Last Sunday I took a ride down to Delaware for a PTQ with Bert O Philips of fame, and His buddy Drew Taylor. This is the third PTQ Bert and I have ventured out to together, and really the Fourth this season (which only started at the beginning of June) we’ve played together.

I went with RUG Twin, which felt like a really solid choice as a guy who knows the format pretty well. I won’t go into the deck too much as this really isn’t a tourney report as much as its a cautionary tale… sort of. At one point I was 4-1-1 still vying for top 8 which is a pretty big deal to me. But lets run it back and talk about that draw shall we.

First thing, to know about how I conduct myself at a PTQ (as least for the most part) is that I usually don’t announce that I’m from Hipsters, unless I’m recognized, until after the match. I believe in a sort of anonymous journalism, and no matter how small our site is or how successful there’s always a voice in the back of my head telling me that either my opponent isn’t impressed, or that she/he is more concerned with the task of destroying me (as am I involved in destroying them). I feel like those pre magic minutes are the best time to study your opponent. Find out what kind of player he is.

“Use the first moments in study. You may miss many an opportunity to achieve a quick victory this way, but the moments of study are insurance of success. Take your time and be sure.” Duncan Idaho, Dune

That’s a small advantage really but it’s part of my ritual. Often, I’ll draw out my opponent by asking him friendly questions during the pre match shuffle, sometimes I’m just silent to watch how he shuffles and draws to make sure he repeats these styles as he plays.

Round 3 

I’m 2-0 and I’ve just lost a long game one to a UWR player. I turn to look, there’s 11 mins on the clock. I sideboard fast and in 30 seconds I’m ready. My opponent has barely lifted his sideboard from it’s deck box. I shuffle up, and present. 9 minutes left and he’s still looking at his deck like its the first time he’s ever seen it. I can see the writing on the wall. NOT ON MY WATCH!

“Hey buddy, you have 30 seconds left to finish boarding an then I’m gonna get a judge over here to help you.”

He nodded and quickly made his choices and we started play at 8mins.

I beat him in turns with a Pestermite and a Goyf attacking.

The moral of this story: You can pull that crap with some people but not me and not at a PTQ. For what it’s worth after I called him on slow play he played at a solid pace and there were no problems.

Bert and Drew walked up as I was taking over the game. I told them what was up after, and how that round was basically a victory for me as I hadn’t racked up a loss yet and I was still very much alive for top 8.

Round 8

This is where the real story comes into play, though. I had just finished my 8th round.  4-3-1 on the day. I had a good run but Scapeshift, Naya, and UB Fae took me out of the tourney.  I headed over to Bert to watch the end of his match and conspire to get some food.

Bert’s cleaning up, and his opponent is griping to his friends, certainly loud enough to hear, “My opponent was an asshole.” then seconds later he called Bert a shithead to his friends. Bert can hear him but I figure he probably isn’t worried about what his opponent says since the guy is obviously being a jerk. Then he repeats himself, I can see his friends are starting to think, “Gez man, let it go.”

“Sir, you’re being very unsportsman like and really aggressive.” I was sick of hearing him talk, and figured that was the best line of words to shut him the hell up. His friends did not rush to his defense, so I figured that whatever Bert had done to offend his fragile sensibilities must not have been real or that big of a deal. Also I’m looking for a Judge at this point, that’ll shut this guy up.

“He called me an idiot! This is the kind of thing that ruins the game. We’re 3-4 man this doesn’t even matter.” I didn’t believe that Bert would just call this guy an idiot, I believed I would, but not Bert he’s pretty cordial, even in situations like, he’s just desiding and putting his deck in the box and y’know packing up, like you do.

I continue to explain in non offensive language that he’s being inappropriate and no one came to hear him whine about being a sore loser. At this point it’s pretty obvious to him I’m scanning the room for a judge.

He tries to make Bert admit that he’s an asshole, to which Bert replies, “Dude I don’t even know what you are talking about, I never called you an idiot.”

He tells me that it was implied, then tells Bert to admit it and “Make the game, better.” Whatever that means. Finally, he shuts up because he must realize what a moron he looks like, and ZERO of his friends are coming to his aid. Presumably not because they are bad friends but because they’re used to his terrible brat like behavior.

That was the whole incident. Nothing really, no judges were called no punches were thrown and it was all about 45 seconds of talking. Turns out that what happened was that Bert had pointed out twice that his opponent had misrepresented life totals, the second time he pointed this out he got totally offended and told Bert he could do basic math. Bert’s reaction to this (whether real or imagined) sent him over the top. I walked up a few seconds later as Bert won the match.

I want to say I don’t think you should get involved in every  argument in the room, but when this shit comes up there is a social right to be in an area that people aren’t being verbally abusive while you carry on being a normal human. No one should stand for it and if your friend is that guy, do the world a favor and tell him. Then tell him, ITS A FUCKING GAME. These are real people, with real people lives. This sort of behavior should be quashed in the community, it has no place and frankly reeks of the bullshit bullying so many of us had to deal with as children.

That said, Don’t hesitate to call over a judge when you’re sitting next to this kind of crap. Simply knowing that random people that his opponent doesn’t know will step up to that sort of crap reminds the offender that he’s not some anonymous screenname, his behavior has been heard and no one thinks its cool.

Have you ever had someone go way over the line at a tourney? How did you handle it? Do you have these kind of guys at your LGS?

I’m asking honestly, because mine would never put up with that sort of crap.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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