I’d been preparing for about two months for last weekend. Between purchasing a case to learn the limited format for the set and then playing in limited events at Twenty Sided store combined with constant testing with Li, Chase, Dylan, and pretty much anyone that will crack packs with me. Even after all that I still have to admit there’s plenty more I could have done to elevate my game, but a man only has so much time, and gimme a break, I’m not gonna let Magic: the Gathering totally destroy my social life. Not totally at least.

I’ll save you the scroll all the way to the bottom of this text to find out how I did: 6-3. I’m pretty happy about this. One victory away from day two. And I was knocked out in round eight. Just about made it, and I was on the wire for a few rounds, I had folks rooting me on and supporting my caffeine habits. It was pretty great! Let me say that you can’t post a good record on the day without help from your friends. Nine rounds is a lot of magic to play in a day. Practice with friends, encouragement, deck tech between rounds and just keeping each other from tilting after a loss, having a “team” is really important.

I woke up around eight to get ready for my ride. Kadar secured a spot in Hunter’s car for the way down. Brandon was the fourth member of our crew for the ride to Philly. We met at ten and made our way down the NJ turnpike south. In car the talk ranged from pack draft decisions, sealed pool choices, and about teaching other people about getting into the game. Before long we arrived in Philly, checked in and dropped off our stuff at the hotel (I was leaving my gear at Kadar/Hunter/Brandon’s hotel room until Stefano and his crew got into town).

We then made our way to the Reading Terminal Market for eats. As we walked across the street, Zac Barash, hailed us from Chase Culpon’s ride. Twenty Sided Store looks like it’s in full force! We scour the market for food, and settle on the Cajun Spot. I go for the Gater Gumbo, which is excellent, and I house it pretty much in two minutes. I’m excited to play in some grinders (hopefully just one grinder if I do well).

Grinder one doesn’t go well, I’m pretty disappointed because my opponent scored a Turn Five Armada Wurm followed by a Turn Six populate that pretty much ended the game for me.

A little frustrated, and more than a little underwhelmed by my deck, I move for the draft tables. I haven’t drafted in a side event in about 12 years and I’m anxious to see if the same problems still exist. Two of the main problems where players not taking the REL of the event seriously and talking to each other during the draft about their picks. This is still a very serious problem, the other is people bringing their own decks to the draft. Yea, like draft some cards and then sleeve up a bunch of cards you didn’t draft and claim to have drafted a killer deck. It didn’t look like this was as big a deal. But I definitely lost my first draft to colluding by the two guys at my right just teaming up and passing each other gold. My draft deck was utter trash, and I scrubbed out despite my best efforts to play it out any way.

I spent the next hour trading and trying not to get down on myself about tomorrow’s event. I really didn’t want to scrub out, especially as I’m planning on playing in Lisbon in a month. That trip is just for travel but I’d feel pretty ridiculous if I lost two days of my voyage doing something I could have done in the States.

Inbetween all this a fella came up to me during a life tilt moment I was having Li Xu talk me out of, and goes, “Meddling Mage?” I laughed, nope. Sorry I’m not the guy. I was wearing a hoodie though. Li and I laughed for a bit the guy shrugged and I went to Wawa. If I was gonna shake off those two losses I was gonna need to get it together and get some food/caffeine.

After returning to the Convention center I got a text from an old friend (Blake McClure) that he was arriving soon and we should eat. I just signed up for a second draft so I figure I’d have enough time. I felt much much better about this one and the chatter between players was virtually non-existant. Round one I had a game one Pack Rat played by my opponent who underestimated the shear amount of removal I picked up. I killed it D-E-Dead as soon as I saw it. Game two I was ready for it, Chemister on the board. He played the PR I electrickery’d it he tapped out to make two more tokens. I consented. He was sitting pretty with three pack rat tokens at 3/3. During my main phase I cast Traitorous Instincts on his rat… Thought about Cloning it but instead Launch Partied it into another Rat and finished off the third with a Chemister’s ability. DUDE WAS NOT HAPPY! He scooped soon after. Second round I scrubbed out just in time to see Blake walk over. We snagged Chick-fil-A.

After a little catching up, we go our separate ways and I sign up of the last grinder of the day and scrub out again. I’m exhausted and jamming more is just gonna wear me out. I catch my roomate for the weekend playing in a grinder. Stephano is pure concentration during this match. He’s so engrossed he doesn’t even notice me sitting next to him. Eventually, he looses and he realizes I’ve been sitting next to him the whole time. We get Wawa (more food) and watch the finals of his grinder. It’s a slugfest (two bomb heavy Grixis decks) when it’s over he has some business to take care of and I need to get to sleep. He tells me Q (our other roommate) is already up in the room and he’ll let me in. I head up to the room.

Knock on the Door and the person behind gives a suspicious, “Who’s that?” I answer and the door swings open. It’s Q, whom until 4 hours ago I have never met. He’s the guy that thought I was Meddling Mage! What a chain of events. We bullshit for a few and are joined by Stephano and Brandon (fourth roommate) and eventually we passed out, planning to eat at the diner in the Reading Terminal Station.

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