Sperling’s Sick of It: January 2016

My New Year’s Resolution is to stop pulling punches and start saying how I feel about issues that annoy me in the Magic community. No longer will I be a mere mouthpiece for the goals of organized play, R&D, or the “MTG Diversity” fan Twitter account.

1) Die Roll Banter

This one comes to us from fellow Grinch and friend of the column Owen Turtenwald. You can’t go 4 rounds without experiencing it in a Magic tournament.

  • “Haven’t won a roll yet.” (It’s round 5 and he did win one in round 2.)
  • “You choose to play? That’s pretty good I hear.”
  • “I figured [you’d play]. [chuckle].” CALL THE PRESS, we located the real life lovechild of Nostradamus and Sherlock Holmes.
  • (New one I just encountered at Grand Prix Oakland.) [Looks at opening hand] “I guess I’m locked into playing first now, darn!”

This format, where every deck is 1/5 fetchlands and you have 50 minutes to finish the round, is not the time nor the place. We know you run bad in die rolls. At least EFro lets you unfollow him on Twitter if you don’t like hearing about it.

2) A 6-3 Record Makes Day 2 of Grand Prix

I won’t go as far as to call this new rule disgusting.

But I will go as far as saying this rule just arrived and I’m already Sick of It ™. But being asked to 6-0 to try and min-cash is not even the primary thing annoying me now, it’s the recurring conversation I keep having with people who say, “If you don’t like the new rule, just drop from the tournament when you get your 3rd loss. Just skip Day 2.”

The prize payout in each Grand Prix, as well as the end-of-year Worlds and Magic World Cup point races, are zero-sum affairs. You will be graded on a curve. When someone says, “I know getting assigned extra credit seems like more work than you’d like, but you can just skip it,” if the course is graded on a curve you have a right to be Sick of It ™. If in January, I drop at 6-3, and then in February I make Day 2 at 7-2 and have to compete with more players for the same amount of prizes than I would if all 6-3s were eliminated, then there is no opt out.

Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to you is that nobody offers you an attractive, but annoying choice, especially in a competition where you feel pressure to make the choice in order to keep up. Just by letting us play Day 2 at 6-3, we have to either compromise our effort to collect Pro Points and prizes to cover our travel costs, or we have to show up on Day 2 and slog through it.

There’s a famous prop bet in the poker world where a young man was offered something like $50,000 if he could walk a certain insanely long distance, multiple marathons, without resting. He did it. I once asked him whether it had any lasting effects, and he said if he could go back he would never do it—he wishes nobody thought of that bet. His body (feet, joints) was never the same.

Playing Day 2 of a GP at 6-3 in a GP is like being offered $50k to destroy your body. Alright it’s not that bad, but it’s not good.

3) “I mulled to 6, but my opening hand had 3 land, 4 creatures.”

Mina and Denn, Wildborn is the latest addition to the Pia and Kiran Nalaar club. “This incredible couple lives together in a single .3 square foot home,” next Tuesday on TLC.

So let’s get this straight. Creative now strongly prefers Bear to Bears, and Elf to Elves, since creature is a singular concept, but as long as the people have names to make the title of the card obnoxiously long, then it plays?

Modern Masters 2017 idea:

  • Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Istvan. (Art depicting a ‘Goyf and a Snapcaster cozied up together in what looks like the inside of a winter cabin. ‘Goyf is wearing a scarf, each has a steaming cup of coffee or tea in their hands and a smile on their face. A picture of Snapcaster’s uncle carrying a giant axe hangs above the fireplace.). 2GU, Legendary Creature–Lhurgoyf Wizard, *+2/*+2, * is the number of card types in all graveyards. Flash. When Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Istvan enter the battlefield, exile target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard. It gains suspend 1, put a suspend counter on it.
  • Natalie and Gina Llanowar, G, Legendary Creature–Elf, 1/1, T: add G to mana pool.
  • Emrakul and Endless One, X15, Legendary Creature–Eldrazi, 15/15, When you cast Emrakul and Endless One, take an extra turn after this one. Flying, protection from colored spells, annihilator 6. When Emrakul and Endless One are put into a graveyard from anywhere, their owner shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library. Can’t be countered. ETB with X +1/+1 counters.

4) 4-Color Deck Names

“Jeskai Black” and “Mardu Blue” are bad enough. When someone suggested “Wet Jund” to me though, I felt sick. “Wet Jund” offends me. I don’t know why exactly, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Here is my proposed list of deck names for a few of the color combinations:

  • Naya Angelou (WRGB)
  • Moist Mardu (WBRU)
  • Bant on Fire starring Denzel Washington as Mantis Rider (WUGR)
  • Rakdos Country Club (Mono-Red)
  • Yore-Tiller Tempo (WURB)
  • Diamond Club (Colorless)
  • Temur Good Stuff (Forgot to register anything on the deck list, game loss)

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