The Daily Shot: Pro Tour – Boston Roundup

Here, Aaron Forsythe is saying,”Yeah, Phoenix Foundation is pretty good, but here’s what I would have done.”
Any illusions that I once had about being able to do Aaron Forsythe’s job, even a little, have been shattered like so many cheap trinkets falling off the back of a truck

Welcome back to the Daily Shot, where today we’re on the outside looking in.

I play Magic, much like Kai or Ed Fear or any number of other Pros… But when it comes time to play at the highest level, I’m on the outside of the frosted glass, fogging up the window with my desperate exhalations as I strain to get a taste of high-level play.

PT: Boston is like some sort of alien territory. Nothing could be further from the casual, low-level Magic that you and I play each day: Each time the sun rises, I get ready to immerse myself in Cube drafts, Texas Hold’em for rares, pre-releases, Friday Night Magic, 100-card T1 tournaments, sleeved 5-Color with auto-tradeback ante. Every day, I sling spells at tables near the D&D shelves, and to my immediate left there’s a fat tabby wedged in a comic box, purring contentedly as I lay lands and pass it back. I can look in any direction and see a product that wouldn’t exist without Todd MacFarlane.

It’s a trip. A different world. At the same time that I’m tripping over little children running to and fro, trying to worm my way towards the posted pairings, trying to ignore the stifling body heat, sitting down to look for my approaching opponent through a forest of McDonalds drink containers and lumbering behemoth casual players, Canada’s own”2020″ are playing Team Rochester on an immaculate tablecloth, surrounded by Sideboard reporters. Later on, they will have their picks analyzed by Aaron Forsythe. They will face off with Phoenix Foundation in a spacious room where the air conditioning blows with no end in sight.

No one reports on my match but me. At the prerelease, the only thing that blows with no end in sight is my card pool.

I saw”2020″ team member David Rood at both GP Detroit and Canadian Nationals (he had strong finishes at both events) and he was nice enough to congratulate me on my GPT win at the former event… But this weekend, he’s off at PT: Boston while I’m turning men sideways at the game store Pandemonium.

The signage says that Pandemonium is not my bedroom. If that is so, PT: Boston is not even on my planet.

Rood – and especially Kai, Gary Wise and the like – have their own world, and on occasion I get to visit it and marvel at all the wonders. PT: Boston is one such wonder. The two formats are such that you’d almost never play casually or at any low to medium-level event. They are high-end formats for high-end players at high level events. I am out of my league. Out of my element. Off of my planet, daddy-o.

Reading Aaron Forsythe coverage is a treat, and it makes you appreciate just how much he knows about Magic. I love the part where he second-guesses Phoenix Foundation:

The coverage linked above covers the Rochester draft between Kai Budde incumbant diety-team Phoenix Foundation, and Slay Pillage Gerard, a trio consisting of Sonne, Fabiano, and McCord. Here are some snippets from Forsythe that go to show you that he knows exactly what he is talking about. This format is one of the least played on the planet, and the man still knows his stuff. Uncanny.

“At one point, Dirk took a Mystic Zealot and Marco a Chainflinger allowing Pianna, Nomad Captain to get to McCord. I’m sure McCord is looking to go hyper-aggressive to keep Iridescent Angel out of the picture, so it will be interesting to see how Pianna affects things.”

Here, Forsythe points out what is obvious to him but not so obvious to the rest of us humanoids… The fact that McCord is going to try to beat the angel with pure speed. I haven’t played against Iridescent Angel enough to know what strategy is best against it, though it would stand to reason that this is the correct one. Kill before it can be cast.

“The middle of Judgment went normally, with Kai picking up two Elephant Guides of his own. Dirk had to counterdraft the second Thriss because Sonne would wreck him with it. Similarly, Sonne countered a Selfless Exorcist from Marco at McCord’s insistence, because it can ‘eat’ Anger and keep his Vigilant Sentries from threshold.”

Team Rochester is complex. Are you seeing how this format is light years beyond anything that a casual player would do on any given day?

Here’s the gem:

“The last pack was interesting. Dirk opened Treacherous Vampire, Arcane Teachings, Phantom Tiger, and Filth. Without hesitation, Dirk took the Incarnation, Kai the Tiger, and Marco the Teachings, allowing the 4/4 flyer to get to Sonne.

“After the draft, the Germans stated that Filth is better in the black-on-black match than any other card is in any other matchup (including Glory, Aboshan, you name it). While I agree that if Filth had gotten to Sonne it would have destroyed Dirk, Dirk’s deck is not very aggressive, he has only two ways to discard, and Sonne has two Gravegougers. I may have taken the Vampire and had Kai counter the Filth.”

Here, Aaron Forsythe is saying, “Yeah, Phoenix Foundation is pretty good, but here’s what I would have done.”

Any illusions that I once had about being able to do Aaron Forsythe job, even a little, have been shattered like so many cheap trinkets falling off the back of a truck. Speaking of jobs, I have one to do, because I can’t talk about a Team event without going over the…

Top Five Team Names From PT Boston:

5. On The Stack?? What’s That?? (Jose Pabos, Braulio Rivera, Milton J. Figueroa)

As I believe I have mentioned, I spent much of PT: Boston far away, in Detroit, getting trampled by Treespring Lorians and Exalted Angel. I ended up 1-2, and as a result I had a lot of time to watch Magic.

One of the 4-0’s at the Prerelease actually said the above words, and he wasn’t joking. I’m not sure whether to feel pride in Magic as an everyman’s game, or weep at the fact that they guy in question was tearing the place up despite having no knowledge of the rules.

Is it good that you can go to a prerelease and kick some ass despite a relative lack of skill? I guess so. I just can’t shake the feeling that I might as well give up and start playing marbles, or canasta.

4. Taller, Smaller & Mauler (David Sonnenburg, Anthony Ferraro, Murray Evans)

This Canadian team decided to go with a self-descriptive name. Like an incorrectly applied hit of acid, it really rolls off the tongue.

3. To The Bar (Walter Egli, Brian Lynch, Robert DiPalma)

A nice takeoff on the famous Magic expression”To the air!”. I presume it also describes the planned course of action should the team find itself out of the running.

2. Fellowship of the Ting (Matt Ranks, Rudy Edwards, Joseph Crosby)

Tolkien would be proud. This name is nothing new, but I need to give credit where credit is due – it’s gas.

1. TBS Affiliates (Ben Seck, Andrew Wolf, Matt Rubin)

Turner is running some new programming this fall. Make sure you tune in to see”The Ben Seck” as he quests for a Pro Tour title, alongside Andrew Wolf and Matt Rubin, a name I recognize as the guy who tried to get MiseTings to remove a story about a mistake he made from the site.

Cool, I just got some mail this very second, just as I was about to start a new sentence. Let’s open it.

*click click*

I don’t recognize the address, and it has no subject line. More spam? Let’s read it.

*throat clearing*

“Why are you writting articles?? Every report you have written is you complianing about how you went 1-2 or 2-0 drop. Face it your sh-t, stop writting. Nate”.

Damn, that was an inopportune time to read my mail live and during a stream-of-conciousness article. Let’s move on, lest this whole situation become embarassing for all concerned.

As you probably know by now, Phoenix Foundation won PT: Boston, beating out a cinderella story Canadian squad to take home the big prize. Kai winning a Pro Tour is about as exciting as a whistle blowing to end a factory shift. Remember Dream Team I, the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team that went undefeated to take the Gold back in the early 90’s? Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, a host of other amazing players? The Sporting News said the same thing about them.

Other countries have teams that fall to the ground in tears when they win the gold. Jordan yawns and sticks it in his trophy case alongside the NCAA championship, the NBA championship, MVP trophies, and whatever else he’s got kicking around. I’m starting to wonder whether or not Kai does the same thing. He’s got enough of those oversized checks to put a new wing on his home, using them as insulation.

Kai will never be untouchable like Jordan, though, because at heart I’m pretty sure he’s got that indomitable gamer spirit that we all share. Check out this photo:


That’s your PT champion with a Circular Logic stuck to his forehead.

That sound is the WHOOSH! as Super-Kai comes crashing back to earth with the rest of us mortals. PT: Boston may be alien territory, but I think I understand the locals. They’re guys like you and me, with a Circular Logic stuck to their heads, a smile, a wink, and a fistful of pesos.

I’ll see you all tomorrow. Go check out that PT: Boston coverage, and you might learn as much as this writer did about high level play and that whole different world that maybe, just maybe, isn’t so different after all.

One day I’ll get there. Maybe I’ll see you there. I might not be playing. I might be writing, I might be judging. I might be playing in side events and kibitzing. Make sure you say hello – I’ll be the guy with an Ekundu Cyclops stuck to my forehead.

Geordie Tait

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