PTSD 17th: The Way You Like It Part 2 – Menace to Society

Reading this article is hazardous to your health, your mom’s health, and will outright kill your dog. It is not recommended for children under eighteen, pregnant women, people with heart problems, or those taking Viagra. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend reading it at all, except for the fact that it’s a Tim Aten article. Proceed with caution.

(Author’s note: Tim Aten does not give a *censored* what you think. If you don’t like it, you can *censored* his *censored*. Little did you know, upon clicking the link to this article, you have just officially kissed his *censored*. Tim Aten is fed up with your *censored*… and he’s going to kill you. Anything else?)*

Yeah…sue me.

And also, Big Dougy Conway, I haven’t forgotten. My plan is to win Nationals so that literally everyone will read my articles. In each and every one, I will continue to mention how”Doug Conway doesn’t like paying what he owes” until pretty soon you won’t be able to so much as bum a smoke (or a candy bar, if smoking ain’t your thing) anywhere across the country. You messed with the wrong guy this time,”professor.” Not only am I mentally unstable, but I have a lot of free time and several friends who share these characteristics. Welcome To Hell BDC!! Aaaahahahaha.

Currently, however, my main issue isn’t with Diego Conway Grande. It’s with my friendly, lovable editor, Ted”Feel My Forearm” Knutson. Mr. Canootson firmly insisted, with my contract in one hand and a Mediterranean Paper-Eating Monkey in the other, that I complete part two of this masterpiece by Monday. *coughcoughslavedriverhack* I figured I would be fine postponing it a little bit, writing some sort of preliminary appraisal of Fifth Dawn (as per his request) this week instead, but nooooooo. Apparently I’m being forced to pick up Nick Eisel slack now that he, tragically, doesn’t write anymore and now that I’m somewhat more”high-profile” with my big, bad 2118 rating.

Twenty-one eighteen rating.

Damn, that has a nice ring to it.

And I clearly deserve it.

What Ted doesn’t seem to understand is that you can’t force inspiration or genius. Some of us are artists here, carefully polishing and refining their craft, and we can’t be sacrificing our integrity to trifle with deadlines.

Okay, I know this is supposed to be the”arrogant” article, but even I couldn’t make it through those last few lines without laughing.

It’s almost time to jump right back into the actual Pro Tour report, but first, let me pose a question: Who here likes playing dress-up?** I certainly do… to an extent. I’m not about to dress in drag like Brandon Rickard claims he’s done for Halloween or wear a pink bunny costume like David Munk, but sometimes I like to try to draw attention to myself with stupid accessories. Look at my feature match picture. Who am I supposed to be? If you guessed Gerry Thompson, you are 100% correct! The best part was, since I already had the same Linkin Park t-shirt he wears to everything, all I had to do to make the outfit completely authentic was borrow his hat. The reason I bring this up is that, unless I get all shy and/or dignified between now and Nationals, I plan on dressing up as a famous historical figure for Day One. I’m not going to say who; you’ll have to wait and watch the coverage.

If anyone else is interested in dressing up for events, here are some quick-and-easy costumes that you can try for yourselves:

Red La Jolla Track Shirt + Running Shorts = Mike”CaptainWacky” Linn

Tie-Dyed Shirt + Headphones + Vampire Fangs (optional) = Brian Kibler

Yellowcard T-Shirt + Vacant Expression = Mitchell Tamblyn

Glasses + T-Shirt Commemorating Whichever Event You’re Attending – Deodorant = Bram Snepvangers

“It’s Pat” Wig + Harvard Sweatshirt + Several Hundred of Someone Else’s Dollars in Your Pocket = Big Dougy Conway

You get the idea.

I can’t spend all this time lollygaging (Ted, spellcheck that one for me. Thanks, hon) since I still have twelve rounds to go, so that’s all the”wit” you get for this week. Before I get to the second draft, I would just like to wish a very special”drop dead” to Josh Bennett.

Okay then.

After round three, I still didn’t particularly feel like playing Magic in San Diego. I would much rather have helped someone else do well and watch from the sidelines than do well myself. I’m just that lazy, plus I just hated Magic that much at the time. I was telling my friend Alex Melnikow how I hoped I was in the next draft pod with someone I liked – him, perhaps – sitting next to the person and passing to him to ensure his deck was ridiculous. I guess I still sort of had ambition at the time, since I recall making some comment about playing the person to whom I gave the mad hookup in the 2-0 bracket of our pod.

And wouldn’t you know it… in my next pod, I was passing to Alex. Unfortunately for Alex, there wasn’t much up-hooking that I could provide. Over the course of three packs, I passed him Granite Shard, Predator’s Strike, Wand of the Elements, and a few other hits. Meanwhile, I was drafting one of my least favorite decks – Affinity. I ended up Blue/Black, but I had so many artifact lands and blue cards that I was forced to leave my first-pick Chittering Rats and second-pick Consume Spirit in the sideboard. Oh, also, I third-picked a Chrome Mox pack one out of sheer disdain for the competition.

Draft Two:

1 Arcbound Worker

1 Arcbound Stinger

1 Neurok Spy

1 Neurok Prodigy

1 Nim Lasher

1 Nim Replica

1 Arcbound Hybrid

1 Drill-Skimmer

1 Rust Elemental

1 Arcbound Bruiser

2 Somber Hoverguard

1 Spire Golem

1 Aether Spellbomb

1 Chromatic Sphere

1 Lifespark Spellbomb

1 Necrogen Spellbomb

1 Echoing Decay

1 Essence Drain

1 Terror

1 Thunderstaff

1 Skeleton Shard

1 Override

1 Thoughtcast

7 Island

4 Swamp

2 Ancient Den

1 Tree of Tales

1 Great Furnace

1 Vault of Whispers

To be honest, I’m not sure about the exact contents of the deck, since I’m trying to block it from memory. There may have been one less artifact land, and Essence Drain, Nim Replica, and Arcbound Stinger may not have been in the deck at all. The cards that WERE in the deck, if I am in fact wrong on those three, were of comparable quality. That said, I can say with 110% certainty that this was the best possible deck that I could have drafted and built. I made literally no mistakes, except perhaps being so nice to Alex in the draft, as you’ll see later.

Round Four vs. Mikael Polgary (B/U)

It’s a good thing we were playing Magic and not Ultimate Fighting, because Mr. Polgary probably would have kicked my ass. When Gadiel made a comment about the size of his arms, which were literally bigger than my head, Polgary said something along the lines of being a lover and not a fighter.*** Even so, I considered it to be in my best interests to be extraordinarily polite this match.

Game One: We both had nine lands on turn 9 when the game ended. Fortunately for me, one of his spells was a Vulshok Gauntlets, and I had enough removal to neutralize his threats while smashing him with a stupid 2/2 of some sort. Override countered a key Neurok Spy this game and another key spell game two.

Game Two: He got a quick start with a ton of fliers, but I managed to stabilize by drawing a lot more spells than lands. At one point in the game, I had a random ground artifact creature and a Neurok Prodigy as my only dudes, a Lifespark Spellbomb, and one card in hand. He had a 5/2 Dross Golem, and I was at four. I attacked with both guys, and he took it. I then dropped Vault of Whispers and passed the turn. He soon realized that I would be able to trade my Vault for his Drossy if he attacked (since an Artifact Land Creature would have to also be an Artifact Creature), so he thought better of it. Eventually he was forced to trade his Drossy for one of my men, and I was able to cycle the Spellbomb. Somewhere in there, there was a point where he could have killed my Prodigy, but he waited too long and I drew into another artifact land.

A few turns later, Polgary was at seven life and had an Aether Spellbomb and a 3/4 Yotian Soldier. (Gee, how come his guys always have two more power than they normally would? I’ll let you figure it out). I had that same Neurok Prodigy and a freshly cast Rust Elemental, and was still sitting at four life. Rather than let me sacrifice one of my three artifacts during upkeep, he bounced Rust Elemental with Spellbomb and attacked me to one. I replayed Rusty and cracked with the Prodigy to put him at five. He played a Somber Hoverguard and passed the turn, but I had a Terror for it to take game and match.


Round Five vs. Goochie (G/R)

Goochie (nee Walter Egli) is from, with apologies to Minnesota, my favorite region of Magic players in the world: Boston area. There are simply far too many people from Boston who are utter gas to name. Aw, heck, here are a few others: LCG, Bman, Lynch, Kush, Small Child, Josh Smith, Sigrist, MattR, etc etc. The point is, it was good that one of us would be guaranteed day two after this round, but it sucked that the loser would be forced to win the following round or face the ignominy of sleeping in on Saturday.

Game One: I know from Mitchell Tamblyn that Goochie has three Tel-Jilad Archers in his deck. (Both Mitchell and Goochie came up to me before round five and said”I played your buddy last round” :B). This does not bode well for me. He also apparently had a Spikeshot Goblin which threatened to completely own me. I recall being a bit down in tempo, but I was able to trade Hybrids and put my counters on a Drill-Skimmer. I was blocking some sort of huge monster, probably Juggernaut, with Spire Golem and recursing it with Skeleton Shard while swinging in with the 4/3 Skimma. Meanwhile, Goochie had failed to find his fifth land the whole game, so I managed to steal it.

Game Two: Both Somber Hoverguards and Neurok Spy were down and swinging early this game. I also had Thunderstaff to stop any bleeding his creatures may or may not have been causing. By the time he was able to play his first Archers, he had to block my Somber Hoverguard (that I pumped to 4/2) to avoid dying. I Overrode his next attempt at an Archers and attacked for the win the next turn. I really hoped Goochie would win his next round and told him so. Sometimes when I say stuff like that I don’t mean it, but this was not one of those times. Goochie is one of the best guys out there, even if he doesn’t respect Clockwork Beetle and Myr Moonvessel.

Truth be told, I don’t respect them either. They are awful cards, and the fact that they can be played at all is a disgrace. They Were Still Better Than Engineer In That Deck, Walter.



Round Six vs. Alex Melnikow (G/R)

Alright, so I’m a prophet. I suppose all that’s left for me now is to have a nice lucid dream about lotto numbers. The pressure was off this match, and I really didn’t care about winning, so we could have a nice, relaxed battle. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t put my finger on why, but his mannerisms during the match really pissed my s%&$ off. If he had been very nice or over-the-top arrogant, I would have been fine either way. He was somewhere un-delightfully in between, though, and for some reason it infuriated me.

Game One: On the play, I mulliganed into a one-lander with two spellbombs, Sphere, and Thoughtcast on the play. On turn 4 I got to Thoughtcast. I eventually drew out of the screw, but he had board advantage and a lot more cards than me and the Wand of the Elements I passed him so I lost.

Game Two: I double mulliganed on the play and scooped to his turn 4 Wand of the Elements with four Mountains in play.


At this point, I was too frustrated to put on”but home is nowhere” and attempt to focus my energy on making Alex impotent. In fact, the thought never even crossed my mind until just now. Thusly, I contented myself with stomping around the site and having a nice seethe. Usually it’s not too difficult for me to empathize with my past self, but I really can’t recall my perceptions of hopelessness or excitement or whatever as to the remainder of the PT. Henceforthwithprithee, I will stop digging this hole and get on with the next draft pod.

My next pod featured Antonino, two other Italians, and an Italian table judge. Allegedly, Jose Barbero tried to ask Ant in Italian what colors he liked to draft, but the judge obviously was keen to his game and would have none of it. In addition to Barbero and all those Italians and Marco Blume, my table featured something else intriguing: an empty seat. Throughout the draft and pretty much every second until I looked at the pairings, I was hoping for the bye. It’s not really like I was afraid of anyone at the table, but let’s face it: If you have the choice between a free win or not-a-free-win with thousands of dollars on the line, which would you prefer? Would. You. Eat. The. Moon. If. It. Were. Made. Of. Ribs? Just say yes and we’ll move on.

My opening pack was absurd, featuring Platinum Angel, Betrayal of Flesh, Blinding Beam, and countless other hits. Well, not”countless,” since it was at most twelve, but anyway, I took the Betrayal. It was the right pick. As much as I love the Angel, I’m not about to let a personal unfounded affinity for a particular card cloud my judgment. I got a third-pick Mask of Memory, and the White cards were pouring in. I hoped the Skyhunter Cub I opened would somehow table, and it did. I also picked up two Raise the Alarms, one of which I received eleventh. Pack two wasn’t so hot, but I did manage to get a Longbow. In pack three, I was passed a pack with the rare, Fireball, and the other two uncommons still present. This, of course, means that the person to my right made an incorrect pick. Even if he were already three colors, he could have ditched his third for the Fireball and splashed it. If you see Fireball, take it, put it in your deck, add lands, shuffle, and play it again… it is AWEsome. Mise, tings, beats, and Burtis, essentially. This pack I somehow got Pulse of the Fields seventh. Curiouser and curiouser…

Draft Three:

1 Disciple of the Vault

1 Pteron Ghost

1 Auriok Bladewarden

2 Raise the Alarm

2 Skyhunter Cub

1 Dross Prowler

1 Frogmite

1 Scavenging Scarab

1 Goblin War Wagon

1 Arcbound Hybrid

1 Razor Golem

1 Viridian Longbow

1 Fireball

1 Mask of Memory

1 Talisman of Indulgence

1 Fireshrieker

1 Arrest

1 Pulse of the Fields

1 Talon of Pain

1 Essence Drain

1 Betrayal of Flesh

1 (other card)

9 Plains

5 Swamp

2 Mountain

I can say with 120% certainty that this was the best possible deck that I could have drafted and built. I made literally no mistakes, and I got passed some ridiculous cards. I had to leave Darksteel Ingot in the sideboard since I was running the bare minimum of creatures and all my other spells outclassed the seemingly-right-at-home-in-this-deck-wish-I-knew-the-word-I-was-looking-for-so-I-wouldn’t-have-to-run-the-hyphens mana-fixer. I remembered telling Gerry that I would in fact blow someone out with Masked Drossy. With spells as good as mine, I imagined it wouldn’t matter if some of my creatures were um…”metagame calls.”

Round Seven vs. Norberto Giusti (G/W)

I was apparently sitting at the wrong table at the start of this round, so a judge came over and got me to move one table over right before the round started. I narrowly escaped a game loss. Norberto, however, was not as lucky. He was nowhere near the vicinity until about 1:15 into the round. Them’s the breaks.

Game Two: Up until a minute ago, I must have blocked this game from memory. I know I made a bad judgment call and ended up losing to a flying Fangren Hunter. I had a Pteron Ghost, a Soldier Replica, and an Auriok Bladewarden on turn 4. My play was Arresting the Patrol and swinging. The correct play would be to just swing; he wouldn’t have blocked out of fear of trading Patrol for Soldier Replica, and I could have furthered my board position with Scarab. Instead, I had to wait to play Scarab, and he ended up playing an even more Arrest-worthy target (the Fangren). At one point he accidentally flashed a card in his hand that happened to be Battlegrowth, and based on this information, I would have been able to absorb just enough trample with a 2/2 Pteron Ghost to survive his attack and swing back for the win… but he had Echoing Courage too.

Game Three: I masked up Drossy and eliminated his few artifact blockers. However, each Mask activation netted me more and more land. Once he activated his Stalking Stones to join his pair of Tel-Jilad Archers (one Battlegrowthed), my offense was completely halted. With him at nine and myself at six, I topdecked Viridian Longbow. I tapped all ten of my mana sources (and remember, there were even more in the ‘yard), to play and move it to my three non-Drossy dudes and thus kill the Stones. I swung with Drossy to knock him to seven and prayed that he had nothing to deal me the final point.

Keyser Soze Moment #2: I’m completely tapped out, and he has a 2/4 Archers and a 3/5 Archers. My squad is the Dross Prowler, an Arcbound Hybrid, a Frogmite, and Disciple of the Vault. He has drawn for the turn and now has two cards in hand. It’s clear from what he’s drawn that he cannot win this turn, but I can only deal him five damage with what’s on the board. This means he has one more turn to topdeck. Instead, he extends the hand.


Well, that was an exciting day one. Stay tuned next week for the shocking conclusion of…huh? I have to finish it now? Jesus. Fine.

Round Eight vs. Antonino de Rosa (G/B/r/w)

Antonino and I are sorta friends, so we weren’t particularly happy to play each other. Excepting Goochie, if you look at day one, I defeated all those who didn’t speak English as a first language and lost to all those who did. Antonino is bilingual. Hm.

Game One: I basically conceded this one. I kept an opener of five lands, Longbow, and Fireshrieker. You know, because Longbow is insane. If I drew two creatures I would simply win. Ant’s hand was mediocre as well; by the end of the game he had only played five spells. I took a huge beating from Grimclaw Bats, Elf Replica, and later, Goblin Dirigible while my lone creature, a Pteron Ghost, watched from the sidelines. I was able to stay in the game for awhile thanks to Pulse of the Fields, and I topdecked Fireball on the last turn, but I was one short. When Ant asked if I had the Fireball in hand, which he knew I had because of his Italian friend, I lied. Sorry Ant, but I didn’t want to give you any information about my”tells” or whathaveyou that would help you in games two and three.

Game Two: This game had creature development on both sides in the early game. I Arrested his Leonin Battlemage and got some early damage in, but he looked to be turning the game around with his slightly better creatures. I entwined a Betrayal of Flesh to kill his Fangren Hunter. On his turn, he entwined the Hunter right back into play with a Betrayal of his own, taking out my Razor Golem in the process. Since his creatures were far superior to mine, and he had a Leonin Bola, and he had seven mana sources of various colors to my three, I thought for a second about conceding on the spot. I didn’t, and managed to get through with a Masked creature. I kept Arcbound Hybrid and pitched Skyhunter Cub. I was at nine life, and Ant had a Dirigible and Fangren Hunter in play. All he had to do was attack with one of them on his turn then both on the following turn and I wouldn’t have been able to win. Instead, he attacked with both to put me at one, and my Arcbound Hybrid combined with my other men to deal him just enough damage for the win.

Game Three: His Battlemage really hurt this game. I Essence Drained it, but he had the Predator’s Strike. Like game two, I put on early pressure, but he was able to stabilize. He even made an attack where he ended up trading a Shrapnel Blast for Pteron Ghost straight up, but it didn’t matter. I kept drawing lands, but time was called with me still at sixteen life. I was forced to cast Raise the Alarm for just enough chump blockers to stay alive, and he definitely would have killed me if he’d gotten one more turn.


Round Nine vs. Ilari Vallivaara

There’s really not much in the way of exposition for this match. Neither one of us really said much throughout the whole match. He did have a nice jacket, I guess.

Game One: I play a Plains and say”go.” He plays a Mountain and a Steel Wall. I drop another Plains and pass the turn. He plays Mountain and Slith Firewalker and attacks. I drop Plains number three and Razor Golem. He misses the land drop and passes the turn. I perk up and drop Fireshrieker, forced to pass the turn because of Steel Wall. Visibly frustrated, Ilari misses the land drop and passes it on back to me without action.

Keyser Soze Moment #3: I play a Frogmite and equip the Shrieker to Razor Golem. I announce an attack. Do you:

A. Chump block with Steel Wall?

B. Take the hit for a turn or two?

C. Despite having answers in your deck and being at 20 life, concede on the spot?

That’s right.

Game Two: I was obscenely flooded and he had Longbow and Spikeshot and bounce spells to thwart my attempts at removal. He took a lot of damage from my Soldier Replica, opting instead to focus all his direct damage at my dome. Pulse of the Fields kept me alive for a long time, and there were a few turns at the end where I could have topdecked firrrrball for the win, but I did not.

Game Three: I had a few early creatures, Longbow, and Talon of Pain. Those in conjunction with an Essence Drain and a Betrayal of Flesh on his back-to-back Arcbound Bruisers were enough to keep the board clear and make the game a rout. He bounced my Talon at one point, but the counters were quick to return. He admitted after the match that if he had used his Goblin Replica on my Talon instead of my Longbow, he might have been able to win.


I looked at the next Pod to discover that none other than Gerry Thompson would be at my table. Unfortunately, there was someone sitting between us, so I wouldn’t be able to give him the mad hookup that I had tried, apparently with some success, to give Alex Melnikow. All told, the table looked relatively week, but it had a bunch of the hardest sort of player for me to defeat: lesser-known-yet-pretty-good Americans.

This draft wasn’t very interesting other than the fact that I finally saw some Red cards, so let’s just get on with the freaking decklist:

Draft #4

1 Arcbound Worker

1 Alpha Myr

1 Tel-Jilad Chosen

1 Krark-Clan Grunt

1 Spikeshot Goblin

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Grid Monitor

1 Tel-Jilad Exile

1 Vulshok Berserker

1 Hematite Golem

1 Drill-Skimmer

1 Tel-Jilad Outrider

1 Fangren Hunter

1 Tangle Spider

1 Electrostatic Bolt

1 Leonin Bola

1 Battlegrowth

1 Predator’s Strike

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Barbed Lightning

1 Blinding Beam

1 Creeping Mold

1 Forge[/author] Armor”][author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] Armor

8 Forest

8 Mountain

1 Plains

As with my second deck, there are a few marginal cards that I’m not entirely certain were in the deck, including Vulshok Berserker and the seventeenth land. I’m pretty sure I decided to play the seventeenth land because of the abundance of four-drops. I don’t really feel like saying this, but I’m going to ride this gimmick until its bitter end anyway… I can say with 130% certainty that this was the best possible deck that I could have drafted and built. I made literally no mistakes, and I hope Gerry doesn’t really blame me for the fact that his deck was even worse than mine and he went 0-3. It was somewhat anomalous, as he actually 3-0’d three separate pods that weekend with some of the most disgusting decks imaginable. His typical deck would have five or six cards that were way better than any card I’d even seen during any draft all weekend. Some people are soooooooooooo lucky. Heh heh heh.

Round Ten vs. Ben Rubin (G/W/?)

First, Ben made the judge reseat us since we’re sitting next to another match from our draft pod. Then, when we got to the new table, Ben spilled a cup of water all over the play area, and we were once again repositioned. We then had some nice discussion about deck quality. He said he thought his deck was good, I said that that meant it was probably insane because the good players tend to be modest and lowball themselves, and he said that he doesn’t lowball himself. He keeps it real, basically. Ben Rubin is actually one of my favorite people to play against in the whole world. He’s surly and carries an air of assumed superiority over all those around him. Plus the faces he makes when he’s playing. My lord.

Game One: He played two Viridian Acolytes this game. Oh, nice deck. I’ll just cut right to the last turn of the game. It was Ben’s turn, he was at eight, and he had five lands, an Acolyte, another Acolyte trapped under Gauntlets, a Wizard Replica, and a Tel-Jilad Chosen. I was utterly tapped out except for Ingot, but I had Electrostatic Bolt in hand. My tapped guys were Krark-Clan Grunt, Hematite Golem, and Grid Monitor. I had a Forge[/author] Armor”][author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] Armor in hand to finish him off if he only left one blocker back. I figured he would call my”bluff” and attempt to move Gauntlets to one of his creatures and swing for the win. I would Bolt his new Gauntlet target in response, thus wrecking him.

He instead attacked with just Wizard Replica and Chosen to put me to four. I didn’t use the Bolt during combat because I was afraid he’d wreck me with a combat trick. Plus, if he had a blocker in hand, I wanted to be able to Bolt one of his untapped guys and swing for the win. Thanks to Forge[/author] Armor”][author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] Armor, the game was mine even if he had ONE blocker. This was all academic, as the game ended with him filtering a red mana through his Acolyte and Fireballing me out. I then shouted”Ben Rubin has Fireball!” repeatedly, loud enough for everyone in our pod to hear.

Game Two: He got Glissa again (I Barbed it the first game), but this time it got active. I was behind the whole game thanks to a clunky draw, and I may have mulliganed; I forget. I killed Glissa with a surprise Tangle Spider, and I may have stabilized to some degree, but he had Blinding Beam, Roar of the Kha for my Beam, and yes, Fireball to seal the deal.


Round Eleven vs. Peter Adams (U/B)

His information said he was from the United States. That’s bad. His accent suggested that his information may have been inaccurate to some degree. That’s good.

Game One: I dealt twenty with a Drill-Skimmer.

Game Two: See game one.


Just kidding. It was a Tel-Jilad Chosen.

Round Twelve vs. Mika Nyfors (G/w/r)

Gerry had played Mika the previous round and said he had no idea how the kid had lost his first round with his ridiculous deck. I would also later find out that he was Mozzam on Modo, and later still that Mozzie and Mozzam are two completely different people.

Game One: His platinum hits included Drill-Skimmer, Titanium Golem, and Yotian Soldier. Gerry must have seen a completely different part of his deck.

A note about Drill-Skimmer and also Goblin War Wagon: I find these two cards sketchy. There is an entire class of cards that I hate to have in play on either side, since I can’t win with or against them. These include Rishadan Port, Goblin Archaeologist, and well, every goblin ever printed, among others. Skimmer and War Wagon are in the ultra-rare subset of cards that I’m always happy to have on the board on either side. While decidedly mediocre, they always seem just dandy in my decks. So if you play a Drill-Skimmer against me, and I chuckle at how bad it is, then drop one of my own, I’m actually not making a little joke. There really isn’t much to say about this game except that I Beamed him right out.

Game Two: I mulligan into a bad hand. I Blinding Beam him again, but it only serves to forestall the inevitable. I’m glad that he got a very good draw concurrently with the time I got a very bad draw.

Game Three: My land was a little tight this game, but after a certain point, this becomes a good thing. Basically, each side of the board featured stupid creatures, and his also featured Equipment. Bola gave him headaches until… you guessed it… Blinding Beam ensured that my creatures would reduce his life total to zero or lower unmolested.


Finally we’ve reached the point where I don’t have to list my deck, since it’s posted on the sideboard. I can tell you a little bit about the draft, though. This table was chock full of people that I have a horrible record against, most notably Ben Rubin and Ben Stark. I opened a nice Shrapnel Blast, regretfully passing Spikeshot Goblin and another good Red card. I then got a Fangren Hunter and some Myr. Pack two featured a second pick Shrapnel Blast, my second Predator’s Strike, and a late Deconstruct. In pack three, I picked up some Essence Drains that I was debating splashing thanks to Journey of Discovery and my Myr, but the splash would have hurt my deck’s consistency/explosiveness.

Whoa, I had a Morningstar in this deck? How about that. The hardest part of this deck was the land. The initial build wanted 15.5 lands, which is of course not physically possible, so I added the other Vulshok Gauntlets to give me something to do with excess mana late game and settled on sixteen lands.

I can say with 140% certainty that this was the best possible deck that I could have drafted and built. I made literally no mistakes, and it was nothing short of a travesty that I took damage with it, let alone lost an entire match.

Round Thirteen vs. Adam Gendelman (U/B)

Adam was a rather talkative fellow. He seemed more intent on”talking the talk” than”walking the walk.” No, I don’t know what that means either. Yes, the fatigue resulting from writing about twelve actual rounds of Magic is setting in. Yes, I’m getting lazier as the article progresses. No, I don’t want Ted Knutson to live.

Game One: We both kept sketchy hands. The problem with his hand was that its only land type was”Swamp;” the problem with mine was that it had two Forests, a Myr, and nothing else castable unless I drew some key lands. Fortunately, I did draw the key lands, and after a few turns of smashing with a Tangle Golem and Myr that played catch with a Vulshok Morningstar, a Predator’s Strike and Shrapnel Blast finished him off.

Game Two: The game quickly degenerated into an exciting ground stall. I was keeping his Nim Shrieker busy with a Bola, but I tapped out one turn to further my board position, not leaving mana to equip Bola. I figured I could afford to take one hit from Shrieker rather than wait for an additional mana source. He then played Spire Golem and had a Bola of his own. With the life totals standing sixteen to four in his favor, I tapped his Bola’d Gold Myr on my turn so that I could move my Bola elsewhere and hence still be able to tap his Nim Shrieker on his turn. He attacked with Spire Golem, sending me to two.

I drew, and I examined my hand. I could Shrapnel Blast a flier, make the board somewhat more stable, and hope to draw a game breaker before he did. The way the life totals looked, I was in no position to play the waiting game, so I tried something else. I moved Vulshok Gauntlets onto Tangle Golem and announced an attack. The previous turn, he had correctly tapped nothing, saving his tapper to tap whatever I attached Bola to. (Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I had the sense to tap his tapper so I wouldn’t die on his turn). This turn, I was hoping he would follow the same game plan and tap nothing, despite the fact that he had seen Shrapnel Blast and Predator’s Strike, and despite the fact that my having an active tapper on his turn no longer meant anything, since the Spire Golem would still be able to sail over for the win.

He tapped nothing.

I swung for the fences, a few guys got through, and Tangle Golem was blocked by a pathetic Nim Lasher. I cast Predator’s Strike, and he took eleven from the Golem and a few more from unblocked attackers, easily putting him in Shrapnel Blast range. Ba-zing.


Round 14 vs. Ben Rubin (U/B)

This was a feature match. You can read more about it here:


After looking through his deck just now, I’m even more disappointed than I was then. He drew all of his good cards game 1. Game two, I perhaps should have known he’d have the bounce spell when I went to Predator’s Strike, but the Override on my sided-in Leadfoot was simply uncalled-for. I wasn’t really even considering Top 8 as a possibility, so I didn’t feel as though I had let it slip through my fingers or any such nonsense.


Round 15 vs. Matt Schmaltz

Matt is someone who I met briefly at GP: Oakland. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but Gerry wasn’t a fan since Matt allegedly owed him $500 from two years ago. Hmm. Perhaps Mr. Thompson needs to learn how to make better financial decisions. After all was said and done in the PT, though, he agreed to pay Gerry, apologizing profusely for the timeframe.

Game One: He got an Archmage out, but didn’t really draw too many cards with it. I remember only being able to deal him fifteen damage with my attacks. Fortunately, that’s all my deck needed to deal.

Game Two: He got an early Fatespinner that resulted in me having to skip some draw steps so I could lock down his flying blockers with Bola while Drill-Skimmer went about its business. He was at nine… seven… five and…. Shrapnel Blast! And just like that, I was in top 32. Since I got paired up, Schmaltz also made top 32, which was nice.


Blah blah final standings blah 17th place blah blah. Top 16 would have been nice I suppose, but let’s not get greedy. Let’s not get anything, as a matter of fact. I don’t get paid by the word, and you’re probably bored out of your mind. Let’s cut right to the Epilogue, some more song lyrics, and the signoff.


I received the following e-mail from a Jason Maxwell in re Erik Guthrie:

“Erik Guthrie lives in Williamsport, PA where he owns a nice gaming store called the White Knight Games. He doesn’t play competetively because he has a shop to run. But he is very good, pro caliber I am sure. Not that he gets very strong competion in the weekly drafts he hosts but to almost never lose has to say something. I personally have beaten him once, I don’t play every week cause I am a bit out of the area. Look at his vintage rating too. He was also in a bad accident some years ago that still affects him today. I am sure this affects his ability to easily travel and have the endurance which is required at a professional level.”

“Mr. Guthrie is a crip..uh handicap…uh..”

“Mr. Guthrie is disabled, yes.”

No I’m not making fun of the man for his accident. I’m drawing a humorous parallel to a certain movie, the word humorous being entirely subjective. I can assure you that even I, even in my”arrogant” article, would never make fun of someone for physical disabilities or difficulties that are beyond their control.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this letter does little to allay my suspicions. This is clearly one of Mr. Guthrie’s”barnacles,” in the parlance of our times. Yes, Jason, you precocious tot, to almost never lose certainly does say something. And that something is”big cheats.” You simply can’t win that much at Friday Night Magic. He would literally have to win something like twenty-five matches for each one he lost to maintain a near-2200 rating. Erik Swanson said some sort of gibberish about ratings in a closed circuit being a”Zero Sum Game,” which I think was an argument in my favor, but I’ll never be sure since I’m retarded now. It sounded like a well-founded, academic sort of refutation so I’ll run with it.

Granted, there are flaws with Swanson’s theory, but it’s not my key argument, so I’m not concerned. People are highly evolved (in most cases) and are able to adapt to their environments. That said, if Erik Guthrie truly is an unstoppable juggernaut pro-caliber sort of player, people would eventually learn to copy his plays and try to draft the same quality of cards as him. The skill gap would narrow over time, at least to the point where he didn’t win every… single… time. The fact that he’s a shopkeep and thus has easy access to the DCI reporter doesn’t help matters either. I’m not sure what his exact motivation is, but c’mon.

Now you’re begging me to stay…

Now you’re begging me to stay…

Sometimes I only remember the days when I was young

Nowadays no one remembers when they were young and stupid

Come on baby, help me, someone to confide in

Now you’re begging me to stay

Tim Aten

a.k.a. Julie Bowen (don’t ask, unless you know Big Dougy Conway, in which case tell him)

Petter of Fluffy Kitties

FP_Glym and big_suiso_and_mini_suiso on MODO

cup8675309 on AIM

[email protected]

“If I can’t be a star I won’t get out of bed.” –Elastica,”Waking Up”

*I’m just playin’, readers, you know I love you.

**This phrasing was intentionally campy. I’m a professional, remember?

***He didn’t use the term”lover” at all, actually. I’ll try not to get too Osyp here.