Welcome travelers. Here lies the story of my recent magic experiences. Beware, you might learn something and if you do, please tell me of it! I need all the help I can get! I had been playing Magic for the past three years at the same store. I was able to join the fray during a Zendikar pre-release tourney to celebrate my 22nd birthday. It was a blast and met some good players and nice people. This was the first time playing again since I had quit back in Mirrodin. No, it wasn’t the broken mechanics of the game, but more of getting my drivers license and girls. These two things coupled with being a poor teenager and then college student kept me busy. Plus, there were some jerks back then, of which I did not miss. The second time around was much better than the first as the local players were great and no jerks in sight! I truly loved the game and the friends it had brought to me inadvertently.
- I had become spoiled
Things changed quickly. My job necessitated a move on my part and now I’m searching for another FNM, another store, another play group and a reason to play this awesome game. I play Magic for the people. It was never just a thing to do on Friday nights. Magic was just an elaborate excuse to see my friends. It was about having a good time while still feeding the competitive side of me. Over the three years, my store, Wizard’s Asylum in Norman, OK had grown in skill and overall awesomeness. We planned frequent trips to PTQs and Grand Prixs, created a podcast called Planeswalker Asylum and had weekly testing for what ever the current format of choice was. The excuse to see my friends changed from just being FNM to something much larger. This is what I was used to. This is no more.
Now, I live in Kansas City, searching for another store that can field a respectable game and some guys or gals to hit it off with. I believed this wouldn’t be too hard to find. I was not expecting greatness in terms of skill or even an amazing magic community. Just a place that could be fostered into something better with time. If a play group shows promise, then they are usually all around good people anyway. That is why there aren’t many “dicks” on the competitive scene. Hateful people are generally too blind and ignorant to see their own faults and can’t grow as a magic player or a person in general. So finding good over all people was my goal.
After a few long work weeks, moving and the never ending cycle of weddings, I was able to get away from my responsibilities and get to a nearby FNM. I hadn’t played a game of Magic in about 2 months by this time so I didn’t expect much by my own play level.
Things started out poorly. I lost my first two rounds to a Champion of Lambholt tokens deck and then a mono white Angelic Destiny deck. My somewhat stock Naya aggro deck was just not cut to handle huge unblockable beaters! Then I saw an Avacyn cast from hand. I thought this was awesome. Yeah, she is clunky but still a sweet card overall. Plus it is FNM, the place you can get away with that stuff. My brain skipped a beat once I walked around and saw a second Avacyn that had been cast from hand in another game. My mind wondered why multiple people are playing Avacyn centered decks! Is this guy playing her because the other dude was successful with it? Am I this far removed from the casual scene? Has no one told them that this isn’t a good strategy? Metas are different, even if there is a best deck in the format, it doesn’t mean it exists at every FNM. I experienced a case of Meta Shock.
So I continued to play and walk around meeting new people. I judged people by their deck choices. Not a bad kind of judging, just looking for the “net decks”. In theory, these net deckers should be the better players. I found two that seem to fit this definition. We talked for a bit, commentated on the new M13 spoiled cards and generic strategy. Ramp guy was steadfast on that his deck with a splash of blue was the best deck and how it crushed delver. Mostly, the board sweepers forced delver to take out Geist of Saint Trafts. Pretty sure you never take that card out, ever. Also, Ghostly Flicker isn’t necessary to win games with Primeval or Inferno Titans. Cute? Yes. Needed? Not at all. I politely informed him that these deck choices and theories were wrong. He didn’t care much for my thoughts. Most people didn’t, not even 5 color birthing pod guy. This was a stark change for me. Down in Norman, people would come to me wanting deck advice. Probably, because they knew I’d like their sweet brew. I am “local famous” for piloting a blue/white levelers deck to 5-2 finish and tenth at a national qualifier right after Rise of the Eldrazi came out. And yes, there were more than ten people there!
Anyway, I had recovered from my 0-2 start to finish 4-2. The last round was awesome because it involved me using a Zealous Conscripts to take a Venser, ultimate him, and then lose the game anyway. Drawing lands sucks, haha! Ended up winning the match but he was a great sport. I wouldn’t have cared if I had lost that match, I utlimated someone’s Venser! However, I got nothing for playing 6 hours of magic that night in terms of prize. Actually, no one did. This was a real bummer and shocking that they still get 40 people to come out anyway!
The lack of prizes is enough of a reason to not go back, and now I am looking for another store to try out. Like I said, I expected a different environment than what I had been used to for the past three years, just not the exact opposite. I came from a store that had a refined national meta, great Pro Tour quality players and people my own age to a store that had a wacky meta, less than average play and high schoolers. Granted, if they had asked me to come over and play Smash Bros, I probably would have said okay.
My search continues on and hopefully I will find salvation next time. My plan is to record my experiences here as I enjoyed my first outing in a crazy way.
If you can’t wait for the next post you can follow me on twitter @SolomeOU