Dudes Playing Magic

(Editor’s Note: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as they say.)

I have expressed my admiration for the Star City Games stream on the page more than once. Some of the play leaves a bit to be desired and can be painful to watch, especially in the early rounds. To be honest, all around the play is pretty loose and might frustrate you for one reason or another. Notice that I said that I admire the coverage. When I want to watch great gameplay, I watch the official Magic channel. Though it’s getting better, their PT and GP still lags behind SCG. Therefore, when I am in the mood to just watch Magic and be entertained, as I usually am, I tune into the SCG broadcast.

During the many streams I watched, I saw several advertisements for shows that were going to happen locally. There was one in Worcester and one in Providence. I eventually succumbed to the pressure of advertising. Okay, okay, as soon as I learned of them, I put the events on the calendar. Since our family has the habit of committing to things and then deciding last minute that we’d rather sit around our house in PJs, I needed something to solidify the commitment and force me to follow through.

Luckily, the Providence event was scheduled for only a few weeks after the release of Dragons of Tarkir. For the last three sets, I wanted to order an intro set from SCG. I think that’s what they call it. It is a booster box, a fat pack, and one each of the intro decks. I always buy a booster box and fat pack for each set, so it is a good deal for me. But, I’ve never had the money to get one before they sold out. This time, I finally did. I took all of this as a sign that it was meant to be. I put in the order, chose pick up in Providence, and jumped on the hype train.

Choo, choo!

The Dragons of Tarkir release was still two weeks away and the event about a month after that. It gave me plenty of time to psych myself up. Being the good marketers that they are, the fine people of SCG helped. They kept advertising the events. During one of these ads, the commentators went on about how Magic events were becoming more like conventions.

Chugga, chugga!

The weeks passed. Chris ordered and received the singles for his decks. I started to regret my decision to pick up the cards instead of delivery. Christine reminded me that the scout camping trip was that same weekend. The regret deepened because now there was real possibility that I would not even be able to go. Life and literature are nothing without conflict, and we have a doozy one on our hands, dear readers.

*sounds of the hype train derailing*

Those of you who follow us on Twitter already know the outcome, but don’t spoil it for the rest of us. Up until now, the story has lacked something. Now, though, it’s riveting and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next and how (er, if) I make it to Rhode Island. Okay, let’s get this train rolling again.

*chuff, chuff*

*whoo, whoo*

I came up with the plan to only stay one night at camping and come home late on Saturday. That left Sunday free to go to Providence. It meant a ton of driving on top of the usual insane amount of driving I do during the week, but I’m a survivor. I will persevere. Even so, true to our reputation, I started to waffle before the weekend in question. Luckily, the boys kept me honest on camping and the cards did the same for my plans on Sunday.

I’m glad that we went camping. I was able to get some articles written, go on a hike, fish with both Liam and Aiden, play some cut throat Uno, watch an epic game of capture the flag, and just relax in general. The trip helped to put me in the right frame of mind for the drive to Rhode Island.

I woke up Sunday morning early and ready to go. I loaded some of my favorite podcasts on to my tablet, made a breakfast of champions, took a shower (this is an important step from what I’ve heard), hopped into the van, fired up the GPS, and drove. As an aside, can I just say how much I like GPS. I would have loved to have been a part of the programming teams. Well, I’d have rather been exploring all of the places to help build the maps and take pictures. Either way, it speaks very loudly to my explorer spirit and they did a great job. It has gotten to the point that it is almost foolproof.

Okay, here it is. The moment that I’ve been anticipating for over a month. I’m pulling into the garage. Oh, crap, there’s a parking fee. Not entirely unexpected (it was an expense that I hadn’t considered), but a bit of a disappointment. Part of the reason for travelling was to save on shipping. With this expense plus gas, I’m pretty sure that plan has gone out the window. Oh well. There’s one reason that I am a mathematician and not an economist.

I’m in the garage, parked, and on my way to the event. This is a big place. How will I find it? Oh, good, there’s an information desk. I’ll ask him. No, never mind, I found it. I’ll just follow all the guys wearing hoodies and back packs. Up the escalator, take a right, stop to read the rules and guidelines, and finally, I am here.

And…it’s just a bunch of dudes playing Magic. Well, that’s also disappointing. I’m not sure what I expected. No, that’s not true. I know exactly what I expected. The comments from the SCG crew stuck with me that these things are becoming more and more like conventions. I’ve been to several conventions, both big and small. All of them have been much more than just dudes playing Magic. Damn. Oh well, I’m here. Might as well make the best of it.

I check out the feature table. Hey, that’s Jim Davis! (Not the Garfield guy, that would be too cool for words.) Let’s see what he’s playing. Oh, Andrew Boswell is here, too. He went undefeated yesterday. Okay, so it’s dudes playing Magic, but these are dudes that are pretty damn good at playing Magic. That makes it less disappointing. I can come back to this. I have a bunch of cards to pick up. Also, where are Patrick and Cedric?

I got to the place that looks like a place to pick up cards. No, those guys are buying. No, these guys are selling. Oh, customer service. I travel back over there. They point me to the guys buying, who point me to the guys selling. I finally grab my product and go back to the feature tables. Jim Davis is till there. Boswell is still there. Some guy with what looks like Jeskai aggro sleeved in pink is destroying his opponent. No sign of Fabiano. (I later learn that he was playing in the Modern side tournament.)


Well, let’s see some of what is in this box. I I find an empty seat at a table and crack open the box. So…many…cards. Oh, hey, look over there. That’s Patrick and Cedric! I open the intro packs and the boosters inside. Nothing too noteworthy in the packs, but I did get a Dragonlord Dromoka and Dromoka’s Command. I resist opening the booster box and fat pack because I’m saving them for a video.


To bolster my restraint, I go back to watch more of the feature matches, but I’m more or less done. Damn. 3 hours driving for about 2 hours of watching dudes playing Magic. Yep, definitely not an economist. Oh well, lesson learned. If I do go to Worcester, go as a competitor. The only problem is that the main event in Worcester is Legacy. While Chris and I are Legacy players (technically, I’m mostly Modern), I don’t have a single competitive Legacy deck. There is a standard side event, though, and I have a couple of standard decks that could to some damage with a tweak here or there. Oh, what’s that I hear? Is that the hype train warming up again?

All aboard!

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