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The Ramblings of a Net Addict
By Nick "Ura" Saviskoff
     Ahh, moving, what an experience. Anyone who's done it more then once can understand the feeling of not quite being sure if you have everything with you, making sure the dishes are in the back seat and the kids are packed up in a box somewhere, the kind of fun that makes you fall over into the first unpacked chair and sigh with a feel of mental exhaustion.

     Well, this weekend was my time once again to make sure things were where they should be and what not. After having just moved back to my hometown a month ago one of the first things on my 'to do' list was find an apartment and escape my parents basement, (To all of those still young enough to be living at home, enjoy it while it lasts, really, trust me on this.) I found a nice little suite and got it in the bag, so this last weekend I moved in, it was Sunday, April 1st.

     This is where I think the self-inflicted cruelty begins. You see, I spend a few hours every night online, talking to friends, reading up on news of world events and surf about the Magic sites to see if there's anything worth absorbing. This always takes about 2 to 4 hours each night and often I'll hang around after reading and play a couple of games of something, usually poker or roulette lately. I didn't realize how much this filled up the evening when I had nothing better to do until I didn't have it anymore, my new cable modem won't be getting installed till the 9th. (Grrrrr!!) Anyways, after unpacking and getting my computer set up and running nicely I felt an odd emptiness in my tummy, like something was missing. I wandered about the living room of my new place for a bit and happened to glance at the clock, it was about 10:30pm my time and it dawned on me that this is when I'm normally online doing stuff.

The first night, April 1st: Every story has a start

     The torture is horrible, I curl up in a little ball on my bed in the fetal position and stare at the wall bug-eyed. A chaotic jumble of images and thoughts are blazing through my mind. I decide to sit up to my keyboard and play Half Life in the hopes that an hour or two of mindless animated violence will get my mind off of my other problems. It almost works...

The second night, April 2nd: Frantic Search to fence pole to Stasis

     It’s Monday, so I can go downtown with my continuing job search and basically get away from my computer. Things go well for the most part and I'm able to get my head under control. I return home at around 6:00pm, I glance at my monitor but shrug as I have things to do at the moment, like go to my parents place and help them build their new fence. Blehh, how boring, but at least its safe. I get home and swear that it’s taunting me, almost begging me to turn it on and push its keys. Being exhausted from the last 5 hours of hard labor, I lay down and pass out quickly. Safe for another day...

The third night, April 3rd: The night of endless adventure

     I'm lucky today, I've got two job interviews and am able to grin to myself as I go down town to them. they both go well, but the great thing for today is that its Magic night at the college. I can go and play and free my mind of all troubles as I wander through a realm of dragons, Magic and high fantasy. What wonders, what fun......what the hell?!?!
     Maybe it was just my luck for something like this to happen, but it seemed to be Pick on Nick Night up there. I brought 5 different decks with me plus some traders, but every game I played all I ever really saw on my side was land. If I played a creature, it died right away. If I played a spell, it was countered. I was able to get an occasional enchantment into play, but that's really about it. Even my lands were targeted for destruction from a volley of Sinkholes, Pillages, and a rampaging Demonic Horde. By the time the night was getting to a close I was starting to feel very resentful of even bothering to try and play, but for the last game, I was playing my silly yet amusing Voice deck. The guys can tell I'm getting angry, I think, and give me a sympathy victory which feels even worse then just getting gang beaten every game in a row that night. Sometimes you’re a planeswalking wizard, others you’re a goblin lackey packing around a big tissue paper bull's-eye.

*sigh*

     On another note for this night, as it just kept getting worse, it seemed I was accused of playing cheese. Now, I know that everyone's mindset on what cheese is can differ, but there are some things that I just don't get. One of my decks is almost a Squirrel Prison/Flagpole deck, but its so slow most of the time that it’s far from being broken, since I didn't put any kind of mana accelerant in it, and instead of Force of Will I decided to use Rewind to counter stuff on occasion. Why not, it could be fun after all without being broken. Another was my extended-legal Living Death deck. It doesn't have Dark Ritual or Buried Alive, but it can have 4 Frantic Search (which it does). I play it and basically get called a cheater from the tone of voice used when two Frantics come up from an end of turn Fact or Fiction because Frantic Search is restricted in Type 1. And of course there's my silly Voice deck, composed entirely of the “Voice of --” angels and a couple of other cards like Disenchant and Remembrance and such, hardly cheesy. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong, but I would like to know what the difference is between a strong deck, and a broken/cheesy one? I didn't think mine were cheesy, but who am I to judge? If I'm going to be called a cheese-monger though, I may as well earn the title and wear it like a badge, so from now on when I play some of these guys I'll use the most broken disgusting decks I can muster regardless of bannings and restrictions. I will play pre-bannings Trix and laugh at them as they attempt to pay upkeeps, I will play Academy decks and grin with maniacal glee as their heads explode from a 1000 card Stroke of Genius. I will do what I must to show what true cheese is so that when so they so cheerfully fling mud such as calling someone a cheese-monger, they will know they are facing true aged cheese and not just a plain good deck. *pants tiredly from ranting* (Whew, I was getting worried about you there, buddy...--CT)

The fourth night, April 4th: The night of darkened light

     Once again, I'm sitting at home in the evening with nothing to do, I stare at my computer screen blankly before the urge overcomes me and I open my e-mail program and start reading old messages. Sometimes, I'm just pitiful. This is one of those times. It soothes for a little while, but overall does little for me. That's when everything went dark. No, I didn't go into a blind killing rage or have a seizure. The power went out, simple as that. After looking around thinking to myself, "oh great..." I figure that its probably a decent enough time to get some sleep and drift off into oblivion.

The fifth night, April 5th: Dude, what's that smell?

     The next lesson to all of you who still live at home, especially the guys. When you move out, live with women if you can, not for sex appeal or anything like that, but for the simple reason that females are neater and cleaner then most guys. It’s a proven fact. This can also be applied to sharing motel rooms and car trips for conventions and tournaments.
In a house of bachelors, things only get cleaned when they absolutely need to be, not when they should be. While this doesn't apply to all guys, it certainly applies to most.      Refrigerators can become bio-engineering labs if anyone ever bothered to go shopping for food-type products -- especially fruits and vegetables -- and bathrooms become toxic waste processing facilities.
     After being woken up by a disgusting odor floating in the air, I found my way into the washroom where someone had closed to window because it was raining, unknowingly keeping all the fumes from escaping the building. Before, that the window had always been open, so I never noticed just how bad the bathroom was; just taking a guess, I’d figured the place hadn't been cleaned in at least 3 months. First thing I did was go out get a surgical mask and a couple pairs of latex gloves because someone was going to have to fix this....just why did it have to be me?
     After much toiling, the place was clean enough to not stink anymore and not grow any strange beasties or thallids where the sun doesn't shine.

(Note to all those who've actually bothered to read this far, if you need a carpentry file and steel wool to clean a bathtub, this is a Bad Thing™

Thank the gods, only 4 more days to go...

The sixth night, April 6th: Dead landlord? Ice! Ice! Ice!

     The previous night had been a long one, constantly tossing and turning in restless abandon as visions/dreams of HTML code, websites, and online games float through my mind. Eventually waking up around 6:00am in a cold sweat, I decide that sleep is an evil thing and should be abolished, or at least ignored when doing it. I get an early start on the day and find out that my new landlord/roommate and his son are both ex-Magic players who stopped playing around Exodus but managed to get some Urza’s Block commons anyhow. My landlord challenges me to a few games with some decks he's built the previous night including one he says did really well in a tournament he was in. The former tourny deck is 93 cards (I counted afterwards) and is supposed to be based around black disruption with some land destruction, cheap discard effects, and creature removal filled in with some black fatties and weenie fliers (it had been a long time since I'd seen vampire bats and their ilk played).
     Needless to say I tune him up with the Type 1 sligh deck I've been tinkering with and decide to switch to a different one that may be a little more on his level. He hasn't played in almost 3 years, after all.
     The second set we play is him using a white weenie/prevention thing with an assortment of trick critters like Witch Hunters and D'Avenant Archers (yes, I am shocked that someone actually played the poor things). For those of you who don't know, the archers are a 1/2 white critter for 2W that can tap to deal 1 damage to target blocking or attacking creature. In this I'm playing my Turbo-bee Stampy variant. It’s like a normal Stampy deck but utilizes fast elf and sometimes cradle mana to pop out whoop-ass size Killer Bees. The deck has the potential to smack for around 25 flying on turn 3, but today it doesn't seem to want to hang with me. After numerous mana problems from land shortages and mulliganing down to 5 cards I finally get something worth playing with. My hand is a Forest, 2 Fyndhorn Elves, 1 Priest of Titania and a Blastoderm. I play it out and get lucky by drawing two more land and then nothing but beef with a Silt Crawler, Albino Troll and two Rancors. The game ends quickly and painfully despite his large group of Tundra Wolves and other little first striking nuisances. The next two games my deck works with me and the rest is a stain somewhere on the floor of the Llanowar forest.
     I switch decks out for my White/Blue control anti-creature pile of cardboard while he does some tuning to his white deck.
     My W/U deck is simple. Find the best creature removal in white and the best counters I have for blue, put them in a deck with some land, Disenchants, Control Magic, and 4 Phantom Monsters (I'd use something bigger for fun, but this is all I have right now)

I felt brain dead for something to play so it ended up looking like this:

4X Swords to Plowshares
4X Exile
4X Wrath of God
1X Balance
4X Disenchant

4X Force of Will
4X Counterspell
4X Dissipate
1X Recall
1X Windfall
1X Time Spiral
4X Control Magic
4X Phantom Monster

1X Sol Ring

4X Coastal Tower
1X Karakas
1X Maze of Ith
1X Kor Haven
7X Plains
9X Islands

For those of you who feel the need to critique this thing: yes, but I don't want to hear about it ‘cause I know it’s just a collection of good cards combined to make a deck of sorts. Thank you.

     I can honestly say I enjoy my bad luck, because this way at least I can say I'm a lucky guy to people and let them get the wrong idea, rather then go around saying how much life bums me out sometimes. Keep and smile on your face and don't sweat in public, everything will be just fine, really, ask any elf, pixie, or talking small furry creature you know, they'll back me up on this one.
     Anyways, I always seem to draw 2 Exiles in my opening hand hence reducing my hand size from 7 to 5 because we all know how useful Exile is against white decks. I hope for a Time Spiral or Windfall to come up so I can get rid of them and get something useful. The Spiral does pop up and I cast it, yet after much shuffling and cutting, my new hand contains, once again, the same two Exiles. I decide they just love me and that's why they always come up so I build a tiny card house out of them as my opponent nibbles me to death with his Tundra Wolves.

     Thankfully, god is angry the next two games and helps me keep the weenies away with his wrath until I get enough mana and bring out the guns. Okay, so Phantom Monsters aren't really guns, but they're bigger then most of the stuff my opponent plays, so I'm happy. The one Serra he gets out, I steal and give beatings till he's a metaphorical blob of ichor.
     Now that my day is going better after finding out I still know how to play Magic -- kinda -- I head over to my parents’ place ‘cause we're going to a hockey game tonight. Our local team, the Kootenay Ice, is playing in their conference semi-finals against a team from Swift Current in the WHL. The WHL is the league right below the NHL for all you non-hockey people. Our team kicks serious ass with a final winning score of 7 - 1. We won the Memorial Cup last year and we're gonna do it again this year. GO ICE GO!!

The seventh night, April 7th: Sugar!!!! :-D

     Why am I awake right now?? Its almost 3:00am. Maybe I shouldn't have had all those M&M candies last night, but they're so sweet and delicious, and besides, popping junk food gives me something to do with myself when I can't go surfing. Talk about a "replacement effect." Big butt from sitting gets replaced by big tummy from munching, reminds me of when I discovered that sugar free gum isn't really sugar free when I quit smoking 4 years ago. Get a couple of packs of Trident in your mouth at once and not only will you disgust everyone around you, but you'll learn to walk on the ceiling as well.
     
     Oh well, since I'm awake I may as well build something.

*sounds of tumbling boxes and cussing float about*

     I think I'll make a quick black deck with a pile of decent spells and some other oddities for back up. The list ends up looking like this:

4X Hymn to Tourach
4X Duress
4X Sinkhole
4X Animate Dead
4X Massacre
4X Hypnotic Specter
4X Dauthi Slayer
4X Dark Ritual
3X Phyrexian Scuta
2X Avatar of Woe
1X Demonic Tutor
1X Yawgmoth's Will
1X Mind Twist
1X Black Lotus
1X Mox Jet
1X Urborg
2X Lake of the Dead
17X Swamp

     Yes, its a very simplistic deck, but it works except for one tiny little problem. The Mana ratio is off and I can't get it adjusted right. At the current list I always seem to draw to much land, I took two swamps out and them I either drew just right or too little. I put one back in and I'm drawing too much again. Somebody help? Pleeeease?? But since this is only the playtest against myself stage I'm not to worried about it yet. We'll see how it does against real people in about 10 hours or so.

~10 hours later~

     Well, I made it to the college having gotten some sleep only to find the entire place overrun by small children, elementary school students, and what looks like spoiled yuppie larvæ. Apparently there's a science fair going on and they've taken most of the north wing of the building, including the cafeteria where we play. Since they've got displays and charts (and, at one table, something that looked like it could have been a miniature nuclear reactor) all over the place, Magic has been canceled until Tuesday night. One of these runts better end up the next Einstein or at least a highly-skilled doctor for taking the day that I get to play with my magical cards.

The eighth night, April 8th: Christmas time in April??

     Since it was Sunday today, I thought I could get away with sleeping in only to be kept awake by the incessant pattering of what I thought was rain fall outside. I get up and look out the bathroom window while shaving and notice a blanket of white. It’s not because I have shaving cream in my eyes either. We got nailed with a freak April blizzard that ever-so-kindly dumped about 6 inches of snow on us. Just when I thought I could go to the beach....blehh. Maybe Santa Claus will come early and give me that super-ultra-rare, foil, holofracter, inlaid with gold and silver Black Lotus card I always wanted with a Garfield augmentation that just makes it tap for mana instead of tap and sac. Then I could sell it on eBay for the money to get a cellular modem installed in my head so that I never have to be offline again and don't feel the need to sit around writing tripe like this. It would be so much more efficient too. I could just think about it and every Magic article and discussion board would be right there. Of course you'd probably get headaches from trying to escape porn sites you stumbled into.
     Beyond this though the day is a bust, no one is around even though I called everyone I could think of around here, so I end up playing a couple games with my landlord again. He's learning a bit, I'm happy to say; his decks have been trimmed from 90-ish cards to close to 60. He's still using some odd stuff though, anyone ever played with Caribou Range? (Why yes, as a matter of fact...--CT) Its from Ice Age originally. Kind of a nifty card when it comes down to it.

Caribou Range
2WW
Enchant land
When Caribou Range comes into play, choose target land you control.
WW: Tap land Caribou Range enchants to put a Caribou token into play. Treat this token as a 0/1 white creature.
0: Sacrifice a Caribou token to gain 1 life.

Its like a lesser Kjeldoran Outpost from a long ways away, though the relationship is a distant one at best.
In fact, I'm so impressed with this card, (I have no clue why, maybe the medication) that I've got a pair of foil rares from Planeshift to give away to the person who can create the best deck that specifically abuses Caribou Range. Use any cards you want except for Unglued and the Portal sets. Specify which format your deck is legal in (Type 1, Extended, Type 2) and e-mail it to me at:

ura@cpa-mail.net

I'll accept entries until April 20th and choose a winner from them. Have fun with it, they're only Caribou after all.

Now that I've managed to waste a lot of people’s time by babbling, I'll thank anyone who made it this far. I feel better, though I think that's cause my new modem is being installed in the morning and most of the nervous shakes and twitches have passed.

See you on the flip side,
Nick "Ura" Saviskoff

Read More Articles by Nick "Ura" Saviskoff!

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