The year is almost ending, it’s the holidays and there isn’t much to talk about, so I’ve decided we could play a little game of True or False. I’m going to post some stories here, some of which are true, some of which are not, and you’ll have to decide which ones are which. Ready?

1 – William Jensen missed Hall of Fame the previous year because Brad Nelson, who knew him as Huey, thought his name was Eugene Harvey and actually voted for the wrong person.

2 – At the Invitational in Essen, Raphael Levy tried to [ccProd]Cunning Wish[/ccProd] for a card he didn’t actually have on him, so he had to run to the vendors and get it in the middle of the match.

3 – Mike Long convinced his PT finals opponent to concede the game after he had removed his only kill condition from the game.

4 – A player once ripped a [ccProd]Chaos Orb[/ccProd] into pieces and destroyed his opponent’s entire board, thus inspiring the Unhinged card [ccProd]Chaos Confetti[/ccProd].

5 – Matt Nass is the ChannelFireball member who can eat the most.

6 – At PT Yokohama, eventual winner Guillaume-Wafo Tapa was so sick that he had to play with a bucket beside him in case he had to throw up.

7 – At PT Paris, we had an extra slot in our sideboard and some of the players decided to play a [card]Gruesome Encore[/card] as a joke.

8 – Luis Scott-Vargas once Top 8’d a tournament without a kill condition in his entire deck.

9 – The name “Sligh” for a Mono-Red Aggro deck comes from the deck creator’s name, Paul Sligh.

10 – At Worlds 2009, Conley’s opponent was playing Burn, mulliganed to three, and killed him on turn three.

11 – In the Top 8 of US Nationals, Sam Black shuffled his sideboard back into his deck, forgot to sideboard out a card, won the game with it, figured out it was actually good and won game five with it as well.

12 – I started playing Magic before Shahar Shenhar was born.

13 – At PT Paris, where everyone on ChannelFireball played Caw-Blade (which later became known as one of the most powerful Standard decks ever), Conley Woods actually decided to play a deck with [card]Kazuul, Tyrant of Cliffs[/card] in it.

14 – At GP Philadelphia 2008, a judge physically assaulted a player whom he caught cheating against a little kid.

15 – In the finals of a PT, a player was DQ’d without prize for casting a spell without tapping the mana first.

16 – Ben Stark’s teammate had a seizure during PT Boston 2003, which led to the entire team being forced to drop at 3-0.

1- William Jensen missed Hall of Fame the previous year because Brad Nelson, who knew him as Huey, thought his name was Eugene Harvey and actually voted for the wrong person.

False. Though the most incredible part of this story is true (Brad DID vote for Eugene Harvey thinking it was Huey he was voting for), it didn’t end up costing William Jensen because he missed by more than one Players Committee vote. If Brad had been in the Selection Committee (whose votes are weighted more), then the vote would actually have gotten Jensen in the Hall, but he was not, and Jensen would still have fallen short even with his vote.

2 – At the Invitational in Essen, Raphael Levy wanted to Cunning Wish for a card he didn’t actually have on him, so he had to run to the vendors and get it in the middle of the match.

[draft]berserk[/draft]

True! Or at least semi-true, since I don’t know if the situation actually happened, but I know that was what he agreed to with the judges and organizers. Levy had a Cunning Wish deck but did not own a [ccProd]Berserk[/ccProd], and he didn’t want to buy one without knowing if he would ever use it, so he just talked to the judges and a vendor and said he’d run up to them and borrow it if he ever wanted to Wish for it. At the Invitational you could get away with that kind of thing.

3 – Mike Long made his opponent scoop in the finals of a PT when he had no kill conditions left in his deck.

False. According to legend, Mike Long was one of the best mind gamers of all time; his most famous escapade is certainly getting his opponent, Mark Justice, to scoop a game in which Long had removed his only kill condition (a [ccProd]Drain Life[/ccProd]) to add mana for [ccProd]Cadaverous Bloom[/ccProd].

[draft]drain life
cadaverous bloom[/draft]

This never happened. All the games Long won are on video (here, here, and here) and in none of them is the Drain Life gone by the time he wins. He does remove a Drain Life once, but that was a game he lost. Mike Long is certainly a master at mind games, and his biggest accomplishment is making everyone believe this Drain Life story!

4 – A player once ripped a Chaos Orb into pieces and destroyed his opponent’s entire board, thus inspiring the Unhinged card Chaos Confetti.

[draft]chaos orb[/draft]

False. Legend says that, at a certain point in a game, a player was completely lost; he had a Chaos Orb in play, but his opponent had many permanents and he could only kill one. The clever player had an idea, though—he ripped his Chaos Orb into many pieces and tossed them over his opponent’s board, destroying everything any of the pieces touched and winning the game in the process. The story is so famous that I’ve actually been asked by people who did not even play Magic if it was true; it also inspired an Unhinged card Chaos Confetti.

[draft]chaos confetti[/draft]

The story is, unfortunately, not true. There’s no record of anyone ever doing that and, according to Dailymtg, “this edition of ‘According to Mr. Pling’ includes a purely hypothetical, just-for-fun compilation of eight silly things you are definitely not allowed to do with Chaos Orb … including, you guessed it, ripping it up and sprinkling it on your opponent’s cards.” Sorry!

5 – Matt Nass is the ChannelFireball member who can eat the most.

False, though the actual answer may surprise you—the person who can eat the most on the team, by far, is David Ochoa. He doesn’t always eat a lot, and on average I would say he eats less than Kibler, Luis, or EFro (who probably eat for around five people, the three of them combined), but if you had a competition on who would be able to eat more then I’m sure he’d win.

6 – At PT Yokohama, eventual winner Guillaume-Wafo Tapa was so sick that he had to play with a bucket beside him in case he had to throw up.

False! A lot of people got sick during that tournament, but, as far as I know, Guillaume wasn’t one of them (maybe that’s why he won!). Frank Karsten was hit harder than most, though, and was the person who actually needed a bucket by him at all times. As far as I know he never actually got to use it. Despite his major handicap, Karsten still finished the tournament in 10th place!

7 – At PT Paris, we had an extra slot in our sideboard and some of the players decided to play a Gruesome Encore as a joke.

False. Though I’m sure Luis actively wanted to do it very much (and in fact he kept handing out Gruesome Encores to everyone as we were 5 minutes away from having to turn in our deck lists, saying things like, “come on, we don’t even want anything, why not play this??”), in the end we settled for a more “normal” card in our extra slot—I think it was an [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card] or a [ccProd]Baneslayer Angel[/ccProd].

8 – Luis Scott-Vargas once Top 8’d a tournament without any kill condition in his entire deck.

True! Luis was playing a deck that killed with [card]Burning Wish[/card] for Tendrils, and at the start of the match, found himself with an extra sideboard slot. Without knowing what to put there, he decided on a sweet, sweet [ccProd]Deep Analysis[/ccProd]. In the middle of the tournament, he realized he had actually forgotten to register Tendrils in his sideboard! During the tournament, he just showed people Burning Wish and everyone assumed he would get Tendrils and scooped anyway.

[draft]burning wish[/draft]

9 – The name “Sligh” for a Mono-Red Aggro deck comes from the deck creator’s name, Paul Sligh.

False! Paul Sligh was the first person who piloted the Sligh deck, but its design is credited to Jay Schnider. Here’s the deck in all its glory:

Paul Sligh’s Orcish Librarian Deck, 1996

[deck]Main Deck
2 Dragon Whelp
2 Brothers of Fire
2 Orcish Artillery
2 Orcish Cannoneers
4 Ironclaw Orcs
3 Dwarven Lieutenant
2 Orcish Librarian
4 Brass Man
2 Dwarven Trader
2 Goblin of the Flarg
1 Black Vise
1 Shatter
1 Detonate
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Incinerate
1 Fireball
1 Immolation
4 Strip Mine
4 Mishra’s Factory
2 Dwarven Ruins
13 Mountain
Sideboard
1 Shatter
1 Detonate
1 Fireball
1 Meekstone
1 Zuran Orb
3 Active Volcano
2 Serrated Arrows
1 An-Zerrin Ruins
4 Manabarbs[/deck]

10 – Conley Woods’ opponent mulliganed to three, playing Burn, and still killed him on turn three.

False. This story comes from 2009 Worlds in Rome. Conley was 10-2 and needed a reasonably average finish to Top 8, so he decided to play Zoo. According to legend, at some point he was playing against Burn, and the guy mulliganed to three, which is pretty much a guaranteed win for Conley. Except the game went:

Conley: Fetchland (19), Dual Land (17), Kird Ape
Burn guy: Mountain go (3 cards in hand)
Conley: Fetchland (16), Dual Land (14), Tarmogoyf
Guy: Great Furnace, go (3 cards in hand)
Conley: Fetchland (13), Dual Land (11), Molten Rain your Great Furnace. In response, sac it to Shrapnel Blast (6, two cards in hand).
Guy: Untap, land, Bolt, Bolt (0).

Though the main idea is true (Conley did lose to a Burn deck on a mulligan to three), this is not exactly how the game went. Here’s Conley’s take:

“I lead with a fetchland for a Stomping Ground, dropping to 17 and ply a Kird Ape. My opponent plays a Teetering Peaks and passes back.

I play a fetchland for a basic land at this point (trying to be conscious of my life total) dropping to 16, and play a Goyf that is a 1/2 with only Land adding to it. I attack him to 18.

He plays a Blinkmoth Nexus and Hellspark Elemental, attacking me to 13, leaving him with 2 cards in hand. I untap and have the option to play a Jotun Grunt or Molten Rain. With my opponent having 2 cards in hand and only 2 lands, I decide to set him further back by casting Molten Rain, pumping ‘Goyf and taking out the Nexus. I play one of the two reamaining Shocklands in my hand, dropping to 11, Molten Rain him down to 16, and then attack with both creatures to even the life totals at 11 (Goyf was seeing creature, land, sorcery).

He untaps, plays a Mountain and unearths Hellspark Elemental, dropping me to 8 and leaving him with 2 cards in hand.

I untap, attack him for 4, down to 7, play a shockland tapped, play a [card]Jotun Grunt[/card] and leave open [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] as the last card in my hand (I believe, if not, it was the last relevant card in hand).

He untaps, tanks for 10 seconds, then points [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] at my face, dropping me to 5 and leaving him with just Teetering Peaks open. He then slams [card]Darksteel Citadel[/card] and plays [card]Shrapnel Blast[/card] to empty his hand and win the game.

My (incorrect) thought process at the time, was that while I was hurting myself, I was killing him faster. Killing him faster meant less draw steps for him and a draw step is worth 3ish damage out of mono-red. This is what led me to pay life more freely than I should have been.”

11 – I started playing Magic before Shahar Shenhar was born.

False, but it’s close! I started in 1996, when Shahar was, I believe, two years old.

12 – At the Top 8 of US Nationals, Sam Black shuffled his sideboard back into his deck, forgot to sideboard out a card, won the game with it, figured out it was actually good and won game five with it as well.

[draft]sudden spoiling[/draft]

True! The card in question is Sudden Spoiling, and Sam accidentally left it in for game three, where he fogged out Cheon’s win. Then, realizing the card might actually be fine as a way to deal with [ccProd]Razormane Masticore[/ccProd], Sam decided to leave it in. In game five, he drew it and used it to kill Cheon’s Masticore! It’s funny that, if you read the coverage, the reporter praises Sudden Spoiling as a choice against Faeries, without ever knowing that it was left there completely by accident.

13 – At PT Paris, where everyone on ChannelFireball played Caw-Blade, Conley Woods actually decided to play a deck with Kazuul, Tyrant of Cliffs in it.

True! Exhibit A:

[deck]Main Deck
4 Lotus Cobra
3 Sword of Feast and Famine
4 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Llanowar Elves
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Vengevine
4 Leatherback Baloth
2 Overwhelming Stampede
4 Arc Trail
3 Cunning Sparkmage
4 Raging Ravine
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Verdant Catacombs
6 Forest
3 Rootbound Crag
Sideboard
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
2 Forked Bolt
3 Thrun the Last Troll
4 Obstinate Baloth
1 Overwhelming Stampede
2 Mark of Mutiny
1 Asceticism[/deck]

Granted there’s only one Kazuul and it’s in the sideboard, but if you put a Kazuul anywhere you give us the right to call it a Kazuul deck.

14 – At GP Philadelphia 2008, a judge physically assaulted a player whom he caught cheating against a little kid.

False. As far as I know, a judge has never physically assaulted anyone in any major tournaments for whatever reason.

15 – In the finals of a PT, a player was DQ’d without prize for casting a spell without tapping the mana first.

True! Back then, you had to tap your mana and then cast a spell; to do it the other way around was not legal. In the finals of PT Los Angeles 1997, Dave Mills ended up doing that one too many times and got disqualified without prize for trying to cast [ccProd]Incinerate[/ccProd]. In the end the complaints were so many (understandably so—the guy went from PT champion to DQ without prize because he, I repeat, threw his Incinerate at the table and “only then” tried to tap his mana) that they reversed the “without prize” clause and he ended up actually get second place.

16 – Ben Stark’s teammate had a seizure during PT Boston 2003, which led to the entire team being forced to drop at 3-0.

True! Ben and his teammate tried to argue that they would just play the matches with the two of them (and therefore win on a 2-0 and lose on a 1-1), but it was not allowed (for some reason?), and they had to drop as their teammate was taken to the hospital and you needed 4-2 to Day 2.

Well, that’s it. As a bonus, here are 10 yes/no questions about me! If you get all 10 right you get a virtual cookie and my eternal admiration:

1 – I have two brothers
2 – I am a Judo green belt
3 – I have a white Pomeranian named Shiro.
4 – I don’t like Raisins
5 – I am a certified diver
6 – I prefer tea over coffee
7 – I don’t drink
8 – My favorite color is orange
9 – I’m an atheist
10 – I’m allergic to shellfish

Answers:

1 – I have two brothers.
True
. I have two older brothers; neither of them plays Magic.

2 – I am a Judo green belt.
False
. I have done some Capoeira and some Kung Fu, but never Judo and I’ve never actually reached any “levels”.

3 – I have a White Pomeranian named Shiro.
False
. That’s Kibler; if you follow him in any social media you can find about 5 pictures of Shiro a day.

4 – I don’t like Raisins.
True
. Raisins aren’t HORRIBLE, but they make everything worse; I haven’t found something that I’ve thought “o wow I’m glad you added raisins to this”

5 – I am a certified diver.
True
. When I went to Australia to play a GP, I took a 7-day diving course in the Great Barrier Reef and I can now go dive by myself into a depth of at most 18 meters.

6 – I prefer tea over coffee.
True
. I like tea a lot more, it’s generally sweeter and just tastes better to me. In general, I like the more “green”, “herbal” teas over stuff like apple tea.

7 – I don’t drink alcohol.
False
. It’s true that I don’t drink most alcohol – beer, wine, and so on – and that I never ever get drunk, but I do drink some alcoholic things from time to time, mostly things that you would associate with being a “girly cocktail” – piña colada, sex on the beach, caipirinha and so on. If you take the alcohol out of those, though, then I’ll probably like them more.

8 – My favorite color is orange.
False
. Please… Orange? Orange is like the most boring color ever, no wonder there is no orange in Magic. My favorite color is actually blue, in particular the deeper blues.

9 – I’m an atheist.
False
. This surprises a lot of people, since I live in this “rational atheist” midst, and most of my friends are indeed atheists, but I’m not. I do not follow any particular religions, but I do believe a god exists.

10 – I’m allergic to shellfish.
False
. It’d be a pain if I was, because shrimp is probably my favorite food.

Ok, now we’re truly done! See you next week,

PV