Sunday was a beautiful day in Brooklyn. We celebrated JDB’s 40th birthday with back-to-back Theros block and M15 drafts. He cooked us pork. Forker tried to floop the pig, but I had Setessan Tactics and that card is bonkah. JDB kicked us out of his apartment promptly at 7pm so he could go to the Arcade Fire concert. What a damn hipster thing to do. So I G-trained it back home Bodine-like in my Yoyodyne shirt and hopped in the 10pm M15 sealed daily.

Here’s the deck I submitted:

Is this good?

Creatures (16)
Soulmender
Selfless Cathar
Ajani’s Pridemate
Phyrexian Revoker
Midnight Guard
Warden of the Beyond
Frost Lynx
Aeronaut Tinkerer
Paragon of Gathering Mists
Razorfoot Griffin
Avacyn, Guardian Angel
Nimbus of the Isles
Will-Forged Golem
Kapsho Kitefins

Spells (7)
Raise the Alarm
Triplicate Spirits
Sanctified Charge
Peel From Reality
Pillar of Light
Negate
Lands (17)
10 Plains
Island

Sideboard (10)
Divine Favor
Oppressive Rays
Tireless Misionaries
Return to the Ranks
Coral Barrier
Negate
Turn to Frog
Ensoul Artifact

As I ask, is this deck good? I’m wary of playing blue-white in any sealed format because those decks tend to have one plan (attack with fliers) and struggle to adapt when the opponent can stop that plan. But fliers are especially difficult to deal with in M15, and this deck has a ton of the best cards that you want to play with. I was excited to test this one out in preparation for Grand Prix Salt Lake City next weekend.

So there I was in the middle of the first game of round one. I’d just managed to kill off both Liliana Vess and Jace, the Living Guildpact when my connection to MTGO timed out.  No big deal, I thought. This happens all the time, but a quick log out and log back in later and I should be good to go. Well, not so much.

loading

Please be patient while you get dropped from the tournament.

After twenty minutes of staring at this screen, repeatedly trying to log in, rebooting my computer, and raging to Matt Jones on Facebook chat, I finally got back online. Of course I had been dropped from the daily. So much for testing out an interesting deck!

Undeterred—and flush with my entry compensation, which WoTC appropriately doles out—I joined another sealed daily event on Monday. My deck this time was nowhere near as good or interesting as Sunday’s deck, and I managed to stay in the event until the end. But just barely. I had significant connection issues and multi-minute downtimes waiting to reload throughout the event. I went 1-3 in matches, and at least two of the losses were the direct result of losing over ten minutes of my round time each match to multiple disconnects. Again I was awarded my entry as compensation, but if this is my new normal, what is the point?

You can hardly call this effective grand prix testing. Imagine sitting at a grand prix, mid-match, when four judges bum-rush you into the bathroom and give you swirlies for twenty minutes before bringing you back to your seat to complete the round. While that might be fun to watch as Magic: the Jackassening, it’s no way to run a tournament.

bwong

It seems like I’m not the only one suddenly having more trouble logging back into MTGO than before. Disconnects have been part of the lovely MTGO package for years, and we’ve all adapted to minimize their effect on actual gameplay. I honestly can’t remember the last time before this when I was actually dropped from a tournament due to being unable to log back on after getting disconnected. It’s been at least six months, since before the v4 switch.

So what do I do? I haven’t been this frustrated by MTGO in quite a while. I really want to keep testing sealed for the grand prix, but I’d rather not spend my evenings on life tilt after getting dropped from an event. That seems bad for my health. A break from MTGO sounds nice. I’ve got a couple Team Draft league matches this week, subbing in one and rocking it with my fellow Mobliterators. There are also more birthday celebrations in the ‘hood. And right now I’m happy to spend more time out with friends in hipsterland.

Seriously, how awesome is Brooklyn? Meet local resident Oona, Queen of the Fae. She lost her monkey, so now she roams the streets of Ditmas Park turning our brains into swarms of angry faeries. Brooklyn is awesome.

Anyway, expect to see less of me on MTGO until I feel comfortable being able to log in quickly and repeatedly, and more of me out at Grand Prix Salt Lake City. And then at the local dots on the awesome PTQ map Rich Stein made!

Also, go read William Jensen’s fantastic overview of team draft dynamics. I’ve wanted to write an article about team drafting for a while, but I can’t even come close to the depth of knowledge and seriousness of thought Baby Huey is giving out for free to all. Should I write about team drafting next week? And what do you think of the blue-white sealed deck I never got to play? You be the judge!

Brendan McNamara (MTGO: eestlinc, Twitter: @brendanistan) used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he’s a lawyer by day and a Dimir agent by night.

 

 

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