Quest COMPLETE!: PTQ Barcelona Report, *T1*

Okay, this probably should be in”tourney reports.” But now that I’m out of Team AWWAJALOOM, this may be my last chance to fly casual…

Three months ago, I got tired of the whining of arrogant, self-styled "pros" across the nations; YOU know the ones.

They’re the guys who rip little kids off in terrible trades – then call you "gay" and call their friends over to laugh at your scrubby decks. The ones who gloat when they win and claim manascrew when you stave their heads in with a nice fine twenty. The bastards who are ruining Magic for happy-go-lucky folks across the nation.

So I launched a campaign. To prove that these guys were nothing special, to show the whole damned world that ANYONE could qualify if they invested the time, money, and effort into it, I set out for my Quest For The Pro Tour. I would qualify within two years, I said, or I’d shut up forever.

But ya know, I never thought I could do it in two months.

The circumstances were right, though; I knew I had a shot when three of the best local players couldn’t attend. Jeff "Why Don’t You Play White, You Moron?" Moeller was out of town, taking his Limited rating of 1782 with him; Ambler Q. Stephenson, the only guy in town with a sillier name than I, was caroming his Limited rating of 1799 off a pool tournament across town; and Mike Braniff, who was notable for writing an hilarious local essay on the attack phase in Limited called "Turn The Bitches Sideways" (which was the phrase du jour), was stuck in Fairbanks.

Three players down… But I still had the dangerous competition of the other locals to deal with, including Rob Weimer, the state champion and the highest-ranked Limited player. And the Top 8 was a draft, which I suck at, so even if I managed to Top 8 I would undoubtedly lose. My goal for the day was to rack up my first Top 8, and anything else was gravy.

I arose early, bringing a stack of Team AWWAJALOOM cards with me ("We Could Have Won If We’d Worked At It"), eager to give them away…

…because I hadn’t GIVEN any away yet.

Sure, I’d passed a few out as a gag, but I forgot to pack them for PT: LA, and this would be the first serious tourney I would have to promote The Fantabulousest Team In The World!*

The tourney was actually one of the best-attended PTQs in Anchorage history, with over thirty-five hopefuls arriving for their shot at Spain. I arrived, set up, bantered, shot some heroin… All the usual things one does before a tourney. (Really! The floor at PT: LA was littered with commons, uncommons, and rusty needles! Would I lie to you? JUST SAY NO, KIDS!**)


So I registered a kind of okay deck that I was hoping I wouldn’t get back, and got what I thought at the time was a moderately strong deck.

It is a sign of my unfamiliarity with Limited play that I didn’t realize exactly what a beatstick my deck was. I thought that it would do okay, since it was creature-heavy (eighteen critters) but had next to no removal, and was a little high on the mana curve to boot. I also had a Probe and an Exclude but nothing else in blue, meaning that I would have to go with a R/B/G build instead of the eternal pro’s choice, R/B/U.

My opinion was that a quicker deck or a discard-heavy deck could beat it with little effort.

But my mistake was that I was comparing this deck with the sleek Draft decks I had just seen in LA; flawlessly constructed decks that had pure mana curves and hand-picked tricks. Those WOULD have mopped the floor with me. In the much clunkier Sealed environment, however, people didn’t have nearly as much control over what they had to work with.

What *I* had, however, was a deck with something like twelve 3/3 creatures, meaning that when I got to four mana I could throw out a big beefy guy every turn. Which I did. Endlessly. My removal was scarce, but it included a Tsabo’s Decree and a Fires of Yavimaya, which was downright scary when added to all the beef I had. And let me quote from Mike Braniff’s hysterical and vastly-influential "Turn The Bitches Sideways" rant:

"i’m on offense. all the time. i don’t ‘do the math.’ i don’t calculate
what i have to do and in how many turns. i just attack until the game is
over. oh, for Christ’s sake, it’s so simple. opponent–> oh,oh, i’m gating
my ravenous rats back to my hand. who frickin’ cares?! you got two of my
cards with your 1/1 dork. well, IIIII – attack! and my creatures are better
than 1/1s. and i am hurting you. and i’m winning. and you’re messing
around with a rat! AND I’M ATTACKING AGAIN!!!!! if my creature is a 2/2 and the opponent’s is a 2/2, i attack! i just know my creatures are better
than yours. let’s keep the board clear. so block. or don’t, take the damage. that works too. turn the <expletive> <expletive> piece of <expletive> <expletive> sideways!!! AAAAAUUUUGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! ATTACK!"

How could you not love a cry ripped from the heart like that?*** My God, this punk rant is more convincing than twenty essays from Darwin Kastle! I think all essays should be written like this.****

So all day long, people were glancing at their cards contemplatively, shrugging casually… Then leaping up in their chairs as they twisted the cards, shouting, "TURN ‘EM SIDEWAYS! ATTAAAAAAAAACK!"

I spent my day turning ’em. And doing nothing but.


Let us think for a moment.

Esteemed judge Sheldon Menery has told me, and I quote, "Anyone could have won with a deck like that." And I admit, in Sealed Luck the Force was with me that day. I got good cards.


As an editor, especially during Limited season, I see at least one tourney report a week starting off with, "I opened up the bomb. This was a killer deck. Nobody could lose with this deck." And they then proceed to tell you how they did, in fact, manage to lose with that deck.

Happens. All. The Freaking. Time.

Pros tend to dismiss Sealed Deck as totally luck-based – but if that’s the case, then why do the same players consistently do well in Sealed? If luck was really an issue, then Johnny Scrub would get the bomb deck and go undefeated with it at every GP and PTQ.

Doesn’t happen.

Truth is, getting the bomb deck makes you unstoppable… If you’re good. It takes skill to pilot a Limited deck, to understand the potential threats, to pick the right cards to put IN the deck. Johnny Scrub might have just taken everybody’s advice and gone with R/B/U when the deck clearly couldn’t have supported solid blue. He might have screwed up the mana proportions. He might have not have understood that this deck was pure aggression, and it was okay to throw nearly all of your creatures into the breach, because with eighteen slabs of beef on your side, you’ll be drawing some more soon. He might have used all of the scant removal on small creatures, blowing his tempo too early and then getting smashfaced by a huge Dragon or a well-timed Breath of Darigaaz – both of which I faced. He might have choked it in a thousand different ways.

There are thousands of ways to screw up a God Deck.

Pros don’t like Sealed because their chances of winning aren’t as good. But if you’re unskilled at Sealed, your chances of losing are pretty damn good.

But I? I had been building at least two Sealed decks a week, and playing in tournaments, and I had been honing my skills. I got blessed by God with a killer deck, but I piloted it well. I counted; Wakefield would have only counted two play mistakes that day…

…Before I hit the Top 8, that is. More on that later.

But let me quote you one of the vows I took when I undertook my Quest For The Pro Tour:

"I will never inflict another horrendously dull tourney report upon the world. I have read too many of them. The horror. The horror."

…And I’m a good writer, but there’s no way I can make "I summoned a lot of creatures, I threw them out, and I attacked" that interesting. There was strategy involved, I’m sure, but I don’t really remember it until the draft.

Here’s all I really remember:

* I went undefeated in four rounds. Not one game loss. ‘Nuff said.
* I avoided manascrew with my patented technique. While at PT:LA (in a side event, natch), I got a Sealed deck with a Quirion Elves, TWO Harrows (regular and foily goodness), Nomadic Elves, and Quirion Trailblazer. I said to myself "Self, if ever there was a time to go four-color, this is the time." Despite eight forests, in four out of six games I was either manascrewed or creaturescrewed, or both. I immediately shredded every card in my deck, put them in a deckbox, and ever since then I’ve kept them in my pocket in every game, muttering, "This is what will happen to YOU, little cards, should you manascrew me…"

My games have all been fine since.

* Joseph Whitney had gotten a truly suck deck and finished ninth with it, proving my point that good play trumps bad cards more than you might think. He still finished ninth, though, proving that even great play doesn’t rescue you from lousy cards. He had to play with a Sunscape Apprentice, for God’s sake!
* I got to Intentionally Draw into the Top 8 as the second seed, and I was only second thanks to tiebreakers. That was kind of cool. David Phifer walked by and said, "…and Rizzo screams…."
* For fun, we played to see who WOULD have made the Top 8 if we hadn’t intentionally drawn, and I suffered my only game defeat of the day, winning 2-1. He also had a Fires of Yavimaya-based deck, and when you have a Fires and a Rith and your opponent has no fliers, things get ugly very fast. Wham.

There. Fascinating. Now let me tell you about the final draft:

So there I was, having done maybe seven drafts total in my lifetime. In the big leagues. All of these guys had been to the Pro Tour, or had been damn close.

I was gonna get squashed.

At the table were Rob Weimer, the Alaska State Champion and double-PT attendee, widely viewed as one of the best (if not the quickest) players Alaska has to offer; Genesis Garcia, a player with a 1776 ranking who’s consistently beaten me and has a heavier beard than I do despite being nearly two decades younger; William Bishop, perhaps the nicest player Alaska has to offer, but still a shark (1735 ranking).

I sat to Genesis’ left, and I knew that he was an aggressive player who would be drafting red/black if he could get it. Aside from that, I had no hope. I cracked open my first pack and picked…



There wasn’t ANYTHING in that pack. The rare was a Temporal Distortion, and there was no removal, no good creature, no nothing. I have opened at least three boxes of packs since I started my Quest, and I can guarantee this was the crappiest pack I had ever seen in my life. I forgot what I picked, but trust me, it wasn’t memorable. I think I made a half-hearted attempt at black.

Next pick? A Dream Thrush. Then a Crimson Acolyte. I was being steered into W/U, a combination I really didn’t want.

But here’s the thing: I had watched the drafts in Los Angeles, and seen how the pros drafted, and I kept certain things in mind. I knew this deck was not going to be a powerhouse by any imagination, but I knew that I would draft closely to the mana curve, hoping for a weenie beatdown. I didn’t know how I would win, since I hadn’t opened up anything killer yet… There’s a Tower Drake, and a fourth-pick Exclude! Ooo!

…Fifth pick Collective Restraint.

Oh yeah, we’re in business.

I immediately saw my chance there; draft all the flyers I could (Griffins, Tower Drakes, Thrush, a Metathran Transport, Tolarian Emissary) and hope to stall my opponent with a Restraint while I flew over their defenses. It was a slim hope, but my only one.

The white dried up after that, but the blue kept coming. I took it.

Second pack, and now I needed to stabilize my draft. The deck would be won or lost here, and…

…Second pick Urza’s Rage?


I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I figured that in a worst-case scenario I was keeping that out of Genesis’ hands – and in the best case, I had a Dream Thrush and could make a surprise mountain and then Rage out of nowhere.

White was dead to me, but when the second Quirion Elf came through, I realized I needed to go into green, which I did, gratefully, snagging TWO Quirion Elves and a Sentinel and to really set up for a maindecked surprise Rage. A Repulse and a Reviving Vapors arrive to start setting me up for real card advantage.

Keep to the mana curve. Draft low. Keep this deck quick. Make it like all those decks you saw Forsythe and Johns and Pustulnik playing.

Problem is, I have a bunch of weenies and nothing big. I can fly over aggressively, since I have six flyers by now and can trade with anything with impunity – turn those bitches sideways in the air! – but what will save me if the Restraint doesn’t show up?

Now to Planeshift, and lord knows what I have. Randy B. says the trick is setting up – did I set up my colors well enough?

I open up a Questing Phelddagriff.

Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you for my bomb.

And I did set it up correctly, by luck more than anything else, because Genesis passed me TWO Aurora Griffins, Silver Drake, a Rushing River, and a Pollen Remedy.

Planeshift been berry, berry good to me. (Well, except for the Disciple of Kangee.)

And don’t think it slipped my mind that my pal David Phifer wrote an article about how Collective Restraint and Phelddagriff Hippo tokens = Some Good. Sure, have forty tokens! Can you pay the cost on each of ’em? Didn’t think so.

So the draft was over, and it came time to build my deck. Again let me quote Sheldon when I say, "You drafted a substandard deck with a narrow win condition," which is basically true. (The Hippo+Restraint won me four games out of the six that I played.) I thought I had absolutely no chance with a fluke deck that royally sucked – but, even worse, it was a FAST deck that sucked. My final deck was pretty close to the mana curve, which meant that I’d be casting critters on turns two, three, and four. It was also heavily gold – I think eight cards were W/U – ensuring mana consistency would be tricky.

Which meant that my death would be long, slow, and drawn-out as I slowly staved off the bleeding. I was going to lose, and lose painfully. I not only sweated bullets, but when I went to the bathroom, I actually urinated cordite.

I stepped up to the first table in a dreamy kind of nervousness…

…Quarterfinals: William Bishop

William, as stated, is perhaps the nicest Magic player in Alaska. When I said that I was going on my Quest For The Pro Tour and mentioned that I was sticking with Limited because I didn’t have the cards for Extended or Type II, he offered to lend me decks for all the Constructed format because, and I quote, "It’d be a shame if you limited yourself to one format." And William is also a compulsive deckbuilder. I like the guy a lot.

And he extended his hand, smiled, and actually TRIED TO REASSURE ME.

My God, how cool is that?

We started to play, and he said, "Well, this deck will either work wonders or it’ll be the worst deck I ever drafted." We sat down to play.

It wasn’t much of a game. We started out slow, both of us a little mana-screwed, but I Excluded one of his big guys and eventually laid down the Restraint – later, he admitted he had no maindecked enchantment removal. My guys fly over for four a round while he has that lovely choice: Attack and drain all of the mana, or build up forces and let me attack for more?

Eventually the Hippo hits. He looks at it. Asks to read it. Then shrugs and scoops.

I didn’t even know what to sideboard, really. I hadn’t seen that much of his deck.

The second game was just plain dumb. He got manastalled at two lands, and tried to recover by putting out a Fertile Ground. I Emissaried the Ground away and attacked, and he went under without casting another spell.


He smiled gently, said, "Did better than you thought you’d do, huh?", and walked away.

He may well have been burning with rage inside – shoot, I know *I* would have been – but instead he took it like a champ.

I salute you, Mister Bishop. All players should have your grace.

Semifinals: Rob Weimer

Have I touted Rob enough? He’s the State Champion and a PT veteran. I also roleplay with him on the weekend, but we never play Magic outside out tournaments. As a matter of fact, nobody ever sees him play Magic when he’s not at a tournament. Nobody knows how the hell he’s gotten to be so good. A going theory is that he stays in an icy stasis chamber with a hardwired feed of all the tourney reports and writeups in the world being downloaded straight into his brain – and in the background, a small red LED counts down the time until his next tournament: T-Minus 2:00:00 and counting. T-Minus 1:59:59 and counting. T-Minus 1:59:58….

At T-Minus 1:00:00, the door cracks open; flares of ice crystals hiss out in long plumes as the room fills with a milky glow. In slow motion, moving like the Terminator, we see a sturdy hand grasp a deck and prepare for the next battle….

I told Rob about this theory. He says he plays Magic on his lunch break, but I can tell he likes the cryochamber idea better.

Rob is also my Magic nemesis, which is kind of pathetic because I’m not his. That’s right; there I am, terrified of Rob, and he could care less about me. When we played Team Sealed, I played against Rob in the finals and beat him in a long, extended battle… Which surprised the heck out of everyone, me included. The next day we were all hanging out when Rob walked into the room.

"Hey," I said, "Aren’t you that Rob guy I beat once?"

"Yeah," he replied, grinning with a confidence not born of mortal man. "ONCE."

Man, my clock was gonna get cleaned like nobody’s business in this match.

My only consolation was that once I got to the finals, this was a Barcelona PTQ; who the hell could afford to fly to Spain? If I won, I could make an offer of all the product and maybe some cash – IF I won – and this tremendous, nerve-wracking torture would be over.

Or I’d have made the semifinals at a PTQ. That would be cool.

The game opened up with Rob having gone with a four-color build, splashing green for tappy things and black/red for Zombies and removal. Ugh. A bad matchup unless I got to my maindecked Crimson Acolytes… Which I did. We both started off manascrewed, him looking for mountains, me looking for a plains. I found mine first.

However, I did know something about Rob: Rob tends to be cautious, perhaps overly so. In an Extended tournament he went undefeated with a Control Blue deck, but didn’t Top 8 because he drew so many times he didn’t have a win record strong enough. I was betting that Rob wouldn’t be nearly as aggressive at turning ’em sideways, not in this first game while he was still figuring out my deck… And I was right. We had a creature swarm with him at a minor advantage, but he was holding it safe.

I managed to get the Hippo out, and flew in for the kill. That works.

Second game, I can’t explain, simply because I couldn’t have won it. And people noted that Rob made some bad plays against me, some RUSHED plays, which is very unlike him. A spectator said that Rob looked, and I quote, "rattled"… And the only thing I can attribute this to is my deck.

I think Rob was used to playing against good players, and I kept whipping out cards that nobody in their right mind would play with. He tried to remove one of my creatures, and I Liberated it. He had to read the card. I played a Samite Ministrations when he attacked with a Lava Zombie, and he had to read THAT. Then the Collective Restraint came out.

If I had to hazard a guess – and no doubt Rob will tell me exactly what happened when I see him on Sunday – I think that Rob was wondering, "Okay, this guy’s a freakin’ lunatic. I know what a good player would do here… But he ‘s playing with Hippos and Liberates and cards that NOBODY in their right mind would play with! I have no idea what this jerk is going to do next! How the hell do you plan against the insane?"

And frankly, Rob should have won. Because here’s the situation:

I have out the Big Flying Hippo, a Tower Drake, a Dream Thrush, a Griffin, and a Quirion Elf. Oh yeah… And the Collective Restraint, which is the first time that Rob has seen this in my deck, and three lands, meaning that Rob needs to pay three for each critter that attacks.

Rob, for his part, has out seven mana, two of which are white and being used to fuel a pair of tappers, effectively giving him five mana to play with. He also has a couple of miscellaneous nonflying creatures and a Lava Zombie. I am attacking relentlessly for three a turn, and we’re roughly equivalent in life – I think he’s at thirteen and I’m at fifteen. In any case, we’re within four points of each other.

The correct play: Pour all of the mana into the Lava Zombie, since everything is tapped out except for the Elves. I will either take five damage a turn – meaning he outraces me – or, as is more likely, I will start chumpblocking, which means that eventually he’ll be able to tie up ALL of my creatures with the tappers and swarm in for the win. And chances are, he’ll topdeck some removal in between now and then, too.

Strangely, Rob chose to spend four mana playing the Skyship Weatherlight, fishing three creatures out of his library to put under it. The next turn he pays four to get a creature from the Weatherlight and plays… A Nightscape Apprentice. He has the mana to cast it, so he does.

Unfortunately, what he doesn’t know is that the time he spent playing the Weatherlight gave me time to topdeck a Rushing River. At the end of your turn, sacrifice a land to return both your tappers to your hand, then fly in with a flying 4/4 and about six points’ worth of flying damage. Game over.

Oh. My. God.

I’ve done it.

On the other side of the room, Genesis has won his game. All I have to do is go over to Genesis, tell him I want the win and he can have all of the product (and maybe a little cash), and I will have laid down my banner. I’ve done it! I’ve frickin’ completed My Quest!

What’s that, Genesis?

Your parents have a summer home in Barcelona?




Finals: Genesis Garcia

I admit it; by this point, my ego was shattered. Having survived two games that I was certain I would lose, and having finally thought that I had won – only to be informed that I would have to play this damn fight to the bitter end – I was completely demolished. I was gonna play, of course, but my hands were shaky. My mind was shot. I felt like I had just ascended to the summit of Mount Everest, only to realize that I had just gone over a rise and found that I was still three miles from the top.

Genesis was playing an R/G/B deck, which kind of surprised me, given how much green was coming from the other direction – until it occurred to me that OF COURSE good green was coming that way, having been successfully cut off. D’oh.

Genesis and I were at somewhat of a standoff – I can only assume that the black removal was somewhat light in the packs we had, because nobody had anything particularly notable. Genesis got out a Pincer Spider with kicker, meaning that I certainly COULD attack, but I would lose a creature a round. Bad times for Becky. And although he had a slight creature advantage, I had the Acolyte out, meaning that his red critters were useless. I can’t swing because of the Spider, and he can’t swing because of the Acolyte.

But then I draw the Rage!

And here I am, with a Dream Thrush on the table. All I need to do is to attack for a point with a flyer, then tap the Thrush and Rage that sucker out, and then I can start swarming for six a turn! I CAN WIN THIS!

So I attack with the Dream Thrush

Did I mention I was demoralized?

The crowd groans. Genesis wonders what the hell is going on, and blocks with the Spider. The Spider eats my Dream Thrush, and it is ONLY THEN that I realize the fatal flaw in my plan.

Say, you can’t tap that Dream Thrush when it’s, like, already tapped.

This is the single worst play I have ever made in Magic, so I might as well make it in the most high-stakes game I’ve ever played in…


No takebacks.

Wakefield is weeping.

We degenerated into a stalemate; I got the Restraint out, meaning Genesis couldn’t swarm me with his creatures, and I had a Crimson Acolyte out, which could protect most of my creatures against his red ones… But when he finally drew that black removal to destroy the Acolyte, I could be in serious trouble. He had bigger things.

Genesis then plays… Smoldering Tar.

And it was then that I made my astounding play: I had a Dismantling Blow in my hand and was slightly mana-screwed, stalling at five mana. I could have destroyed the Tar instantly…

…But then I’d leave myself open to possible annihilation from whatever removal he had. I would lose a life a turn, but he couldn’t pop it because I’d simply prevent the damage from the Acolyte. I stand fast and keep my trigger-finger hand happy, waiting for better options to come along…

…and wait…

I finally get to Urza’s Rage a Lava Zombie. Big deal. It’s no Pincer Spider, and at this point I can’t afford to lose any more flyers, because he also has a Battleflies out and I need some defense. He’s way too ahead on life, and if I draw some bounce for the Spider I’ll need to attack fiercely.

The Smoldering Tar has now hit me for ten points. I am at five, he is at twelve. If he has a Soul Burn, and I am reasonably confident he does, then he can burn me out.

I draw The Hippo.

I cast it. He reads it. Who the hell plays with this crap?

I wait a turn.

Four life.

No Soul Burn.

At the end of his turn, I Rushing River his Pincer Spider, then on my turn I give my Hippo protection from black, and fly over. He looks and blocks what he can, which will bring him down to four life.

"Is that all?" he says.

"No," I reply, tapping green. "Have a token. Have a token. Have a token. Have a token."

Game over.

Thank you, Hippo.


For the second game, both Genesis and I played abysmally, screwing up left and right. I don’t get the Restraint this time, but I DO get Angelic Shield, which again, nobody can believe I’m playing with. (But Scott Johns did, and he’s another Big Shot Magic Editor like me, so there. Nyah.) In an astounding display of punchiness, Genesis Soul burns my Silver Drake for three, forgetting that he needs to do four because the Angelic Shield gives it +0/+1. I, determined to outdo him, sacrifice the Shield to bounce the Drake back to my hand to "save" it. As it turns out, this isn’t entirely a bad move because Genesis is low on life anyway, and I couldn’t have gotten through twice for the win. But still.

And once again, we’re in a stalemate. Same damn stalemate. Kicked Pincer Spider versus a bunch of other stuff. And again, here’s how nervous and how wrecked I was; I topdecked a Rushing River, which meant that I could automatically fly in for the kill, but I had to wait until the end of Genesis’ turn. I take my hand and place it FACE UP on the table, showing the entire world what I have in hand: Two lands, some other card, and a Rushing River.

Groggy, I look down, sleepily realize what I’ve been doing, and pick up my cards. And I pick them up the wrong way, so now I am actively flashing my hand at Genesis.

Now, Genesis has been asking me all game how many cards I have in hand, so I know he has some kind of discard; I assume Bog Down or Hypnotic Cloud. Witnesses around assumed that this was a very nasty psychout manuever, what with me having this reputation for psychological cruelty; in effect, the crowd thought that I was saying to Genesis, "Do what you will; I can throw away three cards to any damn discard you can throw at me, and I AM STILL GONNA WIN THIS GAME."

I was just tired. Honest. I’m not that bright.

I shyly flip my cards around, Rushing River, and come in for the kill.

And then sit there stupidly, wondering when the next game starts.

The ten people watching the game start shouting. I shake Genesis’ hand. I really don’t know why.

Hold on.

I won?

I have a crappy deck. I attacked with my Dream Thrush. There must be another game. I’ve been playing all day…

What do you mean I won?

I finished my quest?



So what does it all mean, Alex?

If you’ll allow me to quote myself for one last time:

"Do I still believe that anyone can be a Pro player? Absolutely. It’s an investment of time, intelligence and desire – and I assume that if you’re reading this, you’re intelligent. The time and desire must be provided by you, but I think that really turning pro is a matter of using the right net decks, losing a lot, and honing your skill. There’s no great secret."
The Ferrett, speaking in a previous rant

The answer is yes, with conditions.

Again, let’s ask Sheldon Menery, who’s seen ’em come and seen ’em go: "The Ferrett is, at best, a mediocre player." I also have proven that, unlike the REAL pros, I can’t summon my "A" game on command; I got smashed by my own psychological devastation, and only won because my deck helped and because Genesis made more mistakes than I did.

And was this a valid win? The question is reasonable; I attended a small PTQ, with three of the best players missing, and I got a God deck, and my quarterfinals opponent – the noble William – got manascrewed. As did my semifinals (note that Rob chased mountains for awhile).

The answer is yes, it was a valid win.

Even though my play was sketchier than a Chuck Jones cartoon in the finals, I played solidly in the quarters and semis. You don’t necessarily need to play flawlessly – you just need to outplay your opponent. Which I did. I earned that win, both in playing the God deck***** correctly and in playing in the finals.

There was considerable luck. Sure. But I made a large portion of that luck myself.

And did I prove myself better than the pros?

I’m not fooling myself; I saw what went on in PT: LA, and that was a level far beyond what I am capable of. I’m never gonna be a Jon Finkel or a Darwin Kastle or even a Chad Ellis. As far as finishing in the money, I’ll give you some advice right now: Save your points in the Fantasy Pro Tour. I’m not finishing in the money.

But I was never trying to be them.

I was trying to be better than that jerk in the corner of your store. The one who went on the Pro Tour once or twice, and never finished in the money either. That gloating bozo who lords it over you because you’re Not As Good As Him.

I’m as good as you.

I’m now as good as him.


Yours truly,
Former Member of Team AWWAJALOOM
The Ferrett
[email protected]

* — As a note to long-suffering Team members, I finally mailed all of the seventy or so envelopes out on Wednesday – packing, stuffing, addressing, and mailing those suckers took WAY longer than I had thought. D’oh!

** – Seriously, just say no to heroin. I’ve had two friends who died from it. Scary, scaaaary drug.

*** – In Anchorage, this level of strategy is what passes for "Card Theory And Advantage Options."

**** – But not here.

**** – Not Mike Mason God Deck, although that would have been very cool to get in a Sealed deck. I think the judge mighta been suspicious, though.