Last weekend I went to the SCG Open in beautiful Oaks, PA at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. Unlike the Philadelphia Convention Center, in which you might find yourself at a typical PTQ in Philadelphia proper, with its charming Reading Market and convenient mass transit, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center was difficult to get to and surrounded by a cold hard asphalt and tundra. There was also a dog show in the room next to the tournament, which made for an interesting hybrid scent of animal and gamer. Despite all this I was still going to be playing Magic—and that seems to make everything all right.

Since the format for the main tournament was Legacy—and I don’t own or play Legacy—I was going to play in a small Standard tournament on Saturday and follow it up with a Standard Premier IQ on Sunday. I decided to play Abzan Aggro because I thought it was a pretty good deck and I wanted to smash faces with Siege Rhinos and Fleecemane Lions. I went 3-1 on Saturday and felt pretty good about the deck (beating UW Heroic, Abzan Whip, Abzan Mid Range, but losing to an Abzan Controlish Deck).

After that I was off to eat Indian food with Andrew “The Boz” Boswell at Chris Pikula’s house. Chris (who was playing in Day 2 of the main event) generously let the Boz and I stay the night so we’d be well-rested for Sunday’s Premier IQ. We relaxed by watching the end of the Omaha GP and highlights of the SCG tournament while we ate. We talked about the different match ups and the Boz gave me some sideboarding advice. Although the Boz was playing Abzan Midrange he is very insightful and I always appreciate his advice (even when he is making up terms). 

I woke up refreshed and had a light breakfast with some delicious coffee that Chris was kind enough to make for us. After a short tutorial on how to play FTL by Chris’ son, we were on our way to the scenic Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (more like Lesser Philadelphia Expo Center if you ask me).

I lost round one to Jeskai Tokens. Losing in the first round of a tournament sucks because starting behind is never fun. But whatever, the tournament wasn’t over and there were still plenty of rounds to mount a comeback. I won my second round but then lost rounds three and four back to back. Having the tournament end before 2:00 PM might seem like a bummer but there are some advantages to losing early: you can leave early and take your time to find something nice to eat.

I took advantage of food by getting a good hamburger at some fun center next to the site that not only had a bowling alley but also video games and go-karts. However, I still had the fever and wanted to play more Standard instead of leaving so I signed up for a win a box.  I made it to the finals and the guy wanted to split the box, which was fine with me because it was getting late and I wanted to get home at a reasonable time.

In the end, I really liked the Abzan Aggro deck, but I think I’ll be playing UB Control in my next tournament . Watching your opponent cast Dig Through Time is brutal and I want to be on the other side of that for once. While I don’t regret playing Abzan Aggro, I do regret not karting when I had the opportunity! Rough beats.

Andrew Longo has been playing Magic the Gathering at a mediocre level since 1994. He managed to get lucky on the backs of his teammates to win Grand Prix Providence Rhode Island. When not playing magic he runs a D&D campaign, plays video games, and reads comics (a real triple threat for the ladies).

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