Note: Read the title in your best/worst Shatner voice for the full effect.
Friday (September 19, 2014)
1:25 pm: The student that revealed himself earlier in the week at a Magic player says, “Have fun and good luck” on his way out. I doubt that he told his other professors his reasons for wanting the homework early. It’s almost like Magic players have a sort of “gaydar” like ability to sense another player without a word being said between them.
5:48 pm: Chris sends me a message saying that he’s going to try to show up to watch us play. I joke that I will have them save a spot for him in the “Player Wives” section. I probably feel a little too proud of the comment, but it works on more than one level.
Saturday (September 20, 2014)
7:44 am: Today is the day. I don’t feel as excited as I should. I remember being more excited when we went to the Theros prerelease. I couldn’t sleep last night, but that was more a function of my addiction to technology than excitement. Am I growing up? Getting too old and grumpy for Magic? I wasn’t the oldest guy at the last event, but I am pushing forty. Damn. Maybe I just haven’t had enough time to focus on what makes today special. I’m going to be there with the two big boys and Chris said that he might be able to show up for an hour or two.
11:38 am: While we drive to the store, I tell the boys about the clan structure and we talk about which clan we’re going to pick. Initially, I thought Mardu (because goblins!), and then maybe Sultai (because control!) to give Aiden a chance to play with the less strategic aggro deck. However, as we’re driving, Liam decides that he wants to play Sultai. Aiden goes back and forth until he settles on the patriotic Jeskai. I’m starting to get excited about the event and understand why I wasn’t excited about it in the first place. I’m nervous…about a friendly Magic event. I went 2-2 in the last event and want to do at least that well this time, but why the heck am I so nervous?
12:03 pm: We pull into a parking space in Greenfield. I hope we aren’t too late for the event. As we walk into the store, people are sitting at tables and the counter is already going. I was half joking about being late, but this is ridiculous. They started the event at exactly noon? I walk up to the counter and the guy (who looks baked out of his mind) asks if he can help me. Mind you, he’s the same guy who signed me up on Tuesday. Okay, no problem. Not everyone has a memory for faces and names.
I explain the situation to him. He gives me some run around about the times not officially being posted early enough and the event actually started at 11 am. It was too late, but they could get me into another event at 5 tonight or tomorrow. I’m seeing red, so I don’t hear the whole issue. Instead, I’m trying to contact Christine with a phone that refuses to dial for some reason and that is frustrating me more.
I finally just leave the store and get in touch with Christine, but I’m not thinking straight and bounce between asking for my money back, wanting to spend the time with the boys who still want to do the event, and wanting to throw a phone that continues to act up. I finally settle on the long shot of grabbing the boxes and never doing business with the place again.
They give me some other story about not being able to do that, so I concede and sign up for tomorrow’s event because the boys are adamant about wanting to play. We take the opportunity of being in town to go to the dollar store and they pick up an axe and sword that made them happy and the trip somewhat worthwhile. Plus, we can play Magic tomorrow.
2:30 pm: I soothe my irritation by sorting through my cards. I have so many (that’s an upcoming article) that I need to start thinning the herd, so to speak. I’m also talking to Chris and we both come to the conclusion that I probably need to find another store for the next event. This conversation reminds me that they do a release event. In searching for information about that, I am led to the online client for Magic. I download it and discover that they’ve started something new in the months that I forgot about it-New Player points. You are able to use them to get into events to get used to how the online game functions.
11:53 pm: I’ve spent the better part of the last ten hours playing Magic The Gathering Online. I use ten of my new player tokens to buy into two “sealed” tournaments and win about 150 cards for my trouble. Chris jokes that I’ve found my new drug, which is just my old drug on the computer, and he’s right.
Sunday (September 21, 2014)
6:40 am: I’m awake because I have to use the bathroom. I don’t want to be yet, but I slept downstairs with the boys and they take my temporary consciousness as a cue to turn on the television. Very well. I’m still not excited for today, now for different reasons, but I will try to find my enthusiasm.
7:18 am: The boys want breakfast, so I play some Hearthstone. After having such a good time with Magic last night, I am reminded just how much Hearthstone sucks. Why do I continue to play it? More on that in a future article.
8:24 am: Liam just mentioned that he can’t wait for Magic today. I will try to use their excitement to get through the day and then start looking for another nerd cave for my winter hibernation. Hopefully, there will be as many kids there again today for the two of them to have a chance of winning a game or two.
12:20 pm: Off we go again. Here’s to hoping that things are better today.
1:03 pm: We’re back at the store, again about 3 minutes late. Here goes nothing. Oh, Bubba is running things today. Awesome! “Prerelease today?”, I ask. “Yep,” he confirms. “1 o’clock, right?” “Yep.” Excellent. As he’s checking me in, he confirms one more screw up. The guy charged me tax on the prerelease boxes, so I now have a $4.66 credit at the store. WTF? If I keep coming back, I need to just deal with Bubba from now on. Sundays it is.
1:10 pm: Bubba messed up and put my name wrong on the form and I am now Mardu. After the last day, it is a mistake that I’m willing to laugh at. Also, as I will soon learn, nothing could be further from the truth. I am not Mardu.
1:45 pm: Deck built. 0-3, here I come!
1:53 pm: Time’s up! There are a few kids here. Hopefully, the boys get paired up with them. Nervous excitement is finally starting to set in. My brain seems content with putting everything off, even feelings, until the last minute.
And now for the actual matches. There were only 3 rounds this time with each win getting a booster pack.
First Match: I should have gone with a control clan. I’m playing Mardu as control. “Battle with Speed”? Not if you’re me. I hold the guy at bay until time is up, but I just don’t have enough of the “speed” built into the deck to mount a sustained attack. Even though we battle to overtime, he overwhelms me for an 0-2 first loss. Well on that way to 0-3!
Second Match: The guy has an awesome deck. This certainly is not his first rodeo. After trying to reset my mindset to aggro, I put pressure on in the first game, but there’s not much I can do about his morph creatures that become 6/6 and he just steam rolls me.
After the second match, Aiden said that he felt hungry and tired and wanted to go home. I now have remorse over my choice, so I’m more than willing to leave. I am not an aggro player by any stretch of the imagination. In the pantheon of CCG players, I am firmly planted in control. It is one of the reasons that I don’t like Hearthstone very much. Well, now I know for certain.
So, there you have it. My experience playing in the Khans of Tarkir prerelease. I tried something new, and failed miserably. Homer Simpson is right. “The lesson is to never try.” Seriously, though, after thinking about it and talking to Chris, Jeskai is definitely the way to go in the next event. Hope you all had better luck than me.