(Editor’s Note: Two straight articles about Origins sealed, new deck ideas, plus a possible new play group. Not bad for a set that neither one of us really likes all that much. The MtG universe is indeed a strange one.)
Neither Chris nor I are remotely sociable creatures. We’re both content with a small circle of friends, so two Mondays ago was a bit uncomfortable for the both of us. We both expressed our discomfort in the days and hours leading up to the get together, discussed a plan B just in case the other guys were douche bags, and marveled at the complex where the host lived. Perhaps an explanation is in order.
Chris and I have both written about our recent waning interest in the game. We have branched out into other tabletop games and I have discussed liquidating my collection. Chris went one step further and listed his cards on craigslist. He found someone local to buy the cards. They texted back and forth a few times about possible games. Initially, I worried about expanding the group for obvious reasons. When nothing materialized, I relaxed that things would just blow over.
Then, Chris texted me asking if I wanted to play some Magic the following Monday. The guy had a box of Origins and wanted to do a sealed Swiss tournament. As I do, I replied, “Yes” and then went back to worrying about meeting new people. Thankfully, we took a day trip to Cape Cod, so I was able to keep busy and forget about it over the weekend. Monday, as it tends to do every week or so, came and I started to hope that things might come through. If not, I frantically tried to come up with any excuse to get out. This impulse fought against not wanting to leave Chris hanging. Ultimately, loyalty won and we found ourselves driving to a super secret gated community in the middle of nowhere. I joked that if I heard banjos, I was out of there. I suppose that I could have made the Jim Jones/David Koresh (are those really the most recent suicide cult references? Wow) joke, too, but those are more difficult to pull off tactfully.
We sat for a while at a house across the street and joked some more about hidden snipers and cannibalism until the guy pulled up in his Nissan Z something or another. A quick anecdote about the car. This passenger apparently asked if it was some kind of sports car or something. we all got a considerable chuckle out of the poor kid’s ignorance and humiliation. Ah, male bonding, you never change.
Chris and I played a few games against our host while the other two guys played some Tiny Leaders until the other two showed up for the sealed tournament. At first it appeared that our worst fears might be realized because the guy played mostly infinite combo decks built with some of the best cards in Magic history against our cards we own decks, but things eventually settled down. We both dropped not so subtle hints as he stormed out on me turn 2 that we weren’t exactly having fun. I have no problem with those decks in a competitive setting, but casual? Please, keep it in your pants.
We eventually got our six, worked out the details of payment, grabbed our packs, and went to deck building. I didn’t get much of note, but I opened a Nalaar parents card and Thopter Spy Network that pushed me in that direction when building my deck. We paired off. I went 1-2, dropping two games after winning the first. All three games were competitive, so I am definitely getting better at judging sealed pools and playing the game. I misplayed once or twice, so that’s still something that needs to be fixed because I’m tired of scrubbing out of these events.
Overall, though, the positives of the evening outweighed the negatives and I’m glad that we went. I got to play against live competition and didn’t get completely blown out. Chris brought a really cool Naya deck that I had a blast playing. Chris and I actually started to talk about Magic again. We even workshopped the Naya deck during the games and on the ride back to his apartment. I learned about Pucatrade and might make an account. I’m absolutely open to making this a regular thing. Maybe not every month, but every other month would be cool.
The experience has made me less apprehensive about going to one of the local FNM draft events. I should be able to put up a respectable showing and might even meet one or two cool people there. Either way, it got me back into paper Magic. The computer versions are fun, but no substitute for playing across from another person. For all of those reason, I’m grateful for the opportunity and look forward to the next time.