On The Wings Of Angels – A Christmas Qualification

Jingle Bells
Mike Aten Smells
Geordie Laid an Egg
Nick Eisel Lost To Ken Krouner
And Somebody Qualified For Kobe

We attempted to find Christmas cheer in Tim’s article, but we are not miracle workers.

I was talking to Jill yesterday in hopes that she saved the log of a chat I had with her Friday night. Naturally, since the log is actually pertinent this time, it’s nowhere to be found. What I’m trying to say is, I was going to start this article the same way the last one ended, with davey6561 and Bea Arthur conversing about godknowswhat. This time, though, it would be shorter and it would actually segue nicely into the”content” of the article.

I can still just summarize the conversation here, but it really won’t have the same effect. Ah well. When I wrote the article”Namedropping Your Way Out of Obscurity, Or Scourge Black for Limited,” I didn’t intend to have the Cunningham-bashing in the title or front-page synopsis. My”vision,” as it were*, was that gamers would start reading and be ambushed by the Cunningham”factoids.” Part of the humor would be in the power of surprise. My public relations man, Mister Ferrett, had different plans, but everything worked out fine anyway.

Now that I’ve gotten through the obligatory gratuitous preface to the gratuitous preface, it’s time to start the gratuitous preface proper.

So, like, ya know, I was talking to Jill on Friday night. I asked her how much sports jerseys ran, and naturally she didn’t know. She was curious about why I would care; perhaps I was getting a Christmas present for my dad. Needless to say, there was something more asinine afoot. I wanted to get jerseys for myself and a friend to wear at events. I am a firm believer in spectacle, as you’ll see if you decide to tough it out and keep reading this article. If I can draw attention to myself for acting stupid in some sort of clever way, I’m not going to pass up the opportunity.

To my dismay, I discovered that baseball jerseys cost about a hundred bucks each. Sure, other sports jerseys were less expensive, but I had already done some work and determined that Chipper Jones and Manny Ramirez** jerseys would be the best way to go. And so, I told Jill, I had found my motivation for winning the PTQ.

6:35 a.m., December 20th, 2003 – Vermilion, Ohio

A lot of people have little rituals and superstitions that they think help them with Magic, or Bingo, or other luck-related aspects of their lives. There’s a common thread about such fantasies: Everyone likes talking about his or her own, but no one cares about anyone else’s. It’s as if people think they have some sort of mystical, supernatural control over their environment and they’re so proud of it. Everyone wants to beat the system, to make sense of an insane, random world.

Since I am, tragically, only human, I’m going to share a little bit of my pre-PTQ ritual with you. This follows my principle of”you don’t have anything better to do so you have to sit here and catch an extra-special glimpse into my life.”

I’m not sure if the first part really counts as a ritual, as it’s something that can’t be helped.

The last two PTQs I went to (or”to which I went,” if you prefer, Herr Knutson), as with pretty much any event in which I perform well, I woke up without an alarm. I had an alarm set of course, but I frequently manage to preempt it. I think it has something to do with mental preparedness. It could be that when I’m more psyched for an event, I’m more likely to wake up early and more likely to do well. It could also be that, on some days, there’s some sort of deeper level of brain activity going on. While I’m sleeping, my mind could be planning out strategies and in fact telling itself to make sure I wake up on time. This may very well be hokum, but it’s fun though, isn’t it?

Have you ever found yourself, as you’ve been writing something, for school or otherwise, trying to make yourself seem more articulate and/or intelligent, but the only way you could succeed in doing it, on any level, was by averaging six commas a sentence? I’m sorta getting this vibe right now. Maybe Knutson can fix it. He’s some sort of master. I’m going to carry my inconsistent tone with me to the grave, though, Teddy. [You know, there’s a Federalist Papers reference to be made here (they average about one period per paragraph), but that’s probably far too obscure even for your tastes, Mr. Aten. – Knut, who has been instructed to chime in”whenever” for Tim’s articles.]

During the morning before the Limited PTQ where I sold the slot to Beverly, I listened to AFI’s Sing the Sorrow. For lack of a less dudish term, it’s excellent”pump-up” music. I would go so far as to call it awesome. At the time I obviously wasn’t thinking to myself,”If I listen to this, then I’m going to win the PTQ.” I just happened to get up about two hours early and needed to kill time. On Saturday, I woke up with just enough time to get ready for the tournament, but I decided to listen to the song”This Celluloid Dream” on my way out. Just in case. I think it may have worked.

There was one more…what was it, what was..

Oh yeah!

Before I go to a PTQ, I fill the bathtub with cold water and jump in with a toaster. You may have heard that this is fatal from the movies or wherever, but this is all a hoax. I’m not going to pretend like it doesn’t sting a little bit, but hey – if you want to qualify, you should be willing to make sacrifices to give yourself that extra edge. [Please do not, under any circumstances try this at home, kids. Tim is a trained professional. – Knut]

After these rituals or what have you, I put on my Hoobastank shirt, donned my trusty Vermilion Class Of 2000 Valedictorian Medal, and headed out.

9:20a.m., December 20, 2003 – Columbus, Ohio

I always overestimate how long it will take to get to these things. I meet up with the one and only King, Jason Opalka, and we discuss what will probably happen today.

Me:”Look at all these crackas.”

Him:”Yeah, look at all the bags.”

Me:”I can only imagine which of these buffoons I’ll be losing to today.”

And so on and so on. We’re grumpy old men, and we are not thrilled with Constructed formats, since any moron can just go online and copy the best netdeck and win with it. And now, without further ado, here’s my original deck:

Dump Truck

4 Meddling Mage

4 Shadowmage Infiltrator

3 Exalted Angel

1 Masticore

4 Brainstorm

4 Vindicate

4 Duress

3 Seal of Cleansing

1 Disenchant

3 Diabolic Edict

1 Smother

2 Deep Analysis

2 Peek

1 Tsabo’s Web

4 Flooded Strand

4 Polluted Delta

3 Island

2 Plains

2 Swamp

4 Caves of Koilos

2 Skycloud Expanse

2 Underground River


1 Energy Flux

4 Chill

3 Vampiric Tutor

3 Chrome Mox

1 Masticore

1 Sphere of Resistance

1 Deep Analysis

1 Damping Matrix

I chose this deck because it was the only deck I had all the cards for, and it was clearly at least viable in the format if it won a Grand Prix. I made some slight modifications from the original deck, since I expected quite a few Red decks. I was going to take out Deep Analysis, but Gerry Thompson informed me that this would be idiotic since you need it to beat Psychatog. Fair enough. I moved a Deep Analysis to the board to make room for a Masticore main, and I took Damping Matrix and Lobotomy out of the board for the displaced Analysis and another Masticore.

I was asking Gerry how to sideboard, and he said he couldn’t really tell me since his was going to be different from Rubin’s. He said he was definitely keeping the Chills and the Damping Matrix, though, since Matrix is good against Tog. I agreed with him, then went upstairs to switch the Matrix back into the board for the Upheaval. Heh heh heh.

I’ll get into more specific information about match-ups as I go through the rounds, but here’s some general advice about card choices. The above paragraph should tell you that I really don’t know that much about Constructed, but I did get several rounds of experience with the deck, so I understand a few things now.

The reason this deck is so good is that it plays the most powerful spells the format has to offer. Sure, a Myr Incubator for thirty-three is better than a little Meddling Mage, but all of these cards stand well on their own. Thanks in great part to Vindicate and Duress, Rubin’s deck has an answer for everything. I like having an answer for everything.

Even though the bannings leave the deck untouched, the current incarnation won’t be optimal for January. I like the sideboard plan of Tutors, Moxes, and Chills, but there may be fewer”silver bullet” cards in the board in January, making Tutors somewhat less viable. You still need them for Turbo-Chill, I think, and there are going to be a lot of Red Deck Wins in the coming months. The deck doesn’t really need to sideboard too much since, as I said, it can deal with just about any problem main.

The Energy Flux is naturally for Tinker decks, so that won’t matter in January. The Sphere of Resistance is presumably for Mind’s Desire decks. I think those lose a lot of their kick in January, too, so that will need to be changed. The Damping Matrix can stay, since Tog will be huge after the bannings. I played one match against Tog, and the Matrix seemed superfluous, but let’s face it: one match does not provide significant data about the performance of a deck in a given match-up. [These are the brilliant insights you expect when reading Timmy A… – Knut]

I wouldn’t recommend moving the Tutors or the Moxes main. This deck seems to be about pure card advantage more than card selection. The deck has numerous answers to most permanents, so the goal is to simply pluck one off the top by drawing enough cards throughout the course of the game with Finkel, Analysis, Peek, and the Brainstorm-Fetchland interaction. Hence, I don’t think Tutors belong in the main because… what are you planning on tutoring for?

The speed boost provided by the Mox is negligible compared to the card disadvantage, so I’m pretty sure you only bring it in against the Red decks. For those of you out there who think they know more than I do about this deck or the format (and you’re probably right), feel free to correct me in the forums. I’m encouraging it. I’d prefer if you don’t call me”awful” or”the worst,” but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And I’m qualified, so what do I care?

The main deck seems fine for January, but I think the Rock will see some form of ascendancy, so you’ll want to be better prepared for that. I’d like another Tsabo’s Web maindeck, since it handles Treetop Villages and Rishadan Ports. Peek could easily be cut for this, as it is primarily a cantrip (although it does have synergy with Duress and Meddling Mage). The artifact/enchantment removal becomes somewhat less relevant in the new environment, but you still want to keep some in for stuff like Cursed Scrolls, Tangle Wires, Isochron Scepters, and to a lesser extent, Pernicious Deeds. As a jumping-off point, I’d think about cutting one Seal of Cleansing for a Web instead of a Peek, or for another random card you think of. Generally, though, I see no reason to do much to the main deck.

There were sixty-two people in scenic Columbus, Ohio for the Kobe PTQ. This is quite a small turnout for an Ohio PTQ; people were probably discouraged by the presumed unhealthiness of the environment. While the bannings are certainly welcome, the environment is better than people gave it credit for, as round one exemplifies.

Round One vs. Kyle Richey (Tinker)

Game One: Kyle starts off with a mulligan and seems rather unimpressed with his six. I see why when I Duress him, as he only has mana artifacts and a Masticore in hand. I play a Meddling Mage naming Masticore shortly thereafter, confident that my Vindicate could handle any threat he could Tinker for. He didn’t draw any more threats, and the Mage and an Infiltrator finished him off.

Game Two: I boarded in Tutors, Damping Matrix, and Energy Flux. I don’t really remember what I board out, in general. I’m a very bad sideboarder, and I tend to”trim the edges” when I board. It’s really the only way to go when you don’t completely understand a deck. For that reason, I suggest you playtest a bit so that you’ll know what you’re doing, as opposed to myself, and Mr. Richey, who boarded in a Damping Matrix against me.

I start out the game by Duressing a Tinker, seeing some Tangle Wires and mana sources. The game slows down to a Tangle Wire crawl. At one point he plays a Platinum Angel”the hard way,” only to have it Edicted during my upkeep. I was worried that Kyle would gain control of the match while I was under the Wire, but on a key turn, I tapped for his Wires, Tutored for a land in response to him Porting a land, and had just enough mana to drop Energy Flux during my main phase. It was academic at that point.

After the match, during which Kyle complained a decent amount, he said to me”Well, I hope you had fun.” Considering that he was playing a deck that sought to completely screw over opponents and win by Goldfishing, I pointed out that they wouldn’t have been much more fun if he had won. Basically, he expected to grab a deck from the Pro Tour and have it work as swimmingly as it did for Ben Stark or Rickard Osterburg or whoever. He was under the mistaken impression that he was simply supposed to win turn 3 every time.

There are several problems with this. First, Tinker isn’t amazingly consistent. Second, the deck actually does take some skill to play. Granted, this and other decks can still produce”oops I win” draws at an alarming clip… but barring those, you may need to work a little for your wins. Related to the first two points, you need to know when to mulligan. I certainly don’t know all the nuances of mulliganing with Tinker, but then again, I didn’t play Tinker. Know your decks, people.

I’m actually surprisingly nice to”differently skilled” people when I’m playing them on Magic Online or in PTQs or whatever…until they start to complain. That’s when the floodgates open. If you have the gall to bitch when it’s clearly not your place to do so, I have no sympathy for you. Pins and needles, nice to know you, etc.


Round Two vs. Denver Liston (Red Deck Wins)

Denver is a nice guy who hasn’t been to events in awhile. I learn that this is because he moved to Connecticut over two years ago. That explains that, I guess. He hasn’t been gaming much in Connecticut either, he informs me, and it shows when he has to pick up and read Exalted Angel.

Game One: He leads off with a turn 1 Slith Firewalker and turn 2 Pillage or Molten Rain or something. He was rather flooded this game, but I didn’t draw a removal spell, so the little Slith became a Big Slith and finished the job in seven painful turns.

Game Two: Since RDW is going to be prevalent, I’ll tell you what little information I know about boarding. I brought in Tutors, Chills, Masticore, and Moxes; I know that part is right. I took out the Deep Analyses and Peeks and trimmed some creatures. That part’s probably right too. Meddling Mage will probably just get killed, so I cut two of em. You want to spend the early turns Edicting, not playing guys that will die. Is this right? Tell me in the forums! I took out the Seals and Disenchant, figuring I could Vindicate a Scroll if for some reason Chill didn’t glut my opponent’s hand to the point where the artifact was ineffective.

I don’t remember the exact details of this game, but I recall getting a Chill into play, which bought me just enough time to play an Exalted Angel on the last possible turn that it would be good. I was able to race his Pups with Angel and Finkel. Mise tings chicken wings.

Game Three: I take a lot of damage from Fetching, pain lands, and Tutoring, but Denver is stalled on two lands. I drop a Chill while I take beats from a Jackal Pup. I Vindicate his Port and drop an Angel, and Denver concedes at twenty life with only a Mountain and a Pup in play.


Round Three vs. Dan McCartney (Red Deck Wins)

Game One: We were both land flooded, and after I killed a scroll and some creatures with an Edict and a pair of Vindicates, we were left at sixteen life apiece with my Meddling Mage (naming Blistering Firecat) staring down his Seal of Fire. My choice for Mage was naturally poor, but it was arbitrarily chosen since I figured he’d just Seal it right off the table. He ends up taking eight from Pikula, much to my surprise. An Angel joins the Mage for a turn of beats before it gets Sealed and Double Firebolted. Fortunately, I have another Angel in reserve.

Game Two: I keep six lands and an Exalted Angel. Yyyyyeeaaaaaahh. [You know, I think even Ken Krouner would suggest mulliganing that hand. – Knut]

Game Three: I reluctantly keep my hand, but I think it was the right call. I had a Skycloud Expanse as my only land, but I had 2 chills. The rest of my hand featured Brainstorm, Edict, Duress, and Vampiric Tutor. Dan mulligans twice, which isn’t an insurmountable disadvantage on the draw. I rip a Chrome Mox turn 2, and without thinking imprint Brainstorm on it. You know, so my Mox can produce Blue. God God God Aljshasna! Being impulsive really bites you in the ass when you’re playing Magic.

If I had thought about what I was doing for a second, I would have made the right call and Imprinted up a Black card, thus giving me access to all three colors of mana. I was just soooooo excited that I topdecked a Mox and got to play turn 2 and turn 3 Chill that I made a buffoonish mistake. I get a third Chill before long, but unfortunately, Dan is keeping pace with lands and attacking me with a Mystery Face-down Creature. My life total dwindles…13…11…9.. and finally I topdeck another Mox to right my egregious wrong. I Edict his man, Vindicate his sixth land (a Port), and drop an Angel. Whether or not I”deserved” to win this one is debatable. I mean, I caught my mistake right after I made it. That should count for something, right? [It never does for me, but I don’t listen to AFI before tournaments… – Knut]


Round Four vs. Doug Lipps (Red Deck Wins)

Doug is an extremely nice guy. He’s the type of person you’re always happy to play against since he seems to be having fun at all times. He’s clearly there to win, but if he doesn’t win, it’s no big deal, and he’s not about to complain about it. I especially like playing against nice guys because they have a horrible record against me. I mentioned this when I wrote a report for the PTQ for San Diego that I won. The corollary holds, too; I seem to have no end of difficulty with people that seem baggish or shady. The emphasis is on seem.

Taylor Parnell, who I never beat, used to seem very scummy to me. Now that I’ve talked to him a little more, he seems like a nice enough guy. Hopefully I’ll be able to beat him now. When I played Justin Schneider at GP- Detroit, I knew I wasn’t winning. Nice guys finish last, badda boom badda bing, on with the report.

Game One: I see a six-lander and, having learned my lesson last round, I cash in the troops. Doug mulligans and stalls on one Mountain for a turn. He eventually draws another Mountain and a Wasteland, but I use Vindicates to kill his mountains and keep him at two lands or fewer. I get dangerously low in life from the Mogg Fanatics he managed to play during his Red sources’ fleeting existence, but a pair of Angels appear to dig me out of the hole.

Game Two: I tutor for Chill, which he Naturalizes. I didn’t see that coming. The game continues with him being rather light on threats and me Duressing away a Terminate and Vindicating his Forest. I Vindicated the Forest since he had another Naturalize in hand, and I presumed this would strand it there; I imagine he only played one Forest to fetch with Foothills. He Terminates my Finkel, and burns out my Masticore, but this leaves him with no answer to the Exalted Angel. And the other Exalted Angel.


Round Five: Intentional Draw with Chris Pait (Two-Deuce)

I call the deck two-deuce because it’s sort of like three-deuce except it only has two colors. Makes sense, right? It’s got Wild Mongrels and Basking Rootwallas and Tangle Wires and Rancors and so on and so forth. It’s sort of like Red Deck Wins, but with better creatures and no concern whatsoever with Chill.

In the downtime between rounds, I watch the King, who needs to win out to make the top 8. While I’m watching the King play the mirror, one Ervin Tormos examines the medal I’m wearing. I got questions and comments about that all day, needless to say. I hope people realized that the statement I was trying to make was”eccentric” and not”intelligent” since a) being smart never has been and never will be anything to brag about, b) the medal is almost four years old and I’m a lot dumber now, and c) a lot of gamers are smart people, so who’s the medal going to impress? For these reasons, I figured it was unlikely that the medal was going to be misinterpreted. Oh, the spectacle.

Ervin muses,”So you’re valedictorian, eh?” He seems somewhat impressed before I go on a brief tirade that includes some or all of the above points. He then proceeds to ask,”What’s the capital of Turkey?”

I like to think of myself as somewhat pragmatic when it comes to the issue of intelligence. There are two kinds of people: those that know enough, and those that do not. As long as I’m in the first category, I feel a-okay. Stupid statistics like the capital of Turkey don’t really say a whole lot about how smart someone is. Still, I felt the need to answer correctly. I had the need to live up to the challenge. Evidently, I had heard somewhere before what the capital of Turkey was, but the ol’ nerve endings were taking awhile to fire up, so Ervin thought I was”slow-rolling it.”

It’s Ankara.

I knew it.

I rule.

[You thought it was Istanbul, didn’t you? – Knut]

Ervin was duly impressed. Duuuly impressed.

I’m glad he didn’t ask me the capital of some African country.

Back to the King. The King beat his opponent in three games. The man in question, one Craig Smith, was packing some rather unorthodox choices, like Fireslinger and Flailing Soldier. One of his cards sparked an interest in me, as it completely demolished the King game 2: War Elemental. If you have a Seal of Fire in play, you can drop the War El turn 3, nug them with the ability on the stack, and have a 3/3 beater ready to go. I’m not saying this strategy is great against most decks, and many Red decks’ mana base won’t be able to support it. However, in the right Red deck, this could be insane mirror match tech. To the best of my knowledge, if this catches on, Craig Smith deserves the credit. Test it before you run it, though.


Round Six: Intentional Draw with Ervin Tormos (Tog)

Ervin, a 16-year old dude from Cincinnati, would end up being one of the key actors in my PTQ saga. The guy I sat next to complained about having to play someone good first round; I looked at the slip and it said”Ervin Tormos.” I was all like,”Who?! Yeah, yeah, tough matchup.”

Then, Ervin defeated the King in round 4. Then, he asked the question about Turkey. I think he asked me something else, and I knew the answer to that one too. Then I intentionally drew with him round 6. Then he beat King in the quarterfinals…but I’m getting ahead of myself. More on Mr. Tormos later. Suffice it to say that King won this round, securing his first Constructed top 8 since October 1967.


Four people with 5-1s and four people with 4-0-2s made the top 8. Such a breakdown is to be expected with a number of participants so close to 64. The deck breakdown included a Dump Truck (me), a Tog (Ervin), Two-Deuce (Pait), Rock (Olwen Wee), something Pait described as”the Shrapnel Blast deck,” and at least two Red Deck Wins, one of which was piloted by the King. Usually, top 8 decks from the events I play in can be found at www.professional-events.com, but Mike Guptil was not in attendance, so they will be posted later than usual if at all.

Quarterfinals vs. Olwen Wee (Rock)

Game One: This was certainly the best game of the tournament. I Duressed a Deed out of his hand, but he Tutored for another one. He dropped a Treetop Village and was forced to blow Deed on a sole Infiltrator. I dropped another Big Finks, but he answered back with a Genesis. I attacked and played another Finkel. He cracked back with Genesis and Village. I had to Vindicate Genesis shortly thereafter, but he now had two Villages.

I remember having to play a Meddling Mage to chump a Village, and I dropped to a precarious three life to his three. I thought I had things under control when I played an Exalted Angel face down. My plan was to chump the Villages for a turn and play a face-up Angel next turn to gain control of the game. Olwen had other plans, as he had the mana to Living Wish for Visara the Dreadful and play it. A Brainstorm yielded no answer to Visara, so I had to content myself with flipping over Angel and hoping my next Brainstorm yielded a miracle.

Olwen killed my Angel and attacked with two Villages. His Wall of Blossoms mocked the Edict in my hand. I had no choice but to chump one Village with a Finkel and have Finkel and Pikula (naming Deed) double-team the other. The board was left with his Visara, freshly cast Yavimaya Elder, and Village staring down my Meddling Mage.

After I Brainstormed, I”hmph”ed thoughtfully at the randomness of the Tsabo’s Web I had drawn. I Vindicated Visara, dropped the Web to nullify his Village, and dropped an Angel morphed. He didn’t have the mana to bring Visara back with Genesis and cast her in one turn, so my Meddling Mage on Visara next turn was golden. Olwen dropped a Ravenous Baloth, but it was far too late to have any hope of racing the Angel. On the last turn, he could have drawn Deed for the win, but he chose instead to return Wall of Blossoms with Genesis, leaving him short on mana. Maybe he could have drawn Terror or something.

Game Two: He gets an early Baloth, and I get an early Angel. He’s”stalled” on four mana for most of the game. I Vindicate an Engineered Plague so Finkel can attack effectively alongside the Angel. He has a Deed in play, but he is forced to blow it for three when I Vindicate it, killing his Wall of Blossoms, two Birds, and my Finkel, and leaving him handless and boardless save the Baloth. I don’t know if you people knew this, but the Exalted Angel is pretty good. There’s really no better feeling in the world than eating six pieces of pizza and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But besides that, there are few better feelings than attacking for four and gaining four.

Semifinals vs. Ervin Tormos (Tog)

As I mentioned, Ervin beat the King again in the quarters. Let’s tell you a little more about Mr. Tormos. He evidently has top 8ed four of his last five PTQs. He has a lot of personality and is fun to play against because he’ll keep up the banter at an appropriate level of dorkiness. Not too cool, not too dorky. If you try to banter like Jay-Z, you’re in denial because you’re at a Magic tournament and you’re white dammit. If you try to banter like Zvi, well, heaven help you. It’s a fine line. He’s not a whiner, and most importantly, he’s a nice guy. Jackpot for me! And he’s single, ladies.***

Game One: I basically ride an early Finkel to victory. I manage to kill two of his Togs, and he’s relatively light on land the whole game, hovering around four or five. He manages to get an Isochron Scepter with Counterspell imprinted into play. On one turn, I”bait” him with a Finkel to set up Meddling Mage… except he tapped two Black to activate the Scepter, leaving two Blue open for the Counterspell I already knew he had in his hand. Riiiiiiiiiight. I content myself with flashing back Deep Analysis. I was pretty flooded this game, sacking a Fetchland just for the shuffle at one point, but the Finkel just plugged mercilessly away. Jon was eventually joined by a couple of Chrises and a Masty. The game seemed very easy because the Dump Truck can two-for-one Tog by killing Scepters, and it is well-equipped to make sure Psychatog doesn’t stay on the table very long.

Game Two: I decide to play a Meddling Mage on turn 3, since it beats not doing anything. I’d kick myself if he didn’t have a counter; you have to try. I cast it, and he fetched a Mountain with his Bloodstained Mire in response, leaving him with UUR open. The Mage resolved, so I named Fire / Ice. I Duressed him the next turn, taking Fact or Fiction and leaving him with three Dazes, Tog, and Fire/Ice. I played a Finkel the next turn, knowing full well he had no choice but to triple-Daze it.

I took a lot of damage from my own pain lands and such this game, but it didn’t matter as I had an answer for the only Tog that hit play. The original Meddling Mage plus another did the dirty work. I had a Flash of Insight on the last turn and Vindicated his sole Black source in case he planned on Corpse Dancing me right out. I probably should have thought of that possibility sooner. Ah well, live and learn.

Finals: Split with Chris Pait (Two-Deuce)

We just split the cash 50/50 and went on our merry way. Neither one of us wanted to go to Kobe, so I got the slot for several reasons:

1) He didn’t have the cash on him to pay me on the spot, as is customary for the check recipient to do. I did have the cash. It was that simple.

2) Chris can still play in PTQs in January if he wants to make more money. For my part, I am no longer allowed to, which is a good thing, as I’d be more likely to embarrass myself than make money.

3) I get some sort of sick satisfaction from being qualified again. It earns respect among your peers when you say”Yeah, I’m Q’ed of course… but I’m not going… it’s too far!” The last PTQ I split in, I didn’t technically win; I wanted to technically win this time. In essence I just wanted to be able to say”I told you!” to everyone.

So what did I accomplish? I won a box. My Constructed should be back above 1900 now, even though I really don’t deserve that kind of rating with 60-card decks. I found something to write about, and I hopefully gave you some insight about the power of the truck.

And most importantly, I subsidized the”10″ and”24″ jerseys for myself and Gerry (or Jill or Bags or anyone else who is a big enough doofus to run it). God damn. 🙂

It’s the end of the year, so I’ll leave you with my definitive list of the top 20 alternative/modern-rock-type songs of 2003. Then I’ll give you two of my real Magic Online nicks and a fake one. Then you’ll tell your friends on AIM or random people on the forums how bad I am and how poorly I write and how no one cares about my lists. Then you’ll open Christmas presents. Then you’ll ring in 2004. Then you’ll get married. Then you’ll die.

The Definitive Top 20 Alternative/Modern Rock Songs of 2003

1. AFI”Girl’s Not Grey”

2. Foo Fighters”Times Like These”

3. The White Stripes”Seven Nation Army”

4. Linkin Park”Faint”

5. Audioslave”Like a Stone”

6. Evanescence”Bring Me to Life”

7. Cold”Stupid Girl”

8. Finger Eleven”Sad Exchange”

9. Missy Elliott f/ Ludacris”Gossip Folks” (yeah, I know)

10. The Used”Blue and Yellow”

11. Finch”What It Is to Burn”

12. AFI”…but home is nowhere”

13. Thursday”Signals Over the Air”

14. Chevelle”Send the Pain Below”

15. Billy Talent”Try Honesty”

16. Pulse Ultra”Despot”

17. Three Days Grace”(I Hate) Everything About You”

18. Linkin Park”Somewhere I Belong”

19. Burning Brides”Arctic Snow”

20. Blindside”Sleepwalking”


Tim Aten

Still Scum

Still Ugly

Best Sunday Dress, KK, and 10 24 on Modo

[email protected]

All the colors…upon leaving…all will turn to grey…

*Yes, I know, I’m not an artiste or a visionary. It was simply the best diction I could come up with to describe the construct. Just assume I was being ironic.

** #10 and #24. Now do you see where the spectacle part comes in? I had to do a little research since I obviously didn’t know who wears which numbers. Baseball is inane until the postseason.

***I have no clue whatsoever about the level of truth to this claim.