“I’m having Thanksgiving right now!”—Kadar Brock at Queen City Diner at the end of a 14 hour Magic day

Monique (driver), Hugh (supposed snack provider), Kadar (entertainment), and I drove from the Twenty Sided University campus to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the Pro Tour Born of Gods Qualifier. The format? M14 Limited. My excitement level? 90% linked to the crew I’m traveling with being awesome and 10% looking forward to playing Limited for eight rounds (aka all day).

The drive had a few snags (the Pulaski Skybridge was under construction and impossible to cross. This resulted in twenty or more reminders from Hugh “Shitty Snacks” Kramer about his saying we should’ve taken I-78 the whole way. Sometimes Google is wrong. You know who was really wrong? Hugh. Hugh was in charge of snacks, you know, Doritos, delicious Triscuit crackers, maybe even some grapes, bottled water, and/or other beverages. You know what Hugh brought? Here’s a check list:

1. small plastic bags filled with stale almonds
2. bitter/sour old raspberries
3. apples meant for horses
4. turkey jerky that was more or less seasoned raw turkey
5. cut up watermelon (which was fantastic, especially after eating the salty raw turkey as no beverages were provided)

For his crimes against the car the gods punished Hugh by forcing him to throw up his poisoned food before deck registration. Seriously, he threw up.

I watched my new-ish magic/basketball friend Matt build decks with Zac Hill. The two of them went back and forth on which cards were good in which builds. Zac Hill continues to sound like an announcer no matter what he says or what the context is. While we observed Zac and Matt’s deck and card analysis, Kadar said “Black red is the deck, I’d just do that and go get a sandwich.” I would’ve built the same thing out of the pool they were wrestling with (B/R), and I think they did, but I bet all of their wrestling makes them better players and I appreciated listening to their discussion. Wrestling is important, especially in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


Kadar and I played some Modern prior to the PTQ starting very much not on time. I took the above photo because the colors were pretty and the artwork is stereotypically hyper sexualized. #sigh. I Bogle’d Kadar’s Junk and we both had a good time. We packed up our Modern decks when the deck registration seat assignments were posted.

The pool I registered had the Bogbrew Witch combo in it and three Rumbling Baloths.

The pool I got to build from also had the Bogbrew Witch combo and I could play it! I had to go with black and blue due to bombs and, really, because it was the only color combo that put me at or above 14 total creatures. Here’s what I came up with:

M14 Sealed Deck

Creatures: (14)
Jace’s Mindseeker
Colossal Whale
Shadowborn Demon
Water Servant
Festering Newt
Accursed Spirit
Coral Merfolk
Seacoast Drake
Scroll Thief
Warden of Evos Isle
Armored Cancrix
Corpse Hauler
Nightwing Shade
Bogbrew Witch

Spells: (8)
Liturgy of Blood
Bubbling Cauldron
Mark of the Vampire
Time Ebb
Lands: (18)
10 Island
Shimmering Grotto

There’s one more shitty card in the list but it didn’t make it back to Brooklyn from Pennsylvania. I registered 41 cards, thinking I needed 18 lands for all my big scary dudes. I agonized over the second Divination and the Demonic Tutor during deck construction. Holy crap. After round two Hugh took a look at my deck and said I should cut the Coral Merfolk, Time Ebb, and Shimmering Grotto and put in Divination number two and Diabolic Tutor and go back down to 40 cards. So I did that, almost every game two. Learning from Hugh is very helpful. Drawing cards is always good.


Edwin, my lovely round one opponent, was on the Naya slivers plan. He got way ahead game one and then way behind once I started in with the block, Cauldron my dude, gain life, play a dude on my turn, block, Cauldron my dude, gain life cycle. Eventually I landed something awesome and bashed him. Game two was close but I lost. Game three I flooded the fuck out. It looked like this (tilt your head sideways):


Once again frustrated with mana flood I was to receive no reprieve as I walked into a round two shitstorm.


Ryan beat the every loving crap out of me. His UB deck was ten times the deck mine was. He, too, was the victim of flood round one, which makes sense, as I didn’t see how he’d ever lose to anyone with his monster of a deck. So now I’m 0-2, I’d won just one game, and I was out of the tournament (no one at x-2 makes Top 8, especially no one who lost the first two rounds because their breakers are assuredly really fucking bad). Monique sure as hell (said the atheist) wasn’t going to leave the PTQ early. I didn’t check off “drop” on my slip and stayed in for the rest of the tour like a good soldier.

After “2-0” Hugh gave me the aforementioned advice on my deck we walked around this crazy “mall” the PTQ was held in. Here are some of the sights:

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The second floor was mostly filled with a store called Pro Wrestling World.

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This is the best painting of Andre the Giant anyone’s ever made. Yes, it is to scale.


Followed by the best Hulk Hogan painting ever, also to scale.

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Hugh started freaking out about the next round starting and we went back to the play area. They had no microphone or loudspeaker so it was a valid concern, even for a guy who brought poison fruit and raw turkey for us to eat on the ride to Allentown.

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For some reason a news station was interviewing people at the PTQ and shooting gameplay footage. Their station number is, of course, sweet.


Brian and I mulled a bunch. I smashed him game one. He smashed me game two. Game three I mulled to five and he mulled to four and we all know four cards is worse than five cards and I won. We chatted a lot during our match and the mood was getting better all the time.


Game one against Vince I made a huge error, sacrificing my Festering Newt to try and kill one of his creatures thinking it -4/-4’d it, but it didn’t because I had no Bogbrew Witch in play. It should’ve been a one way ticket to Scoopsville, USA, after that but I stuck it out until it was super obviously pack’em up time. Game two I mulled to six or maybe even five, and never drew a second Swamp. A second swamp would’ve allowed me to cast either removal spell in my hand and get me back in the game. Vince was another great guy to play and we laughed through our horrifying match. Here’s my sweet but useless hand at the end of our game, upon seeing it Vince said “Oh shit!” and looked away:



After my thrashing from Vince I checked out Kadar and Monique’s match. Kadar played all three of his travel companions during the PTQ. He beat Monique and (spoiler alert) me. Hugh smashed him.


Gene is pretty new to the game, has a sexy playmat, and only fourteen lands in his deck that included a Garruk, Caller of Beasts. “I have so many creatures I want to play!” he exclaimed to Kadar earlier in the tournament (when Kadar was playing against him). No matter how many cool creatures you have, kids, play more than 14 lands.

That said, we had a super fun time playing our games. I think I won in two but I don’t have my score sheets on me so it’s tough to say. Gene was overanxious with any creature he put Troll Hide on and I did not hesitate to block when he attacked with all of his mana tapped. I got all of my big dudes in play and drew brilliantly, like I hadn’t been doing all day. Gene’s dad sat down at various times during our match and at the end told Gene he should’ve called a judge on me when I didn’t sacrifice a guy to my Shadowborn Demon. I asked him when that happened ‘cuz I’d been super careful about making sure my sacrifices were good and had gotten to six monsters in my yard the turn before I beat Gene. He said it was the turn before I won and I said I had six in my yard so didn’t need to. “Oh, ok,” he said. I wished Gene good luck but he and his dad were heading home.

It’s great to get paired against a young player, new to the game, and he’s no whiney punk. Gene has a healthy MTG attitude which makes me hopeful for the future of Magic.


Oh I forgot to mention that I turn four Domestication‘d his Manaweft Sliver to get myself out of mana screw. Hilarious.


My round six opponent, James, didn’t show up to our match probably due to fear.


So I played this guy who was sitting diagonally across from me. His opponent didn’t show up either. I defeated him game one and he busted my ass games two and three. Game three he Act of Treason‘d my Festering Newt, attacked, and then sac’d it to Cauldron which Drainlife‘d me for four. It was super funny. I’m glad this guy wanted to play a faux-match when our opponents didn’t show. I’m also glad that our match didn’t count. HA!


I asked Hugh to play a match with me between rounds and it wasn’t even close. I lost, badly. Sometimes when your opponent is incredibly handsome it doesn’t feel so bad to lose. This wasn’t one of those times.


Round seven it was Kadar’s turn to beat the shit out of me. I flooded or was screwed both games and he cast Primeval Bounty. I lose to Primeval Bounty most of the time.


Going into the final match I was in 69th place.



Normally I don’t use people’s whole names but Melissa Goodfriend has one hell of a name. Her boyfriend was at the table behind us, the good table, fighting for a spot in top eight he didn’t get. We were at the absolute last table fighting for our lives. Melissa was a freaking joy to play and we kept joking about how it’d have been nice if one of us had started the day with both of our decks in their pool and built one actually good deck. I don’t think either of our decks were especially bad, though. Sometimes you just don’t draw so hot, mulligan a lot, maybe mulligan too much, and things don’t work out optimally.

I beat Melissa in two games to finish the day 4-4 and earn 85 Planeswalker Points, heading towards my first bye of the season.

While waiting to see who made the Top 8 I walked around photographing more of the cool stuff this “mall” had to offer.


There were all these models of battles set up. It was like Warhammer 40K but older and weirder and sometimes WW2 and sometimes Civil War … ? Anyway, I ended up in 52nd place.



We left the “mall” and went to the diner a stone’s throw from the parking lot. Monique and Hugh took forever to figure out what to order but it didn’t really matter because none of the food was very good.  The ride home was more or less two hours of laughing at bad (and good) jokes, ranking everyone at our local store in various categories (Dave McCoy won best hair and best dressed!), and reminding Hugh that his snacks sucked.

My favorite cards in the course of the tournament were:

1. Opportunity
2. Divination (why didn’t I maindeck two?!)
3. Shadowborn Demon
4. Scroll Thief

As usual I’m dropping this article into the queue a couple of hours before it goes live but more importantly I’m half an hour from dining with my Magic friends at Peter Luger’s Steakhouse so I’m gonna close this thing down. Good night everyone! See you at the PTQ next weekend in Somerville if Josh Fetto wrestles his time away from his regular life and his parents’ car away from their control. Cross your fingers.

OH! I almost forgot. Moments after saying, “I think you should’ve aggressively blocked my Stinkweed Imp,” to Dave McCoy, Hunter “Rolex” Slaton won a Fyndhorn Elves as part of his prize for coming in second at a Modern Masters draft at Twenty Sided and handed it to me. What a mensch! I LOVE IT! I LOVE HIM! I LOVE MAGIC!

Thanks for reading!

MTGO: The_Obliterator

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