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Mental Note: I Smell Poop
By Eric Turgeon
Alternate Title: The Official Unofficial Guildpact Online Release Event Report and Realization That I Am a Giant Sack of Luck

4:58 PM

Two more minutes. I'm anxious to get home for a couple reasons.

First of all, I smell poop. I've smelled it all day. I have no idea why. It's just there. Poop smell. I first noticed it when I was in the car driving to work, so I thought it might be in there. But then I smelled it in my cubicle. Like I stepped in something even though I didn't. I've been checking my shoes all day. It's driving me nuts. I'm also worried it might be me. But now it's almost time to go home and get this godforsaken poop smell out of my nostrils.

4:59 PM

This is excruciating.

I'm also anxious to get home to play some Magic. Dave's going to be in town for the weekend. I haven't seen him since the Guildpact Prerelease. His wife needs to help her best friend with her bridal shower or something like that. Girl stuff. He's not involved. So we're going to hang out.

4:59 PM

Still. Hmmm… Close enough.

I turn off my computer. It must be five by now.

I drive home, still smelling poop. When I get home, I throw all my clothes in the laundry and get in the shower. I wash everything twice, just to be sure, briefly contemplating exactly how much detail I should go into here. I decide to favor subtlety. I finish the shower, turn off the water and open the curtain. I still smell poop.

Sigh.

The smell dissipates as I get dressed. I give Dave a call. His wife answers. They're on their way home, but they're going to be having dinner at her parents' house first. So I have some time to kill. I clean up the kitchen and bring my cards downstairs. Then I grab something to eat and fire up the Xbox for some NCAA football.

I've got a dynasty going. Turgeon State University. Yeah, I'm a loser like that. Go Jaguars! My team's pretty good now even though it started out pretty badly. My passing attack is unstoppable although my running game could use some work. My tailback's not bad, but he doesn't have breakaway speed. I make do. It's the National Championship game against USC. Suddenly, my tailback is amazing. He breaks about ten tackles on his way for one score. I've never seen anything like it on the game. I didn't even do anything. Guys were just bouncing off him left and right, making him look like Tecmo Bo Jackson. I guess I'm just lucky.

When the game ends, I turn off the Xbox. I'm expecting Dave to come around soon. I start watching the Simpsons. It's the episode where Milhouse and his mom move to Capitol City. Best episode of the past three years. Dave shows up before it ends.

We take off for the kitchen. He's only got a handful of decks with him. I win the first two games. He wins the third.

I pull out my Tooth and Nail deck for the fourth game. It's not quite as good as the tournament ones, but it's still pretty potent and hella fun to play with. I keep tossing in every cool expensive combo I get my hands on. I got the White Bringer and Mindslavers, Platinum Angel and Darksteel Forge, Darksteel Colossus and Kik-Jiki, two Kokushos and maybe some other stuff I can't think of right now.

Anyway, my first hand has one land. My second hand has zero. I draw a third hand and start laughing. I toss it face up on the table to show Dave: Forest, Forest, Mindslaver, Mindslaver, Darksteel Forge. I'll keep. Dave seems worried about the two Mindslavers, but I expect to be dead long before either one hits the table.

Forest. Go.

Dave's playing a G/B dredge-style deck. He plays a land. I draw a Sakura-Tribe Elder.

Forest. Snake. Go.

Dave plays a Werebear and passes the turn. Every bone in my body tells me to attack with the snake. If he blocks, he loses his bear and I get a land. If he doesn't, I get a free point of damage and will be able to block a larger threat. I don't attack. I have no idea why.

Dave plays Moldervine Cloak on his bear and attacks. Oh yeah. That's why I didn't attack. But how did I know? I block with the snake, Sac-my-a-Tribe Elder, pull a forest and get to go. I draw an Eternal Witness, play it, getting back my snake.

Dave attacks with his bear again. The experts always say you should wait until the last minute before acting. I still have 20 life, but I block anyway. He plays a Greater Mossdog and passes the turn.

I draw a land, replay the snake and further delay my beating. Next turn, I play my first Mindslaver. Dave blasts it with some random artifact destruction. I take a big hit, down to 10 and try another Mindslaver. It stays in play, but Dave hits me big again. I activate the Slaver, but Dave doesn't have a lot of great ways to totally screw himself over in his deck. I like his zombie deck better. I can still Disembowel his bear and tap out all his lands, but I'm at 3 life with nothing castable in my hand, so the Mossdog will kill me next turn unless I pull a miracle.

Seven lands in play. Darksteel Forge, Kiki-Jiki and a Darksteel Colossus in hand. What do I pull? Tooth and Nail. Unentwined, it nets me a Kiki-Jiki and a huge freaking robot, swinging for eleven. Unbelievable.

I am the biggest sack of luck in the world.

We play some more games, splitting them about evenly. Then we play some games on the Xbox until we get tired. I get Dave hooked on Star Wars Legos. It's the best two-person game I've ever played. He comes back on Saturday to play some more, but I can't stop thinking about that Tooth and Nail miracle. I never have luck like that.

I fire up my computer. It's release week for Guildpact on Magic Online. I need to test my luck for prizes. I want to sign up for a release league, but the most recent one just filled up. I enter a triple Guildpact draft while waiting for the next league to generate.

First pick: Angel of Despair. Rocking.
Second pick: Savage Twister. It's too good to pass.
Third through forty-fifth pick: A ton of crappy black and white cards and another Savage Twister.

I look at my cardpool. Then I look at it again. It stinks like poop. I drafted four Withstands and two Conjurer's Bans. Did I mention that I suck at drafting? I do have some decent flyers. I try to put all the best spells in the deck. I get crushed the first game. I rethink my strategy. I decide to throw in every cantrip spell I drafted. Maybe it will stall the game long enough for me to get to my business spells. The second game starts off badly. I use all four Withstands, attempting to stall the game as much as possible. I half expect my opponent to say, "You drafted four Withstands and you put them all in your deck? What the hell is wrong with you?" Regardless, I get to the point where I have one turn to live. What do I pull? Angel of Despair. She comes flying into play, blasts a huge green creature and eventually goes the distance. In game three, I get her out on the fifth turn and crush my opponent. Unbelievable.

I am the biggest sack of luck in the world.

Round two, I get crushed both games, and rightfully so. My opponent has a deck that looks like he was actually paying attention during the draft. I'm sure he was wondering how I won the first round.

I take my two packs and sign up for a league. I have the worst pool of cards I have ever seen in my life. It stinks like poop. Putrefy is my best spell, easily. I have some other decent spells, but they're spread across all five colors: Ghor-Clan Savage in green, Pillory of the Sleepless in black and white, Gelectrode in blue and red, Skyknight Legionnaire in white and red, Scab-Clan Mauler in red in green, Woodwraith Strangler in black and green. Wait. Woodwraith Strangler isn't good. But it's the same colors as Putrefy. On the plus side, I have one of each Magemark and four Signets. I briefly consider going five colors, until I realize how stupid that would be. I'm not that lucky. Or am I? No. No, I'm not.

I decide on green, black and white because I always play green, black and white. It is my destiny. I cobble together the most playable cards from those colors, thinking that my Order of the Stars, Revenant Patriarch, and Souls of the Faultless are going to be way better than I know they are.

Over the next week, I win four of my first five matches, doing ridiculously stupid things the whole way. One match, I completely changed my deck, making it red, white, and blue for the last game. Another match, I changed it to red, white and green. Another match, it went red, blue and green. I hadn't considered using any of these options ahead of time, so my curves were totally off and my land counts were scary, but I still won. My only loss came at the hands of an 1800+ rated limited player who absolutely destroyed me in two games. He was probably wondering how I managed to win three matches at that point.

I play Scrabble with Lauren on Tuesday. She's never beaten me at Scrabble, despite having a minor in English. I think it's starting to bug her. On Tuesday, I crush her. She asks me why she never wins. I tell her it's because she plays for the words. I play for the points. I'd rather use a Q in quit or quick if it lands on a triple letter score than save it for a word like pique or squall. Those examples just go to show how crappy my vocabulary truly is.

We play again on Wednesday. She brings her A game, jumps out to a huge lead before losing steam in the end. The same thing happens on Thursday. Then she finds out that we're missing an E and an O. Oh yeah. I'm sure that's the reason I always win. On Friday, she buys a new Scrabble set, but she has a headache when she gets home from work, so we don't play.

I go back to my MTGO league. Now that the points games are completed, I decide to have some fun. I always like to mix things up when I don't have any tiebreaker points to lose. I go crazy. Five colors. Five Magemarks. Three karoo lands. Zero signets.

I lose three straight matches. One against a really horrible opponent. One against decent opponent. And one against a tiebreaker collector. I stick to my guns and pull out a win in my fourth match. I kind of feel bad for my opponent, who's probably still wondering how he lost to my five-color monstrosity. Top decks, my friend. That's how.

I am the biggest sack of luck in the world.

The release week is almost over now and I'm about ten tiebreaker points outside of the next prize tier. I switch my deck back to the successful version and play five more matches. I lose more than I win. Hmmm… Perhaps my powers are declining. I decide to sleep it off.

Lauren works on Saturday, so I go back online. I decide not to waste any more time in the league, since I'm too far away from the next tier now. I try my hand in a draft. Release events are over, so it's got to be Ravnica-Ravnica-Guildpact. I have two packs left over from winning a Ravnica draft in December. Now's as good a time as any to use them up.

I enter a draft queue and it fills up quickly. I try to draft for real. I draft solidly in green. Then I draft solidly in red. Then I draft solidly in white. Then I draft solidly in black. I look at the cards I drafted. All I know is that I'm not playing blue. I piece together a four-color deck, thinking it has a chance. In reality, it stinks like poop. Perhaps, all I need is a little bit of luck. I get pounded two straight games instead by a guy with a limited rating under 1600. Yup, my powers are gone all right. I decide to call it quits before wasting more time.

Lauren gets home from work. We're going out to dinner with my mom at five. That's about an hour from now, but it's a nice day, so Lauren wants to do something outside. She decides we're going for a walk. We start walking down the street. I suggest walking to my mom's. Lauren asks if I'm serious. I'm not, but I reconsider. Why not?

Lauren wants to go home to get her wallet. If she wants to get a drink at dinner, she'll need her ID. I tell her they won't card her if we're out with my mom. We go back anyway.

I estimate that it will take an hour to walk to my mom's house. It's about 2-3 miles away and I think most people walk 2-3 miles per hour. We're twenty minutes behind my estimated schedule at this point. We start walking and get about a quarter of the way there in ten minutes. I tell Lauren that I think we're making great time.

We show up at my mom's at exactly five. My feet are sore, but that's it. I suppose exercise is a good thing. Lauren and I decide not to say anything to my mom about walking. When we leave to go out, she doesn't notice that my car's not there. Hehe.

We want to go to Smokey Bones, but the parking lot is loaded and there's a line out the door. Lauren suggests going to IHOP, but I want to have a few drinks in hope that my mom will suggest driving us home herself. That'd be funny because our cars would already be at our apartment. I suggest going to Chili's.

Chili's is awesome. We haven't been there in a while. They used to have a really good steak called the Ranch Hand Filet, but then they discontinued it and nothing really appealed to me after that. But tonight, it's awesome. We get orders of nachos and mozzarella sticks as appetizers. I order a large beer and Lauren gets a frozen cosmopolitan. We both get carded. My mom doesn't say anything.

Anyway, the food's awesome. I'm not sure if I was just really hungry after our walk or if it was just really tasty, but I eat a bunch of nachos and mozzarella sticks, a half rack of ribs, a steak, a serving of loaded mashed potatoes and still have room for a chocolate shake for desert. I also have a total of forty ounces of beer.

We leave the restaurant and get in my mom's car. I start laughing and tell her we need a ride home. She thinks it's pretty funny, too.

We get home and thank my mom for dinner and the ride. I walk in the door, use the bathroom and plop down on the couch. I think I drank too fast. Lauren reminds me that I'm not in college anymore. She also wants to play Scrabble. I take her up on it. My letters stink. They stink like poop. I wish I could spell poop. |P|O|O|P|. Triple letter + double word score = 42 points. I win anyway. I guess her letters stunk worse.

I go in for a shower after the game. When I get out, Lauren's in bed reading, so I sign on to MTGO. I drafted a Searing Meditation that afternoon and I want to build a deck around it. Sure, I only have one, but that's not the way I think about it. I start looking through my online collection to see what else fits the deck. I accidentally flip to my Boosters and Event Tickets page. What do I see? Two Ravnica boosters. They were supposed to be used up from my earlier draft, but I guess they didn't get taken for some reason.

I am the biggest sack of luck in the world.

There must have been a bug. The event tickets I used are gone. The Guildpact booster is gone. But the Ravnica boosters are back. Weird. I decide that I don't want to wait and see if the problem gets corrected. I enter a draft immediately. No more trying to win, though. Two players have ratings over 1700, one of which I'll have to play in the first round. I draft every rare that I can. Primordial Sage. Followed Footsteps (Foil). Dream Leash. Moonlight Bargain. Agrus Kos. Warp World. If it's got a gold expansion symbol, I'll take it. After the first pack, I notice that I have an inordinate amount of blue cards. Some of them are even playable. I continue drafting every blue card I can. I suck at playing blue, but I don't care. This is about as close to a mono-colored deck as I've ever drafted. Check this deck out:

Blue Cards
Convolute
Dream Leash
2 Drift of Phantasms
Followed Footsteps
Gigadrowse
Lore Broker
Muddle the Mixture
Remand
2 Repeal
Runeboggle
Terraformer
Thunderheads
Train of Thought

Black Card
Last Gasp

Multi / Hybrid
Gelectrode
Izzet Chronarch
Izzet Guildmage
2 Perplex
Petrahydrox
2 Wee Dragonauts

Land
9 Island
4 Mountain
3 Swamp

This may in fact be the most consistent deck I've ever drafted. And I wasn't even trying. I am, in fact, a giant sack of luck.

My first opponent is playing a red, green, and white deck. In the first game, I frustrate the crap out of him. He's ahead 20-9 when he concedes. Maybe I can play blue. The second game, he comes out blazingly fast. I do nothing as a Veteran Armorer and Skyknight Legionnaire kick me in the nuts. In the third game, I completely control and dominate every aspect. My opponent doesn't get a single point of damage before conceding to the might of my Wee Dragonaut army.

In the next round, I get a bye. Huh? Who drops out of an 8-person draft? Especially after winning the first round. I don't complain. Lauren asks if I'm coming to bed soon. I tell her I made the finals. She asks why I'm not playing. I tell her I got a bye and have to wait until the other match finishes. She tells me that will take forever and goes to sleep.

The finals start in about half an hour. I'm pitted up against the other 1700+ player at the table. I do my thing the first game. One Wee Dragonaut keeps flying in for damage. My opponent finally kills it. I cast a second one and he concedes. The second game, he mulligans once and then concedes. Nuts. I like playing this deck.

I check out my prizes: Three Ravnica boosters and one Guildpact booster. I live to draft again. Because that's what a giant sack of luck does. I'm in bed by eleven.

I have to play guitar at church on Sunday morning. There's a guest homilist. He's a good speaker, but I also think he's full of it. The church is hosting a "mission" over the next three days. This priest guarantees that anyone who goes will find that it's a life-changing experience. I try to count the number of guaranteed life-changing experiences that I've participated in for the sake of my religion. Then I try to count the number that have actually changed my life. Oh yeah. It's zero. The priest then harps on the amount of work that is required to get into heaven. Catholics are nuts about getting into heaven. It's like Santa Claus for us. I think trying to guarantee your way into heaven is about the most selfish reason to be a good person. Maybe I should dedicate my life to getting other people into heaven. Then again, maybe other people don't want that. I suppose heaven's not for everyone.

The priest wraps up his homily and exits the church to a thunderous applause. Good for him. I silently practice the chord progression for one of the communion songs. I always thought church music was supposed to be easy to play. This song has about a dozen changes in the key signature. It's nuts. At practice, the harder I'd try to keep time, the worse I'd play. This time, when the song starts, I decide to just roll with it. I don't think I messed up. I'm lucky like that.

I get home, eat a sandwich and take a nap on the couch with Lauren. We're going to a home show today. We're buying a house soon and want to have the kitchen remodeled. We figured that would be a good place to find some contractor-types. We talk to a few people. There's a young couple that has a small booth in the back. We ask if they do kitchens. It seems like they just started out. All the sample pictures are from the girl's mom's house. But their work looks good and they're really friendly. I'll probably give them a call on Monday.

After the home show, we go to Target. I hate shopping. It stinks. You know how.

When we get home, I decide to start writing about my luck. I end up writing 3500 words about poop, instead. It's okay, though. It won't get censored. I checked on that already.

I reread my article. Something stinks. I check my shoes. Nothing there. I check my computer. The article reeks. I submit it to the Casual Players Alliance. Let them deal with it.

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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