One of my long-time complaints about Magic writing is the lack of stories about Pro Tour and Grand Prix events, particularly these days. Since the tournament report is a somewhat dormant (but not unwelcome) form of expression, internet readers simply miss out on many of the best stories, but even before the death of the tournament report, such stories were too far and few between for a community that includes more than its fair share of intelligent and hilarious people.
As many of you know, I’ve been traveling a lot lately, so I’ve actually been present for a great deal of stories both told and seen. I’m taking today to fill in a gap in our (the community’s) writing, and spin yarns about some of the more amusing things that have happened lately. Most are brief, some are a bit longer, and you may not find every one amusing, but I think most of them are worth at least one telling.
(And yes, this will look like savage namedropping, but these are the people I’ve been in contact with off and on for the last month. Sorry.)
[I’ve already covered probably my two best stories from U.S. Nationals in this article. – Knut]
The Champ and his Fans
I walk into the building on Thursday and immediately see Adam Horvath standing next to Eugene Harvey. Incidentally, for those who are unfamiliar with Adam, he’s Mark Herberholz twin brother who was somehow lost at birth, then grew up an orphan in a home for wayward boys and was criminally malnourished before eventually being adopted by a nice New Jersey family with a beach house, a cute younger sister (she’s in college now kids, ask Adam to set you up), and money to let him play at TOGIT until his little orphan heart was content. [Music cue – Run On by Moby. – Knut]
Anyway, I walk up to the pair and say,”Hey, I see you guys made your flight this time,” (knowing that they missed U.S. Nationals due to airline difficulties). Adam looks at me and says,”Do you have any idea of all the things that had to go wrong in order for Craig Krempels of all people to become the U.S. National Champion? Obviously Eugene and I getting on a plane that never left the ground was a huge part of that equation. If we had showed up in Kansas City, the world would have been a much safer place that it is now, let me tell you.”
Later in the weekend, Craig (who is surprisingly entertaining and fun to hang around when you get past the initial layer of buffoonery) asked me,”Hey, when you are covering my matches, can you make me look as arrogant and cocky as possible? I figure it will help my image a lot and is an obvious improvement over what I’m like the rest of the time.” Craig was involved in one of the more entertaining feature matches of the weekend.
We Love KK
Thursday night I went out to dinner with Smiley (Paul Sottosanti (all his cool friends call him Future. I am obviously not cool.)), Eugenius (Eugene Harvey), Potato (Mike Turian) and others. U.S. Nationals top 8 competitor Alex Melnikow and friends were originally going to come with us to Rock Bottom, but bailed out in favor of Subway.
Me:”Hey Alex, you’re from upstate New York, around where Krouner lives, right?”
Alex:”Yeah, Ken and I are friends.”
Me:”I was talking to Ken and he says you guys can talk about anything but Magic.”
Alex:”Heh. It’s true. Whenever we talk about Magic, I never agree with anything he has to say, so we just kind of agreed to stop talking about it.”
Turian:”Oh, I guess that means Alex is pretty good then.”
So Gadiel Szleifer (or one of”Tim Aten children” as we have taken to calling them) comes up to me after his team played The Max Fischer Players (Chris Pikula, Josh Ravitz, Igor Frayman).
“So,” I ask,”Did you guys win?”
“No. It was awful. That Igor guy played so badly. Like, he literally tried to give away the game three or four times, but his deck wouldn’t let him. The worst part was that I couldn’t even get mad or say anything bad about him, because he was too nice. It sucked, man.”
Who Said It Was a Money Draft?
I come back to the convention hall after dinner on Friday night to see what’s going on, and I notice that Brian Kibler, Rich Hoaen, Gabe Walls, Paul Reitzl and others are locked into a 4-on-4 draft. It’s Kibler vs. Paul for the final, with Brian’s team up a match. This is how the final game went:
Paul looks at his hand and says,”I’m so going to destroy you with this hand.” Brian says,”But your deck is awful!”
“Doesn’t matter, baby, because you’re going down!”
Paul then lays a Plains and casts… Auriok Glaivemaster, earning a guffaw from Brian. On Paul’s second turn he doesn’t lay a second land, but swings with his 1/1, casts a Bonesplitter and says go. Brian’s looking totally chill here, knowing there’s no way a Glaivemaster is going all the way against him. Paul doesn’t draw a land on the next turn either, but he equips the Glaivemaster and swings for four, as Brian casts a Thermal Navigator.
Paul thumps the top of his deck yelling,”Come on baby, come on…” and plucks a Plains right off the top like a master, running a small victory lap around the table and cackling like a madman. He then casts Leonin Scimitar, equips the Glaivemaster and swings again. At this point Brian is looking a little concerned, as the Talon of Pain he thought was going to fix his problem just turned into a dead card.
Brian continues developing his board, chump blocking when necessary, as Reitzl continues plucking lands and casts a Skyhunter Prowler to go along with his little beater. Finally, Kibler is at three, but has enough blockers for at least one more turn as he passes it back to Paul. Paul raps the top of his deck with his knuckles, again exhorting it to give him what he needs before he jumps up from his chair, tosses his freshly-drawn Mountain onto the table to go along with his four Plains, and shouts”Yes!” as he throws an Oxidda Golem at Brian and attacks with his team. Then Paul runs wildly around the room doing his Daffy Duck”WooHOO, WooHOO” impersonation before coming back to the table.
All parties involved felt the draft and particularly that final game was so painful that they took all the rares and ripped them up so that no one could have them. This included a foil Crucible of Worlds, Vedalken Shackles, a Red Bringer, and twenty-one other rares.
After the draft, Bottom Set (Bob Maher, Neil Reeves, and Dave Williams) grab Kibler, Gabe Walls, and Rich Hoaen and get them to do a practice Rochester draft with them. Williams sits down across from Gabe and asks what all the commotion was about. Gabe tells him they ripped up all the rares because the draft was so awful, and Dave sits back and says,”Man, that was like (does the math in his head), that was like fifty bucks you guys just ripped up right there. I hate it when people just waste money like that.”
Gabe glares at him and says,”You can shut up now, Dave.”
Tales From the Dutchie Dinner
PT: Seattle had finally finished, and all of our articles were turned in to the new Sideboard editor (Greg Collins) for posting. As BDM and I are walking to the staff dinner, we trek past The Cheesecake Factory and see a large group of gamers on the corner waiting for a table, including Patrick Sullivan and one Osyp Lebedowicz.
Me:”What’s up guys?”
Pat:”We’re barning the Dutchies.”
Osyp:”Yeah, the Dutchies basically invited everybody to come to their celebration dinner. They made a reservation for thirty. You should definitely come.”
Me:”Damn, I’m going to the staff dinner, but I’ll be back when that’s done.”
I came back from the staff dinner to find most of the celebration completed, but Kibler, Nicolai Herzog, Paul Reitzl, Ruud Warmenhoven and a small group of gamers were still hanging around. I go to sit down and Kibler tells me,”Dude, that’s awful. You just missed all the gay porn stories!”
“I what? That’s horrible. Okay, you have to tell at least one of them again.”
That’s when current Player of the Year leader Nicolai Herzog perks up and asks,”Have I told you about the time I woke up next to a naked and handcuffed Eivind Nitter?” Here’s the rest of the tale as related to me by Nicolai through e-mail, as I may have been a bit too tipsy to get all the details right. (Yes, I may have thought Nicolai said,”Did I ever tell you about the time I woke up handcuffed to a naked Eivind Nitter?” Slightly different connotation there, especially with Brian’s lead-in.)
“It was during Worlds 2000. We were both on the national team. And I shared a double bed with Nitter. And as usual Nitter refused to get up in the morning. So I ripped off the
blanket and was going to kick him out of bed, when I got a pretty rude awakening myself. Apparently Eivind has a strong need to”feel free” when he’s sleeping, never mind that he’s splitting the bed with another guy. Thus, I was exposed to Eivind Nitter wearing nothing but …a pair of handcuffs.
The handcuffs had a more or less innocent story behind them though. Former Magic journalist and player Kim Eikefet had found it necessary to handcuff Eivind sometime during Day 1. While he was still dressed, mind you. She later opened one of the handcuffs but not the other, and then left.
It should also be mentioned that this was not to be the last time Eivind found it suitable to Flash the World. I don’t think there is a Norwegian pro nor semi-pro left who hasn’t suffered emotional scars from this eccentric gentleman. And I know for a fact that a number of international pros also have stories to tell…“
Kibler:”Ruud’s story about running into Ben Rubin Monday morning in Chicago amused me. A bunch of Dutch and French and I went out clubbing Sunday night after the last Pro Tour: Chicago. At the end of the night, this hot Australian girl was somehow convinced to come back to our hotel with like six of us. Noah (Boeken) in particular was hitting on her really hard, heh. Anyway, at some point she and I sort of disappeared.
Ruud ran into Rubin the next morning and asked him if he’d seen me and the girl. Ben’s reply was, ‘I know two things: Kibler missed his flight this morning, and I didn’t get any sleep last night.'”
PT: Seattle Champ (along with the Kamiel Cornelissen and Jeroen Remie) Jelger Wiegersma:
“Did anyone tell you about singing Happy Birthday at the dinner? Osyp somehow got this idea that it would be fun to talk to our waitress and get her to bring some cake and sing happy birthday. So he talks to her, and gets everybody involved, and like half the restaurant ended up singing happy birthday to (noted curmudgeon and strict rules follower) Bram Snepvangers. He was so embarrassed.“
Somewhere in New York, Chris Pikula is pumping the fist, just a tiny bit.
Other Seattle Randomness
Speaking of Chris Pikula, his team was paired down in the last round against Bram Snepvangers team, who were out of contention for the top 4. Unfortunately for Chris and company, Bram is dead set against concessions or splits, so they played it out with Chris missing a crucial play with Inflame plus Vulshok Sorcerer on a Wall of Blood to cost his team the final game and the match. (Incidentally, the freakishly good Mike Turian already had the play written down in the coverage before Chris finished his turn, and wondered whether Chris would see it or not. He didn’t.)
Anyway, after the match, Pikula was kicking himself for missing the play when someone asked,”Jesus, Chris, you make tons of money. What do you care about a Magic tournament?”
“Man, the money doesn’t matter… I was this f***ing close to making Day 3 again. That’s what mattered. And I missed out because I couldn’t figure out the right play to make with Inflame of all cards. God, this sucks!”
Dave Williams was equally annoyed when Bottom Set lost to Tim Aten team in the final round, officially knocking them out of contention for Day 3. Dave has loosened up quite a bit since winning big money, no whammies at the World Series of Poker, but he still hates to lose.
I actually wanted to get a short interview with Dave to talk about how the rest of his life has changed since the WSOP (he can still walk the streets normally for a while, since the ESPN coverage of the main event isn’t slated to start for almost a month yet), but I got too busy and forgot about it. Combine this with the fact that Bob Maher is basically retiring (I only met him this weekend), and J.T Money (Neil Reeves) (perhaps one of the coolest people on the Tour) is also considering retiring and heading off to Babyville, and things look uncertain as to whether there will be enough social incentive to keep Dave coming back to Magic events.
I did get to ask Neil how his life had changed since Dave’s victory (Dave and Neil are best friends), and Neil said,”Well, for one thing I ‘m tired of walking into Poker rooms and having people ask me where Dave’s at. I’m not Dave’s f***ing keeper, people. He’s got his own thing going on now, and it includes not being around a lot. It kinda sucks, because I’ve lost my best friend while Dave’s jetting around the world. I mean, it’s great for Dave, but it’s not as much fun for me, you know?”
Chris Benafel was never actually banned. I was wrong.
Dave Kushner (the guy who wrote the book about the making of Doom) was walking around all weekend, interviewing people for a Rolling Stone article and possibly a book. I’m not certain what angle he’ll be taking with his book, but everyone was excited about the free publicity that a Rolling Stone article would bring, regardless of the content thereof.
I was walking back from the site to my hotel room at about 1AM to catch some sleep Saturday night and noticed a cute couple playing DDR. They were pretty good, and I watched them for a few minutes before it clicked in my head that it was Aaron Lipczynski and girlfriend Jill Costigan. It was just a neat image, somewhat out of place in the normal male-dominated bustle of Pro Tour activities.
If you ever get the chance to buy BDM a beer or two, make sure you ask him to tell”The Pickwick Inn” story. You will not regret it.
The live coverage of the final day of Pro Tours is now so good that I sometimes wonder if there will be no need for match reporters to hang around the final table in the coming years. Seriously, when Osyp gets in the booth, I’m sometimes saddened that I can’t just chill and listen to him riff on what’s going on (and it would keep me from being a target as well). Don’t get me wrong, I love doing coverage, but when everything is live, why would you bother doing anything else except watching the action for yourself?
If you haven’t done so already, check out the Art History article I wrote and Scott Johns‘ Memories From Seattle’s Magic Past, as for some reason, I ended up really liking both of those pieces.
Power 9 Randomness
For starters, I want to thank Jim Ferraiolo and the Team Meandeck guys (JP Meyer, Steve Menendian, and Carl Winter) for helping out. Coverage would have been considerably worse without them. Look for more stories and bits in an article from JP later in the week.
The tournament was very successful, and while I’m not”happy” with the coverage, it was at least adequate and there has been a lot of praise from the Type 1 community. We will have more decklists and breakdowns later in the week. The final top 8 standings and draft choices were:
1) Mike Panas – Ancestral Recall + Timetwister
2) Eric Miller – Black Lotus
3) Marc Perez – Mox Sapphire
4) Rich”Cartman” Herbert – Time Walk
5) Scott Limoges – Mox Jet
6) Matt Grohnke – Mox Ruby
7) Douglas Linn – Mox Pearl
8) Chris Phillips – Mox Emerald
Due to a pre-arranged split, Miller got the Black Lotus regardless of finish, while Panas basically chose second and ninth. It seemed like a bad deal to me, but you can’t exactly point that out when you’re sitting there waiting to cover the finals.
There was apparently a big party at Josh Reynolds place after the tournament, where Steve Menendian and Marc Perez stayed up until six in the mo’nin drinking, prompting Perez to comment the next afternoon,”I almost drowned in the toilet this morning.”
The Kitchen Sink
If you haven’t had a chance, I highly recommend checking out both JMS’s and Ben Bleiweiss daily columns. They both offer something outside of your normal Magic articles, are extremely well-written, and deserve an audience. I usually don’t pimp people’s stuff, but I really like what’s going on in both columns so I’m recommending them as required daily reading.
Speaking of recommendations, my last column garnered me more praise in person from Pros in Seattle than I ever expected (yes, even when they disagreed with me, as Zvi did). Minus”Houston, We Have a Problem“, I’d been feeling pretty bad about the quality of my work lately, so it was nice to see that I’d struck a resonant chord. So those of you who haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for? I demand an audience too, you know (tell your friends!).
As if the summer wasn’t going well enough, The Sports Guy now has his own daily page, and Max Kellerman is on television five times a week as well. This almost makes up for the four to six weeks I have to wait for English and College football to kick off.
I don’t usually say this either, but Sarah Jessica Parker looks great and so does her dress (usually I hate one or the other).
Tara Reid got a boob job, and I so hate to play into this stereotype, but she looks better than she has in a long time.
Hold up a second, first it’s SJP, then Tara Reid, and now Lara Flynn Boyle. Is there something going on here that I don’t understand?
Like the fall of so many curvy, beautiful girls before her (Christina Ricci first comes to mind), Kirsten Dunst seems to be a) slowly wasting away, b) in need of serious fashion help, and c) miserable. Someone help her, please! She used to be at in my top 10, and now she doesn’t even make the top 40. Frown.
Hey look, it’s Alannis in drag. Hey wait, isn’t Alannis already… nevermind.
Okay, now I know something’s up, because Christina is suddenly adorable as well. Maybe it’s all the travel that’s warping my brain (or perhaps I’m driven by a deeper force).
Hey look, it’s Noah Boeken’s latest girlfriend.
Why did you have to make the freaking Shrek 2 Soundtrack so damned catchy? Every time I find myself humming along to the saccharine sounds of”Accidentally in Love” or that damned Dashboard Confessional song (“As Lovers Go”), I feel my music snobbery seeping out of my body. Is that really necessary?
Wow. Skinny, but still… wow.
Is it just me, or did the NBA suddenly become worth watching again this summer? I’m not”excited” about it because Chicago is still pretty awful, but I’m at least intrigued.
Speaking of oddities, I have to say that I appreciate the irony inherent in the fact that the guy who wrote”How to Piss Off Prospective Employers” is now getting a lot of work doing event coverage for Wizards of the Coast. Every time I get to hang out with Wizards employees and listen to them tell stories or discussing upcoming projects, I feel like I won a big contest that any fan of the game would go nuts over (and I realize how nice it is that they chose to overlook my criticism and hire me anyway).
Okay, so you’re Nick Carter. Paris cheated on you, broke up with you, got back together with you, probably cheated on you some more, and still wants to go out with you. Do you even care, especially when you get to hang out with Nicky as well? Just curious…
See? See?!? This just proves that if you talk about something long enough, even MSN will pay attention and run a suite of photos about it. My reach is long, peoples!
From the Quote Archive
JPmeyer: I got so excited about the flame war in the thread over bleiweiss’ t1 5d preview that a little bit of pee came out
[13:31] [WakkoWrk] knut i was very disappointed in your 5th dawn article. namely, the lack of beefcake.
[13:32] [mixedknut] wakko: um, noted
[GT___] Does he mean cheesecake?
[13:32] [mixedknut] you miss the hot man-lovin, eh?
[13:32] [WakkoWrk] knut: I want boobs in my Knut magic articles dammit! 🙂
[13:33] [mixedknut] wakko: that’s cheesecake, mon ami
[13:33] [mixedknut] beefcake would mean you like playing with the Cack
[13:33] [WakkoWrk] oh
[13:33] [WakkoWrk] oops
[13:33] [WakkoWrk] CHEESEcake
[13:33] [WakkoWrk] CHEESEcake. Definitely
[14:05] [Monkster-] Google Search for : video honeys on mtv2 . Did you mean: video hoes on mtv2
[14:06] [Monkster-] Obv I meant Video Hoes!
[Pikula] Williams could 100% host a poker show on the playboy channel now
[Pikula] that would be the f***ing greatest thing
[Pikula] of all time
[14:18] [Leon_Cadu] I hope zvi wins a lot of pro tours all at once, so that we can witness eric taylor eating his pants
[14:19] [cTIDEwork] i’d rather not see EDT eat his pants.
[14:19] [Leon_Cadu] why not?
[14:19] [cTIDEwork] because then he wouldn’t have pants on
[14:19] [Leon_Cadu] whats wrong with that?
[14:20] [cTIDEwork] edt’s not my type.
[StanV] I just found
[13:19] [StanV] 100 euros
[13:19] [StanV] under my bed 🙂
[13:19] [StanV] cleaning my room is worth it after all!
[13:19] [Sadeg] hl!
[13:19] [Sadeg] 🙂
[13:19] [StanV] I also found a tv :/
[13:19] [StanV] which confuses me
[22:28] [psamms] omg i’m crashing in GTs room!!!!!!!!!!111111
[22:28] [GT___] Sorry Samms
[22:28] [GT___] It holds 7, not 14
[21:27] [rhoaen] are there any danes in here? 🙁
[21:27] [RuneH] no
[21:27] [RuneH] what do you need a dane for?
[21:28] [rhoaen] i wanted the list of t8 decks from danish nats
[21:28] [rhoaen] theyre on brainburst
[21:28] [rhoaen] but its missing a bunch of cards
[21:28] [RuneH] hm
[21:28] [rhoaen] and maybe a dane or possibly a rune would be able to point me in the right direction
[21:28] [RuneH] they should be on www.manapool.dk
[21:28] [rhoaen] ty
[21:28] [rhoaen] uh
[21:29] [rhoaen] its in sputnik
[21:52] * mdouglass changes topic to ‘[brackp] waiting for linde to leave to go to bar so i can steal his spaghettios’
[21:52] [brackp] KEEP THAT ON THE DL
[21:52] [brackp] HE’LL GET MAD
[18:42] [kaib] hey mike
[18:42] [kaib] playing in seattle?
[18:43] [mturian] no sir
[18:43] [kaib] :/
[18:43] [mturian] thought i would give you a chance
[18:43] [kaib] oooh
[18:43] [kaib] ty *hug*
[18:43] [mturian] haha
[22:41] [JSigler] i was expecting far more barns, now that i have a couple features in InQuest
[22:41] [knutedit] hahahahaha
[12:38] [yellowhat] is it true dwilliams was considering wpt’ing in paris?
[12:38] [dirkwork] why wouldnt he
[12:39] [mixedknut] I think dave plans to do the whole circuit
[12:40] [yellowhat] i see
[12:40] [yellowhat] anyone have his aim?
[12:40] [yellowhat] i might want to barn big times
[jpmeyer] you’re gonna be all like 8=========D and i’ll be like pls, i’m working
[15:48] [psamms] the best part of Wendy’s is that little part on the menu that says
[15:48] [psamms]”double the beef .99″
[15:48] [psamms] it warms my heart, it truly does.
[15:48] [author name="Yawgatog"]Yawgatog[/author] Can you do that twice over and they quadruple the beef?
[15:48] [psamms] i’ve never tried
[15:48] [psamms] not sure I want to 🙁
[15:49] [mixedknut] One Phillip Samms died tonight in [random Maritimes town] after getting Double Double the beef at his local Wendy’s Yes, for just 1.98, you too can have an instant heart attack. Back to you, Ron.
[17:03] [kaib] LD was good once and then there was jackal pup and avalanche rider
[17:03] [kaib] thats it.
[17:04] [ryang] yea in 1946
[17:04] [kaib] like nassif finished 10th with GW lion/mongrel
[17:04] [kaib] at a gp flooded with wake
[17:04] [kaib] that guy makes me sick sometimes heh
[17:04] [kaib] but him winning doesn’t mean that his deck is any good
[17:04] [kaib] the best part about him is his 2nd name though
[17:04] [kaib] how can you name a boy ‘lillian’?
[17:05] [kaib] as if gabriel wasn’t bad enough to start with 😛
[17:05] [Riptide_] he said in seattle
[17:05] [Riptide_] that its his mom’s name
[17:05] [Riptide_] and he doesnt know why it turns up on his dci record
[17:06] [kaib] such svg lies
[17:06] [kaib] until i see his passport
[17:07] [kaib] lillian it is
[17:08] * Blunt– changes topic to ‘And now, Gabriel Nassif and the 2nd best band in America sing their hit single: Born to runner up.’
Krempels: I’m facing down the biggest Ageless Entity ever on modo
Krempels: he put Nourish under a scepter
Cryos23: you have a regenerator?
Krempels: its 28/28 right now
Krempels: im quickly running out of time
Auto response from Krempels: need to time out this bag, so I cant talk for a while
That’s it, kids. Let me know if you like this sort of article in the forums, as it’s definitely not the usual faire. I only have Orlando, New Jersey, GenCon, and Worlds left to travel to and collect stories before the end of the summer, so speak up now. (Yeah, only…)
Also, I want to give Jimmy Bean a big”Good Luck!” shout out for his Battle of the Bands gig this weekend, which I am tragically unable to attend.
The Holy Kanoot
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