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The Road to Tourney: Tap THIS!
By Mark Ortego
The Road to Tourneyland: Tap THIS!
By Mark Ortego

I had a great time at the Dark Steel pre-release this weekend but, for some reason, I just started to get annoyed about some “little things”.

One, I have come to the full realization that I am, and always will be, a “Hack” at tournament level play. For example, I busted on myself at PTQ Kobe on January 3rd in Butler, PA (1-3-3) by calling the judge over during my first game of my fifth round to admit to not de-sideboarding before the match started. “Game Loss”, yes. But what was worse was the expression on my opponent’s face. He had that kind of look like he just witnessed a horrific accident or he just found out that he was adopted or something like that.

This bothers me.

How come I’ve never seen anyone else bust on themselves?!

This weekend I was in the first flight and after my first match I walked away from the game table for about 2 min. and realized I had left my box with my sideboard cards in it. I came back and my opponent was still there but the box was missing. No one saw it. Fair enough, it was my fault for leaving it there. Two hours later I find a set of car keys and a binder of cards laying on the table, unattended, and I (Citizen: Goodie Two-Shoes) turn them in to the judges….


Most folks would let them lie there (or steal them) and let it not be their problem.

I tap my permanents a full 90 degrees and yet most of my opponents this weekend barely slant their permanents 5 degrees. I actually had a guy try and cast multiple spells with already tapped mana. I guess if you only barely tap them you can tap them again for additional mana. JEEZSH!

Okay, how ‘bout “THAT GUY” who plays his lands practically on top of you and gets ticked when your permanents are even one millimeter close to his?! He sucks, who invited HIM?!

Talking “Smack” has been a part of playing Magic since its beginnings. My friends know that I do not talk “Smack” during tournament play. It’s rude and un-sportsmen like. But talking that way at a pre-release? Give me a break. There are folks at the PR that are there for the first time and they have to meet up with “Timmy, Power Smack Talker”? Go home Timmy and read the Miss Manners section of the newspaper, you friggin’ idiot!

Round three of the first flight, I play against “Dad” (I actually think I was older than him), he had brought his kid (maybe 10 yrs. Old), which is awesome btw, and you could tell this guy was a “Thinker”. A very long thinker. Four minutes a turn long thinker. In fact, he was later given the dubious title among everyone that played against him “The Slow Player”.

Honestly, I think that he was kind of new to tournament play because he was very courteous and cordial and apologetic of his lack of timeliness during his game play. I was annoyed, but totally empathetic to his perspective.

So, after the match (he won due to his first game win and timing-out during game two) I thought instead of calling a judge over and ripping this guy a new one in front of his kid, I instead, shake his hand, compliment him on his thoroughness during game play and gave him friendly advice about how he could improve on his timeliness during his turn in a tournament.


I’ve had my oink ripped up one side and down another for things as simple as not announcing my upkeep phase, or trying to block an unblockable creature or even asking to read my opponent’s card he had just played. Tolerance is something a lot of us should have for one another especially if you know that your opponent is new to the game or tournament play. If you’re playing in a PTQ then I imagine that all bets are off, but this has been at PRE-RELEASES, Precious!

My second draft (at the price of $18 a draft) I had made it to the second round with a nice B/R burn and kill artifact deck. My opponent (a classic SMACK-talker) refused to tap his attackers under the guise of; it’s just casual-play, anyways no one is ever going to have to know this format (Dark Steel only draft) and besides I’m (him) is going win anyhow. And then, had the nerve to try and block with them. I just looked at him stupifyed, not understanding how any one person could be THAT arrogant. For the next two turns when he attacked and didn’t tap his guys, I tapped them for him. After that he started tapping them (yup, you guessed it, at a five degree slant).


I must be getting old (42 this coming May), or maybe I’m getting fed up with things like; it’s cool to be rude or make fun of folks who are different than you or just plain being an idiot is an acceptable norm for our society.

Real life is already a ‘kill or be killed’ experience so why can’t we all just get along while playing this game we love. Do this for yourself (and maybe you already do), the next time you play someone who might be new to the magic gamming experience, give them a helping hand up, not a put-down attitude that makes you feel temporarily better. Chances are, you might be helping our game stay alive by making someone feel good about playing Magic.

Peace Out -whateverinthehell THAT means

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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