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Four Days of Gaming??

Well, by the time you guys read next week's column, I'll be preparing to head out to Indianapolis. I'm sure that many of you reading this have no idea why I would be going to Indianapolis. Well, for those of you not in the know, GenCon Indy is happening next week. It's August 19th to 22nd.

If you can believe it or not, GenCon is one of the oldest gaming conventions in the country. It has been going strong for 36 years. Originally held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, GenCon was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for many moons, before being moved to Indianapolis, Indiana past year. You can find nearly everything there from so many different game companies. As a matter of fact, so many things release early at GenCon. Some things have a release date to coincide with the big event, but so many companies use this as a stepping stone for products. On top of that, there are a ton of tournaments, World Championships, trading, and gamers playing LITERALLY, all night long.

The best part is, it's open to the public. People come from all over to attend this convention. It's crazy. The event has only gotten larger since moving to Indy. It is a closer driving distance to even more gamers. It even has five major interstate highways that cross right in the city.

So, if you've read this far, you're probably wondering what this has to do with Magic. Well, there is a Grand Prix qualifier. There are 45 scheduled Magic: the Gathering events. That doesn't even include all the impromptu booster draft and Standard (type 2) 8-man events that they will be running all weekend. So there's Magic as long as you can stay awake to play. Oh yeah, I didn't even include the list of artists and authors that will be signing there.

But honestly, I wanted to bring this up for more than that. I want to keep using my column to educate gamers. Part of that education is to explain things that aren't obvious. Knowing the history of some events and making yuo guys all aware of what's out there makes for a greater gaming experience. Everyone feels better and smarter in the end. Regardless, I know a lot of people that keep wishing they could go to a convention. I can't say I blame them. Conventions are mad fun. Personally, I'll be run ragged. I'll be demo'ing products for Comic Images and running tournaments for them, playing in the Vs. System Pro Circuit, running tournaments for various things, in addition to trying to talk to company heads and catch meetings to bring new products in my store.

That's a lot do to. I'm not sure if players understand what all goes into preparation for an event of this magnitude. I think you need to go in with a game plan. By this, I mean that you should figure out what you want to do before you go. There is so much stuff to do at a convention the magnitude of GenCon, that you can seriously end up doing nothing. I know that sounds strange, but it is very possible to get sidetracked easily. You need to have a plan. You need to know what you want to do. Otherwise you will end your weekend feeling like it was wasted.

Also, plan early. This may sound obvious, but I don't mean like two months early. I mean like five months early. The event is that big. Yes, really that big. There is no hotel space within several blocks of the venue. Honestly, even the ones that are available are expensive. And you could have gotten good plane tickets for under $200 months ago. Last Wednesday, most of them were nearing $300. If you know what events you are going to play in, you can go better prepared. That always helps. Preparation seems even more critical, because many prizes will include early release items or limited release promo items. Oh yeah. If you don't pre-register for some events, you may not get to play in them. So, you want to make sure you get signed up before they are full.

That brings up another point. It's VERY expensive in the long run. It's not worth going unless you can enjoy it and do it right. Truthfully, some of your costs can be offset by selling singles to the myriad of dealers that will be made available to you, but don't plan on it. If you don't have the cash, don't go. My honest recommendation would be to attend a smaller convention first. I would attend one half the size if at all possible. GenCon will see numbers equivalent to the populous of a small town. That means some parts of it can get slightly crowded.

But there's more to it than that. At smaller, more local, events you can meet people and get a bit more personal with them. There are community relationships that can be build. You can find out about more stores you can attend. You can also make friends with people you will be running into year after year. You can probably drive. It will be cheaper. You can take your time to enjoy yourself more and do less running around. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy GenCon Indy. However, it's mainly due to the people I get to meet and hang out with that I can't normally see. I just think that people shouldn't disregard their local conventions. Many of them these days are a lot like larger convention, but with less inconveniences.

Anyway, let me give you some direct Magic news for the week. Let me give an apology to you all. The red decklist I posted last week had some cards missing and mislisted. It's OK though. They were obvious, I know it confused a few of you.

Also, I haven't done one in a while, but I got an interesting Bad Play of the Week. This one comes from YCBurninator:

"Also, I am Including another "Bad play" that I found very amusing in a casual game of mine. Both my opponent and I were playing Tooth and Nail variants, him with the Urzatron, myself with cloudposts. He was somehow getting Mana screwed with his deck, only having 4 forests and an Urza's Tower out. I had 3 cloudposts, and 3 forests. The turn before, he laid an Oblivion stone, and instead of playing anything his last turn, he ended and left the mana open for an O-stone activation. On my turn, I cast Tooth and Nail with entwine, bringing out 2 Sundering Titans, targeting 2 of his forests to be destroyed.... So what happens? He taps them for mana, lets Titans resolve, then taps out for O-stone... destroying his other 2 forests. The look on his face was priceless, especially when our local judge was looking on and laughing."

Sorry for no decklist this week. I have to be honest and say that the current block constructed format is changing way too fast. But that's a good thing. I would recommend just taking a deck you know well and changing up the sideboard to meet your local metagame at this point.

Good luck to you all.

See you at GenCon!

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn at pojo dot com

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