PTSD 17th: The Way You Like It Part 1 – A Slap in the Face

Aten goes gangster in Part 1 of his epic Pro Tour San Diego recap. Do not miss this episode, as Tim drops plates on your ayass, biatch!

(Author’s note: Despite the fact that the accounts presented in these reports may vary slightly, I assure you that nothing included herein is a lie. This does not apply to the blatant lies, which should, as the adjective implies, be readily apparent. The strange things that happened in my matches, however, are completely true).

Now tuned in to the muhf$%#ing greatest…

How are y’all feelin’ tonight? Anything interesting happen this weekend? Let’s take a look at the relevant headlines.


Looking at this page, I can only say one thing: We are all keen to your game, Erik Guthrie. Give us all a break, would you? I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to accomplish by ratings fix… errrr by winning so many matches in a row based on your raw talent, but you’re drawing suspicion to yourself. If you want to be the top Limited player in the world, sell your soul to Beelzebub, or Lucifer, or whatever you call him like Nicolai Herzog did. If you want to be the top Limited player in the state, move out of Pennsylvania. There’s no future for you there. And if all you’re trying to do is impress your friends, memorize all the lyrics to the new Jay-Z album and get some spinning rims. I think we can all agree that your method of trying to garner acceptance is pointless and sad.

There is probably a .001% chance that my appraisal of the Guthrie Situation is inaccurate. Hell, several years ago I assumed foul play was afoot when some random dude from Arkansas had a 2050+ rating in Limited, but I was obviously wrong. I for one hope that Erik Guthrie shows his face at some premiere-status event in the near future so that the real champions can take back what is rightfully theirs. He’ll probably remain in seclusion until he qualifies for the Invitational, though.

Seriously, people, if you have any leads on Erik Guthrie – is he any good at all, does he exist, is he any relation to folk singer Arlo, does he really like wearing pretty pink dresses – please do not hesitate to e-mail me. Additionally, if you have any information on the whereabouts of one”Professor” Douglas Conway, I’d like to know. At the time of the typing up of this article, although Hopefully For His Sake not necessarily at the time of its publication, he still owes one of my three favorite people in the world hundreds of dollars for the purchase of, in the parlance of the British,”dodgy things.” My e-mail address is at the end, but you should all have memorized it by now. I think I used that exact line before, but I know my redundancy problem won’t cost me my job as long as I keep sending love letters to Pete Hoefling niece.

How am I doing so far? I keep worrying that I’m becoming schizophrenic or otherwise losing my mind, or worse, becoming completely unfunny. Here’s the part where we all shake our heads in derision and make comments about how I’m clearly no Jeff Cunningham or Geordie Tait in the humor department, and never was. You know about this, the part in the article where I empathize with the reader’s bitter distaste for any credit I see fit to award myself, even in the most offhanded of ways, from reading my previous articles. If this is the first time you’re reading one of my articles, you are an unspeakable barn for reasons that I can get into later.


You like that? I’m trying to switch up my patented”Anyway” transitional paragraph. That’s one of the tricks of the writing trade. Even if you enjoy saying the exact same thing over and over, if you find different ways to say it, you’ll be lauded. The ostensible purpose of language is to convey meaning, but we writers who have adopted it as a craft is to distort it into some sort of perverse self-serving art form.


As you can see from clicking on the above link, certain people have clearly mastered this format. Ratings over 2300 are simply absurd, and it would seem that Mr. Jonsson has more than proven his mettle as well. I’ve been saying Turian and Anton are the best at this format for awhile, regretfully leaving out Herzog’s name. I say”regretfully” not because I’m abashed for not giving some European duder (who I once beat with a Mythic Proportions’d Phage on Magic Online) his due, but rather because I revel in being correct, especially if it seems to be due to some sort of prophetic sixth sense. Brandon Rickard knows what I’m talking about.

Let me know if I start sounding like Yan Margolin here. It’s not my intent to get all Biblical on yo’ ass. That would be kind of fun, but I’m not about to infringe on his gimmick. I’ll try not to develop a Messianic complex, and if I do, I’ll try not to use this as a forum to gloat about it.

Alright, so, in sum, Herzog is a master, Turian is a master, Jonsson is a master, and Guthrie is a fraud. Now let’s look at page two of the Top Limited Players in the World. Go ahead and take a gander.

The actual course of events as predicted by me is that you’re too lazy to actually look, so I’m going to paste the relevant line. After I do that, however, I’m sure you’ll check out the url to verify that I’m not making this up.

22 Timothy J Aten 2118 Vermilion, OH, United States

Isn’t that amazing? Some guy with the same name as me has a Limited rating of over 2100, good for 22nd in the world! And he lives in my town, too! What are the odds?

I mean, it’s obviously not me up there, is it? I’m Just A StarCity Feature Writer. I Don’t Really Know How To Play Or Anything. I just kept trying to convince you I was actually good for all these months to attract a fan base. I figured saying”I’m good guys, believe me please” was a lot cheaper than buying wins on Magic Online. Not quite as effective, though, unfortunately.

Fair warning: I will not be dismounting from this high horse of mine anytime soon. I may not even play in the prerelease, just so my rating stays right where it is. Yes, the next time my rating changes will be at U.S. Nationals, so unless you’re playing there, you can’t have my rating points. Not you, not Erik Guthrie, not anyone. They’re all mine. All two-thousand, one hundred eighteen of them.

It’s about bloody time, I say.

Since you’ve bothered to read this, I can only assume that you know why my rating is as high as it is. That’s right: I finished 17th at Pro Tour: San Diego. That means that I’ll be writing a tournament report.* And that means that I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent you from reaching the borderline useful information a la Grover in The Monster at the End of the Book. Ha ha ha. Little inside, I know. These tactics include, but are not necessarily limited to (depending on how ambitious I feel):

  • Contrived, Pompous Introduction

  • Top 5 Songs of the Week

  • Lingo

  • Namedropping Gerry Thompson

  • Namedropping Matt Rubin

  • Namedropping Geordie Tait

  • URLs of attractive, scantily clad females

  • Stupid Gimmicky Lists

  • and much more!!!

It looks like I’ve got a full plate, so I’d better get started.

Top Five Songs, Week of 5/22/04 (annotated for your inconvenience)

5. The Stills”Still in Love Song” – After an impressive four weeks at number one, this song has finally gotten a little wearisome. It’s blatantly 80’s retro, normally a strike against something in my book, but its melodies are so masterful that it wasn’t too hard for me to keep an open mind.

4. Hoobastank”From the Heart” – Once I get sick of the current single from a group whose CD I own, I often find a replacement”single” to put on my list. Ya know, whatever I’m feelin’ at the time. I really like the guitar solo thingie at the end of the second and third choruses. Fair warning about this one, however: the lyrics are pretty bad. We’re talking Adam Sandler bad. By the way, my prediction for Hoobastank’s next single is not this, but”Let It Out.”

3. New Found Glory”All Downhill From Here” – Jordan Pundik’s voice is rather annoying, but it’s so obnoxious that I can’t help singing along. I plan on doing so at every opportunity when Gerry comes to Ohio to test for Nationals. Don’t tell him that or he may not come.

2. Slipknot”Duality” – …or as I like to call it”Left It Out” or”Spit Behind.” Ha ha ha. Slipknot fans will know the meaning of this particular barb. Basically, they aren’t exactly treading new ground with this little number; same old rough guitars and melodic choruses as you’d expect. I don’t know what to tell you. Sometimes I like loud crappy music by Guys in Masks Who Yell.

1. Franz Ferdinand”Take Me Out” – I still can’t believe this song. I first heard it on the Sunday of the Pro Tour and have listened to it over thirty times a day every day since then. It’s completely indescribable, by which I mean I really don’t feel like going into detail about it. Anything I tell you will only ruin your first listen-through of it anyway. I can tell you that they’re, like, Scottish or something… but I give you the no-bagpipe guarantee.

Despite the gratuitous length it would add, I’m going to eschew any well-thought-out transition into the tragically brief lingo section… because of the gratuitous effort it would take. Actually, I guess this paragraph counts, sticking to my formula of”as long as you know why a paragraph is bad and you admit it, the paragraph is no longer bad.” Another benefit of this paragraph is that gave me the opportunity to use my second-favorite word of the moment – gratuitous – three times.**

Some Gassy Tings of Lingo (abridged)

A Big Game (uh big GAME): This means”gas,” and can be used sarcastically. For instance, either Grab the Reins or Omega Myr could be considered a”big game” in the proper context. This is very annoying and obnoxious, like most lingo. My favorite usage of this over the weekend was when Jeff Cunningham drew a card, and Paul Rietzl expressed enthusiasm about it, then Cunningham deadpanned,”That was a rather large game.” But don’t you try to get fancy with it. Leave that to the experts. Don’t say this at all, in fact.

D Infi (dee IN fee): This one’s easy. It’s just the latest morphing of the downward spiral started by Kenny Hsiung and Alex Borteh years ago.”Gas” became”dergas” which became”dg” which became”d infi g” which is now just”d infi.” Simply precious. The most memorable use of this phrase at the tour was when Linde was drunk and said it literally once every four seconds (compared to once every seven seconds while sober). It was a big game, to say the least.

Suited: EFro uses this one. Morgy says that it’s virtually impossible to understand what EFro is saying anymore because of all the various slang he uses. Like the other two,”suited” means”gas.” Saying”gas” over and over again gets tiresome. Plus, the word itself is sooooo 1998. As yet another aside, an associate of mine (okay, fine, it’s Gerry again. Count the number of times the word”Gerry” appears in the article for a wonderful prize***) is tired of all the epithets of familiarity people use these days: dude, man, brah, and so on. If anyone has any replacements for these, let one of us know. Example of suited:”Franz Ferdinand is suited.”

Suited Itchies: This phrase doesn’t actually mean anything.

Pocher u me?: This one either.

(pointing up): This isn’t technically lingo, since lingo by definition involves language. If you don’t believe me, feel free to consult m-w.com. God knows I did to make sure the previous statement was accurate. I can actually be rather diligent at times. Anyway, at a key point when you topdeck and/or cast something amazing, point to the sky and form a goofy awe-filled expression on your face at your own mastery. Sometimes you can precede this with that ignorant thing that LL Cool J used to do on those commercials where he kisses his fingers and then flashes a sideways peace sign or whatever the Hell he does, but you have to transition right into the upward point. Optional: look up when you point up.

Well, you lucked out. I have to write and submit the companion piece for this article in the next twelve hours, so I’ll have to cut back a little on the claptrap. This means you’ll find out more about my antagonistic relationship with Mr. Tait and MattR’s mastery of The Price Is Right next time.

For some reason, I seem to have blocked a lot of the events from the previous few weeks from memory. They involved a lot of stressing about the PT, though. For various stupid reasons, I had convinced myself that I simply had to do well at the PT. Failure was simply not an option. That’s not a healthy mindset to enter any event with, since manascrew happens. Bad drafts happen. You can’t put too much emphasis on any one event because of sheer randomness, which despite what some people tell you, does exist. Deep down, I knew and know that my success at Magic really shouldn’t impact my mental well-being at all, but a lifetime of low self-esteem and pandering to the mores of Western culture have really taken their toll.

Pragmatically speaking, my real goal was to at least cover the expenses of the trip. I didn’t really want to go to San Diego, but it was too late to back out. Thus I spent my days leading up to the tour praying to various entities – God, Buddha, Ryan Opalk, etc – that I just make my money back. That’s all I wanted.

I don’t remember anything about the trip there, but that’s sort of convenient since you probably don’t give a rat’s behind. I Paid Eight Dollars For A Sandwich. Good Beats! I remember encouraging Gadiel and Mike Linn to money draft against Little Darwin and Jeff Cunningham because Jeff is easy money. Jeff then proceeded to 2-0 the draft, bringing it to a tiebreaker. Apparently the universe had been turned on its head for this particular weekend. He couldn’t beat Tammy, he couldn’t beat NoButt, he couldn’t beat Rodman. I’d never seen him win a single match in a money draft. I noticed how phenomenal this occurrence was and predicted that if Jeff won the tiebreaker, I would win the Pro Tour.

Jeff won the tiebreaker.

I didn’t win the Pro Tour.

I guess I did okay, though.

I pondered jumping off my balcony Thursday night, but since I was on the eighth story and the balcony overlooked the fifth story, I figured the fall would probably, at best, maim me. I would like to once again thank edt and Alana”Platy” Burman for letting me stay in their room. Best of all, Platy was out gallivanting with her beloved Dutchies on Thursday night, so I had a bed all to myself.

On Friday morning, I donned a badass-yet-noble long-sleeved Slipknot t-shirt and headed to the site. When I was in line for card sleeves, a nice young Greek gentleman who looked like ffeJ Cut Right In Front Of Me. I didn’t let it bother me too much, though. I figured looking like ffeJ and being from Greece, in conjunction, were a rough enough beat. Let him have his sleeves an extra twenty seconds before me.

Whoa, dude. On the teevee just now, the comic just was all like,”I don’t use a lot of segues [like] a lot of comics do.” And I was all,”Whoa that’s totally like me, man.”

That’s your transition into my first draft table. Take it or leave it.

I thought my first table was kinda rough, although apparently the one that included Gerry and my friend Cedric Phillips was noticeably rougher. Anton Jonsson was feeding Justin Gary, who was feeding Oyvind Harding, who was feeding me. Jon Sonne was two people to my left. I sighed and shotgunned Forrest”The Mauler’s Brother” Evans to myself.

My first pack featured Tel-Jilad Archers, Pyrite Spellbomb, Terror, and Barter in Blood. I didn’t want to start drafting Green or Red with a card that weak. Barter is a stronger card and a stronger signal if passed, so I took it. I then got passed Terror and an ensuing series of simply awful packs. In pack two, I got some nice Consume Spirits for my mono-Black deck. I also had three Ancient Dens for my Nim and Irradiate. I fantasized about what good fortune it would be to open up and splash a nice Leonin Battlemage. What I actually opened was a Pristine Angel. I smiled at my mastery and then gladly scooped up Pulse of the Fields second.

Here’s what I ended up with:

1 Disciple of the Vault

1 Gold Myr

1 Iron Myr

1 Grimclaw Bats

1 Myr Retriever(?)

1 Elf Replica

1 Nim Lasher

1 Scavenging Scarab

1 Dross Golem

1 Pewter Golem

1 Woebearer

1 Pristine Angel

1 Darksteel Pendant

2 Terror

3 Consume Spirit

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Wirefly Hive

1 Pulse of the Fields

1 Irradiate

1 Barter in Blood

1 Essence Drain

3 Ancient Den

12 Swamp

1 Plains

I can say with 100% certainty that this was the best possible deck that I could have drafted and built. I made literally no mistakes, and only poor fortune at opening packs prevented me from having a better deck. One unfortunate thing that Anton showed me after I was out of his bracket was that he was also mono-Black with all the good Darksteel Black aggressive creatures and two Consumes of his own, plus no filler cards. Scandinavians are talented, idunnowhattotellya.

Round One vs. Forrest”The Mauler’s Brother” Evans (G/R)

What a gigundo mise. How incredibly suited. There was no way I was going to lose to this chump first round, no sir. This round would definitely serve as a nice confidence booster. I actually sorta wanted to beat Anton first round, because that would be even better for my morale, but it would have been a”little” harder to do.

Game One: While we were shuffling, he tried to intimidate me with his astonishingly amazing 2030 rating. I was duly impressed and made several errors throughout the course of the match that I probably wouldn’t have made if not for the high caliber of my opponent. Either that or I kept a questionable hand, since my deck doesn’t mulligan well due to its inconsistency and need for lots of land, and missed some key land drops while drawing cards like Elf Replica and Goblin War Wagon or whatever the 24th card I can’t really remember was. It was still very close, but I lost to Fangren Hunter since it’s so AWEsome.

Game Two: No Terrors, no Barter, a mana short of Consuming his Fangren Hunter that he drew again. After a quick smashing, I found myself down 0-1 and feeling rather demoralized. I…lost…to…a…Canadian. Not just any Canadian either; the Mauler’s brother. I considered going back to the room and trying my luck with the balcony after this inauspicious start. I had to win 4 of my next 5 to make day 2.


Round Two vs. Patrick Lutz (G/W/r)

Patrick was a nice guy from Germany. If you’ve read my articles, you shouldn’t have to read about the rest of this match based on that information. If you’re a heathen, I’ll go into more detail for you. I soundly defeat what few”nice guys” there are in our game 99% of the game. I’m not sure why this is exactly. Maybe I’m intimidated by scumbags. I’ll have to work on that. Even so, shouldn’t the nice guys get lucky more than 1% of the time? Well, since that statistic is likely a hyperbole, they probably do. As an additional note, pay attention to my record against people whose first language is not English through the course of this tournament.

Game One: I think he land-stalled for a turn and played a Darksteel Pendant, which I usually treat as a mulligan when my opponent plays it. Yes, I know I had one in this deck, but it really needed it. I try to avoid it whenever possible. I successfully made a Wirefly after three tries, and he used a Blinding Beam to lock down it and a Nim Lasher for a turn. That’s right, just one. He entwined the Beam on his own turn after attacking a Pteron Ghost into my Hive, hoping that I would lose the roll/flip. Now that I think about it, I may have actually won the second roll, thinking that he had called”odd” when he had really said”not odd” but…I’m rambling. Anyhoo, after he was”forced” to waste his Beam, I dropped Big Prists and gave him a giant winged beating.

Game Two: We both had very slow starts. On around turn 7, he played a Tangle Golem with Test of Faith mana open. I considered my options and had no choice but to Consume it for five. It died. I Consumed something else for a lot later and was hence at thirty-five when he started bashing me with a Gauntleted Cub. I could have Consumed the Cub, but I was planning on using it as a finisher. He had Sun Droplet out, and I was slowly pecking away at his life total with the motley crew of Woebearer, two Myr, Dross Golem, and Elf Replica. At one point, he was at six and had WWGR open. I was at fourteen or so from his Cub. I didn’t really think much about what him having Pulse of the Fields (which he had played the previous game) would do to my chances of winning, so I just hoped he didn’t have it and Consumed him for nine. I thought there was a decent chance he had it based on how many cards he’d seen, but I attempted nonetheless.

Glossary addendum:”Keyser Soze” – when your opponent does something foolish, like conceding too early or making a really awful play, for no apparent reason

Keyser Soze Moment #1: I Consume Patrick for nine in the above scenario. He shakes his head at my luck and, with a smile, tosses down his grip of Soul Nova and Pulse of the Fields and extends the hand.

My hubris is going to get the best of me here. If I didn’t mention anything about this Keyser Soze phenomenon, I’d probably be able to do it more often. On the other hand, I like to boast about intangible mastery that I actually have little to no control over. Maybe some people, especially Europeans, are thrown off by my particular demeanor while I’m playing Magic. Maybe Europeans just like to concede too early. I’ll never know. Either way, I was relieved to sign the match slip.


Round Three vs. Oyvind Harding (G/R)

This was one of the best points of the weekend. I may be one cool, detached customer, but some things actually give me a sense of satisfaction. While we were shuffling up, Oyvind (who happens to seem to be a very nice guy) asked me if I was going to write a tournament report. I replied, simply,”No,” but I really meant”only if I do well,” but I didn’t think I was going to do well, so”No” was basically the succinct way to go. Being an allegedly intelligent man, I have somewhat reasonable deductive skills. Or is it INductive? Sigh. I dunno. Let this be a lesson to you, though: Never call yourself intelligent or it will come back to haunt you.

The point is, I figured out that if he asked if I was writing a report, it means he reads my articles. He probably also likes them, or else he wouldn’t really care whether I was going to write one. On Saturday, someone from Europe shook my hand and praised my work. On Sunday, Nicolai Herzog said that my articles were the best, or something comparable. The Europeans Love Me. So Why Don’t You? Maybe Thijs Wessels Was Right: Americans Are Fat And Lazy And Have No Taste.

When Ryan Opalk told me he loved my articles at a PTQ a few months back, Gadiel laughed at him afterward, deeming him a”barn.” I actually don’t think that. Honestly, if you like my articles, despite my ostensibly caustic exterior, I really do like hearing it. It confirms that I’m not wasting my time, and that I don’t need to make drastic changes to my approach. I can use any boost to my self-esteem that I can get.

Game One: He played a few random guys, then I played Pristine Angel on turn 5. Pristine Angel, of course, is a perfectly fair card that is not hard to beat at all.

Game Two: I Bartered away his first two guys, but had no action while he decimated me with Tangle Golem and some other huge monster. At four life, I tried to Consume his Tangle Golem to buy myself a few more turns, but he Grabbed it at my nug in response.

Game Three: Oyvind admitted afterward that he’d made a mistake here. He debated Dismantling my Gold Myr out of fear of my Pristine Angel, but decided against it. I drew into Ingot and played the Angel and rode it to victory. If he had trusted his instincts and Dismantled the Myr, I certainly would have lost. Here’s the important question: Was his mistake really a mistake? Was it worth it to try to cripple my mana with precious artifact removal (also known as”Bauering” someone – don’t ask) out of fear of one card in my deck? It really depends. If he thought that was the only card likely to beat him – and he would have a good idea since he was passing to me for two out of three packs – then he should have killed it. Otherwise, it wasn’t the right call. Hindsight is always 20/20; I wonder what I would have done.


Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for this week’s show. Next week will be jam-packed with standard operating procedure, including drafts two through five and some sort of”conclusion,” I suppose. I’ll do my best to make it more entertaining for Morgy, but I can’t promise that I’ll be able to do that without making the report roughly four times as long as this part, which would make sense if you think about it, since it will have four times the”relevant” content of this one.

I had something unfathomably clever to say here, but I forgot what it was since I’m a retard, so I’ll just cut right to the lyric finale. See if you can figure out what song it’s from. Boy will you feel stupid if you get it wrong.

Don’t live with shame cuz feelings change but fame remains

The reason why you’re gonna wanna take me home tonight

It’s all the same up in this game, the people change

But money claims everyone from everything

I can’t believe that you would think that s$^% of me

I was amazed at the torment that you put me through

If you could see right through your greed and all your needs

You’d realize that you were just about as bad as me…

Tim Aten

The Dude Who Inspired That One Bubba Sparxxxxxx Song

I May Giggle Like a Schoolgirl But That Doesn’t Make Me One

Suffocate on Modo****

chester6561 or BRiAn3492 on AIM

[email protected]

“Please clear this house of ill-acquired taste.” –AFI,”…but home is nowhere”

*Yes, that is, in fact, what you are reading right now, in case your powers of deduction aren’t exactly Holmesian.

**#1 is”ostensible” and its cognates

***To collect your prize, walk up to Ryan Golden at Nationals, tell him your guess, and then call him an ugly idiot. That’s our secret password.

****I wish I really had taken that name for myself instead of telling the person who actually has that account to run it.