The Most Annoying Cards Of My Career

The last definition of annoying cards for the day? “Cards that cost me games.” Doug Linn denigates the cards that handed him his most humilating losses in tournaments.

That’s three definitions, with three days left to provide your own. Do it… And you could win $20!

Stasis, Shahrazad, and Trinisphere. There’s the list you’ll be seeing all week.

Now for the fun stuff.

It’s the semifinals of a Mox tournament in Columbus, Ohio last December. Long.dec was legal for three more days and I knew that everyone would be playing it. I took U/R Fish with me in anticipation of hilarious wins against terrifying combo. I had fought through it all day long, and with victory just two more rounds away, I sit down across from Paul Mastriano, one of the best Long.dec players that the world has ever seen.

Did I mention this was the first tournament I ever went to?

I was feeling pretty good after having fought my way through five rounds of competition to make it to these tables. Paul combos me out in the first game. In the second, I show him how I roll with Null Rod and Arcane Laboratory locking things down. Then, in the third game, I lose to myself. My hand had two Wastelands and a Null Rod in it. I drop Waste, pass the turn, and then drop another Waste and use them both on Paul’s lands.

Did you see that Null Rod in my hand? I must have missed it while I was hitting the crack pipe, because it was the infinitely better play. Paul dropped Lion’s Eye Diamonds from everywhere and comboed out. And I could have been a contender!

My first annoying card is Null Rod. Perhaps if it had been foil or Beta, I would have noticed it. Maybe I’m ranking that internal monologue that told me to use my Wastelands as being annoying as well… But I blame Null Rod for being a lot better than I thought it was at the time. For that matter, it was better than anyone had thought. It shepherded in a summer dominated by Fish and a struggle by the environment to deal with it.

…Which nicely transitions into my next card.

I’m sitting down in Round Four against Marc Perez, inventor of U/R Fish, at the Central Coast Championship held last summer. I’m piloting Hulk, a deck that gets ruined by Fish. Game one, Marc mind games me into a loss with his aura of power. His charisma and just darn good looks make me forget what my cards do. In the second game, we’re fighting a war of attrition. He has a Cloud of Faeries and a Spiketail Hatchling down, and they’re gnawing at my life total. I’m in frantic topdeck mode when I rip Mind Twist off the top. I tap out to cast it.

"Okay, I’ll sacrifice Spiketail Hatchling. Pay one more mana."

Benedict Arnold sold out the Continentals for 20,000 pounds sterling. Judas sold out Jesus for forty shekels. And Spiketail Hatchling turned his coat on me for 1U. The card that I rode hard in my previous tournament had nailed me. I asked Marc afterwards, and he didn’t have the counter. My Twist would have turned the game around.

I was bluffed by a card that sat innocuously on the table until it made me feel like a scrub. So here’s to Spiketail Hatchling, for being one of the most annoying win conditions that I have ever run and had ran against me.

Fish seems to be the recurring theme here, so I’m laying the blame on it in my last story. I’m playing Meandeck Oath at The StarCityGames.com Power Nine: Richmond tournament against Fish in round 4. I blow my opponent out the first game. In the second game, he drops Grim Lavamancer. No big deal, I thought, and thanks for turning on my Oath of Druids! But he has to go and put Sigil of Sleep on it. Let me run the mathematics by you – if you’re playing Oath and that thing comes down, you have around ten turns to find removal for it before Lavamancer kills you. Oh, and your win conditions don’t work anymore. It’s pretty fancy. If any of you are familiar with our Oath list, it had no removal of any kind in it for that strategy.

Kids, this is why you put Ancient Hydra in your Oath decks.

I had the game in the bag. I lost it because of a stupid enchant creature (seriously, who uses those?). I went on to miss the top 8 because of a dumb Urza’s Destiny common. This, if no other card, is an example of annoying cards ruining my career as a Vintage pro.

Enjoy the cards.

Doug "Send Spare Change" Linn

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