Another week, another Team Draft League Match. This time el Chumperino’s were facing the Lingering Tanimals. The Tanimals are led by Richard Tan who happens to be my arch nemesis.

Richard in his PTQ finals match. I didn't photo his team because I forgot, but because it was too much evil for you to handle.

Richard (on the left) in his PTQ finals match. I didn’t photo his team, not because I forgot to (that would never happen), but because it was too much evil for you to handle.

Ever since I can remember, Mr. Tan has always been throwing a wrench into my carefully laid plans. At the final northeastern PTQ in Philly, he knocked me out of contention for Top 8 (which he conveniently made). It wasn’t just that he beat me, it was how he did it. After a relatively fast game one that I lost, we go into game two and he lulled me into thinking I might have a chance. But like a cat playing with a mouse, he didn’t kill me until the last possible turn in over time. This was most definitely payback for last season’s Team Draft League Finals, where my team (The Longo Khan) defeated him in a similar fashion. He is truly a man who holds a grudge, as a good nemesis should.

On this night, I was filled with the desire to make the Lingering Tanimals a lingering memory. The draft started off well when I windmill-slammed an Archfiend of Depravity. I continued taking black and green cards with a splash of blue for some morphs and a Villainous Wealth. There were actually two of those in the draft, but someone (Tan!) took it before it tabled. In the end I felt that the deck was quite good.

Decent Sidisi deck

The first match was against Tan’s evil henchman Zach Barash. Zach had a Jeskai deck with all of the aggressive fixings. He beat me game one, but I took game two. In game three, after I had finally stabilized and had begun to taste my victory, he directed an Arrow Storm at my face. When I asked him where he had learned that move, he said he picked it up from his master. So, Tan was teaching his grunts how to play dirty—but I wasn’t going to stoop to their level.

In the next match, I faced Tony “Bane of Soho” Ling. He made his name running numbers and strong arming little kids for their Pokemon cards* before he was hired by Richard for his legion of doom. He was playing a BW Warrior deck, which was about as aggressive as his personality. Luckily for me, his deck didn’t cooperate and I was able to beat him in two games. That win was for justice.

With his two minions behind me, it was time to face the end boss. Tan drafted a four color good stuff (but it plays more like evil stuff when it’s coming from him), that featured some real heavy hitters, including the Villainous Wealth he stole from me. The board stalled out in game one. It wasn’t looking good for me until I drew my Archfiend of Depravity, which I immediately cast. But old Tan was tricky. He was saving his Villainous Wealth and used it at just the right time, flipping over creatures (which would be sacrificed to the Archfiend) until he hit the sixth card, Throttle, which he cast to kill my Archfiend. It’s just like Tan to use my own cards against me. But his cards, seeing the honor in my struggle, would betray him in the next game. The Altar of the Brood he sided in ended up on my side of table as a result of my own Villainous Wealth. Tan balked at the taste of his own medicine and it was only a matter of time before he decked himself.

As soon as we finished shuffling our decks and presented for game three, the draft was over. While my teammates fought a glorious battle, they fell to the evil Tanimals, making the match record 5-3 in favor of the bad guys. While I didn’t get to avenge myself that night, there are still many more tournaments and opportunities to take Tan down. Someone famous (I think it was Robert DeNiro) once said, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” I’m not sure what this means, since I happen to like gazpacho, but I am going to keep it in mind the next time I sling spells against my nemesis.

Gazpacho, the dish that is truly served best cold.

Gazpacho, the dish that is truly best served cold.

*While this is most likely untrue, I didn’t know Tony before last the TDL season, so anything is possible.

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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