Lessons Learned from SCG Providence

I went to the Star City Games Open this weekend and played in both events. My overall record on the weekend was 7-7, which is pretty fucking disgraceful. In the standard portion I was playing white/red humans. Based on the number of these decks I saw, the total attendance, and the fact that one of them cracked the top 8, I’d say that the deck choice was sound. Unfortunately, my deck refused to cooperate and left me in ridiculous situations. The game 3 that eliminated me from competition went like this:

I’m on the draw. My hand is Mountain, Clifftop Retreat, Doomed Traveler, Elite Inquisitor, Fiend Hunter, Hero of Bladehold, and Bonfire of the Damned. It’s a little greedy with all the double white, but I’m running 18 white sources and on the draw, so I should be okay. He plays a turn 1 Birds of Paradise. I drop the Clifftop Retreat tapped and pray for white. He plays another land and two more Birds of Paradise. I drop my mountain and Doomed Traveler, and wonder why I’m only drawing three drops. He plays a land and passes turn. At this point I’m golden, I think. I’ve already missed one land drop, but if I hit a land I can Bonfire for one and 3 for 1 him. But I don’t. Despite him not casting anything the following turn either, I fail to draw a land AGAIN. Then he drops Sword of War and Peace and hits me for 9 in the air since I’m now discarding down to 7 every turn. That’s pretty much how my day went.

Legacy went a little better, although it started off poorly. I was playing RUG Delver which, considering how many of them I saw, the attendance, and the fact that only one made it into the top 8, was the incorrect choice. My first round was against Stoneblade. He wins the die roll and opens with a fetch land, then passes turn. I’m confused, but say nothing. I drop my land and pass turn. He cracks his fetch and I Stifle. That sets the pace for the game and I take game 1 pretty easily. Game 2 we grind it out a little bit until he’s at like 6 life, I’m at 20ish, and neither of us have any board or cards in hand. Topdeck war time! My draw: land. His draw: Jace. Okay, game 3 time. We both mull to 6. My six: Scalding Tarn, Wasteland, Stifle, Nimble Mongoose, Thought Scout, Tarmogoyf. Snap keep. Being able to keep him off two of his lands is huge, especially when we’re starting at 6. I fetch up a Tropical Island and pass turn. He drops Karakas, so I Thought Scour myself, untap, and waste his Karakas. He misses his next two land drops. This would be awesome for me and an easy win, except that Goyf is still in my hand and I miss my next 10 land drops. This is not hyperbole. This also pretty accurately describes how that day went.

So what did I learn over the course of about 15 hours of Magic? A great number of things. Some of them even relate to my matches!

Judges Are All Assholes Who Are Out To Get You

I’m sure you all already knew this, right? I mean, everytime you get a penalty, especially a game or match loss, it’s because the judge is an asshole and is out to get you. There’s no way you did anything wrong, but you’d rather blame all your future misfortune on this one judge’s call rather than appealing to the head judge. I mean, he’s probably out to get you too, right? The most epic example of this I saw was one someone received a game loss for tapping his City of Brass and not changing his life total. Now, it’s not unreasonable to think this is a huge overreaction and that he was just going to finish casting his spell and then write down the life total, however the judge had warned him about City of Brass specifically two or three times already, and this was about the fourteen trigger the guy missed in two turns. And he was at the 4-0 tables. I ran into the guy outside having a cigarette later on, and he was now 4-3. And it’s all the judge’s fault for that shitty call (And the head judge for upholding it). It has nothing to do with Dredge being inconsistent and him not being used to piloting it, it’s because now that he was 4-1 from that call he was playing against bad players. I have no idea why that means he would lose, but he did seriously say he was losing because he was competing against bad players. I dunno.

Wearing a Sports Jacket to a Tournament Makes You Look Like a Douchebag

I’m pretty sure this has always been true, but it never really struck me until this weekend. I saw a bunch of guys wearing sport coats, it and seems to be pretty impossible not to look like a total fucking douchebag when doing so. If you come dressed up to FNM that’s fine. It’s not unlikely that you’re coming from work, and it’s only a few hours. But when you’re going to a tournament that’s going to last for over 12 hours? You dressed like that specifically for the tournament, which leads to the question: who are you trying to impress? Do you think your opponent will be in such awe of your superior style that he’ll just concede and start worshiping you? Do you want to look your nicest so you can have your choice of all the fat, sweaty guys with holes in their shirts? Oh yeah, and if you’re going to wear the sports jacket then you need to go all out; don’t just wear it over your sweaty t-shirt with holes in it. I still own my tuxedo from when I was a music major in college, so maybe I should just wear that to SCG Worcester next month (You’re surprised I own a tux? Fuck you, I’m classy as shit).

Losers Have More Fun

I’ve always known this, but I had a particularly fun match when I was sitting at 3-2. My opponent was playing Painter’s Stone, and was possibly tripping balls. At one point he started singing a song about being a durdle; it was really nice to witness the creative process unfold like that instead of just watching him silently cast Enlightened Tutor. There was much friendly banter, and a good time was had by all even though at no point was he actually even a part of either game we played. There was even a two minute break during game one for him to finish laughing when I asked, “So foil Onslaught fetches, Mox Opals, Enlightened Tutors, these things are no problem. But getting a foil Seat of the Synod was just too much for you?” This is one of the things that led me to believe he might be tripping balls; it was funny, but it wasn’t that funny. My previous opponent was also a lot of fun, until I called a judge. She was frustrated about losing her previous match because she had allowed her opponent to blatantly cheat and didn’t call a judge (still don’t understand why). I asked her if that meant if I was losing I could just start lying to her and she’d go with it, and we began playing. She was running burn and since the games are always a boring race, we were talking throughout. Game 1 even wound up ending in draw, which caused some interesting reactions from people, mainly “how the fuck does a game end in a draw?” At this point we were 15 minutes into the round and 0-0-1 so there was less banter and more Magic so that we wouldn’t run out of time if it went to game 4. I took game 2, and presented my deck. She presented hers and I proceeded to count it, because it looked like she had sided out a lot of cards. Indeed there were 58 cards in the deck so I called the judge. I’m sure it was an accident since siding out spells actually makes the deck worse which probably only tilted her further. Excepting that moment, the losers bracket matches were much more fun and entertaining though. Oh, and I saw her later in the day and she was happy again, so I’m sure future opponents had fun as well.

Magic Players Don’t Just Look Like Creepy Pedophiles

It’s no secret that many Magic players look like pedophiles, what with their unkempt beards and pockets full of candy. Star City decided that they would cater to this market segment, and so they booked the same venue that was hosting the junior high national cheerleading competition or something. I walked into the venue expecting neckbeards everywhere, but instead I found myself walking into a swarm of preteen girls. “Awkward” doesn’t even begin to describe it as there were no events running alongside GP Portland to my recollection, so I had no reason to think something like this would happen. After confirming that this was the right place and we were just on the floor above them, I entered the venue. Over the course of the day I heard a lot of people talking about how there were little cheerleaders everywhere. I fortunately didn’t hear anything blatantly sexual, but there were still lots of errant comments about this phenomenon. But know what I didn’t hear when I showed up for Legacy on Sunday? I didn’t hear a single comment about the smokin’ hot black chick convention going on downstairs. You’re all either gay, pedophiles, or racist, and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Moreso the pedos and racists.

A 250 Person Event Is the Perfect Time to Test Your New Tech

After my brutal 0-2 start in Legacy, I get paired against a guy who slept through round one. That’s how much he cared about this tournament he just paid $40 to play in. He’s been testing different builds a little bit, but decided on this new build that he didn’t get to test at all for the open. Okay, awesome I guess. The deck was doing a lot of cool things, however it was trying to do so many cool things that he forgot to make room for a win condition. This is the sort of thing that could’ve been discovered in about 20 minutes of playtesting, or probably 30 seconds of looking over the decklist. I got a free match win and a fun opponent out of it, but the dude drove for fucking hours to get to the venue. As a bitter pro tour player once said after losing an 8 man draft I was running despite his opponent making several misplays and puzzling decisions, “I just can’t understand the thought process of bad players.” Truer words, my friend.

I’m sure there were lots more lessons I could have learned, like “don’t drive the wrong way on a one way street” or “use Tormod’s Crypt wisely,” but they’ll just have to wait until SCG Worcester. So until next time, insert clever sign off here.

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    After reading this, I now wish to assemble a team of players that go to MTG events dressed in tuxedos with Sailor Moon Cosplayers cheering them in the most obnoxious manner ever.

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