I am an old person.
I’m actually not an old person; I’m 21 years old. I can get back up very, very quickly after falling down; I can run really fast up the
stairs, and I can jump up and touch the ceiling in a random building on my campus, just to get the ladies all hot and bothered. But I tell you
I’m old because on the Saturday night before the PTQ, I was exhausted, and my girlfriend, Emily, ended up putting me to bed at quarter after ten.
On a Saturday night! God, that’s depressing.
I woke up on Sunday and immediately thought, “Hey, today is that PTQ! OHBOYOHBOYOHBOY.” Then I looked over at the clock: 8:15. I needed
more sleep, I told myself, so I tossed, and I turned, and I tried to get comfortable enough to go back to sleep (I suck at this), and I woke up Emily.
She groaned and asked me, “What are you doing up?” Not wanting to say “I’m excited for the PTQ” and embarrass myself, I
just sat there and said nothing. She rolled over and instantly fell back to sleep. I wish I could do that.
Not wanting to wake her up again and realizing that, if I did, she’d be totally justified in stabbing me in the face with a broken bottle, I carefully
got out of bed and went into the living room.
Nothing is on TV at 8:30 am on a Sunday. How was I going to pass the time? That day’s first football game, Seahawks vs. Bears, wasn’t even
on till one, and even then, I wasn’t going to subject myself to the pregame football shows, featuring the migraine medication-fueled rantings of
Terry Bradshaw, when season five of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was sitting on the bookcase.
One omelet later, the PTQ fired, and this was my pool:
- 1 Silver Myr
- 1 Leaden Myr
- 2 Gold Myr
- 1 Kemba's Skyguard
- 1 Ezuri's Brigade
- 1 Clone Shell
- 2 Goblin Gaveleer
- 1 Palladium Myr
- 1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Glint Hawk
- 1 Kuldotha Phoenix
- 2 Oxidda Scrapmelter
- 1 Chrome Steed
- 1 Cystbearer
- 1 Loxodon Wayfarer
- 1 Lumengrid Drake
- 2 Moriok Reaver
- 1 Scoria Elemental
- 1 Vedalken Certarch
- 1 Ghalma's Warden
- 1 Salvage Scout
- 1 Plated Seastrider
- 1 Sky-Eel School
- 1 Blackcleave Goblin
- 1 Bleak Coven Vampires
- 2 Contagious Nim
- 2 Ferrovore
- 1 Ogre Geargrabber
- 1 Oxidda Daredevil
- 1 Tangle Angler
- 1 Corpse Cur
- 1 Golem Artisan
- 1 Moriok Replica
- 2 Perilous Myr
- 1 Saberclaw Golem
- 1 Snapsail Glider
- 1 Soliton
- 1 Wall of Tanglecord
- 1 Arrest
- 1 Disperse
- 1 Contagion Clasp
- 1 Steady Progress
- 1 Origin Spellbomb
- 2 Galvanic Blast
- 1 Throne of Geth
- 2 Volition Reins
- 1 True Conviction
- 1 Painful Quandary
- 1 Molten Psyche
- 1 Necrogen Censer
- 1 Fulgent Distraction
- 1 Soul Parry
- 1 Whitesun's Passage
- 2 Bonds of Quicksilver
- 1 Turn Aside
- 1 Vault Skyward
- 1 Flesh Allergy
- 1 Grasp of Darkness
- 1 Instill Infection
- 1 Assault Strobe
- 1 Furnace Celebration
- 1 Turn to Slag
- 2 Carrion Call
- 1 Viridian Revel
- 1 Wing Puncture
- 1 Accorder's Shield
- 1 Echo Circlet
- 2 Horizon Spellbomb
- 2 Trigon of Corruption
I knew I was playing red. That wasn’t even really a question. Double Oxidda Scrapmelter, double Galvanic Blast, Turn to Slag, and Kuldotha
Phoenix are hard to pass up. There’s an inkling of an infect deck in that pool, but I didn’t want to pass up all my awesome red cards, and
I really didn’t want to play one of those halfsie decks that get in for two different types of damage. It could’ve been right, though.
Can’t rule that out.
So now that I’m set in red, the question was which color to pair it with. I considered both blue and white—white had True Conviction, an
Arrest, and random guys, while blue had double Volition Reins for me. After a brief deliberation, I went with the blue: the format is very attrition-y,
and I thought a guy like Sky-Eel School would serve me better than a Kemba’s Skyguard that I’d never be able to play turn 3. Also—I
don’t really like True Conviction with my red. I have so much removal that the games where there’s a deadlock until I suddenly draw True
Conviction and start smashing would be rare, if existent at all. I just don’t dig the big-casting-cost enchantments that don’t do anything
by themselves. Don’t shy away from letting me know what you’d have done in the forums, though.
This is the deck I submitted:
That Accorder’s Shield should probably be a Kuldotha Forgemaster, and I sideboarded such every game. You could also make the case for Clone Shell
here, but I’m just not a big fan of the variance of the card. I ended up having to play the Necrogen Censer, Snapsail Glider, and Chrome Steed
out of pure necessity. I wasn’t crazy about my deck, especially my mana, but I figured that my removal suite could pull me through.
Oh yeah, and I think Chicago was up, like 32-0 on Seattle at this point.
Round one: arabprinzejr
Game one was awesome because of his sequence of plays:
Turn 5: Asceticism
Turn 6: Precursor Golem
Game two starts out pretty promising: I have the Contagion Clasp for his Embersmith (the one he played the turn after he cast a Horizon Spellbomb), but
my hand is Galvanic Blast, Turn to Slag, Oxidda Scrapmelter, and Volition Reins, and he doesn’t play another spell until turn 5 Asceticism, turn
6 Precursor Golem, turn 7 Untamed Might. On to game three.
He leads with Horizon Spellbomb for the third game in a row, and I run a Silver Myr into Galvanic Blast. He rolls out a Leaden Myr, and I respond with
Perilous Myr and a Contagion Clasp of my own. He has the Contagion Clasp for my Perilous Myr, it turns out, and I untap and pass the turn, opting not
to hit his only nonland permanent, Contagion Clasp, with an Oxidda Scrapmelter. He untaps, plops down Koth of the Hammer, and passes the turn without
using any of its abilities. Stuck at two Islands and two Mountains, all I can do is play Perilous Myr and pass. He casts Asceticism and uses Koth of
the Hammer’s -2 ability to churn out Embersmith and Myr Galvanizer, with enough mana to hit Perilous Myr with an Embersmith trigger. Perilous Myr
takes out Koth of the Hammer, but even then, I’m still way behind. I draw a Mountain and finally cast Oxidda Scrapmelter, hitting his Contagion
Clasp, trying to maybe eek out some sort of ground presence, but he untaps and plops down an untargetable Myr Battlesphere. So much for that.
After this match, I thought a lot about Brian Kibler and
his videos from a couple weeks back
when he played Caw-Go, and how, while he may have disagreed with his opponents’ plays at some points, he was never critical at all, and he always tried
to find the merit in every move. As a former FNM Champion, I do not do this. When someone I see as “worse than I” makes a play I
don’t agree with, I end up walking away from the match in disgust, thinking, “wow, that guy deserves to lose.” This is 100% wrong,
and Kibler’s open-mindedness and willingness to see the game from a different perspective is why he and LSV are awesome at Magic, and I am not.
That and they never blame their opponents’ draws, even when they hit the nuts.
Also, if you don’t think Brian Kibler is the man after watching those Caw-Go videos, you deserve to be sterilized, so you can’t spread your
stupid genes anywhere, ever. And the fact that he plays with the MODO sounds on is totally bada**.
Round two: Darkshneider
He misses his fourth land drop, but we each have a Contagion Clasp to shrink each other’s guys. However, I have a Kuldotha Phoenix, a Volition
Reins for his Ezuri’s Brigade, and the mana to cast both. At the end of the match, Darkshneider takes the time to type:
Darkshneider: The only reason you won that game is ecause I miscliked my way out of a land dorp in a race
Darkshneider: so lucky
Round three: philoshow0
He’s got another one of those halfsie infect/regular damage decks that I loathe. Game three, I attack my Perilous Myr into his Necropede, and he
bites, clearing the way for my Silver Myr. Not much else happens from there until he plays a Chrome Steed that I can’t deal with, thanks to a
Volition Reins with no third Island in sight. Sometimes, those Volition Reins are a bummer. I’ll be the first to admit that the mana in that deck
was terrible, but doesn’t fortune favor the bold? It seems like I always go conservative and always get reamed by the dudes that take chances.
Hold on, fatty! You have a Silver Myr!
I snatch his Chrome Steed to have a 4/4 of my own. Unfortunately, his Oxidda Scrapmelter takes out my Trigon of Corruption, so now I have a 1/1 and a
2/2 staring down a 3/3. I need a spell and rip… another Volition Reins. I waste no time in stealing his 3/3; I’m not sure what he has in store
for me on his next turn and how much longer I’ll have triple blue, so I go with the aggressive play, steal his Oxidda Scrapmelter, and swing for
a fat two. On his next turn, he taps out (including his Copper Myr) to play Argentum Armor. If he draws a land next turn, I’m pretty much toast here. I
play Perilous Myr and swing for eight, dropping him to nine. He Galvanic Blasts my Chrome Steed, killing it, and Arrests his own stolen Oxidda
Scrapmelter. Booya for two-for-ones.
My pair of 1/1s dutifully gets in there, and he bites on blocking the Perilous Myr, going down to six in the process. He plays Silver Myr but
doesn’t have the sixth land to equip. I draw… Island. I attack with Silver Myr, but he doesn’t bite this time. He finally hits his
sixth land, equips his Silver Myr, and brings me to twelve, killing my Silver Myr in the process. I don’t panic. I’m drawing very live here. I’ve
still got double Oxidda Scrapmelter. I’ve got a Turn to Slag. I could even go running Kuldotha Phoenix, Necrogen Censer/Galvanic Blast to kill
him. I untap and draw…
Another Island. I pass the turn. He hits for seven again. I’m at five. He destroys my Volition Reins, getting his own Arrested Oxidda Scrapmelter
back. I rip… Contagion Clasp, to go 1-2, and, barring an act of God, finish outside Top 8. Not that it wasn’t my fault. Stealing his Oxidda
Scrapmelter was definitely a mistake. I was pretty high on life at that point, and I could’ve waited a while for that third blue source, had he
had the removal for my Silver Myr. At this point, I’m just glad to be able to take away the lesson.
Round four: Meibatsu
Meibatsu is on U/W. Game 3, the first play that really matters is my shooting his Grand Architect with a Turn to Slag and not his Sky-Eel School. He
throws down a Lux Cannon, which, in a slow game like this, poses some problems. On his next turn, he casts a Contagion Clasp, which is absolutely huge
here, thanks to the nutty combo of Contagion Clasp plus Lux Cannon. He taps his Lux Cannon to add a second counter to it, and he’s got mana open
to proliferate. I thankfully rip an Oxidda Scrapmelter and target a Lux Cannon that’s tapped with three counters on it. Threat: Shatterized.
He untaps and Arrests my Golem Artisan and swings with some dorks. I crack back with Oxidda Scrapmelter, putting him at four, a virtual two with
Necrogen Censer in play. My play clock is at 57 seconds. He attacks me to four with his Sky-Eel School and casts a Golem Artisan of his own. I have
lots of outs, still.
I draw: Silver Myr. That’s not an out.
I swing with Oxidda Scrapmelter; he blocks with Golem Artisan; I give his Golem Artisan -1/-1 before damage gets assigned with Trigon of Corruption,
and my play clock is at 33 seconds. He draws Riddlesmith off the top and leaves his Sky-Eel School back.
Play clock: 19 seconds.
I draw Accorder’s Shield and play it like an idiot. Play clock: 16 seconds.
He plays Ghalma’s Warden. I draw Volition Reins and steal it, fumbling all over the place. Play clock: Three seconds.
He casts a Volition Reins of his own, stealing back his Ghalma’s Warden.
Play clock: Zero seconds.
So now I’m definitely out of Top 8 contention and most likely out of prizes. But I figure I might as well keep playing—the missus is out
shopping, and this Seahawks/Bears game is sadder than a burning orphanage. So what else to do, other than play Magic?
Round five: Shanks1
On the play, in game three, I keep two Islands, Silver Myr, Palladium Myr, Kuldotha Phoenix, Chrome Steed, and the friggin’ Accorder’s
Shield I forgot to board out this round. A very bad hand, to be sure. He also has the backbreaker that game, in Swamp, Nihil Spellbomb, go. I cast
Silver Myr, and he follows up his Nihil Spellbomb with another Swamp, giving me a pretty good green light to not have to worry too much about Arc Trail
(I haven’t seen an Arc Trail from him yet, but it’s possible—he’s B/R); I cast that Palladium Myr in my hand.
I thought about this line of play after the match, and I’m still not sure if Palladium Myr there is correct because he could easily have been
holding the Mountain so he could just catch me with my pants down. I’m still not sure what the right play was there.
After a lot of turns of doing nothing, Shanks1 loses his patience and sees it prudent to blow his Nihil Spellbomb for the cantrip, which the Kuldotha
Phoenix in my hand appreciates. Now I just have to hope he’s packing Psychic Miasma or something because I’m still a red source short of casting him,
but alas, he just swings for four and says go. I rip my second Trigon of Corruption and cast it, eliciting a
Round six: Dragonwelb
Game one I win but don’t really remember. Game two I don’t feel like talking about. He led with the ESPN classic Swamp, Forest, Necropede,
and I misclicked on my turn and played Wall of Tanglecord instead of my Contagion Clasp, which sucked. I had to use both of my Volition Reins on both
of his Contagion Clasps that game just so I didn’t get poisoned out, but by the time I was able to steal both of them, they had done their job,
and he ended up blowing me out with a steady stream of guys backed up by Trigon of Infestation.
The rubber game, the game I have to win to even conceivably make prizes… he leads with Darksteel Axe. My first action is a Palladium Myr on turn
3, which he promptly Galvanic Blasts. That Galvanic Blast ends up being one of his two relevant spells of the game, the other being an Acid Web Spider
that I have Volition Reins for.
Round seven: The Song You Should Download! Of The Week!
“Avon,” by Queens of the Stone Age. This song really has nothing to do with anything; it’s just the best live clip I’ve ever
seen, and I wanted to share it because I love you very much. This concert is from when they were touring with Dave Grohl on drums, right after Songs for the Deaf dropped. Grohl’s drum solo in this clip in particular is a real pantie dropper. If you think about it, Queens of the
Stone Age is really the last real rock band left. I can’t even watch stupid Fuse anymore without feeling like I’m about to have a stroke.
Why are all these bands wearing heavy eyeliner and talking about their feelings? AND WHEN DID I GET SO F@#$ING OLD?
Round eight: some person at their computer
When I was a senior in high school, I was the president of choir, because I am a bada**. Before being the only standing president to be kicked out of choir, we went on a trip to New York City. A bunch of friends and I bought foam swords from KB Toys and proceeded to battle each
other, very enthusiastically, in the middle of Times Square. We finished up and decided to head to the ESPN Zone (RIP) when I felt someone tap on my
shoulder and ask, “Hey, were you guys LARPing?”
Quick aside—if you don’t know what LARPing is, LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing, and it’s horrible. People play Dungeons and
Dragons in real time against each other, with weapons just like the weapons your character uses, only they’re covered in foam or something else
that makes them completely harmless. They take these weapons and whack each other and imaginary creatures with them until they go home to die alone.
I looked down to see a typical gamer in his forties: Heavy-looking backpack on his back, bunch of hardcover D&D books in one arm, a large, opaque
box full of Warhammer figurines in another. I told the man “no,” and he replied, “Well, do you play Dungeons & Dragons?”
My friends looked back to see that I was talking to this dude, and they all started snickering at me because they’re jerks. I looked up to see them
snickering at me at the same time the guy did, and I saw the old guy seeing my friends snickering at him, and I felt bad, because my friends are
idiots, and no one deserves to feel bad because a bunch of idiots are laughing at him. So I started conversing with him:
“I used to, when I was younger.”
“Well, if you want, you and your friends can get in my party; I DM for a bunch of guys at Neutral Ground.”
Another quick aside—this literally happens to me all the time, and by “this,” I mean “random strangers talking to me in
public.” I have no idea why. I have no organic talents, and I certainly don’t look cool, but apparently I’m very approachable because
whenever I’m in a group, and there’s some random dude looking for conversation, I’m always the one to get approached. I don’t know
what it is. I’m really not saying this to try and sound awesome or anything; it just friggin’ happens to me all the time, and I’m
looking for ideas on how to make it stop. I’ve even tried the patented AJ Sacher “don’t shower very often” move, and even that
doesn’t work. It’s a bummer.
So the dude invited me and my friends who are laughing at him to D&D with him. Now I felt really bad because I was going to have to give him the
big denial. So I changed the subject: “I’ve heard of Neutral Ground; they have lots of big Magic tournaments there, right?” He
replied, “Yes! Yes, they do! I have this great Elf deck!” Guh. Tell someone you play Magic, and nine times out of ten, they’ll tell you
about their awesome Elf deck, or Goblin deck, or whatever stupid deck. Finally, we arrived at the ESPN Zone.
“Well this is my stop. I’d head to Neutral Ground, but I’m here with a field trip. I’ll probably stop by later, though,” I
lied. Happy to have made a friend, the old guy cheerily called back “I’ll save you a seat” and headed back into the mass of people
that is New York City. That line broke my heart. He probably did save me a seat, and I had no intention of seeing the inside of Neutral Ground that
day. I am a jerk.
Round nine: Kingof pain
Game one, I keep another loose hand of Mountain, Island, Perilous Myr, Turn to Slag, Snapsail Glider, Wall of Tanglecord, and Sky-Eel School on the play but am rewarded for it when I draw just the right amount of lands. We play guys and clog up the ground until he hits a Mimic Vat
with a Moriok Replica in play and BR untapped. Despite the fact that he’s on sixteen life at this point, this isn’t good for me. I’m one
Island off the Sky-Eel School in my hand, two Islands off the Volition Reins, with no artifact removal in sight. Moriok Replica on a Mimic Vat can
definitely get him back in this, and on his next turn, he hits a Painsmith, a Snapsail Glider of his own, and hits with a 6/4 Chrome Steed with
deathtouch. I swing with some guys, hoping to bait a trade with his Painsmith, and he opts to trade his Painsmith with my Palladium Myr and imprints
Painsmith on Mimic Vat.
On my next turn, I draw an Island, and now my hand is Sky-Eel School, Turn to Slag, and Volition Reins. I’m still one Island off Volition Reins;
what do you do here? I play Island, Sky-Eel School and hope to draw a Mountain to pitch to the Sky-Eel School but instead draw the Island I need.
Painfully, I pitch Turn to Slag and pass the turn.
He does a lot of nothing and swings me down to eight, but I untap, rip Kuldotha Phoenix, and steal his Mimic Vat. I’m able to take the game pretty
handily from there after following up my Kuldotha Phoenix with an Oxidda Scrapmelter.
The first action in game two is his tapping out for a Moriok Replica that I promptly Galvanic Blast. This game is never really close, and the turn
before I swing for lethal with a Soliton and a 1/1 Kuldotha Phoenix, he casts Exsanguinate to go to six. I rip the Necrogen Censer, because I deserve
it, and he lets himself time out while Necrogen Censer is on the stack. Solid fellow.
Six round wins ended up being good for three packs, which was nice.
I still can’t end an article gracefully to save my life.