Fanboy for the Pro Tour

Yes, I’ll admit it… I’m a fanboy. While I’m not really a boy – unless you define “boy” as a 28 year old with a beard – I’m most definitely a fan. You see, I like to play Magic. I’m sure my writing for a Magic website has tipped you off on that already.


Is that Kai Budde?! OMG! I can’t believe it’s really him! He looks so… normal. Shouldn’t he be pwning someone? Here is my chance! I’ll ask him for an autograph.

“Mr Budde, would you mind signing my Voidmage Prodigy?”
“Get lost, you freak!”
“Please, it will only take a second.”

Yes, I’ll admit it… I’m a fanboy. While I’m not really a boy – unless you define “boy” as a 28 year old with a beard – I’m most definitely a fan. You see, I like to play Magic. I’m sure my writing for a Magic website has tipped you off on that already. I often find my regular life interfering with playing far more than I’d like, so I’ll end up reading and reading and reading over the internet while at work. I’m proud to say that my heroes either tap pieces of cardboard with monsters painted on them, or shoot an orange ball through a hoop. These men of myth are real somewhere… just not here.

You see, I’m from what is known as a “small market” in the Magic community. Here, in Costa Rica, FNM is the definitive tournament event. There are PTQs, but most people don’t attend. Pre-releases are the biggest thing around, with up to 280 people participating. How many total Pro Points have been won by this country? Two: one by Miguel Gatica in PT Hawaii, and one by “el gringo” in PT London. I’m going to be the third, by playing in PT Prague.

How did I qualify to the PT? Easy, the PTQ was limited to 32 people. I made it in 6th place out of the Sealed Swiss, and proceeded to use my Jedi Mind Powers to convince the whole table to ignore the color Blue.

Me — “These are not the islands you seek.”
Table — “These are not the islands we seek.”
Me — “I’ll fight my neighbors for cards, allowing a lucksack to win a ticket to Europe.”
Table — “I’ll… wait, why would I do that?”
Me — “JUST DO IT!”
Table — “Okay, okay…”

So how does this relate to being a fanboy? Picture the biggest E! Entertainment freak you know getting an all access pass to the Oscars… only more so. Instead of screaming like a 1960’s fan when I see the Beatles, I will yell like a 1960’s fan when I see a Pro Player. I have the prospect of meeting the men whose articles help me pass the mindless drone hours at work, and I’m giddy as a schoolgirl. If Mike Flores shakes my hand, I swear I’ll wet myself. Impressive, I know. I’ll be the only PT player to have an “accident” while sweatily squeezing the hands of the coverage team. I can just hear the podcast now.

BDM — “Great play by Rich Hoaen. He really seems to dominate his opponent with [insert random Dissension card here]… much like you, Mike. You dominate any fanboys recently?”
Mike — “Bite me!”
Knutson — “Aren’t you a little moist for biting?”
Mike — “Stop it, guys! He said it was an accident!” (Mike is such a sweetie… call me, okay?)

Now that I think it through, the safe plan seems to be either wearing diapers or not drinking lots of liquid prior to meeting the Great Ones. What should I do?

Start Zvi-style hidden text…

Zvi — Obviously, you should limit your intake of liquids. This will not only help you under fanboy situations, but it’ll also help when you are playing. I once lost a game when I just had to take a bathroom break… and my opponent Wrathed the board while I was gone. I called a judge over, but he agreed with the player that flushing was passing priority back and letting the spell resolve. Hey, why are you hugging me? Get away, you freak!

End Zvi-style hidden text.

Oh yeah, I want to get Zvi to sign a few of my cards as well. I don’t think he’s going, but I’m flying a Johnny Combo Player to Europe just for him. Maybe, after he signs it, he can do me a favor and hunt down Kai and tell him to stop being so mean.

All I wanted was a little autograph.

Since it is both physically and financially impossible for me to carry a copy of each card ever printed to the PT, I have to make sure I have the right ones. I’ve thought of the obvious cards, but I’m still trying to figure out some of the more obscure ones. I’m sure that if I was a better player and actually knew more cards, I could come up with some penetrating insights by associating a Pro with one card, but since I’m just a n00b I’m gonna’ have to go with the obvious choices:

Kai Budde = Voidmage Prodigy. After the restraining order expires, I’m going to nuzzle up to him and ask him to please allow me to absorb some of his playskill through osmosis.

Jon Finkel = Shadowmage Infiltrator. I know Jon is making sooooo much money playing poker that he couldn’t care less about a little Magic tournament, but his ugly mug is traveling in a binder across an ocean just in case. I’ll even put him in the same pocket with Akroma so he’ll have a good trip.

Jens Thoren = Solemn Simulacrum. What more could be said about Mr. Thoren? What can I add that hasn’t been repeated ad nauseam all over the internet? Actually… nothing. I have squat. My brain came up with a big bag of zilch. The emptiness of my knowledge shames the fanboy in me. I must now go eat a large piece of cake covered with the sweet icing of guilt.

Bob Maher = Dark Confidant. This is particularly important to me since I own a foil Confidant. Ha! I’ll ask Bob to inscribe it to “My best friend in the whole wide world. My Confidant in times of need. Pedro.” I can just feel the tears coming. *hugs*

Terry Soh = Unluckyman’s Paradise. By the way Terry… you suck. I just read your article about how cool it is to draft Blue on Magic Online. I then proceeded to invest hard earned virtual dollars to buy mint condition virtual boosters, and managed to 0-3 three separate drafts at the always competitive 4-3-2-2 queue. You owe me money! Expect to see me collecting from you sometime soon. Oh, and please sign my card, okay? We’ll do lunch.

Chris Pikula = Meddling Mage. This one is going to be hard. I actually traded away my only Meddling Mage last year. Chris, if you see me at the PT, would you mind giving me an autographed Meddling Mage? I’d ask for the judge’s foil version, but your mug will do in a pinch.

Randy Buehler = Counterspell. Oh boy. Blue. Bad Blue. MaRo tells us Blue is bad. Blue ate the Color pie. Blue then went out for Rainbow sushi and washed it down with an iridescent milkshake. Blue is bad. Blue must be restrained. Blue sucks. Just don’t tell Randy.

Geoffrey Siron = Mountain. This man embodies my draft strategy. I hope the whole table ignores what I’m drafting and proceeds to hate each other out. It worked for me, once. Rather than having a proactive strategy, I just aim for prolonged suckiness from the other people around me. Yeah. I feel real good about my chances to make Top 8 in Prague.

The entire Development Team = My playsets of Skullclamp and Umezawa’s Jitte. ROFL. I’m so l337 to have come up with that one. I’m sure they haven’t heard this before. This will be good for a chuckle, before they call a judge over and tell them that I just violated Rule 897g of the Super Secret Comprehensive Tournament Rulebook for R&D, and that I should be expelled from the PT. The shame, I have just embarrassed my whole country. I now know how the men’s US Olympic Basketball team felt after Athens. I’ll go to my corner and weep quietly into an old issue of Inquest Magazine.

Craig Jones = Lightning Helix: Craig, I really want your topdecking skills. You give nerdy-looking guys all over the world a dash of hope. In Costa Rica we don’t say mise, we use “whip” or “güip”. Well, güip to you, sir!

Mike Flores = Mirror Mirror: I’m sure Mike could manage to break this card. He could just name the deck Flores Mirrors, and test it against Flores Red, Flores Blue, Flores Izzetron, Flores Drive Through Dinner, and Flores All Night Burrito Stand. It would then win 70% of its games against the field in playtesting, only to fail miserably at the actual tournament. Why, oh why must the Great Ones’ decks always lose when facing an opponent? Simple: opponents actually play cards. Goldfish just swim around in circles, and generally suck at Magic.

Craig Stevenson = Morphling: Craig is like Superman… only he has a little less hair, and an accent. He still remains one handsome devil. And smart. He is successful in everything he does, and is well liked by the women. Now, I don’t actually know Craig, but I do know he is the editor at this here website, and thus is in charge of getting me published. Love ya, Craigy. Keep up the good work. Only you can take this website and transform it into the greatness we behold very week. [Heh. I’ve gotta publish this one… – Craig]

Osyp Lebedowicz = No card. Gatica, the Costa Rican player at the PT, said you just blew him off when he approached. Bad form. No cookies for you… never mind, can I please, please, please be your friend? You are, like, good at Magic, and I am not. Let me be your friend, okay? Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

Julien Nuijten = Astral Slide. Julien used to play on the free Magic Workstation and Magic Apprentice website of Magic-League.com. He is now a legend in the IRC. I’d be really intimidated to meet him if it wasn’t for two overriding factors: a) in my mind, he is nine years old, and b) I have this impression that the dude is short. I don’t know where I got that from, since all I have ever seen is his picture in the Featured Writer articles, but that is how he comes across. Now, I’m not a huge man (6 foot or 1.82 meters), but somehow it is comforting to think I would tower above Julien. Of course, since I couldn’t tell apart my left kneecap from a gorilla you have to take these assertions with a grain of salt. Actually, a whole bag would be more appropriate.

Jamie Wakefield = Forest. If the choice were a little more obvious, his name would be Jamie Wakeforest. I just crack me up. What, no one else is laughing? Damnit.

Ted Knutson = Ninja of the Deep Hours. Your kung-fu skill is legendary, Teddybear-san. We must defend the honor of the cardboard through the destruction of all threatening bricks and boards nearby. Hai!

Life is an ever-flowing proposition. One must give as well as get. To thank the guys who John Hancock my cards, I’m going to carry my own autographed pieces of cardboard that I will be most happy to hand out. They won’t be Magic cards because – let’s face it – I suck at this game and the next time someone looks at a Magic card and thinks of me will be the first. I own a hostel in Costa Rica, and will have cards from said hostel. In honor of Randy Buehler letter to the Vintage community, I’ll offer this: anybody that beats me will get a free week’s stay in Costa Rica. Anybody that makes the Top 8 gets the same deal.

If Costa Rica can’t go to the Pro Tour, maybe we can bring the Pro Tour to Costa Rica.

Who knows… maybe even Kai will take me up on the offer. I’ll stay 200 yards away, I promise, and that nice policeman won’t have to interfere again*.

Pedro Alvarado
[email protected]
zoropoteame all over the world
expendibleone on MTGO

* Call me, okay?