PTQ Amsterdam: First, Sorta

In the finals, I let Nick”Beverly” Lynn have the slot for $350 and half his box. A more than fair price. Highway robbery, if you ask me. Too late now. If my deck is this sick next time I top 8, my opponent won’t have it so easy. Alas, my low self-esteem continues to plague me in every aspect of life.

Umber wunnnn…


Umber wunnn…


These words, even in the haze.

Yeah, I thought I was done writing any sort of article for a long while. And I suppose I was. I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing over the course of the next few months either, for several reasons:

1) Schoolwork takes up a lot of my”creative” energy. It’s hard to motivate yourself to write whimsical tales of slaying ogres when you have real work to do. (Note that since I am taking mostly Sociology courses this semester, I use the term”real work” rather loosely.)

2) There are certain bureaucratic reasons which I am not at liberty to discuss right now. All I can say is that it rhymes with the following sentence (which is, ironically, an excerpt from my last Soci paper): Why bunt four bunnies, cut pies won’t go whiff I reserve spit.

3) The next logical thing for me to write about is Mirrodin in Limited. The problem with that is, Mirrodin is not conducive to easy-to-write, orderly lists of pick orders. Most of the cards are similarly powered, and there are a lot of subtle interactions between them. In other words, synergy is crucial, so just about every card is situational.

4) I hate each and every one of you so very much.

So, you may ask, where did I find time in my busy schedule to write an article? Well, for one, I’m skipping my first nap today. And by”skipping,” I mean”delaying.” Also, there was something compelling me to write it. Or rather, someone.

You see, I was driving home from the PTQ in Columbus on Saturday, and I nodded off at the wheel. The next thing I remembered, I was in a bed with a dilapidated typewriter, and Gerry Thompson was looming over me. He was complaining how I never write anymore and threatening to”hobble” me so I couldn’t escape. I really had no clue what he was talking about, but when a man with an axe”suggests” that you write a tournament report, it’s good to be open-minded.

That said, I’ll start the”real” part of the article here. The reason for this is that I started to write an article a month or so ago (meaning I had an introduction all ready to go) but never finished it because the subject matter – 8th Edition draft – was so utterly boring.

And look at the quality of the report so far. I don’t think I’ve used a single word with more than two syllables, barring gerunds and the word”syllables.” Not to mention the whole Misery allusion. Is that some weak #$*% or what?”A man with an axe?” Jesus Christ. What am I, a Trekkie or something? Who could possibly find that remotely amusing?

I hope I die.

But I’m not going to delete it and start over. It would totally disrupt my rhythm, as I think I point out in my prefabricated introduction, which starts as follows:

The”Actual” Introduction (annotated)

It’s been a long time…we shouldn’ta left you…without a dope beat to step to. Step to, step to, step to. Step to, step to, step to.

(You folks know how I like my song lyrics. This one is from Timbaland’s contribution to Aaliyah’s”Try Again.” If you can’t see why I chose that as an introduction to what I expected to be my comeback article, then perhaps you should be reading [insert name of inferior,”competing” site here] instead.)

Yes, it has been awhile since you’ve been privileged enough to read my magnificent, well-thought-out non-claptrap that never made you want to wretch.

(An uncharacteristic Simpsons allusion. Every nerd loves the Simpsons and quotes them at every possible opportunity, and every other nerd laughs at each reference, so I usually try to avoid them. However, I may have felt that I wanted to ease you back in to my particular brand of awful writing slowly with something you’re comfortable with. Also, note the delusions of grandeur evident in the diction.)

But there are some very important reasons for that. First, there’s nothing about Limited to write about, really. That’s why I’m settling for writing about something inane and irrelevant that still sort of pertains to the niche of”Limited Writing.”

(Specifically, 8th edition. Try to pay attention. No one ever pays attention to me because apparently their rambling drivel is SO much more important than what I have to say. Someone not unlike myself has probably figured out the meaning of life and tried to tell people, but they were too busy trying to draw attention to themselves with wild gesticulations or talking about their favorite brand of beef jerky to notice.)

At one point, I had something really clever and rambling in my head,

(You’re just gonna hafta take my word on THAT one….)

but as I started to write it, I sat there and thought,”What’s the point? You don’t really have an article to go with it.” It’s really unfortunate when I have an idea but can’t follow through. Whenever I write, be it half-assed school paper or half-assed article, I just sit down and write whatever comes into my head that’s remotely topical. I try to add a few transitional adverbs here and there, and then I print it out, or click submit, or what have you. My train of thought just gliiiiiiiides over the tracks when I write like that. The ideas from the well of knowledge keep floooowing. And any other nerdy metaphors you can come up with. Take this time to think of one on your own.

(A glimpse into my creative processes. Note how I try to include you, the reader, as a part of my work. Paste my articles into a Wordpad, then do some creative editing. Write”I am a smelly poo poo head” after every line, correct run-on sentences, change the results so it looks like I went 0-3; the world is your oyster thanks to wond’rous, wond’rous technology.)

But yeah, I think of some ideas while driving in my Stratus. If I’m on the way to someplace with a computer, I try to keep it in my head until then. But if I’m delivering a pizza to an aloof middle-aged woman in a house with calamitous overgrowth who lets her toddler suck on an actual hammer as though it were a lolly,

(I’m afraid I can’t take credit for this stunning visual. No, this actually happened. Lolly shoulda been lollipop, though. Lolly is a little, um…”fancier” than I like my diction to be.)

I might as well quash the idea then and there, since any future ideas it spawns through association will be lost forever. As a quick aside – which, as a quick aside, is the third most frequently-used phrase in my articles behind”no one reads my articles” and”Gerry Thompson,” – the above visual is 100% true.

(Looks like I didn’t need the last little note. Do you think that means I’m going to go back and edit it out? Hah. I mean, you DID just read it after all, didn’t you? I guess I didn’t edit it out then, did I. Durr. I think I wanted to break it up more to allow more space for notes. The three most frequently used phrases bit is pretty clever, right? What can I say, I’m a clever guy.)

In the realm of”humor” (if you can even call my writing that), truth, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction. I couldn’t come up with a more absurd situation than that left to my own devices. Well, not without trying really hard – which as you may have guessed, I’m not about to do. So yeah, there’s nothing to write about.

(My credo is something along these lines. Okay, I obviously don’t have an actual credo. You’d have to be some sort of horse’s ass to have this little”credo” that you go around espousing to anyone who will listen. As an aside (I really do like that phrase), I looked up”espouse” like I usually do with words I’m not 100% on, and after reading m-w.com’s entry, I’m STILL not sure if I used it right. What a fat waste of time. But if it ain’t broke…

(Then there were a few sentences that were no longer topical, and then I start talking about my presumed level of dorkiness, as usual.)

I really don’t think that I’m that much of a dork even though I’m an intelligent, reclusive loser with glasses. I think much of it has to do with my sense of humor.

(But much of WHAT, though? We’ll never know. That’s the problem with leaving a few sentences out.)

Even if what I write isn’t funny, which I have no way of knowing, I still pride myself on having a very good sense of humor, like most of the other people in #pinks…including Josh Ravitz, Joey Bags, Ryan Golden, and Morgan Douglass, who I’m supposed to mention in every article but have been slacking.

(Hewwo Morgy.)

I’m trying to write good articles here, not the type of articles you’re forced to read when I take a break from writing.

(pause for laughter)

Rest assured, though, when (and I do mean when, not if) I do well at a major event, you’ll all be begging to hang on my every word at whatever rate I write for, whatever site I write for. The day of reckoning is nigh upon us.

(The excerpts get a little choppier here since some other irrelevant stuff was simply omitted. And selling the slot at a PTQ certainly doesn’t qualify as”doing well at a major event,” so feel free to continue to hold your breath.)

Also, I was a little burned out. Or is it”burnt” out? Eh, who gives a good goddamn? I needed a break. This is why teachers don’t work twelve months a year; less creativity and enthusiasm. Plus, they’d probably strangle half the punks in their classes sometime in month 10.

(I hate kids so very, very much. And in my book, if you’re more than two years younger than I am, you’re a punk kid.)

One of the things I was going to address in the article that never ended getting up written because it had no”subject matter” was an e-mail I got about suicide. The person told me I shouldn’t joke about it, because if I continued to do so, no one would believe me when I was really serious. Well, let me tell you something. I’m not joking. You have to write about what you know. My life is such a sham that I do in fact regularly think about offing myself daily. I don’t want sympathy, I’m not trying to get attention, just let me reiterate: You have to write about what you know. I just say what I’m thinking, and if I think about consuming large amounts of sleeping medication, I’ll write about it. I’ll leave it to Ferrett to decide if it’s publishable. Since it usually seems like I’m joking, he’ll probably let it into the article, unlike say, two uses of the word”***” (one tasteful, the other not so tasteful) from last article.

(Although, as I probably mentioned before (but I’m certainly not going to go back and check), Ferrett probably does know a thing or two about what should be published. He got me more hits than ever by inlcuding the phrase”Jeff Cunningham Sucks” in a title of one of my articles, even though I didn’t really want that in the title. That’s not how I want my fame. The tasteful reference in question was something about”delicious irony” or something. It was masterful, trust me.)

Before I get to the”content” of the article, which is defined as”the part of the article that Morgy skips,”

(Original footnote to above prepositional phrase:”Two mentions in one article. I have to make up for lost time, here.”)

I would like to briefly visit something I’ve mentioned before: Kenny Hsiung the Master. Do you people not understand that every ridiculous bit of lingo and even mannerism that you so loyally spew in your little circles originated from the ill-fated Asian? The list is extensive:”soooooo” (at least three years old),”that’s game, boys” (at least two years old),”yus,” the word”cut” (at least two years old), the high-pitched voice, and infinite other things that I can’t think of right now. Credit where due, people.

(A rule of thumb for lingo: If you don’t know where it originated, do not use it. In Boston, when some Florida duder was drafting against Lucas Glavin and John”Big Dukes””Small Child””Jerry” Lewis and said a high-pitched”GG” because he read that his hero Gabe Walls said it at Nationals, I nearly vomitted my cheese danish all over LCG’s 11/11 Feral Throwback that he got 6th. Wearing Nikes will not let you dunk like Michael Jordan, and saying”mise” will not help you play Magic like Finkel. Please just stop.

(Since I’m on the topic of lingo, I’ll include a few current area sayings, space permitting. Also, I think I should mention here that I mean no personal offense to anyone. I’m just caustic since I’m very bitter at the world and I hate you all. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, necessarily!! Really!!! The biggest mistake people can make about me is judging me by my words and not my actions. I talk out of my ass all the time.)

If you didn’t like this introduction, it’s because I’m rusty. Or maybe I suck at writing. But so many people have told me the opposite (online, not in real life) that I don’t necessarily believe that. If you want to tell me you liked my writing, or hated it, because if you like it it will keep me going, and if you hate it I want to know so I won’t embarrass myself, please e-mail me. Address is at the end if you haven’t memorized it by now like good barns.

(If you didn’t like this two-month-old introduction, I’d hate to hear what you thought about any intro I tried to come up with NOWADAYS. Remember the Misery thing? Remember that? Yeah. You’re on a sinking ship. Get out while you still can.)

Lingo, Lingo, Lingo

Wasn’t that fun? No? Aw, to hell with you. Basically, I could write ANYthing, and you’d be thrilled to read it, since reading a crappy Magic article beats the hell out of doing your job or schoolwork or whatever you should be doing. So I’ll never know how good my stuff really is, since it’s obviously like honey from the lips of an angel (Cabin Boy) compared to TPS reports and differential equations and suchandsuch.

The winds of change are blowing on the lingo front. For too long, I’ve taken lingo too seriously. This is not to say I won’t be very upset if I hear high-pitched”GG”s from people other than Gabe Walls; what I mean is, the people in my area have grown to embrace lingo that is as awful as humanly possible. We enjoy mocking ourselves and the gamer culture by acknowledging that we sound really dumb.

But be forewarned that there is a line that you should still not cross. There is some lingo so awful that it should never be uttered, even in jest. What I’m trying to say is, if I hear the phrase”lucksack” one more time, I’m going to kick someone. Square in the lucksack.

Before I start the list, I have to get this in writing: Matt Rubin just messaged me on AIM asking what I had in my deck, to which I responded that I was writing a report. Which I clearly am. The point is, it reminded me of a song lyric that I could have used to start this article (from Blink 182’s”Dammit”)

A day late

a buck short

I’m writing

the re-port.

How topical.


Okay, another aside. I’m just going to paste the chat this time. It’s pretty ironic, I guess. Far be it from me to pass up the chance to go off on a pointless tangent.

chester6561: i’m writing a report.

Matt Rubin82: am i included

chester6561: yes

Matt Rubin82: what does it say

Cute, eh?

Fresh: I really berated this piece of Opalka lingo in a PTQ report from nearly two years ago. Like I said, though, the worse the lingo is, the more likely we are to use it. Just don’t use it seriously, or else you’ll look like a fool. Basically, this is the same thing as”gas” used to be. Example:”God damn, big Flexes, why you so fresh?” or”Chromatic Sphere is pretty &$*%in’ fresh!”

Tall Indeed: I think this is from the DVD extras that come with Old School. This is often used the same way as fresh, usually in reference to a person. Example:”Erik Swanson, you are tall indeed.”

(Erik Swanson is a member of How Teamful, a local team that finished in the money at Boston. He is 6’7″, but it really doesn’t matter whether someone is tall, as this phrase essentially means nothing. You can just say it for no reason whatsoever other than to hear your own voice.)

I TOLD you: King got this one from a movie or something, but we really forget which one. This is basically used as a brag after something favorable happens. For instance, if, after losing fifteen consecutive sports bets, you finally win one, you can call up the bettin’ place and shout”I told you” into the phone. Or if you win a PTQ, you can just shout it to no one in particular.

See or Ya Know:“See” is from a celebrity Jeopardy skit, and”ya know” is from the end of Kingpin. Just add these at the end of any sentence. They’re completely meaningless, but since they’re completely obnoxious, I love them both very much.”Ya know” goes with sentences that are shouted, while”see” goes with sentences that are muttered. Example:”It’s a big ugly dragon, see. It flies over for six, see.” or”I attacked you for four, ya know!!

Stains: D.C.-area lingo that I previously mocked derisively. (Really, though, is there any other way to mock?) As you may have guessed, we like this one now because it’s so terrible. If something is bad, it’s stains. Or alternately, it’s”cuts.” Example:”Mossay is such stains.” or”Mossay is such cuts.”

Megan: And here are my personal favorites. Believe it or not, this is the continuation of the downward spiral in mocking the overused”how lucky.” I mentioned in my backwards report that we just mumbled a”huh luh luh” in the past. All manner of things were said that sort of resembled the phrase, particularly by Joey Bags.”How Floosky” and”How Looby” are two examples. Well, there so happened to be a girl in my Vermilion High School Class of 2000 named Megan Luby. So now,”Megan” means”lucky.” It doesn’t get more obnoxious than this. And my brother hates it.

Nick: Another phrase that we’ve run into the ground with alternate spellings/pronunciations is Ernie McCracken’s”please” as he bowls the final strike in Kingpin. Ernie just mouths the word silently, but Cleveland people shout it, say it, or modify it in the following ways and more:”oh please,””oh puh-luh,””plsssss,””plaz,” and so on.

Well, there happened to be someone from Vermilion named Nick Plas. So now Nick means the same thing as”please.” Please is often used when someone says something really awful. For instance, when Aaron”Cuts” Nutler makes an excruciatingly terrible pun, you can just say”Nick.”

Trav: Since I had been so successful in finding the good names, Bags decided to look in his yearbook for other possible candidates. I told him I hoped he found something really good, like someone named Travis Fresh in his search. Naturally, he did not, but from that day forward”Travis” became synonymous with fresh, and it became further abbreviated to”Trav.” Also, you can use the full names when describing people. For instance, Rodman may be”The Megan Luby” or King may be”Travis Fresh himself.” I know that the name thing was a little tough to follow, but hopefully you’ve gleaned the important points for current cool lingo. It has to be stupid, it has to be obnoxious, but for God’s sake, it has to be something you or someone you talk to regularly came up with. Lingo barning has got to stop.

Didn’t You Say Somewhere That You Played in a Tourney or Something?

Why, yes I did. I’m not really sure why you care about such trivialities, but I guess I may as well throw you a bone since Ferrett insists on Magic-related content in every article for some reason. I don’t even need the filler, since I’m going along at a pretty good clip. This is a matter of journalistic pride. You can’t win the Pulitzer unless you talk about an actual event, how many people were in said event, what Anime is really cool, and so on.

I woke up around 5:30 on Saturday, October 4th. I guess I was a little nervous that the alarm wouldn’t wake me. I really wanted to go to the PTQ in Columbus since the format seemed fun, if only since it was brand new. I had no intention of going to Amsterdam, since (as I’ve had to explain to anyone who asked) plane tickets cost money, and the flights are long.

I didn’t have to leave until after seven, so I listened to AFI’s Sing the Sorrow. Best CD of the year, hands down. You should buy it, but if you don’t, at least steal it from the internet. Don’t let any semblance of morals deprive you of this wonderful album.

Bla bla uneventful trip bla bla 99 players bla bla.

But before I list my deckypoo, I must say that it is really stupid to lie about your rating. Craig Curtis, Peter Rollenhagen, and I were doing some random draft with some random guy, and he said his rating was 1900. I’d never seen him before, and I tried to find his name in Ohio and all abutting states, but he was nowhere to be found, if in fact his rating was even above 1800. Having a 1720 rating doesn’t make you any less of a man. No one cares about that. There’s simply no reason to lie. People try to save face about all the wrong things.

Sealed Deck:


Cobalt Golem


Goblin Dirigible

Goblin War Wagon

Leaden Myr

Neurok Spy

Nim Replica

Rustspore Ram

Silver Myr

Vulshok Berserker


Electrostatic Bolt

Granite Shard

Icy Manipulator


Leonin Scimitar

Mind’s Eye

Pyrite Spellbomb

Skeleton Shard


Viridian Longbow

Vulshok Gauntlets

9 Mountain

4 Swamp

1 Vault of Whispers

3 Island

This was quite a solid deck, even if there were no bombs. Mind’s Eye is very good and can get out of hand quickly, but:

1) I don’t know if it’s a”bomb” per se, and:

2) I think I drew one or two cards off it all day. I had another Gauntlets, another Scimitar, and Lightning Greaves in the board simply because I had to keep a good creature-to-equipment ratio. I chose to maindeck a Scimitar over the second Gauntlets because I didn’t want all three of my pieces of flair to have the hefty equip cost of three.

Here are some other choice pieces of wisdom about Mirrodin sealed:

1) Everyone has several pieces of equipment. Well, almost everyone. In draft, they’re very high in demand since anyone can play them, so you can’t expect to see them very late. If you don’t see quality equipment first or second, you may simply not get any. In Sealed, everyone’s going to have at least two quality equipment cards that are virtually auto-includes. This means that Rustspore Ram is very good, and Turn to Dust is likely maindeck quality.

2) Myrs are good. Mana acceleration is important, and these guys can double as beaters in this relatively creature-light format. Any creature is good with a Bonesplitter or Loxodon Warhammer. I generally like to have seventeen land and two mana Myrs.

3) It’s okay to play three colors. This is true for a lot of Sealed formats, but it’s especially relevant here. Most of the cards can function well without any colored mana, and the ones that do need colored mana only require one. Unless your deck is unusually focused, it probably won’t hurt your mana to splash some good cards (like artifact removal or evasion) from a third color. I haven’t tested out the idea, but I would think that a 6/6/5 mana base could conceivably acceptable in Mirrodin sealed.

4) It’s okay to be creature-light. There are so many good support cards, including equipment, that you can run fewer creatures in Sealed than you typically had to. There’s a delicate balance to strike between creatures and equipment. If you have a Vulshok Battlegear, for instance, each creature you play becomes considerably less fragile, so only having one man on the board at a time isn’t as awful as it would be in Onslaught. However, you want to make sure that you have at least one guy out at all times to make sure the equipment isn’t worthless. I imagine a typical Sealed build will have around thirteen men. You could probably go as low as ten (mine only had eleven), but any higher than fifteen is unlikely.

5) Some things didn’t change… Removal is still good. Evasion is still good, and may in fact be better than ever. You still need to be mindful of a curve.

6) …But some things did. In a Mirrodin Sealed deck, you’ll probably have somewhere around fifty playables. That’s a lot. And most will be pretty similar in card quality. That’s where your mastery needs to come in. Play your most powerful cards (obviously), but after that, you really need to focus on synergy. Look for subtle interactions. Build your deck to be a cohesive unit, not just a pile of cards. I had a friend in the PTQ who didn’t realize this. His deck had two Skyhunter Cubs, a Leonin Den Guard, an Auriok Steelshaper, and a Loxodon Punisher…And yet he only played three pieces of equipment!! He had two more good pieces in the board. Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices; for instance, that fourth piece of equipment may be better than your first Pyrite Spellbomb to ensure your deck runs smoothly.

7) Reusable effects are insanely good. This seems pretty intuitive. It was the key to 8th Edition draft, and it’s pretty important in this as well. Icy Manipulator, Granite Shard, Skeleton Shard (and the other two non-green ones), and of course, Spikeshot Goblin are cards that can easily win games all by themselves if left unchecked.

8) Play some artifact removal. Because, yeah. Artifact set, remember? Hurr.

Let’s start the tournamennnnnt!! The details are going to be somewhat scant, despite the fact that I usually remember matches vividly in events in which I performed well.

Round One vs. Corey Taylor (blue/red)

Corey didn’t really put up much of a fight. In both games he played suboptimal cards suboptimally. He had a chance to beat me game 2, but he wasn’t aggressive enough with his Hematite Golem. I’m pretty sure this was the round where my opponent sacrificed a Wizard Replica to, in essence, tap two more of my lands. Neurok Spy with various equipment went all the way.

I have in my notes that I used my Electrostatic Bolt too hastily on his Spikeshot Goblin; the Goblin wasn’t an immediate threat to my two-toughness creatures since he had no enhancement for it. I wished I still had it when he was menacing with the ol’ Golem. Also, one turn I forgot to move equipment onto a blocker after combat. Remember to move that equipment around, folks. It takes a bit to get used to.


Round Two vs. Dave Draiman (green/blue/red)

Before I continue, I would like to say that I wrote the last several paragraphs while I was extremely tired. However, the secret to my writing Magic is not just that I don’t go back and rewrite things, I simply can’t. Forward is the only direction I can go; if I stop to go back and correct, I risk losing my whole thought process as well as any motivation I had left. And for that I am sorry. So you hopefully won’t have to read much more that is similar in diction to the following actual Scott McMullen quote (the series of three periods signify pauses, not ellipses):”Bottle Gnomes are good… because you could use them… for a variety of… things.”

So in my break from writing, I realized that even if I remembered every detail, play-by-play match coverage is pretty boring. Henceforth, I shall stick with synopses and, when applicable, key plays in the match.

In this match, the play in question happened in game 1. It was one of those situations you hear about where a person has very little chance to win, and thus he plays as though everything will fall in his favor to give him a shot. My opponent was attacking with a Malachite Golem and a Troll Ascetic. He also had an Iron Myr. I had a Granite Shard, an untapped Nim Replica, and a tapped Frogmite. He was at nine, I was at thirteen. I had a Detonate in my hand, but only four land in play. It dawned on me while I was debating the block of his Malachite Golem that the long game certainly wasn’t in my favor. My best shot for winning was for him to spend the rest of his turn playing a four-mana artifact after I didn’t block anything and went to five; at this point, I would have to topdeck land #5 for a Detonate to kill it so I could attack for the last five.

It was an outside shot, but it was my only shot, so I sprung into action. I killed his Myr during the attack step with Granite Shard; he used it to Shatter my Shard. I took the hit and went to five. He tapped four mana for a Goblin War Wagon. I looked at my deck – and with a muttered”I deserve it,” plucked land #5 off the top.

How lucky? Yes and no. I put myself in the situation where I could topdeck my way out of it, even if hoping for an artifact that costs exactly four when he had five lands was a little bit of a stretch. I won the next game with no problem.


Round Three vs. Chris Carrabba (green/white/red)

In the first game, Chris had a very slow start, stalling on three lands but clearly looking for another color. Unfortunately, my deck has very few ways of exploiting that, and after several painful turns and a Journey of Discovery, I found myself on the wrong end of a Shrapnel Blast to take my first game loss.

The second game looked to be all Chris, as he dropped the ol'”turn 1 Bonesplitter, turn 3 Skyhunter Cub.” I stabilized at five life (which, after the first game, didn’t make me too happy) with Icy Manipulator, which he unfortunately Shattered. My Atog was facing down a few tapped creatures on his side, and if he’d done the math he would have realized that one more artifact made the Tog lethal… In short, I Granite Sharded him down to ten, untapped, Sharded him to nine, dropped an artifact, and sent in a 9/10 Tog for the win.

My scorepad shows that he got another Bonesplittered Cub in game 3, but it stopped dealing damage when I was at ten. I probably had Icy or something; either way, I was in control the whole game.


Round Four vs. Serj Tankian (green/white, I think)

I remember this match well, since the games took a combined total of about eight minutes.

Game one, he got quite a few land, which would not have been a problem for him if I hadn’t Rustspore Rammed his Loxodon Warhammer. I got Gauntlets on my War Wagon with Icy to tap his Tel-Jilad Exile, and after a few chump blocks, he succumbed. In game two, he stalled on two lands and sighed and rolled his eyes during each draw step as he failed to draw a land. I think I won with something pitiful like two Myrs and a Granite Shard.


Round Five vs. Chris Piekarski (blue/white)

As we were shuffling up, he asked me what bombs I had, implying that I needed bombs to make it that far. The previous round, when I was at table one, Andrew Benanzer, who previously had a higher Limited rating than me until he failed to maindeck Skeleton Shard over Krark-Clan Shaman and went 1-2, came up and asked if they were seating tables randomly now.

I hate each and every one of you. I clearly am far too awful to do well unless I have bombs. I’m not saying I’m Kai Maher Jr. or anything – but who are these guys??!! You’re still gas, Benanzer, but yeesh.

So yeah, game 1 he plays Vedalken Archmage and draws about ten cards off it before he gets to his Duplicant, which he Regresses to kill a total of two of my guys. Do I have any bombs? The nerve. And the”remove from game” part was key, as I had a Skeleton Shard.

This one was partly my fault, though. I correctly read that he had Soul Nova when he was at ten and I had a Scimitarred Dirigible ready to go in for the kill. However, on one crucial turn, I thought my sacrifice attack was going to be more successful since he had a Glimmervoid to go with his Pyrite Spellbomb when I thought he only had access to blue and white mana. He killed an extra creature and completely stabilized at two life. The next game, he got a turn 4 Archmage and a turn 6 Duplicant.

When I was trying to figure out where I’d heard his name, he told me he defeated edt in the finals of the Michigan PTQ for New Orleans the previous week. That’s quite a streak.


Round Six vs. Jeremy Darling (blue/white/green)

Jeremy is one of my favorite gamers in the whole wide world. I imagine he’s roughly the same as me Limited-wise, so this wasn’t exactly the pairing I was looking for. However, I wasn’t too worried; I hadn’t planned on going to the PTQ until I got a feeling that I was going to have a lot of fun and do really well (so much for refraining from”I like Bottle Gnomes because they are good” sentences), and I still had that feeling even after last round’s loss.

Game one, he mulliganed, and I won. Game two, I took a sound, sound beating. He killed my Mind’s Eye and I couldn’t keep a creature or even equipment on the board. Game three saw us in full topdeck mode on about turn 6, as we had used all of our spells to neutralize the other’s. I got an Icy after a few turns and a War Wagon after a few more, and surprisingly, those two in conjunction were enough to take it down.


Round Seven vs. Jordan Pundik (white/red)

In game one, he double mulliganed, but he got a fairly fast flying draw. I”curved” right out with turn 1 Longbow, turn 2 Gauntlets, turn 3 Granite Shard, turn 4 another non-creature artifact. In the end, the card disadvantage he suffered from going first with only five cards was far too great.

We both mulliganed in game 2, and for the whole game, there was total board parity except for an extra 1/1 and a Viridian Longbow on my side. We each had an Icy tapping down the other’s three-power attacker. Eventually, I drew into Granite Shard and killed his Icy, turning the end of this one into a rout. I learned that he had a Soul Foundry and possibly a Duplicant hidden within the murky depths of his library.

And so our hero made the top 8… Meaning that he has to write more actual Magic-related sentences, which are clearly not his forte. This is what happens when you take a break. Here is the seat order for the draft (and I may be slightly off on some of these names):

Joe Van Sickel (black/blue)

me (green/red)

Nick”TCB” Lynn (green/blue)

Scott McMullen (mono-white)

Chris Piekarski (green/white)

Matt Oldaker (red/blue/black)

Phil Hellmuth, Jr. (black/green)

Travis R. Fresh (black/red)

When Van Sickel opened the first pack, and the only really good card was Fangren Hunter, I decided to try to draft the red/green fatty swarm archetype. I was pretty fortunate that he decided to take something other than the Hunter, but pretty unfortunate that Nick”I’ve top 8ed every Ohio event I’ve gone to” Lynn decided to take Creeping Mold right behind me. Maybe he thought he had the green light (pun unintentional as usual, but it doesn’t make me any less of a dork) since he thought Mold is better than Hunter…But it isn’t.

Some brief notes on the draft:

1) The packs were very bad as a whole and had very few Myrs.

2) I got a Viridian Shaman 6th in one of the early packs.

3) Nick”allergic to nuts” Lynn hated Detonate and Grab the Reins from me, as well as getting a Plated Slagwurm and Molder Slug. He was essentially rewarded for pointless hate drafting with good opens.

4) My first round opponent had a Loxodon Warhammer, but other than that, I had no clue what he was doing or where he was going with his deck.

Back to the archetype. Maybe if I come up with my own signature name for it, people will start to use that when they refer to it. So here, let’s call it, um…

… The Artifacts Fear It approach, or AFI for short. This will undoubtedly never in a million years catch on, as it is incredibly asinine and nonsensical, but I had a hoot and a half referencing one of my favorite bands.

The key to drafting in this format is to draft the deck more than a color combination; this was the case with Onslaught, too, but the best Mirrodin decks will adhere to this principle more than ever. I managed to b.s. my way through OLS with plenty of mixed bag decks, but that just isn’t going to cut it here. If you draft properly, your deck could be as good as a Block Constructed deck, albeit not a very good one.

The AFI approach keeps artifacts to an absolute minimum. You want to drop the largest men you can find as quickly as possible, making cards like Vulshok Berserker (an insane tempo card in this format), Fangren Hunter, and various Myrs (hopefully in your color, but not necessarily) the all-stars. Throw in a smattering of equipment (or preferably Predator’s Strike) and a little bit of artifact and creature removal, and you have your deck. Your opponents’ artifact removal cards will be pretty useless against you, and your creature quality will be embarrassingly higher than theirs. Even if they have equipment, that stuff takes time and mana to get going, so hopefully they won’t be able to keep up. Keep in mind that a table will support no more than two of these decks. Maybe I could talk about this and other archetypes in the weeks to come, assuming that 1) I remember how to write and 2) my contract negotiations are successful.

Here’s a sample AFI deck. Specifically, the one from the PTQ. It would be sort of stupid to list something else here, wouldn’t it?

3 Fangren Hunter (see above)

Leaden Myr

Silver Myr (see above)

Spikeshot Goblin

2 Tel-Jilad Chosen

Tel-Jilad Exile

Viridian Shaman

3 Vulshok Berserker (see above)


2 Neurok Hoversail (good for flying over ground stalls for the last damage; should probably have only maindecked one)

One Dozen Eyes

2 Predator’s Strike

Pyrite Spellbomb

Vulshok Gauntlets (only played because I had Spikeshot)

10 Forest

7 Mountain

Looking back on this deck, I should have demanded the full $500 and his box in the finals. I underestimated my deck and overestimated those of my opponents in the semis and finals, though. My low self-esteem continues to plague me in every aspect of life.

Quarterfinals vs. Matt Oldaker

Both of my top 8 matches went three games for a rough combined total of ten minutes per match. In game one, I attack with my creatures and that’s simply good enough to get the job done. He started chumping perhaps a little before he should have.

Game 2, he got his precious Warhammer and a Bonesplitter and he Fabricated for another Splitter. I stabilized the board at one life to his thirty-seven with a few monsters and a Shaman for his Warhammer to his no creatures…But his last card was Goblin Charbelcher.

Game three was as quick and painless as the first.

Semifinals vs. Scott McMullen

Scott is also extremely high on my list of favorite gamers. Noticeably higher than Jeremy Darling, in fact. I should make a list…

Game one, I got horribly land-flooded. So did he, but the cards he was working with were a Den Guard, a Cub, and a Viridian Longbow; I had a Myr, a Neurok Hoversail, and a Bottle Gnomes. I drew literally four spells to his six that game.

I sided in Sun Droplet for Hoversail #2. My deck was very kind to me in game 2, giving me a Myr, a few lands, and all three Vulshok Berserkers. They were sufficient. For the final game, he didn’t have a lot of action, betraying the fact that perhaps his deck wasn’t as good as I’d suspected. He Awe Struck a 6/5 Vulshok Berserkers, but my Tel-Jilad Chosen and other assorted small men whittled him down to about twelve. He had used up his Soul Nova already, and I had a Spikeshot in play, so I decided to One Dozen Eyes for five insects. Combined with the Spikeshot and my other ground troops, the insects carried me to the finals, where I SHOULD NOT HAVE SPLIT SINCE HIS DECK ONLY HAD THREE CARDS THAT WERE REMOTELY WORRISOME FOR ME ALDSJHSLJDSA


In the finals, I let Nick”Beverly” Lynn have the slot for $350 and half his box. A more than fair price. Highway robbery, if you ask me. Too late now. If my deck is this sick next time I top 8, my opponent won’t have it so easy. I got enough money to cover my trip to Kansas City, though! Even if I do only have one bye, I still feel as though I’m not just wasting my time.

I was going to write an in-depth barn classification analysis here, but this is already by far the most pointless, long-winded pile of drivel I’ve ever written, so I’m gonna let you go after Props, Slops, and the top 5 songs of the week.


  • Jeremy Darling, Scott McMullen, and the other people who are cool enough to talk to at PTQs

  • the SS people who stayed to watch my progress in the top 8…SS4L

  • Money-Making Game

  • cowbell

  • Lady McBoob, for no reason in particular


  • Gerry Thompson, for making me write this giant turd of an article, and for calling me an ugly woman

  • Just about everyone from neither the Cleveland or Boston area: I hate you all so very much.

  • Baselines

  • Magic Online, for taking my clan away from me for one tasteless movie quote in the clan message. Now I have to come up with something else to say in my signoff.

And now, the top 5 songs of the week:

5. Bonnie Tyler”Total Eclipse of the Heart”

4. Ace of Base”The Sign”

3. Kelly Clarkson”Miss Independent”

2. AFI”Silver and Cold”

1. Linda Ronstadt’s entire catalogue

I thank you all for your time. I’ll see you in Kansas City, but I probably won’t talk to you.

Tim Aten

A Disgrace to Humanity

[email protected]