52 FNMs – A Stitch

These words you’re reading mark the twentieth FNM I’ve played in. Unfortunately, they haven’t all been consecutive, because duty calls. Sometimes, Ted Knutson organizes an FNM boycott. Sometimes, you have to go out drinking in your hometown on Christmas Eve Eve with all the kids you used to play Magic with in high school, only to get made fun of all night because, not only are you the only one to have stuck with Magic, thanks of an acute lack of maturity and rationality, but you now write about said game in a vain attempt to make some sense of it all.

After twenty weeks, I really expected the adulation to come raining down. “You changed my life,” “I want to be a better person because of you,” and, “Can you please donate some sperm; my wife and I are trying to conceive, and we really like your articles,” are all things I fully expected to hear by now.

It’s been a little slower to come than all that, but receiving messages like this on my Facebook wall don’t hurt:

The very definition of warm fuzzies.

A few weeks ago, a guy on Twitter, David Stull, got a hold of me:

I don’t know who that guy is, but there’s certainly no hard and fast rule that says I only have to play decks piloted by people I’ve heard of. Honestly, it’s really flattering that anyone would even consider sending me his deck list without any prompt from me (usually I have to ask for the good lists or just find them myself). However, I was already very much spoken for that week, so I let him know that I wouldn’t be able to play it then, but to ship the list and let’s see what we can do next week. This is what he sent:

That’s sixty-one cards. After alerting David to this fact, he shipped this final list—the list I ended up playing last week:

A long time ago, when I was taking playwriting classes, we learned two things during workshopping:

  1. All works have merit.
  2. If you don’t like something, that’s fine, but you better goddamn be able to present a way to improve it—otherwise, you are fucking worthless.

While I disagree slightly with that first point—specifically, I don’t think there’s any merit in torture porn movies like Human Centipede and the Saw series—I choose to take the second point into heavy consideration before making the following comments:

The deck is bad. The deck is not good. The choice to play Green over Blue baffles me. You lose Forbidden Alchemy and the reason to play Unburial Rites and Sun Titan, Phantasmal Image . . . and you get what? Rampant Growth? Mulch? This isn’t Legacy; there’s absolutely no reason to speed up your Unburial Rites by one turn. No one’s setting up a soft-lock on turn three. The difference between a turn-five Titan and a turn-six Titan in the deck is minimal on the play—without mising a Blade Splicer, you’re putting no pressure on your opponent at all before turn six—and non-existent on the draw.

And then there’s Mulch. I can’t really explain Mulch. If you’re already conceding yourself to the high-variance, let’s-see-how-explosive-I-can-get game, why wouldn’t you just play Dream Twist? You don’t need the lands; your endgame (is it Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite?) isn’t as good as all the other big endgames in Standard (White Sun's Zenith, Karn Liberated, four Sun Titans).

Sun Titan is borderline pointless. Sure, sometimes, you get a Dead Weight that was awesome on turn one but is pointless on turn six. Sometimes, you get an Oblivion Ring that would’ve just been in your hand had you been playing Forbidden Alchemy. But the majority of the time, you rebuy nothing.

Viridian Emissary has been terrible ever since people figured out how to play against it. They would be better as the Phyrexian Rager that was cut out of the first version; the deck simply needs cards.

Perilous Myr is a cute card against mono-Red and the like, but he sucks against my particular metagame, which is equal parts Solar Flare and durdly, goddamn control decks piloted by asshats who think they’re original and hilarious for liking Islands to a fault. I can’t complain about Perilous Myr, though; I know why he’s there, and in a different scene, he’d probably be an all-star.

Blade Splicer’s pretty good when you draw it, but there are only three in the deck. Wurmcoil Engine suffers from the same problem: awesome card, inexplicable number (read: not four) of them in the deck. There were a lot of times I wanted Wurmcoil Engine, but could never depend on it because there were only two copies in the deck. When I did draw it, though, it played really nicely with the two Day of Judgments in the deck, and it could always be counted on to bait out more of the opponent’s creatures, since he’d need more guys to keep up with the life swings Wurmcoil Engine creates. The deck needs more Day of Judgments.

Solemn Simulacrum is whatever. I never drew Grave Titan, but I’d assume it’s fine. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is very clearly awesome against everything.

I’m not going to go over the sideboard too much. To me, the sideboard is the most expendable part of a deck and is usually up to the player, but David told me that the slot could’ve also been Acidic Slime or Ratchet Bomb or even Mimic Vat “dependent on meta.” I chose Mimic Vat because it’s just inherently the most powerful, and I figured it’d be spicy against the Unburial Rites decks (I never got to test this theory out), as well as playing nicely with Day of Judgment.

Thrun, the Last Troll is the only realistic reason I can figure to play Green; he was awesome every time I drew him. The problem with Thrun, the Last Troll, though, is that he’s in the sideboard. Phyrexian Metamorph is cute and, like with Perilous Myr, I don’t mean that disparagingly. Doom Blade in the ’board is necessary; one could even make the argument that they could swap places with the main-deck Go for the Throats.

My changes to the deck would be to just play the list from this article. Blue is just way better than Green in this type of deck. I haven’t looked at the difference in monetary costs between the two lists, but if that’s a concern, I guess my changes to the B/G/W list would be:

−2 Sun Titan
−3 Rampant Growth
−3 Viridian Emissary
−3 Perilous Myr
−2 Go for the Throat

+1 Mulch
+1 Day of Judgment
+1 Grave Titan
+1 Wurmcoil Engine
+1 Blade Splicer
+1 Unburial Rites
+3 Phyrexian Rager
+3 Doom Blade
+1 Solemn Simulacrum


Friday, December 30, 2011

3:02 PM – My friend from high school, Ryan, shows up at my apartment. He’s been out of the game for a while, but he invested in all the cards for a U/B control deck, and he’s just trying to become better at the game. I don’t think he’d mind me telling you that he’s really bad at Magic at the moment; he forgets to counter things, he forgets what his cards do, and stuff like that. But he’s trying. When Ryan gets here, I am playing Mario RPG on my Super Nintendo. I make him wait till I get to a save point because Mario RPG is one of those RPGs that doesn’t have save states built into their pause menus.

3:28 – I finally find a save point. Ryan watches some TiVod South Park while I wash some dishes so my girlfriend doesn’t come home from a full day of work, see a pile of dirty dishes, and plot to murder me.

3:41 – We finally leave the apartment and head to Cloud City. On the way, we stop at Subway. I have enough points for a free foot-long sub on my Subway card, but when I go to pull the card out of my pocket, I see that it’s cracked along the black part that gets scanned or whatever. This is mildly disquieting because I don’t have any cash on me to pay for my sub. Luckily, the girl at the register is pro(oooo) and is able to scan my card and get me my freebie. I get a new card and leave.

4:08 – Ryan and I arrive at Cloud City. It’s already packed, and FNM doesn’t start for another two hours. Ryan and I grab seats on the couches away from the play area, and as I eat my sub, Ryan and I are treated to the ramblings of a homeless guy sitting on an adjacent couch. He’s talking animatedly to himself, and in so doing, he runs the gamut of emotions, from calm to happy to excited to worried to scared to defensive to aggressive and back again. I stress that this has never happened before.

4:11 – Okay, who the hell is this guy talking to?

4:20 – A little kid puts his face against the glass separating Cloud City from the food court of the mall and stares at the hobo. Ryan and I watch with mild interest. Finally, the hobo has nothing to say.

4:21 – The little kid leaves. The hobo starts muttering to himself again, effectively keeping us hostage; we both are too afraid to say anything, lest the hobo randomly decide to go postal.

4:22 – My sub is done, so I pack up my shit, and Ryan and I go alert the girl working the register that there’s a homeless guy talking to himself on the couch. “Oh, that guy?” she says. “He’s harmless. He just talks to himself and plays a lot of pinball. Don’t worry about him.”

4:22 – I grab a seat in the play area next to a bunch of kids jamming the Innistrad event decks against each other. One of them says, “Shut up!” Not knowing any of the context, I say, “Whoa,” to which his opponent, Mike, replies, “It’s okay, I’m with him.” He takes a pause and adds, “He’s not that smart,” referring to the kid who said, “Shut up!” Mike then proceeds to cast a Dark Ritual (from Divine Versus Demonic) into a Rooftop Storm. His board is now Undead Alchemist, Grixis Grimblade, Armored Skaab, Unbreathing Horde, Rooftop Storm, two Islands, and two Drowned Catacombs.

4:32 – Mike is declaring all his spells in a pretentious way, showboating in front of the growing crowd. He is playing one-versus-two against two kids, each of whom is armed with a different Innistrad Event Deck.

4:33 – I challenge Mike to a game of Magic.

4:39 – Mike’s game has finally ended. He took his sweet time on those kids, though. I wasn’t a fan of that. Since he was rolling with Dark Ritual, I really wanted to use my Legacy deck, but since it’s not on me, I have to settle for whatever Modern deck I do have:

4:47 – My friend and Cloud City employee walks by and sees our game—I have a Tarmogoyf and some lands in play against an unsleeved deck, three Swamps and a Drowned Catacombs—and asks me what I’m doing. I reply, “Playing Magic!”

4:50 – The game is over.

4:53 – “You don’t shuffle much.” “I usually find my lands are parceled out pretty well. I usually let my opponent shuffle, too. They can do as little or as much as they want.” Kids these days. I think one of my problems, as a person, is that I’m too quick to give up my point. Let’s say I believe in something. If I’m having a conversation with someone who believes the opposite and also presents evidence to me that he’s just going to be dismissive of my point of view, I drop the debate entirely and let him go on thinking whatever he wants to think. The problem with this line of thinking is it usually doesn’t take a whole lot evidence for me to throw my hands up and say, “Fuck it, kid, this is hopeless; think what you want. What do I know anyway,” and so on. I just hate trying to convince people I’m right because I always feel like I’m an asshole for trying to do it. There’s also a small part of me that’s worried about speaking authoritatively on anything; I’m pretty comfortable with the knowledge that most, if not all of the time, I’m just wrong.

4:54 – I change the subject. “Are you guys playing FNM tonight?” “Oh, we were already planning on playing laser tag downstairs.” “FNM’s cheaper, though. And you have a chance to win money!” “That’s true. But we already planned on laser tag, and I don’t think we’d win anything anyway.”

4:55 – “That’s the spirit!”

4:56 to 6:03 – Nothing else of note happens the rest of the time. I just kinda durdle around Cloud City for a while.

6:04 – Round 1 is paired.

Round One – R.J. Fischer

6:05 – R.J. mentions how it’s good to be back. He used to come to Cloud City fairly regularly. He asks me how I’ve been, how the column’s going, yada yada yada.

6:06 – R.J. presents his deck, and when I go to pick it up, the deck falls all over the floor because the sleeves are new and slippery. R.J. just laughs while I apologize a lot and pile-shuffle his deck, just to make sure I got all sixty cards off the ground.

6:08 – R.J. casts turn-three Dungrove Elder off three Forests. It occurs to me he’s playing the outdated version of Wolf Run. I try to calculate my outs to this deck.

6:09 – I am immediately pissed off. I have no outs—at least no realistic ones. Sure, I can try to Day of Judgment away two Dungrove Elders, play Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and hope he doesn’t have any more Dungrove Elders, but this plan is quite a long shot, and it doesn’t even account for fucking Primeval Titan. Be that as it may, I have the Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite in my hand, so maybe with some luck and a little overextension on RJ’s part, I can get there.

6:13 – R.J. plays a fourth Forest and Green Sun's Zenith for 1, fetching Birds of Paradise. I get the sense that he doesn’t have a fifth land (why else would you throw away a Green Sun's Zenith like that?) and play Dead Weight on the Birds of Paradise on my turn—because I have zero Day of Judgments in my hand.

6:14 – R.J. plays a fifth land (kljabsflkdfnsdlkgn) and casts Acidic Slime, keeping me from casting Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite on the seventh turn. That had been a pretty integral part of my plan, so that Acidic Slime was huge.

6:15 – I announce that I have one out.

6:16 – I draw Viridian Shaman. That’s not it.

6:19 – R.J. mulligans, while I keep a one-lander. I actively wonder why I’m keeping this hand, and I decide it’s probably because I gave up on this deck ever since I proxied it up last week and started testing it against a bunch of dedicated Unburial Rites decks, only to have my face slammed in repeatedly by Phantasmal Images. Sorry, David!

6:24 – I have a Mimic Vat and a Blade Splicer in play against his single Dungrove Elder. I am in fucking awesome shape, and I love this deck.

6:26 – R.J. casts Green Sun's Zenith for 5. I hate this deck again.

6:28 – R.J. follows up my Wurmcoil Engine with one of his own, so on my turn I Naturalize his Wurmcoil Engine (I’m holding Day of Judgment) and attack with my own Wurmcoil Engine into his deathtouchers because I’m bad at Magic. You people deserve a better FNMer. Also, the Day of Judgment in my hand just went from awesome to terrible.

6:30 – A Garruk, Primal Hunter off the tizzy draws R.J. six cards. He plays another Garruk, Primal Hunter after that, but I’m able to fight through it because he leaves one fewer blocker back than I have attackers, and he also forgets that Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite pumps all my guys, so his second Garruk, Primal Hunter goes down.

6:39 – A lot of stuff has happened. R.J. and I are among the last matches going, so there’s a big crowd of people around. R.J. finally resolves a Primeval Titan and grabs a Mountain and a Kessig Wolf Run. I don’t know how many Mountains are in his deck, so I fire off one of my Ghost Quarters on RJ’s end step, targeting his Kessig Wolf Run. R.J. doesn’t grab a land, and I draw for my turn. One of the kids in the peanut gallery speaks up and asks why R.J. didn’t grab a land with Ghost Quarter. Thankfully, one of the guys watching the match immediately says, “It’s a ‘may’ effect, but you shouldn’t do that anyway. It’s not your match; you shouldn’t do that,” so I didn’t have to. I don’t love being the guy who says to the kid, “Stop interfering with the match,” because I’ve done it before as well, but these are also things that less experienced players need to be told.

6:49 – The match mercifully ends after R.J., who has all his lands in play, kills me with a souped-up Inkmoth Nexus after exhausting me of Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobites.

6:50 to 7:05 – Not much happens. I sit around and hate myself for punting that second game with my Wurmcoil Engine and watch the other match that’s still going on. My friend Ryan is playing in it, and he tanks forever before deciding, yes, perhaps I should counter his Wurmcoil Engine. I resign myself to play a lot of Magic with Ryan (he’s moving in with my girlfriend and me soon) in hopes that he’ll improve, because I’m not sure if FNM is doing the trick. Then again, he told me when he got to my apartment that he stayed up till last call the night before and woke up at about 6:30 A.M., netting him a whole three and a half hours of sleep.

7:06 – Round 2 is paired.

Round Two – Matt Brown

7:07 – I roll boxcars.

7:08 – The only notes I have written here are, “Keep the worst hand ever b/c I hate myself.”

7:10 – I knew what Matt was playing because I’ve played against it before; it’s kinda like that U/R tempo deck, except that it has Runechanter's Pike, Invisible Stalker, Forbidden Alchemy, and Desperate Ravings. Apropos of nothing, what’s the best set in Standard right now? I think it’s M12 by a narrow margin, but someone could probably sway me toward Innistrad with the right argument. Those two are neck-in-neck. Playing a different deck every week has shown me what sets are used and which aren’t, and right now, it’s heavily weighted toward M12 and Innistrad; my Scars block binders barely even get used (I have each set in its own set binder, commons and all, organized by set number, because I am a scrubby scrub scrub).

I mention this because I saw some kid on Facebook take a survey asking, “What is the best set in Standard right now?” and he answered, “Mirrodin Besieged,” which made me laugh a lot, because with the exception of Sword of Feast and Famine, Inkmoth Nexus, and the Crusaders (four whole cards you guys!), I barely ever use any cards from that shitty set. I kinda wanna make a graph at the halfway mark of this column, analyzing my decks and which cards were used the most and which set was used the most, but I have a feeling that the information presented might just be irrelevant. Who knows?

7:14 – I attack into a 3/1 first striker with a Golem token because I forget that Runechanter's Pike gives First Strike. My mistake counter for the night goes to 8,937,420. Jamie Wakefield would be proud.

7:15 – I cast Wurmcoil Engine on turn six, baiting the Mana Leak. I’m fine with that because my hand is Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and Matt is putting on no pressure whatsoever.

7:17 – I wait until I have eight lands in play and cast Unburial Rites. Matt has the two Mana Leaks.

7:18 – I resolve an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. As I expected, he does not have the fourth Mana Leak.

7:19 – Matt draws and scoops.

7:27 – I mulligan to five.

7:33 – Aaron makes me floor. If you don’t know what this is, I’ll explain it. If you get someone to look up at you by calling his name, and you’re making glasses on your face, the person who looked up at the hand-glasses has to immediately go to the floor in the fetal position. You can counter this by making a monocle (like this, but only one hand) before looking up. When this happens, the dude with the face-glasses now has to assume the fetal position. I like Cloud City.

7:40 – I’ve got a lot of guys: two Blade Splicers, Thrun, the Last Troll, and one 3/3 Golem token. Matt’s at 12; I’m at 11. He blocks my all-out attack with a flashed-in Snapcaster Mage and flashes back a morbid Brimstone Volley, throwing it at my dome. I’m at 6.

7:41 – He rips a Chandra’s Phoenix. I’m at 4.

7:42 – I rip Oblivion Ring. It resolves. I attack with everyone again, to put him to 1 life, and I say go.

7:43 – Matt taps out to play another Snapcaster Mage on my end step.

7:44 – Land, Desperate Ravings. He randomly discards Dissipate.

7:45 – Matt flashes back Desperate Ravings, with only a Mountain open. Shock or Galvanic Blast is lethal.

7:46 – Matt looks at the two cards before discarding and scoops.

8:07 – Round 3 pairings go up.

Round Three – Charles Davis

8:08 – While we’re shuffling, Charles mentions that he recognizes me from my articles, which makes him the first person to know that I write articles before he plays me, rather than after. This makes me feel awesome. I let him know he’s going to be on the Internet next week.

8:10 – Because we’re playing pretty quickly, Charles has a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas in play already, but no artifacts in sight. He says, “Go,” to me, and as I draw my card, Charles notices that he forgot to use Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas’s +1 ability, and he asks for the take-back. I grimace and unfortunately have to decline; if I were to let him go back there, it would’ve only been because he said he read my articles (looking back, he didn’t say he liked them at this point), so I decided against that. I know those IPG changes ended up getting reversed, but if I’m being honest, those changes ended up really alerting my presence to their existence. Committing people to their actions isn’t fun to me, but it’s a part of my game that needs work, and I don’t mind practicing it and getting more comfortable with it during an FNM, even if it means holding someone I like to his mistake.

Trying to play more perfectly is something I’ve been trying to do more of recently—even if it is an FNM. (The ideal is) I try to replicate perfect play always. That said, I fucking hate play-testing for big events with people who treat the games like throwaways. (This is not what Charles did. You are now in the rant portion of this paragraph.) Cutting or shuffling minimally during play-testing—and even not playing out games that look difficult during play-testing—really frustrates me, and I hate testing against people who test like that. What’s the point? What are you testing for, some imaginary tournament in Christmasland where you shuffle twice and we’re allowed to have take-backs? Practice for the event. If you’re practicing for a PTQ, but you’re not trying to replicate what you’d do at a PTQ, what are you doing?

8:22 – Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas finally dies, much like R.J.’s Garruk, Primal Hunter, because Charles forgot about that the unblocked Blade Splicer getting +2/+2 from Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I still curse the Go for the Throat in my hand.

8:27 – Charles continues to brick on his draws, and he’s down to 6 with a Tumble Magnet (1 counter) to my Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Blade Splicer, and Golem token. Charles taps down to only 3 mana left open to play a Batterskull. I no longer curse the Go for the Throat in my hand, and I kill his Germ token, leaving him dead onboard. I attack, and Charles scoops.

8:34 – “So, you’re the reason I’m here tonight in this store,” Charles says as I mulligan to six. I can’t be sure if Charles means it this way, but that’s a fucking awesome thing to hear. That really made me feel great for the rest of the night. I hope he’s not the last one who does that. Despite not liking the deck I’m playing, I’m totally jazzed by the fact that someone who follows (and ostensibly likes) my column thought to ship me a deck list to see how it fared at an FNM. I always meant this column to be engaging and interactive; I’m not dropping thousands of dollars a month to grind big events, I’m just playing FNM, which I think the vast majority of people can relate to. I know I knocked his deck a lot, but I don’t think I’m better at Magic than David; one could very easily make the argument that I’m much worse. I’ve played an actual homebrew twice in these twenty weeks of FNM. My record in played matches those two weeks is 3–5.

8:39 – Charles misses his fourth land-drop and says, “Go.” “So, you missed a land-drop, huh?” Charles just looks up at me, smiles, and says, “Thanks for noticing.” I cast a Thrun, the Last Troll, and David’s smiles turns into a look of mild concern. I tell him not to worry, because I’m this close to cloning it on my next turn.

8:40 – Charles taps out to cast a Sword of War and Peace, and when I grin uncontrollably, he says, “Oh no. What do you have?”

8:41 – I cast a Phyrexian Metamorph, copying his Sword of War and Peace, which I equip to my Thrun, the Last Troll before swinging for 12.

8:43 – The game’s over, and I’m starting to unsideboard face-up. Charles asks me if I want to play another game, and I say, “Of course—Game 1s or Game 2s?” As Charles thinks about it, he sees all the cards I brought in:

3 Thrun, the Last Troll
3 Doom Blade
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
2 Naturalize
2 Celestial Purge

“I think I’d rather play Game 1s.”

8:59 – The fourth round is paired.

Round Four – Sam Lam

9:00 – Sam puts his deck down, and I see an Ice Age Incinerate peeking out of his deck box while I’m shuffling. Someone nearby asks me what my record is. I say, “X–1, but I don’t think I’m winning this match.” Sam asks, “Why not?” “Because I just saw an Incinerate.”

9:01 – Sam announces, “This hand does nothing. I keep it,” while I mulligan my opener. While I shuffle, he asks me, “How much is this match for? Five bucks?”

9:02 – My first play of the match is a Viridian Emissary against Sam’s pair of foil Chinese Rootbound Crags, one of which is tapped. I say “Go,” and before Sam untaps, he casts a Gut Shot without tapping land or announcing a target. I ask, “You take 2?” Sam rolls his eyes, snorts, shakes his head, and taps his Rootbound Crag. “All right, I take 1?” “No, I hit your guy!” I like frustrating people like this because I hate them so much. I get it, guy, you think five dollars and FNM are both beneath you or not worth your time or whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better about not being X–0, but I’m gonna make you announce targets. I know, cruel and unusual as it seems, you’re going to actually have to play Magic against me. As I search my library for a land, Sam, unprompted, says to someone watching: “He either trades with a creature and gets a land in three turns, or I just let him get a land now. Seems fine to me.”

9:07 – Sam’s on the play for Game 2.

9:08 – Sam plays Shrine of Burning Rage number one. I have the Naturalize.

9:09 – Sam plays Shrine of Burning Rage number two. The Oblivion Ring in my hand thinks this is hilarious.

9:10 – Sam plays Shrine of Burning Rage number three.

9:13 – I’m on the play for Game 3.

9:24 – Basically, Sam killed me with two Act of Aggressions. All I had all game was a bunch of little guys: a Solemn Simulacrum, a Perilous Myr, a Blade Splicer plus Golem, and two Viridian Emissarys—which was fine with me, but late in the game, Sam was able to take my attackers during combat and block to two-for-one me. Since this deck is all sorceries except for two cards, I just had to play like he didn’t have it (twice), and this time, he just did (twice). He won a very close game, even with Perilous Myr on my side, all while at 2 life. He played very well to win I thought.

9:25 – He thought so, too; while he expresses his exasperated disbelief to me, I just smile and nod.

9:27 – I hear him telling someone else about the game from across the room. Tonight would’ve been a great night to pack some hard alcohol. Alas.

9:56 – Round 5, the final round of the night, is paired.

Round Five – Adam Trumble

9:57 – Adam’s playing a B/R list with big beaters—Falkenrath Noble and Olivia Voldaren—as finishers.

10:06 – Adam plays three spells during the course of our entire first game: Incinerate, Olivia Voldaren, and Falkenrath Noble. Since I draw neither Day of Judgment nor Go for the Throat, I just lose.

10:14 – I play a Wurmcoil Engine on turn five, and it just goes the distance in Game 2.

10:28 – The game goes very long because he gets extremely flooded and bricks a lot on drawing live stuff while my Blade Splicer dutifully beats in for 1 for a lot of turns in a row. It’s a very unexciting match. Both of us are pretty tired. I usually don’t pick up my second loss until the very last round, but this week, I already had it going into the last round, so I was ready to be home before the round even started.

10:37 – I look to my left. Ryan, my ride home, apparently got paired up against my opponent from last round, Sam. They were just finishing up. Sam was letting Ryan know that he missed a lot of triggers with his Spellskites in Game 2. Ryan admitted that he was tired, but Sam stressed the idea that he plays Magic to learn and to become better, which, yeah, I agree with, but what was with that lazy Gut Shot in Game 1 against me? I didn’t voice this, because I wasn’t a part of the conversation, but, yeah, that bothered me a little bit. Why’d he do that against me? Why’d he keep the shitty hand in the first place?

I probably should start asking these things.

I agree with Sam—I play in the weekly Magic tournaments with lower stakes to learn from them. If I’m supposed to be learning, why am I not asking Sam why he kept the do-nothing hand?

But, hey, I was tired.

Jon Corpora
pronounced Ca-pora