that looked to have particles of food scattered about. We had a hankering for Chik Fil-A, but after walking the entire airport, we were out of luck. It was an unexpected nicety to do some light traveling with my old friend again; we took a cab to the hotel. I was rooming with Yurchick and Levin, so we hung out in the room for a bit until Adam got there, then hit up the site to register.

Patrick Sullivan, Jacobson, Landale, Yurchick, Sadin, and I walked to dinner at Wild Wings; not to be confused with Buffalo Wild Wings, this Wild Wings was further from the site and had scantily dressed waitresses.

After getting back to the hotel, I decided I should probably learn how to play this Hive Mind deck Drew just listed me…

I don’t want to talk about the mechanics of the deck too much; it’s a basic combo deck. You dig for some cards, assemble some backup, and then kill them. One profound observation I had was that Legacy isn’t nearly as fast as I first perceived.

My beginning rounds, I felt rushed to assemble the pieces because I didn’t have much time before they cast something very powerful, but the truth is that there isn’t much pressure in this format that sneaks up on you. There are a lot of fair decks, attacking for intervals of 1-2-3, that don’t kill you much faster than most Limited decks!

Take your time, make good choices, and let the deck perform.

I have played zero games of Legacy in my life, so this was uncharted territories for me. I’m a brewer, which means I like to figure out formats independent from public opinions before I start delving into what everyone else thinks. I didn’t have that opportunity due to business commitments, so I was stuck choosing to play a deck that I can win with fairly easily without knowing too much about the format.

This was a good choice for me and one I wouldn’t change; however the play mistakes that ensued caused me some big mental problems like self-doubt in my abilities, which in turn caused more mistakes. Snowballing is a big mental issue for me right now. I don’t play many tournaments, so the ones I do attend I place a bit of pressure on myself to keep my composure. When a mistake happens, my gut wrenches up, and more problems follow.

It sucks, but admitting the problem internally, then addressing the problem externally with peers really helped me refocus. In the future when I make these kinds of mistakes, whether it be from brain farts or rustiness, I need to do a better job to keep my emotions in check, gather myself, and remind myself that this game doesn’t have the weight that I perceive it to have.

A checklist to reaffirm myself seems to be the best way to cope.

  • I have a lovely girlfriend at home where we have a mutual desire to take care of each other to the best of our abilities.
  • I own and manage a business valued at 2 million dollars, with nearly a million in sales each year.
  • I’m young; the road is going to have bumps, chug holes, detours, and on occasion it feels like nuclear bombs. It doesn’t change the fact that I have to keep driving.
  • Being able to evaluate stressful situations logically means I’m not completely bonkers, unlike the rush of emotions Magic creates might dictate.

Those are the important things in my life: love, business, longevity, and sanity. It’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle at these events, and this weekend was just that for me.

I’m sure there are some other Magic players who have equally tumultuous emotions that inhibit them from rising to the next level, so I hope those brutally honest words didn’t fall on deaf ears. 


Round 1 – John Metzger with Bant

Game 1

He got his beatdown on with Noble Hierarch and Qasali Pridemage, but drawing lots of gas, Show and Tell + Hive Mind, and a couple Pacts did him in!

This game reminded me how easy it is to win at Magic and gave me a good boost of confidence. I was nervous as hell when I went for the combo, but he didn’t have any disruption beyond a single Daze.

I sideboarded Progenitus in because things get awkward when I cast Show and Tell to put Emrakul into play and he slams Knight down because he can fetch Karakas to turn off that part of the combo.

Game 2

He got a couple quick beats in, but a pair of Pact of Negation helped resolve Hive Mind, and he couldn’t pay for Pact of the Titan!


Round 2 – Emily Heflin with BUG

When playtesting in the room Friday night, a pair of Drew’s friends came in, one of which was Emily. She had an inquisitive nature, making the common Magical chitchat of “what decks are y’all playing,” etc. When I told her Hive Mind, she said she hopes she plays me tomorrow, and all of a sudden here we are!

Game 1

I kept a no-land hand after mulliganing to five because it had Brainstorm and City of Traitors. I skipped playing City because I absolutely needed a blue source first, and I didn’t want to play into Wasteland; however when she cast Hymn to Tourach she took both of those cards leaving me with a hand full of Pacts!

I sideboarded in all the Leylines, swapped Emrakul for Progenitus, and crossed my fingers!

Game 2

ANOTHER mulligan, and this six-card hand didn’t have any land. Would you have kept Leyline, Show and Tell, Brainstorm, Force of Will, Hive Mind, Progenitus on the play?

I ran with it; my Leyline would cause dead cards on her end, and as long as I hit a blue land in the first 2-3 turns, I wouldn’t be in that bad of shape since I have Force to slow her down and all the pieces.

I used Force to counter the first creature she played. I think it was a Tarmogoyf, but my notes aren’t concrete. Then a Liliana of the Veil came down for her, but she only used the mutual discard once because I had plenty of cards in my hand at that point.

This is where my first blatant mistake was made. I finally drew into a blue source; however I decided to put Progenitus on top and shuffle it away with the fetch I just drew because her Liliana would stop it, right?

WRONG! I should have tried to go with Progenitus this game instead of Hive Mind because Leyline was blocking Liliana’s “Target player sacrifices a creature” ability!

After realizing my mistake, I felt pretty bad in the middle of the game like I had already punted. She cast Hymn to Tourach, and in my bitter state, instead of saying you can’t target me, I stated: “resolves, discard two.”

Knowing she’d made an error, she opted to use the Daze in her hand to counter it, which was still pretty dang good for me. Honestly, if she or I called a judge, they would have had her back up, saving her the Hymn and Daze, but her inexperience coupled with my deceit or Jedi Mind Trick had her embarrassed.

I don’t feel too proud of my action, but it’s one of those plays that straddles the line of cheating and a Jedi Mind Trick that I believe falls on the JMT side.

Anyway, the fates were on her side. After misplaying on the Progenitus, I never found a Pact to win the game with Hive Mind, and she tore what little mana I did have up with Wastelands.


Round 3 – Kenny Mayer with Maverick

Kenny is a SCG grinder, and we’ve talked many times in the past, so we b***s*** a lot before we started playing.

Game 1

He opened up with Mother of Runes, and I laughed inside thinking this would be a bye. I ran out there with a turn 3 Show and Tell, slamming Emrakul into play; however he put Knight of the Reliquary into play, and I lost shortly thereafter because he had the Karakas to bounce my fragile 15/15.

Game 2

Killed ’em turn 2 with Hive Mind.

Game 3

Killed ’em turn 3 with Hive Mind.

Fun match of interactive Magic.


Round 4 – David Doberne with Lava Spike

Game 1

This was a pretty awkward match; game one he started out with Rift Bolt, followed it up next turn with Lava Spike + Chain Lightning, leaving me at ten thanks to a fetch! As I was feeling the pressure of the remaining four cards in his hand, he end of turn Bolted me; I thought about Forcing it but decided to use it on the “last” burn spell.

I went for the combo, had Hive Mind + Pacts, but he used Fireblast after Hive Mind resolved, so naturally I used Force of Will… his copy of Force countered mine, and I was left scratching my head at zero life thinking, I’m such a fool!

I knew I should/could have won that game, which rattled me a bit. I sideboarded Chalice in to stop all these damn one-mana three-damage spells.

Game 2

It happened again. I had all the pieces, but when he used Red Elemental Blast to stop the combo I realized that I couldn’t counter it with Force again! Another game punted to mono-red burn!

After the match we talked a bit about tight situations with the deck, and I got what advice I could from him about using Hive Mind efficiently. David was a really informative opponent, filling me in on some subtleties of the deck before we wished each other good luck in the tournament.


This is where the wheels fell off… I had that round in the bag; I just punted pretty severely and wouldn’t forgive myself. I left the event hall with 42 minutes left on the clock to head back to the room, drop off the Legacy deck, and unwind with a beer while I lay on the bed to calm down…

This is where the worst possible thing happened. I got into a tussle with my girlfriend, and she hung up on me and blocked any attempt of mine to call her!

Being hung up on is the worst ever. I was mid-sentence, saying something she obviously didn’t want to hear, and click. I couldn’t do anything about it, but I could cancel my credit card I gave her so she could have a good time while I was gone! So I did, and we had a vicious text brawl.

I wasn’t keeping track of time, and when I got back to the site I had missed the Standard players meeting entirely, and there was only 39 minutes left on the clock!


Round 5 – Joseph Keaveny with I’ll Never Know

You got lucky I was late and you didn’t get OBLITERATED!!!


Damn this tournament, damn the foil playset of Phyrexian Obliterators I never got to cast, damn me trying to reinvigorate my Magical desires to compete, damn my girlfriend for pushing my buttons, damn that chair I hit my pinky toe on in the hotel earlier that morning, damn the hotel for being out of bacon the next morning, and damn this miserable existence where everything I touch turns fecal-matter brown!

I went back to the room, wallowed for a good while, medicated, took a nap, and awoke to Adam Yurchick holding me in his arms. He just lost his third round and wasn’t feeling too good about life either. So we lay there, in each other’s arms, running gentle fingers through each other’s hair while softly placing butterfly kisses on our cheeks.*

After a six pack, I ran out of beer, so I took an hour walk around down town to cool off, found a CVS, bought the last six pack of beer they had in the entire cooler, then topped it off with a bottle of wine because six beers lasts me about as long as a game of combo mirror in Legacy.

Sadin cheered me up when we made another venture to Wild Wings, this time with a much larger group featuring the former six + Cedric and a few others.

The night faded fast; my girlfriend apologized for being rude and not understanding the inner workings of the magical buffoon I am.

Gindy did me a solid, helping me out with some words of wisdom when it comes to woman. Erwin and Jacob Van Lunen helped me forget about the turbulent day as well while kicking back with some brews in the hotel with funny magical stories back and forth. I haven’t really done the traveling thing for a couple years now, but it feels good to know that the old crews are still intact and are there for me when I’m feeling down!


I woke up energized and ready to spike the Legacy Open. I felt like my deck couldn’t lose unless I messed up, which gave me a ton of confidence and determination to not waste a trip to Charlotte!

My last trip to Charlotte was ’05 for the Ichorid GP. I remember sitting in the hotel lobby on Friday night, seeing this insane Ichorid deck Ben Stark, Antonino De Rosa, Krumb, and Neil Reeves were playing. I got a list that night but didn’t have the balls to switch decks at the last minute and have regretted it ever since!

Round 1 – Sean Swanger with U/W Counterbalance

Sean was packing Enlightened Tutor in his deck, which had some really neat interactions in his deck, being able to tutor either combo piece along with a host of one-of’s to get him out of tight situations. I’m not sure if this is common practice or not, but it looked really cool.

Game 1

He got Top and Counterbalance out, but I built my mana with the two-mana lands and Monolith, then baited him with Show and Tell. He used Enlightened Tutor to search up Ensnaring Bridge but didn’t have anything to answer a hard-cast Hive Mind + Pacts.

Game 2

He got Counter-Top out again, but it didn’t do too much to slow me down. Vendilion Clique gave him some information, but Hive Mind is so consistent that any mild disruption doesn’t do enough to stop it.


Round 2 – Alex Hon with U/W Mystic

Finally! A matchup I know! Yurchick was playing U/W Mystic, so the only games I had in with Hive Mind prior to the tournament were against him.

Game 1

Their deck is soft to me, so I felt pretty good when he cast turn 2 Stoneforge! He tapped out, so I just killed him on turn 3.

Game 2

Another quick kill, this one happened on turn 2!


Round 3 – Michael Jacob with GWUR Maverick?

I was sitting chatting with Zack Hall and a few guys still in the Invitational when I looked over and saw the clock running for my event on 49 minutes 40 seconds! I ran to the standings, ran to my seat, but when I sat down at 49 minutes 7 seconds, it was too late. I called a judge, he confirmed the game loss, and I really should have appealed.

Sullivan told me later that I should have run the “I’m sorry, judge, I’ve had a sick stomach and was in the restroom!”


Game 2

He cast Mother of Runes; I killed him on turn 2, nice deck MJ!

Game 3

We fought a long hard one, but his Wastelands were too much for my mulligan to handle!

Game 4

We played one for fun; it was close with some Red Elemental Blasts on his end, but I won. Meaning I would have won the match, probably the entire Open, but like the day prior, being late to Magic rounds means you don’t get to play much Magic!


Round 4 – Daryl Ayers with Bant

Game 1

I went for Show and Tell; he had Knight and searched for Karakas! Why the hell is Emrakul even in this deck?!

I definitely am changing it to Progenitus for the next Legacy tournament I play. Progenitus has the added bonus of being able to be pitched to Force of Will, which is a pretty big issue. A lot of the time I’m hesitant on the Force because I have to remove a good blue card like Hive Mind, Show and Tell, Brainstorm, or Intuition. All the blue cards are so good, having a crappy one that I can pitch without feeling bad would be great!

Progenitus obv comes in, along with Slaughter Pact.

Game 2

He gets a couple of Meddling Mage, and I’m stuck wishing I boarded in Firespout. He appeared very nervous, but finished me relatively easily.


Again, the wheels fell off by round 4… A big letdown, but I was genuinely having a good time playing Legacy and learning the format. Plus, my girlfriend wasn’t all in my jock strap trying to know what I was doing, when I’m doing it, why I’m doing it, and asking tediously pointless questions that just annoy the crap out of me. I do love her, though this being apart when traveling is pretty rough to deal with.

Anybody got any advice on such matters?

Round 5 – Zak Whyte with Enchantress

Zak gets my vote for coolest deck I played against; too bad it had zero ways to interact with my deck!

Game 1

I forced his turn 1 Enchantress, then comboed off a few turns later when he tapped out for Enchantress’s Presence.

Game 2

I believe he boarded in Nevermore, which resolved when he cast it against me, so I just used Grim Monolith to cast Hive Mind and win with Pacts.


Round 6 – Ryan Miller with ??

I have no notes on what he was playing, but I won game 1, lost game 2, and won game 3. Ryan, wanna refresh my memory??

Round 7 – Patrick Sullivan with Goose RUG

This was a pretty epic match…

Game 1

He gets a couple Nimble Mongoose with only six cards in his graveyard. He’s sitting on only one land the entire game because he used a Wasteland, with seven cards in hand. I know he’s got lots of disruption like Daze, Force, Stifle, but he’s also got bad cards like Blurred Mongoose and Lightning Bolt.

I rush the kill, going for Hive Mind with only a Pact and Force to push it through, and he’s got Force + Daze + Stifle to stop me!

I had another turn or two to see if I could get some more protection, so I really felt like I punted this one going into the next game.

Game 2

I Show and Tell a Progenitus into play while at 11 lives, he gets in with Nimble Mongoose and Snapcaster but can’t stop the 10/10.

If Nimble Mongoose were Delver of Secrets, he could have flown overhead and killed me with a Lightning Bolt!


Game 3

This was the most interactive game of my weekend; I had all four Chalice of the Void in from the sideboard and found all four by my second turn, leaving two on top of my library and two in hand with Brainstorm.

I went for Chalice #1; he Spell Snared, and I didn’t want to waste any magic on it because I had more on tap. He used Surgical Extraction on the Brainstorm, shuffling away the two Chalice on top, seeing my hand with Force, some Pacts, and another Chalice.

Chalice #2 came down, and we traded Forces before it resolved on one, leaving Patrick only able to cast four cards in his deck: Daze, Force of Will, Blurred Mongoose, and Snapcaster Mage!

From there it was just a matter of getting the job done, but he put up a decent race with Snapcaster getting in for some beats. I resolved a Pact of the Titan, cleared his board with Firespout, and slowly beat him by attacking for four a turn!


Round 8 – Josh Serad with Fish

Game 1

Show and Tell Emrakul on turn 2!

Game 2

He gets an Aether Vial + double Cursecatcher draw while I’m locked under a City of Traitors, and I can’t operate effectively.

Game 3

He gets a couple beats in with Silvergill Adept and Merrow Reejerey; however Hive Mind hits play, and he doesn’t have enough disruption to stop it!


Round 9 – Justin Cavenaugh with U/R Delver

Yurchick was originally planning on playing this deck, so we battled several games before he audibled to U/W Stoneforge. It was atrocious; they have all the best spells against me. A quick clock, Daze, Force, and Stifle! MAINDECK!

Game 1

He had turn 1 Goblin Guide, turn 2 Delver + Brainstorm, then used Daze, Force, and Stifle to stop my combo.

Game 2

He had turn 1 Delver, turn 2 upkeep Brainstorm, then used Daze, Force, and Stifle to stop my combo.


I wasn’t sad, but after dodging that stupid deck during 12 rounds of Swiss, I had to expect to play it in the last round with $$ on the line. I just had to; it couldn’t possibly have worked out any other way.

I blame my huge mistake of being a minute late to the Michael Jacob match as the reason I didn’t win the Open. That was the only thing that could have derailed me, set me up with some bad matchups, and cost me the title. Tony Chu sure got lucky he didn’t have to go through me!

= p

I was satisfied with my performance though. Not counting my match punts, the deck should have gone 11-2, which isn’t so bad. Actually, it’s damn horrible because I’m just sugar coating it to alleviate the fact that I’m a damn screw up, and my record was really 8-5 on the weekend!

After my misery, I hit Sadin up, who was obviously at Wild Wings, so I made my way over there and joined a giant group of gamers for some beers and Sunday Night FOOTBALL!

The Dallas vs. NY game was quite a hot topic, with lots of New Yorkers in attendance and myself hailing from the greatest, largest state in our continental United States.

Sadin, Sullivan, Boccio, Shiels, AJ, CED, Ben Hayes, Greg Hatch, Ryan O'Connor & his lady, Spagnolo, Melissa DeTora & her boy toy, Kibler, Reid Duke, Owen, Fabiano, Zack Hall, Landale, Lundquist, and Jacobson were in attendance, to name a few.

After din-din, we hit up the bowling alley and blew some pins up! I’m not sure what prompted us to leave; I think they shut our lanes down, but we might have been kicked out, or it could have been last call. The night dragged on to the point that time and space had no meaning, only good times and full glasses.

Overall it was a great weekend; sure I threw away $800 on the trip, lost about $1,000 a day because I was gone from my biz, went on an emotional roller coaster, and threw away a bunch of matches, but, I feel reinvigorated to dust this rust off for the next tournament: GP Austin!

I can’t wait until January 7! Who all is going? There’s an SCG that weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see who puts value on the series and who puts value on getting more Planeswalker Points. Austin is practically a suburb of San Antonio, so if anyone needs anything hit me up!

This tournament reminded me what kind of shape I need to be in to attend these things, and I felt like a sumo wrestler trying to chase down Tebow! I fancy my pride and ego too much to have such a disastrous weekend again; let’s see what we can make happen next time!

Thanks for reading,


Top 5 Picks

1) In The Still Of The Night – The Five Satins

2) Mansard Roof – Vampire Weekend

3) High Times – Elliott Smith

4) Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Kanye West

5) Everytime – Britney Spears


*All that tenderness was a giant metaphor, we really just had sex.