There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the following fact: I will never win prize packs. After working a full shift at the Twenty Sided Store this past Friday, I traded in my “Helpful Shopkeep” hat at midnight for my “Deranged, Midnight Pre-Release playing Magic Fanatic” hat and got in line outside with the rest of my ilk for the sealed tournament. My guild: Boros. My plan: to not scrub out.

I’ve been interested in Boros as a guild and color combo since learning how to play Magic four months ago. Attack hard, swing fast, play dudes, get there. Makes sense to me… in theory. In practice, as usual, things went awry. Here’s the Decklist:


2x Boros Reckoner

2x Skyknight Legionnaire

2x Daring Skyjek

1x Angelic Skirmisher

1x Bomber Corps

1x Wojek Halberdiers

1x Foundry Champion (the promo)

1x Ordruun Veteran

1x Syndic of Tithes

1x Zarichi Tiger

1x Warmind Infantry

Spells and Artifacts

1x Smite

2x Act of Treason

1x Massive Raid

1x Martial Glory

2x Boros Charm

1x Homing Lightning

1x Boros Keyrune


1x Boros Guildgate

7x Mountain

9x Plains

Wow, only fourteen creatures in a deck that loves creatures. All is becoming clear to me now…

Round 1 vs. Josh

I played my first round against a nice guy named Josh. I didn’t recognize him from the store. I’m at that point in my career (as a player and employee) where if you’ve come in and bought or played Magic I at least know your face, and probably your name. But this player was a nice guy playing a mean deck. His Simic deck kept growing out of control, and he Spell Rupture’d me so many times he had to have been playing duplicates. On game two, I set up an awesome trap where he swung in with a big dude with that enchantment that lets them get a +1/+1 counter every upkeep, and I chump blocked then POW! cast smite on his blocked creature. The creature went into the graveyard and he said “Wait, wait, can we rewind?”

What to do here? The proper play is to say “sorry, the creature hit the graveyard, and I gave you enough time to respond.” I think I even asked “does it resolve?” before it finished. But I’m, by my very nature, a happy, non-confrontational, laid back kind of guy. So I said, “Uhh, well, sure. We can rewind” and he Spell Ruptured the Smite, I lost my blocker, and he quickly took the game after that. I shouldn’t have let him rewind. But I’m an employee, I told him as much, and I’m a nice guy, and it’s a not-too-serious pre-release. So I let it slide. The player in me (who would like to start winning some of these things) is frustrated, but the human and employee in me is not. Maybe he’ll look back on the Twenty Sided Store as a place where nice people play and work, and maybe he’ll come back. Or maybe he’s a cold-blooded shark who pretends to be nice (probably not, he seemed really nice). Either way, my light-sided self won out and I lost the game and round. Frustrating.

0/1 in Rounds. 0/2 in Games

Round 2 vs. Jess

The next round I was paired up with fellow HoTC blogger and all around awesome player Jess. She was fantastic to play against. I get a certain feeling when I play a lot of my fellow writers (Matt, Jess, Li, etc.) and close friends and cool peeps (John, Kadar, Jason) at the shop. It’s the feeling of my being a “kid brother” to them. Jess was very kind to me, and kind of held my hand through my win. She reminded me to tap my tiger for health at the end of her turn, she said things like “and you’re blocking with him…” when I probably would not have, etc. I appreciate it, and not at all for the win. I’m being shown exactly what my deck can do with optimal draws, optimal plays, and sharp focus. I lack these skills that will come to me in time, and it’s nice to be given a little nudge in the right direction.

1/1 in Rounds. 2/2 in Games.

Round 3 vs. Tim

Good old Tim A. I’m a big fan of him as a player (meaning he’s very nice). We were both 1 and 1 at this point, and it was around 3am. From this point on the level of detail will falter in my recap. He took it game 1 no sweat. I misplayed a bunch and let myself get upset about it. Game two I really took it down. Boros on curve is a monster to behold, and I was able to Act of Treason a bit which helped too. But game 3 Tim played expertly and Simic did what it’s supposed to do and I drowned in a sea of mutated amphibians. Ribbit, goddammit.

1/2 in Rounds. 3/5 in Games.

Round 4 vs. Johnny 

I see this Johnny play at the store only during big events. Last time I saw him was probably the RTR pre-release. He comes with friends and I like his whole crew. They have a great, positive energy and they’re all really polite, soft-spoken, funny and patient. I wish they would come play more often, it would add good vibes to an already positive play space. At this point, I was playing for two packs, not paying attention, and deliriously tired! My first hand I kept a four land, no creature hand of misfortune. What was I thinking? Delirium was setting in strong. I don’t know how you all do it at PTQ’s and GP’s. Upset with my lack of creatures and lack of creature draws (I shouldn’t have been so surprised, I was only running 14!) I scooped while still at 14 life with an empty board. I thought I’d save us both the time in these twilight hours. Game 2 I can’t remember, except that he got Blind Obedience out early and then swung at my face repeatedly. Okay, okay, you got me there.

1/3 in Rounds. 3/7 in Games.


I really had an amazing time. I got a little bummed before leaving. I feel like at this point, after four months in the game, I should be coming up with some better results. I only get to play once a week, but I look at cards all day, and I watch people play all night. I should be getting better. I am, but slowly. I need to accept that this is a slow process for a twenty-something who’s never played a strategic game he liked his whole life (until now). I’m a role-player. I instinctively want to roll some dice, play a random/collaborative story, and work with my teammates to kill a dragon, a lich lord, or the like. I really enjoy Magic because it’s so different from that and from everything I’m used to. I’m going to close out this article with a note I made at 5:15am after the Pre-Release. Barely able to keep my eyes open, I typed up the followed line that I think sums up my experience during the tourney pretty well:

“Wrap up thoughts: I still had a ton of fun. I’m a good loser.”

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