My Journey West

CVM documents the big life change he’s undergoing, shares his latest Elves list for Modern, and of course, tells you which deck he’d sleeve up to conquer #SCGWOR’s big Standard Open this weekend!

There are times in a person’s life where they get the opportunity to reflect on things that they have done. Think about the choices they have made.
Determine how they are going to let these things shape them and concoct a plan for the future.

These periods of thought are generally gifts since most of the time we are caught up in our busy lives and just kind of rushing from one thing to the next
and going through the motions of it all.

While this all sounds deep and inspiring, it’s really just me trying to rationalize to myself that driving 44 hours across the US from the Season Three
Invitational in New Jersey to my new home in Seattle, Washington didn’t make me go crazy.

Our story starts back in Roanoke Virginia though, as most of you know, where I have been living for the past three years doing written and video content
for StarCityGames along with working in-house as a Pricing Specialist. I genuinely loved all of my jobs, especially since I have done my fair share of time
in jobs that I absolutely hated.

Getting to do the VS Videos were a blessing, and I feel like I owe just about all of my mild success (if it’s even that) to the growing fan base that we
were able to generate for BBD and myself. I know that Brian and I both love all of our fans and want to continue to do content for them, so please don’t
think that we are gone forever. If you enjoyed watching BBD and I bumble our way through some games of Magic, then keep an eye out for some sweet content
that we will be putting together for everyone!

Outside of doing the videos, I also loved my “normal” job at SCG. Getting to work with Magic cards was amazing. I thought that I would have gotten tired of
it at some point, but honestly I just never did. Sometimes the tasks were mind-numbing, but someone had to go through those boxes of cards so that they
could be processed and made available for people to buy. I had spent a lot of time before I moved to the east coast to try and follow my dream of working
at SCG being a “floor dealer,” so sorting, organizing, and pricing cards was something that I did basically for fun (although there was a little profit to
be made by trading and selling cards), but now I got to do just that and get paid for it.

So what would have made me leave all this you may ask?

Wuv. Twue wuv.

With a love for all things Doge, Nicole responded to a Tweet I made requesting a Doge Zarek after talking with Christian Calcano about playing Ral Zarek in
his deck in Vegas many moons ago.

From there I complimented her on her hair (which was bright red and very pretty) and we’ve talked basically every day since then.

As our relationship grew, we knew that we eventually wanted to live together. Unfortunately Roanoke, Virginia isn’t a hotbed for Branding or Project
Management, which led her out west here to Seattle. As much as I loved doing Magic content and my job at SCG, I loved her more, so when she asked me to
make the transition out to Seattle, I responded with the classic: “As you wish.”

Let’s face it. I’m getting old. I do want to settle down (a bit) and start a family. She was perfect and perfect for me and it all that made the choice
surprisingly easy.

What does that mean now though?

I had a lot of time to think while I was making my trip out West. Thankfully my good friend Joe Stierwalt (personal trainer from #mtgfitness for those who
remember that) flew out to New Jersey for the Season Three Invitational so that he could make the trip with me to Seattle. I wish I could say that I did
well in the Invitational, but sadly I did not. I opted to go with G/R Devotion (the same list Chris Andersen played) and Omni-Tell, but ended up falling
short. When Danny Jessup didn’t make day two, I knew that I had a shot at winning the Season Three Points Invite for the Players’ Championship, but at 6-3,
I had a long road ahead of me. I started out 3-0 in Standard, but then lost the next three rounds straight. In the eight rounds of Legacy I played, I got
to play against six Delver decks, and in the six rounds of Standard that I played, I got to play against five Abzan decks (Aggro and Control). I felt like
these were the matchups that I wanted, but when you play against Delver that much, eventually they’re going to have the nuts and beat you.

My lists for the Season Three Invitational weren’t very interesting. I just wanted to play stock lists that I knew were powerful and could put up a solid
finish. I wasn’t able to, so I looked to try and play in the Modern Premier IQ on Sunday. I had a new Evolutionary Elves build that I wanted to try but
couldn’t get a hold of the Mark of Asylum that I needed for the deck. For those interested, here is the list I was going to try.

Not to delve too much into the thought process behind the deck, but I wanted to try and streamline it a bit from the previous version. The biggest issues
for the deck were the Lightning Bolt/Snapcaster Mage decks. With the addition of Mark of Asylum to make our creatures immune to Lightning Bolt and even
things like Pyroclasm–along with Proclamation of Rebirth–we can be a bit more resilient. It might even be right to just play more Proclamations in the
main since it allows us to just run out our Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinels and still be able to combo through some interaction.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find all of the cards that I needed to make the changes, so rather than battle in the Modern IQ, we just played some 2HG
action. Our decks were mediocre, but we did open a Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy so it was all worth it. We battled until we lost and then hit the road.

For me, the trip was deja vu all over again. Four months prior I had made the drive out to Seattle from Jersey with my girlfriend when she moved there.
Thankfully, this time around I didn’t have to stop as often to let the pugs go potty and I didn’t get sick until after the trip; well it was
fortunate for actually making the trip, but unfortunate for me since it basically delayed everything that I needed to do to get settled in here.

Last time I made the drive, almost everyone that we interacted with were complete jerks. Everywhere we stopped for food, every motel that we stopped to
sleep at, just a bunch of cranky jerks. This time though, it was great. Everyone was pleasant. Even the motel that we stayed at in Montana had pleasant
staff. They didn’t have free WiFi, because you know, charging $65.00/night at a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere Montana is the perfect ruse to have “pay
for WiFi” service.

I will say that South Dakota didn’t change much. It still had its unique charm of having literal nothing to see for hundreds and hundreds of miles
throughout, although there were still plenty of “Murder Shacks” on the side of the road (as we dubbed them).

I honestly wish that the trip was more eventful so that I could serenade you with tales of adventure, but it was more just me being lost in my own thoughts
and lots of energy drinks.

I needed to decide what I was going to do once I got out here. I know that at some point I will need to find a full-time job to supplement my Magic
endeavors, but for the mean time what I really wanted to do was give streaming a shot, so that’s what I’m going to do.

I already have a decent foundation with a nice amount of followers from when I gave it a go a few months ago, but I wanted to do something a bit new. I
wanted to set a nice schedule and stick to it. I wanted to do awesome things with my viewers, interacting and playing games. I wanted to do even more
giveaways (which everyone already knows that I do a lot of giveaways), and I wanted to involve all my VS Video/Magic homies; stealing an idea from
Todd Anderson for “Bestie Guestie” days where they can guest on the stream and have a good time.

I’m not sure how it’s going to work out, but I’ve been told by enough people that they enjoy watching me punt my way to victories, so that’s what we’re
going to try and do.

In terms of playing Magic, I knew coming out here that there would be less competitive events within driving distance, but I still plan on trying to make
it to as many Opens as I can, especially during Season Four. I really would like to snag one of the at-large spots at the end of the year, and without
weekly IQs to supplement the amount of Opens that I’m used to going to, I’m going to have to really prepare and treat each Open Series weekend with very
high importance.

Outside of all the changes that I’m going through personally, with Battle for Zendikar on the horizon and being in the middle of spoiler season,
Standard will be going through some pretty big changes. I’d love to jump into my thoughts on that stuff later, but for now I just want to touch base on the
current Standard. I might not be making it out to Worcester for the Open Series this weekend, but I have been playing a bit online with some Mono-Red Aggro
lists, and I actually think that this could be a decent spot for it. Even with Hangarback Walker on the rise, Dromoka’s Command is a bit on the decline,
and with the addition of Exquisite Firecraft to our arsenal, Courser of Kruphix just isn’t the powerhouse against the aggressive red mage that it used to

Normally I am a pretty big proponent of going over the top of everyone, but with the control decks making a bit of a comeback, I think that Mono-Red might
just be a great call for Worcester this weekend.

It does keep winning Pro Tours, right?

Before I wrap this up, I do want to share a couple pictures that I got while we were going through the pass here in Washington. The camera doesn’t really
do the view justice, but I think it’s still worth sharing.