Mised Pluckings Of A Solid Weekend (With Sideways Men to Boot!)

A trip to a different store (NOT Our Beloved StarCity) yields an entirely new experience…

Last weekend was totally crazy, and I thought I’d tell you about it — it really is worth the story. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the Magic-related tale the likes of which you won’t hear for a long time.

It started when one of my friends and playtesting partners had the desire to search out a new metagame, to play against different decks and different players, and to look through different binders. So on Saturday afternoon, we started our sixty-mile journey to a foreign comic shop to participate in the weekly tournament.

The ride was rather uneventful… Except for the torrential downpour that made it impossible to see out of the windshield with thunder rumbling all around us. Oh, and there are a lot of billboards”AVAILABLE” between Roanoke and Lynchburg, so if you’re interested, go take a look.

After taking a wrong turn and turning back when we reached the rural tobacco farms, we finally made it to our destination. We ran through the rain to enter a totally new (to us) comic shop that specializes more in comics than anything else.* Inquiring as to the entry fee of the tournament, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was the purchase of two booster packs. I unhesitatingly picked up two Apocalypse booster and plucked** a Shivan Reef and Vindicate. Mise. He who dies with the best plucked rares wins.***

So I was all ready to bring my U/B/W control deck (Undermine, Absorb, Dromar’s Charm, Counterspell, Wrath of God, Rout, Nether Spirit, etc.) to the Standard tournament scene once again. I get paired up against my first opponent, sporting an unfamiliar face and an unfamiliar deck. How unfamiliar? Let’s recap the first turn, shall we?

Opponent: Forest. Quirion Ranger.

“That’s not legal!” I exclaimed. His response was a quizzical look.”Isn’t this a Type II tournament?” I ask, knowing the answer.

“No, it’s Extended.” I proceed to explain that I thought it was a Standard tournament. What do they all say?”They all say d’oh.” Tough luck for me. Should the article title be”My Standard Deck in an Extended Environment?” No – it gets better.

So, I lose my first match miserably. I come upon my next opponent and am faced with Pleasant Surprise Number Two. He’s playing an IBC deck! Not only was it IBC, but it was a sub-par R/W/U deck with Order/Chaos (that does WHAT to Nether Spirit??) that tries to ping opponents to death. It doesn’t like mass creature removal – too bad my deck has mass creature removal.

So, I’m 1-1. There will be one more match of this small tournament before three people are booted and the Top Eight commences. I’m paired up with … My friend! We drove sixty miles to play against each other. *Sigh* At least he thought it was a Type II tournament, too! For the second game in a row, I proceed to draw two lands. That didn’t help my match, though it did move my friend right along to the Top Eight. Good thing I got in there, too.

My first match in the Top Eight is against something that looks like Ponza. He gets a bad draw, and I handily win the game. I sideboard ALL wrong… As I soon find out, when his Bridge Wildfire deck takes off. My only chance was to out-Mill him, which wasn’t looking good because he got a second-turn Millstone that I couldn’t counter, and I’d sided out all of my Dismantling Blows.

However, I was pretty sure that I would win Game Three. Why? Legacy Weapon in the side! His deck’s only win condition is Millstone (before siding), so I had it in the bag – if only I could get rid of the Urza’s Rages he was bound to side in. When I play a sided-in Lobotomy, what do I see looking at me? Three, count ‘em, THREE Urza’s Rages. Oops, I win. 🙂

So I’m in the Top Four. I get three packs, at least. Yay! I come up against my opponent playing – Extended Sligh with a touch of land destruction. Gack! After mopping my face on the pavement with his way too-fast deck (so that’s what it feels like to have Shock, Shock, Fireblast applied directly to your face…), I collected my three packs. Lo and behold, the storeowner presented me with Sixth Edition, Nemesis, and Mercadian Masques. Boo! I get a Sengir Autocrat (no Bird), a Flowstone Slide (no foil Parallax Wave), and a Jhovall Queen (no Nether Spirit).

So, I hang out for a while, doing some trading and playing when my friend arranges a friendly draft. Now I’m not a very good drafter, but I thought I’d give it a try. I ended up getting what I thought to be a very decent deck. For those of you who care, it follows. For those of you who don’t, please skip it.

Massive Zombie Beats.dec

Lord of the Undead

Phyrexian Scuta (!)

Planeswalker’s Scorn

Grave Defiler

Quagmire Druid

Bog Down

Phyrexian Bloodstock

Urborg Uprising

Volcano Imp

Morgue Toad

Darigaaz’s Attendant

Dromar’s Attendant

Mirrored Treefolk

2x Pincer Spider

2x Bog Gnarr

3x Savage Gorilla

Spiritmonger (!)

Llanowar Dead

Consume Strength

9x Swamp

8x Forest

For those of you who didn’t read the decklist, the highlights are a Lord of the Undead (with five zombies, including Phyrexian Scuta!), Planeswalker’s Scorn (brutal in draft), and Spiritmonger. I also got Consume Strength, which is an excellent combat trickster, and some savage men which I turned sideways a lot.

I floored my first opponent with rare after rare, but before I could finish the tournament (and ultimately win it), we had to leave. It was an hour drive back, and it was getting dark. Rain + dark + traffic = avoid if possible. Plus, we were getting hungry.

So, we bid farewell to our comrades in arms, er, Magic cards. The trip back seemed to take a lot less time, as we listened to The Phantom of the Opera on CD. It’s one solid play if you haven’t heard it. If you decide to buy it, it’s worth the $36 (or $26 if you get it online).

Once inside a house again, the game-playing was commenced. I had mana screw all night. Boo. But, good times were had by all, including Becky, who happened to be peering, rain-soaked, from the rafters, after receiving a chocolate chip cookie.

Now it’s time for the best part of the weekend: While musing over control decks at the tournament, I brainstormed the next Tier One deck … as long as Tiers are defined by pure fun-factor. It’s called FCP – that’s Five-Color Permission, folks. It includes four Undermines, Suffocating Blasts, Counterspells, Mystic Snakes, and Absorbs, along with four Fact or Fictions and Urza’s Rage, three Tsabo’s Webs, and one of each Invasion Dragon Legend. The land consists of four Coastal Towers, Salt Marshes, Shivan Reefs, and Yavimaya Coasts, with two of each non-Island basic land. What a deck! I didn’t build it to win (and it doesn’t, either), but I can pull it out one night after some serious playing and make everyone crack a smile.”I’m going to open up a can with my FCP deck. Of course I play removal – Suffocating Blast is amazing. And do you even know what Dromar DOES?” Hee – I’m looking forward to using this deck for a long time to come. It’s even IBC-legal, if you replace the Counterspells with Excludes!

So, that was my weekend. There were some excellent mises (opening Spiritmonger, Phyrexian Scuta, Shivan Reef, and Vindicate in packs), some excellent trades (I got forty-four cards for my twenty decks in ONE trade), and good times. Not everyone can have such a crazy weekend, but I hope that if you do, you’ll write about it, too. Magic’s not just a game or an occupation – it also comes with lots of laughs and star moments. Enjoy them, and spread the love!

Daniel Crane

[email protected]

* – So that’s why they call it a comic shop!

** – The regulars of the comic shop had an entire set of colloquialisms, the foremost of which was”pluck” with almost as many definitions as mise.

*** – Borrowed from my friend Jacob Rizzowsky****.

**** – Not to be confused with Jonathan Rizz-o-ma-bob.

P.S. – While spell-checking this article, I found out, to my horror, I had been clicking”Change All” instead of”Ignore All.” So, if you find a real word that you know is supposed to be different, I apologize. I tried to comb the article for such occurences, but mistakes do happen.