“What’s up, you playing Legacy tonight?”

“Nah, man, I gotta run home. I got Magic Online!”

Charles’ eyes shoot from his head.


“Hey, it’s just for drafting.”

“That’s like saying, ‘Hey guys, I just found this new thing called Heroin.'”

I held up two fingers.

“I won two Team Draft League matches in eight weeks. I need to get better at limited.”

“Fair. It will make you a stronger limited player…”

But I was already gone, out the door of the LGS and into the rain and the night. In a short time I would be home just in time to say goodbye to my roommate before he caught a plane to Columbia. I will be alone in my apartment for almost two weeks.

In the darkness I boot up my little MacBook Air and load Windows, then Magic Online inside of it. The laptop roars as I douse it in processing activity. I Hunch over my little glowing screen, burning freshly purchased tickets and packs to fill an almost populated Khans 8-4.

Let’s back up a bit, to a few days beforehand.

Team Draft League ended, and yeah, it’s not an exaggeration. Maybe a slight one. I’m pretty sure I won a match on my first week, so maybe it was three matches overall. And the game count was not much higher than the match count. I got slaughtered, and it all started with bad drafting practices. I only feel comfortable when my deck is base Black and Green — to no ones surprise, i’m sure! I had not ever attempted to draft Mardu or Jeskai. My decks were, for the most part, underpowered 2-color creature decks. Once in a while i’d get a wedge and some lands, but my favorite color combo was never open except once. And that was the only draft I went 2-1.

This brought about my acknowledgement of how poor a drafter I was, and in resolving to change that, I knew I had to bite the bullet and begin drafting on Magic Online. I needed practice, lots of practice, and Magic Online was the only place I could find a game, anytime I wanted one.

Sunday night was my first draft. I open Sorin, which I slam. Each of my packs break my way, and I end up with a very powerful Abzan deck, the deck I was trying to avoid playing.

Cat Power

Creatures (15)
Archers Parapet
Highland Game
Rakshasa’s Deathdealer
Alpine Grizzly
Tuskguard Captain
Watcher of the Roost
Mer-Ek Nightblade
Longshot Squad
Armament Corps
Sagu Archer
Krumar Bond-Kin
Abzan Guide
Venerable Lammasu

Spells (8)
Savage Punch
Kin-Tree Invocation
Smite the Monstrous
Bitter Revelation
Dragonscale Boon
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
End Hostilities
Dead Drop
Lands (18)
Scoured Barrens

Sideboard (4)
Archers Parapet
Rakshasa’s Secret
Bitter Revelation
Mardu Hateblade

Yeah, my mana was awkward, but I didn’t see anything really in terms of lands during the entirety of the draft. I think I passed  Jungle Hollow when I took End Hostilities. But I loved my deck. It was defensive, had powerful bombs, and a little evasion.

Round one I go up against a Jeskai deck. We each build our boards up in the beginning stage of the game. Me, i’m just trying not to misclick, and doing alright so far. Around turn seven he flips his Hoard Ambusher, revealing Flying Crane Technique. He detains my flier, and cracks in for lethal. Sure, buddy, you got there. I put in a Rakshasa’s Secret, and we go to game two. He makes some strange plays: he activates his turn two Leaping Master and cracks in on turn three. Then on turn four he plays Mardu Warshrieker pre-combat and passes. Then He activates Leaping Master again and cracks in. I’m laughing, because he’s barely got anything going on. I’m casting stuff, building out a board, attacking. He plays another guy, I cast Bitter Revelation. He untaps and Flying Crane Techniques me for lethal.

And that was it.

Luckily I had a few money rares out of the deal, which I could put towards a new draft.

Fast forward to last night, where I rushed home from the LGS. I buckle down and enter a draft. I put together a terrible Black and Green deck. I lose round one. Damnit Derek. This is supposed to be where you try not to do the things you want to do, to try and learn how to draft and play limited! So do it!

I became feverish and irritated. It was getting late, nearing midnight. I had work in the morning. Big day too, sale. Yeah, I can get enough sleep. I drink a lot of coffee in the morning anyways. Just get a good stretch in. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I can definitely fit another draft in. Besides, this one is free off my rares. It’s FREE! Just draft it! That’s why we downloaded this program! So we can play MAGIC whenever we WANT.

I see an 8-4 with one more needed. I fall in. And there I was.

This morning I feel heavy, slimey, like I need to sweat out something toxic. I stare down my computer, see the Windows boot, and visualize the Magic Online icon beyond it. I check the time, and wonder. I check the time again. Maybe I’ll just boot it up and cruise the lobbys. Maybe i’ll find something I like.

Derek Gallen grew pale and damp with fever. His handle on MTGO is HOTCD.



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