Deviations from the Norm with John B. Turpish  



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3.26.02 - I Can't Believe it's not a Tournament Report!

It's been a long time since I've written a tourney report, and I don't believe I've ever had one published, so I thought it was about time I write one. I went to Grand Prix Tampa, and had a blast, so it seemed about the right time to do so. I procrastinated. I postponed. Now I don't remember enough details to author a valid tournament report, so I've decided instead to do for the tournament report what I Can't Believe it's not Butter did for the delicious dairy spread, that is to come up with an inferior replacement with much less substance and seemingly arbitrary fillers.

I always have difficulty sleeping the night before a tournament. This problem is compounded by the fact that I rarely wake up before noon. I had intended to sleep early in my bed Friday night, then drive bright and early (for a few hours) to the tournament venue. I had a very hard time falling asleep and I was afraid I'd have a hard time finding the venue and I knew there were some events happening that night. I've worked with some of the people who were judging at the event so I figured I could probably help judge a couple events that night, then play the following day, so I decided to head down.

Some trouble with the web resulted in me getting stuck with an address which didn't specify whether it was the North or the South version of whichever number avenue it was on. I got directions from MapQuest to the wrong one, and drove a few hours to spend some more hours in the wrong area of St. Petersburg looking for an address that wasn't there. Eventually a fellow on his porch had heard of the place and set me straight.

By the time I get there, it's too late to judge anything, so I play some mental magic with a fellow I've seen at some local tourneys, despite the fact that he's barred from playing. Sorry for forgetting your name guy. Realizing I'd like to have a place to sleep and being the cheapskate/man-of-little-means I am, I didn't want to pay the price for a hotel room all by myself. The same fellow pointed me to some friends of his who live in the area. I traded a ride home for a place to stay.

Sleep? No, it didn't quite work out that way. A night full of Magic was good times, though.

You've gotta have a decklist if you've got a sorry excuse for a tourney report, right?

Innocent Blood       Barbarian Ring
Chainer's Edict       Cephalid Coliseum
Crippling Fatigue    Aquamoeba
Cabal Torturer         2 x Aven Fisher
Painbringer             Peek
Putrid Imp              Coral Net
Mesmeric Fiend      Balshan Beguiler
Gloomdrifter           Rites of Refusal
Gravedigger            Dreamwinder
Whispering Shade    Hydromorph Guardian
Far Wanderings       Traumatize
Nostalgic Dreams    Obsessive Search
Muscle Burst            Immobilizing Ink
Elephant Ambush     Upheaval
Basking Rootwalla      Aven Smokeweaver
Nantuko Blightcutter   Thought Nibbler
Still Life                     Pardic Firecat
Narcissism                Dwarven Grunt
Squirrel Nest             Thermal Blast
Second Thoughts       Enslaved Dwarf
Spirit Flare                Mad Dog
Teroh's Vanguard      Sonic Seizure
Timberland Ruins       Flame Burst
Abandoned Outpost    Pardic Lancer
6 x Swamp                 Ember Beast
6 x Forest                  Kamahl's Sledge
4 x Plains                Tremble
                              2 x Frantic Purification
                              Tireless Tribe
                              Angelic Wall
                              Sacred Rites
                              Tattoo Ward
                              Sphere of Law
                              Pilgrim of Virtue
                               Militant Monk
                              2 x Mortiphobia
                              Coffin Purge
                              Last Rites
                              Malevolent Awakening
                              2 x Carrion Rats
                              Krosan Restorer
                              Ground Seal
                              Moment's Peace
                              Woodland Druid

Yeah I probably built it wrong. So what? It's not like this was a constructed event. s

Speaking of it, have you wondered what it is? I mean, we say, "It's raining," "it's sunny outside," and "it isn't clear why you haven't been eliminated from the gene pool yet," but what is it?

Round 1 v. Anthony Edwards
Game 1 was rather uninteresting. Perhaps you've noticed my 2 primary colors were green and black. He got a Leaf Dancer and a Krosan Constrictor attacking me with plenty of disruption to deal with whatever counterattack I could come up with, which wasn't much. These dorks were made for 'walking, and that's just what they'll do. One of these days these dorks are gonna landwalk over you. Ready dorks? Start 'walkin. If I remember correctly, he played a superflous Shade's Form on the last turn of the game.

After game 1 he told me I was "very pleasant to play against." I got a real kick out of this, since we both knew he really meant was that I was a gracious loser. Oh yeah, I won this match. s He was a very nice guy though, and truly pleasant to play against.

Round 2 v. Rory W. Draxler
This fellow felt it necessary to play on his state championship playmat, even though he had to fold it over to make it fit onto his side of the table. The top of it was lined with PTQ top 8 pins. I had just come back in from smoking, and it was a cold, rainy morning. I, the true Floridan, was shivering. I must have looked pretty intimidated.

I remember something from the second game. It was midgame and I had just Gravediggered a creature out of my graveyard. Then I used Painbringer to kill a 2/2. I had been paying attention to what I removed from the graveyard, and I left 2 cards that had Flashback (probably Spirit Flare and Crippling Fatigue). I started to think about how cool it is to be using my graveyard as a resource to that extent in LIMITED! I love it. 

His deck wasn't awful, but pretty close. They call it Sealed Fate for a reason.


You know how people swish the tea leaves around their cup when they're finished and tell their fortune from it? They used to do that with the entrails of a recently slaughtered animal as well. My 2-year-old brother Aaron does this with EVERY meal. My parents call it "playing with his food". I swear, as soon as he learns his ABC's I'm having him pick stocks for me.

Round 3 v. Kevin D. Mercier
This youngster was a good player with an unbelievable deck. Honestly, think of a card that is white or blue, in OdToTo sealed, and would be good to have in your deck and he had it in his deck. We're talking about Angel of Retribution and Irridescent Angel. Multiple Skywing Avens. Ambassador Laquatus. It was unreal.

He made a mistake at one point, declaring a blocker and then trying to use Luminous Guardian's ability to have him block more. It was REL 4, so I could've just called a judge to have it declared illegal, but this was game 2, I'd probably lose the game anyway, and I didn't feel like being a jerk. I said, "Ok, we're backing up to the stack in the Declare Attackers step so you can play that," hoping he'd see what I meant and he wouldn't get screwed for it later. If a kid's 3-0 at a Grand Prix with the backup plan of playing in the JSS if he doesn't make day 2 and only 14 years of age, I want to let him have good experiences in competitive Magic, hoping he'll be encouraged to continue. That and he seemed like a nice guy.


Not too long ago I received a Pojo Staff T-Shirt in the mail, for FREE! I love free T-Shirts. The following day (I usually check the mail around 1am) I was eager to wear it, but then I realized I had a first date planned for that evening. I didn't want to get into the innevitable "What's" conversation on the first date-it just seems too soon to bring up Magic. What is the standard for that, anyway? 2nd date? 3rd? You have to tell her eventually…
She walks into the door…
"What are all those cards?"
"They're not mine, I swear! I'm holding them for a friend."
A friend. Yeah, she'll believe that about as much as your parents did.

Or, if you're the fellow who suggested I do an entire column on creatures of the type "Vampire", as much as they will 4 to 5 years from now.

Round 4 v. Yusif M. Alyemeni 

I have never met Mr. Alyemeni. After my loss to Kevin, my mind games just weren't doing their job. I could be defeated, and I knew it. My adrenaline was dropping. My exhaustion from having about 4 hours of sleep in the past 3 days or so was becoming apparent. All I could think about was sleep. I could've made day 2 if I had won all but 1 of the remaining matches, or so I figured at the time. I told someone that just wasn't going to happen, and he asked why I say that. I explained that the exhaustion was going to affect my play, and I'm sure it would've, but the real reason was because I said I wasn't going to win. I had admited it to myself. At that point, I decided it was time to drop. Simultaneously the pairings went up. I was determined to sleep, especially since I had a few hours to drive before I could sleep and I was hoping I could be somewhat safe driving. I told a judge that I conceded that match and dropped, then left. I hope Yusif was deserving of the bye. Wouldn't it be funny if that happened to him just as he came off of 3 byes?

By the way, I did fall asleep driving home. Only for a split second, but it made me really glad I left when I did.


I Have Bubble Gum

For those of you who do not know me personally (approximately 30% of my readership, from our research) I've left my home in Florida to spend two weeks or more in the warm and sunny Fingerlakes region of New York so I can baby-sit my 8 younger siblings while my parents go galabanting all over far-eastern Europe. Or something like that. Since I cheated with the first part of this article by presenting a non-tourney report, I'll cheat here by merely converting a game these youngins have invented into a Magic format.

Why they call this game I Have Bubble Gum is far beyond my comprehension, and no one seems to be able to explain it. I suspect they don't remember. It starts out like Hide and Go Seek, with Allison typically being the seeker. Apparently she enjoys that role more than anyone else. When found, and I believe this is just protocol but I'm not sure, a participant screams. Then the seeker is required to tag that individual, which often involves a chase. What happens when they are tagged changes on the fly with no apparent rhyme or reason to it. The consensus seems to be that the tagged individual should then aid in finding the others, though they sometimes just run around in circles hoping to be tagged again while paying lipservice to not being tagged. This game may only be played at dusk indoors with the lights out. Turning any light on is a direct violation of the rules and is punishable by name-calling.

If you can gather some friends together to play Magic in a dimly-lit area, try this out! When a card is put into play, it is played face-down. It remains face-down until it attacks, blocks, or a card an opponent controls causes it to be necessary to know what the card is. At that point, each opponent names a different card, in turn order. Then the card is flipped over. If an opponent correctly guessed what it is, that player gains control of it, otherwise remains face-up and the game continues normally. So if you tap some face-down cards, then play another, and I play Remove Soul targeting the card, we go into the naming business before it resolves, since we need to know if it is a creature spell. If it's not, Remove Soul is countered upon resolution (fizzles, for those of you who would rather the rules terminology make sense like it used to).

This shouldn't be played competitively, since it involves much of the honor system like the original I Have Bubble Gum does, and bends the rules (in the previous example I don't have priority to play Remove Soul if it is a land you're playing, but I get to play it anyway). Remember that the layout of the cards is up to their controller, so long as the title of each card is visible. For our purposes the space that has the name on the other side counts when its backside-up. I haven't actually played this format, as you've probably guessed since I'm still here, but it would probably be fun once in a while.

May you find what you seek.
John B. Turpish

Copyright 2001

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