The Main Phase – Delusions of Grandeur

Tuesday, May 20th – I visit Sonic to get myself some breakfast, which today consists of a double cheeseburger, tots, and a Coke. Breakfast of champions. I’m sitting here in my pajamas and moccasins, with Mike and Mike in the Morning in the background, attempting to write my first article for Star City Games…

Tuesday May 13, 2008, 6:38 a.m.

I visit Sonic to get myself some breakfast, which today consists of a double cheeseburger, tots, and a Coke. Breakfast of champions. I’m sitting here in my pajamas and moccasins, with Mike and Mike in the Morning in the background, attempting to write my first article for Star City Games. I mean, this is my debut article. I have to make a good impression on the readers or else they will dismiss me quicker than a Michael J theory article. If I come right out of the box and say something stupid then no one will ever read my articles ever again.

Something stupid, like talk about having a double cheeseburger for breakfast… as the very first thing I write as a Star City Games writer.


Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Reuben Bresler, and I play Magic. Not as well as I’d like (then again, who does?), but well enough that I have made Top 8s (and won) my fair share of tournaments. My first experience with Magic was at my friend Alex’s house when I was about ten years old. I believe we were in his backyard, lighting things on fire and throwing them at his neighbor’s garage. Man, those were the days. Anyway, after a few hours of that we got bored and decided to go inside for a snack and some fruit punch. I was finishing my chopped up hot dog when Alex and my other friend Chris (who was also throwing flaming projectiles at the neighbor’s property) went upstairs to Alex’s room. After a few minutes, I went up to see what was going on. They were playing Magic and taught me to play right then and there.

Suffice it to say I was addicted right off the bat.

Less than two weeks earlier, Exodus came out. I proceeded to collect the set. I got better and better at the strategy, the deck building, and the game as a whole, and it was a blast. Then Urza’s Block came out and I collected a play set of Saga, Legacy and Destiny in short order. About six months after learning the game I was playing in my local tournament against men two and three times my age… and winning. I won my first DCI sanctioned tournament when I was eleven. I have been playing competitive tournament Magic ever since.

Alex quit Magic about a year after teaching me the game. He moved out of his parent’s house a few years back and is now living with his girlfriend on the other side of town. Chris quit a year after Alex. I think he’s working at an auto body shop.

That’s enough of an intro, back to this morning.

Seven in the morning. Ugh.

Usually when I’m up this early it’s because I am up all night writing a twelve to fifteen page paper that is due in a few hours.

But not today.

Today, I am up this early because my internal clock told me that it was time to wake up from my seventeen-hour nap. Yes, seventeen hours. I went to the Star City Games 5K this weekend and we didn’t leave Richmond until about ten at night. Add to that a good ten-hour drive back to Ohio… you get the idea. This will likely be the subject of a tournament report in a coming article.

“How did I get here,” I thought to myself at 5:30 in the morning in the middle of western West Virginia, while the other members of my car (Ben Weinberg, Tom LaPille, JR Wade, and Gerry Thompson) slept through the constant drizzle and poor driving skills of truckers around me. “How did I get to be here, with these people, some of the best in the entire game? These folks have won thousands of dollars playing Magic. I’m not this good,” I thought to myself. “I’m just a kid who learned a card game in a friend’s room. I wasn’t even on the radar less than a year ago. How could I possibly have gotten here?”

Turning on the Wayback Machine…

Wednesday May 7, 2008, 12:46 p.m.

Evan Erwin and I are having a conversation on AIM. We have been friends ever since my friend Nick and myself produced a Magic Show one weekend when Evan went on vacation. A few months later, I covered GP: Montreal for the Magic Show. Evan and I met in person for the first time at GP: Columbus. He even featured matched me at the SCG 5K a few months back (which, of course, I 1-3’d and made a complete fool of myself).

We are talking about nicknames for cards (Smithers for Smash to Smithereens, Raptor Jesus for Windbrisk Raptor, etc.) when the following sentence comes up on my screen:

“Craig just asked me for your email address.”

That sound you hear is my jaw hitting the table that my computer sits on and then dropping into the trash can on the floor.

Moving forward…

Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 7:18 a.m.

This burger is delicious. Seriously.

I’ve been thinking about this deck for a little while now, and I think it’s actually the best deck ever.

I like any deck that runs a ton of basic Islands, counterspells and card drawing, and this deck hits the trifecta. More importantly, this deck makes the Faerie player the beatdown right from the outset, which is a position they are not very comfortable in, and doesn’t scoop to a third turn Magus of the Moon.

The main way to win is with Platinum Angel, either by bashing with a four-powered flyer or… by not dying. Seriously, in the metagame right now, how many ways are there to kill this thing once it’s in play? The Faerie deck has Cryptic Command to bounce it (or double Inversion), and that’s about it unless it enters the combat zone (nice Terror). The Red decks have Flame Javelin or 2-for-1-ing themselves with a couple of burn spells. Either way, this deck is equipped with approximately thirteen bajillion counterspells to protect Big Plats. But if we really do need to win the game in a hurry (as opposed to waiting for the opponent to scoop or to deck themselves or for Bitterblossom to take a bite out of them every turn), then the Urza’s Factory can make a veritable army of 2/2s in no time.

Also, the Platinum Angel plus Pact of Negation trick is cute. If you can’t figure it out, you better go ask somebody.

God, Plumeveil is so insane. It’s bigger and better than anything in about 60% of the decks out there right now. There are many reasons why, but let me point one important one out for you right off the bat. A lot of the time players will think that, since you have untapped Islands and a bunch of cards in hand, you are just waiting to counter something and if you don’t then you have nothing else to do with your mana. So the natural reaction is, “well, obviously he is going to Rune Snag slash Remove Soul slash Venser slash whatever this spell… I guess I’ll just get in there with Treetop Village slash Ghitu Encampment slash Mutavault while it’s safe.”

Then… WHABAM! Plumeveil, homes. Enjoy your tempo loss.

Even when your opponent catches on to your tricksy ways (meaning, in game 2 after you bashed their nugget in the opener) and is just attacking with actual full-time creatures like Kitchen Finks or Faerie tokens or whatever, then you still have a flashable flying Durkwood Boars to ruin your opponents’ respective days. On turn 3, no less!

I am particularly proud of my sideboard technologies. I have been saying that Commandeer would be great against Faeries for the mirror match, but unfortunately the currently accepted best lists don’t have near enough blue cards to run it effectively. Fortunately for us, we do. The reason Commandeer is so good is because Faerie pilots will often keep average to below average hands to sometimes even downright awful based solely on the fact that they have a Bitterblossom and the two mana necessary to cast it even if the rest of their hand is trash, particularly when they have mulliganed. This is the kind of thing that we can prey upon with Commandeer. If we sweep their legs out from under them, the two cards we had to RFG are inconsequential to the probable gain we get from not only taking away a threat from their board, but also adding a sizable threat to ours. Rounding out the sideboard, we have recursive Bottle Gnomes (with Ruins) for the Red decks and Arrows because, well, I couldn’t think of anything better. With that said, they seem good against things like Scion or Nom Nom. Trip Noose is there in case an Oversoul or something equally ridiculous sneaks through so we at least have outs. The pair of Vendilion Cliques are there mostly for the combo matches as a quasi-Thoughseize, able to take away a Dragonstorm or a Patrician’s Scorn at the last second before the bad guys combo out.

The Faerie matchup and the Red deck matchups are beyond favorable, and our game against all of the combos are also really good. The Merfolk matchup is dicey, but nobody plays that deck so who cares.

Oh wait… wasn’t I telling you my life story?

Too far forward… back to the Wayback Machine…

Monday, December 3, 2007

In my brief career as a writer thus far, in which I’ve penned articles and written blogs and created videos, I’ve made some assertions that turned out to be less than stellar. For those of you unfamiliar with my work, let’s review a few:

“Aven Mindcensor will make Martyr playable again.”

“Bitterblossom sucks.”

“I was playing against UG Faeries, so I sideboarded into Molten Disaster.”*

Yeah, this guy seems like the kind of person we want writing for our website…

Luckily, most of the time I was not an idiot. Through the articles, and the blogging, and the video pieces, I provoked lots of discussion on new decks and cards and was generally well received. The videos in particular were popular. I made a conscious decision when I made my first video for the blogs (the fourth Magic video I had made overall) that I would not be a Magic Show carbon copy.

I didn’t want to be the O-Town to Evan’s N’Sync.

Or… a more recent reference.

Point is, I wanted to be something totally different. I think I’ve accomplished that. You can judge for yourself in the coming weeks, when I make some new videos.

Tuesday May 13, 2008, 8:41 a.m.

Over the last few months, mostly as a result of the blogs that I have written, the professional level players have taken a liking to me and I have built up a bit of a reputation. Even though I have won my fair share of big tournaments, I am not a “name.” But now, all of the sudden, actual players like Adam Yurchick and Patrick Chapin are talking to me like I am one of them, not just some random dude who just 0-2’d their local FNM. I am taking trips to tournaments in cramped cars with Jon Swearingen, and going out to dinner with Sam Stoddard and Doug Linn. And now I am a writer for Star City Games, and driving Tom LaPille and company home from a long Magic weekend.

What the hell is going on?

The story goes that The Ferrett has taken a liking to me (particularly my videos) and has been speaking on my behalf to folks, hoping to get me hired, and apparently when The Ferrett speaks, people listen. My personal theory is that this is all a grand conspiracy to have Ohio take over Star City Games and eventually Magic as a whole. We’re coming for you next, Sanchez. Your Wizardcycling and Kid Pix can’t save you now.

And now I’m here.

So what can you expect from this weekly article?

I suspect that I was chosen because I am entertaining to read. The Venn Diagram of people who are good at Magic and the people who can put words into complete sentences isn’t a particularly big section of the population. I’m no Rizzo, but then again reading Rizzo is like reading a Harlequin novel. I take breaks from Rizzo by reading Tolstoy.

Furthermore, ever since my appearance on the Magic Show I have periodically making a video series about Magic, and there are even less people who make Magic videos. I tend to make these every month or so, and they will replace my written article whenever I get off my big fat butt and make one.

In closing, I certainly am honored to be a part of the Star City team and I hope that you, the reader, think that I am worthy of this position.

And Plumeveil is sick.

See you next week.


Reuben Bresler
Reubs11 in the forums
[email protected]
CleverMonikerMan on AIM

* In my defense, he was playing Venser, Mystic Snake, and Llanowar Elves. Still, quite dumb in retrospect. So I’m a bad player. Deal with it (I have).

AIM Conversation of the week:

Kyle: I’m going to play Paul Cheon deck, it’s so good
Reuben: You are no Cheon
Kyle: No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night