Three-quarters of an article on my experience with Mono Blue in Standard was written as of Saturday morning. I have scrapped it because it’s important that I tell the story of the PTQ I went to yesterday. I had a bad experience at King’s Games when I attended the Journey into Nyx ProTour Qualifier.

166 Magic players showed up, and about 110 of them played on the store’s crowded second floor. The floor bounces anytime a mass of Magic players walk across it to check pairings (approximately eight to ten times per PTQ). It seems unsafe but I’ve been assured twice by Kings Games employees over the years that there is no danger of collapse. Should players have to be worried of a potential second floor collapse when participating in a Magic tournament?

Additionally, the table tops are filthy and have been filthy every time I’ve played Magic at Kings. I have always had to change my sleeves after a tournament there not because of Wear // Tear but because of the amount of dirt picked up throughout the day. I don’t want to use my playmat at Kings because buying new sleeves feels like less of a shit-show than buying a new playmat.

Pairings were announced for round one and we all trampolined our way through tightly packed filth-tables to the pairings. I was at table 79. Where is table 79? Oh let me check this sign:


Oh great, I get to play round one in the (Dungeon) Basement with 43 other poor bastards. Thanks for modeling next to this great sign, Herbig.

Once I exited the front of the store and started down an alleyway to the left, the walk to “the (Dungeon) Basement” looked like this:

Wow. I had to play Magic: The Gathering in a shallow basement of a card store today. A number of players tripped on detritus littering the path to “the (Dungeon) Basement”. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt but I know some laywers so I figured we could help’em out if such an event did happen. Maybe that’d force Kings Games to treat their players with professional respect.

Once inside “the (Dungeon) Basement” we were treated to incredibly low ceilings, uneven flooring, moldy water-damaged walls, floors, and ceilings, rubble, and chunks of paint and plaster piled on the floor and tables. Here are three shots of “the (Dungeon) Basement” environment Kings Games provided for its players. Oh, and there was no heat (and we were in the middle of a snow storm).

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Everyone in the room complained about the conditions. Everyone.

Oscar and I wiped the plaster and hopefully not asbestos off of our table and started shuffling our cards up. Eventually round one started, Oscar mulled to six, and we got under way.

Round One vs. Oscar’s Esper Control

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I asked Oscar if he’d mind smiling really big to show how awesome this place is. He said, “Of course.” HAHA! Oscar beat me in another event at Kings a year or so ago with a nut-draw Human Reanimator deck. He had to remind me of this because my brain is mush but I got there (note: Oscar has his jacket on because no heat has come on) (another note: I really like Oscar’s jacket and if it were water proof I’d probably show up at my next tournament wearing it; but then I’d take it off ‘cuz I don’t play at tournaments without heat anymore).

We both missed a Nightveil Specter trigger that netted Oscar a Supreme Verdict which he had left on top off his deck after the scry trigger from a scry land. So, that meant he wiped my board. I called the judge over right after Oscar drew the card because I realized we missed it and that it was going to be advantageous to Oscar and not me and the judge said we missed it and it was advantageous to my opponent. I mean, whatever, it’s fine.

Seconds before this missed trigger Oscar said to me, “Push on the poster to your left.” I did so. “No, push harder.” I did and felt a crunch. “I just killed a large bug, didn’t I?” “Yes, it was a centipede.” You can imagine missing a Nightveil Specter trigger after you just mashed a centipede between a crumbling wall and a Yu-Gi-Oh! poster.

Later in game one Oscar countered an overloaded Cyclonic Rift. I had him at one and while he wasn’t guaranteed the win he probably would’ve. I grabbed the slip signed my name and put an X under “drop”. “Fuck this tournament,” I said. “No offense to you, Oscar, I enjoy playing Magic against you, but I’m not going to deal with this shit all day. I shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of the environment I’m playing in at a PTQ.” We wished each other good luck (I was going to play basketball where luck is equally irrelevent). I talked to the judge of “the (Dungeon) Basement” about how shitty it is to play in a place like this and he agreed.

If a store can’t provide an adequate, heated, and safe environment for its players it should not be allowed to host ProTour Qualifiers. 

Here are some more shots, including shots of my walk back to the front of the store to try to get a refund. I was walking with Leo, a kid I know from Twenty Sided. I tripped over the six-inch metal pipe sticking out of the ground by a ten-inch diameter concrete circle (no longer in use for whatever its original purpose was).

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You could probably see how pissed I was when I walked into the main store area. I found a guy I’d bought cards off of before at Kings and said, “I don’t have high hopes for this ending positively for me, but I think your ‘the (Dungeon) Basement’ play area is deplorable, there’s mold, crumbling walls, uneven surfaces, and no heat, amongst other things. I would like a refund of my money.” The guy was sympathetic, seemed genuinely concerned and looked over to the owner, Alex (I think that’s his name, poofy white hair, looks like a nerd-dad). Alex told me if I chose not to drop I could be assured that I wouldn’t play another match in the basement. I said that isn’t good enough, there’re 40 other players who will still have to play in that environment and I wanted my money back. He said his first offer was as far as he was willing to go. “Fine, I’m going to write about this and send a letter to Wizards.” I walked out of the store and made it to basketball a mere 45 minutes late.

On the way to pick up my basketball gear I started tweeting Helene Bergeot (Director of Organized Play at Wizards):




Any time I’ve tried to contact Wizards they’ve been really fast, really professional, and it’s a great experience. I want all experiences in Magic to be this way. Stores, players, tournaments, EVERYTHING. This is the greatest game of all times. I want everyone to treat each other awesomely, make the game even better, and the community stronger.

My first step towards doing this is to NEVER PLAY AT KINGS GAMES AGAIN. Think about doing the same. If they make an effort and improve the structural and environmental quality of their store (and the attitude of the owner shifts in such a way that he’s interested in the quality of gaming experience for people who play at his store) I will definitely reconsider. Until then, Kings Games in Brooklyn has been banned.

Thanks for reading!

Much love to all,
MTGO: The_Obliterator
Twitter: @Die_Obliterator

Artist, cheerleader. Matt started playing at the end of The Dark, hit his stride during Mirage block, and quit Magic after finding booze, drugs, and sex during freshman year of art school. In 2011 or 2012 Twenty Sided Store opened eight blocks from Matt’s apartment in Williamburg, Brooklyn. He kept his distance for a few months due to fear of the game’s power over him but eventually caved. Matt’s main MTG interests are Unhinged lands and constructed formats. Power and Toughness is his weekly summation/journal article and he writes an Arting Around article now and then.


Hipsters’ friend Josh Fettoblaster dropped from the tournament at 0-2 (he normally plays PTQs til the end regardless of record) because he knew he’d be sent to the Dungeon and would rather do anything than that. I think that sucks. Why should anyone have to play Magic in a rotting unheated basement at the PTQ level? I mean, 5x multiplier, amirite?! HAHA!

Here are photos of all the bros I played against at FNM and Abe “Thrag” Lusk, mono red extraordinaire (who tested Mono Red against my Mono Blue after I left the Hipsters Holiday Party 2013). they’re in reverse order because WordPress wants it that way.

Abe won this game but scooped before he had the chance for victory to actually occur. I love boardstate photos.


Abe “Thrag” Lusk: thinking hard or hardly thinking? You be the judge!


Another cool board state with a million cat-elemental tokens.


For all the haters: proof that Mono Blue is 47% creature cards.


Billy and I split. I didn’t fight for the promo card because, uh, I didn’t need the promo card I guess. More likely: Billy really wanted it and I couldn’t attempt to strip him of such joy.


Hunter O’Kelly Rodriguez, the man with the greatest name of all time, was defeated. American Control, shame on you!


Dustin’s lands failed him in both directions games two and three.


Dan was playing a Strionic Resonator combo deck. I know, I know, I was super surprised that it’s a thing, too! I asked him for his decklist and he emailed me the following:

Hey Matt! This isn’t the exact decklist as I’ve been constantly tweaking it (and don’t honestly remember where I was at with this last Friday) but I think it’s close:

Assemble the Resonator

Maindeck (60)
Strionic Resonator
Detention Sphere
Chained to the Rocks
Possibility Storm
Boros Reckoner
Assemble the Legion
Temple of Silence
Temple of Triumph
Steam Vents
Sacred Foundry
Hallowed Fountain
Mizzium Mortars
Temple of Deceit
Blood Crypt
Merciless Eviction
Magma Jet
Sideboard (15)
Chained to the Rocks
Possibility Storm
Supreme Verdict
Mizzium Mortars
Slaughter Games

That’s it! Later, gators!

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