As usually happens when I go for a considerable time without writing anything, I’ve gotten some complaints. At first, I wasn’t really sure why. I don’t fancy myself the greatest writer of all time. However, now that I think about it, I suppose the Magic articles online are somewhat lacking in my absence. Why settle for”poor” when you can have”mediocre?” Regardless, complaining isn’t really going to help the process. I try to write only when I am possessed of divine inspiration, or at least a perplexing anecdote involving some drunk twentysomething wearing Mardi Gras beads in Ohio in June.
Here’s something you whiners may not know: I actually did write something in the past month. What’s more, there’s a decent chance that you read it. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
This was, in my opinion, one of my best articles.”4 Arcbound Ravager.””4 Skullclamp.” Where do I come up with this stuff? My personal favorite creative touch was where I altered certain hillbillies’ sideboards to get them match losses.* I considered giving a few of the people clever nicknames or randomly inserting Ogre Leadfoot into some sideboards, but I didn’t want to anger Scott Johns.
I hope to never do that again, though. I had to take several breaks to prevent the onset of carpal tunnel and/or blindness from staring at the screen. Also, the way it all went down made me sort of suspect that I was being subjected to some sort of hazing ritual. I asked Ted if I could do sideboard coverage. Ted said he’d talk to Scott Johns, and then came back and told me I was all set; all I had to do was go back and see Scott.
Rather than feature match coverage, I was assigned to the most painful, mind-numbing task available. I didn’t even realize what a bad beat it was until 1) I actually started doing it and 2) literally every other Sideboard writer gave me sincere condolences. To cap it all off, they didn’t have a computer for me to use, so I had to borrow Mike Guptil’s, which was approximately twelve years old and missing five keys, including the apostrophe key.** Quite the coincidence. I’m surprised they didn’t somehow trick me into doing the typing pantsless while wearing clown makeup. [We usually save that for the second job. – Knut]
And now, with no meaningful or well-conceived transition…
Gratuitous Bonus Blog
Structurally, this would make the most sense at the end of the article. Actually, I suppose it would make the most sense to not include it at all, but you know how I feel about relevance. As it is, I’m including it at the beginning to make sure you see it before you get bored and resort to reading Jedit’s startling social commentary in the forums or the brand new StarCityGames.com column, Ask Phimus Pan.
Only one entry in the following account is fabricated, and the only false information about it is the day it occurred; it actually happened one day prior.
Wednesday, June 24
1:45 p.m.: I ask my manager and best friend”Cup of” Joe Jones what time I should be at work. I know the schedule says 3:00, but I know sometimes managers are a little”flexible” about when they arrive to work. Cup tells me to get there at 3:00 sharp.
3:00 p.m.: I arrive at my place of employment, Domino’s Pizza.*** It is the last week of June in Vermilion, OH, and I had forgotten what that meant: the infernal swarm from Hell. Some call them mayflies, others”Canadian soldiers,” and others still,”those &$%# bugs.” Regardless of nomenclature, they’re huge and annoying, and the storefront of Domino’s is carpeted and wallpapered with them. They cover literally every square inch of the window, door, and ground. I lament the very real possibility that I will be assigned the task of their removal.
3:13 p.m.: The CupofJoe arrives at work.
3:37 p.m.: I decide to take a crack at playing Orkin man. The hose has mysteriously vanished from the grounds, so my default bug-fighting weapon is a flimsy old broom. I take one swipe at the door with pretty much the expected result: a small area of glass is temporarily clear of the scourge, and an equal area of insects appears on my clothing. I brush off and go back inside.
4:01 p.m.: Management has forgotten to prepare a uniform (read: shirt with Domino’s logo) for me. Fortunately, manager Nick Meyer has an extra shirt in the washing machine, but it needs to be dried. This means that, for my first two deliveries of the day, I sport a shirt that says not”Domino’s,” but rather”Hoobastank.” Neither customer notices.
7:24 p.m.: I deliver a pizza to Trinter Road. The friendly woman at the door gives me a radiant smile and a”thank you” as she proceeds to give me $13 for a $12.99 order. At least she didn’t tell me to”keep the change.”
9:07 p.m.: After delivering 31 pizzas (for the bargain cost of $187) to the Christian youth camp, a coworker and myself collect an envelope filled with cash. On our way out of the main office door, someone stops us and asks for the envelope back so he can count the money. He counts out $187 and prepares to pocket the rest – over $20 – when I tell him that the person who handed me the envelope said that the rest was supposed to be tip (which he DID say). Begrudgingly, he hands us each a five dollar bill, and we make our way back to the store.
10:04 p.m.: A block away from the store, I am stopped at a red light. A man walks up to my window and asks for a ride for himself and his wife/girlfriend to a bar. After a brief discussion in determining how far away the bar is, I let them hop in. Once we’re on our way, it becomes obvious that the woman is sloshed out of her mind, and the following conversation ensues:
Woman: Whoa, do you put magic mushrooms on your pizza?
Me: I don’t think so, no.
Woman: Well you should. I want some magic mushrooms. Do you ever have magic mushrooms?
Me: *chuckles* No.
Woman: I don’t see why not. I’d rather look at stars and float in the clouds than look at &#*%ing ignorant people all day.
Me: *chuckles some more* So where is this bar?
Man: A little up the road.
Woman: They kicked me out of the last bar because they didn’t appreciate my sense of humor. They can’t kick me out of this one if my cousins are working. If they’re not I’ll probably get kicked out in the first five minutes.
Man: You better not. I wanna get a drink.
10:24 p.m.: I deliver pizza to people who are drinking, playing cards, and blasting Three Days Grace. As I leave, one of them invites me back for a drink when I get off work, and his girlfriend chides him, saying I’m probably only eighteen.
10:37 p.m.: I get off work, figuring my average to be $12/hour for the day.
Ha ha. I just told an amusing anecdote and thumbed my nose at the trendiness and ubiquity of blogs both at the same time. What a lark!
Apparently, I have more worthless nonsense stored up for you guys than I had imagined, including the premiere of Frequently Unasked Questions, an interview with the King, and perhaps even a RyanG’s corner. I have to ration it out, though. For this week, the final piece of non-strategy will of course be…
Pro Tour Team Names
It would be hard to be as detailed as I was in my GP:DC report because of all the damned foreigners. How the heck am I supposed to know if team names like”Acidulantes” and”Moin Moin” and”Lotus Noir” are amusing or stupid or somewhere in between. I think”Lotus Noir” means”(something Lotus).””Slippery” Lotus perhaps. Despite not knowing how to speak Foreigner, however, I bet”Funf gegen Willi” is probably pretty amusing. Naturally, this list isn’t all-inclusive.
:B – Yeah, we decided to stay with our GPDC name since we’re lazy, unoriginal bastards. I like how it’s a”format breaker” and how it causes some people difficulty in determining its pronunciation. I’ve heard”face” and”smiley” among others. The preferred pronunciation is”Colon Bee.” It is a cute little face, though, isn’t it? And it’s not obscene, like the name”# my :” (which is an actual Florida team) or something with an eight and some equal signs and a capital D at the end.
1nz – Mm, random numbers and letters. I can’t say that I care for this one at all.
Antoine Ruel – This one’s not terrible. Referencing a team member is against the rules, but naming the team after a team member without including any other words is not. Go figure. It’s like he’s the only person on the team, or something. Regardless, I’ve seen worse.
Avenue Ghetto STREET BOYS – I like this one a lot. This is probably the second best team name from the PT. I assume that they’re just calling themselves badasses in such an over-the-top and intentionally campy way that you can’t help but chuckle. It looks like something a Japanese team would name itself to try to seem American and sinister, like Super Boom Explosion Fire Death Team.
Bamf – Shouldn’t Stone Cold Steve Austin be on this team?
Bipolar Bears – I think this is from a poem or something. By that dude who wrote the one with the girl who eats the mushrooms and gets really big, or one of those crazy old fruits. It’s also the name of a Stone Temple Pilots song, which gets two devil-horn-hands up from me. Cute little pun either way.
Bmh – I’ve seen quite a few unremarkable team names so far, so it’s nice to get to one that’s blatantly terrible. I’m just going to keep making fun of the morons who don’t have a shred of ambition who insist to name their team after their initials until they stop doing it. It’s what’s known as negative reinforcement, in the biz.****
Bold Calimero Sisters – For some unknown reason, there’s nothing funnier to an Englishman than when a man dresses in drag. By the same token, I always appreciate a gender-misleading team name. There are no girls on this team, let alone sisters! I also like it when three scrawny guys call themselves fat (if done properly) and so on. Irony never seems to lose its magic.
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy – I’m sure there’s a story behind this one, but it stands pretty well on its own. It’s hard to describe; this just sounds like a team name.
Cult of the Beard – God, another pretty good name, assuming no one on the team has a beard, or one person on the team has a ridiculous ZZ Top sorta deal going. Good names are boring to discuss, but you have to give people their props so they’ll keep up the good work.
Dead Money – This is a poker term isn’t it? Even so, it’s still kinda fitting, so I’ll give it a C+.
Ferreal and the Echoing Truth – Oh ha!! Ha ha!! Were you guys there when Ferreal had the Echoing Truth and then he cast it and then it Resolved?! Wasn’t That The Best? What, you weren’t there? Oh Me Neither. And I don’t care if”Ferreal” is actually a tricky spelling of”Fer real” or is otherwise not some dude’s name. Don’t care. Leave Magic cards outta yer damn team names.
Finding Jaba – This sorta nonsense may fly in Brazil, but you’re in my country now. The whole”Jaba” thing caught on about as well as soccer or women’s suffrage. And Finding Nemo came out, like, a full year ago. Pop culture references must be current, retro, or”timeless.” Booooooooo!
Freestyle for Rebel Souls – I like it. I don’t get it, but I like it. I imagine there’s a good chance if I knew how the team name came about, I’d hate it. Ignorance truly is bliss.
I Blame Bung – So do I, because maybe if he had swallowed arsenic years ago, this catastrophe of a no-talent complete-sentence team name could have been avoided.
Jeff, Jordan, and Gabe – If you’re so cool and disaffected that you don’t even want to bother coming up with a team name, at least have the decency to not rip off Huey, Ben, Casey, Brock, and Linde. If they wanted to rip off Huey, for which I really couldn’t blame them, since Huey is way funnier than ffeJ or almost anyone I know, they should have lifted their team name from his away message on AIM:”Winless In Seattle.”
Mach 3 Power Rangers – Power Rangers are totally lame.
Mexican Big Slick – I could be waaaay off like I am a solid 4% of the time, but this sounds like a combination inside joke and poker reference. Disgraceful. As much as I hate poker and everyone who started playing within the past two years and everyone who talks about it nonstop like it’s really interesting and everyone who uses the lingo, I do enjoy making up names for hands, much like I did making up fake emo band names. Here are some examples:
Pocket Dolphins: 6 9 offsuit
Crepes Suzette: J 2 suited
The Dakota Gambit: 4 of clubs, 8 of diamonds
And so on. I’m sure some day in the not-too-distant future, every possible combination of cards will in fact have a stupid nickname. Hopefully I’ll be eating sand off the bottom of Lake Erie well before then.
Monster Rod Deux – I know you were but a humble guest on this team, Gerry, but you really could have asserted yourself a little in the name department.
My Little Pony – This is a solid B. It doesn’t”sound like a team name,” so it doesn’t earn an A, but it’s in the upper echelon of pop culture references. It’s old and campy, but it hasn’t been done to death like some eighties kitsch.
No Mas Pinguinos – Those tricky foreigners couldn’t pull the wool over my eyes this time. I took four years of Mexican on my way to becoming Vermilion High School Valedictorian, class of 1944. To the layperson, this would be”No More Penguins.” I’m sure you had trouble figuring that out. This is just asinine. I wasn’t aware of any penguin infestation. Maybe this is a catch phrase from some random Mexican show like the one on The Simpsons with the bumblebee duder.
Pants Pants Revolution – My Lord is this team name ever good. I changed my mind. This is the second best team name at the PT. Adam Prosak, the only well-known member of this team, assumed the moniker”IH8Pants” oh so many years ago. [To be fair, Phimus Pan knocked some dude out of the top 8 at U.S. Nationals, letting”The Champ” slide in, so he deserves some notoriety. – Knut] I may be biased as to the quality of this one since one of my favorite people in the world came up with it. I’d like to know about this in the forums. I’d also like Lindsay Lohan to bring me a four-gallon chocolate-banana milkshake wearing nothing but a look of utter revulsion. Oh, what the heck, I guess it could be Terry Tsang instead of Lindsay Lohan. That might even be better, because then I’d have someone to share the milkshake with.
Passion of the Ken – RyanG wanted a team named Passion of the RyanG I think, and he may have told Ken Russell about this. While I’m all about Messianic complexes, this particular reference only works, in my humble opinion, if the name rhymes, as in Passion of the Heiss, which I mentioned in my GPDC report, I think, which Rosholm said was the best report ever, which makes me happy since he is one cool customer. Eight commas. Ding!
Peter Paul + Scary – An unsurprisingly quality team name. Solid pun, and it only works because the team members are named Peter, Paul, and of course, Tom Guevin.
Pocket Rockets – …
Priests of Titania – …
Pro Castle Team – Oh, those wacky foreigners!
S.A.I. – The Japanese aren’t exempt from the initials rule, even if one of the guys on this team sorta looks like Tom Pannell.
Simeon Inc. – Not a fan of”Inc.” in team names, nor am I fan of that spelling of Simeon. For some reason, this name, to borrow a phrase from my stunt double, makes me want to stab.
Make Fetch Happen – Interestingly, Kevin Pettinger’s team is listed”alphabetically” where it would appear if it were named something else… like”Skeet Skeet Skeet” perhaps. RyanG and I were trying to figure out a way to reference Mean Girls, and Kevin came to the rescue. I can’t think of too many better men on the planet than him.
Something Amazing! – It’s cute because it used to be”Something Awful.” I’m feelin’ the exclamation point.
System – Inexplicably, I think this name sounds pretty badass. Again, I’m an uncultured heathen, so I don’t know if it references something. I seem to recall that it does, but I also thought that about”Hi! We’re the Warlords” which turned out to be a no-good inside joke. I really have no idea anymore.
Team Name – no, no, No, No, NO NO NO! *slams fists on table*
Team Niccolo Macchiaveli – Interesting call. I guess arbitrary historical figure references are all the rage nowadays. For no reason at all, I just thought that I would like to reference a certain something in a team name. This will never fly with my prospective GP: Chicago team, but I want to be on Freedom Haters. If you know what that’s from, I will donate a kidney to the needy relative or annoying neighbor of your choice.
The 13th Step – Is someone on this team an A Perfect Circle fan? This seems unlikely. The team name is probably a coincidence.
The American Way – I’m glad Krempels is our national champion. He truly is a paragon of patriotism, justice, and all we hold dear in this wonderful country of ours.
The Champ is so stupid – It’s a complete sentence, so the highest I can give it is a C+. I will give it just that, though. The champ is pretty stupid.
The Max Fischer Players – The Cack said”:B” was the best team name at the tourney. I’m going to have to disagree. The Max Fischer Players is the best team name I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I’m really at a loss for words here. Josh Ravitz is a master of epic proportions. The minstrels will sing his praises for millennia to come. [To be fair, Rabbit says Pikula invented this one. – Knut]
The Money Makers – Okay, I lied. I’m sick of irony.
Tight Ship – What is this, 1998?
TJ-1000 – Great name. It’s up there in the annals with FRS 847 and C 1203 FX. They must have gotten this one off a license plate. Speaking of license plates, I saw one last year that said”GN 1024.” I was a little spooked.
Troll Ecstatic – This one’s not bad if you know Adam Chambers. Sadly, most of you do not. While that truly is your loss, it puts this team name into the nether regions.
Truck Oasis – There are some team names that I like irrationally, and there are some names that I dislike irrationally. This is not one of the former.
Two Redheads and Stepchild – Of all the team naming faux pas (how the heck do you pluralize”faux pas”?), I think”2 ______s and a _______” is the worst offender. Worse than a redundant”Team” in the name, worse than using your initials, worse than Magic cards. Truly vile. I have this unconscious spit reflex every time I read this name.
Undercover Normal People – Not bad. I’m sure you can figure the joke in this one out on your own.
Veni Vidi Vici – Let’s check the final standings… ooh, that’s unfortunate. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, as the old uncool people sometimes say because they’re so old.
We Q’d at the Mall – That’s somewhat amusing if it actually happened. Then again,”Peter Rollenhagen lying at the bottom of a ditch” is also somewhat amusing, but I’m not about to name my team that. Oh, and complete sentence. Bad. I try to avoid those myself. Even when writing. God, I’m on a roll. The Nerdmobile is firing on all cylinders tonight, folks.
Wonder Twins and Gleek – There’s that anathematic formula yet again. *spit* Tim, you say, not only are you incredibly ugly, but you also can’t make”anathema” into an adjective. Well I. Just. Did.
Okay, well. I actually don’t get paid by the word like Oscar Tan, so I have no incentive to slowroll the river in this article anymore. I’m drawing dead, here, folks.
I got on a plane *bluesy harmonica riff*
It landed in Seattle *same riff, a few notes down the scale*
Rode to the site with Ravitz *back to the first riff*
No one was there *second riff again*
Went to my hotel *harmonica riff*
Got in bed with the Cack *this was funnier in my head*
Woke up the next morning *how could it not be*
Played in the PT *at least it’s over*
And, Yes, PT-Seattle
That last section was painful. I’m still cringing. Unless you heard it in your mind exactly as I had planned it and somehow found it endearing, in which case it was painful and you have poor taste. Basically, I wanted to spare you superfluous exposition, or rather superfluous superfluous exposition. If that makes any sense. (Oh, it does).
The point is, no one cares about my flight, or about how Valentin Moskovitch was in my room but wasn’t offensive-smelling, or about how I”accidentally” grabbed Pelcak’s ass seven or eight times during the night. That gets pretty tedious. I’m just going to recount a brief AIM conversation from a week before Seattle, and then I’ll start the match reports. God, that means I have to go to the Wizards website and look up all my opponents’ names and the name of their teams. Then I have to remember details from the matches…This is hard work. No wonder I haven’t been writing.
chester6561: so what are your goals for this PT
The Caaaaaaaak: goals?
chester6561: yes, like what do you want to accomplish? do you just want to make money? do you want to top 10?
The Caaaaaaaaaak: …
chester6561: like, for instance, when i go to something nowadays, my main goal is just to make my money back. in this case, i want to top 10 so that you two can qualify for columbus
The Caaaaaaaaaaaaak: …
You see, I have this little fantasy that I’m capable of predicting the future and/or speaking it into existence. Like when I put a curse on Gerry at GP: Columbus for saying that I looked like a zombie. I also predicted, a few months ago, that Gadiel would get a PT top 8 within two years. I guess this counts for that.
Round One vs. Loic Degrou (Get a Life)
Game One: I’m playing a decent Red/Black deck; Loic is with blue/red affinity. This game, he’s having some trouble hitting land drops, but he still has plenty of spells to play since, you know, that’s what Affinity does. His board soon features Viridian Longbow, a Yotian Soldier to glut the ground, a Neurok Spy, a Myr, and a Frogmite, but I have no artifacts in play and a few random dudes, so neither of us is attacking. I play a Goblin Replica while his Longbow is still unequipped (he still only has 3-4 lands) to kill said Longbow, taking another beat from the Spy. Then, I rip the combo in consecutive turns: Greater Harvester and Neurok Hoversail. I pride myself on the masterful last-minute inclusion of the Hoversail, as I force him to take ten damage (down to 8) and sacrifice four permanents. Then he rips Leonin Bola. Then he Shrapnel Blasts me. Then I lose.
Game Two: I feel rather dejected, as the dude’s deck is simply preposterous, and I knew it would be pretty hard to win two more games after I basically won the first. For some reason, they saw fit to give this guy Looming Hoverguard and Thirst for Knowledge and Shrapnel Blast and Bola and Longbow and some other stuff that I can’t remember now to compliment his ludicrous affinity cards – oncolor artifact lands, Somber Hoverguard, and so on. I remember that Monsieur Degrou was giving me a sound beating this game, but I managed to stabilize with Barter in Blood followed by Murderous Spoils (stealing Longbow), a flying Nim Abomination, and a Spikeshot Goblin. I took careful consideration to stabilize at six life. Due to time considerations, Degrou scooped at twenty.
Game Three: The match count stands at 1-1, so this is sorta important. I get a nice start of Grimclaw Bats and Abomination, but he counters with Yotian Soldier, and later, Neurok Familiar and Somber Hoverguard. He apparently feels guilty for having such a good deck, since he decides to trade his Hoverguard for my Bats despite being ahead in the damage race on account of his four-power of fliers vs. my one-power. After I rip Wail of the Nim to polish off his Yotian Soldier and Neurok Familiar, he drops a Neurok Prodigy, and the race is on.
I have Nim Abomination and Greater Harvester; he has Prodigy and ground chumpers. My life total declines from 13…to 11..to 9… He clearly has Shrapnel Blast, and thanks to his Aether Spellbomb, there’s no way I can win. All he has to do is bounce my Abomination so that I would take another 3 when I replayed it, and the game is his. He instead bounces the Greater Harvester, which I replay. Over the next two turns, I rip a few more guys. On the turn he attacks me down to seven, he has just enough blockers to survive until his next turn, at which point he will attack me down to five and finish me off.”Luckily,” I topdeck a flier (a removal spell also would have done the job) to stay out of Blast range and take the match.
Round Two vs. Aniol Alcaraz Coca (Acidulantes)
Game One: Fortunately for those of you who have chosen to read the”tournament report,” the first round was my most taxing match, so the rest won’t be as detailed and boring. Aniol was playing Forests and Islands and not much else. After trading Bats for his Advanced Hoverguard (with Morningstar on it) and Murderous Spoils for his Tangle Golem and Morningstar, he was completely out of gas.
Game Two: I rip Blind Creeper for turn 2, and it deals him twelve early damage as he stalls on land. He mulliganed either once or twice this game, too. I figure the W is in the bag, but I stall on three lands for a considerable time while Aniol hits about four consecutive land drops. He bashes me down to about eight with a Tyrannax while bouncing the Creeper to stave off death. Thanks to Vulshok Sorcerer, he would be dead in a few turns if I could manage to stay alive. When his Icy Manipulator gets online, he’s at too low of a life total to capitalize, and I start drawing land to play assorted animals to block. He is at three at the end of one of his turns, and two Vulshok Sorcerer tings and a Wail of the Nim seal the deal.
I notice after the last two rounds that for some reason, in most cases, it’s really easy for me to tell when a European has a trick or not (as opposed to say, when Ken Ho has something), and this was a big help. They also seem to be deathly afraid of Bats; this fact was even more instrumental in my first two wins.
Round Three vs. Paul Russell (Pocket Rockets)
Game One: I’m Green/Red with a few random Sunburst cards which probably should have been in Gadiel’s deck. Paul is White/Red. In the first game, he draws more Plains than anything, and Plated Slagwurm has no trouble taking it. Throughout the course of this game and the start of the second, I learn that he’s:
1) From Canada
2) Happy just to be there, as this was his dream
3) One of those guys that sometimes takes to announcing his untaps and his draws.
My win percentage against people who do that is something around 99%. It’s a real confidence booster, I suppose, that they’re expending some of their mental energy to remind themselves to do something that basic. How would you feel if you played against someone who said,”Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Scratch when it itches. Inhale” during your match. Yeah, same thing.
Game Two: He stalls on land for a few turns and trades an Awe Strike for one of my creatures. Confidence remains high as we head toward a stalemate. And then I try to get too cute and toss the entire match. He attacks with Skyhunter Patrol; I block with Tel-Jilad Archers. I have Ferocious Charge to finish off the Patrol, but I wait to do it until first strike damage is on the stack, since mise, I guess. I say,”First strike damage?” He says,”Sure…on the stack, or resolves?””On the st—ah, what the heck. Resolves.” I then Charge my dude, to which he responds with Barbara J. Lightning. So rather than my nearly indestructible Archers being alive and me getting a peek at my top couple of cards, his Patrol is alive, I don’t get to scry, and I lose to said Patrol. I’m a moron.
Game Three: His draw is better than mine and he wins. I deserve to lose. No, my attitude didn’t cause me to mulligan improperly or play poorly this game. My opening grip is mediocre, but it was a”keeper.” The draw simply ended up being inadequate. Since my teammates split their matches, my game two carelessness in fact cost the entire team an entire match. I didn’t let that get me down, though.
Round Four vs. Lucas Glavin (Tool Time)
Game One: Lucas is playing what seems to be a slow, card-advantage oriented deck. Neither one of us plays any creatures in the first several turns, but Lucas casts Night’s Whisper and Fill With Fright. I get in a few hits here and there with random guys. Lucas drops Pewter Golem and Arcbound Fiend, and he is right to be suspicious when I try to race those monstrosities with just a Tel-Jilad Archers; I have Pulse in my hand. Unfortunately, I still can’t win the race, especially since he Betrayaled my Archers.
Lucas is at nine when I play Mindslaver, hoping to find a way to deal him 1 damage while preventing him from burning so that I can Pulse twice. On his turn, he brings me down to three with Predator’s Strike. My draw step yields no help, and he shows me another Betrayal (on his Fiend, modular to the Golem) in response to my Mindslaver activation. I’m hoping for a miraculous Talisman or Wail on his turn, then a chump blocker on my turn. Lucas thinks I have no outs and am just messing with him, so he briskly and nonchalantly flips his top card onto the table. It’s…
I don’t really recall too well what happened after that. It was one of two things, I’m pretty sure:
1) He made me go through the motions of playing the Wall of Blood and activating it nine times. He then quipped an insincere”Good game” and began to shuffle for game 2 behind thinly veiled frustration.
2) He got up from the table in disgust. I pointed my finger at him and shouted”Baaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!” A nearby judge informed me that he would be issuing me a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. Lucas and I tried to explain that we were friends, and as such, he didn’t really mind; we were playing somewhat casually. Evidently, though, my taunt was loud enough to disrupt half the matches in the room, so judge Jeremy”WonkoSane” Smith was unwavering. As the judge did what judges do best, I mused that I figured Gadiel would be the one who would get us our warning while LCG ripped up his Wall of Blood.
Game Two: On turn 4, I get to live out every Magic player’s Pro Tour dream: I play a Thought Prison and imprint LCG’s Wrench Mind. From there, it’s academic. It was actually correct to side the Prison in, and interestingly, the Wrench Mind was truly the best choice, since he would be able to take out Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] or Mindslaver while dropping a Tel-Jilad Wolf on his next turn.
The turn after I drop Mindslaver (with a Myr in play), LCG plays Arcbound Fiend. This makes my Mindslaver turn”a big game,” in the parlance of our times. I make him attack me with his Fiend, and I block with Iron Myr. I force him to cast the Predator’s Strike that I had seen with Thought Prison on my Myr. He Takes 2 From Thought Prison Asnfkjasnd. When the Fiend dies, but not a moment sooner, I realize that I get to Modular the counters onto my Myr. What a sound beating! LCG has several Black creatures in hand which would cause him to take two damage each, and I have Pyrite Spellbomb for his Wolf, so my 4/4 Myr and another random guy finish the job. Gadiel defeats Kate Stavola with Cranial Plating on an Island, and somehow (and this is absolutely perplexing), Brian Lynch gets bad land draws and loses. Go figure.
Round Five vs. Gab Tsang (Truly Lazy Men)
Game One: Ahh, yes, a rematch of our last round at GP:DC. If you recall, we intentionally drew in our last encounter to ensure our teams would finish 7th and 8th instead of 5th and 13th (out of the money).
I have a clunky Green/Black build featuring plenty of artifact and creature removal; Gab is playing red/black. He kills my first few threats, but this leaves him hurting when I drop Glissa on turn 4 or 5. I Lose Hope his Nim Replica while he’s tapped too low to use it in case he has something to finish off Glissa or has enough artifacts to attempt to overload her. My top two cards are land and Wail, and I decide to keep Wail on top, even though it doesn’t do much considering the current board position (Glissa vs. Nothing). Glissa is joined by a Tangle Golem, which is promptly Bolted. I bash in with Glissa, and Gab attempts the Essence Drain next turn; I entwine a Wail to regenerate the Legend. Glissa hits for about twelve more damage while Gab draws lands.
Game Two: At this point, the Cack has lost his match. Terry Tsang gave him a remarkable beating and was chuckling at how the match went down. Terry had natural Domain on turn 5 both games and cast something along the lines of Three Dozen Eyes thanks to Eternal Witness. Cute. In my game, Gab pretty much kills everything I play, so I lose.
Game Three: Gab double mulligans, but I stall on two land for a turn. Fortunately, he is also stalled at two, and I exacerbate this by Deconstructing his Myr and dropping Dross Golem when I hit land #3. From this point, I’m able to kill his meager threats as he plays them and win the game with big Fangs. DRood also mulligans once or twice in his deciding game with Gadiel, and Gadiel is able to capitalize.
Round Six vs. (Osyp Lebedowicz) Shenanigans
Game One: Osyp is, simply put, a national treasure. His outlandish tales and bubbly personality are the envy of the whole Magic-playing community. As has been said before, women want him, and men want to be him. Osyp’s deck is Red/Green with like, you know, guys I guess? And some spells? Lands too, I think. This game, he kills Glissa and plays a haste guy, kills Tangle Golem and plays a haste guy, then plays another haste guy. Since I am incredibly non-masterful, I actually, somehow, did not win this game. I can think of at least two people who would have won it, but I’m not gonna name names. I don’t want to make anyone blush.
Game Two: I got a decent draw, but everything I did was completely trumped by his Summoning Station. Even Echoing Decay didn’t help me break through his defenses. There was a one-turn window where I could burn Osyp out if I drew a swamp for Consumy McSpirit and if he didn’t pump Cathodion mana into his Tyrannax. Osyp is a champion, though, so he saw that whole Tyrannax play. Sheer mastery. The children both won, bringing each of our individual records to 4-2.
Wow. We were each 4-2, and yet the team was 5-1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy. Wow. Dude.
Unfortunately, as you’ll find out in part two, I am incapable of winning matches. I am truly the weak link on this team, and it’s making me wonder whether I want to keep playing Magic. I should probably take up a new hobby so I stop embarrassing myself.
It must be sorta cool reading a tournament report by someone with Schizoaffective Disorder, or whatever it is that I have. These articles take awhile to write, so my mood can and does take unexpected turns. One minute I’ll be all giggles and sunshine, and the next I’ll have a team of associates pulling me back from a 23rd-story window.
I really hate to end on a down note, so here’s a picture of an adorable kitten, and some lyrics by my favorite Christian band!
“I wash my wounds with tears of hope.” –Blindside,”All of Us”
The Most Diabolical Hater This Side of the Mississippi
VICE President of the Morgan Douglass Fan Club
TheTBulge on AIM
*I can’t believe I have to include this footnote, but there’s a chance some people might not think I was kidding. Well, I was kidding. He only got a game loss. Hahahah, no I’m really kidding. I am a professional, and I would not resort to tactics like sabotaging the decklists of people I like. C’mon now.
**I am planning on hunting down and killing anyone who played the full compliment of Urza’s lands at Nationals.
***I’d normally feel a need to defend my job here, i.e. why I’m doing something that’s so far below my potential, but meh.
****Actually it’s not negative reinforcement at all, but”punishment,” an entirely different concept. But you probably believed it. Ha ha gotyougood.