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The Road to Tourneyland: This I Believe
By Mark Ortego
March 22, 2006
The Road to Tourneyland: This I Believe
By Mark Ortego

First, I just want to take this time to acknowledge all of the great writing that’s been on the front page these last several months. I consider myself a *hack* writer (not going for the sympathy vote here) but that still doesn’t deter me from writing anyway . I haven’t written anything lately because I’ve been lazy, that’s all.

I don’t consider myself a witty or clever writer/poster or whatever but I DO have beliefs that I may or may not have the verbal/writing skill to back up but nonetheless, they’re still my beliefs.

I believe that on the subject of “Casual v. Non-Casual” is in the beholder. That is to say that what you believe and what I believe may be different. And, “Yes”, I also believe that it’s totally okay to have an agreement on disagreeing with each other.

“Let’s agree to disagree agreeably” – Stephen Covey

What DO I believe on the subject? I believe the setting for casual magic game play happens right on the kitchen table at someone’s home (or cellar in my case). And although casual games are either duels or multiplayer I mostly consider multiplayer as thee best form of casual magic.

What about this whole “Play to Win” topic? I DO play to win, winning is fun for me. On the other hand losing is a learning experience for me. I do analyze it a lot but hey, I’m not gonna get all pissed about it, even if someone’s grandma beat me with an all Grizzly Bear, no land, deck (however, I’m SURE that’s not possible ).

As for the Pro-Tour folks, kudos to them for working hard on a hobby that’s borderline cardboard crack. As for Wiz Co’s position on the pro-tour, well, I don’t really know WHAT their position is nor do I care. I believe that they’ve been smart enough to keep the game alive and kicking for a dozen years or so and they must know something I (we) don’t. This subject always reminds of, “If I were President I would blah, blah, blah…”, we don’t own Wiz Co so we don’t make a tremendous difference and I believe quitting magic doesn’t solve anything.

If you’ve made it this far then you should be aware that I have NOT tried to make you believe what I believe. Believe what you want, in fact, share with us what you believe. I’ve held back for several months so now I’m spoutin’off!

[KJ gets off of soap box]

Moving on.

Last weekend Mooseman and myself (along with four other spectacular PES judges) judged PA 2HG State Championships. Now before I go on let me tell you that I have, in my possession, a bell hop bell right here at my desk. When I mention a magic celebrities name it will ding it, on-its-own!

Richard Garfield.


See? That’s how it works.

Let me try another name; Billy Bob Thorton


Okay, so now you know it only works for magic celebrities .

The first thing I want to alert you all of is that we didn’t start to actually start game-play until Noon and ended 7 amazing, 60 minute rounds, and 2 rounds of the finals until 11:30 p.m. A long day to say the least. But it had its moments.

The return of Nick Eisel [Ding!] was interesting, I guess his days of playing sanctioned magic are back. I don’t know why he couldn’t play in sanctioned tournaments nor is it any of my business I just know that I used to always read his articles on Star City when they were free. Now? Not so much, in fact, not at all. Anyway, his team called, “Team – Jason Martel Doesn’t Get Any” went all the way to the finals and they won the championships. I didn’t get home until 1:00 am that night.

Now I sorta, kinda remember Nick Eisel [Ding!] form several years ago when I was an active participant of sanctioned events and one time in particular when during a pre-release (Oddesey?) that I was on Team CMU’s “Deadpool” List. It was this game they played where they came up with a list of players of all skill levels that were assigned points. If Team CMU thought you were a good player you were worth more points and so if one of their team members beat you during the day they would get a lot of points and if you were a scrub you were worth less (I was worth 1 point) but HEY! Aaron Forsythe [Ding!] knew me and asked if I wouldn’t mind being on their Deadpool list.

I think I played against Nick Eisel [Ding!] during that day but I’m sure if I did, I had my butt handed to me. I don’t even really know him but what I can remember is that he loved to banter and still does. He made States kind of interesting in a weird kind of way and with that kind of long day, ANYTHING could pass for entertainment. I asked him if he was going to write about winning PA 2HG States and he said may write a blurb in a column in a couple of weeks…A COUPLE OF WEEKS!?! A BLURB!?!

Jeezsh! I wish being crowned PA 2HG State Champ(s) were not that important to me. I mean that he should be more proud of it. Maybe he was and I couldn’t catch his sincerity. Mooseman had to take a picture of Nick and his partner wearing the State Champs hats, he refused at first but I think he finally did. You can see pictures of him at When you see the picture I was not more than two feet away sitting there waiting to go home. Come to think of it, I should’ve stuck my hand out to prove my presence.

This event was also graced by aforementioned magic celebrity Aaron Forsythe [Ding!]. Aaron is from the greater Pittsburgh area and he was home visiting his family, I think. His brother Neil Forsythe [donk],……[donk],……..[donk,donk,donk] well, at least it wasn’t silent, was playing in the state champs and Aaron came to root him on. Sometime late afternoon we were taking sign-ups for Rav/Rav/Guild Drafts and I saw Aaron sitting around just shootin’ the breeze with local magic celebrity Ron Kotwica [ping!] this bell has a discrimination chip in it or something. So I said to Aaron Forsythe [Ding!], “Why don’t you sign up for a draft?” Well, me being an ignoramous and all I failed to have the wisdom to realize that he CAN’T participate in dci sanctioned events. Man, what-a-rip!

All the work he does for the game and he can’t even enjoy it like we do, no wait, what am I talking about? I don’t really participate in sanctioned events, but I guess that’s my choice and he doesn’t GET a choice. So I think he bought some packs and casually drafted. I would’ve watched but I was working the floor.

Did you know that the Judges tests are now generated by a computer program and no two are the same? I took my level 1 test sometime during that day and MAN, was it hard. I have three things I want to share with any of you who are thinking about taking it; know the current State-Based Effects rules, the totally ins and outs of the phases and steps in a turn and how to play spells and abilities. I thought I knew all of these inside and out but I didn’t. The good news though was that I didn’t miss not one floor rules question and there were like 12 of them.

As for me running The Multiplayer Magic League at GASP & Friday Magic Events at Blue Star Games, I have retired the position of running them due to me not wanting to ‘burn-out’. So I really don’t want to write about them for now and my participation in those events is sparse. But for those two of you who followed my adventures in those games; I am in first place in the MML for now (tied with two other players) with 11 points and I’ll be attending an FME this Friday though I don’t know what the format is and I’m sure they don’t either.

Condi Rice


Charlize Theron


Mark Ortego


I guess my bell hop bell is broken

Killer Joe

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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