The Black Perspective: Pro Tour Columbus

Osyp takes a look back at the weekend that was, explaining Affinity’s success, the poor deck choices of Team Togit, and investigating Eugene Harvey’s choices in hand bags (or should we say man-purse?). All this and more on the latest “The Black Perspective”.

“Does this purse match my tie?”-Eugene Harvey

The Fashionable Eugene Harvey

Former National Champion and good player Eugenia Harvey

So Osyp, what do you think of Affinity winning the Pro Tour?

Melanie from San Francisco, CA

First off, I would like to congratulate Pierre Canali for winning the Pro Tour with Affinity. There was a time in our testing when I seriously considered playing Affinity, but after seeing how well it was doing, I decided against it because I thought others would be ready for it. Now, Pernicious Deed and Meltdown didn’t really scare me, but Energy Flux was proving very difficult to beat. However, by the time the PT came around, I was convinced that no one would play Affinity either, so I took the Energy Flux out of the sideboard and deemed it unnecessary for the metagame. The second I did this, I should’ve realized that others would do the same and just played Affinity, but I didn’t come to that conclusion soon enough and played Scepter Tog instead. Although I must say that Pierre’s inclusion of Meddling Mage seemed to be the key to dealing with all the hate cards and that was a card I hadn’t considered.

Now some people might be surprised that I would congratulate him after berating him so much in my commentary of the finals and semi-finals match. Although I did think he played very badly in the entire top 8, I actually really liked his deck and thought it was a bold choice. Besides, everyone makes mistakes under the lights of the top 8.

What did you play at the Pro Tour, and why?

Reginald from London, England

My team (Togit) decided to play Scepter Tog at this Pro Tour. Some of us (Antonio DeRosa, Gerard Fabiano, Alex Lieberman and 4th place U.S. Nationals finisher Billy Pumpernickel) decided to play Goblins with Aether Vial maindeck, but the majority of the team went with Tog. The Goblin players did better than the Tog players, in fact only two of the Tog players made day 2 out of six of us playing the deck. There were a few reasons for such a poor performance.

While we had a good idea of what decks would be popular, we simply overestimated how popular they’d be. For example, we expected a lot of Rock, Reanimator, Goblins and Combo. Our problem was that we didn’t expect how varied the field would actually be. Scepter Tog is a great deck against the decks you expect to show up. The problem with the deck is that rogue decks give the deck a lot of trouble because you just don’t know how to play against them. Scepter Tog is only effective if you know what your game plan has to be against what you’re playing against.

Our list wasn’t that good either. I mean, it was fine, but we had a Morphling main that was only good against the Rock, and even then I would’ve preferred to have a Shadowmage Infiltrator.

What’s the deal with the United States? Will America ever have another good performance?

Random European from Europe

I’m so tired of hearing people say that. The fact is America has always been on the forefront of Magic. Since the beginning, America had always set the precedent for the rest of the World. We were the first to play the game, we were the first to dominate the Pro Tours, and we had the first Professional Players. Europe and Japan always have to play catch up to the United States because we’re the first to do everything. Now is no different. American pro players have set a new precedent for the rest of the Magic playing community – stinking at Magic. It might take some time, but in a year or so the French and Germans will start to stink at Magic, then maybe in another year, the Japanese.

In all seriousness though, I’m not too worried about the state of American Magic. Even though the established American Pros all stink now beyond stink, we have a new breed of young Americans that are ready to grab the reins and get American Magic back on top.

We Love Mitch Tamblyn

Team Young America (Clockwise from top left)

Jeff Garza, Mitchell Tamblyn, Gadiel Szliefer, Mike McGee

What’s the deal with all this talk of dancing, what actually happened at Columbus?

Buster from Anaheim, CA

Well, it seems like the fact that I’m not actually the 1997-1998 New Jersey State Dance Champion (Latin/Salsa division) has come out in the open. I was called out by PT Champ Pierre Canali and had to back down. However, the fact that I’m not a Salsa expert doesn’t mean I can’t dance. In fact, I’m actually one of the best dancers on the Pro Tour (Raphael Gennari might be better). [Raphael is patently ridiculous – when that man steps on the dance floor, ya’ll betta step off, yo. – Knut] On Saturday night my crew along with Ted Knutson, Jelger Wiegersman and Ruud Warmenhoven went out to a bar called the Frog, Bear and Wild Boar (an establishment I highly recommend).

Being that it was the night before Halloween, everyone was dressed in costumes and the mood was really high. I started drinking heavily early on because I knew I would have to retire earlier than everyone else so I could wake up and do commentary in the morning. We were all just hanging out and having a good time when all of sudden, Ace of Base’s hit song “Beautiful Life” started playing. Now, there are a number of songs that I cannot stand still to, and this one happens to be at the top of that list. I’m going nuts and getting the crowd into it and all of a sudden I find myself standing on a chair dancing with another girl in a bridesmaid outfit who also is standing on a chair. During the bridge, I jump and my foot goes through the chair, however I don’t stop dancing. So now I’m in the middle of this dance floor, with my leg through a silver chair, trying to play it off like it was all one elaborate dance move I’m pulling off.

I manage to walk away from that incident unembarrassed, and continue to dance well into the evening. I think the best part though was when “Thriller” started playing, and SCG’s editor Ted Knutson started doing the exact moves that were in the video, proving two things to everyone there:

He can’t dance.

He’s really that old.

God bless Ted though because he’s an excellent wing man. Despite being married, Ted managed to talk to almost every woman in that bar (even danced with one dressed in a bridal gown) on our behalf. [Sadly, this is all undeniably true here. – Knut, who still likes to dance, even if he’s awful]

I thought your commentary was okay, not as good as Kibler’s, but it did give me something to watch on Sunday. How was the experience and when is Kibler coming back? I love Kibler.

Brian from Atlanta, GA

Taking over for Brian meant that I had some very small shoes to fill, and I was nervous. I mean, I know how fevered Kibler fans can be, so I wasn’t sure how’d they react when they found out he wasn’t there. I always love talking about Magic though, so I jumped at the opportunity when asked to do it. I also love Mike Flores, so I was excited to be able to do commentary with him as well as the venerable Randall J. Buehler.

I thought the commentary went well enough. For those of you who missed it, it was basically Randy and Flores talking about something that happened in the mid-eighties and me butting in to remind them that no one cares. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any of the commentary for future Pro Tours, as I know Kibler should be done pretending to be a tiger in the woods somewhere in Georgia by then.

Osyp, why are all of your articles veiled insults to Magic players I have never met? Can you please mention some Magic strategy, like why you think Meandeck Oath is the dominant deck in Vintage at the moment?

Steve from Roanoke, VA

Wow, that was harsh. But you’re right, I don’t really offer anything constructive in my articles. I guess it’s because I think writing about Magic strategy is the most boring thing you can do with your time, second only to reading about Magic strategy. Like, I was going to say something about Kiki-Jiki, and how it’s so good, but by the time I started typing in “Mirror Breaker” I fell asleep. I wasn’t always like this – I wonder when I became so jaded. You know what, that’s all going to change right now. Let me go over some key strategic points.

  • Black is the best color in Champions of Kamigawa draft.

  • White is the worst color in Champions Rochester draft.

  • R/G Kiki Jiki is the best deck in Standard.

  • Trash talking in tournaments should stop right now.

  • The metagame of the SCG P9 in Chicago will have a lot of Meandeck Oath in it.

There you go, five points that go over everything you need to know strategy-wise as of right now. Just memorize those five key points and you won’t even have to read another SCG strategy article for at least another week.

Thanks for reading and until next time on . . .

The Black Perspective

Osyp “Joe Black” Lebedowicz