Digging with the Pokédex

So there is an Early Friday Night Magic at the one store I like going to.

I usually try other decks out during this. Tonight I played this.[^ Sorry for those of you not SSG subscribers. I think the deck is in the paid part.] It's not as competitive and a smaller group. Tonight was four people, so I played everyone once. I went 2-0-1. And the draw was because game two took a long time against control.

But Lifecrafter's Beastiary is absolutely nuts against control. [footnote]Did you know it was called Pokédex during testing? So awesome.[/footnote] Scry every turn? Draw a card for every creature you cast for G? Yeah, the control deck countered my creature. Boo-hoo. I replaced it for G. G! It is ridiculous.

All three decks were control variants. Game one I usually took it with pure speed and then game two I took out the slower stuff in the deck and went with a package of 3 Beastiaries, discard and artifact destruction. And if game three did not go to time during round 2, I feel like I would have gone 3-0. But I still got first place in the little tournament and it felt good. Real good.

In fact, I'm not sure if I want to run Copy Cat during Game Day. Well, I managed to schedule so I can go on both Saturday and Sunday, so maybe I'll go practice Copy Cat Saturday and then play GB Aggro depending on how I am feeling on Sunday.

Negating the competition

So I was looking at the lists of the top performing decks at the PT. I noticed that Negate would counter anywhere from 8 to 16 of the cards in the majority of the decks.

So, do I up from 2 Negates main deck to 4?

Now, Copy Cat runs other counters.Disallow hits anything and has its other uses, but is 3 mana. Revolutionary Rebuff doesn't hit artifacts and gets worse as time goes on.

I tried searching for some math on this, but was coming up with nothing. But the deck has Harnessed Lightning and Immolating Glare (which I think should go up to 3 from 2) to deal with the creatures. upping Negate to 3-of or even 4-of seems like a solid way to deal with the both Mardu Vehicles and GB. If it is time for the combo to go off, it’s some of the cheapest protection that you could ask for. Other than Dispel, but Negate hitting planeswalkers and artifacts. Artifacts which are often vehicles. Negate seem like a good deal.

Dealing with a resolved Gideon was the biggest issue I had outside of pure aggro smashing at me. And the side has an extra Fumigate and Radiant Flames for aggro.

This is all just thoughts which I’ll be putting to the test over this weekend. Aether Revolt Game Day is this weekend, so I’ll see how Copy Cat performs. I expect even Japan will hop on the Mardu Vehicles train.

Grand Prix Shizuoka Trial 2017.02.05

Grand Prix Shizuoka Trial 2017.02.05

Spolier: I won.

It ended up only being an eight person tournament. This meant only single elimination rounds. One loss and I get some packs at least. Well, roughly $15 for a pack if I lose round one. Two if I lose round two. I think it was six packs for coming in second and eight for first? Something like that.

But I won round one versus Jeskai Dynavolt control. Then I won round two versus Black-White control. Then my final opponent said that all he wanted was packs. I asked if I could have one. He agreed. The pack was nothing, but now I have two byes for Grand Prix Shizuoka.

I was lucky today. Game one was a lot of back and forth until I attempted the Copy Cat combo to lure out some counter spells. I ran my opponent down on resources and began beating with a Torrential Gearhulk. Game two he just didn’t draw land. That sucks. But last week I lost by only drawing land. Such is Magic. Perhaps there is more to these losses and wins, but often I am not able to see it.

Round two I the effectiveness of Gifted Aetherborn surprised me. It kept things at bay and made it tough for me to just get in Gearhulk beats. Removal plus Gearhulk beats did win out.

I missed a few things. I dropped Gideon, Ally of Zendikar with a Gearhulk out against a tapped out opponent. All I had to do was make the Emblem and win. I still won, but that was a silly mistake. I am not used to using Gideon.

I also forgot the Oath of Jace trigger several times. I did the same thing in GP Chiba with Delver of Secrets. I need to get in a habit of putting a die on top of my deck to remember upkeep triggers.

I didn't use the combo once in my four games, but who can complain. I just need to practice the deck a lot, especially against Mardu Vehicles, before the Grand Prix.

Assuming Felidar Guardian remains unbanned.

Casual Standard 2017.02.02

I am gullible.

Or Mulder-like as in I want to believe. Nah, let’s go with gullible. I let my opponents string me along in Magic. Even if they don't think they are doing it. Or maybe they are. I don't mean to insult anyone’s intelligence. Except my own.

Standard last night was six people.

Here is what I brought.

(The name Copy Cat has stuck but oh how I want to call it Frosted Flakes. Oh well. I smell a cat-ban soon.)

Half of us were on Copy Cat. One third of the group was playing a Black-Green variant. The last lone feller was playing an Esper Improvise deck. When I beat him round two, that was his second loss to Copy Cat. I didn't combo him out, though. I just had Gearhulk beats game one and Gideon beats game two.

I think my control play is improving.

The guy seemed frustrated by having lost to the same deck twice. I get that. So he dropped. I wish he didn't. Now, if my round one opponent had won, I’d have played round 3. He did not so I got a bye. Hoo-ray. I love paying money to not play Magic. The store clerk gave me a promo card as an apology.

I love Japan.

Looking at my round notes, I noticed a few things. I was not good at writing down Saheeli Rai pings. I would often scry and then forget. Now, the proper order for Saheeli is to scry and ping. This can matter in cases of redirecting the damage to Planeswalkers. But I was just flat out forgetting to write down my opponent taking damage. Not good.

I also believe I forgot the Oath of Jace upkeep trigger. That’s right. The card is more than just “Draw three, discard two.” That upkeep scry is important. Especially with Saheeli or Nahiri on the board because that means more digging.

I also countered a Spell Queller when I shouldn't have.

I love the card’s name in Japanese. 呪文捕らえ (Jumon-torae) which one could translate as “Spell Captor”. Now, the English name sounds better than “Spell Captor”. But the “torae" part kind of sounds like “try” when said fast. And I always loved it as “Jumon-try” or in my head, “Try and cast that spell!”

Anyway, I digest.

I cast Saheeli. Opponent has five mana. I have a Disallow. Opponent casts Spell Queller on my Saheeli. I Disallow it. What was I thinking? With a hand full of cards my opponent counters the Disallow with a Dispel. Untap, upkeep, draw. He plays land number six and does the combo. Cats all up in my face.

Why did I try to counter the Queller? I was at twenty. I could have handled the Queller some other way. Then I would have had Saheeli. Plus, he would have had to protect that Queller hard or I could combo. Alas, I fell into a trap of my own mind. I did not need Saheeli then. She just would have been nice. Should have played it slower.

Tuesday Modern 2017.01.31

I'm bad at Magic the Gathering.

I want to get better, though. So I play. But I need to think more about my play. So I’m going to do that. And I’m going to try to be as honest as I can about my playing. That will be the hard part.

Modern Tuesday

Ah, a Tuesday of Modern. Which I would prefer on Monday because of alteration. But this is Japan. It’s on Tuesday.

I moved some cards around to play Grixis Delver better. Less Bloodstained Mires and more Polluted Deltas. Fulminator Mages and Engineered Explosives to deal with a variety of things. Tokens and Tron which I was expecting. I saw none of this.

Well, some of it. The tokens, that is. Plus the guy sitting next to me wsa playing Tron. He died. He needed an Island one game. But that is another story that someone else should tell.

Round 1: Burn?

Okay, so this guy is running a version of burn I’m not too familiar with. Lots of artifacts, lots of goblin token making. Monastery Swiftspear, Goblin Guide, Atarka’s Command, Signal Pest. It was fast. Game one I’m down to under ten life before I stabilize and my playing Tasigur makes him upset.

I have trouble trusting people. He could have been realizing he was about to lose, but my mind tells me he is playing tricks and is going to win. Tasigur plus a soon flipped Delver take the game.

Game two I mulligan twice and as I draw my third hand I make a note that I had done so. “I won't need a third mulligan!” I think as I draw no lands. Going down to two fetches and two Serum Visions seemed okay enough. Then he turns a Mox Opal into three Goblins turn 1. I just cannot find an Engineered Explosive or anything to take over the board again. Game three repeats the first one. Delver plus Tasigur. I’m feeling good. I win.

I’ve noticed people often write down how many times they mulligan. And how many times their opponents mulligan. This seems like useful information. I decide to write it down.

Round 2: Grixis Control

Only one mulligan this match. Game two for my opponent. Game one he rips my hand with three discard spells. Then it is back and forth with land drops until he starts putting out creatures and a Bedlam Reveler sticks. I dig for answers but I can't find them. Trying to reflect upon this game, perhaps I kept an opening hand that didn't do enough. Both of us played land after land. He just had a threat that stuck.

Game two I do what Delver decks do. I play a threat and protect it. I regret not remembering much about this match.

Game three I learn again that having three Lightning Bolts is not impossible in Modern. I have a Fulminator Mage with Snapcaster Mage in hand and Lightning Bolt in the graveyard. He swings with Tasigur while I’m at 13. I let it through. He drops three bolts and I look at my Snapcaster Mage and Mana Leak and sigh. Why didn't I kill Tasigur? It wasn't just a Gurmag Angler. He was going to get Tasigur activation value each turn I let it pass. My only outs were battle tricks. I wasn’t going to double Bolt Tasigur. Maybe I could dig out a Terminate. Maybe he had enough counters. But I didn't try. He did.

Round 3: Kiki Chord

I had never played against this deck before and was not sure what was going on. Kiki never showed up. Except for when I used Kolaghan’s Command to kill his Eternal Witness and make him discard his one card in hand. My siding was bad. For some reason I thought taking out Tasigur, Gurmag Angler and the Thought Scours was smart. I replaced them with Fulminator Mage and more counters. Disrupt his mana base! Counter that shit! Perhaps somewhere in my brain I thought I was running Young Pyromancers like in my Legacy Deck. Perhaps I thought Delver and the Mages, Snapcaster and Fulminator, would be enough. I was wrong, and he beat me with creatures while I had plenty of counters to stop things.

What I needed to take away from this was to jot down more notes, perhaps sooner after the tournament. I need to play slower. Or at least look at the board and my opponent’s hand before just saying “Okay”.

A New Drug

Last year I went on medication for my anxiety. Last week the doctor looked me straight in the eye and asked “Do you want something for the depression?”

I’ve heard such bad things about depression medicines that I had resisted. I had resisted for so long. Not that I think medication is a joke. There’s just the side effects, especially my favorite of “May cause depression”. Plus there’s always been that voice in the back of my head going “Well, perhaps other people need it. Sure they do. You’ve never attempted suicide, or even thought about doing it. That much.”

That voice was likely Depression. Or Anxiety, who is pretty fucking quiet these days.

But daily medicine feels like exercise to me. If I have to make myself do something every day, I could just be working harder. Oh, no. I do not judge you who does it. You have your reasons. I’m just a person without reasons. You know. I’m worse than you. You, you do what you have to do. I do it because I’m selfish.

Again, likely the nasty voice of Depression.

So, I am on a drug. A drug for Depression. I can tell that nasty fucker-of-relatives is still hanging around back there. But it’s a little quieter. A little more subdued, or at least a little more overwhelmed by a part of my brain going “Fuck you, Depression. And you too, Anxiety. Fuck you both.”

Saying that I’m well or that I’m “fixed” after a week would be a lie. Saying that I’m not worse, or at least not the same would be a lie. I am better. Is it a lot better? Scales are weird. Am I different? Yes, and for that I am a bit grateful.

Roughly $10 a month for these two meds. All hail insurance. And as far as I can tell, I’m lucky enough to just be a little sleepier. but then again, that could be the occasional staying up until 2 or 3 am playing Magic. But let’s blame the drugs. It can be our little secret.

Breaking Traditions

Every year I play Chrono Trigger from start to finish. (Well, define "finish" as one of the various endings. Sometimes I used New Game+.) I have done this for… Well, a long time now.

This year I didn’t.

I started. I intended on finishing! But at the last minute I decided to spend New Year’s Eve in a different way. So I didn't finish the game. I broke tradition.

Well, I played the game. And 2017 includes me finishing the game. And I might play it again this coming December. The thing is, this bothers me. As if I have broken some cardinal life rule that, well, I just fucking made up.

2016 was a lot of that for me. I tend to log the games I complete and write a post about each one. I started, but didn’t. Then I got into Magic: The Gathering again. And my blogging tapered off until I tried again and then lost track again.

So I don't know.

One thing I do know is this: I enjoyed playing Chrono Trigger on the train December 31. And again while lying in bed January 1, hungover. And Ending 6 (Spoilers?) where you see Robo and Atropos playing out the Crono and Marle bit was adorable. And then Tata runs in after Magus but there is Crono, Marle and Lucca. What? That was interesting, but I sure wish there was more to it. Was this just a quick idea tossed out to give extra endings? Or were there limitations that prevented us from getting more?

That is what I would like from a Chrono sequel. A short RPG with a whole bunch of time paradox and twists and turns where everything you do has some weird effect.

If this game does exist, I want to play it. If it does not. Hm.

Grand Prix Chiba 2016 Report

When I started playing Magic back again in August I said to myself, “Self, just some casual Standard.” Then I built a Modern deck. Then I heard about Grand Prix Chiba. When I got the okay to swap my schedule around and take off the Friday, I built Legacy.

Whoops.

I practiced a lot and was feeling good if not a bit nervous. I got my two byes with a win at a Grand Prix Trial. I took the shinkansen to Tokyo, had dinner with a friend. Hooters is a weird restaurant. The wings are pretty good, though. Pretty, pretty good. Especially considering what you can get in Japan. Enjoyed an alcoholic beverage with some people and then went to sleep. On Friday I took the long, packed Tokyo rush-hour train to Makuhari Messe. There I enjoyed getting cards signed and playing in a Legacy League.

The highlight of the rush-hour trip was feeling a hand pressed against my penis. It took me a brief second to realize that it was my own hand.

I never played in a league before. They are neat. You just keep playing people who are available until you get all your matches. I went 3-1, beating Dredge, Lands and Reanimator. I lost to Eldrazi. But that was a 1-2 match and the games felt good. My prize was four packs. Opened a Combustible Gearhulk. Not bad.

Had some time before meeting more friends for dinner. So I played a Commander event. The guy to my left comboed while me tapped out counters in hand, but my entry pack contained a Spirebluff Canal. Not bad for the ¥500 entry fee.

That evening I enjoyed walking around Akihabara with friends. We had drinks and steaks. I went to sleep. Got up. Saturday trains are much less terrible.

My first Grand Prix began.

I went 4-2-3.

Round one and two were byes. This was nice. Staying with a friend reduced my costs, but my travel time to and from the event increased. I do hope to have byes again if I am ever going to another Chiba event. because otherwise, wow, I will have to take an early, early train.

Round 3: Grixis Delver: 2-1

What a way to start. The mirror match! My opponents play intimidated the hell out of me. Later he told me he was new to the deck and had little experience but he sure did not carry himself that way. An important lesson here. There was another lesson: honesty. A few turns into game one he raises his hand and calls for a judge. I start to freak. Did I do something wrong? He tells the judge he just drew a sideboard card. He gets a game loss. I learned that if I called him out for a deck-list check he could have gotten disqualified. So the honesty was nice, but also better for him. As it was a mirror match, the card (Darkblast) would have been quite questionable to see game one. It's a common sideboard card. Game two he gets the Pyromancer engine going and I shrug. Game three I play the land denial game and he’s not drawing much. True-Name Nemesis hits the table and he’s done for.

A friend of his was watching the match and asked if I sided out my Force of Wills. I say no. They kindly explain to me this is a bad choice because in the Delver match up, you do not want to 2-for-1 yourself. It’s all about sticking a threat and protecting it. Force is going to reduce your resources. It’s hard for me to side out Force of Will. I remember pulling one back when Alliances was out. I remember trading, trading hard, for the remaining four. I remember just buying them two months ago for quite a price. But the game logic has to trump emotions.

Round 4: Eldrazi: 0-2

I lost so hard to Eldrazi. I actually went to the judge booth afterwards. I know I sound salty, but the guy went Eye of Ugin, Mimic, Endless One x2 games one. And then again game two. Then he had Simian Spirit Guide for my Dazes both games. Then he drops Wasteland. Maybe he was lucky. I told the judge that I hope it was luck, and I felt bad doing it but I don't know. The match just left me feeling weird. Not bad for losing just weird.

I shuffled his deck real good. I always do a little weird cutting at the end. Your top seven go to the bottom. I shuffle a bit more and then put the top X cards somewhere into your deck where X is the game number. So if he actually manipulated his deck, hot damn. I doubt it. But I figured telling the judges made sense. Just in case. Sounds like he was lucky.

Round 5: Lands: 1-1-1

I took game one. Deathrite Shaman and well-timed Wastelands can do it. Game two I was keeping him at bay and made a silly attack when he could have made Marit Lage. I brainfarted and attacked with a Delver when I shouldn't have. True-Name Nemesis and a bolt would have given me the game had I not been stupid. He was at nine. I was swinging with TNN, a Delver and a Pyromancer. He outplayed me, though.

How? He used his Thespian Stage to turn it into an extra Maze of Ith at the end of my turn. Then he dropped a land and ended his turn. He was completely ready to make Marit Lage, while I focused on the extra Maze of Ith effect. I attack with everything, he uses the real Ith on the Pyromancer, makes Marit Lage and blocks my Delver. I smack my head and go to game three.

A short game three where neither of us could pull it off in time. We draw. I curse under my breath (No, in a loud voice, I'd wager.) because now I am in the Draw-Zone. Slow decks and slow players likely abound! Hooray?

Round 6: Deathblade: 2-0

Pyromancers crushed him. I got some advice before the tournament started. Be careful about drawing because you increase the chance you play against slow decks. I was about to call the judge on him for slow play. Yeah, Brainstorm can lead to difficult plays. I get that. I know I have thought long and hard when playing that card. But his general play felt slow. I got worried that I’d be drawing a lot more. But my deck worked like intended.

Round 7: Shardless BUG: 0-2

Ouch. I hate to say “My opponent got lucky!" but even he was praising his own luck. I don't know if I misplayed at all. I just felt like he had everything he needed and I was drawing into lands and counters a turn too late. Game one, we are both below ten life. I am keeping a Goyf and Shardless Agent at bay with a Pyromancer, lots of tokens and a True-Name Nemesis. He goes into top deck mode, gets a Brainstorm, gets the Toxic Deluge he needs. Swings and game one is over. Game two is similar although I hold back TNN expecting a Deluge to take out my elementals. He Deluges. I drop TNN and and have a Jitte ready to go. He has another Deluge. He smashes my face. I need to win the next two rounds to get to day two.

Round 8: Death and Taxes: 1-1-1

And another draw happens. Game one he gets Rishadan Port and even though I have a variety of lands, he taps down exactly what he needs to. Game two a well timed Fire Covenant takes out his board. My Jitte-wielding True-Name Nemesis ends the game. Unfortunately games one and two dragged out long enough that game three was going to have to be quick. It was not. When time gets called he casts Swords to Plowshares on my second Delver. Good for him, it would have killed him. But bad for him, that gave me the one life I needed to survive his last attack.

Round 9: Shardless BUG 1-1-1

The Table of the Hopeless. A win would leave us at 17 points, one short of getting to day two. I take game one in a few turns. Nothing sticks out in my memory. I side in a Jitte, hoping to take care of his Baleful Strix and other annoying critters. I go risky and drop a second turn Jitte, he goes turn three Pithing Needle on it. I have no way to counter it. As I search for my Ancient Grudge he searches for anything but Abrupt Decay. I cannot keep a creature on the board, he cannot get one on the board. The game just dragged on until he finally lands some creatures I am no longer prepared to deal with. Game three starts a minute before time. A judge watches us play and as we're on turns he says “You can just agree to draw." My opponent says that's fine with him. I look at my mulliganed down to six on the play of three lands that drew into two more and saw no way out. We drew.

I suppose I learned to watch the clock. I need to learn when a game is hopeless and move to game three if I took the first one. There is a gut feeling I have to “Never give up” because, well, I have had plenty of games that I pulled a win out of nowhere. But the clock is important. It is easy to forget about and it is easy to not see the clock from some seats. Regardless, it is something to keep in mind

I’m sure I made more mistakes than I noticed, but I felt like my play was fine. I just couldn't get games done in time in some matches.

It was my first Grand Prix, and I began playing Legacy in September. I feel good. I learned a lot, played well and didn't even tilt. (Except for that Eldrazi moment.)

I am loving Legacy. There are some monthly tournaments and I’m going to try my best to go to them. I cannot wait for another Legacy Grand Prix. Time to focus a bit on Standard (ugh) and Modern (kinda ugh) for a while.

Day two (well, my third day) I just got some stuff signed by the other artist there. Then I played a Modern League where I learned I like playing Suicide Bloo a lot. I do wish it had a more tasteful name. I pulled a Kaladesh Chandra out of my prize packs. With a bit more time before going home I played another round of Commander. Again, I am caught with my pants down as someone combos off. This time it was just lots of land. What can you do.

It was a lovely trip. I cannot wait for the next Grand Prix I can attend.

Well, it isn't bad

Final Fantasy Fifteen opens up (Gasp, spoilers.) with the main party pushing their car down the road. If this does not summarize the past, fuck, ten years(?) since the game’s “”announcement"" then I do not know what does.

I like the game.

So far.

I think everyone (Okay, I am just talking about one person: me) was expecting a total disaster, and it is not. It is a fine video game. Is it the exact Final Fantasy I want? Well, no. But that hasn't happened since... FF10? I mean, 11 and 12 are disasters. 13 and its sequels were fun enough, 14 is another fuckstorm, but this is something. This I can play.

Thanks to the Bravely games and I am Setsuna I have had that good-good RPG feeling. Even my foray into the Trails of games has not hurt. Fifteen is hitting the spot of a modern-isa game to play right now. Plus those Final Fantasy bits that get my bits all hot and slash or bothered.

That’s four hours in. We will see how it keeps up.

A Long, Hot One

Doing my business in the bathroom during my free period, some other teacher came in and did theirs. Then as they left they turned off the lights. I sat in the dark, alone, for a few minutes as I finished my, ahem, duties and then left the room.

Habit on their part. I would wager. Saving electricity. I do not mind, actually. Bright lights tend to bother me. I think it is the blue eyes? I read that somewhere.

I saw a headline the other day for an article about how lonely people replace human touch with long showers. Makes sense. Might not be true. Might be. Oh, life, how coplicated you are. Science is always at work.

It is getting cold. I am worried that this medicine for my anxiety is making me sleepy. I slept for eleven hours yesterday. Why does the idea of a “twenty minute nap” seem so appealing at 8pm? Maybe because “I can get up and brush my teeth after the nap!” and “I don’t have to get up, I just have to yell at Siri to remind me to get up in twenty minutes!” I have a vague recollection of the alarm going off. Then I have a the solid memory of waking up at 7:30 in the morning. Whoops.

I still have not played World of Final Fantasy. I am scared to. What if I do not like video games any more? I have not played many in the past few months. Been out playing Magic. But it is not always easy to make it somewhere where there is a tournament. There are none in driving distances outside of Friday Night Magic and Sunday tournaments. Otherwise I gotta ride that train and that money adds up. But who likes staying at home alone every night? Some people, I guess. I envy them.

It is time for a long, hot shower.

Getting Bye

I won a Grand Prix Trial on my birthday.

That's a hell of present.

My mind is too much of a blur to remember much, but Death and Taxes is an uphill battle. Jund is a pile of fuck that I hate dealing with. And Delver BUG is annoying. But when they have no green mana and you blind-call Tarmogoyf with Cabal Therapy? And not only are they are holding two of them but three Abrupt Decays? Well, you can’t help but let out a sigh of relief. And then turn cards sideways and smash face.

After the tournament was four of us played a little game where everyone opens a pack then picks eight lands. The packs get shuffled together. Everyone is at ten life and gets four cards. The remaining cards go in the center. You can play lands you draw from the pile or cycle them. If you don't play a land from your hand you can pick one from the pile. But when there are no more Islands there are no more Islands. So choosing those eight lands is important.

We each bought two packs and used them as the prize pool, along with the rates and foils from the packs. Holding a Nissa in hand all game, unable to play her, and knowing I was not going to win sucked. But I have my play-set. I cannot complain.

After that I got some curry for dinner and drove around for a while. Picked up a copy of World of Final Fantasy. But I was not in a playing mood. I listened to some podcasts, drove around. Browsed some shops.

Right now I sort of feel like I wasted my evening, but perhaps it was necessary. Maybe the mental strain of all these Legacy tournaments got to me. Maybe the open road and some podcasts was just what my brain needed.

Right now I feel tinges of regret, but also a bit relaxed. So perhaps I made the right choice. Grand Prix Chiba is in less than three weeks. I have two byes. World of Final Fantasy awaits me tonight.

Things are not so bad.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone. You know, because I was born today and so my actual year begins today intead of January first. Oh how clever.

How's that working out for me? Being clever. Christ, Fight Club is a shitty movie. That is a good quote, though.

If 70 people read this, there is a 99.9% chance one of you has tody as your birthday too. If so, happy birthday. Treat yourself. Read some Wikipedia, maybe? Good facts, you know. Wikipedia is never wrong.

Had some bad Magics yesterday. Round one in the GPT was against Miracles. We went to time and I just could not draw anything to take the dude out. Sure kept his board clean, though. Terminus fucking sucks. Round two Merfolks smashed over me. Oh well. Dropped, went and got a late lunch. Then I drove to a store that was doing a 7pm Legacy tournament.

Five played in that. Twelve were playing Commander. I have not even seen that many people playing Commander. But they sure seemed to be having a good time. Well, the folk who were making infinite combos going off seem to be having fun. The others just kind of sat there. I wonder about that format. But lots of people were playing. So I think they might have been having fun.

I'm off the Stifle version of Grixis Delver and am now playing the Cabal Therapies. I'm not sure. But it seems to be the more standard version which may mean it is better, which may mean it is more well known. But I was still able to pull off some wins in the five-person tournament last night. Lost against Tin Fins. Got kind of grumpy as I just could not seem to grab any counters. He was not even ripping them from my hand with discard spells. I just didn't have them.

Beat some WU deck I cannot remember the name of. Stoneblade? Was it WUR? Memory getting fuzzy. Then I tied against Eldrazi. That was annoying. Games just went long. I could stablize, but then just could not finish him off due to his big ass things. Well, game one was real long. Game two I locked him down and pulled it off right after they called time. Whoops.

Gonna spend today at another Grand Prix Trial. Last chance to get those two byes. If not, a long day of Magic awaits me. Or not if I lose real quick, but then at least I will be in Chiba, near Tokyo and friends and can do some stuff. Should be fun.

Spoiled myself with a steak dinner last night. Might spoil myself with World of Final Fantasy tonight. Or a box of Battle for Zendikar. I mean, that chance of an Expeditions is pretty sexy. Plus Gideon is rising in price like crazy. But nah, no box, I think. I mean, playing Magic itself is enough of a gamble. Why bust all them packs when the chances are so low?

Wish me luck at the GPT!

I have an Apple

This one is a little less of a bummer.

When I was a freshman in 1997 I wrote a Quick BASIC quiz as part of a class assignment. The theme was mocking how stupid Macintosh computers were. My programming teacher was a jolly, vest-wearing man. As he took the quiz he laughed, passed me and said "You just haven't used one yet."

In my daily life now I use:

  • A 2015 MacBook Pro
  • A 2013 iMac
  • A small iPad Pro
  • An Apple Pencil
  • An iPhone 7
  • An watch
  • An tv

I sat for way too long trying to decide whethere I needed those a's and an's.

That is a hell of a lot of Apple products. I am often called a fanboy. Okay. Sure. But I have to say I haven't had many problems recently. None. And I do quite a bit.

Every work day I am hooking up the tv to a projector or TV and using AirPlay from my iPad to teach class. The kids sure enjoy the Pencil. I use that same iPad for translation work when I'm on the train or out and about. You know, when I don't feel like carrying around my MacBook Pro. Which I use for my translation work as well as developing apps which I use in class on said iPad and tv. Also, I make games which development goes on both the MacBook Pro and iMac. And the iMac I stream on. I do have to boot intoWindows

I don't think I have to explain the amount of use my iPhone and watch get every day. It's a lot.

So I'd like to think I do a lot of work with it. So it weirds me out when people say "If you don't have problems you don't do a lot of actual work."

Hm.

Well, I guess some problems include Siri not being great with foreign names. So if I want to listen to Ana Ng I just have to say "Hey Siri, play Lincoln by They Might Be Giants". Being in Japan, I tend to reference people by their relationship to me instead of their names. That is quite Japanese, so it works out. Siri just does not play nice with some names.

But I log every single yen I spend. Every single one. I want to make sure I'm spending them yens the right way. Lifting up my phone and saying "Hey Siri, open Drafts." Tap that little microphone button. "680 new line curry dinner" and boom I just have two taps to add to my spent file.

So I'm happy with all my Apple stuffs. Maybe I am a fanboy. Maybe you have problems. I'm sorry. That sucks to hear. I hope things work out. I am getting lucky with a little bit of life. That makes me happy.

Loneliness

This one might be a bit of a bummer.

I usually have Saturday plans. I did not this week. So my Friday Night Magic was a bit of a choice. I could go to the close place, maybe grab dinner afterwards with some of the folk, go home and sleep. Sleep in Saturday, go to a Grand Prix Trial, go home. Or I could have gone to a store a bit further out but would have given me three tournaments to play in. Cheaper tournaments, worse prizes, and I'd be getting home real late. Parking is a little pricier though. Would have gotten home around 3 or 4 am. But I had no solid Saturday plans.

I went to the close store. Hardly anyone showed up. Ended early. No one wanted to go out for dinner. I went home. Finished watching Donnie Brasco. That's a rough movie. The idea of overworking to the point of damaging relationships and your own psyche hit hard. Although I haven't hit any women. That was a rough watch.

I checked Twitter and the store I decided not to go to was "popping" as the kids may say. Seemed like I made the wrong choice. I did get some sleep, although not particularly satisfying sleep. So now I am on a train full of people heading to a tournament. I hope I play my best. I hope I see some people I know. I like people. Some people. They make me feel less lonely.

There has been this "trend" on the Internet to post these little images saying "You are important. We love you!" and if these things make you happy, I am glad a thing made you happy. I find them insulting. They are a stinging reminder of lonliness. Sorry, Internet Stranger, I know you mean well. You told someone they are important! Maybe you made someone feel better! And I think you did. I think you made yourself feel better.

Which is fine. We all do selfish things. But lonliness stings a little harder when a gif of a piece of glass says "You are not alone! I'm with you" Thanks, Internet Stranger, but I am. And you're not.

Learning to Fall

I slipped this morning right before exiting my home. My laptop bag dropped to the floor and my book  bag containing my Magic decks slammed against the wall. "My legacy deck!" I thought, before realizing the hard plastic case would likely keep it safe. Safer than my poor laptop which got a good jostle.

The Legacy deck is worth more.

Laptop is working just fine. Not a ding. SSD, baby. Ain't got to worry about none of them datas, not that they aren't all backed up via Backblaze anyway. (I first typed Blackblaze. If you get that joke, you are a special kind of nerd.)

Grand Prix Trial yesterday went pretty good. I suppose. I placed fifth. That's not first, so I feel bad. It's not last so I should feel good even though there's a little demon in the back of my head that says otherwise. Fuck that guy. Although the prize for top 8 was a single pack, which feels like a bit of a "fuck you".

Six rounds is a lot of Magic. Rounds 1, 3 and 4 were combo decks. Sneak Attack, Tin Fins and Eureka. I won all three, but they sure were grinds. Deny them their resources and pound away. One game versus Tin Fins was luck. I think he drew twenty one cards and could not find a single Lotus Petal. So it goes.

My loss was to Elves, which I am 1) inexperienced against and 2) thus made mistakes. I bolted the wrong thing once. I also left an Underground Sea open instead of the Tropical Island. I could not gain life with the Deathrite Shaman that had to block. I would have been at 3 instead of 1. Not that I was about to win but I might have had chances instead of not having chances. So it goes.

Round 5 was versus Shardless BUG which I feel like I am getting better at playing against. Handle the Goyf, get the advantage. Round 6 was an Intentional Draw into top 8 which worried me a little because I don't ID much. I suppose that's a thing as you start placing higher.

I enjoyed some curry and then went back to play. Game 1 was a bunch of stupid mistakes. Game 2 I got lucky and blasted away with two Delvers. Game three I mulliganned into a questionable hand which a Thoughtseize ripped apart. I never recovered.

The pack was crap. But the entry prize was a 21% discount coupon. So I picked up something to complete a play-set. Who knows how decks will change.

I ended the night by heading over to a store where there should have been a small Legacy tournament. Only one other player showed up. He was playing Mavericks, which I had never played against. This surprised him. I knew of it, just never had the pleasure. Or displeasure as it turned out as he beat me five out of six games.

There's always more to learn.

Legendary

I bought into Legacy kind of hard. I do not want to discuss the prices. You can google them. But my Grixis Delver deck is in my bag now and whenever I get to jam out some Legacy games it feels so good.

I was at a small little event last night and went 1-2. Lost first round to some WUR Goodstuff™ where he just seemed to drop an answer to everything I had. "Your Delver is flipping? Pyroblast in response. Swords to Plowshares your Deathrite Shaman after it comes into play."

I was feeling unpleasant. He said good game. I said I hope that he had fun. I felt like a dick afterwards, but Brainstorming into two lands when you're trying to get rid of two in your hand might do that to a man.

Next round was versus a guy who I would guess is half Japanese? Japanse last name, spoke perfect English. We bantered back and forth. He was playing Aluren. I need to read cards I am unfamiliar with. He got me good with the flash part that I totally missed. Then again I had already made him discard two of them with a Cabal Therapy. Sometimes you draw cards. I did beat him one game, and learned a lot about another "combo" deck.

Third round was versus Miracles and the first time I actually beat Miracles. Delvers can go a long way. Of course, if they don't, then it's a long, long game and I brainfarted once knowing that he showed a Brainstorm with Counterbalance but then cast Deathrite Shaman into it. Whoops.

I need to play a little slower is what I learned. Take a second, breathe, think about the play. Not too slow - I've had some players ask me to speed up at moments, but hey, I'm learning and Magic is a difficult game.

Legacy is fun. I wish more people played. I get why Wizards (Hasbro?) doesn't want to get rid of that Restricted List, but goodness, how many people would pay $20, maybe $30?, for packs with the duals as Mythic Rares. Maybe not enough. "Oh my collection." people whine, but I'm always trading foils into non-foil versions and getting a little extra out of the deal. Some people like original and old shit.

Some people just want to play the fucking game.

Repetition

I stared at a printed worksheet for a solid thirty seconds wondering if I did it with the class already.
I hadn't. I did it last week at another school. And I did it last year with the students at this school who are now at another school.
So, things have been done and they will continue to be done. And I am oh so glad that I write down everything that I do so that mistakes are not made.

Of course, there is the moment of terror when a student goes "We already did this." but more often than not they are refering to the fact that we are going to first review what we did last week.

In nine years I have never repeated a lesson to the same students twice in a row by accident. And yet I constantly fear that I will. I'm not sure what exactly would happen if I did. The students get a bit more practice. I get a bit more practice. They would possibly think me a bit silly, but I'm convinced they already do.

Worst. Comic. Ever.

After finishing The Incomparable #314 I was prompted to boot up my Marvel Unlimited app and read X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever. It was pretty great.

There was a span of my life where getting any bit of X-Men triva that I could was a pure obsession. Looking at over-priced issues of the comics at shops in Philadelphia was a pure joy. This comic gave me that feeling again.

If you super-like the X-Men, you've probably already read this. But if you kind-of like them and haven't read comics in a while, by-golly this was a treat. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's about a mutant whose power really, really sucks. And he has to go to Xavier's school because of a reason that is going to get some sort of reaction out of you.

Get reading.

Not so strange things

During my three week trip back to America I kept getting recommended to watch Stranger Things. Everyone seemed to sell it to me on the idea of kids solving a mystery with the help of their D&D supplementary material, and instead I got a slightly less-weird Twin Peaks with Winona Ryder talking to a ball of Christmas lights.

I’m not complaining, I’m just saying.

I’m currently halfway through episode 6 (life calls, as it often does) and with two episodes left I kind of get that vibe I got from Heroes before it went on for Way Too Long. Knowing that there’s only about two and half hours left makes it a bit more interesting than seventeen and a half, so at least there’s that.