The Daily Shot: Finis

If you’ve seen my final record, you know I 1-2’d this table and then went up to my hotel room to weep like an infant. I’m sorry about not keeping you in suspense, but hey – we’re all adults here. You’re mature enough to know the truth.

This is it – the last leg of the Nationals Report. Step on in and have a seat – you’re reading the tail end of a report so large that it beats up other reports and takes their lunch money.

Let me tell you a quick story:

The late Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) has had a lot of witty remarks attributed to him, and the razor-edge thrust of his mind (and the resulting fame) was reportedly a nuisance to some of his peers, who doubtless wished that their own quirky remarks were met with such positive response from the world at large. James MacNeil Whistler, another renowned wit and the artist who painted the classic”Whistler’s Mother,” was one such friend.

“Samuel, I wish I had said that,” he was heard to remark one afternoon, after Twain had unburdened himself of another crowd-pleasing quotation.

Twain could only smile as he replied “Don’t worry James, you will. You will.”

I sometimes feel a little like James MacNeil Whistler, because I so often read articles that I wish I myself had written. I guess when you’re an average Joe reading an article, you don’t think about such things… But writers are doomed to forever measure themselves against every word they read.

My fellow Canadian Matt Vienneau just stole the show at Sideboard.com with a great article about Odyssey draft.

Matt does three things very, very well – he can draft, he can write, and most of all he can complain. Though there isn’t much Vienneau-style bitching in this article (I guess he wasn’t drafting in Europe), it’s still more than worth a read. Actually, I can point to pretty much every report or article written by Matt Vienneau or Mike Flores and say”I wish I had written that” with total honesty.

Now, let’s wrap up this report. In Draft 1 I managed to pile up a bomb-filled deck without much depth, and I went 2-1 with it, including a bye. Not really what I was hoping for. The worst part was my decision to play Centaur Rootcaster, a perfect example of experimentation at the wrong time. I mean, why take chances? Taking a chance on a bad card at a major event isn’t admirable; it’s just dumb. Testicle-governed play like that will get you into trouble every time.

As a writer, I should be able to understand the above concept without much effort. Including a seldom-used, dangerously poor card in a Nationals limited deck is like putting a seldom-used, dangerously obsolete word in your Nationals report. It does more harm than good. For this reason, I will not be playing Centaur Rootcaster in any more decks.

Nor will I be using the word”niggardly” in this report.

So at 4-5, I sit down for Draft 2. The goal is to run the table and wind up at 7-5 and a few DCI points richer. If you’ve seen my final record though, you know I 1-2’d this table and then went up to my hotel room to weep like an infant. I’m sorry about not keeping you in suspense, but hey – we’re all adults here. You’re mature enough to know the truth.

Overall, the table was Springfield for me. That is to say, crime may have been down 15%, but heavy sack beatings were up 500%.

I first-pick Repentant Vampire, then I grab Resilient Wanderer and try to go B/W. I was looking for signals, and when the cards started to dry up in a hurry I looked for a shot to switch out of White, but nothing came that looked like a good jumping point. I concentrated mostly on taking all the good black cards to set myself up for Torment.

Bad news… Nothing good is coming.

I get Embolden, and I grab some middle of the road stuff like Crypt Creeper, Luminous Guardian and Rotting Giant. Overall, my Odyssey pack is just terrible. Late in the pack I get a Sungrass Egg, which would turn out to be important. I didn’t let any good Black past me, so I’m hoping for strong stuff in Torment.

The black does come, but it’s nothing to write home about.

All solid, nothing stellar. In Torment I grab Sickening Dreams, Cabal Torturer, Mind Sludge, two Soul Scourges (one of which I took over Chainer, Dementia Master, and instantly regretted it), Organ Grinder, Strength Of Lunacy, and Waste Away. I also get a late-pick Tainted Field to help shore up the mana.

I’m in better shape with the coming of the Judgment pack, so here’s hoping. My first pick is Phantom Nishoba, which I pick because I have the Sungrass Egg and it’s worth splashing anyhow, plus there’s nothing else in the pack. Then I get passed a pack with jack squat in Black and White… And an Elephant Guide. So I take the Guide. My next pack again has nothing in B/W (I know it sounds almost impossible not to get any good white in three Judgment packs, but it’s true; the best White card in both previous cases was something like Lead Astray), and a Brawn. I get a little too splashy by taking the Brawn – it’s good but not great. Following that, I pick up Guided Strike x2, a Prismatic Strands, Phantom Nomad, and a Benevolent Bodyguard to round things out.

Here’s how the deck ended up:

B/W/g (Geordie Tait, Canadian Nationals, Draft 2)

Benevolent Bodyguard

Phantom Nomad

Resilient Wanderer

Luminous Guardian

2x Soul Scourge

Rotting Giant

Organ Grinder

Crypt Creeper

Repentant Vampire

Cabal Torturer

Phantom Nishoba


Mind Sludge

Strength Of Lunacy

Sickening Dreams

Waste Away

2x Guided Strike


Prismatic Strands

Elephant Guide

Sungrass Egg

8 Swamp

6 Plains

2 Forest

1 Tainted Field

For a B/W deck, I sure don’t have much removal! No Demise, Desire, Chastise, Second Thoughts, or Crippling Fatigue. No Butcher. The path to victory is going to be a strong creature draw, with help from my excellent combat tricks (Embolden, Strands, 2x Guided Strike means you rule the red zone if there’s creature parity) and maybe a quick ramp to seven mana and the Phantom Nishoba. A second-turn Nomad, third-turn Elephant Guide would be a fun game too.

I hate having to play Luminous Guardian… He’s just mediocre. I don’t like Teroh’s Faithful much either, but at least that card gives you life and it fits very well into the U/W control decks when they’re trying to stave off the assault of more aggressive builds. This one is a defensive card too, but it requires a lot of open mana to reach its full potential. Other than that I guess the deck isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. To go 3-0 with this I’d need to have some great draws.

Round 10 vs. Christian Langevin w/ The Deck Of Mystery

Writers who take too long with their reports are like old, punch-drunk boxers – they can’t remember much and it’s painful to watch when they try to cover it up. I’ll spare you that sort of tomfoolery this round.

I know nothing and I’m not afraid to admit it. I hope you’re not too disappointed. Don’t worry though – I can bore you just as effectively skimming as I can when I go in-depth.

Game 1:

My notes say”Phantom Nishoba,” and I ended the game at 32 life.

This space here is where I would put something witty if I were that type of guy.

This space here is where I’d drop a few names to make myself look like less of an incompetent clod.

The shameful details of my inept sideboarding go here.

Game 2:

He wins, probably due to cheating. How else could he beat a man so skilled, so vicious a miser, so unbeatably amazing that he played a deck with Centaur Rootcaster in it during Draft 1?

Man, if Matt Vienneau saw me playing that Rootcaster, he’d dig himself a grave just so he could roll over in it.

Game 3:

We both have four creatures each, but then I Sickening Dreams and all of his guys die, while none of mine do. Then I proceed to win.

Reports like this are why Pete pays me the big bucks.

Match Record: 5-5

Now my rating really starts to go down the tubes. Welcome to Springfield. Can you swing a sack of doorknobs?

Round 11 vs. Peter Kozlowski w/ B/R

Peter has got the Chainer that I passed, plus a lot of direct damage and removal, including a Lightning Surge. I got my ass hammered this round.

We get deckchecked and a fannypack-wearing judge comes back and says

“Gentlemen… I have some bad news.”

Then he says, “The bad news is that I don’t get to give out any penalties. The decks are fine. Go ahead and play.”

How underhanded can you get? If I’d had a heart condition, you’d be reading the Daily Shot via Ouiji Board right now, because that SOB of a judge would have struck me stone dead. This reinforces my suspicion that DCI judges are, at heart, social predators who counterbalance the anemic pay they receive by amusing themselves at the expense of poor schmucks such as myself.

The next time I see him at a major event, I’m going to stink-palm him.

Game 1:

Peter, a DCI Judge, wins this game by flat-out knowing the rules better than me. It’s been a long, grinding affair and there have been some tremendous plays on both sides, but I’m about to win next turn with a 6/4 Soul Scourge unless he’s got some sort of trick up his sleeve.

He has Chainer on his side of the table, and quite a few creatures – plus I’m at four life, while he is at one. He can almost Alpha-strike for the win, but I have one too many guys, plus an Embolden in the graveyard. He doesn’t seem to have any way to get rid of my Soul Scourge.

As I’m about to attack for the win, he casts Flaming Gambit for three, targeting himself.

At first I don’t quite know why he’s doing this, but then I realize that he’s trying to kill his own Chainer, which would remove my Soul Scourge from the game! Luckily (or so I think), I have Embolden in my graveyard, so it’s no problem. I can save Chainer and win the game. I pass priority and he redirects the damage to Chainer, and I try to use Embolden… Except that there is no window for me to do so – because the damage is dealt during resolution of Flaming Gambit.

Chainer is going to die and there’s nothing I can do about it. Chris Page, a DCI Judge who I saw that morning eating cold pizza during the player’s meeting (Boyd Hardie:”Page, I’m proud of you”), was there to confirm my worst fears…Chainer was toast and the game was deadlocked again!

After that tremendous play, Peter finishes me off with a couple of alpha strikes against my now non-Embolden-protected board.

Game 2:

I get badly color screwed, and he rolls me. Heavy sack beatings are up 500%.

Match Record: 5-6

This round is for my rating. If I win, I’m only out 10 points. If I lose, it’s more like 50.

Round 12 vs. Stephan Simard w/ Cards & Such

Stephan is playing one of those deck thingies. I remember my time in the womb better than I do this match, so don’t expect much.

Game 1:

I pull off some craziness with Prismatic Strands and Embolden and Sickening Dreams and still lose. Probably because I drew my third land on turn six.

Game 2:

I keep the four-land, two-creature, one trick hand. I draw three land in a row and his first two plays are turn two and three Mesmeric Fiends, taking both of my creatures.

Are you kidding me?

Final Match Record: 5-7

Time to switch tenses.

My final record was 5-7, and my last three games were color screw, mana screw and mana flood.

Now, obviously I wanted to punch someone in the face – you know the feeling. I decided to hit the hotel room and sulk for the rest of the night, and so I grabbed my stuff and started to leave the play area.

As I’m turning toward the elevator from the lobby, someone said:

Geordie Tait?”

“Yeah, that’s me,” I replied.

“I read your articles on StarCity. They’re great – keep up the good work, it’s the only thing there worth reading.” (With apologies to my fellow StarCity authors, these were his words. To each his own.)

What could I do besides thank him? I felt a little chastened as I bid him good day and continued on my way. I went to the elevator, but as I go in and put out my hand to press the”Close Door” button, I suddenly realized that I didn’t feel like going to my room and sulking anymore. Actually, I didn’t feel bad at all.

No, on the contrary… I felt good. I felt like going back to the play area and watching my friends play T1. It was all because someone said he enjoyed my writing – the whole encounter just broke my bad mood like a ray of sunshine through a cloudbank. Suddenly, the whole idea of being upset seemed just ridiculous.

5-7? Who cares? I came down to grind in; I did grind in. I succeeded. I got to play at Nationals, I got a feature match, and someone told me they enjoyed my work. What more can an amateur player want?

So I go back and enjoy the rest of the evening with my buddies from Sarnia.

The first thing I do when I get back to the play area is try to figure out who it was so I can thank him for pulling my head out of my ass. (It turns out his name is Josh Rider and he’s a frequent visitor to MtgOntario.com, among other Magic sites.)

I never got a chance to thank him that weekend, so I guess I’ll do it now:

Josh, if you’re out there in Readerland, thanks for taking the time to say what you said. It saved the rest of my night, and put a great spin on the rest of the weekend.

I guess that’s that. My Nationals report is finally done. What more is there to say? A month after the actual event, it’s finally all down on paper. Next year the event is in Montreal, and if I can manage the long-ass drive, I’ll be there again, trying to Grind in (unless I can somehow Q on rating…not impossible if I do very well at a few PTQ/GPT type events).

To the fine people with whom I played and interacted at Canadian Nationals, I’ll see you next year.

To you readers – see you tomorrow. Scary, isn’t it?

Geordie Tait

[email protected]