I heard the hissing as soon as I stepped out of the car, as if someone wanted to remind me life is not always a good time. You want to play the best deck, everyone will be gunning to beat you. You want to travel to big tournaments, sometimes you 0-2 drop and have to drive right back. You want to draft on a Saturday night, sometimes, you blow a tire pulling into the parking lot.
I let out my frustrations in a manner I am too polite to recreate here. But I was already late, and I had a draft to join.
I have done regrettably few Battle for Zendikar drafts, but I think I have a pretty good handle on it. Draft Awaken control, and, failing that, some sort of devoid deck, but don’t draft green. Pretty simple. So I was prepared when I opened my first pack and was greeted with a Beastcaller Savant and three unexciting uncommons. Easy. Take the Kozilek’s Channeler, stay open, don’t commit. None of the rares I opened were great all day, but packs two and three both had a Dampening Pulse. I got two Dampening Pulses! Do you know what kind of life that is? The best life!
At the end of things, there were a lot of doubles that day:
Two Nettle Drones
Two Benethic Infiltrators
Two Spawning Beds
More on that last one later…
The UR devoid deck was pretty good. I cruised through my first couple rounds, but faced stiff resistance in the third, and losing a close one to give me my first loss. I rallied to win the fourth and final round for a final record of 3-1, but not before I overheard a very familiar play at table one. A player targeted my third-round opponent’s Felidar Cub, and he tried to sacrifice it in response, with no target. A judge was called. Turns out that’s illegal. This is only relevant because I did target my opponent’s Felidar Cub the previous round with a Turn Against, and he sacrificed it in response. My attack only left my opponent at 2, and me dead on the backswing. I could have won.
So the first lesson of the day, is always call a judge when you’re unsure about a card ruling.
So I left with a cool 6 packs in my pocket, with a seventh as a pity pack from the class act player with the Felidar Cub after realizing the ruling. This is when I came face to face once again with my true dilemma.
I firmly believe that it is impossible for me to get a flat tire when it is sunny and warm. But at night, in the winter, during the weekend, it is solely within these dominions that flat tires show their wretched hide. Luckily, I had friends there, to assist/make fun of me, and allow the event to pass with a measure of enjoyment. There was Aaron Parks, diligently telling me how he could do it better, Daniel Cato, documenting the event for the benefit of posterity, and Kodie Krzys, Googling things and freezing herself outside for my benefit. Mr. Cato did what he could to make me feel better by telling me how he had lost a tire on the way to GP Pittsburgh, only to be saved by the intrepid Judge Alex Smith and friends.
So the second lesson of the day, is always call a judge when you lose a tire on the way to a magic tournament.
I retrieved my donut and assembled the rusted old jack that came with a used 2002 Honda Civic and prepared to lift the poor creature, a process that went swimmingly until the jack itself bent under the car’s weight, something I have never witnessed before, and do not relish to see again.
So the third lesson of the day, is always call a judge when your jack bends beneath your car and you need more serious equipment.
Cato was this judge, and his mini-van produced a sturdier jack, which, after some figuring out, made short work of the remaining job, but produced the amusing picture of having two jacks beneath my car while it caught up to the previous one.
The drive home from Clinton Township to Waterford was stressful, and much longer than I am accustomed to. I tried not to go very fast on my makeshift tire, and avoided the highway thanks to skillful navigating by Kodie. Despite this, and all else, I’d say it was a pretty good day. Cato felt this tale worthy of retelling, and I am but a humble scribe and historian, keeping the lore of Castle GG alive. So, the fourth, and most important lesson of the day, is that you can make lots of friends playing Magic, and those friends can make even bad times bearable.
And also, just call a judge.
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