Insert Column Name Here – A Wild, Drunken Card Bender Of An Evening

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Monday, March 31st – It all started with a bottle of whiskey and a pretty girl’s party.

It all started with a bottle of whiskey and a pretty girl’s party.

See, my friend Karla was having her birthday, and I wanted to celebrate in a big way. So instead of bringing the usual bottle of wine, I instead bought a very good bottle of whiskey — Talisker, a whiskey so peaty you could practically chew the smoke out of it — and shared it with the party.

Big hit. Everyone liked drinking something expensive, particularly when it wasn’t on their dime. We burned through that bottle in no time flat, and then spent the evening trying to coordinate a booty call for the birthday girl. (Total text messages sent that evening to three separate guys: 178. With no success. And she’s cute, too.)

So for New Year’s Eve, I got another, different $60 bottle of whiskey. Opened that up for the crowd. Once again, we drank it empty. Apparently, my social group likes drinkin’ quality imbibements.

So every big party, I break out another bottle of good whiskey as we work our way through the various styles, thus giving us experience in what it’s like to drink the subtle differences of the good stuff. Slowly, we’re training our palates to become discriminating consumers, which is what all of the big whiskey distilleries want us to do.

Unfortunately, the last two times I got a bottle in celebration, there were leftovers. (To be fair, the last time I broke open my wallet to get a good bottle was for two friends coming in from out of town.)

So I’ve taken to sipping the leftovers – a jigger or two of whiskey every evening, with just a splash of water. God help me, I’m liking the taste.

And on Friday, I was watching a movie with my wife and having more than I should have of sixteen year-old Glenlivet Nadurra. My head was pleasantly fuzzy, and my fingers were happily numb. It was like the whole evening was a hug.

“Oh,” I thought. “On Saturday evening, I’m going to a Russian Tea Room birthday party, and on Sunday, everyone’s coming over for a day-long Rock Band celebration. I’d better at least get some cards to write for my article.”

I went online and ordered the cards. Joined the league.

Lemme tellya: If these are the cards I open up when drunk, I’m swigging a six-pack before I go to the next PTQ:


Good Lord. Okay, Thoughtseize? And Chameleon Colossus? I’ve made back my money already. But this deck is also laden with crazy bombs. I mean, this is the kind of deck where it’s so strong it can pilot itself.

Let’s look at it, but sheesh. This is a nice, sweet little pool for a whiskey… I mean, Sealed game.

Solid Playables: Ballyrush Banneret, Burrenton Bombardier, Coordinated Barrage, Oblivion Ring, Order of the Golden Cricket, Plover Knights, Summon the School, Swell of Courage

Okay. Burrenton Bombardier is one of the best common White cards in Morningtide, so getting two of them — a normal and a foil — is pretty happy fun time.

Swell of Courage is an official bomb in Sealed play, since two-thirds of an Overrun at instant speed will ruin anyone’s day. I’ve won (and lost) several games where the attackee was sitting at twelve life, happily confident he could take the hit, and a Swell later and WHAM. Deadzz0r. It’s such a potent trick that I’m starting to worry whenever someone’s showing five white mana, but what can you do?

Oh, and we have an awesome token generator in the form of Summon the School, and the first-pick quality of Mirror Friggin’ Entity staring up at us with those glossy, soulless eyes.

All righty, then. We’re going White. The only question is, what color goes best with Mirror Entity and Swell of Courage?

Solid Playables: Aethersnipe, Broken Ambitions, Fencer Clique, Ink Dissolver, Inspired Sprite, Silvergill Douser, Streambed Aquitects, Whirlpool Whelm

Inspired Sprite is one of those cards that looks good on paper, but turns out to be better in practice. The ability to flash it in means that you’ll almost always get at least one activation out of it, and at least one close game was won thanks to me sifting through seven or eight cards with Changelings and me being able to keep it back on defense after attacking. I’m not sure how it is in Draft, but in Sealed — where it’s often about getting to your good cards — I rank this quite highly.

Aside from that, there’s not much to say about this Blue pool except that it’s pretty decent. We have the standard Mister Goodbodies of Aethersnipe and Silvergill Douser, and the solid bounce of Whirlpool Whelm. And some Merfolk to help with Summon the School.

All right, looking good, how about….

Solid Playables: Boggart Loggers, Shriekmaw, Violet Pall, Weed-Pruner Poplar

Is Thoughtseize any good in Sealed? I honestly have no idea. It seems decent on turn 1, certainly. But alas, we’re not going to be running this skimpy Black card pool, which seems to want me to go Green and has too few Goblins to make its goblin enablers worthwhile.

Solid Playables: Adder-Staff Boggart, Axegrinder Giant, Consuming Bonfire, Flamekin Spitfire, Spitebellows, Tarfire

Let me just take this opportunity to say that I adore Flamekin Spitfire when I have him and hate him when I do not. In Sealed, you don’t want to waste your precious removal on some dorky 1/1, and the Spitfire lets you run rampant over those 1/1 dudes. It’s a little worse in these days of Reinforce, but it does help out in the long game.

What’s here is an uneven collection of cards — strong individually, not much synergy. I mean, I love a Tarfire as much as the next guy, but this is three strong removal spells and a bunch of tribes wandering through the desert like Moses.

Solid Playables: Bog-Strider Ash, Chameleon Colossus, Elvish Handservant, Elvish Warrior, Game-Trail Changeling, Gilt-Leaf Seer, Incremental Growth, Leaf Gilder, Lignify, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Treefolk Harbinger

Now, that’s power. Right here, you have Elves and the sweet token generating power of Lys Alana Huntmaster to fuel the entity, a Harbinger to find it, a swampwalker who’ll be quite harmful to Black men when the Entity comes a-calling, and the massiveness of Chameleon Colossus!

So I went with Green, right?

What part of “drunk” don’t you understand?

See, were I sober, well… I still might not have done it. I’m always a little leery of a pool with few combat tricks, and going straight G/W would have meant that I was completely at everyone’s mercy during combat but for a lone Barrage and the power of Swell (which I almost never want to use defensively). Yeah, I’d have several potent sorcery-speed removals in the form of Oblivion Ring and Lignify, but I’d still have some qualms about it — because in my experience, the less tricksy the deck, the less able it is to win for me.

But I was drunk. And a little part of me said, “You should really wait until tomorrow morning when all of this whiskey is gone.”

The other part — the one that was riding high on Glenlivet — scoffed. “What are you, crazy? This is an easy card pool! Any fool can clearly see what the optimal build is! You’d have to be blind not to! Let’s just build a deck now, to pass the time. We’ll play in the morning.”

I poured myself another glass of whiskey. Built the deck. It looked like this:

7 Island
11 Plains
1 Broken Ambitions
1 Cenn’s Heir
1 Changeling Hero
1 Mirror Entity
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Plover Knights
1 Silvergill Douser
1 Streambed Aquitects
1 Summon the School
1 Whirlpool Whelm
1 AEthersnipe
1 Ballyrush Banneret
2 Burrenton Bombardier
1 Coordinated Barrage
1 Distant Melody
1 Fencer Clique
1 Graceful Reprieve
1 Ink Dissolver
1 Inspired Sprite
1 Order of the Golden Cricket
1 Swell of Courage

I looked at the deck, my head spinning.

“Let’s play it,” I murmured.

“No!” said the smart part of my brain. “This is all the Magic you’re going to have to play this week! And unlike most people, if you bomb out with a pool like this, you then have to go on StarCityGames.com and tell everyone how terrible you were! Don’t humiliate yourself, just… Wait! Wait until morning!”

“Nonsense,” I said, clicking the button. “How can I lose with a deck like this?”

Well, I found out.

Game one was a disaster, mainly because I was too uncoordinated to be playing. I got out a second-turn Silvergill Douser — and then, instead of actually lowering the power on that incoming Elvish Warrior, somehow I found myself blocking it thanks to too much Whiskey.

Fortunately, I had the Burrenton Bombardiers to save it.

Unfortunately, he had the Earthbrawn to counter it.

The game was over shortly after that. I was demoralized. I wanted to quit. But I had at least one game left. So I played — and fueled by the slight drunkenness-evaporating qualities of sheer fear, I actually pulled together an okay game and managed to win on the back of Kithkin and Swell of Courage in the second game, then Swell of Courage and Mirror Entity in the third.

The guy knew I had Mirror Entity in my hand thanks to an Ink Dissolver reveal, so when I attacked I think he thought he could block. The Swell, I’m pretty sure, was demoralizing to him, which was good — I owed him one.

“So you won,” my sober-brain said. “Pulled that one out of your butt. Will you just stop now before you get yourself in trouble?”

Nonsense!” I cried. “Did you see what happened there? These cards are blessed! I’m going to pound my opponents!”

Two matches later, inexplicably, I had. I was actually in the zone, playing solid Magic despite my handicap. I beat an 1800-rated player, and it wasn’t entirely about drawing my bombs (though they helped). I’d tell you the details, but remember.


The next morning I arose to find a 3-0 record staring me in the face. I couldn’t believe it. What the heck was that doing there?

I looked at the now-lowered level on the bottle of whiskey. What the hell was I thinking?

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. I set out to play again, and hey! Another 1800 player. Great. I won the first game, he won the second, and then in the third….

Mulligan to five.

Not good.

And I’m landscrewed, stuck on three.

Not good.

He, meanwhile, has an Elvish Warrior and is attacking in consistently. I’ve got some dork down, but I can’t trade in combat, and I’m down to eight life just as he lands the Imperious Perfect.

What happens next is the most amazing recovery I’d ever had.

I Whirlpool Whelm the Perfect to buy time, then enough land to finally play the Aethersnipe in my hand to bounce it again. Then Changeling Hero lands on top of the Aethersnipe; he attacks in the next turn, and I Swell of Courage the Hero. It’s not enough to kill the Warrior, which is a 6/7, but it does get me enough life to get comfortable again, and then bounces the Warrior back to his hand. I then play the Oblivion Ring to remove his Perfect.

Over the next ten turns, he’s applying pressure, but the Inspired Sprite is getting me card quality, and I’m attacking in the air for the win. Eventually, he says, “That was amazing,” and cedes, and we both sat back in the glow of a hard-won game of Magic.

I felt bad that he lost. He played magnificently, and I was doing pretty well myself, and it could have gone either way. But it turned an ugly game into one of the closest battles I’ve ever been privileged to play.

High on triumph, I went into the next match against my nemesis — a 1540-ranked player who I can never ever beat in the Leagues, and he’s there all the dang time. And sure enough, I get manascrewed in the first game, win the second, and mulligan to five in the third.

This time, I do not recover. 4-1 thanks to my nemesis. GRAH.

The Weekly Plug Bug
Last week on My Name Is Might Have Been, we discovered the horrible truth of the world: Pete had to give up his very identity to become a rocker so he could save this land from the nuclear blight. And now, at long last, with a new face and strange energies coursing through his body, he meets his band.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
[email protected]StarCityGames.com
The Here Edits This Here Site Here Guy