I left university in 2006 with a job in upstate New York that paid me more than enough to manage the low cost of living in the area around Binghamton and provide a fine surplus of what I longingly look back on as “disposable income.” So of course I spent a lot of time and money on Magic: the Gathering.

Dissension came out in the middle of my last set of final exams, the first week of May in 2006. So by the time I started my new job in June, the full Standard environment Kamigawa / Ravnica blocks was the flavor of the summer. Since it was the prime of my competitive Magic career I have a soft spot for this metagame.

Of course I played Owling Mine. Why wouldn’t I? For starters, I owned a full set of foreign-black-border beta Howling Mines signed by Mark Poole. But also that deck is so much “fun” to play. Turn one Sleight of Hand. Turn two bounce your first land. Turn three Ebony Owl Netsuke. Isn’t this fun?!

By the time Kamigawa block rotated out and Time Spiral rotated in, I was playing Magic competitively several nights a week at a small comic book shop in Endicott, NY (Fun Fact: Pro Player Eli Kassis’s origin stories have roots in that comic shop). I was also traveling to Grand Prixs, PPTQs, and other regional events nearly every weekend. At that point I unsleeved Owling Mine and put together Dragonstorm.

That year or so of Ravnica block being fully legal in Standard was the most fun I had in my life playing competitive Magic. I didn’t win any big events but I enjoyed traveling with my friends, testing and tuning those two decks, and generally just having fun.

I jumped into a couple of queues to relive my glory days. Unfortunately the last queue I joined I only got to play (and lose) one match before my newborn took up the rest of my time until the event ended. Cue the sad trombone. Ironically I didn’t get to play either Owling Mine or Dragonstorm but I did get to play against them both, so that was fun for me (I won both matches since knowing the decks intimately, even 11 years later, allowed me to optimally play around them).

So today since I don’t have much in the way of progress on my MTGDad sealed leagues (I did start my fourth league and I’m off to a 2-2 start) this will be a short post. I with the Ravnica throwback league lasted longer, or that it would come back again sometime sooner. I suspect I’ll play in the next few throwback Standards since they all overlap my days as a competitive player.

Next week I expect to have wrapped up another sealed league or two and we’ll check in on how I’m progressing against my goals after eight weeks and what we’ve learned about Rivals of Ixalan limited and more importantly how many diapers we’ve changed while sideboarding.

On a final note, my newborn has developed an uncanny ability to become fussy as soon as I start up any game, whether its MTGO, MTG Arena, or something on my phone. It’s a very impressive trait and I assume it stems from the fact that she wants to play with me. Soon baby, very soon.

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.