Hi.  I’m Zil.  You’ll get to know more about me from the article, but Jess offered to let me guest column, so I thought I’d drop in and say hey.

So I did a thing I don’t usually do this past weekend.  I went to a GP.  Some folks I know did pretty well (congrats on all the HotC day 2s!) while I lamented the fact that I’m such a bad sealed player.  To be honest, I haven’t actually played Magic in around 6 months.  Maybe a game here and there, but no FNMs (hate standard – most expensive format), can’t draft enough to get the hang of it, and the opportunities to play Modern are 1) when I’m working and 2) fraught.

Seriously, though, the last time I went to a sanctioned event, it was a Commander league game, and I thought “hey, this will be fun and casual!”  Apparently, fun and casual means people think it’s okay to make rape jokes when people use Control Magic effects on Olivia Voldaren.
Anyway, I walked into the GP wearing my favorite femme armor – skin-tight black jeans, combat boots, side-boob shirt with a black bra underneath, and (my favorite) a hoodie that says “Transsexual Prostitute” on the front to pre-empt all the ridiculous things nerds like to say about trans people and sex workers.
Shockingly, going to the GP was one of the best magic-playing experiences I ever had.  I thought people would be amped up on the competitive vibe, but folks were completely amicable and downright nice.  There was minimal mansplaining, and any disputes could be resolved by actually being SUPER FRIENDLY about calling a judge.
Ok, so, first half of the day, I basically spent building my deck.  I was sorta like “oh, hey, I ordered a bunch of stuff that hasn’t gotten here yet, but I wanna play!”  So I did a horrible job of buying the right things, and some last-minute deck building.  Woot.  Money spent, trades acquired.  I’ll sell some stuff back, and maybe be able to get fourth Flooded StrandShocker, though, I registered for a Modern side-event after skipping the main event where I would have easily gone loss-loss-loss-drop-feel-bad-about-myself.  (Hey, can we link “shocker” to “Shock” with the little goblin with the teeth all curled up?) {Jess here: Probably not! I tried! Did it work?}
Here’s what I ended up playing
I think that’s mostly right.  Things I heard all day – “Why only two Swiftspears?”  Because I didn’t want to spend more money.  “Why no fetches?  Your deck needs fetches.”  Because they are expensive and I don’t want to spend $180 on a playset of Scalding Tarns.  But definitely missing Hurkyl’s Recall and CombustCombust definitely would have been the single most useful side-board card for the day.
Round 1: Some dude playing Grixis Delver
This deck is SUCH A GRIND.  Most of it was spent countering one another’s counterspells.
Game one he totally rolled over me with a Tasigur, the Golden Fang after winning a Mana Leak/Remand/Spell Snare/Remand series after I had shocked myself down to about 14 with Gitaxian Probe, Shock Land, Gitaxian Probe.  There were a couple more counterspell battles, and I managed to resolve a Snapcaster Mage for a chump block + Lightning Bolt that I’d assembled while taking damage and Vapor Snagging his Tasigur.  But Tasigur was a total game-changer as I was often using multiple spells to deal with him.
Game two I sided in Blood Moon and Spell Snare and a Sword of Fire and Ice taking out a Probe, Bolt and Leak and something else.  It totally worked – I managed to Blood Moon him around turn five and watch him struggle to find the 1 black mana to land a Tasigur.  He scooped after we had gone about 40 minutes into the round on game two while I was whittling him down with a Snapcaster.  I drew one Delver the entire game, which I used to lure out removal/countermagic before casting Blood Moon.
By game three, we had like ten minutes left in the round.  No Delvers showed up, so I spent most of the time digging for threats.  Landed a few Young Pyromancers that he would Bolt pretty quick, no Delver appearances.  At this point, I was playing super sloppy ’cause I’m not used to time pressure in games.  I’d already gotten a warning for accidentally picking up three cards off a Serum Visions and seeing the third card, was surrounded by dudes putting time pressure on me as we were the last game in the round, and managed to target Serum Visions off an EOT Snapcaster.  The same Serum Visions that I had earned that warning off of.  I should burn that card.  Then Snappy got bolted.  And I got run over by Tasigur again.
Anyway, it was a bunch of good games.  I mostly played well, and my opponent was also on-game.  He was super understanding that this was my first magic game in a while.  But also HE WAS NOT A DICK AT ALL, which was great and I was shocked.
Round 2 – UR Burn piloted by some young dude who asked me what my major was (I laughed and said I was over 30, but I have degrees in sociology and nursing)
Nothing new, Bolting each other’s Young Pyromancers, trying to stick threats, Snapping things around.  Game one he burned me.  Game two I had a resolved delver that I was defending until I drew FIVE LAND IN A ROW which was awful and I got burned.  Game two I had to nudge him about time during his turns, and I was all “OH YEAH, WHO’S TOTALLY BALLER AND TOTALLY POLITE NOW!!”
Round 3/4: one of these I got a bye and drank water, charged my phone, read a book, and got mistaken for a college kid again while talking about butt sex; one of these I played UR Splinter Twin
Game one I held him off for a while, swung in with some stuff, countered his Deceiver Exarchs and Bolted his Pestermites (see?  too useful!!).  He Bolted my Young Pyromancers and Monastery Swiftspears, and kept cycling cards through that Innistrad block land that let’s you do that.  I forget what it’s called. {Jess again: Desolate Lighthouse, aka the Loothouse.}  After about 20 minutes of play, I stopped drawing countermagic, he assembled his combo and smiled when I said “Do the thing, Ju Dee!”
Game two I could have played better.  Like, if I had Combust in my board.  Because I wasn’t running it, I had to fight over his lower CMC creatures rather than fighting over Splinter Twin when he’d already be at a disadvantage from casting a four-CMC spell.  Same as the first game.  I lasted until the end of the round, though.
But, my opponent was totally humorless, though very very nice.  He sort of said just the customary things and laughed at my jokes and managed to not say anything offensive.
THEN some dude mansplained why I shouldn’t play Blood Moon in this matchup, and I was like YES, FINE, YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT, BUT IT IS A REASONABLE BOARD IN WHEN I DON’T HAVE COMBUST and that is because it would turn off his cycle land and give me an advantage in blue sources when we’re duking out over counterspells.
Questionable call, but this deck is called Cantrip, Will Trip for a reason.  Then he gave me his number, so maybe he was negging?  Who knows.  I had checked him out earlier in the day so he would give me a deal on some of the buys I was making, so I guess that means I want to sext.
Round 5 – Griselbrand‘s Vengeance
Hadn’t actually played against a Goryo’s Vengeance deck before.  Game one I was pretty much like “what are this!?” and ended up mulling to five because land.  I did some countering, and managed to flip a Delver of Secrets, which was great, but ran out of juice and couldn’t wrack up enough in hand to deal with his counter magic and folded.
Game two I made a total “what are this” mistake and let him cast Goryo’s Vengeance on a milled Griselbrand, and then put Griselbrand back in his graveyard.  Did not realize that was at-best-case-misplay on his part until after the event.  Also, I was one and three at this point, and didn’t care beyond seeing more of his deck.  Also, I’d had to mull to six because land, and my peeps were waiting for me to hit the road.
Anyway, then I bounced Griselbrand back to his hand with Vapor Snag.  Hands down my favorite play of the day.  He questioned the legality of the target, called a judge who ruled in my favor, and I silently feasted on his man tears.
He won in the end on Gurmag Angler beats while I was cursing not drawing a Blood Moon.
Final Thoughts – I hate Lightning Bolt.  Unban Mental Misstep or ban Lightning Bolt.  All of my games would have been so much more interesting if either of us had been able to resolve creatures and stick them and actually have to deal with threats.  Plus, unless Delver goes down on turn 1 (I saw a total of 4 delvers in my hand this whole game, btw), it’s dead to the first Bolt that an opponent draws, which means really really keeping mana open to counter Bolt and then counter mirror opponent’s counter and then counter their counter to their counter.  While also countering any threats they stick or drawing your own bolts to fight over hoping that you can both win the fight and have enough countermagic up to defend your own threats.
The phrase “blue mages” sounds better than the phrase “blue magi.”
This deck really hates a mulligan.  It also hates not being able to land a turn one Delver of Secrets.  It is super interactive and forces otherwise quiet opponents to talk and engage, which makes the deck more fun when your opponent isn’t a dickbag making rape jokes.
Which brings me to the main point.  People are super nice at GP’s.  Bigger tournaments draw more serious players who don’t get upset when they lose.
I only missed one trigger during all my games forgetting a draw on a Gitaxian Probe, and my opponent was kind enough to let me draw the card as long as I sat through his Competitive REL lecture.  But I was like dude, it’s your call, I’m fine knowing this is Competitive REL.  What I should have said was “Exile that Griselbrand,” but w/e.
If I had really wanted to win, I probably would have played some sort of Really_Expensive_Jund.dec, but I sort of walked in with the expectation of doing poorly, which made playing a losing a bunch a lot more fun.  Oh, and fetches really do matter.

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