Smells like Team Spirit

Despite the fact that tournament Magic is mostly an individual activity, my favorite aspects of the game are those that require teamwork. There is something wonderful about working with your friends toward a shared goal. Whether tuning a new brew or figuring out a tough matchup, working with a team is fun and rewarding. Team events like Team Sealed or Unified Constructed bring the cooperative element of MTG to actual tournament play. Team Magic makes life better all around. If it were not for my teammates, I wouldn’t know about #beefbaby.

“I smell like BEEEEEEEEF!!!” #Beefbaby

Different Kinds of Teams

Last weekend I got a chance to play in a really cool team event at a local game shop in Michigan. The event was a Team Constructed tournament where each of the 3 players played a different format: Standard, Modern, and Legacy. So instead of being a unified Constructed format where all of the decks are the same format and cannot share the same cards in common, there was no deckbuilding restriction other than that each deck had to be legal in the format. I was really excited to see the event posted on the Ann Arbor team board and immediately volunteered. I love trying out new formats and tournaments (I’ve been trying to organize an “Iron Man” event for a year) and was stoked to play. The Avengers. The Uncanny X-Men. Scooby Doo and the Globetrotters. The 1997 Detroit Red Wings. Stu Parnes/Kyle Boggemes/Brian DeMars. Some teams are literally unstoppable.

Standard B/G Delirium

Stu Parnes, 1st place at BC Comix Team Constructed

Modern Jeskai Tempo

Kyle Boggemes, 1st at BC Comix Team Constructed

“Terminus is still great—the MTG card one, not TWD location where people eat each other.”

Legacy Miracles

Brian DeMars, 1st place at BC Comix Team Constructed

All 3 of our decks were great! You can read about Kyle’s Delirium and Jeskai lists here. As for my Miracles list, it’s similar to what I always play but with more “1-ofs” in the sideboard. The most important Miracles tech?

The basic lands…

s-l225

I wanted to talk about this tournament for a couple of reasons. First, to not-so-humble brag about going undefeated with Miracles and our team finishing 1st. Second, to seamlessly insert 3 fantastic deck lists into an article about team events. And third, (and most importantly), to highlight a tournament format that really ought to get more attention and play! I understand why Unified Constructed is the way it is. We don’t want a team to play 3 identical copies of the same 75. Dredge/Dredge/Dredge Vs. Dredge/Dredge/Dredge… BORING. But it does put some unfortunate constraints on deck selection where certain combinations of decks simply don’t work because they share cards in common. Infect and Affinity, for instance. What if those are the decks that my best friend and I both play the most and best? We can’t team up? Not a huge complaint about Unified Constructed, but I really enjoyed the fact that in this particular team event each player could play whatever deck they liked. Seriously, more stores around the globe should utilize this kind of team tournament format where each team needs a Standard, Modern, and Legacy player. The event got larger attendance than I would have expected because it drew players who specialized in every format. Also, it’s a great way to show Legacy some TLC.

The 0-16 Lions versus The A-Team

I like to Tinker with random ideas.

Tinker Bell… I’ll just stick to word play because grammar puns make me [sic] (I hope Andy the Editor enjoys that one).

I was thinking about the tournament structure for Team Grand Prix, and how “super teams” of high level pros impact attendance for events. Does the fact that there are teams like Owen/Huey/Reid in the field make the average player want to team up with two friends and play? It is one thing to play in a tournament and know that when you get paired against a Platinum Pro that you’ll need to draw well and pull off the upset, but having to do it twice in a team setting is a tall order. I’m not sure about the logistics of how it would work but perhaps there could be a way to set up different brackets for various pro level teams. So if a team had Gold/Platinum pros, then that team would play a bracket against only other Gold/Platinum pros. The same would be true of Silver Pros and amateur players. The top team or teams from each bracket would filter into a Top 4 or Top 8. Just a thought exercise.

I love team events and wouldn’t want them to become less popular down the line because the average player stopped attending when the EV feels impossibly bad at the highest levels. It is also very possible that it doesn’t matter, because the average player actively wants to get paired against Owen/Reid/Huey just for the experience, story, and “test your might” element of battling the best of the best. Stronger players playing against underdogs is part of competition and maybe that is good for the game. After all, the G-Men did upset the undefeated Patriots season in the Super Bowl and that is part of what makes playing and watching the games exciting. It would be cool if there were a way to ensure that 1 amateur team got a shot at Top 8 or a PT invite somehow.

I give a hoot about the underdog. No matter how they are structured or what the format is, there is something epic and special about team tournaments. I love playing in these events and look forward to the opportunity to play more in the future! The only thing better than winning is getting to share the experience with your friends.

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