Here I am, in the middle of the afternoon, sitting in my basement, just digging through cards to put some decks together to test against for Nationals. I can see the sun through the small cellar window in the corner and hear the local neighborhood kids outside playing on their swingsets. Even the birds are chirping.
What the heck am I doing inside?
There’s just something inherently wrong with a hobby that keeps you from absorbing some good old-fashioned sunshine on a cool seventy-degree day. Magic has cards about strength and nature and light, so why does it feel like I’m only exercising the brain?
Maybe that’s why so many people play blue – you know, the ethereal, the intellect, the mental aspect of the game. We can associate with the blue, because that’s the part of our body we are exercising – the mind. I think it’s time, though, that Wizards of the Coast start exercising the brawn part of the game. After all, it is spring, the physical body is done hibernating, and it is time to put the mind on the back burner to get our physiques in shape again. It is time to give the green and red mages a chance to show their real strength.
Let me introduce the Magic Summer Games.
First off is the Lava Axe throwing competition. How many times have you wanted to just whip this card at your opponent? Now you can – only this axe isn’t cardboard. Each competitor is allowed four magma-refined lava axes to throw at your choice of one of your three least favorite Magic-playing opponents. Scoring is based on style, speed, and opponent appendage loss. Points are lost if your opponent successfully catches the Lava Axe. If your opponent does happen to catch the flaming ball of steel, he or she has one opportunity to throw it back at you. Successful hits are counted against your score. Healing Salve and burn cream will be provided. Sorry, Flowstone axes are not allowed – unless you are Crovax, in which case, the sponsors of this event fear you enough to let you play however you want.
Once you’ve cauterized all your wounds from the Lava Axe competition, we head right into the Giant Strength round. Two very Hungry, Hungry Heifers sit atop a teetering Sandstone Needle. You need to lift them up over your head and onto a rather precarious Flying Carpet. This is a test of strength and finesse. Don’t think Might of Oaks will win you the battle when you accidentally drop one of them, as the Heifers have their own way of dealing with failures. If you succeed, you will go on to the next test. Try not to go last in this one, because the Heifers have a tendency to gain a little weight (say one or two tons) after a few deliciously failed competitors.
Usually after surviving the Giant Strength competition, you are so relieved that you feel like flying. That’s why we made the Leap next. Try and jump as high as you can and grab one of the many aerial critters in flight. You get three chances – the Jump, the Leap, and the Daring Leap. The size of the retrieved specimen will determine your score for this one. Faeries are worth nothing. Getting one of these shows your total inability to jump even one inch off the ground, and they’ll let you suffer for wasting their time. Falcons and hawks net you one point. Rocs, Drakes and Griffins are worth two points. Djinns and Angels are worth three points. Dragons are worth four, and Elders are worth five points. No points are awarded if the flier catches you instead. Both prey and predator are allowed to eat each other if they so choose. Salt, pepper, and BBQ grills will be on hand after this event for lunch.
While everyone is full and a little logy from lunch, this is when we like to do Freestyle Avalanche Riding. There’s no more entertainment value than what you can get watching a bunch of hotshots wipe out. The goal of this event is to ride an avalanche safely to the bottom from the top of the mountain using only a trash can lid. There are several mountain heights you can choose, ranging from Wart (1000 ft and 10 points) to Keldon Necropolis (150,000 ft and 150 points). You are required to start the avalanche yourself, but you must use one of the devices provided for you courtesy of the Goblin Tinkerer’s Guild of Dominia. Each device will deduct points from your final score. The choices of bombs are as follows:
Incendiary Device (30 points) – you won’t know when it goes off, but when it does, you’ll get a great avalanche. Not for the easily frightened.
Booby Trap (60 points) – You can set the timer on this one, and it provides a full mountain peak of avalanche. Not recommended for any species smaller than an elephant or without equivalent body armor. The blast alone will kill you.
Avalanche size, ride time, and additional stunts will earn you points in this event. This isn’t SSX, folks, so be careful. Vhati priests, as well as Goblin and Cabal Surgeons, will be on hand to reattach any lost body parts. Sorry, you already signed a waiver claiming you won’t sue us for improperly attached limbs. Besides, chicks dig deformities.
Usually by this time, the competitors need a little breather from the more strenuous competitions. We finish the evening off with a little target practice at Telim Tor’s Dart range. You are allowed a round of twenty darts to hit a Baker’s Dozen of Clay Pigeons. You obtain points for each hit, and are awarded additional points on any that you send to the ground (yes, of course we are using live ones!). I recommend you don’t eat them when the competition is over, as they really do have a strong adobe flavor. The wurms love them, though, so stay out of the shooting area. Even though no one laughs at Telim and his darts, I am sure that we’re going to be laughing at you in this one.
The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy, stitch up your wounds, have your last rites said, or get ready for the events of Day 2:
The Hammer of Bogardan Bell – this one is to see who really did eat their Wheaties for breakfast. It’s the basic hit-the-lever-as-hard-as-you-can-to-get-the-metal-ball-to-ding-the-bell show-of-strength competition. The bell is about a mile up, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the typical beast or Hulking Cyclops. For those wimpier types out there, don’t feel too overwhelmed. You will be using the Hammer of Bogardan, so you’ll have the opportunity to try and hit the bell again, and again, and again, and again…
Dexterity is as important as strength, so we made sure to include the Spider Climb in this summer’s Magic Games. The event is simple – climb to the top of the tree and come back down. The execution is a little bit harder, though, as the tree you are required to climb is Verdeloth the Ancient – a towering, mile-high tree that harbors its own defenses, including some fairly cranky Kavu. Since Verdeloth gets a little fidgety when disturbed, you’re going to have to be quick on your toes to catch it before it starts shambling away. Oh, and you have one hour to complete this event before you start losing points from your score. If you complete under the allotted hour, you gain 10,000 points, enough to win the entire tournament itself. Don’t get too excited, though – we have yet to see anyone do this in less than a day. We just like to get your hopes up.
Now, what would an athletic event be without a race? The Need for Speed is the longest, fastest, straightest course you’ll ever meet – five miles of pure asphalt hanging high above the Shivan Gorge. This isn’t an Olympics race, mind you; spells, potions, lotions, anything goes. Accelerate your start, let the Fires burn your feet, let the Fervor incite, Mark the Fury on your body. We don’t care, we just want to see how darn fast a person can go. Just remember, no pushing.
Keeping with the Olympic spirit, the final event of Day 2 tests arm strength and accuracy, much like discus. Except we use Goblins for the next challenge – the Fling. In case you haven’t noticed, there are too many Goblins running around Dominia (at least this isn’t Mercadia). This event is important in keeping the cycle of nature in balance by thinning out their numbers. That, and they make such a wonderful, clean splat mark where they land. This event is simple – you’ll be given three Goblins to match your weight category. Throw them as far as you can and as straight as you can. Points will be awarded based on horizontal and vertical distance from throwing line, as well as the size of the impact crater made by the Goblin. Points will be deducted for any Goblin that manages to get up and walk away from the competition.
For Day 3 of the Magic Summer Games, we like to add in a little bit of western rodeo-style skills, which really prove out a participant’s reflexes.
The Orgg Training Test is first on the agenda. To train an Orgg is fairly simple – put a collar around his neck and tell him how big he really is. Of course, the difficulty lies in the execution, as an Orgg will usually run at the site of anything bigger than a pup. Don’t get him in a panic, either, or you might find yourself sitting under two tons of whimpering, blubbering Orgg fat. You are allowed a maximum of two rubber bands for this event, and no other equipment. Scoring is based on time to collar and level of training. Five points will be awarded for basic commands ("sit", "stay", "beg"), ten points for sophistication ("read", "use the toilet", "talk"), and thirty points for suiting the nature of the beast – refusing commands, talking back, and generally beating up anything smaller than itself. Since all the Goblin Chirugeons were used for the Fling, Combat Medics will be on hand to assist you with recovering from your successes.
The focus shifts from large to small with our next event, Squirrel Wrangling. You’ve got five minutes, a sack of acorns, and two Kevlar ropes to round up fifteen squirrels. Cattle wrangling is like roping a fire hydrant compared to these fast, furry, and mean little beasts. Chain mail armor is recommended at a minimum for any tender parts of the body. The standard scoring system will be used for time and number of captures. An additional fifty points will be awarded to the wrangler with the least number of appendages chewed off during this event.
Of course, no Summer Games is complete without a grand finale! Whatever you did up to this point means as much as a mosquito bite while you are being swallowed bodily by an Elder Land Wurm. This last one, the Survival of the Fittest, is the final challenge; a no-holds-barred match to the death where anything goes. Biting, screaming, kicking, summoning the Apocalypse, it is all good. Last one standing…
And there you have the Magic Summer Games. Doesn’t that sound like a lot more fun than sitting in a dank, stuffy room trying to think? Please contact your local Wizards of the Coast representative and see if we can’t get these new exciting tournaments of Magic implemented.