May 2, 2005
The Road to Tourneyland: Legendary
By Mark Ortego
Hmm, it’s funny how some of us think we know how to measure our worth by things or titles or jobs descriptions, but in the end we are measured by the actions we’ve done; good or bad. A random act of kindness or cruelty years ago comes back in spades and we may not have even noticed the connection, a single event or continuous events that may seem benign at the time come back to honor or disgrace us.
This is how we are to be measured.
A new game store near my work place called “Blue Star Games” (I’ve got permission from the owner to use its name) opened up several weeks ago. It’s not your typical slobbish, dormitory, stained rug, and dimmed lit place that is stereotypical of “game shops”, it’s well lit, and spacious and located in a brand new strip mall soon to be the business hub of the township.
Rich, the owner, however is doing his best to try and establish that ‘game shop’ feel, he brands a constant two day unshaven look and is slightly out of shape (he said the other day that he’s actually a lot thinner now than before) and he’s roughly my age (40+) and is a great guy with a vast knowledge of all things D&D.
The shelves on one whole side of the wall are loaded with Warhammer miniatures, he has a pillar filled with Star Wars games including RPG’s, Miniatures, and the Monopoly version (only one copy though). An entire display of WARMACHINE, a middle shelf filled with German-type board games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Alhambra, Carcassonne, and others. On the right hand side are his two long glass showcases that are filled with miniature singles of all kinds, including 3 gelatinous cubes, beyond that is his D&D treasure area. Tables are randomly placed around the shop but the concentration of them, are in the back of the store where a CLEAN bathroom is easily accessible.
He has a little snack area set up and allows the players to bring in food from restaurants as long as we clean up after ourselves. Hey, did I even mention that he sells Magic packs? His forte is RPG’s but he does have a couple of booster boxes Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Marvel VS and the cool new little Pirates of the Crimson Coast packs for sale.
When I first stopped in several weeks ago I quickly realized that Rich might need some guidance about Magic products. So I offered my suggestions and insight, un-invited of course, and risked the chance that this guy would write me off as a loon. I guess my conversation with him convinced him that I was on the up-and-up. This was NOT the case.
It turns out that during his first official week of business several of the high school kids that played Magic told Rich about this Mr. “O” guy. And that Mr. “O” used to have a Magic club with a ton of kids in it and would let them play in his room after-school while waiting for some activity to start and would have Friday after-school Magic draft games. I was stupefied when I learned of this “Legendary Status”. It only got worse (or better depending on your view-point) this past Friday night.
A couple weeks ago I made up a flyer for Blue Star Games listing Magic events the store would hold on Friday nights. It looks like this:
• APRIL 29 – CHAOS MULTIPLAYER (USE ANY DECK)
• MAY 6 – KAMIGAWA BOOSTER DRAFT
• MAY 13 – PEASANT MAGIC (ALL COMMON CARDS ONLY)
• MAY 20 – KAMIGAWA BOOSTER DRAFT
• MAY 27 – CHAOS MULTIPLAYER
• JUNE 3 – KAMIGAWA BOOSTER DRAFT
I used a much cooler font called ‘chiller’. I had discussed this with Rich and he said it was okay and so he put his Logo on it and he made about 25 copies. Well, when I stopped in several days later they were all gone. I thought that maybe he gave up on it but here it turned out that the last one had just been taken. So he made more and most of those went, too.
We had 9 players participate in the Chaos Multiplayer game. It’s a $2.00 entrance fee and last player standing wins store credit. Some of the players were from my former Magic Club (it doesn’t exist now due to no one wanting to sponsor it and I’m not in that building anymore). Here’s the roster and as always, first names only:
~Dan (from Magic Club)
~Mike (Skater Dude)
~Curtis (The only tournament player participating and Skater Dudes friend)
~Dave (From the Alpha/Beta Days)
~Colton (from Magic Club)
~Little Dave (Dan’s brother, Magic Club member)
~Blaec (pronounced Blake)
~Alex (had both he and Blaec been at the HS last year they would’ve been magic Club members)
~Me (trying desperately to make Miss America work)
Since I made up the flyer and basically was ‘heading up’ this event I implemented the rules and I used the ones from the MML; starting at 30 life and starting on turn seven the “Serum Visions” effect. They all loved it! I didn’t take notes on this game because I didn’t think I would be writing about it so here it goes, from memory.
It sorta went like this on turn one:
~Dan: Swamp, Dark Supplicant
~Mike: Forest: mana elf
~Curtis: Ancient Den, AEther Spellbomb
~Dave: Swamp, Bile Urchin
~Colton: Forest, mana elf
~Lil’ Dave: Island, go
~Blaec: Forest, ???
~Alex: Land, something
~Me: Island, go (I’m playing RWU Miss America)
I never missed a land drop but the green mages were all playing tribal elf decks, DANG! By the time turn 4 hit I slammed down a Lightning Angel (Miss America) and did my whole Miss America theme song which NO ONE recognized (playing with all kids sometimes isn’t as ‘fun’), anyhow, all the time I was bantering Colton just because he needed it. So Blaec attacks me for the sole reason that everyone at the table had recited my past victories and how everyone at the table was going to die a slow and horrible death because of the controllish nature of my decks. He hit me with a supped-up enchanted creature for 10, I declare no blockers and I start to write 20 on my score sheet when Colton plays an instant that gives target creature +X/+X for each elf in play and so I take 20 instead, I’m a 10 life.
Mind you, no one is attacking anybody else, especially Curtis who actually said out loud at the on-set of the game, “I plan on winning this game!” Huh, he said that and I get the smack-down. Okay, that sounds about right. I did, in fact, play many games with some of these guys and, yes, before I became a permanent spectator to their games I annihilated everyone while testing my Rogue League decks (now called the MML) and everyone did die a slow horrible death. Many times. Many, many times. MuWhahahahahahahaha!
On turn 6 I’m dead via Colton’s insect swarm. I never even got a chance to do the “Serum Vision” effect that I implemented. Actually, when I laid down my Plateau Curtis screamed, “A DUAL LAND! We’re all dead.” No. I died. This was the biggest Jedi Mind Trick I ever witnessed. He continued that through the rest of the game which was only about 4 more turns because the “Serum Vision” effect got him his combo pieces quicker. It went something like this:
He was playing a five-color artifact deck that used several artifacts (I can’t remember the names) and he killed everyone in one turn by playing March of the Machines while having an artifact that got untapped every time an artifact went to the graveyard (which was Ancient Den) and another artifact that allowed him to return an artifact from his graveyard with a casting cost of 1 or less (Ancient Den) and another card that allowed him to deal 1 point of damage every time this event happened.
A new “Legendary” was created. All night folks talked about Curtis and his combo. There’s no doubt that Curtis is a good player and I know exactly where his head was during the game, hiding in plain sight. It was brilliant! The only time he ever spoke was to point out other players’ strengths and what goodness was in front of them.
I got smacked because I ‘smack talked’ in jest, he wins the way I would like to have won. I can’t hate that, I love it!
After things settled down and ‘pick-up’ games started, another former Magic Club member walked in the store (Mikey). He was just learning to play during my last days of the club but was always very funny when he would lose to me. He made no exception on this occasion, he saw me playing Blaec; Blaec knows the basic mechanics of the game but I was showing him how to take advantage of the opponents end-of-turn step and the reason for holding cards back and other nuances of strategy. Mikey starts by saying, “Oh NO! You’re playing “O”, are you losing?” Blaec was at 20 and I was at 12 and Blaec indicated that he was, in fact, winning, much laughter followed this statement. I was embarrassed and Mikey said something to the effect of: You’re not winning, he’s just playing with you, first he’ll take away or destroy your creatures, and then he’ll only attack you for a point or two each turn. He’ll then start taking away your land and if there was a card that could deny you from ever getting a turn again, Mr. “O” would play it. Mikey’s delivery of this rant had me in tears of belly busting laughter and others, too. But sure enough, that’s exactly how the game was turning out as I was playing UG Witness with Keiga, the Tide Star and kept blocking Blaec’s bigger than big creatures and then stealing them, he kept forgetting what happens when the Tide Star goes to the graveyard. This was one thing I wanted him to learn on his own and he got it after I had three of his fatties!
During our games last year Mikey would get ‘set-off’ anytime I would say, “I may have a response to that!” and so later that night when he was playing in a game I was walking by when he announced he was playing something big and I said, “I may have a……” he got up slammed his cards and said he was officially quitting the game but it was all his shtick routine. My stomach hurt the next day from laughing so hard.
I had a great time but I learned that Miss America doesn’t work in large multiplayer games. I also learned that having that Magic Club for the past several years had made a real impression on those kids and I got the sense that they miss it. Well, now that Blue Star Games is right there in middle of the township, those kids have a great place to play Magic.
Check out the forums in the deck section to see my list for Miss America.