For those who missed it last week, this article is only the stories from SCG Kansas City Open Weekend. The first installation
consisted of a few stories and the Standard portion while part two was solely the Legacy
portion. This week is all about the times. I’m usually not a huge fan of multi-part reports, but I figure with two actual tournaments and a week’s
worth of O’Connor stories, fitting it down to three articles was work enough.
Tournament reports regularly consist of two weighted elements: the Magic and the non-Magic. In splitting up the stories into the two halves of the
report despite their linear nature, it became impossible to have the two elements properly interwoven. Rather, they ended up being quite abruptly
separated. There are perks and drawbacks to this approach, but, for better or worse, it’s how things ended up. Please enjoy.
“I mean, I love the guy, but I don’t know if I would trust him with my life. Like, I think that Brandon Scheel would take a bullet for me. That’s what
I mean.” It was below freezing outside as Ryan O'Connor drove us back to his mom’s. Our Escalade casually drifted between lanes, sliding on the ice
while the driver discussed the differences between his many best friends.
“Well that doesn’t count; Scheel would take a bullet for a random hobo.” An unfair precedent was being set by his example, and I felt the motion needed
to be quashed.
Tim retorted, “Well, so would I…just for very different reasons.” Another classic Tim Aten suicide half-joke. “I’m like an angel in disguise!”
We went to a Chipotle only to find an unbelievable line. Rather than dine at a neighboring delicatessen or wait it out like a bunch of chumps, we just
got back in the car and drove to a different Chipotle that was nearly empty. All four people at the service stations were young, attractive females.
And, not to sell stereotypes, but we ended up receiving some of the most poorly constructed burritos that I’ve ever seen.
Her first go at Tim’s burrito was comical at best. When she was trying to fold the second tortilla around her first failed attempt, Tim and I shot each
other a smirking glance. The woman behind the register was watching the whole thing and made an effort to lock eyes with me so that I didn’t miss her
headshake and eye roll.
After the poor double wrapping, she jammed the monstrosity into some foil and moved on to her next victim. When Tim tried to open the wrapping
carefully, it immediately fell apart in such a way that he was amused at what passersby might think when they saw him trying to eat it. “Is this guy
some sort of handicapped? What the hell did he do to that poor burrito? Is it okay for him to be wielding a sharp fork like that?”
Mine wasn’t quite that disasterful (new word). It was merely folded incorrectly: Instead of the ingredients being laid across the width of the bite, it
was perfectly segregated between rice and good stuff. I had a 50-50 shot of bricking off of my first bite and sure enough: all rice. I was going to
complain about how badly I ran, but then I looked at Tim’s steaming pile of burrito innards and decided to keep my mouth shut.
The next few days were mostly spent gaming in The Aquarium (Mrs. O’Connor’s basement) while watching awesome movie after awesome movie. Ryan kept
trying to slip Disney drivel or Jersey Shore in there, but I was having none of that. We also played a lot of the hot new game show that’s sweeping the
nation: “Fish or Foe?” hosted by Pauly Shore. The rules are simple: someone is nominated, and the players decide whether they’re more of a fish or more
of a foe. It’s that simple. A common variation is “Luis Scott-Vargas or Garvas Elscott?”
Ryan is quite obviously a fish, while I am most certainly a foe. People who don’t know Tim think that he’s the very definition of a foe, but secretly
he’s a total fish. Almost everybody has a little of both in them. It’s just a matter of determining which is more prominent. Try playing at home!
There was a MODO PTQ coming up the next morning. Sadly, the format was Extended and not “Fish or Foe?” I decided to play the 4CC deck that I saw LSV
and friends playing in Chiba. I figured that it couldn’t be all that bad if Luis 6-0ed Worlds with it. It turns out that this logic doesn’t really hold
up. I should’ve known better, especially after reading Osyp’s blog:
“I scrounge over the World’s decklists to see what stands out. LSV went undefeated again with 4 color. Now I have 3 rules when it comes to
constructed. 1. Never play a deck designed by Conley Woods (you’d have a better shot finding a unicorn than someone who did well with a deck
he designed). 2 Never play a deck I designed (I’m a really terrible deckbuilder). 3. Never play a deck LSV went undefeated with at Worlds
(i.e. the Swans debacle).” [sic]
It’s like he’s a prophet. I repeatedly got smashed by anything and everything in the 2-mans. I made all kinds of tweaks and had Ryan and Tim look over
my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t punting them away, but no matter what I did, I was just getting manhandled. But, it was too late to borrow anything
else, so I was locked in. Thankfully, the best possible thing happened: I slept through the tournament. When I woke up and found all of those suckers
who actually participated going into round 5, I felt like I’d made 30 dollars in negative four hours and celebrated with donuts.
On Saturday night, Kenny Castor had been abandoned at the site. A man by the name of Cody Jennings had told Kenny that he had a place for him to stay
but left without him and then refused to pick up his phone. I knew some people that he was with and told Kenny to call them, which he did (eventually)
but didn’t get anywhere. Instead, he kept calling Ryan’s sister trying to mooch a place to stay from her, which Ryan insisted wouldn’t work. He was
right. Now we couldn’t leave because Ryan felt bad that Kenny was stranded, so I finally decided to facilitate things a bit. I called Drew Levin and
asked him to give the phone to Cody, giving mine to Kenny.
Then Cody hung up on him.
I guess it was time for a Man to step in and get things done. I called Drew back and talked to Cody myself (through Drew, so he couldn’t hang up again)
in order to figure out what was going on. In short, they were twenty minutes away and didn’t plan on coming back for Kenny, but if he could find a way
there, then he was still welcome to stay with them. After asking around a bit, it was obvious that no one was going his way and that we were his only
hope. This was my first time having to do something like this for young Kenneth, but something tells me that he gets himself into these predicaments
quite often. I’m just surprised that he always seems to find someone to bail him out, since he seems entirely incapable of helping himself.
If anybody out there would like to accept a position as Kenny Castor Magic babysitter, please give us a call at 1-800-BIG-CROC.
The evening of the Legacy tournament, Ryan and Tim came by to hang out after having stood in the freezing cold all day watching the Kansas City Chiefs
get romped. They began talking to a group of awesome grinders including Drew Levin. They were discussing Legacy, and Ryan took the opportunity to ask
Drew if he had played in GP Columbus. Some people looked on with an awkward tension, as others just lost it immediately. Drew gave a solemn but
apprehensive nod to the affirmative. Not one to slow down, Ryan then asked Drew how he had finished.
“Um, well, you see…” at this point, the only one not laughing was Ryan, who remained stoic throughout. An impressive performance. Luckily, Drew took
it well. I’d bet 50 to 1 that he’s heard it all before anyway.
Tim came to bird my Top 8 match, while Ryan found a nice table to fall asleep on. People were having inane conversations very loudly in the vicinity of
the Top 8, which is just inexcusable. I quieted them down once, but the audible blathering restarted during Julian Booher semifinal match. A little
consideration is apparently far too much to ask.
I remembered that, before the tournament, some of the children were trying to degrade my deck and make fun of my choices. Then they were all dead by
round 4 or so, as I handily X-0ed the Swiss and got fairly unlucky to lose in the Top 8 to my worst matchup. The lack of respect these days…
Maybe one day they’ll realize that the cards just don’t matter nearly as much as they think. It’s all about giving yourself the best chance to win.
Play well, and you can do a whole lot with very little.
I better be careful; that was almost actual Magic content. Sorry, Gabe. Back to the durdling:
Tim left the next day, while I had another night there. Adam Boyd, Andrew Temple, and I went to a Steak ‘n Shake at about 3 in the morning, while Ryan
went to sell some rares to a couple of degenerates. Andrew ordered a milkshake, asking the waitress to surprise him with what kind, a decision that was
far too heavy a burden for her to carry. After taking about ten minutes to drill home the idea that he didn’t care what kind of milkshake she brought
him, she ended up just giving him the same thing I ordered. She really couldn’t handle the pressure.
Adam and Andrew took turns exchanging stories of their deprived childhoods. “I wasn’t allowed to watch The Lion King because of its Eastern
philosophy.” I was revolted the entire time. What kind of a parent goes out of their way to shelter their children from different cultures and ideas
and ways of thinking? That’s a rhetorical question. I’m perfectly aware of what kind of parents would do such a thing.
“My parents were pretty religious,” Adam started, “but my cousin’s parents were the worst.” Mr. Boyd is usually fairly quiet, but brother, let me tell
you; it’s a sight to see when he gets going on something. As told by him:
So I was over at their house once and said that we should play Power Rangers. My aunt stopped us and took me aside, asking, “Adam, where do the
Power Rangers get their power?”
I was like, “Psh, Zordon, obviously. Where have you been?”
So she said, “That’s right, and where do we get our power?”
And I was like, “I don’t know… food?”
“No, no, no, Adam: we get our power from God. And that’s why you can’t play Power Rangers.”
The rest of the meal was spent on Andrew being hit on by the waitress while trying to convince us that the South isn’t awful. Nothing came of either.
My flight was the next day, but it got cancelled, so I got to spend an extra day with Ryan. Some one-on-one time. Just the two of us. Together. Alone.
We played poker all day and ate lots of food, calling each other fat the whole time. At about 3 in the morning, Ryan realized that he hadn’t eaten for
three whole hours and went upstairs to make cinnamon rolls. Knowing that he would fail, or at the very least take a long time, I procured myself a bowl
of soup and proceeded to devour it. By the time I had finished, Ryan was still looking for a pan.
He eventually did find that pan and so began the search for a way to grease it. I pointed to the bottle of Pam no-stick spray on the shelf, but he
demanded, and I quote, “something less healthy.” Opening the fridge, I was expecting him to pull out a stick of butter. When he came out with a tub of
Crisco instead, I can’t say that I was particularly surprised. He scooped out a chunk of the eerily white gel with a knife and plopped it onto the
middle of the pan. For a moment, it looked like he was going to try and spread the Crisco using the knife like he was buttering a big, metal piece of
toast. But then, at the last second, he put the knife down and went for it with both hands.
If you cropped the image such that you couldn’t see the pan, the excitement and concentration on his face as he smeared the viscous white substance
with his hands would make you think that he was sun screening up a beautiful woman’s exposed back.
Having rubbed the pan down, he placed the rolls on, slid it into the oven, and hip-checked the door closed. It took him a couple of fingers to realize
that licking the Crisco off was probably not the best idea.
I went downstairs to plug in my laptop, as it was running low, and I was still in a tournament. Some amount of time later, I heard Ryan coming down the
stairs. It wasn’t his normal, jolly skip, though, but rather a heavy-footed stomp slowly hitting each step in turn. When he hit the bottom, I heard him
drag his feet across the shag carpeting as he made his way to the door. It creaked open, and he stood in the doorway with his head down and his lower
lip out, and with a stomp for emphasis, he angrily exclaimed, “I burnt them!”
After a short tantrum, and with a whine that bordered on a sob, he spun around and fell onto the couch, burying his face in a pillow.