The Mana Dork

At precisely 12:13 AM on Saturday, July 11th, in the Year of Our Lord Richard Garfield 2015, a tiny voice in my head began to speak.

Maybe drink some water, okay?” it said, while I was frantically building a really bad deck for the Magic Origins pre-release. “You’ve got about three million grams of caffeine in your system. You’re gonna crash hard. Drink water. Get some air, maybe.”

I didn’t listen.

I thought I was fine. I was confident. I was so ready, because I had about three million grams of caffeine in my system. I’d just downed an energy drink and one of those protein/energy bar things. I had chosen the black Liliana Vess pre-release pack because I always enjoy playing suicide black, and my foil promo was Dark Petition—the frickin’ Demonic Tutor reprint! I was made for this moment.

Look, I know you read all those posts about getting ready for pre-releases,” the voice continued. “What do they say? They say drink water. They say take breaks. They say you’re gonna make mistakes if you’re not well-rested and refreshed—with good snacks, like granola bars. I know you didn’t go and take a nap before this. Please, please, please just drink some water.”

Pfft. Yeah, right. How about no? How about I’m fine. Besides, what do you know? You’re just a voice in my head. I’m playing Demonic Tutor! I’m gonna Demonic Tutor myself a better voice if you’re not careful.

Okay, okay, fine,” it said, “but when you go 0-4 and lose every single game, you’re gonna wish you’d taken my advice.”

I finish building my deck. Staring me in the face is an awkward, galumphing mutant of a black-blue-red control deck. The control cards are overcosted, there aren’t enough creatures, and my biggest bomb is… Dark Petition. With nothing worthwhile for it to search for, because I had completely ignored all the sweet white rares in my card pool.

In my addled state, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This deck is the pinnacle of Limited deckbuilding. It is pure. It is the T-1000 of control decks. It will win me all the games. I will get all the value. Yes. This is the way. This is how I will write my own Origins story, and carve it into the annals of history.

I went 0-4.

Across all of my games, I was 1-1-7. The single win came when my opponent was badly mana-screwed. The single tie came when I was up against another control deck and we went to time. At no point was I ever ahead based on my own play. Several times, I cast Day’s Undoing for the entertainment value alone.

If you took all of my misplays, mistakes, and bad decisions, and turned them into infamous foil Tarmogoyfs being auctioned for charity, I could retire.

This is a cautionary tale, folks. It doesn’t matter how old you are; you are actively hurting your chances if you wash down junk food with cans of Monster and show up riding a sugar tsunami. Nap beforehand, drink water, eat granola bars or other healthy snacks, and take breaks. You’ll do your win-loss rate a world of good.

In place of my usual plug for A Muse N Games’ events, I’ll tell you that Brian and Scotia sell bottles of water for $1.00 and chocolate bars for $1.50 . Come on down! (But don’t be like me.)

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every second Tuesday for The Mana Dork, his column on getting back into Magic.