Once upon a time, there was a happy princess who loved going on adventures. One beautiful Saturday morning she was greeted by three knights; Sir Matthew, whose boisterous voice has been known to move mountains; Sir Hugh, King of Puns; and lastly Sir Kadar, Utterer of Poignant Witticism. These knights accompanied the Princess on what would turn out to be a journey of treason, betrayal, and mischief.


“Huzzah! At long last our chariot arrives,” exclaims Sir Hugh.

The Princess had arrived in a stately vehicle the color of sun scorched blackberries. She slowly emerges to greet her accompaniments of the day, cautious of their intentions. Whilst on the road, Sir Hugh, who was commissioned to bring along light fare for the journey, offers the group a variety of what appeared to be freshly picked berries, fruits, nuts, and turkey. In the absence of her royal taster, the Princess and her knights reluctantly ate a bit of each. When they were presented with the turkey, colloquially referred to as turkey jerky, they immediately felt a tightening of their esophageal sphincters preventing the release of a sweet meat with the consistency of softened beeswax.

“He means to poison us!” cries Sir Matt as they approach their destination.

They all emerge from the chariot weakened, and it is Sir Hugh who succumbs to the foul meat. It turns out that the piece of poisonous turkey directed toward the Princess was accidentally ingested by the traitor himself. He spends the majority of the morning searching frantically for an antidote before the grand event begins and only finds reprieve upon locating the venue’s vomitorium.


Upon entering the antechamber of the battle grounds, the Princess and her knights are welcomed by the wise Yoda of Allentown. He directs them through a labyrinth of clowns, ceramic dolls, and old railroad tracks before arriving in the arena . There they saw a group of noblemen and women from their kingdom eagerly discussing potential strategies while preparing for battle. Soon after viewing this meeting of the minds, the knights initiate a clandestine operation to decode the important intelligence they’ve just recieved. It appears that blue/green is the preferred color combination in these parts and its where most of the plane’s strength lies.


The lord of the land rounds up all 150 combatants and seats them in the traditional formation for the checking of magic, arms, and armaments. His constable reads off all the rules and regulations regarding the upcoming battles before releasing everyone to fight one-on-one throughout the arena. Here are the spells slung by the Princess:

Sealed Deck

Creatures (16)
Academy Raider
Blood Bairn
Blur Sliver
Child of Night
Corpse Hauler
Festering Newt
Marauding Maulhorn
Minotaur Abomination
Pitchburn Devil
Shivan Dragon
Syphon Sliver
Undead Minotaur
Xathrid Necromancer
Young Pyromancer

Spells (7)
Chandra's Outrage
Doom Blade
Quag Sickness
Volcanic Geyser
Wring Flesh
Lands (17)


The Princess adorns herself with a mighty crown and begins her first battle. It was a grueling match against Pete from Long Island, piloting UR Control. During game one, she curves out perfectly up to a turn six Shivan Dragon, and ends the game with a Corrupt to her opponents face for the final bit of damage. Game two was a bit more dynamic but one play put the game in the favor of the Princess. She attacked with a Pitchburn Devils into his Fireshriekered Canyon Minotaur which he used to block. Since she had a Festering Newt on the board with a Blood Bairn as a sacrifice outlet, she was able to sacrifice the Newt, targeting Pete’s Minotaur and traded off the Pitchburn Devils for both his Minotaur and his only other creature, a Nephalia Seakite. Her opponent was never able to rebuild his board after that play and she went on to take the first match.


Her next opponent is none only than the former voice of the Pro Tour, Jonathan Becker. This Philadelphia based attorney was piloting a UW build featuring  Serra Angel and Pacifism and the ever hard to beat Ajani, Caller of the Pride/ Dismiss into Dream combo. She wins the match after three close games and takes some time to soak in important advice delivered by her slain opponent.


The Princess becomes more and more weary as the tournament goes on. She begins losing battles one after the other including a rough match against Sir Kadar! Feeling betrayed by her own knight, she decides to explore the venue in hope of finding the rare treasure that send her on this mission in the first place. She quietly climbs a set of stairs located in the rear of the castle and pauses abruptly upon reaching the landing. Glowing in a distance, she makes out what appeares to be branches. As she approaches, there it is! The infamous money tree! Despite her lackluster performance in the main event, she can now return to her kingdom a victor.


Monique Garraud is a Brooklyn native who started playing Magic in 2011. “Grinding It Out” is her weekly take on the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a competitive tournament player.

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