Upon writing this we’ve got one last week remaining in the Team Draft League round robin, and my team just endured a brutal losing streak to tie up our Win/Loss record to 3-3. We, Team Arts and Leisure Suits, took down Team Extremely Limited Resources. Finally, it seemed, things went our way during the draft. Not only did we each open well, but it turned out white was underrepresented in our card pool. Never did dodging the triplicate spirits pack feel so good.

I cracked a sweet pack containing Hoarding Dragon, Lightning Strike, Quickling, Frost Lynx, and Raise the Alarm. The pick, my friends, was clear.

Leave the lightning. Take the dragon.

Leave the lightning. Take the dragon.

and I ended up with this:

There's No Such Thing as the Mafia

Creatures (19)
Hoarding Dragon
Scuttling Doom Engine
Satyr Wayfinders
Forge Devil
Generator Servant
Thundering Giant
Rummaging Goblin
Paragon of Fierce Defiance
Krenko’s Enforcer
Goblin Roughrider
Living Totem
Netcaster Spider
Scrapyard Mongrel
Borderland Marauder
Seige Wurm
Roaring Primadox

Spells (4)
Blastfire Bolt
Hunt the Weak
Crowd’s Favor
Lands (17)

My pack two Scuttling Doom Engine open was a gift, but other than that I focused on amassing a horde of dudes. And at nineteen dude-bros, I had the proverbial mountain of them at the ready. Justin and Kadar were uninspired by their blue/black decks, but had good power that would reward them in the late game. Justin nabbed Stormtide Leviathan, and Kadar opened Jace, The Living Guildpact. We had all the blue, which was a good sign. We had none of the white, which was a bad sign. As a team we avoid white, except for me, because i’ve had great success drafting white in M15, as most of you have. But I won’t force it. Unless I open Soul of Theros. Then it’s a fight. Nevertheless, I was happy with my deck’s plan and power level.

Our opponents Zac, Alex, and Bert are all great guys and players and we had a blast battling it out. Our weekly matches have for the most part been at Kadar’s Brooklyn studio, surrounded by works-in-progress and the ensuing white dust that lingers on your bag and pants. Being summer, it’s very hot and humid within the studio with little more than a flat fan wedged in the small window merely pushing moisture about the room. Often, my sleeves and my clothes would stick together, and my arms were wet from constantly wiping my forehead.

Our match went to the third round, and I managed to close out the fifth win against Bert’s Green/White deck that splashed Kird Chieftan. I was sitting on top of the chairs back so I could see across Kadar’s wide table, roaring with laughter and sweat as Bert congregated for 24 when I attacked him for lethal. We were all playing hard and well and really delighted by the company and the games at hand. Bert deliberated, then took all the damage, playing to his outs instead of losing his board presence. He drew, and extended the hand.

The Team Draft League community formed by Hipsters Matt Jones and Hugh Kramer, a community growing with each season outward from its core, has instilled within me a deep comraderie and respect for everyone involved. My passion for the game has interwoven with the joy of meeting like minded people, others who share the stimulation and challenges this beautiful game provides us. I remembered the heaviness I felt during my 20s, one brought about by the lack of community around me; the lack of something as wholistic as Magic that would, shuffling loose the loneliness I grew to begrudgingly negotiate against my life, encourage me to be not only myself, but supported to be that man waiting inside me. The bond I have woven with everyone in this league was never so apparent as it then shined within me that night.

As summer ends, and with it the M15 season, excitement is building seemingly exponentially for Khans of Tarkir. Its shaping itself to be an inspiring draft format capable of evolving standard enough to get me playing it again. And with my commitment to standard looming, one way or another I will have to find it in me what is necessary to get there. And hopefully it’s a simple trick, one that Magic snapped to life in me long ago.

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