The belated part two.
Last week, I was talking about my general observations about Pro Level play. Here are more things I noticed, which may be useful to know about.
Pile Shuffle. Every time. It may seem like a given, but I know I forget to do it every once in awhile. Pile shuffling helps get rid of the natural clumps that are a part of playing. Doing this after every match will help procure better draws on your part, which is very desirable. Of course, be sure to riffle shuffle a few times afterwards, as you want to make sure your deck is sufficiently randomized.
Shuffle your opponent’s deck. It’s good policy, especially if you suspect anything fishy. Even if you don’t, it’s still good policy. You want both decks sufficiently randomized, and what better way to ensure this than to do it yourself?
Don’t be afraid to use the rules. Now, I don’t mean, rules lawyer and call for deck checks all the time and stuff like that. I mean, use the rules as they were intended to be used. The best example of this that I saw all weekend was John Larkin asking a nearby judge to shuffle his opponent’s deck. His reasoning: he was nervous and didn’t want to get a penalty, should he accidentally flip over a card. The judge, while shuffling, accidentally flipped over a card, out of Larkin’s sight.
Play slowly. Don’t stall, mind you– I’m not telling anyone to stall! But you should play slowly. Look over the board before you do anything, every time you’re going to do something. Don’t untap all your lands at once! There may be a Rising Waters on the table. Check for such things. Remember, at high level events, small infractions can be critical. And, just like in soccer, you can only cause so many problems before you get tossed.
Soccer, by the way, as the crazy Americans call it, is my favorite sport. They only call it Soccer in America and Canada. In the rest of the Soccer-playing world, it’s called Football. Know why, America?
Because you use your feet, America! Why don’t you call your Football“Handball?” That would make SO much more sense.
With that in mind, from now on, I’m calling American Football“Soccer” and American Soccer“Football.”
Be quiet. Unless you’re one of the immensely talented few that can chatter while maintaining total concentration on something else, shut your mouth and watch the game. Otherwise, you’re bound to make mistakes. At the Pro level, there aren’t a lot of scrubs– you usually won’t be able to get away with making mistakes. Most people concentrate better when they are not doing other things. It is highly desirable to concentrate. This is obvious stuff, here.
Now, onto the escape from New York.
I about died. I’m telling you. I don’t know what it was, exactly. Maybe it was the gray water. Or the pizza with extra grease. Or Sobe overdose. But I got SO sick Friday night that Saturday and Sunday I was just a wreck.
I mean, seriously. You’ve got me wandering around New York, trying to get hit by a taxi, to put me out of my misery. And, you know what?
You can’t get hit by a taxi in New York to save your life. They’re too good! All the taxis just stop and honk at you, edging up slowly, to bump you in the legs, so that you know you’re in their way. And I tell you, that just wasn’t doing me any good.
I couldn’t even get mugged on the subway, fer cryin’ out loud! Where do I have to go? Amsterdam?
Sunday, with the Sideboard firmly entrenched to do Top 8 coverage, and Adrian Sullivan picking up my illness-related slack, I pretty much bowed out of the Armory, choosing to hook up with a Very Cute Girl and traipse around Manhattan.
And what does that mean? Shooting over to Little Italy faster than you can say Pokemon in Chinatown.
Mmm… Lit-tle It-a-ly.
Wow. That’s the first line of a haiku, there!
Before we go, though, there is one thing worth mentioning. I watched Pete Hoef-Dogg Hoefling attempt to buy some cards from a couple of Italian kids. One spoke broken English, the other spoke no English. Pete would make an offer to the English speaker, who, thinking no one around would understand him, except his friend, would shout out, in Italian,“SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!” Over and over. Every time.
It was SO funny.
Of course, the place in Little Italy (which I chose– The Sorrento, because of its closeness to Sorrentino, my lifelong idol and personal guru) is waited on by a Mafioso-ish guy who was something between De Niro and Lurch. At one point, he’s threatening the busboy in very staccato Italian, with his hand cocked, like he was going to backhand the busboy.
With his hand cocked.
Anyway. The rest of the NY wandering is fairly uneventful, except the crazy skateboarders, who kept crashing into walls.
So we’re getting on the airplane. Or so we think! All NY flights are delayed forever. THERE IS NO ESCAPE! Pete has somehow booked us in three separate, successive rows, all center seats. Justin Kates, trader extraordinaire [or something], has decided that he really wants to sit next to me, so we can play some Magic on the way back. I tell him that it’s fine with me, if he can get someone to switch seats.
He agrees. We get on the plane, and the two surly looking folk who I will be sitting between are already there.
Justin: Would one of you mind trading me seats so I can sit next to my friend?
Surly: I’m not moving.
Surly Too: Me either.
So, Justin sits down, waiting on his neighbors. By this time, we’ve perfected a method of“peek over” communication, by which we popped our heads around to talk to each other. Imagine. The first person sits down. She’s an Asian Sorority girl. Justin waits quietly. The second person comes in. She’s a cute blond with braces.
You know what’s going to happen. At this point, so did I. So did Pete. But still, even though we all know what’s going to happen, it was still hilarious when Justin peeked over his seat and said
And that seems like a perfect place to end.
“One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. During the war, the Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.
-Anonymous, quoted from Anguished English by Richard Lederer”