Who Am I, Cassandra?

This has been a week of finding out THINGS. One thing I found out this week is that the African Lion Safari slogan "Go Wild!" is neither imperative nor literal. It took me a little while to work myself into a nice feral blood lust, but once it got going, jiminy! I do wish they…

This has been a week of finding out THINGS.

One thing I found out this week is that the African Lion Safari slogan "Go Wild!" is neither imperative nor literal. It took me a little while to work myself into a nice feral blood lust, but once it got going, jiminy! I do wish they had made their intentions clearer.

Although, if I didn’t get my money’s worth in notoriety from the daily news, the tranquiliser darts they spent taking me down will more than make up for it.

As a result, a bit of a mellow column this week. There’s not much room for rant when you’re straightjacketed for observation. I’m pretty sure that I’m typing this with my mind alone, but I’m honestly so doped up that even that seems farfetched.

Looks like it’s snake eyes on this lifetime.

I might as well throw in my two cents on the whole gambling discussion. Maybe I can really wing ’em, catch someone in the eye.

It’s kind of timely, because recently the U(W) campus has seen a huge upsurge in the playing of cards for money. It’s all fairly small stakes stuff. Nobody’s going to be out more than ten bucks for the night.

The amazing thing is that everyone seems to have risen to the challenge. Even people I discounted as mediocre card players have dug down and found some semblance of skill to bring to the table. What this penny-ante means is that there’s enough interest to keep people at that knife-edge of focus: the best of their abilities.

It makes the big plays that much more meaningful, because people aren’t throwing away their chances at winning on any slim percentage. When people risk it, they’re sure in their line of play. It’s really beautiful to watch.

I feel shamed, though, because the concentration I (and others) display is nowhere to be found in my play at Magic tournaments. God Shucks, the stake is even bigger! I wish I had an answer for you as to why that is, but I’m afraid I’m out of everything except bunkum.

So I guess this is an exercise for the folks at home. Take a card game you know and love, be it Hearts, Euchre, Karate Card Ninja, or the comfy lounge favorite, Barbu, and play it for a very little amount of money. See if your play improves.

If it does (and it probably will, everyone’s a bit of a miser at heart), practise that kind of focus, and bring it to your next tournament. Don’t give me any Nervous Nelly talk about Magic requiring more concentration than other card games. Focus is focus is focus. All this New Age snake oil has merit, I swear it to you.

Hey, at least I’m not selling it out of the back of my van.

Good God! When did I grow so outrageously large?

Last word about gambling: Sorrentino says about Magic "You won; but did you really *win* anything?". Unfortunately for him the converse of this is true as well.

Rube: Might as well keep gambling.

(later) Rube: There goes all my money. Future down the crapper? (consults wallet) Check.

Just make sure to keep everything in perspective. Small stakes is fine. I have problems with people putting their house up on the hard eight.

I say I’m Cassandra because for an entire month, I’ve done nothing but act nutty and spout off about how unbelievably good Necro/Donate is. Yet so many of you chose to ignore my warnings and play staple extended decks. Fools.

So now what’s happened? Seems like they’re everywhere now, doesn’t it. Hmmm, why could that be?

I guess I’m on cue for a tirade on GP Philly, but I think I’m going to save it up. If things don’t work out for me at the qualifier this weekend, I’m going to need all the vitriol I can muster. Needless to say, every Pro Johnny-Come-Lately who plays a Necro/Donate deck (even bad ones that lose to 3Deuce) and talks about how good it is as if he’s saying something new adds to my ire.

The deck has been out for public consumption for more than a month, yet there are recent posts to The Dojo talking about the deck as if it were some sort of discovery. It seems I misunderstood this whole concept of "Magic Player". It involves a heckuvalot more obliviousness than I expected.

It seems like everyone’s far too interested in the slow suicide of living to bother doing any actual practice for their Magic tournaments. At least when I tell you that I know everything it’s fairly transparent that I’m running on arrogance alone.

I pity the jobbers who believe themselves to be as good as they imagine.

"This deck is like cheating!,” they shout, but if they’d been doing anything other than sticking their heads in the Shine-O-Ball-O, they might have found this out sooner, instead of being late for the party.

If I had Cheese Doodles, you can bet I’d be throwing them.

As if you needed one more reason to play Dance Dance at your next tournament, I’m going to give you two:

One: DDDI totally owns the mirror match. With eight additional disruption cards, and fewer card-disadvantage tutors, it’s hard to lose. If you expect a Necro/Donate heavy metagame, take this version and get on the Pro-Tour. It seems likely, what with every mouthbreather with a net connexion scrambling to find a no-work way to win.

Two: If you expect lots of Necro/Donate foils and are already planning on playing a Necro/Donate deck, DDDI is also a good option. The additional counters let you play Draw/Go against their supposed threats. Dwarven Miner really does cost two mana. It’s far too slow.

Have you looked at The 3Deuce? It quite honestly loses to everything except Necro/Donate, and even then it has to have TWELVE dedicated sideboard slots. I’m totally wigging out over that fact.

Wig out!

It’s yet another deck that I will oafishly ignore.

And I’ve said it a million bajillion times, but you really can ride those counters like a Shetland pony. People just aren’t expecting you to pack that much firepower. Go out there and surprise the pants off them.

Not that it should influence your decision at all, but I’ll be employing DDDI as Smackticus Maximus at this weekend PTQ. Expect lurid detail in a week.

Perhaps if I purchase some sort of ape things will improve.

Two homespun tales to end off the day.

So I finally knuckled under and picked myself up a copy of this Napster program that everyone’s been talking about. It is no lie to say that, with patience, you will find every song you want to hear. I’ve managed to grab KMFDM’s cover of Madonna’s "Material Girl", as well as MDFMK’s as-yet unreleased album, in entirety.

The software works like ICQ, except instead of connecting people to relay messages, it catalogues the contents of their shared folders. This enables you to search for a song by any sort of criteria and pluck it like a ripe plum from another person, no matter how far away. Plus, you can filter out users with slow connexions.

If you happen to find someone with similar tastes, you can isolate them and look at their entire collection.

The selection is intoxicating. I’ve lost a day somewhere, just trawling for music. It’s my favorite computer game ever.

It’s so immediately rewarding. If you find something you like, you get to hear it post-haste. I don’t know how I managed to drag myself to campus this morning. Starvation overcame addiction, I suppose.

So run out there and get it. Lose yourself.

My other tale is just a bit of explanation. Today, you learn the ulitmate Hearts variant: Draft Hearts.

Thirteen cards each to four players, draft those fifty-two cards all in one direction. With the resulting hands, play a game of Hearts. All regular Hearts rules apply, switching draft order between games.

This variant isolates the best part of Hearts: Playing for control. If you’re not going for control, you’re probably going to lose. It’s unlikely that a game of Draft Hearts will have less than half the hands ending in control. It’s absolute brutality. One bit of advice, the Ace of Clubs is equivalent to Morphling.

Next week I promise a valuable tournament report. A collector’s edition, if you will. Hopefully I’ll acquire clarity before the tournament. It’s difficult to win when you can’t perceive consensus reality.

Josh Bennett
[email protected]

Intoxicated with music, tranq’ed out of his gourd for a vicious attack, The OMC is bound to be maximally suceptible to electronic correspondance. Take advantage of him while you can.