I awoke in a puddle of my own vomit, finally awakening from a month-long binge that consisted of Valium overdoses, gas huffing, toad licking, marijuana laced with embalming fluid, copious amounts of distilled water injected into the underside of my eyeballs, Gin and Tonics and Gin, soap scum remover, amyl nitrate, amyl dayrates (they’re more expensive, but worth it), more Gin, large amounts of Amontillado, holding my breath until I turned blue, and Jolt Cola.
"Hey," said I, "It’s the day of the PTQ!"
We drove off, entirely unsure about what state the PTQ was being held in… or, for that matter, what state we were driving through. We were pretty sure it was off a highway somewhere, though, and we sped around like maniacs for about fifteen hours before we finally found the tourney. Mise!
We showed up three hours late, but fortunately the tourney organizers were a little behind. The tourney was held in an old cattle car that hadn’t been cleaned since 1964, and everything was on hold until they could find a couple of sumo wrestlers to pack all of us in.
My friends and I ran around on the sales floor at the last minute, desperately looking for trades to fill out our deck. So far, we thought we had a pretty good deck start with the twenty Plains that we had brought between us, but then Jim – he’s a pro, that boy – pointed out that maybe some creatures, sorceries, instants, enchantments, and other lands would help our deck strategy. So we traded furiously. Unfortunately, nobody wanted to swap any cards for our Plains, so we wound up trading things like our shoes, the car, and the saliva-streaked toad we had brought with us. Things were going badly until I agreed to trade my first-born son for a Mageta, the Lion – which sounds like a bad deal, but I had traded off my genitalia for a pair of Saproling Bursts twenty minutes ago. So basically, I got a Mageta for free. Mise!
So shoeless, carless, toadless, and looking like a Ken Doll, I walked into the tourney.
They wanted deck lists, but we didn’t have any. Matter of fact, we weren’t even sure what was in our decks, and were kind of surprised to find out when we wrote it down.
Which is not to say that we hadn’t scoped the metagame. I had been reading lots of tourney reports on the ‘net – no, wait, those were Jenna Jameson sites. I actually had done a lot of playing the month before – wait, that was still Jenna. Okay, I admit it; we didn’t playtest at all. We didn’t even look at any Magic cards. It’s not that we wouldn’t have, but we were all hopped up on Absinthe from our pre-PTQ celebrations, and we got our Magic decks confused with an old game of UNO that was hanging around Mike’s house. (We thought it was some kind of really cool Type I deck, because we kept Drawing Four and forcing the other player to skip a turn.)
So we decided to go with a Rogue deck. Here’s our decklist:
3x Mageta, the Lion (creature control)
3x Thrashing Wumpus (more control)
3x Saproling Burst (defense)
4x Story Circle (biiiig defense – MVP)
2x Forced March (to handle green swarm decks)
3x Rising Waters (great versus blue control)
3x Tectonic Break
4x Ramosian Sergeant
3x Jolrael, Empress of Beats (get it?)
3x Snuff Out
4x Scoria Cat (Mise!)
4x Snag (SUUUUUPA SECRET ***TECH!***)
This, as you can see, is a straighforward land-destruction deck.
The thing I like is the synergy; you can blow up their lands in so many ways:
* You can Jolrael, then Forced March your opponent’s lands away;
* You can Jolrael, then Mageta their lands away;
* You can Jolrael, then Thrashing Wumpus their lands away;
* You can get TWO Jolraels out, use her once to make your opponent’s land into creatures, use the other her to make your lands into creatures, and apply severe beatdown – when the smoke clears, you can Tec Break away all their lands!
All I heard all day was, "Who plays Snag?" I’ll tell ya who – ME, BABEEEEEEEEE! I’ll tell you, the number of times this card saved my life was astounding, though I never played it with the ACC. Plus, the art rocked! Mise!
I also idly thought about putting Chimeric Idols in there, but then I figured they couldn’t be that good or else everyone would be playing them already.
So we set up for the tournament. Now, some "playas" have their own quirks, like playing with all-foil decks or using dinosaur tokens – me, I carry one of those amusing plastic plants that dances whenever you wave a hand in front of it. Is there anything more reassuring than watching a plastic begonia singing, "Don’t Worry, Be Happy"? If there is, I can’t think of it. And whenever I take a point of damage, I have the plant gently croon a song to keep me from getting upset. Mise! I call it Audrey.
And so we all set out for the tourney:
My first-round opponent had stepped out for a cigarette and been run over by a Mack truck. He was dragged three blocks down the street, leaving a hideous bloody streak three feet wide across the tarmac – which meant a first-round autowin for me! MISE!
Round 2: Josh somebody, playing Waters.
Game 1, I pair up against some kid playing Waters. I get landscrewed. Game 2, same damn thing. I tell you, this is why MBC block construction sucks.
Side rant: The judges here are complete fascists. One guy accuses me of stalling when I have to listen to ALL of "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" every time a Stinging Barrier hits me, and the judge backs him. I explain that it’s necessary to keep my luck in, but he gives me a warning anyway. Fascist.
Round 3: ???, playing a rogue deck
This deck was absolutely amazing. You wouldn’t think an MBC deck could kill on turn two, but this guy had a combo that nobody else had thought of, an MBC-only combo that could deal forty points of unblockable damage on turn three at the latest. Everyone was saying that the only way to beat this thing was if you used Power Nine cards, and even then they weren’t sure if it COULD be beaten.
Round 4: ???, playing some kind of deck with Islands, I think.
He brings out a lot of things and I die. Second game, I get landscrewed – AGAIN. The plant gets to dance, though.
So far, our team isn’t doing very well. I’m doing the best out of all of us, and everyone wishes they’d gotten to play against a dead guy. Our local pro, Jim, would have done a lot better, but he’d traded off his glasses for a Kor Haven and he couldn’t actually read his cards anymore. He lost his third match to a Coke Machine, which was unfortunate since he was playing for ante.
We go eat lunch at Denny’s, and I come back afterwards.
Who do I get paired up against this round? Why, it’s Mike Flores! Mike makes me all kinda nervous, if only because he is a Pro Tour name guy with a deck named after him – but I figured, how good could the guy be? My game was going well – I had a Jolrael out and pulled a Forced March, and I was about to destroy all his lands when suddenly his eyes burst into a sparkly kind of flame and he levitated three feet above the table. "YOU DARE TO BEAT ME, MORTAL? I, WHO HAVE A DECK NAMED AFTER ME? ON YOUR KNEES, UPSTART! BOW BEFORE THE POWER OF FLORES!"
The plant melted.
I was thrown back thirty feet against the wall, and when I crawled back to the table my deck had mysteriously rearranged itself into a dodecahedral shape that hurt my eyes to look at. I ceded.
Somebody later told me that Mike Long had actually killed a scrub in Reno once just by looking at him, but nobody could confirm this. Man, those pro players are scary.
Round 6: ????, playing a deck
I get out a lot of stuff and he pounds me. Game 2, I pound him. Game 3, it’s closer.
Man, MBC just sucks. It’s all about luck, it’s slow, and there’s no skill involved, or a mad "playa" like me woulda walked off with that Q.
* Yeah, me again!
* Me even more!
* The plant!
* The mack truck who hit my opponent!
* Jerry, Kenny, Squiddy, Mikey, Joey, Teddy, Henry, Suzie, Amy, Bobby, Jenny, Freddy, Bobby, Jeannie, Johnnie, and Mungomeat down at the local shop. GO TEAM!
* Mike Flores, for melting the plant
* My opponents, for beating me
* Wizards of the Coast, for creating cards that don’t ever win
* Satan, for creating all evil on the earth (with the possible exception of Mike Flores)