This week was pretty packed for me. I attended a TDL match, the last OG PTQ in Philly, and Chris Pikula’s birthday party. Even though I was going to be very busy I was looking forward to each of these Magic-related gatherings.

First up was Team Draft League. Our match this week was against Zombie Fish, a team made up of Jonathan Pena, Abe Lusk, and Rob Kofsky. Zombie Fish seem like they are the least threatening on the Zombie Spectrum, but I suspected that these undead Fish wouldn’t go down in our match with just a bullet to the head. Actually they would probably go down, but then I’d had to explain to the police the whole manslaughter thing and that seems like a drag. Plus, a world without Abe Lusk is a world I wouldn’t want to live in.

Zombie Ducks, Abe is starting to turn

Zombie Fish, Abe is starting to turn

The draft was pretty strange for me since I drafted a good old fashioned UW beater (with a touch of red for flavor) that featured three Jeskai Runemarks and really not much else. My plan was simple; play a two drop, equip a Runemark and ride it to victory. Which is exactly what I did against Abe and John, giving me two quick match wins, but I just couldn’t put it together against Rob and was summarily crushed. My teammates Nick and Dom were also able to rack up two match wins and that was good enough to even up our record for the season at 2-2. Watch out TDL Season 5, the boys are back in town!

With the TDL draft behind me I had to start focusing on prepping for the Standard PTQ in Philly. I invited a bunch of people to come over on Friday so we could test the various decks that we would probably face the next morning. My plan was to play the RW aggro deck that has been doing well in the last few tournaments. It seemed like a decent choice that starts fast and burns the opponent out soon after.

The testing went pretty well, but I was having a hard time against the RG matchups. I spent the last hour or so before I went to bed stressing over what cards should be in my sideboard because I expected to see RG Devotion in great numbers since it had also done well at the previous weekend’s SCG tournament and, as a result, there had been a few articles written about the deck during the week. After I settled on my sideboard plan, I went to sleep dreading the fact that I had to wake up early, but thankful that Andrew “The Boz” Boswell had crashed on my couch so I wouldn’t have to go anywhere far to get a ride to the tourney.

Road tripping to a Magic Tournament is one of my favorite activities. Especially when you ride with great company like, in my case, the Boz and Matt Ferrando. During the lulls in our Magic discussions, the Boz decided to school me on pottery. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but he has some awesome pieces coming out and I can’t wait to get one for myself.

The tournament it self was pretty interesting. My fear of RG Devotion was apparently unwarranted since I was never paired against the deck and I didn’t see any copies at the top tables. This was fine by me but I still only manage a 5-3 record. I felt that a couple of the losses were a result of variance/mulligans, but what can you do? There were two major highlights in the tournament, though. The first was when I managed to deck myself with two Outpost Sieges when I played against Richard Tan. The second was that Richard Tan made Top 8 and, despite playing very well, lost in the finals in a close three game match. A great run nonetheless. Buthe best part of the day was when Ferrando won the PPTQ after scrubbing out of the main tournament. Congratulations Matt, and good luck playing in the hardest regional PTQ!

Tan in his finals match

Tan in his finals match.

While the drive up to a tournament is my favorite part, the drive back is by far my least favorite. By the time we left it was 11 PM and Philly got hammered by snow, so the drive was going to be slow and dangerous.  Luckily, we had the Boz at the wheel and while he got us back safe and sound, it was also 3AM when I got back to my apartment. This would give me about five hours of sleep until I had to wake up and then do it all over again so I could hang out with Pikula et. al. back in Philly.

Chris’s party was at a great biergarten. There was a ton of food and some great beers on tap. Plus, he had an insane three tiered cake, with each tier being a different type of cake (red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, a coconut with chocolate chips). Since I like cake I had all three kinds and they were amazing.


Let them eat Robot Cake!

After we all stuffed ourselves on cake we headed back to Pikula’s to do some drafting. There were ten of us so the decks that everyone had were pretty interesting and mostly better than average. Even with two extra draft sets and what I thought was a good BG deck, it was no match for my opponents Jon Finkel, Jamie Parke, and my former TDL teammate Dan O’Mahoney-Schwartz. Everyone was hungry for another draft, but it was getting late on a school night and a bunch of us had to make the long trek back to concrete jungle of NYC.

See you next week and may all of your fist picks be bombs.

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. 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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