So the Magic: The Gathering Dark Ascension (DKA) set pre-release tournaments were this weekend, and since I fancy myself a player of Magic, I decided to give it a shot.
Now, as I mentioned in a previous article, I’m not exactly new to Magic. I started playing back in 2003 when the super-cheesy Mirrodin block hit the shelves. I played through that and the Kamigawa block, and then for various reasons, I stopped following the game. I still had most of my cards, though, and when I dug them out a few months back in an attempt to sell the blasted things, I ended up getting sucked back in and taking my Prettybird along for the ride.
But in all that time, I had never been to a Magic tournament. And the primary reason for that was made all-too-clear during the DKA pre-release…
I suck at Magic.
Things started off well enough. I pulled a mythic rare, the cool-looking and powerful Moonveil Dragon, which the Win Target Game blog reviews better than I could. I dug the art, I dug the ability, but I’ve hardly ever played red (or black) and a 6cc beast just didn’t seem the best fit for the 40-card sealed format.
So instead, I went for a white-blue deck anchored by Drogskol Captain, a handful of spirits and humans, Mentor of the Meek, and one seriously overpowered Sanctuary Cat. I mean, wow. Sanctuary Cat. If that ain’t a Turn One fuck-you-up-the-ass, I don’t know what is!
My first game was easily my most interesting and most encouraging. Managed to get into a real back-and-forth slugfest with a far more experienced player thanks in no small part to the surprisingly annoying Burden of Guilt, and a “Fateful Hour”-fueled rally. But the weight of a few mistakes and a lack of firepower near the end dragged me down. He beat me handily the next game and won the match 2-0.
My second match was against a precocious young girl who had come with her father to the tournament. She was running green-black, but spoke of wanting to build a “kitty-kat deck” when I played Sanctuary Cat. I was careful to avoid mentioning how I wanted to do basically the same thing and how I occasionally play cards simply because they are “pretty.” I had a hard enough time analyzing why I might have more in common with a twelve-year-old girl than anyone else in the room; I certainly didn’t need the whole group of them wondering about me. I did manage to win our first game, but couldn’t come up with any lands in the second. The third was cut short by the 45-minute time limit, so our match ended in a draw.
The third match went by so fast I scarcely remember it. I was playing The Answer, in that this guy’s deck had an answer for everything. I think I may have been dead in six turns in game one, only to see him play the freaking stupid Havengul Lich in game two. There may not be a more demoralizing sentence uttered in Magic than “Let me see what I can cast from your graveyard,” so I’m really wondering if this will become the new terror of Standard.
I tried sideboarding in red for the fourth match, and actually managed to get my Moonveil Dragon out, only to see it get immediately destroyed by Crushing Vines. Yay. So four matches, nine games, one win, one draw, seven losses. Granted, I went in fully expecting to get blasted, but it’s still pretty disheartening when it happens.
It was fun enough, though. I didn’t get to play against the one guy I knew there, he didn’t exactly make introductions, and it takes me awhile to warm up to people, so it wasn’t hugely social for a social event. It’s also difficult to be charming when you feel like a punching bag.
I still think I’m gonna load up my newly-crafted blue-white humans deck and see if I can make a go of it at Friday Night Magic, but something tells me I’m going to be little more than a sacrifice for a long time to come…