Well it’s Invitational Week! For most of us, it’s a time of preparation and theorycrafting.
For me, it’s a week of hair-pulling and long nights.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Invitationals. We get a split format tournament and some of the best players in the world in one place to battle it out for
a shot at the Players’ Championship. What most people don’t realize is this is the time for all that hard work from the past few months to come to
That means it’s time to bust out the anti-Archangel of Thune.
It’s time to bust out the…
Just in case anyone was worried, I am 1000% dead set on playing Dragons this weekend. Now the fun part starts because I get to hem and haw about how
awesome Stormbreath Dragon is in the given metagame. Trust me when I say I enjoy this process, but I want to lead off with the major reason why I play
Stormbreath Dragon and why everyone should find their own Stormbreath Dragon:
I play Stormbreath Dragon because it’s fun!
See that last three letter word? Fun! It’s an important one in this game we play. Some people seem to forget that fun is what got you into the game, and
fun is what keeps you up in the down times. So let’s talk about fun. People seem to default to complaining about Magic in every regard. They complain about
WOTC policy changes, they complain about formats, and they complain about the sky not being blue enough. You know what solves all those issues?
Having some fun.
Not just a little bit of fun, but waking up the morning of an event and being so excited to play your 75 that you’re practically racing to the event site.
Every event I go to I make sure to find one good thing about that event, and I focus on that if I ever start to waver from fun and complain about things.
This does not mean I ignore the bad things that might happen at an event (losing and small venues are the top of the list), but instead I choose to
acknowledge the bad and keep on moving towards the good.
So the real question, is why are you not having fun at your events?
– Hate your deck choice? Change it! I promise you will not burst into flames if you do not sleeve up the exact 75 that won the recent
– Think a card is miserable to play with/against? Go nuts and drop the hammer on that strategy. Show the masses that a little variation in deck choice can
pay large dividends.
– Do you think the entire day was a waste and you should have stayed home? Then stay home! Come to events for the people and the challenge of the game. If
neither of those appeals to you, maybe it’s time for a break and a perspective change. I can speak from experience of what I call “Seattle Syndrome”:
Many of you know I was lucky enough to start playing competitive Magic in arguably the greatest geographic area for Magic: Seattle/Tacoma, WA (Okay, it was
mostly Seattle, but those from Tacoma know it’s not all that bad). A major issue I saw early in my playing days was the constant negative attitude some
very skilled players had towards the game especially when their results were bad. After a bad day they would immediately begin to rant and rave about how
they hated the format/their dog/Spicy Strips/life. Magically, those players seemed to forget all about their woes once the Cube Drafts started. After
observing this behavior for about a year straight, I realized the issue wasn’t related to Magic in any way, it was related to their approach to fun.
The players having the least fun playing competitive Magic in the traditional sense began to branch out into Cube Drafts and Team Drafts (my weapon of
choice). Eventually some of them began to go to PTQs not to play at all, and instead would go to Cube/Chess/socialize and magically their mindset improved
towards the game rapidly. The end state was some of them returned to play PTQs occasionally, but many continued along the Cube Draft route, which has since
evolved into the Shotgun Lotus Vintage Rotisserie Draft League. This
kept them in the game and enjoying the time they spent with it.
Now why is that specific case relevant to any of you in regard to fun?
Because they decided to prioritize fun over traditional forms of success.
Now how do we translate that into having fun while not deviating from the “grind?”
Simply put, focus on fun.
If winning is fun, focus on winning. Work day in and day out to improve your chances of winning. This doesn’t mean you need to win every event, but instead
focus on how you taking part in the hardest process in Magic – self-improvement. Find the joy in making small gains in your game and working towards larger
gains and success.
If you have fun by playing non-traditional strategies, then play the wacky decks that make your heart flutter. However, be reasonable with yourself and
don’t go in expecting every brew to smash through an event. Find the fun in the deckbuilding and improvement process. Find fun in the tedious process of
data collection and comparison to find the holes in metagames. Find that fun in the hours brewing with your friends at all hours of the night.
If your fun comes from nothing related to the main event, don’t be shy in not signing up. Go to an event for whatever reasons you want to go that
event for. Trading, socializing, drafting…the list goes on and on. but what’s important is that the main event is just a small piece of the proverbial
event pie. So cut whatever piece it is you really want, and forget what everyone else is doing.
Lastly, if you think someone else is having fun in a way that you do not approve of, please keep it to yourself. While I do not enjoy formats like
Commander, I have made an effort to understand how people derive fun from the format simply to better understand my fellow player. Magic as a community
does not need people causing internal stress. We get enough of it externally from our parents, friends, and family, so if you really feel the desire to
tear someone down for their choice of fun, do me a small favor:
Keep it to yourself. You are not the Fun Police.
People went through the same struggle, or a greater one, to make it to the event to have some fun. To me, that says everyone has a right to be there doing
whatever it is that makes them happy. So if you get smashed by what is a seemingly terrible deck, swallow your pride and congratulate them on their fun
times and move on towards your own.
With that rant out of the way, let’s get to the little thing with the Dragons.
- 4 Frostburn Weird
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 4 Boros Reckoner
- 3 Purphoros, God of the Forge
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 3 Fanatic of Mogis
- 4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
- 3 Goblin Rabblemaster
So I’m back at it with the big mana turns and angry Dragons. I understand that U/W Control is popular, and they love to sweep the board constantly ,and I
understand this deck can be kinda clunky at times…
But frankly, I just don’t care because this deck is the most fun I have had playing Magic in Standard. I get to play an aggressive deck with a combo
finish. I get to make seemingly bad attacks to keep devotion around for larger Fanatics. I get to cast Stormbreath Dragon early and often.
This is what we call a “good time.”
On a more serious note, I think this deck is very well-positioned with Black Devotion variants performing so well recently. You get to smash their
one-for-one trading with free/cheap threats, and you can board into a very aggressive deck post-board to just overrun them. As an added bonus, Stormbreath
Dragon gets to tell Blood Baron of Vizkopa to find somewhere else to party.
While I’m not sold on this being my exact list for this weekend, I know that whatever I play in both Legacy and Standard I will have a blast doing so
(possible pun intended).
For those on the fence with their choices for this weekend, try to make your decision with having a bit of fun in mind. Don’t set yourself up for a bad
tournament by hating your list before you start. Trying to slog through ten-plus rounds of swiss with a deck you hate is not going to happen, and I feel
like having some fun with your deck lets you relax and try to play the best Magic possible. You care even less about the importance of winning when your
deck is fun and powerful.
PS: I have always wanted to know: What’s your Stormbreath Dragon? I know everyone has a card that just makes them smile and want to jam games all
day. What card do you love sleeving up for an event even if the haters say it’s bad?