If you know me at all, you’re probably familiar with my history of making ridiculous play errors. Unlike most players, I don’t tend to make my mistakes in complex, stressful, game-altering turns. I’m actually pretty good at thinking through recursive tutor chains, optimizing Yawgmoth’s Will turns and Gifts Ungiven piles with minimal resources, and calculating rough odds on the fly. In fact, I’ve pointed out mistakes on those complicated plays to some of the best Vintage players in the game. No, when I make a a mistake, it’s generally with something completely obvious. It has to come from all these years of playing Vintage, but I just don’t pay attention to the board. I’ve cast a Gifts Ungiven for Recoup and Will into an on-the-board Tormod’s Crypt. I’ve neglected to use one of my own two Tormod’s Crypts to counter a game-winning Recoup from my opponent. If you ever draft with me, heaven help me if you pick up Ghost Wardens, because I will attack into them all day long. Just ask any of my terrified draft partners if you think I’m kidding.
So here’s the quintessential Brass Man horror story:
I more or less learned how to play Vintage back before it was called Vintage, in a card shop called “Grandmaster’s Games and Hobbies.” As long as I had been going there, the neon lights for “t” “e“ and “r” were burnt out, making it “Grandma’s Games and Hobbies,” which I found particularly hilarious. Every Friday night they held two-dollar Type 1 events, with a pretty consistent turnout. Though there were a few strong players there, from whom I learned a lot, most people were either extremely casual, or just getting into the game.
To set the stage, it’s the last swiss round of the tournament, and I have to win it to make the all-important Top 4 cutoff. I’m playing Psychatog, and if you’re not familiar with this era in Vintage history, Tog was Ravager Good. No one had yet built anything that could compete with it power-level wise, and the hate decks were usually built poorly. For decks that did have a chance in theory, Tog ran around twelve counters (if you count Duress) and had not much trouble shutting most strategies down. Because of this, I’m feeling pretty good when I sit down across my opponent with an eighty card deck in penny sleeves.
On the play, no less, I lead out with a foil Polluted Delta into a Beta Underground Sea into a DCI Foil Duress, feeling unstoppable with my ridiculously overcosted cards. After explaining to my opponent what Duress does, he lays down his hand of five Island, two Prodigal Sorcerer. Swing and a miss. In two turns I play a Psychatog, and he plays a Sorcerer. I swing and he blocks, even though I’m clearly not lethal yet. His next Prodigal Sorcerer chumps again, and on his turn 5, he lays out a Seasinger. I have to read it, and Mana Drain it when I realize it’s an actual threat. On my turn I get to Intuition for Accumulated Knowledge and draw three cards with my Drain mana. Turning the Tog sideways, I count the cards in my hand and graveyard to make sure I can deal twenty damage.
I count them again.
With that giddy feeling you only get from a lethal Psychatog, I start throwing my cards in the bin. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. Hmm. My opponent is at one, and I have one card in my graveyard, and a large removed from game zone. As disappointed as I am, I have a Psychatog in play against Sixth Edition Island.dec. What could he possibly do?
That’s right, click on the link, there’s no shame in that. I had to read it too. About four or five times. Of course, it’s back in Coldsnap now so I’m sure you’re all clear on what it does. I draw a land off the top, so I’m not happy now. I’m a little nervous, but I’m pretty sure I can still pull it out. The other guy’s at 1, he’s playing with draft leftovers. I’m at 18 and playing the best deck in the format, what could he possibly do now?
I really have to stop asking that question. I draw a land, go to 12, draw a land, go to 6, draw a land and go home crying. Actually, I win games two and three easily and win some booster packs, but it’s much funnier if we pretend that it ended there. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned in the story somewhere, like “never underestimate your opponent” or “learn how to count” or “Vizzerdrix beats Psychatog.” I’m just glad I have the story to tell.
Allright, I want some forum action here. I want to hear about the worst card you’ve ever lost to, and how it went down.
aprobasco at gmail dot com