So we won't bother writing any of that in our report. For this part, keep it simple. And for goodness sakes, don't mention things like "cold fusion," "ribonucleic acid," or worst yet fond references to listening to and enjoying the music of Hanson.
While we were driving to the PT, we talked about what kinds of decks we thought might be there. My friends, Jason and David thought that a ton of Necro decks would be there and that I should scrap the deck I intended to play. I thought about it for a second but then I started to realize that Jason and David were the same dudes that watched CNN's coverage of Desert Storm and thought it was an on-going TV series. After the war was over, they even phoned CNN and asked why the network cancelled "that cool Desert Storm show." They may be my friends, but they sure are stupid. I'm sticking with the deck I have.
Next normally comes a paragraph or, if the person writing the report starts emulating Steven King, we have 23 paragraphs which describe the fact that they arrive at the place holding the tourney and go inside. Of course we all can figure out if they arrived at the tourney, since that's the whole point of writing something called a Tourney Report. It usually needs no explanation by the person writing this that they arrived at their destination. Unless of course their arrival is proceeded by a frantic car chase involving high speeds, sharp turns, members of the scantily clad Swedish Women's Swimming Team and plenty of gunfire. Or an alien abduction not in Iowa. Then, please, describe getting there and going in. Otherwise, you're just practicing for typing hordes of useless information for a publication that is giving you 25 cents per word for your report. If that's the case, feel free to paraphrase the entire contents the card catalog of your local library. That is, if you know what a library is, not to mention a card catalog.
Now here's a spot in the report where normally people screw the whole thing up:
Although I went 1-5-2 with the deck I did have a lot of fun playing.
Hold it! Never, ever, never tell people you did poorly at a tourney. Are you nuts?! You tell them that the deck didn't at least make the top eight and quicker than mana sources, the people reading it will stop. You want them to read the whole thing. So avoid telling them how you did at all costs until the very end. Otherwise, they won't care. No one will. So don't tell them how it did until the very end. They won't thank you for this, but at least they'll have read it. Which is the whole point of writing a tourney report.
And now to the first match in a normal tourney report:
Round 1 vs. Daniel T. Kruthers playing Sligh
1. I play first. I have all the right cards in my hand, except for land. I paris twice, still no land and paris yet again and finally get 1 swamp, 3 fatties and a Worb. Can you say mana screwed? I don't believe this. I lay the lone swamp, grunt my pleasure at this great draw and my opponent goes mountain, fanatic, done. Great, Sligh. I though this guy was supposed to be a Pro, what's he doing with such a simple-minded deck that's real powerful in most situations and gives a great big path to victory? I draw, another stupid fattie and no land. Just great. He goes, attacks for 1 and lays down a mountain, bolts me for 3 and lays down another fanatic. What a great player he is. I go, draw a Necropotence, but I cant @*&^ing cast it. This bites. My opponent goes, casts a Ball Lightning, attacks for 8 leaving me at 8. I draw and guess what, still no land. My opponent goes, attacks for 2 sacs the fanatics after the attack for 2 and Fireblasts me out of existence.
2. I get a perfect hand, smile at Sligh boy and beat him by turn 4. I'm at 12 life. Punk.
3. Beatdown continues Sligh-baby, he's toast before his stupid deck can kill me. Wee for me! Matches 1-0 / Games 2-1
Now what's wrong with the above? Well if you notice the player here starts off poorly due to something that everyone has to deal with called lack of mana or mana screw. It's part of the game, yet notice that like a lot of people he whines about a simple fact of the game. Secondly, notice that he's complaining about the deck the guy is using and totally missing the point of playing a deck that's very good in the environment and is easy to play. Plus, he thinks his opponent is stupid for using a good deck?! A lot of reports are written this way, and that's just plain silly. Also notice that he whines and sulks when he's losing - going into great detail to belittle his opponent but when he's winning...wee... he's happy and glosses over the details of his win except for bragging that it was a quick win and starts insulting his opponent. It's time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And while you're at it, hit him with the tub too.
So here's how to write it:
Round 1 vs. Daniel T. Kruthers playing Sligh
1. I introduce myself to my opponent, we shake hands and wish each other luck. I play first. I have all the right cards in my hand, except for land. I mulligan twice, still no land and mulligan again and finally get 1 swamp, 3 fatties and a Worb. Oh well, it's all part of the game, it can happen to anyone. I lay down a swamp and say done. My opponent drops a mountain and a Mogg Fanatic. Uh-oh, looks like Sligh. I don't get help and he kills me before too long with a couple of fanatics and a Ball Lightning. We shake and start sideboarding.
2. I get a great hand and swamp, ritual, ritual 2 Black Knights. He manages to kill one of the knights on his turn but I keep drawing with Necro soon and manage to kill him with me having only 4 life left. He has no Fireblast. Whew. We smile at the close game, shake and continue.
3. I manage to eek out a win by 1 life. It was a heck of a race, I thought I was dead. We shake and start talking about Magic and the games we played and all. He's a really cool guy and we exchange e-mail addresses and promise to keep in touch. In between rounds we play some more games for fun to see what would happen if we played 5 games and he wins the next two! Yipes.
Now this is all well and good, but still a tad boring so remember we need to spice it up a little to keep people reading, so please feel free to make up some fun stuff like these two choices:
While we were all waiting for the next round to start, the Official DCI All Female Nude Gymnastics Revue entertained us. I especially liked the part where they pretended the male judges were ponies and rode them around the aisles. The Head Judge was forced to wear a dog collar and leash and everyone took turns spanking him saying "Bad doggie." For some reason he didn't seem to mind when they led him away to be punished.
Or you could say something a tad controversial:
While we waited for the next round to start, I cornered a representative of the DoLess Convocation and asked them about the glaring errors in their database. He just started looking at me like I was wearing a giant fly-head, giggled and said "What database?" I was kinda confused and asked him what he meant by that. To which he explained that in order for the DCI to have a thing called a database, they had to have data in it and then he started laughing all over again as the realization finally dawned on me. It all makes perfect sense now. When I asked him how they make up the rankings, he showed me a leather pouch with a silver inscription reading: "DCI Rankings: for official use only." He upended the pouch and out fell three worn ten-siders and a single dart with a fin missing and a bent point. He then asked me if I'd like to know how much money they make off of the Appeal Your Ranking Program but I just couldn't take any more and I wandered off, while he laughed at me and inquired if I wanted to become a certified judge too, since I looked stupid.
So let's go to the next round in a typical report:
Round 2 vs. some scrub, I forgot his name playing a Dojo deck.
Whoa right there, bub. Don't make this mistake...you have a pen and a paper and you're writing down everyone else's name so don't call your opponent a scrub and omit his name. It's just not right.
Round 2 vs. Joe Wilke playing some Dojo Deck (http://thedojo.com/t2reports/t2005_415800.txt)
Hehe, if he's playing a Dojo deck, why not include the complete url of said Dojo deck for easy access? This should just about make some people so enraged they toss their monitors out a nearby window.
Another common mistake in writing a tourney report is keeping accurate track of your wins and losses. Do you realize that everyone skims the Matches/Game counts, not bothering to check if they add up or make any sense? You want to see if the people reading your report are actually reading and not glossing over it. You want to make them pay attention, so start playing with the numbers a little and see if they catch it. Like so:
Round 1: Matches 1-0 / Games 2-1
Round 2: Matches 2-0 / Games 2-4 < - What?! The games say you lost instead of won the
Round 3: Matches 2-1 / Games 5-4 < - Now you lost this match but picked up 3 games?!
Round 4: Matches 1-2 / Games 2-7 < - I give up! My calculator is as broken as the Academy.
Now let's see what else always seems to happen in normal tourney reports:
Game 2. I couldn't believe what happened in this game. I attacked with my Ball Lightning. My opponent was at 18 life before and after the attack and I bolted him for 3, he was supposed to be at 9 life. So next turn I play another Ball, attack for 6 and bolt him for the kill. I scoop and he says "Why'd you do that, you just lost the game." I told him he's dead and he told me he's at 2 life. That %$#@!er was playing around with his life totals, not taking full Ball damage! What a cheater! I got so pissed I started screaming at him. A judge came over and I told him what a cheater my opponent is but as we were keeping track of life using dice and his was at 2, the judge couldn't do anything and I lost for scooping my cards. Cheaters suck!
Now here's how to properly handle instances of cheating in your tourney report:
Game 2. I shocked my opponent on turn 1, bringing him to 18 life. Turn 2, I attacked with a Ball Lightning and afterwards bolted him for 3 bringing my opponent down to 9. Next turn another Ball and a bolt and I win. I scoop and my opponent says "Why'd you do that, you just lost the game." I laughed and told him he's dead and would you believe this little cheater tried to tell me he was at 2 life? That moron thought he could get away with cheating ME?! So I did what anyone else would do in a similar situation. Taking the only good line from Kevin Costner's Robin Hood (you know, the one where he loses his accent after the first 5 minutes), I start to carve out his heart using a spoon. Why a spoon? Because it hurts and it takes longer! He sure screamed and thrashed about a lot, but I persevered to the applause of the crowd and held up my new trophy, proud that I did my part by removing a cheater from the game forever. After holding it up for a few seconds, I spiked the heart. Touchdown, ba-by!
You have to take matters into your own hands with regards to cheaters. You can't rely on judges to be there to assist you, especially with the profound lack of judges coming soon because a lot of judges will not be stupid enough to pay again to renew in January. WotC may have fooled them once, but a lot of judges have no intention on being taken yet again for another $25 to help promote their game. You may want to remember to write down every instance of damage on a piece of paper during each game. Other methods to counter cheaters is to videotape the entire game, and play back any questionable instances to the judge (if you find any after January), or show them your spiked 35lb "Beat the Cheat" stick. Another highly effective method used to combat cheaters is clubbing them with last year's Christmas fruitcake. Those suckers are heavier than bricks.
Another way to entertain the reader is to win more games. This can be done quite easily, since you're writing the tourney report after it's over, unless of course you're writing your tourney report in the second round because you lost the first three games and you're dropping. Which makes for a short tourney report, which can be a good thing at times. Now how does one win more games than they've won? Simple...if you lost in a Match to your opponent, become your opponent.
Say it's Round 4 and your opponent is playing White Weenie. You lose 2 games and win one. Well, just replace all his plays with yours and your plays with his. So the end result would be you won the match 2-1. Keep doing this all through the tourney report. Now some people might have noticed that you started out playing a Necro deck and then you're playing Sligh and might be wondering how all of a sudden you're now playing a White Weenie deck, but trust me, most people don't pay attention and you're doing them a favor. After all, who wants to read a losing tourney report? Besides, if they spot these quirks in the report, they're definitely going to keep reading until the end. Which is a good thing(tm).
Now you're near the end of the report and you've proclaimed victory, much to the confusion of your readers and if the real winner reads this report, it's bound to start people talking. And the more people talk about your report, the more people will read it. It's like 300 old parking tickets in your glove compartment, they always rise in value. So now it's time to list your winning deck. So here goes:
My Winning Deck: (titled Harry's Hayride)
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Dark Banishing
1 Ivory Tower
1 Jalum Tome
1 Soul Burn
1 Zuran Orb
2 Ebon Stronghold
2 Nevinyrral's Disk
2 Serrated Arrows
3 Knights of Stromgald
4 Dark Ritual
4 Drain Life
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Hypnotic Spectres
4 Order of the Ebon Hand
4 Strip Mine
1 Apocalypse Chime
1 Ashes to Ashes
1 City of Brass
1 Feldon's Cane
1 Jalum Tome
1 Safe Haven
1 Serrated Arrows
1 Stromgald Cabal
2 Nevinyrral's Disks
3 The Rack
Now here's the most important part of our tourney report:
I created this deck all by myself in November of 1995. It is my own original creation, no one helped me and I am the sole creator of what I call the Harry's Hayride deck. I was stunned to see MY deck printed in Duelist #11, pg. 42 and seeing it's creation credited to Leon Lindback, who calls it a NecroDeck. He stole my design! It's mine! Mine! Why is he credited with creating it?! It's Harry's Hayride you imbecile! I did it, me, Harry J. Slobotnicky - not some guy from Stockholm! Listen up everyone, it's not a "NecroDeck" it's a "Harry's Hayride Deck!" I'm the creator, not that foreigner! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!!!!!!!!! Your @#$!ers aren't going to get away with this!
You see, part of an-ongoing trend on the Net and some reports is to fight over who created a particular deck type. It doesn't matter if you actually created the deck type, just pick one at random and claim you are the inventor. This generates buckets of activity and bad feelings but people will definitely point to your tournament report where you made your wild claims and that means, you guessed it, even more readers! If you keep doing this, you'll be known as the King of All Tourney Reports and have your name constantly plastered all over Usenet and the Magic Dojo. Which is a good thing. People will actually seek you out at tourneys, some to congratulate you, others to try to convince you to put some rope around your neck and step off the chair. Hey, you may become a "Known Playa" real quick when otherwise people might never know who you are - a tragedy that you can work to avoid with methods like this.
And lastly to the standard ending of a tourney report, the Props and Slops section. Remember to keep it interesting:
- That guy that believed me that Academy was not going to be banned and bought all mine for $22 each. Ever hear of Abeyance, sucker?
- Oracle for creating so much confusion that any argument on the rules can't be considered
- The Judge Certification Program for ensuring that the smarter ones aren't judging
- The DCI rankings database for increasing my rankings 250 points overnight so I qualified for PT Chicago (and I haven't played a game in over a year!)
- My lucky 2-headed coin, I get to play first every time.
- That moron that fed my pet elephant, Big Al those 20 Burrito Supremes. A lot of good people died.
- My opponent with Attention Deficient Disorder. That game took forever. He made a nice sweater though.
- The guy I played that used Limburger cheese to keep track of his life totals. That was so unnecessary.
- That guy that told me the Sorceress Queen is topless. She's not, she's nekkid. Come to think of this, it's a Prop not a Slop.
- The official that told me I couldn't wear my fly-head while playing in the tourney.
Remember one thing when making stuff up while writing a tourney report - there are sure tipoffs to even the most impaired reader that you're lying. Such examples to avoid are: I always treat my opponent with respect, winning isn't everything, I went to the tourney with my girlfriend and any fond references to New Jersey.
Now I hope you've all taken these lessons to heart and start making up some of the best tournament reports ever. Remember: it's not a good report if no one remembers it. Class dismissed.
Before I answer all of your questions, I'd like to take this time out and spread some personal Xmas wishes to all of you.
Special Xmas Wish Section (or Happy Holidays Wishes if you prefer):
To: Joe Elkouby - I wish you many days of profound joy. You put up my first Quard's Corner article on the Vault (www.vaultmag.com) and it all took off from there.
To: Frank Kusumoto of the Dojo - I wish you an endless supply of 7-11 Double Gulps. Your contributions have shaped Magic like no other. Put your feet up, guy... you deserve it.
To: The Magic Dojo - May you continue to thrive, staying the same for all eternity. Let no man sully your carefully laid out format or desecrate your pages with tons of slow-loading graphics or java plugins. We won't stand for changes for the worse.
To: The New Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rosewater - I wish you both an eternity of good health and happiness. To best accomplish this, never share your Magic cards.
To: *THE* Jeff Donais - May your hair never lose it's luster or curls. Best wishes in your new job and remember to keep sending in more Quotes for the Corner or I'll come to visit you with a pair of hedge clippers. May your buttocks be gently caressed with the feel of an executive-style leather chair.
To: The Guys at R&D, Past Present and Future: Thank you for your efforts, without which we wouldn't be playing this legal form of crank! Happy and a Healthy to you and yours.
To: Beth Morsund - You've been podded but we still like you. The original you. The one that ruled unlike Wylie. For you an endless supply of lemon cookies, or Godiva chocolates, your pick.
To: The DCI - I wish you all a database that held actual data. May that day finally come.
To: DCI Certified Judges - I wish one day you'd all get your money back, it should never have been taken from you.
To: The Magic Rules - I wish you stability, wisdom and structure. 0-3 isn't bad.
To: Magic: The Game We All Love - I wish you don't go Portal in 6e. Alas 6e, I used to know Magic well.
To: Jack "the Man" Stanton - for that steak dinner I can almost taste. See you at PTQuard in January!
To: Cathy Nicoloff - wipe that smile off your face, girl. Hey, I'm referring to your pic!
To: All the people in IRC #mtg - thank you for continuing to bear my insanity. Your screams are so delightful. Happy Holidays!
To: Quard's Corner Readers - Even I do not have the words to thank you for liking the ramblings of a fly-headed humorist wielding 8 Voices and an imaginary trained typing ferret. I am honored to continue to entertain you all. Thank you for your emails, your comments, questions and enthusiasm - it's you not me that made Quard's Corner as popular as it's become. It's been a great ride - thank you for giving me the car keys! We have many more miles to go before we see sheep.
To: Everyone - Happy Holidays. May all your days be filled with joy! And free Magic cards.
With those special wishes done, it's time for me to answer some questions.
Q: What do you call Ferratio, does he have a nickname? Like maybe Ferra or whatnot? - Wes Hellman, Internet
A: Ferratio has no official nickname, and the unofficial ones would exceed our G rating. Sorry.
Q: Why the hello doesn't Blinking Spirit fly (ditto for Whipporwill)? - Marcel Charbonnet, Internet
A: The last time I talked to members in the Art department at WotC the explanation was "because they're tired." The original explanation was that "the planet in which they reside has extremely high gravity." After plying them with frosty-cold alcoholic beverages (in Drunk there is Twoof) the real answer came out - "Oopsies."
Q: Why does every Cycling card have a cycling of (2)? - Marcel Charbonnet, Internet
A: This confusion is easily cleared up, the term cycling was a misprint, it was supposed to be called BiCycling - that's why they all have cycling of (2). If it was TriCycling, they'd all have cycling(3).
Q: Does the ferret have any preference for kittens, because I am sure the wife wont miss her annoying little bundle of joy - Carl R. Rickert - SGT, US Army, Internet
A: Well, sure - kittens dipped in Cheese-Wiz will do just fine, but he'll happily chomp on non-coated kittens too as long as I remember to fill his water dish. As soon as I can remember where I saw it last...
Q: Do you thing WotC is gonna reprint Mirage cards in 6th edition? I'm praying for Nocturnal Raid to come back. - Falcon, Internet
A: Sad news, it seems they're going to reprinting Portal cards in 6e. Say hello, DoomTown!
Q: Why are coin flips legal tiebreakers in the top 8 of a qualifier? - NoahGrand, IRC
A: Beats me, I'm still trying to figure out why people who eat snails are allowed in qualifiers.
Q: Hey, are there ever going to be official MEET QUARD events at Pro Tours? - a few sick sick people, Internet
A: Uh... stop it, you're scaring me. I don't think so, but you never know. However, if you'd really like to meet me, I'm going to be there for the 4 Slot Pro Tour Qualifier in Las Vegas, January 23rd. If you want, I'll even sign cans of cans of Cheese-Wiz for you. As a matter of fact, I just got word that they're renaming the qualifier PTQuard. Come on down! If a miracle occurs, I might make it to PTLA.
Q: I couldn't believe it, but I was reading the latest Duelist and Ferratio was in it! How'd that happen?!
A: Well, I really don't know, it came as a complete surprise. Ferratio appears in the first Magic: The Puzzling on pg. 74 of the 5 year Anniversary issue of the Duelist (Issue 33). I deeply thank Mark Rosewater for his appearance and couldn't be any happier to see my beloved Ferratio about to be killed by vast amounts of readers out there. Not to worry though, as Ferratio is protected by hordes of insta-stunt exploding ferrets. Thanks again, Mark!
Q: Did WotC finally learn something after misprinting all those cards in Anthologies? - Jay Render, Internet
A: Yes they did. You'll all be happy to know that shortly after all those misprinted cards were found in Anthologies, WotC had several meetings where they finally decided that from now on, someone will actually look at the cards prior to them being printed. You can't say they don't learn from their mistakes!
Q: How do you deal with sitting down to find out you face an intimidating opponent, like a prominent Pro?
A: I don't get intimidated. First, I imagine their head is one giant lemon drop. Then, I slowly lick one side of their face, then the other, sigh and start playing. Some players I've faced have thanked me for this, most others just stared and twitched and had to be hospitalized. Go figure.
This edition of Quard's Corner has been brought to you by: Wordpad for Windows, Misfiring brain cells, fur-wearing penguins and llama snugglers the world over.
This edition of Quard's Corner was held up by: Quake 2, Xmas shopping and those little teeny tiny marshmallows floating hypnotically in my hot cocoa.
Quotes of the Month:
"Through this time of transition, reading Quard's Corner has helped me keep my toupee looking sharp." - *THE* Jeff Donais, Wizards of the Coast
We also have another special quote for you:
"Reading Quard's Corner is like a mental version of popping those little plastic bubbles. It doesn't accomplish much, but its addictive and a hell of a lot of fun." - Mark Rosewater, lead designer/developer, Magic
Note: Are there any Magic related questions you'd like to ask me that might see print in an upcoming Quard's Corner? If so, e-mail your questions to me at email@example.com.
This article was put together for your reading pleasure by Vincent B. Navarino (aka Quard on IRC:#mtg) and his imaginary trained typing ferret, Ferratio. Vincent considers himself quite the humorist and can regularly be spotted late at night on IRC:#mtg(EFNet) tormenting the people there with his rantings. He'd also like to write Magic humor for the Duelist and someday might start submitting his articles to them, but is too afraid of rejection right now after not having a date in over 3 (5+?!) years. If you'd like to talk with him, or any one of his eight voices, please feel free to send them e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All feedback received is welcomed.
Warning: any hate mail will be forwarded to a neighbor he doesn't like. In triplicate!
[Author's Note: Listed in this article was my attempt to get people that wrote tournament reports on the web to use (a) thought (b) grammar and (c) kindness. Sadly (a) was a foreign concept to many, (c) was just not possible for many Pro Tour players and (b) was mistakingly misinterpreted as "Use Grandma" *shudder* Taxi! Originally appeared in Dec. 1998 on the beloved Frank Kusumoto's Magic Dojo]