SCG Daily – Doctor Mox and the Savage Cheatorz

The incomparable Doctor Mox helps us spot the most savage of cheaters with his usual wit and vivacity. Plus, more ramblings on MagicTheGathering.com’s inexplicable Legends voting bonanza.

Good Morning, oh hearty yeomen of the realm! Pray silence for the soft lullaby of the lute! The Mighty Mox is here, bearing sonnets and fair evensong for all.

Why, you may ask, am I regaling you in this rather stilted and archaic idiom? Am I going senile? Am I finally revelling in my declining youth? Have I been transported back to the Middle Ages, perhaps through the use and abuse of a modified DeLorean a la Marty McFly?

Tish and piffle, my fair fellows. Tish, and indeed, piffle. It is nothing of the sort.

My Swiss ladyfriend Jetta and myself have donned our Medieval garb, padded our bosoms, quaffed our ales, and sheathed our wobbly rubber swords. We’re attending a Renaissance Faire!

In honesty, this was Magma’s idea. She is a regular on the faire scene, enjoying the gala occasion and, especially, the costumes. While she can hardly be described as a flaxen-haired wench, she does dress up well as an imposing piece of siege weaponry. The thing is, Magma and Jetta, upon their introduction last night, did not see eye to eye; that comes as no surprise, as Jetta’s glass eyeball can put the willies up anyone. It is safe to say that they did not hit it off. Indeed, such was the level of their jealousy, Magma challenged Jetta to a Roast Pig Eating Contest at the very soiree at which we are now attendant. The winner of said contest gets undisputed rights to the Mox. Magma feels her incredible girth will stand her in good stead for the coming battle… sadly, I know Jetta’s appetites can be voracious. Unbeknownst to Magma, Jetta is the clear favorite: she s able to both dislocate her lower jaw and completely suppress her gag reflex. It’s one of the reasons I love her so.

But enough! To the Mailbag!

‘Sup Moxie.

I’m a relative newcomer to the tournament scene, and I’m a little scared. I’ve read the websites and talked to friends, and I’m pretty sure that cheating in Magic is at an all-time high.

At my Guildpact prerelease, I saw someone cheat. It was subtle, but the judges finally spotted him. I think he would’ve got away with it, if he hadn’t tried to equip his Masticore with a Cranial Plating.

What sort of savage cheatorz can I expect to see at the highest levels?

Barry, MIS

Thanks for the letter, Barry. It’s nice to hear from someone about to embark on their tournament career. Tournaments are lots of fun, but you’re wise to be wary of the cheating scumbags around you.

It’s strange… at the lower levels of competition, cheating is almost unheard of. At a prerelease, for example, no-one adds cards to their Sealed Pool, attempting to maximize their power-levels. If a guy has seven rares in play at once, it’s merely a printing error. Similarly, the guy with three Umezawa’s Jittes in a side-event Draft is just lucky, I guess. However, when you ascend past the Pro Tour Qualifier level to the Pro Tour itself, it’s easy to see how the cheaters prevail.

Recently, certain high-level professionals have called into question the integrity of the currently successful Japanese Magic contingent. “They must be cheating,” the argument goes. “They’re really creepy! They smile a lot, and they don’t talk! And they keep winning everything!” Strangely, no-one ever levelled such charges at Finkel and Budde at the height of their dominance. Of course, this may be due to the fact that Jonny Magic had the icy glare of a killing machine, an the Buddinator would begin each duel with the words “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.” Unlike the dominant Japanese, they were intimidating. It’s easy to accuse folk when they won’t answer back.

Enough of such talk, as I suspect it’s not what you need to hear. It’s time to reveal some of the more esoteric methods of cheating. To do this, I’ve penned a few sample scenarios. In each, I take on the role of a svg cheator. Don’t worry, I’ve never cheated before… though I’ll admit the thought has crossed my mind since I met the delightful Magma.

Changing the Rules

[Game one. It is turn twenty. Mox faces lethal damage as his opponent enters the attack step.]

Opponent: [tapping his monsters] Swing with these guys?
Mox: Sure. [picks up one of the attackers] Hang on, this guy can’t attack.
Opponent: Why not.
Mox: See there? The artist? It’s rk post.
Opponent: So?
Mox: Posts can’t attack. They’re inanimate.
Opponent: What?
Mox: Posts can’t attack.
Opponent: Erm…
Mox: Ask a judge if you don’t believe me.
Opponent: Okaaaaaay…
Mox: [pointing to another monster] Oh, and this guy can’t attack, either.
Opponent: Why not? He’s not by rk post.
Mox: No, but he’s by Quinton Hoover. The Hoover sucks up the damage.
Opponent: Wait a second…
Mox: It’s true!
Opponent: [rallying] What about this guy! He’s drawn by Kev Walker!
Mox: Yeah, that means he can attack, but only at walking speed. He only does half the normal damage.
Opponent: Are you sure about this?
Mox: Positive.
Opponent: [thinking] In that case, I’ll make this guy. He has Haste, and I’ll attack with him for the win. [he lays down a card]
Mox: [reading the new card] It doesn’t say Haste on here!
Opponent: No, but he’s drawn by Christopher Rush.

Misrepresenting the Game State

[Game two. Again, Mox is facing lethal damage. His opponent swings with the team]

Opponent: Damage on the stack?
Mox: Is it?
Opponent: Erm… not yet. Are you ready to put damage on the stack?
Mox: Why?
Opponent: Because… that’s… what happens?
Mox: When?
Opponent: When I attack!
Mox: You didn’t attack!
Opponent: Yes I did! Look! [he points to his tapped men] You’re on six, I’m attacking for seven.
Mox: No, you’re not! It’s my turn! Attack you for eighty, good game. Got any trades?
Opponent: [confused] What?
Mox: Sign the slip please.
Opponent: Wait a minute, attack me for eighty? What with? You’ve got no creatures!
Mox: I don’t need creatures. I attack with the power of my mind.
Opponent: And that does eighty damage, does it?
Mox: In certain circumstances, yes.
Opponent: Fair enough. I’ll block with this pencil. [he holds up a pencil]
Mox: Now you’re being weird.
Opponent: I’m being weird? You’re a mentalist!
Mox: How dare you!
Opponent: Look, any more of this funny business, and I’ll call a judge! Stop it!
Mox: [mumbling] … not fair…
Opponent: Right! [takes a deep breath] Attack you for six.
Mox: I’ll take the damage.
Opponent: Good.
Mox: That takes me down to three hundred and forty. My turn?

Card Manipulation

[Game three. It is Mox’s turn. He untaps]

Mox: Untap, upkeep. Draw a card. Lay a land, Draw a card. Tap three, draw a card.
Opponent: Woah there! Simmer down!
Mox: What?
Opponent: Why are you drawing so many cards?
Mox: I’m not.
Opponent: Yes you are! You’ve got, what… ten cards in hand?
Mox: Sorry, I must’ve slipped. [Mox puts three creatures into play] There, now I’ve got seven.
Opponent: [thoroughly jaded] Whatever.
Mox: Okay, I’ll attack with these monsters.
Opponent: I’ll block with my three Saprolings.
Mox: No you won’t.
Opponent: I beg your pardon.
Mox: You won’t be blocking.
Opponent: Won’t I?
Mox: I’m afraid not.
Opponent: And why is that, exactly?
Mox: I hate to break it to you like this, but… me and the Saprolings have had a talk.
Opponent: [shaking his head] Have you now…
Mox: Yes we have. The Saprolings told me that they’ve had enough. They don’t like you.
Opponent: Right.
Mox: Yeah, they said you always boss them around. They’re not putting up with you demands any more.
Opponent: [packing up to leave] Sure.
Mox: In fact, they’ve told me that you touch them in rude places. You make them cry.
Opponent: [standing] In that case, you can look after them! [he tosses the Saproling tokens in Mox’s face, and storms off]
Mox: [caressing the cardboard] There, there, my precious darlings. Daddy’s here.

So, Barry, as you can see, cheating can take many beguiling forms. I hope you now feel a little more prepared for the horrors you’re likely to face.

Before I go, it’s time once more to examine the choices of MagicTheGathering.com’s entertaining yet unexplained Legends vote. I hope this has a purpose, though knowing Mark Rosewater, it could be anything. I suspect he’s narrowing down the options in order to choose himself a bride.

Silvos, Rogue Elemental versus Linn Sivvi, Defiant Hero
Silvos is a big Green chomping machine. Six mana, eight power, Trample and Regeneration! He’s an elemental, but exactly what element is he? By the looks of things, he’s comprised of that classic element: Mulch.

Also, he’s a rogue elemental. While I’m sure his rogueishness is explained in the excellent novels, the phrase does conjure up a rather strange image. Has he turned his back on the Earth from where he springs? Has he said “sod this for a game of soldiers, I wanna be a Fire Demon!” These questions need answers, damnit!

As for Linn Sivvi… well, she’s rock-hard. A 1/3 for three mana, her casting-cost is almost entirely irrelevant. As the vital part of the Rebel Chain, she was privy to the conjuring of uncounterable armies for as far as the eye could see.

The thing is… she’s a moose. I want my fantasy babes in ill-fitting scraps of chain-mail, thanks. Magic is largely a game for teenage boys, and Linn Sivvi’s milkshake hardly brings them to the yard. If I’m gonna laminate a card, it’s not gonna be Linn, if ya catch my drift.

The Mox Verdict: Silvos, Rogue Elemental

Mistform Ultimus versus Mirri, Cat Warrior
Ah, the mighty Mistform Ultimus. Not just a legend, but the legend. Every Single Creature Type. So, he’s a cat, and a hound, and a bird, and a brother, and a sister, and an ape, and a lion, and a mutant ninja turtle. He’s a dragon and a squirrel, he’s a beast and a weird and a fuzzy little man-peach.

We love him. Yes we do.

Mirri, on the other hand, is confusing. She’s a cat… with boobs. Sure, she’s more playable than the Ultimus, and he’s as hard as nails… but she’s still a cat with boobs.

Jetta likes Mirri, as she’s very fond of strong female role-models in all aspects of society. She really is a blossoming feminist. I encourage Jetta in this regard, because it keeps her busy when she’s not cooking or cleaning. It’s nice for a lady to have a hobby.

The Mox Verdict: Mistform Ultimus

That’s that for another day. My clangers have clanged, and it’s pickling time.

Jetta and I have a few hours to kill before the commencement of her Suckling Pig Eating Contest. She’s enjoying herself immensely, as I always knew she would. She pulled out all the stops for the occasion, and her portrayal of a Medieval Peasant is a sight to behold. Her costume is causing quite a storm, believe me… though I think if those admirers knew the gout was real, it’d tarnish the memories for all involved.

Frankly, I’ll be glad to get home and out of my particular attire. It chafes in intimate places. I’d never have guessed they had gimps in the sixteenth century.

Until next time, keep wassailing and carousing.

Doctor Mox
Doctor Mox can be contacted at [email protected]
Here be Dragons!