Mark Young has had a love/hate relationship with the game of Magic ever since the Beta release. He can occasionally be seen in a top 8 in the Mid-Atlantic region, including at the 2005
Virginia State Championships.
In his final article for StaCityGames.com, Mark looks back at some of the formative experiences that led him to where he is today, in both Magic and non-Magic terms. He also shares the reasons for his departure. Thanks for all the hard work and great articles, Mark! Weâ€™ll miss you!
Examining oneâ€™s own thought processes during a slump is a tricky business. As I wrote in On Discipline, being able to self-examine your play is one of the hallmarks of good discipline. The problem with this is that during your worst slumps, self-examination doesnâ€™t seem to turn up anything useful.
The learning curve can slope both ways; while you have to learn a lot of stuff to go uphill from “bad” to “decent,” at some point too much knowledge can screw up your head and send you back downhill to “bad.” Eventually, improvement becomes an issue of thinking less about the game, rather than more. The higher level of players you face, the more your game needs to simplify, rather than get increasingly complex.
I was playing Magic Online the other day, and trying to decide if I should do a 4-3-2-2 draft or an 8-4. I ended up picking a 4-3-2-2, just because it looked like the 8-4 would be a while before starting, but it got me thinking about the sort of conventional wisdom that people deliver about picking between the twoâ€¦
MTGO didnâ€™t have “Nix Tix” drafting over Thanksgiving weekend as they have in the past; probably as a result of server stability concerns. However, I still had some product and tickets saved up, and some downtime when the family was off doing their own things. During that time it seemed like the fish-men were flowing freely, and bringing victories with them. On Sunday alone I won two drafts and split in the finals of a third, all with decks that had at least 75% Merfolk among their creature counts.
I got home from Daytona Monday night. I have to work Tuesday until 5, of course I canâ€™t write at all from work *wink*, and my article is due Tuesday at 6. So, youâ€™re not going to get coherent thoughts from me like you usually do, but instead a wide-ranging spray of various topics and random thoughts that I had over the past four daysâ€¦
Last weekâ€™s article was a little awkward, because my deadline was a couple of days before States decklists went up, but the article came out on the same day the States page went live. Itâ€™s like I was frantic and scrambling for some obscure theorem to use on a midterm, and then an hour after I turned in the paper someone uploaded Stephen Hawkingâ€™s entire brain into my skull.
I have this little problem. Every deck I build that doesn’t have Molten Disaster in it seems to be losing to Troll Ascetic. My Molten Disaster deck ain’t that hot either, if the Troll deck draws Loxodon Warhammer. Let me go back to the beginning, however. I originally wanted a Blue deck with, at a minimum, Scrying Sheets and Cryptic Command. So I built this…
So, when last we met I was 2-5 in the Mockvitational and about to play four rounds of Standard. The interesting thing is that three of my remaining four opponents — Christian Calcano, Asher Hecht, and Gabe Carlton-Barnes — were 1-2-3 in the standings at that point. So much like baseball’s Washington Nationals, I would get a chance to spoil the dreams of some New Yorkers in October. Calcano was even wearing a Mets jersey, it was just too perfect. I would also have to play Mike Flores, who was my main competition for the ignominious last-place finish…
Just as promised last week, an invitation-only Magic tournament took place last Saturday at the New Yorker hotel in New York City. Sponsored by top8magic.com, it was known as the Mockvitational. I played in it, and here is my story of what happened. Sadly, some deadline problems related to Fearless Leader’s trip to Valencia means that I will be unable to give you the Standard results until next week. Up until then…
Brian David-Marshall caught up to me on Magic Online about a month ago and sent me a message: “How would you like to come up to NYC on October 6 to play in the top8magic Mockvitational?” Competitors? Lebedowicz, Chapin, and other luminaries will be turning out. Formats? Hey, I’ve always wanted to build my own block. Prizes? Amongst this crowd, what better prize could there possibly be than… bragging rights.
It’s kind of eerie how Boggart Shenanigans, with the spoiled casting cost of 2R, seems to fit as perfectly for a Goblin beatdown deck as Astral Slide did for a White control deck. It’s almost like one card is a photonegative of the other. The Shenanigans turns each Goblin card (note that this includes Tarfire) into an extra point of damage without extra mana spent or loss of card advantage.
If you read Magic strategy sites on the Internet, chances are you already know that Lorwyn is spreading several tribal themes across different colors: Giants are in White and Red, Merfolk are in Blue and White, Goblins are in Red and Black, and so on. As for Green, the list of tribes that they share obviously includes Elves, as well as Treefolk. … Treefolk? Warning: Contains Spoilers.
At the prerelease, I would be shocked if someone didn’t try to play Garruk, add a counter, play a two-drop, and activate the Overrun ability all in the same turn. Or, alternatively, someone will try to make three Beasts in one turn. Or perhaps someone will try to make a Beast during an opponent’s attack step. Of course, it doesn’t work in any of those ways; you can only use one of the loyalty abilities each turn, you can only use it once, and you can only do it at sorcery speed.