It’s Monday again. Start groaning and lamenting your dreary existence – I started about twenty minutes ago and I won’t be finished feeling sorry for myself until late evening.
Where are you right now?
Slacking at work in what might be described as your last, desperate attempt to”stick it to the man”? Or maybe you’re tuning out your lecture and reading me instead. Whatever vital task you’re ignoring in order to come here and scan the site (why monitor pressure levels when you can watch me get bitchslapped by Oscar Tan?), I welcome your readership with open arms. And speaking of Oscar, he and fellow columnist Will Rieffer will be soon be going at it with pistols at twenty paces. Grab your popcorn and pull up a chair beside me.
You might as well get used to my hack writing because I’ll be around a lot. In fact, I’ll be here to suffer with you every day of every week, as long as there is Magic to talk about. Let’s start with some Magic: The Gathering news.
Poor Shark 2 won Nagoya, and if you want to learn about Odyssey Block team draft, you should definitely check out the Sideboard coverage, all of which is done by Josh Bennett. Bennett is what you might call a”splendid writer”, so you’ll enjoy yourself while trying to wrap your mind around the sprawling draft and match coverage (it’s hard to cover three matches at once) and the boggling polysyllabic surnames that so often inundate said coverage when an Asian Grand Prix rolls around.
One thing you might notice is how lopsided the table can get if the packs fall a certain way. Check out the final draft for a bird’s eye view of this phenomenon – PS2 opened *three* Overruns and played all three – much to the chagrin of their beleaguered opponents, the hapless team of Shuuhei Nakamura, Kimio Imai, and Naoki Kabouchi. Those guys must have felt shell-shocked by the time Torment came around, and they started play with one foot already in the grave.
Instead of more waffling on my part, let’s check out…
THE TOP TEN TEAM NAMES FROM GP: NAGOYA
10. Breaking The Ruels (Olivier Ruel, Antoine Ruel, Alex Shvartsman)
An amusing pun to describe what you might call”an anthology of pros”. These guys have accolades out the wazoo, though Shvartsman will always be best known by this writer for the planted vibrator he once tried to carry through airport security. Good name, and good enough for 10th place. Still, they’re up against the culture that brought us”All your base…”. They’re not getting better than 10th up against genius like that.
9. Fruits (Kasutaka Sagamori, Yuuki Yamazaki, Hidetaka Miyazaki)
I’m not sure where these guys got the name, but here’s the team photo:
Look at the intensity! If I sit down across the table from those hardened faces, I’m thinking there’ll be a bigtime intimidation factor. The first guy on the left is like:
“I swear on the soul of my grandfather, dead these twenty years, you WILL be defeated!”
And the guy to his right is reaching his right arm out as if to say:
“With the might of my fist, I will rend your world asunder!”
Finally, the guy furthest to the right is sorta like:
“My rage burns red hot, with force enough to melt the most stalwart of defenses! Also, where’s the can?”
8. Motion Formula (Toyishi Sato, Masakura Yamao, Hitoshi Sugiyama)
With a team name like that, I’m thinking they were more successful with the ladies than they were at the draft table. Like a Team-Limited DCI rating that makes the grade just in time for invites to be announced, these guys are always ready to”rise to the occasion.”
7. The OKK and his minions (Satoshi Nagano, Masao Sando, Masahide Okuyama)
An intelligent play on decks popularized by Sol Malka, this is about the only use I can find for Okk – and by that I mean that it has a place in the creation of humorous team names and pretty much nowhere else. Still, you might see Okk around – it’ll be the foil rare in that box of 7th Edition you decided to get in the hope you’d pull a foil Bird.
I tried that and I got a Trained Orgg. Don’t tempt 7th Edition fate – just buy singles. Friends don’t let friends buy 7th Edition.
6. This is a pen (Shuhei Ito, Shinobu Umezawa, Takashi Ishihara)
Shuhei, Shinobu and Takashi prove that last-minute discussion about color-seating, pick priority and other strategic elements can sometimes push simple decisions, like the naming of the team, to the wayside. Eventually though, someone reminded them that they had to choose a name, and it was time for this trio of mental sport enthusiasts to use all the power of their mighty brains in order to come up with a suitable moniker!
5. A House of Cat (Tatsuya Ikuta, Satoshi Miyamoto, Daisuke Kanayama)
I think something was lost in the translation. Sounds more like a bad Manga than a Magic team, which is part of the charm.
4. Marugoto Banana (Tomoyasu Sanoda, Takuya Makida, Shoji Kurakami)
Ell-oh-frikkin’ ell. Only at an Asian team event, my friends. These guys are geniuses.
3. Peppermint Cookie (Yuki Morita, Takahiro Fukichi, Yasuke Yoshikawa)
Yea, better check yourself when these bad-ass mother****ers are in town. Straight out of the darkest recesses of the Yakuza-infested streets, it’s the most hardcore team in the land.
2. (tie) Seven Samurai DX (Katsuhiko Okumura, Yoshiyasu Sugimura, Koshi Kobayashi) and Amadeus (Akane Sawada, Fumihiko Sano, Shiyichi, Sato)
These two teams obviously appreciate classic cinema. Two teams full of Asian film-school graduates?
1. Total Age 77 (Kentaro Sakai, Masaki Ishikawa, Terunari Tsuzuki)
If creativity fails, try math!
Oh yeah, and don’t forget the other major event that was occurring at about the same time…
That Trenches deck that was tossed around Milwaukee looks interesting; like the sort of deck you could adopt for a while and then gradually mold into something entirely your own. It’ll be the next thing I work on – I still have the”Rug” deck together, but I think I want to try something more controllish, especially since”Rug” gets worse as the field moves away from Black and towards Trenches and Squirrel/Opposition. I remember when all I used to worry about was Ichorid, Braids, and R/G Beats. Now, my deck strands so many Flametongues in hand that the damn thing should go by the codename”S.S. Minnow.”
What’s the best card with to break Standstill with? Though I didn’t realize it before, reading Milwaukee match coverage tuned me into the fact that Compulsion is a great answer to Standstill, and I’m going to put a few in any control deck I try. I love the idea of having a good answer to Standstill (one of the most annoying cards in the history of Magic), and Compulsion is a great enchantment that will provide tremendous card quality advantage over time, making it very difficult for a Zevatog deck to get Upheaval through without a massive fight.
There are a couple of ways to go from the start. One course of action would be to try would be Mike Flores‘ recent tentative U/R Control listing on the Sideboard.
This deck was supposed to be the introduction to Fledgling Dragon, but there are many big creatures that might work as a finisher in that design – and it can even work without any creatures at all. It may have merits in pre-Judgement T2. That’s starting point number one, a good place to from which to jump off into a piece of technology with your own personal quirks and foibles. I think that tweaking from that list could bring some favorable results.
The other starting point – Eric“Danger” Taylor’s winning Milwaukee Trenches deck. EDT’s deck tells us a lot about what is effective in the current environment. Looter decks are impotent without Looters and this deck can kill, Repulse or counter those with ease. Against Trenches, Mongrels don’t work as well as Looters because Mongrel/Wurm draws get crushed by Wrath of God. This deck strands Flametongues all over the place – and Aether Burst and Repulse, the traditional tempo weapons of Zevatog, are 75% dead against the Trenches deck; good only for delaying the inevitable or saving one’s own creatures from Wrath Of God or similar effects.
For a little bit of valuable info, take a look at Taylor’s beatdown sideboard of Lightning Angels and Meddling Mages, and check out the quarterfinals coverage, where you’ll see how he sideboards against a Standstill/Upheaval/Psychatog deck. I can’t wait to try that sideboard against a ‘Tog player and see how it does over the course of many games. It might provide a relative scrub like me with some valuable insight regarding the chinks in the seemingly impregnable armor of the Zevatog deck.
That’s it for today – see you tomorrow. Until then, watch out in those dark, foreboding alleyways…you might run into Peppermint Cookie.
“Your daddy he is.”