return of (beep)

blisterguy makes his triumphant return to regular writing today by covering the goings on in the Standard Premier Events on Magic Online – events that should be an interesting barometer for the early Regionals metagame.

Hello. There’s a chance you’re wondering where I have been, wondering what I have been up to, wondering why birds fly and rabbits don’t, and why oh why are you already so completely confused and I haven’t even finished the first paragraph yet! Oh wait, now I have.

Actually, you could well be wondering who I am, or why I’m so dashingly handsome, or why I’ve come to you in this dream wearing naught but a tutu and some fairy wings. Well first things first, it’s a kilt, not a tutu, and the fairy wings are err… look over there!

Who am I? I am blisterguy. Neither Blisterguy, nor blister guy, but blisterguy. Why have I got such a silly name? I don’t know, but this silly username chosen by me some time back when we had The Dojo has stuck quite nicely, and far too many people know me as blisterguy for me to turn back now. That and I own blisterguy.com.

(Don’t go there, there’s nothing to see yet, and I’ll wager there’ll be nothing to see for quite some time, I’m probably just paranoid.)

For those of you who don’t recognize the name, I used to write, Back in the Day. Then I kinda stopped, and from then on I had to field questions such as “where’s the next article?” and “when are you gonna write again?” and “dude, why the fairy wings?” Well I’m sick of it. Sick up to here *holds hand up to somewhere around knees* So I’m putting my foot down, or rather the index finger of each hand down over and over until I have once again silenced those needy folks who for some unfathomable reason crave the dribble the spews forth from within all that is to be considered oh holy hell has this sentence gone on long enough yet? It’s all lies anyway. I use more than just the index fingers, sometimes my thumbs and middle fingers join in with the fun and frivolity, too, just for the sake of it.

Ah, where was I? Oh yes, nowhere at all yet, really. I mean, I could go on like this for hours, and quite often do, but you want to know where I have been, what I have been up to! I now work in an office doing nothing special for no one in particular, but it does pay the bills, and the most important bill of all is the one that covers my Internet Connection. Oh precious Internet Connection, where would I be without thee?

(Picture if you will, a man staggering about a mall, begging strangers for spare commons or printouts of old emails and chat-logs. Something, anything… Actually stop it, I’m scaring me…)

You see, Back in the Day, I could play Magic with my buddies down at the local card emporium, but if I wanted to play at home on my Home Computer, I had to load up *shudder* Apprentice or NetDraft. While these quaint little programs served their purpose, it was generally a struggle to have an enjoyable game of Magic: the Gathering. Then one day, they threw Magic Online into beta testing and suddenly, I could play at home.

So yeah, long story short, I’ve been on Magic Online, or MODO (Magic Online Digital Objects) as some of us like to call it. MODO rolls off the tongue well, and was what we called it Back in the Day of beta testing heaven. You may be thinking now that I’m one of those rich chaps with full playsets of Invasion block and whatnot, but sadly, after Magic Online went live, I drifted away somewhat, unwilling to spend actual money on non-actual cards. I tended to sit around and watch other people play a bit, and occasionally drafted Odyssey block. Not exactly the path to being a MODO Millionaire, I can tell you.

What changed? I’m not sure, but somehow I now have a Magic Online account filled with playables and trade-fodder up the wazoo. What’s a wazoo? I don’t know. Next question, please.

Many of you out there no doubt play the Magic Online, and even more of you don’t. I can dig that. You prefer the ol’ camaraderie and face to face interaction, that’s cool. Don’t click away, though! My writings, while mostly from my experiences on that Magic Online, will be most helpful to those of you On and Offline, and here’s why.

There was once a time when local tournaments lead the way. We would all wait for the next big decklist to be posted on The Dojo, hoping for some new tech to bust out on our unsuspecting friends and foes alike. Eventually more and more websites jumped on the bandwagon, and the tech flowed fast and free. Well. Almost. It may have seemed like we were getting the Good Stuff, but the Best Tech always came out at the Pro Tours, the World Champs or the Nationalses. Why did the Pros have better tech than the rest off us? Because they worked at it, and they worked in teams. Why did it only come out at the big events? Because it had no reason to come out earlier.

Don’t tell me you’re on a team, too. I could say I’m on a team. Well, I could probably say I’m on several, but let’s face it, a small team of your buddies isn’t exactly stellar World beating stuff here. The point is, the world’s biggest playtesting group is now right at your fingertips, and it features every person on Magic Online who play in the Premier Events and 8-man queues.

Oh to be sure, they (or should I say “we”?) are a dysfunctional bunch. We don’t really work together at all, what with half of the players sleeping while the other half play, and we certainly aren’t in a hurry to share our ideas with each other. Smaller sects are rife throughout this Online World, each trying to get a bigger E-appendage than the next. Why then does it work? Competition is human nature, and on Magic Online, there are competitions, (or Tournaments as I’ve oft heard them described) held on a daily basis. In the weekends, often several times a day. There were six Standard tournaments in this last weekend alone, and each of these was grown from the memory of the last, an ever-evolving metagame.

(No wait, there was just a wee message a traipsing across my screen. Yet another Standard tournament begins in one hour.)

So to sum up, there are hundreds, if not thousands of fellow players out there who are doing the playtesting for you, and they are broadcasting the results to you through the Top 8 replays. You don’t have to wade through much to get to them, all the people eliminated it the swiss rounds are politely swept under the rug leaving only the cream of the crop ready for your perusal. But let’s face it, you’re almost as lazy as I am, so let me walk you though the most recent results.

(Holy Content, Batman!)

Wednesday 19th – Standard – 44 players

Kuzya (Rats with Death Cloud) beat Elegant (Tooth and Nail) 2-0

Paul_M_B_II (Tooth and Nail) lost to Juelz Santana (Tooth and Nail) 1-2

_MetroiD_ (Mono Blue Control) beat AlexLer (Aggro Red) 2-0

Bard_Taliesin (Green/X) beat DweamHeBe.timz (Aggro Red) 2-1

Kuzya (Rats) lost to Bard_Taliesin (G/X) 0-2

_MetroiD_ (Mono Blue) lost to Juelz Santana (Tooth) 1-2

Bard_Taliesin split with Juelz Santana so they could stroll off into the sunset, hand in hand.

Green/X and Tooth split the finals after beating back some Mono Blue, Aggro Red, Rats and more Tooth. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of surprises in that Top 8, but somehow Bard_Taliesin’s Green/X deck featured Kodama of the North Tree, and Fangren Firstborn. The latter possibly out of the sideboard, but that is in no way confirmed, and I’m too lazy to message them to find out. The Kodama has recently been sighted tearin’ up Kamigawa Block Constructed tournaments, but doesn’t usually get much of an airing in Standard. Fangren even less so on both accounts funnily enough, although it was a wild card for Beacon Green decks a few months ago, so perhaps someone neglected to pass the memo on to Bard_Taliesin.

Friday 22nd – Standard – 33 players

Nezard (Blue/Black UrzaTron – See below) lost to ratas_rapaces (Green/X) 0-2

Porsaskuiskaaja (Aggro Red) beat honggitsai (Blue/White Control with Cloudpost) 2-1

Valf (Green/X) lost to donkeytog (Tooth and Nail) 1-2

Zt0rm (Green/X) beat alankats (Tooth and Nail) 2-0

donkeytog (Tooth and Nail) lost to ratas_rapaces (Green/X) 1-2

Zt0rm (Green/X) lost to Porsaskuiskaaja (Aggro Red) 0-2

ratas_rapaces beat Porsaskuiskaaja 2-1 to walk away with first prize.

More Green/X and Tooth here, with the mandatory showing of Aggro Red. However, we have to assume it was the smaller field size that allowed a Blue/White Control deck, and a Blue/Black UrzaTron deck to also play along with the grown-ups in this Top 8. The UrzaTron deck was especially strange in that it didn’t really seem capable of doing much more than countering a few spells with Mana Leak and Condescend, while using Serum Visions and Thirst for Knowledge to help fire off a Mindslaver for the lose. Also seen skulking around in the back alleys of this deck were Triskelion, Staff of Domination, Solemn Simulacrum, Bribery and Arcbound Reclaimer. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was rogue, and that’s what matters to some people. So good on Nezard for coming away with some packs for his efforts, I guess.

Saturday 23rd – Standard 2x Prizes – 68 players.

gurinidesama (Green/Black Control) lost to 1FLY (Green/X) 1-2

Y_TRD (WhiteWeenie) beat KEI (Mono Blue Control) 2-0

tanner2 (Tooth and Nail) beat jerry_cn (Green/X) 2-1

Dientazar (Aggro Red) lost to Paendragoth (Gwu Gifts Ungiven) 1-2

tanner2 (Tooth) beat Paendragoth (Gifts) 2-0

Y_TRD (WW) lost to 1FLY (G/X) 1-2

tanner2 lost to 1FLY 1-2

Again Green/X takes the top spot, and again Tooth is not far behind. The fact that the prizes for this tournament were doubled managed to draw in more players and forced this one out to seven rounds before the playoffs. Of note was jerry_cn’s Green/X deck, which actually managed to feature not only Etched Oracle, but also Bringer of the Blue Dawn. I assume he was also running Bringer of the Black Dawn, because drawing two cards a turn isn’t nearly as good as following a 5/5 Trampler with three Plow Unders or a pretty Hat of Fire / Ice. On an grisly note, jerry_cn was eliminated from the Top 8 when tanner2 hard-cast a Sundering Titan, which managed to eat all four of jerry_cn’s lands without taking a single land from it’s controller.

Sunday 24th – Standard – 30 players

AdrianKoy (Aggro Red) lost to Rafo1979 (Tooth and Nail) 0-2

alankats (Tooth and Nail) beat Y_TRD (WhiteWeenie) 2-0

Mak_11 (Green/X) lost to nezard (Blue/Black UrzaTron) 1-2

sssaplin6 (Aggro Red) vs DweamHeBe.timz (Tooth and Nail) 2-1

alankats (Tooth) lost to Rafo1979 (Tooth) 0-2

sssaplin6 (Aggro Red) beat nezard (U/B Tron) 2-1

Rafo1979 lost to sssaplin6 1-2 proving again that Red Deck does in fact Win at least some of the time.

Less Green/X this time around and the one that did make the Top 8 managed to lose to nezard and his/her trusty Blue/Black UrzaTron deck. At this point I’m happy to see nezard scooping up more packs with his creation, but if he/she keeps that up, I’m gonna have to reevaluate my beliefs in relation to all things right with the cosmos. Y_TRD also keeps the hopes and dreams of many an 8-year-old alive by again cruising into the Top 8 with his WhiteWeenie deck. Only to lose to one of the countless Tooth and Nail decks, which seem so popular, you’d have to assume that they are lying around on the ground these days, or something.

Sunday 24th – Standard – 45 players.

MasterDecoy007 (Tooth and Nail) lost to stabel (Aggro Red) 0-2

ratas_repaces (Green/X) beat heitkamp (Green/X) 2-1

TheSadBlueDoll (Suicide Black) beat VoidIllusion (Green/Black control) 2-0

TheMuffinMan1639 (Tooth and Nail) beat TheBigLebowski (Green/X) 2-0

TheMuffinMan1639 (Tooth and Nail) lost to ratas_repaces (Green/X) 1-2

stabel (Aggro Red) lost to TheSadBlueDoll (Suicide Black) 0-2

TheSadBlueDoll lost to ratas_repaces 1-2 giving ratas_repaces a second Premier Event victory in as many days.

The finals being of particular interest this time, not only because ratas_repaces pulled off another win with Green/X, but also because TheSadBlueDoll managed to pilot a Suicide Black deck all the way to the finals. We’ve seen a smattering of Rats flavored Aggro Black decks in and around Magic Online in the last few months or so, but it’s not every day you see a deck play a turn 1 Blind Creeper from a Blinkmoth Nexus and a Chrome Mox imprinting Rend Flesh. TheSadBlueDoll also used Wicked Akuba, Night’s Whisper, Terror and Distress to good measure, but managed to lose the last two games to Karma and Clearwater Goblet. Neither of which I would have expected ratas_repaces to have, but they’re there in the replays, so unless Wizards of the Coast are winding me up, I’ll just have to believe it.

Unfortunately, running three instances of Magic Online at one time on your computer can wreak three flavors of hell on your virtual memory, so I must leave you now and reboot my computer. While your computer may be likened to a fresh sammich under a glass counter at your local coffee shop, mine is much more like a week-old slice of pizza that seems to be able to move around the back of my fridge of it’s own accord.

Some times, it growls at me.

So join me next time, when I explain just why I have three copies of Magic Online chewing up my precious bandwidth at any one time, and why I haven’t had to bust out the credit card at the Magic Online Store in over two years.

Until then, may your computer slash slice of pizza not try to “get it on” with the butter behind the milk, because I had a devil of a time trying to explain that one to my wife.