Science does not know its debt to imagination.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
—Benjamin Franklin

I had to get out of the city this weekend. Things have been brewing in my personal life for a while. Speaking as a recovered alcoholic you never really like when shit’s brewing. Luckily for me, my awesome nephew Sebastian’s third birthday was Saturday so I had a non-escapist reason to head to Rochester for a couple of days. Megabus got me there with minimal delay and almost no cost ($60 round trip is insane). Friday Night Magic wasn’t meant to be ‘cuz I ended up zooming up and down my parents’ driveway making Sebastian “go fast” and didn’t get done until half an hour after the drafts fired.

So … we’ll have to dig a little deeper to get an article out of the last week. Let’s walk through the last seven days together. OH! I’ll make a numbered list. People totally love lists.

1. Dredd (2012)
I’ve been obsessed with this film. The Stallone one was a piece of shit. It’s the only reason I didn’t see Dredd in the theater. How could they resurrect such a horrifically ruined character, I thought. Honestly, it’s like the other film never existed and not seeing this Dredd while it was in theaters is one of the worst mistakes I’ve made in my life.

I’ve watched it a total of six times all the way through in the last week. Dredd is a brilliantly economic movie. The writers, cast, and crew used every bit of energy within the confines of the time and the film’s budget to the best of their ability. Economy is important to me and something I consider very highly when I’m working on my art. How can I get the most out of my resources and use them to the greatest affect? Dredd is funny, beautiful, smart, and super fucking intense.

Movie to Magic: The Gathering Comparison: Dredd=Jund.


Look at the above image and tell me this movie isn’t fucking gorgeous. See, the dude in the red is on this drug Slo-Mo that slows time to 1% of normal time and makes all this faerie dust fly around in really beautiful colors. Everyone likes slow motion film, adding rainbow dots to it sure didn’t hurt the visuals. Dredd’s so funny. “Wait for her to shoot you.” I laugh just THINKING about it.

2. Art
A significant portion of my week was spent cutting swords out of plywood.


3. Tuesday Night Magic Trumped Art
Tuesday night I’d planned on spending in my studio painting and cutting out more swords but talking with Kadar during the day on instant messenger about the format and his excitement to play Jund had me scurrying to put together a Modern deck after work. It was difficult but I got McClain’s Grand Prix Detroit Melira Pod assembled.

Melira Pod

Creatures (28)
Birds of Paradise
Deathrite Shaman
Viscera Seer
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Wall of Roots
Voice of Resurgence
Qasali Pridemage
Eternal Witness
Spike Feeder
Orzhov Pontiff
Kitchen Finks
Murderous Redcap
Ranger of Eos
Phyrexian Metamorph
Archangel of Thune

Spells (9)
Birthing Pod
Chord of Calling
Abrupt Decay
Lands (23)
Verdant Catacombs
Razorverge Thicket
Misty Rainforest
Overgrown Tomb
Temple Garden
Godless Shrine
Gavony Township
Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15)
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Lingering Souls
Voice of Resurgence
Aven Mindcensor
Harmonic Sliver
Sin Collector

I hadn’t played Modern in real life in weeks.

Round One vs. Dustin’s Soul Sisters


Normally I kick this deck’s ass with Pod. I’ve never lost to Soul Sisters on MTGO in several matches. Game one I combo killed Dustin. Games two and three he drew his sideboard hate and defeated me. FRUSTRATING.

Round Two vs. The Brook Li’s Esper


I combo’d off game one and eventually just got there game two. Brook made a clear mistake game two when he should’ve countered my Spellskite and bounced my Elemental token but he countered and tapped my dudes instead. I think had taken care of my token the game was clearly his. He played Mystical Teachings and I had to read it when he cast it and when he flashed it back because I’ve never heard of the card. It seems it’d have been better to have four Mana Leaks in his deck than four of that card. What do I know? I hate playing with control decks.

Round Three vs. Austin’s Pod


The Twenty Sided desk told me that I was playing Austin in round three. I asked which one’s Austin and the desk said ‘He’s a model.” Austin was easy to find with that information.

We chatted a bit about what being a model is like, ‘cuz I have absolutely no idea, and then got down to business. Austin was playing a version of Pod I haven’t seen since the deck’s namesake card rotated from Standard. Game one he was able to kill one of my Pods but I had another. He was able to Sun Titan and recast a dude but I had the infinite life combo in my hand. He scooped when I showed it to him.

Game two I was able to assemble the Archangel of Thune + Spike Feeder combo with a number of creatures ready to attack. I had infinite life (I think I settled on a million and one) and creatures with infinite power and toughness. It was awesome.

I remember saying to James Bathurst once “You should put your draft deck in some sleeves even if you have shitty cards because it seems like you either don’t care about your cards or that you don’t have cards worth caring about.” Really what I’m saying is “Don’t give away any information one way or the other ever, information is your most important resource.” Austin’s Birthing Pod playmat fits in this category. I assume that he uses it because he loves the card and the art and the fact that it’s a total tell doesn’t matter to him at all. I miss playing Birthing Pod decks in Standard. New Standard better not suck.

Round Four vs. James’ G+ Tron 


Game one I won off the old infinite life into infinite damage combo. I started sacrificing my Finks to Seer and scrying (with Melira in play) and James didn’t say anything. I kept methodically doing this like I was on MTGO until James said “I know how the combo works.” I said “OK, then I’ll be at a billion life,” and left a Redcap on the top of my library then passed the turn. James drew and must’ve realized I put Redcap on top of my library and said I had that game.

Games two and three were frustrating pieces of shit. Game two involved a nut-draw-like early Karn, Liberated. Game three I mulled to six, kept a five lander, and drew mostly lands from then on.

Tron is one of those decks I could write about as metaphors for the people who play them. You guys probably get sick of that and think I’m a poor sport so I’ll save it this week. Tron sucks. I play smashy decks because it turns out I’m more Hulk than Batman. I don’t play blue decks (often) because I’m not the Joker, either. Tell me you didn’t tear up when Mark Ruffalo said “That’s my secret, I’m always angry” and again when Cap was giving orders to the Avengers and ended by saying “Hulk, smash.” You can’t say that because you’d be lying. We all teared up because we all identify with the same things in the same ways (he said lyingly). It’s hard not to take defeat personally every single time, ha!

I played each match sitting in the same seat because I think the unfinished back wall of the store looks awesome and dungeony. Once Twenty Sided’s expansion/make-over is complete there will be no more weird/intense lighting and these creepy backdrops won’t be possible. #sigh.

4. iOS 7 Dropped
Orlando’s Instagram post Wednesday afternoon reminded me that iOS 7 was now available and after I downloaded it I had a hell of a time getting it to install.


Around 8pm it finally took and the wonderful new operating system was running through my iPhone 5.

5. Mark Gibson is a Positive Member of my Life Team


Having Mark back in my life on a regular basis is awesome. Here he is dispensing some advice to Dave “Bones” McCoy who stopped by to pick up the painting he now owns (Four Dimensions Existing Simultaneously, the painting behind Mark in this photo). It’s my favorite painting I’ve ever made.

6. I Went to Rochester for Four Days


Then I took the Megabus to Rochester. It was ok.


Tali, that awesome kid I helped raise since she was two, lives in Rochester now. We went shopping for glow in [the] dark dog poop at Target (and birthday presents for Sebastian and socks, underwear, and shirts for me).


The next day I put a layer of resin on the three paintings (including the above large one) that I’d made for my parents over the summer. With the resin now cured I must say they’re amongst the best planetary paintings I’ve made.


Later that day Tali and I went to Eastview Mall and I found out they have a Lego store. This picture depicts the very high number of different colored Lego bricks one can buy in bulk.


We hungout that evening with my family, including my new-ish niece Arabella.

6 1/2. That night I played several matches of Modern and recorded them

I don’t win a single match in these videos. We’ll post them in the order I played them in.

First I spent money I didn’t have on some cards I thought I’d lent some people but haven’t been able to locate. Dark Confidants and Chandras assembled, I played Duke’s Jund list.

Chandra Jund

Creatures (14)
Deathrite Shaman
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze

Spells (22)
Lightning Bolt
Pillar of Flame
Maelstrom Pulse
Inquisition of Kozilek
Liliana of the Veil
Chandra, Pyromaster
Lands (24)
Verdant Catacombs
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Treetop Village
Raging Ravine
Stomping Ground
Overgrown Tomb
Blood Crypt
Blackcleave Cliffs

Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Fulminator Mage
Sowing Salt
Olivia Voldaren
Sword of Light and Shadow
Obstinate Baloth
Grafdigger’s Cage
Grim Lavamancer

I fucked up and took out a Thoughtseize from my sideboard for some reason and didn’t put it back before I started this match or the final match.

Some words on these matches:
1. I was playing on my MacBook Air (it’s a couple years old and not so hot)
2. I was recording using BB Express Record (not the best recorder)
3. My parents have pretty shitty internet (though they pay “good money” for it)
4. Sometimes I was uploading the previous match’s video (which slows things down even further)

So if you don’t like watching videos that have some problems associated with the above don’t watch these videos. I don’t play particularly well in these games and was super tired. If you just like watching Magic matches then give it a go. I happily accept constructive criticism but I’m not so interested in whiners complaining about video quality, my lack of commentary and skill, or any other shit that’s just not helpful or interesting.

Jund vs. Pod (I won a match just before this one against the same opponent playing the same deck)

GW Auras vs. BUG Poison

When I get sad I like to suit up Bogles and beat the shit out of people with them. It’s the closest deck to Standards GR Sword Bird from a couple years ago. That deck is my second favorite all time.

GW Auras

Creatures (13)
Slippery Bogle
Gladecover Scout
Kor Spiritdancer
Dryad Arbor

Spells (27)
Ethereal Armor
Daybreak Coronet
Hyena Umbra
Keen Sense
Spider Umbra
Unflinching Courage
Lands (20)
Horizon Canopy
Misty Rainforest
Razorverge Thicket
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Bastion

Sideboard (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Leyline of Sanctity
Path to Exile
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence
Suppression Field

Mulling to three in game three is never awesome.

Jund vs. Jund (I had to close the recorder game three and restart MTGO)

My computer totally freaked out game three. I had to restart in non-beta Modo and couldn’t record it. I won and it looked like this right before he scooped when he drew nothing to kill my Olivia.


7. The Museum of Play 


At the Museum of Play we saw a sword in a “stone”.


I proved that Batman fits between Iron Man’s legs.


I was reminded that Sam Keith is a great comic artist and that Wolverine does not look like Hugh Jackman. Loot at this runt with huge harry arms!


I love Wiffle Ball and wish I had some Magic Rocks. Tali’s mom, Tara, asked me to get the rocks for her when she saw this photo posted to Instagram. There were none for sale in the building.


The Magic cards they had in the display case weren’t only the shittiest colors in Magic but came directly from my collection of Fifth Edition bullshit cards. Come on, Museum of Play, you’re a fucking MUSEUM! Get your shit together and have some cards worth some money behind the case. I mean, shit. Pathetic.

8. No Prerelease

I’ve been critical of prerelease weekends in the past. It’s been killing me to see all the posts on Facebook of people’s sealed pools, the decks they’ve made, and the cards they’ve acquired. Like anyone else I love new cards (especially the ones with the space backgrounds). I generally dislike prereleases because of the goofiness of the events. Special single color packs, etc. Ugh. I know that one’s skills are tested any time one plays Magic but I only have so much time to play Magic and I like to restrict the goofiness to my interactions with my opponents and not the format I’m playing. That said, I can’t wait to regular release. Sealed is my preferred Limited format and I’ll play as much as I can (especially since I’m now going to Grand Prix Oklahoma City).

See you all during release weekend! I can’t wait!

Much love and thanks for reading,
MTGO: The_Obliterator


Here’s your bonus game photos: I just beat the pants off of two dudes playing BR Burn and GR Aggro with GW Auras. Sometimes it a ‘lil beast wearing a suit of imaginary crazy armor is just what you need to pick yourself up by your Daybreak Coronet and head upstairs to sleep with some PMA.

(Click the images for larger image files.)

aura Capture3

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