Thursday, July 5, 2007

Conflicting Interests

Still have a lot of things going on these days. Sometimes it seems like too many, and then I kick myself in the head (using my old MMA training, what that move is supposed to be used for and how it is supposed to help in a fight I’m not sure…) and remind myself that I’m certainly not bored.

Wendy and I are working our way through “The Ultimate Fighter” season two. And I’m a very impressionable, visual guy. I see someone drinking a beer, I want a beer. I see someone cut into a large steak, I want a steak. I see someone in a cage pummeling someone else, I want to go work out and wrestle again. I see someone having se.. Well, you get the idea.

So the entire time we’re watching TUF I’m thinking about how I need to work out harder. I need to get enrolled in a Muay Thai class over here. I need to run further. Do stairs. Work on my intended goal of a hundred push ups at one go.

We watch until Wendy has to leave for a girl’s night out dinner with Jen, a friend of hers who is about to say "goodbye" to late nights, free time, eight hours of sleep and say “Oh God” to a small red lizard that will burst screaming from her womb. (No, honest, I love kids. No really. I do! Stop laughing!) So, Wendy takes off and I finish up some notes and then I head up the street for “un bistec, muy poco hecho” which is essentially, “Steak, rare.” One of the many phrases I have on index cards for practice and ordering times just like this. Sadly, the steak house is closed. So, I go down the street ten yards to a nice place where Wendy had her 39th birthday party. I look over the menu but don’t see anything that looks like bistec (pronounced BEEFSTEAK!) and when the waiter comes over I ask him if they have it and he says no, and points to something else on the menu. Since I don’t have my glasses, and the light is dim and smoky I can’t read it.

“Vale” I say, which is basically “Whatever”, “Good”, “Fine”, and “Okay” all rolled into one. Then I sip my wine and wait for my mystery food to come. Next to me, a couple is speaking and I can’t even easedrop. The waitress comes and the plate of food she delivers is fantastic. She asks me a couple questions that I don’t understand, she repeats them in English and I kick myself in the head again.

I need to focus more on my Spanish. I should be doing an hour a day of learning and I just don’t have the time. But I have to make time! I so badly want to know what is going on around me.

And as I type this, it is 6:33 in the evening, and this is the first writing that I have done. Admittedly, there was the intern this morning, then the outdoor errands we needed to run, and then the last lunch at Pink Sushiman we will ever have with Albina. Then the Doctor’s appt to see what this weird rash is on my neck and arms (so very sexy) and then home again and please give me some coffee and a cold fan blowing on me before I die oh my God is the sun close to the earth here.

So, I have a bunch of goals, some of which are coming along, some of which are not getting the time they need. But all in all, I have a lot of conflicting interests these days that all want my full attention.

And then there’s Magic.

I am struggling with Magic.

Something about the game or myself has changed from the time when I used to be halfway passable. I don’t know if I’m just not devoting the time I need to it, or if the game has fundamentally changed. I have a feeling it is deeply both. Regardless of that, I suck at Magic these days. Suck with a capital SUCK.

(Soon, this will turn into a rant against Blue. I know there are readers that hate when I do this. I urge you, look away; it’s not going to be pretty. If you don’t like to see me rant against Blue, then stop reading right now I assure you, it’s not worth your time to continue.)

There is a Pro Tour here in Spain that I would very much like to go to in October. My friend Adrian Sullivan has already qualified and it would be nice to see him again.

In addition, the qualifiers are block format, something I have usually loved and excelled at.

And Marilyn’s card is part of the set.

And Hilary is working hard trying to qualify.

I SHOULD be putting a lot of work into learning the format and getting a deck ready that I can play and qualify with.

Alas, no. I cannot summon the urge to play.

As long time readers know, I nurture a blind hatred for the loathsome color Blue. It annoys a lot of readers that I despise the mechanics and cards for one color so much. The fact that I am so vocal about it turns more people against me than it draws to my cause. And… I can’t help myself.

To me, playing Magic and having to play against an opponent using Blue is just annoying. I don’t enjoy it. It is not fun. Now, take a look at the statistics for this weeks Online block constructed tournaments.

U/B/(w) Teachings Control – 111111111111
U/B/G/W Wild Pair Slivers – 1111
U Pickles – 1111
U/G Tarmogoyf – 111
U/W Pickles – 11
U/B/G/R Sliver / Tarmogoyf Control (?) – 1
U/B/R Mishra Control – 1
U/W Blink – 1
U/G Pickles – 1
U/B Dredge – 1
U/B/R Akroma Control – 111

G/W/(r) Tarmogoyf – 1111111111111
White Weenie – 11
G/R Big Mana – 11
B/R Control – 11
Mono-Red – 1
Mono-Black Nihilith – 1

Every time you see a deck with a “U” at the beginning, that’s a deck that uses Blue. All the “1”s after the deck name is how many times that deck made top 8 in a Premier event.

There are five colors in Magic.

Blue is the overwhelming color being played in every format, including this seasons block constructed pro tour qualifiers. Now, imagine if you were me, and every time someone played a blue card, it was akin to someone snapping the back of your ear as hard as they can with a finger.

You enter a tournament, and five of the six decks you play have Blue in them. Flick, flick, flick.



Logoff. Uninstall Magic: Online. Drink a beer. Pout in a dark room and listen to Goth music.

Imagine that you don’t like nuts. It’s okay that other people like nuts, and you understand that every now and then you might have to eat nuts, but you don’t particularly like nuts. But walking to work one day you stop at a hot dog stand and order a hot dog. You bite into it and there are nuts inside the hot dog. The vender tells you that it’s a new thing. You don’t just get hooves, snouts and tails, now, every hot dog maker is including nuts in the hot dogs. You go to the bakery, and of the twenty donuts they have available, nineteen of them have nuts in or on them. You can have a plain donut, or you can have nuts on it. You order a pizza, and the toppings you are presented with are cheese, and six different varieties of nuts. All around you people are enjoying there different varieties of pizza and don’t understand why you don’t just order one with some nuts on it.

This is the scenario I am presented with every time I play Magic in any format these days. I will be lucky to find one game in five without being forced to play an opponent who has tricksy smarmy Blue as a major component of his deck. If I play in a tournament, I will be lucky to play one round without facing a deck revolving around Blue.

I don’t mind if you play Black and your spells kill every creature I put on the board and empty my hand of cards. I’ll find a way around that. I have the tools. I don’t care if you light me on fire every single turn with Red burn spells, reducing me to a charred blackened crisp before my creatures can kill you. That will teach me I need to be faster. I don’t care if your White birds and angels fly over my forces and kill me with superior air power. I should have planned for that. I’ll make changes and come back wiser.

But honestly, I don’t want you to be able to have counterspell mana up during my turn, then be able to draw cards or return something to my hand at the end of my turn when I can no longer do something. I don’t have any tools remotely that powerful. I can’t keep mana up to affect you during your turn and if you tap mana I can cast some amazing creature like, say, TEFERI, which utterly changes the game state and has a 3 / 4 body as well. I despise the fact that your Vesuvan Shapeshifter is an answer to my Spectral Force, Verdeloth the Ancient, Quagnoth AND Baru. All in one. And if that’s not enough it can also be used with Brine Elemental to lock me hopelessly down.

Not. Fun.

Having the best spells and the best creatures all in one color, year after year, is just infuriating to me. I know I’m not making any friends typing this, I’m just trying to explain my position that so many people just do not want to hear or understand.

The point being, still working on a lot of stuff and still have a lot to accomplish before I die.


  1. Blue is BORING.
    I refuse to play blue at Nationals! Root for me.:-)
    I got 2nd last year with Boros, so its all possible after all...


  2. Thats the joy of smashing the blue mages into dust with fast aggressive creatures. The trouble with block is its a slow format and blue rules slow formats.

    What is unfair is when the blue mages go into green as well. There should be rules against it.
    Missing your writing on starcity Jamie. Take care.

  3. I agree. The down syndrome retards at Wizard's R&D always try to give Blue the best cards.