Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?
While I don’t think that this is his best album, this particular song is probably the most fun one that he’s ever written. If this song does not make you smile and tap your foot, you are black-hearted and probably have a fortress of evil somewhere.
The tournament we’re going to cover here today is not necessarily a total failure – I finished in the prizes, I had a winning record, and I was one win away from qualifying. That one potential win and the lack of results thereof, though, is the crux of this article. In that sort of situation, one loss can offset an entire tournament’s worth of wins. The lesson today is one that will hopefully help change some of your tournament near-wins to tournament wins.
The date we’re going back to is May 3rd, 2003, the date of US Regionals. The format was Odyssey block, Onslaught, Legions, and Seventh Edition. It was one of the best Standard formats ever, with tons of viable archetypes – RG beats, UG madness, UGW cunning wake, RW/RGW slide, MBC, MBA, Psychatog, BRg Reanimator, Mono-Red Goblins, GWr beasts, BG Braids, ad nauseam. People hadn’t really discovered Wake yet as a powerful archetype, as it had only started to win very recently. I played Jelger Weigersma’s list card for card after a couple weeks of testing and found it to be very potent. In case you don’t recall, here it is:
4 Krosan Verge
3Â Skycloud Expanse
3Â Exalted Angel
3Â Moment’s Peace
2Â Memory Lapse
4Â Renewed Faith
3Â Cunning Wish
4Â Wrath of God
3Â Deep Analysis
2Â Mirari’s Wake
1Â Ray of Revelation
1Â Moment’s Peace
1Â Krosan Reclamation
1Â Circular Logic
3Â Teroh’s Faithful
1Â Ray of Distortion
1Â Elephant Ambush
1Â Exalted Angel
1Â Flash of Insight
The Angel Beatdown plan won a lot of games and/or matches where the clock would be an issue otherwise. Anyway, the tournament was ten rounds long and we were playing for eight Nationals slots as usual. As the rounds went on, for some reason I kept winning – whether it was due to playing against good matchups (Slide, Burning Wake, MBC), or getting good draws, or just playing one of the best decks in the format, I found myself 7-1 and playing for one of the slots. There were two problems, though.
I was playing the Wake mirror.
I was dead tired.
This is a bad combination.
I’m glad that I was too tired to remember how I played, as the reconstructed version of the match later related to me induced severe nausea. I was absolutely awful – forgetting that I had flashback cards in my graveyard, randomly Memory Lapsing spells, and playing right into his counters. [It serves you right, Ben. You Wake Players are Scum. – Craig]
It was some of the worst Magic I’d ever played, and at the time I just considered it an unavoidable consequence of tournament logistics. On reflection, this is not the case.
I had barely eaten all day, with my breakfast being a bowl of cereal. I was running on four hours of sleep. My energy throughout the day came from cans of Mountain Dew that I’d brought along in my backpack. See the problems here?
Don’t ignore your body’s needs if you want to win.
There are countless people out there who will use the night before a tournament for fun and debauchery, and while I can’t blame them, that is not the way to successfully prepare for a tournament unless you are some kind of drunken master (a la Jackie Chan or Phil Samms). Let’s compare this tournament to GP Philadelphia, where yours truly happened to clinch one of the Top 8 slots by winning the clutch match in the Swiss.
Each day I got about six and a half hours of solid sleep. The morning before the tournament, our crew stopped at Wawa (a.k.a. the best convenience store ever) and I picked up a breakfast sandwich, two energy bars (Clif bars in particular), and two smoothies. Before round 1 I had the breakfast sandwich, a smoothie, and a bar, while the remaining provisions were consumed about halfway through the day. You’ll note that there’s no caffeine in any of those items. Caffeine is the devil for Magic tournaments. I would support a bit towards the very end of the day, but if you have it early on you will crash three quarters through the day and throw away the clutch matches that really matter.
Don’t forget to go outside between rounds and get some fresh air. Magic venues smell, er, not so fresh, so the cool air and the relief of your olfactory nerves will be immensely helpful. Make sure that you move around while you’re in the event hall, as you want your body to be just as awake and alert as your mind.
Finally, be very wary of disease. The steps I recommended earlier with proper nutrition and sleep will help keep you from catching colds or stomach viruses or whatever else circulates in these vast germ refineries known as tournament halls, but if you go a step further and take daily regimented vitamins or whatnot, it can really help. It’s very difficult to do well in a tournament if you can barely breathe, think, or stay awake. Plus, it’s not very nice to the people shoehorned in a room with you if you bring along airborne viruses.
That covers everything I wanted to say, and besides, I have another article today. I don’t want to overwhelm you fine readers with my charm*, so I’ll stop here and see you again tomorrow. Have fun.
RidiculousHat just about everywhere
*Charm may or may not be lucky.