Trials of a N00b Magic Player

Here we have another great report from the Old School Eternal Weekend event. Jack Ryan had never played a tournament before and his first one happened to be the biggest Old School tourney in Old School history. It’s certainly interesting and funny as he weaves his way through the tournament. He ended up doing quite well despite his lack of experience. Here is his experience first hand.


INTRO:  Surprisingly, when I woke up at 5, and drove all the way to Pittsburgh, I felt fairly calm. Normally, I get way too excited and then way too nervous that the event won’t live up to the hype. This time – no expectations at all. I met up with my buddies Marc and Forest at 9 AM at the hotel and valet parked the car. I had brought an old school TV to play old school Nintendo games when the tournament was over. and when I pulled it out of the car to go into the nice hotel, the valet guy said “You brought a mothafuckin TV!!!!”. In retrospect, I might have been out of my element.

We got ready, packed some drinks and walked over. I naturally brought Entenmann’s donuts, Oreo’s and pretzels for snacks. Also brought bread for cold cuts but we didn’t have time to find a grocery store. I was very worried about having time to eat. We got to the hotel, found the conference room, and started pre-gaming with some matches. In my deck I had replaced Sol Ring with Mox Pearl, and replaced a couple of red mana sources (on Marc’s recommendations) for extra creatures, specialized lands and power. I played Forrest and he took me 2 out of 3. Marc was playing some random guy, and I was trying to pay attention to everything that was said. I was really nervous about making people read cards, and remembering exactly what each card did, especially the popular old ones I never played and never could afford.


We all played Magic when Revised came out, for a couple of years, then life got in the way, and then we came back to it a couple years ago. I’d never played in a tournament before so I didn’t really know the rules outside of our own games, so I was really trying to pay attention and learn. Marc was playing his Goblins deck against this guy who was playing a deck with Winds of Change and Wheels and all this draw and I remember this guy Ancestral Recalling, with Marc always asking, “Is it on you, or me?”, and the guy would respond Marc to get him to draw more cards to get him to discard at the end of the turn. Then they started practicing Chaos Orb Flips and talking about their mechanics. I was trying to watch how they flipped an orb because I’d never flipped a Chaos Orb in my life. I’ve never even owned a Chaos Orb in my life.

Tournament was starting… Pink Weenie GO TIME. I was playing a version of Pink Weenie built on first strike and cards like Blood Lust and Army of Allah, hoping to catch people off-guard with combat tricks and surprise attacks. It’s also probably the only deck I could afford to play. Let’s see how it did.



RD 1:  Me vs. Steve Menendian (on UR Control).
The only crazy thing was, I didn’t know who Steve Menendian actually was. The only thing I knew about Steve Menendian is that he appears to care more about his hygiene than most of the people in the room, and he might be one of the few people in the room that might have known my hat came from Vineyard Vines. I might have been the only person in the room who didn’t know who he was. I never read the Eternal Central website for ‘blog updates’. I just came to play with some friends and 117 strangers.
So he T1’s an Ancestral Recall, and I say (cue the game Marc just played) “Uh, is that on you, or me?” meekly. Blank stare. “Me.”, he responds. KAY. GOT IT. I T1’d Lions, and I started to chip in, but not before he T2 Time Walked. I asked him to look at it, pretending to admire the condition but actually fucking reading the card. Shit. Another turn. I don’t know old school cards. I then proceed to chip into him, 20, 16, I played Tundra Wolves and Thunder Spirits and he starts bolting guys, taking out the Spirit. I swing in with Lions and blood lust to get him to 10. He did not see that coming. He finally got out his Serendib Efreets, those 3/4 fuckers that ping him. He stated whipping into me and I have no answer. I’m not pulling flyers, he bolted my Thunder Spirit,  and it’s a race as I am down to attacking with a Tundra Wolves only until he gets rid of that. I am doing 1 damage from his pings for his 3 as he has eliminated my board. He gets me down to 8 and plays a second Efreet. He’s at 3. He swings me to 5. In his next upkeep, he goes to 1. He swings for the win. I bolt him. Counterspell. Game.
Game 2 – I open with T1 lions, T2 Blood Lust for him to 14. But after that, it went south fast. I have all white mana, no red mana, and an all red hand, which is crazy because I only have 9 red cards in the deck. He pulls out the Efreets again, I am holding multiple bolts but never get the red mana. Fuck Marc for making me pull them out. Fuck Marc.
RD 2:  Pink Weenie vs Dan Ersch (Mono Brown UrzaTron).
I confess, this round was frustrating and felt like one I could have won but didn’t. Game 1, he started playing all colorless lands, and Living Walls. I thought Living Wall was stupid until I tried to attack into it with Pink Weenie. What a fucking waste of time that was. I got off one Blood Lust to get him to 14 but also attacked into that stupid land combo where he can make his land a 2/2 guy and pump it one. We sort of held serve at that point, but I was getting frustrated, and with me at 11 and him at 12, and his winning board state, I decided to say fuck it and Armageddon as he had already played 9-10 lands and was just passing the turn to me. This changed everything. He couldn’t regenerate Living Wall, I bulked up and played Weenies, and was able to take Game 1.
Game 2 was a fucking different story. Enter his Triskelion and Tetravus, which I only saw one of in Game 1. I decided to sideboard COP Artifacts for game 2. I got off to a hot start with 1 Lion and 2 Leitburs, only for him to Trisk and get me a 3-for-1. Brutal. Then I stopped drawing lands and he played Black Vises and I was done for quickly with the attacks and the Vises. Mop.
Game 3 (‘hey, at least I made it to a game 3’ definitely entered my mind). I got off to a hot start with multiple Blood Lust attacks and got him to 8. Then he played Ivory Tower. And Tetravus. And Trisk. And fuck. #wheresmyfuckingCOPArtifacts
RD 3:  Pink Weenie vs. JD Williams (Ernham and Burn ‘Em)
Game 1 – a little leery, and starting to drink Marc’s Moonshine more heavily. JD opens T1 Turd Ape with a Taiga. FUCK. Am I playing Marc’s weenie deck? I hate Marc’s weenie deck. His weenies are better than mine. FUCKFUCKFUCK. I had to mulligan down to 5, and didn’t draw anything great. he swings, bolts, swings, and I never do anything and he bagels me 20-0. Holy fuck. That was bad. I’m starting to get really depressed about Magic. Maybe I suck giant balls. OK – gotta have a good hand.
Game 2. He opens T1 Concordant Crossroads. No creature though. I go T1 Lions and win for 2. He asks how I could swing. I point to the GIANT FUCKING CONCORDANT CROSSROADS. I am buzzed, irritated, and maybe this changed my attitude so I would play better. He does nothing on T2, and I played White Knight and swing for 4. He does nothing meaningful on T3 and I played another guy and kept swinging. I win 20-0. Whew.
Game 3 – Crusade comes to play and Thunder Spirit. Finally.
RD 4: Pink Weenie vs. Shane Mott (RG Sacrifice).
He starts out playing Blazing Effigys. Blazing Mothafuckin Effigys. I actually have these commons and had no idea they could be useful. I can’t wait to put them into my reanimator deck. He’s playing Rukh Eggs with Earthquakes. He got 2 of my guys with a 1 point Earthquake. He’s coming in with Turd Apes again. But eventually I get flyers and things that can block on game 1 and take it 4-0 me. Straight street brawl.
Game 2 was nuts though. He played multiple Rukh eEgs, Earthquaked, and played a Shivan, for me to counter by playing 3 Crusades, a Lions, a Leitbur, a Thunder Spirit, and a 7/7 Serra with the Crusades. He got off one attack with the Shivan before I got the Serra out, and I took 11 (Mana Flare was out too). That got me to 9. But once I got the Serra out, I leaned on him, because the Thunder Spirit had first strike he could not attack and I just strategically attacked with just one creature at a time while I had the advantage. The Leitbur at first with first strike to whittle down his army, and then eventually attacked with the whole army and Army of Allah’d.. 9-0 win for me.
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RD 5: Pink Weenie vs. Icy Toolbox (Dave Bard, 3rd most creative). 
Feeling better about myself at even strength now. And game 1 showed it. Dave mulligans to 5, and I dominated. I won 19-0, and I don’t even remember how he did the point of damage. I got out fast, and it was no problem.
Game 2. He was playing Chaos Orb’s, Copying the Chaos orb’s, bringing them back, and he also sideboard GLOOM. I HATE GLOOM. It is the worst card against white, it is just brutal. I keep swinging, I keep trucking, I was at 16, but he was playing Trisk and copy artifacting the Trisk, which is REALLY BAD for me. He played Meekstone which didn’t matter, but between playing multiple Trisks with Copy Artifact, Gloom, he stabilized, and actually killed me with Psychic Venom and an Icy tap. Embarrassing.
Game 3 – We go at it again, I get out first and get him down 19-4. Feeling good. He pulls out Mirror Universe and activates. We are running out of time, as game 2 took like 40 minutes. What’s going to happen??? I’m at 4, with no hope of defending myself or attacking, but he has no way of doing damage, as all he has played are Icys, Glooms, and I’m not doing anything. We go to extra turns. 5 turns total – as I have been diligently instructed. Nothing happens, CHAOOOOS ORB FLIP. I’ve never DONE one of these. How exciting?! I saw Marc doing them before, and I figured you spun it, but he just held it and flicked it in the middle. Dave seemed confident. I seemed like I had Moonshine. he flicks. It seems good – but the card BOUNCES off the Guardian Beast we are aiming for and goes at least 4 inches away. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN. Dave looks dismayed. I hold the card, and try to do exactly as I saw Marc do in the warm-ups. I just held the card and flicked in the middle. It floated lightly down and almost covered the beast. HOLY SHIIIIIT. Can’t believe that worked.
RD 6: :Pink Weenie vs. Joe Alane (Naya ChannelBall)
Feeling fucking great. Am I good at Magic? I didn’t think so, but maybe? OK – so, Joe came out, And he must have played a Turd Ape and then played almost 6 Bolts/Chain Lightnings in a row. I played some guys, but not enough to escape his wrath. He kept swinging with the Ape and responding by killing my threats. Brutal. I got him down to 10 before he wiped me out.
Game 2. I was all geared up for red destruction – as all I had really seen from red is bolts, chain lightnings and turd apes. However, I kept a really bad hand that kept COP red. I assumed I could stabilize. Joe, had other plans. Turn 1 – I play a land, and he played a land. Turn 2 – I play a land, COP red. He then played not one, not TWO, but FUCKING THREE MOXES, a land, and a Serra. Well, I guess someone’s countdown just started, and that someone is me. I had 5 turns, i had sideboard Swords, and spirit links to prep for this kind shit. But none of them came. Fuck my giant asshole. Ouch. 0-20.
RD 7: Pink Weenie vs. Living Plane Control (Matt Dennis (5th most creative).
OK – so I feel humbled after that beatdown. Game 1 was stressful. He had played 8 thousand fucking things I wanted to disenchant. He went early Library – Winter Orbs, Icys.  All sorts cray. no Disenchants for me. I had hit him first hard with some Blood Lust activity (nobody saw that coming) and kept coming until I got him down to 4. However, he eventually built an army of 2 Icys, 2 Moats (rendering my Lions and Knights and Leitburs ineffective), and 2 Winter Orbs. He also had the Library out, so he was drawing like crazy, and he was using Relic Barriers (Marc would be proud) to make me only impacted by his Winter Orb.
It was 18-4, he had done no damage, and I felt lost. Finally, I draw a Thunder Spirit. Yay! That solved Moat. Play Thunder Spirit now. Except, he has two Icys. Fuck. Then, I draw a Serra. Yay! Except, he has TWO FUCKING ICYs. My guys are sitting there holding their dicks like a bunch of football players at a jazz festival. My only saving grace is that he is doing nothing to hurt me. I keep attacking him and forcing him to tap my guys, which with two Winter Orbs means it takes him forever to build his mana base up. Also, I’m making sure he knows exactly when my untap, upkeep and draw phases are so he taps everything effectively. Marc was actually proud of me afterwards, which means a lot. Finally I draw a Disenchant. What to Disenchant? What to fucking Disenchant? I can’t decide for a turn, and then realize I have two flyers and he has two icy’s and moats. I have the patience to wait for the end of his turn, and Disenchant one of his icy’s. Win for 2. He’s at 2. he draws-  no dice. My game.
Game 2 – he plays early Sylvan Library and I Disenchant right away and get to work. No draw this time. I play guys and pummel, and he can’t draw to keep up.
FINAL ROUND: Pink Weenie vs. Daniel Espinoza (mono Black).
Feeling great. I never expected to be .500 at all.  I was really secretly hoping for 3-5. However, I played against a shit ton of red (too many Lightning Bolts in the format, I got Bolted all damn day), but never really ever played any black (minus Dave’s Gloom). I had saved my spirit links for mono black and never saw it. Now I finally faced Mono Black. Again, I got off to a hot start with a T1 Lions, and a T2 Blood Lust which I think rattled him a bit. I got ahead quickly and got him down to 10 but he eventually stabled the board and started hammering into me. He had many ways of dealing with threats, he Mind Twisted guys away, he had Hippies. and Disk. He played Weenies that were pro-white. And when I got him down to 4 – he wore me out and I ran out of gas in a true race of our weenies. No Juzam though. That’s weird.
Game 2 – I sideboard in Angry Mob, all the pro black shit I have, and the Links. He gets a T2 Juzam. Wheeee! And it just wrecked me. I didn’t draw anything that would help. It was a total landslide. Oof. I got obliterated.
Main takeaways – I was excited that I didn’t make a mistake that cost me a game and that despite lots of people playing pink weenie and white weenie, nobody was using Blood Lust or Army of Allah and first strike to pump. I was also excited that nobody was playing anything close to my current deck build. The format is wide open. I was also excited to get Steve Menendian’s autograph now that I know who the fuck he is.
Good stuff.
Jack Ryan (Philly, PA)

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