My friend Mikey has been having mana problems lately and he has been pretty down on himself. I wanted to cheer him up so after some chicken and waffles, we went back to his place to play some NHL 94. I thought that if he made made Gretzy’s head bleed on the ice a few times that might get his own head back in the right place. Although it made him a little happier it still wasn’t helping his mulligan problems.

No matter what I tried it wasn’t getting him out of his funk. At the rate he was going he was never going to keep a seven card hand again. I needed to come up with something fast or else he was going to lock himself up in his apartment and eat nothing but orange juice and pepperoni. Or worse he would start going through his old modo drafts and try to get that old feeling back.

I heard about this small tournament happening in the desert at the end of May and knew that this would be the right opportunity for my boy Mikey. We packed our bags and headed out West. We took the cheapest, no nonsense flight to the oasis town. It was night when we arrived, but Sin City doesn’t sleep.

I wanted to keep my mind limber for the tournament so I decided to do some of the Sealed Deck Trials. Luckily (or unluckily) I didn’t get anything of value so I didn’t drop and was able to play. My sealed was a five color masterpiece but I lost in the third round. The second deck I played was a WB and sported three Nameless Inversions. Even though the judge told me where to sit, I guess it was still my fault that I wasn’t in the right seat so I got a game loss. I did win one of the games, but I lost a match where I think I was favored. Although I didn’t do well, I felt like I got some pretty good practice for the main event the next morning.

I started the main event off with a breakfast at Bagelmania. It was like Beatle Mania without Yoko and gave me my nutrition for what would be a really tough thirty minutes of deck building. When I got my pool I was happy that there were two Vendillion Cliques in it. There wasn’t much more blue, but I was definitely going to play them as well as all of the other good cards in the rest of the colors except for black. I thought the deck was solid, but it didn’t have any of the bombs that other decks would have: Karn, Elesh Norn, Comet Storm, etc. My plan was to Clique them and hope it was in their hands when I did.

My deck performed pretty good, but I did lose two of my matches day one to Karn or Elesh Norn. I got my third loss because of mana problems in the penultimate round so I wouldn’t be drafting on Sunday. For some reason getting knocked out of the tournament didn’t bother me so much. It might have been because the desert heat got to me (it’s a dry heat to be fair) or because there was so much I could do in Vegas (like more drafts or play in different magic tournaments on Sunday).

Participating in the biggest tournament ever was a fun time. The only problem was that even though I had a lot of friends there I barely saw any of them since you had to walk 500 miles to get to the other side of the hall. The tournament was run extremely well, there wasn’t too much down time between rounds, it was easy to find your seat, and everything just seemed efficient so props to Channel Fireball for a good time. Also, Mikey figured out his mana problems on his own. I guess he’s all growns up now.

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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