Casual Players Alliance Latest Article Replies:
   The Comboist Manifesto Volume ... - by Spiderman (Sep 18, 2:29 PM)
   Whatsthepoint-Fireball: Huh? - by Spiderman (Apr 21, 7:41 PM)
   The Counter-Column: Making it ... - by Turgy22 (Apr 1, 12:06 AM)
   The Counter-Column: Making it ... - by Stephen Bahl (Mar 31, 6:23 PM)
Submit An Article!

 Community Forums
 Mission Statement
 Voting Booth
     Weekly Articles
     Issues & Rants

Get free email!

The Road to Tourneyland: Sunnyside of the Street
By Mark Ortego
February 1, 2005
The Road to Tourneyland: The Sunnyside of the Street
By Mark Ortego

As a player, I have participated in every pre-release tournament since Exodus. However, this time for Betrayers of Kamigawa (BoK), I participated as both a Level 0 Judge and a player. The dual participation was quite an eye opener.

Last week a friend of mine, who is a judge for Professional-Events Services (PES), asked me if I'd be interested in judging at the Butler, PA Betrayers pre-release. I said, "Yes" and wha-lah! I was deputized as a Level Zero PES Judge.

Level Zero? What does THAT mean? Well, it meant that I could pretty much help run an event and make simple rulings and that's about it. My duties were, however, multi-facet. I started out by helping unload all of the product, computer, printer, banners, score pads, retail stuff like deck sleeves, dice, and other assorted items. I then helped set up the numbers for the tables and arranged chairs to correlate with the table numbers (when does the glorious stuff begin to happen, you know, making a ruling where the whole room falls silent and you alone hold in your hand the card in question ready to make a life or death decision therefore possibly crushing the player who wronged you three years ago at state championships by talking to his friends during a match about how bad you are, - RIGHT in front of you like you weren't even there! When does THAT part come around?)..straighten table cloths, making pre-release bundles (1 CoK deck/3 BoK packs), cutting match slips, you know, the whole gambit.

Another friend of mine, also a judge, pretty much warned me about taking care of myself during the event because I will be standing a long time and it could get exhausting. Pfft! Yeah, right. Like being a judge is actually going to be exhausting, what a farce!

[Insert the sound of a plucked piano string being unwound depicting slow time passing ala SBSP and an announcer with a fake French accent saying, "Six hours laterrrr".]

Good God, whointhehell would want to do THIS? I had pretty much been running around helping out, first with the flights, then the main event. So later, I go behind the judges table and overhear my friend saying to the head judge, "Mark? Yeah, he could handle running the drafts." Yipee! I can finally get to show off my ability to take charge and show 'em how it's done.

"Sign-ups for Draft number one are starting now!" one of my fellow cohorts announced. I stopped helping with the main event and went over to the judges table to lead unsuspecting players to their destiny under my rule. Muwhahahahahahahaha!

Upon my arrival I hear, "Um, hey Mark? Go over and set up a round table for drafting, we'll send someone over to give you the player's bracket sheet and product." Jeez, I never really thought of that. Well, why not, someone has to do it and I am more than willing to oblige. I set up the table and am now ready to do my thing. Unfortunately, my mind was wondering somewhere in Lah-Lah Land about me being the first Level 10 judge EVER in Magic history. I forgot the whole speech (you know the one that starts out with the judge asking if anyone here has NOT drafted before, then if not, the whole procedure etc, etc, etc,). Sensing that I might be struggling, my other Judge friend helps me out and does the whole speech for me, I sheepishly say to the players that I am new and I wanted him to say it once so that I get it right the next time. I'm such a dork.

Okay, after that, I start passing out the packs when I hear over the sound system, "Sign-ups for Draft number two are going on now." Draft number 2? Sure, why not? I got the speech down, I can handle it. No sooner did THEY show up when I again hear, "There are 2 spots left for Draft number four!"

Draft number 4? When did draft number THREE get called?!? Draft number 1 was under way with its first round, draft number two is now constructing their decks and someone else has already seated draft number three and I find product and a sheet in my arms! Four is barreling down the isles and of course I hear the now dreaded sound system voice saying numbers five and six sign-ups are going on.

I thought judging was all about drinking coffee, eating doughnuts and shootin' the breeze with big name pro-tour types. When I did ask one of the other higher level judges this question I got this answer, "That's only for the Head Judge"

Right. I'm a Level ZERO judge. Not even a REAL one, just a scrubby fill-in. But you know what? I LIKED IT!!!! I made enough calls to make me feel like I belonged in this position and I wasn't afraid to ask for help when a tough ruling came my way. This, btw, was a good thing because when I was juggling SIX drafts, at one time, another judge came over to help me. I accepted his help graciously.

I must've made an okay impression with the T.O. (tournament organizer who was also the Head Judge) because I got to eat dinner with he and his wife and some of the other judges I knew who I had seen for the past four or five years. Everyone was nice but I kept my Illusions of Grandeur to myself. :rolleyes:

The next day (Sunday) I wasn't needed as a judge so I went back to the motel room I had stayed at, courtesy of PES, and changed into "Jerk Guy" dressed ala Johnny Cash style. However, when I was transforming into "Jerk Guy" I was watching Sports Center (or something like that) and it was all about Ron Jaworski and others talking smack on the Steelers. So I missed Flight #1 by about 2 minutes.

I jumped in for Flight #2 and cracked open a Cranial Extraction (Yes, there was a deck swap, DANG!). I registered the deck and we swapped in some insane manner and I got a good deck with some good removal and a little bit of fat. Here's my deck:

[U]BW Control[/U]

[U]Lands (16)[/U]
8 Plains
8 Swamp

[U]Creatures (16)[/U]
[U]Bloodthirsty Ogre
Harsh Deceiver
Hired Muscle[/U]
~a Flip Card. A 2/2 for 1BB that has gains "ki counter" every time you play a spirit or arcane spell. When it has two or more ki counters on it then flip it at end of turn. // Scarmaker 4/4 that has remove a ki counter and target creature gains fear.
[U]Innocence Kami[/U]
~A 2/3 for 3WW that has pay {W} tap target creature.
[U]Kabuto Moth
Kitsune Diviner
Kami of Ancient Law
Kami of the Palace Fields[/U]
~a 3/2 Flying, first strike for 5W that has Soulshift 5.
[U](2) Moonlit Strider[/U]
~a 1/4 for 3W that has sac ~this~: Target creature gains pro color.
[U]Nezumi Graverobber[/U]
~a Flip Card. A 2/1 for 1B that has pay 1B: Remove target card in an opponent's graveyard from the game. If no cards are in that Graveyard, flip ~This~ // Nighteyes the Desecrator a 4/2 that has pay 4B: Put target creature card in a graveyard into play under your control.
[U]Pus Kami[/U]
~a 3/3 for 5BB that has pay {B}, Sac ~this~: Dark Banishing effect.
[U]Seizan, Perverter of Truth[/U]
~****FATNESS**** a 6/5 for 3BB that has At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player losses 2 life and draws two cards.
[U]Split-Tail Miko[/U]
~a 1/1 for 1W that has pay {W}, tap: Prevent 2 etc.
[U]Yosei, the Morning Star[/U]
~*****FATNESS**** a 5/5 Flyer for 4WW that wrecks your opponent next turn by tapping 5 permanents and skips an untap step.
[U]Villainous Ogre[/U]

[U]Spells (8)[/U]
[U]Ethereal Haze
Final Judgment[/U]
~****FATNESS REMOVAL**** a Sorcery for 4WW that says, Remove all creatures from the game.
[U]Genju of the Fields[/U]
~The white Genju that becomes a 2/5 w/Spirit Link effect
Hideous Laughter
(2) Horobi's Whisper[/U]
~an Instant - Arcane for 1BB. If you control a Swamp, destroy target creature. Splice onto Arcane - Remove four cards in your graveyard from the game.
[U]Rend Flesh[/U]

Anyway, as usual, I'm still working on writing a better tourney report as some of you have lovingly pointed out but alas, I only have this:

Flight #2

Round 1 vs. Molly (not real name) playing GW

Game 1: Molly is a "Gothic" young woman in her late teens and just started playing again recently since Invasion. Did I mention her *Bling-Bling* lip ring? Gawd, it's all I could do from staring at it thinking, "Why?". Anyway, my deck is slow and she lays down an early Pious Kitsune and begins working on her life total a.s.a.p. I never miss a land drop for six turns which allows me to play a turn six Kami of the Palace Fields. I start whittling away at her life total 3 at a time and she responds with a Scaled Hulk (a 4/4 for 5G that has whenever you play a spirit or arcane spell it gets +2/+2 until end of turn). Well, never mind that because I've been holding a Horobi's Whisper since my opening hand. I finally get another creature down in the way of Villainous Ogre and put the pressure on her *Bling-Bling*, I mean her life total. I have a ton of mana out and I get Nighteyes, Innocence Kami and Split-Tail all working against her. I kept forgetting about Nighteye's ability but it doesn't matter as I "Alpha Strike" her for the win.

Game 2: I get a little mana screwed and her deck is working smoothly. On turn six she plays her beating stick and then the next turn starts beating me with it! I have on my chit-sheet: 20 - 19 from the Pious Kitsune no less - 15 - 9 - 4 and she's at 20. I top deck a Horobi's Whisper and rained on her parade. I finally get out a Kabuto Moth and a Kami of Ancient Law and she starts going down but not too fast because she has that stupid Pious life gainer out. She's finally at 2 life and I've been holding at 4 and I plop down the Seizan, Perverter of Truth and she loses at the beginning of her upkeep.

I stood up and shook her hand and refrained from being a stupid "Old Guy" by asking her about her lip. I'm such a dork.

Round 2 vs. Harold (a very tall gamer with glasses) playing GBU.

Game 1: I'm on some kind of roll here because I never miss a land drop for like 8 turns. He has a Keiga Blue guy but I have a tiny Kitsune Diviner keeping it busy and I took care of his little army that he was building up, with an end of turn Hideous Laughter (all creatures get -2/-2). I get Yosei down and I win three turns later.

Game 2: I get not much out and he doesn't wait this time to build his army. He whittles me down to a nice single digit then hits me with it all for the kill.

Game 3: No notes but here's what our scores looked like:
ME - Him
20 ---20
18 ---18
16 ---14
14 ---12
12 ---10
10 ---8
2 ----6
0 ----4

It was a smack down to the end when he Cedars'd something unblocked.

After the match, Harold had to remind me that I wasn't using my Nighteyes the Desecrator ability. Pay 4B: Put target creature card in a graveyard into play under your control. He had a black flyer that could give fear to a creature when you play an arcane or spirit spell. Which I had some. I could've won.

Round 3 vs.???

Game 1: I blew this one real bad but I know I won.
Game 2: He wins.
Game 3: I win.

Round 4 vs. Kyle playing ???

Game 1: By my game sheet his life total goes like this: 20 - 18 - 14 - 9 - 3 - 1 - 0 Death
by Hankyu to his only blocking creature and I Seizan for the win.

Game 2: I remember him smacking me down quickly but I must've had out Yosei as his score went 20 - 15 - 10 - 5 but I die instead.

Game 3: He wins quickly.

Round 5 vs. Young Irish Guy "Mickey O'Flannigan" playing ???

Game 1: I'm tired, I knew I had goofed on taking better notes (I was so proud of Round 1 & 2 notes, I'll get better). This much I know; Mickey had mentioned that he was being unfairly "paired-down" to play me and that I would be killing his "tie-breaking" points. He looked for my reaction and, as with all young and cocky children, I said, "Got a dice we can roll?" In other words, I ignored him. He has me quickly down to 17 when all of a sudden my removal comes to me in spades. He's hmming-and-hawing quite overtly as to imply that I was lucky as to my good fortunes. I get out Kami of the Palace Fields and Mickey "O" dies.

Game 2 & 3: I lost my notes.

I really liked being a judge, but I am torn between both sides. I definitely could use more time playing and getting better at tournament play but I have been SO casual these past two years it's hard for me to decide. This has been a long road to Tourneyland, its going on four years, maybe it's time I stop and smell the good fortunes Ive had along the way. Im at the top of my game, in my own way, I love to play but I really liked judging, too. Judging fits my personality and I feel good about it. I had offered my services to the TO who, in turn, asked me to let him know when I would be available again.

Maybe I've been in Tourneyland all this time and have never realized it.

Magic life is good.


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)

Voting Booth

Privacy Statement
Copyright © Casual Players Alliance.