February 28, 2011
It was a cold winter morning. The sun was like a cannon shooting lava over my eyes. I was bumbling around blinded trying to reach our magical rocketship (this obviously means beat up dusty old car that barely works and has a high % of breaking down) first when I realized that nobody had called shotgun. In a raspy coffee stained voice I gargled "SHOT... cough cough GUNNNNNNN. HOLY FUCK, shotgun motherfuckers!" We piled in like sardines, the tin was folded down, and we took off on our journey....
The first thing we did was try to get warm. The ice coated metal car kept temperature very well, and the heat sputtered and staggered and smelled like a cross between dead rodent and warm urine. After holding my breath to the point of almost passing out multiple times, it was time to put the finishing touches on my decklist.
I was playing Necro-Donate for this Pro Tour Qualifier. Pretty much my favorite deck in the history of Magic. Necropotence is my favorite card outside of Moxes, Black Lotus, and Beta Island (the light blue pic, not the one with a mango sky or the pink one.) Affectionately known as Trix, you can look around the interwebs and find a list and history of this beast. For those of you who know nothing about Magic, do your best to enjoy the rest of the story. The rest of the people in our car were playing stuff like Stasis and Counter/Sliver, and they were trying to tech out against Donate. I say if you can't beat them, join them (not always, but sometimes!).
We were traveling from South Carolina to Daddy Jim's Cards and Comics in High Point, NC. (Daddy Jim was a crazy old hillbilly kind of a guy with a heart of gold. He was hilarious as well. He was always tryin' to get people to swallow goldfish for packs, shave their head for packs, stand on a chair and do something embarrassing for packs, lots of fun stuff that you'd never see again at a PTQ honestly.) Back then it was hard to qualify for the Pro Tour, and there weren't a ton of GP's and 5k's every weekend. You couldn't just slide in on rating that easily, and you couldn't get freerolled an invite because you worked with Richard Simmons or because every Magic writer makes references to poker (jesus christ stfu), and you happened to have a handful of chips. *sidenote* look, if you're a Magic player and a lowstakes poker donk, just stop with the Rounders references in every single article, the shit is old, played out, you need something fresh, maybe start making MMA references or something. SOMETHING. I do however condone Patrick Chapin's use of any references from anything he likes. But he's the guy. He's the man, the dude, I'm talkin' about the Innovator here. Someone ship the Sioux City Sasparilla imo. Anyway, you actually had to win a Pro Tour Qualifier in those days. People were coming from all over the place for that 1 slot, which made it much harder. In one of the first PTQ's in which I top 8'd (Tempest Block Sealed Deck, ship the Spontaneous Combustion imo) there was some dude from France. I was like, wtf are you doing here????? He had his traveling suitcase and everything. I expected him to say "Royale w/Cheese" and grin, instead he said "Le PTQ, Kwa Li Fyyyyyyy" I shook my head and went back to babbling with friends. Magic was so surreal back then, or at least it felt that way. It felt like something Jimi's guitar would say. Mystical, ethereal, drenched in a purple haze (and probably high as a motherfucker too).
So yeah it probably sounds like I'm bobbling in and out of consciousness as I drift from one memory or story to the other in a whirlwind of spotless mind. Now I have to find the eternal sunshine. We got to High Point, NC and had rub a dub dub thanks for the grub at a cafe called Jennifer's. It was local but it was damn good, as made apparent by the amount of pancake I had stuck to my face after hoovering the pile. It was still freezing so travel time between building and car was minimal. We got to the site and there was a stack of people lined up outside, apparently Daddy Jim was late today. He was never late, so this to me was a sign from the gods. Today was going to be weird and they knew it, and now I knew it, because I was the only one insane enough to interpret it that way. Most people thought it was traffic.
Daddy Jim's was an awkward place to play because they had boxes upon boxes of comic books stuck in the back room. You had no room for the most part, you were playing on comic book boxes stuck so intimately that if you decided to scratch your ass you'd be giving someone else a hand job. None-the-less as Wayne and Garth say, GAME ON! ehh Wayne and Garth. It'd be much better if I could work it into a Clerks reference and be like DON'T PASS TO THIS GUY, HE SUCKS.... YOU SUCK! Alas there was no Gatorade and this part of my story failed.
Sometime during the day I was chillin' on a bench midstore and noticed a kid sleeping on the ground. At least he appeared to be sleeping. As I floated away on thoughts of nut draws and opponents scooping, I noticed that his skin was turning blue. As I was getting up to notify Jim, his skin was turning purple. Just like that haze I was talking about earlier, damn JImi and his guitar know what's up. People started rushing over to and around this kid as he was purple and foaming at the mouth. No he wasn't a deranged Barney come to eat the children and confess to satanic worship, his friends let us know that he was having an epileptic seizure and the most important thing was making sure he didn't swallow his tongue. Unfortunately we had no cats in the area, so we had to get the medics. Kid ended up OK and the tournament successfully continued but what the fuck, how often does someone turn purple in front of you :(
I chopped the last round of the tournament with Sol Malka despite having made deckbuilding mistakes and having no out for Elvish Lyrist (again non-magic people try to roll with me, lets just say that instead of drawing so that I could make top 8 of the tournament, Sol could have Sol crushed me because my decklist was being freerolled by his, he could have crushed me on the easy. Of course this would be a good plan if he knew we'd play in the top 8.) I lost in the top 8 to Matt Ranks and his Oath of Druids deck. My sideboarded Negators and Wastelands did not do the trick :)
After the tournament was over, dusk had descended upon us and brought his friends thunder, rain, and lightning (much like the three storms in Big Trouble in Little China. FYI, they were the inspiration for Mortal Kombat. themoreyouknow.jpg).
The rain was so intense that we couldn't see whilst driving. We decided that this previously ice-armored tank needed to be put down for the evening. As we approached the road all of the motel's were on in this city, we had no idea what we were about to experience. We cruised in cold and wet and we're like "we'll take a room please, any you have!" (rain causes a spike in business for a lot of industries, such as the pizza and the motel. yes the pizza, when I worked at Pizza Hut and it was raining we'd have to take the phone's off the hook sometimes because we were flooded with too many orders. THAT'S RIGHT FUCKERS, IT WAS TRULY OFF THE HOOK!) The lady behind the counter took a look at us and was like "No way, ya'll look suspect. I'm not renting you a room...." We obviously all looked at each other in confusion and a melting pot of anger and disappointment, just like you'd see in this part of a movie. We asked why, begged, and promised her we weren't randomly dangerous (which was mostly true) but to no avail. OK FUCK IT (yes, fuck it, your motel stay is over mr. leather, THE MAGIC PLAYERS LOST!) We hustled our way down the line to the next motel. This time we tried to play it crafty, and just sent one of us in. The lady behind this counter was much different, but she saw through our plan in that she walked over to the window to spy the car running and people in it. At first she was like, no I'm not going to give you a room, and I was like, why not? Why on earth not? Well, apparently she had received a PHONE CALL from the fucking idiot at the first motel. What a rotten crone foaming prune hag. DAMN IT! I took all of my charms from their box and put them on. She caved to my sweet smile and decided it was OK, since it was so bad outside. I thanked her and we hit the room. We couldn't sleep, and had a box of Korean 4th Edition that was desperately in need of being rochester drafted. The night was long, the storm was strong. When morning hit the SAME THING that happened the previous morning happened, coffee stained gargling and everything. Except this time we were on the way home.
I wonder sometime's (since I don't travel as much as I used to, and rarely hit the wsop etc.) if I'm missing out this kind of fun these days. Magic trips were the stone cold nuts. Are poker trips? I mean, I've had a lot of fun poker trips and I have a lot of stories I may decide to tell in this blog (this story telling stuff is fun :D). I'm just not much of a tournament guy, and being in crowded Vegas for the series actually sounds like the pits to me, instead of the joint. I'm not planning on being drunk and jumping out of hotel windows like Pink anytime soon, nor do I plan on shaving my eyebrows (not even for a pack, no). I don't know, rambling at this point, losing focus and I'm watching the latest grindcore vid. Hope ya'll enjoyed this :)