22 September 2015

How to feel safe in Magic

I am nervous when I play Magic.  I have my plan but I'm constantly on the lookout for countermagic, combat tricks, and disruption that open mana communicates.  Sitting across from a blue player is not good for my mental health.

I have a standard deck (well, it's standard until Saturday) on Magic Online (MTGO).  It's an aggro jeskai deck that relies on Mantis Rider, Jeskai Ascendancy, and Seeker of the Way.  It's fun and I can usually tell by the fourth or fifth turn if I have a shot at winning.  So I only have about a minute or two of tension before I can enjoy the game.

My other MTGO deck is my annoying blue deck that uses countermagic and card draw to make my Chasm Skulker really big.  This deck is really fun when it wins but makes me a nervous wreck while playing it.  I rarely play it.

In paper magic, I play almost exclusively modern.  Games are usually fast with our aggro decks (Affinity, Bogles, Burn) so I get in, do my thing, either get shut down or overwhelm my opponent.  Sometimes these games can go long and I deal with it; but the nerves are real.

Noah and I have one deck that just gives me a sense of calm.  And it's calm from turn one.  It's because I am going to win.  In a relaxed-for-me. soul-crushing-for-the-unfortunate-sap-across-from-me way.  Except when I have no chance.  That deck is Tron.

I'll start with the no-chance times.  Sometimes they blow up a critical tron piece or blood moon me or I just can't draw that one Urza's Tower.  And I'm fine with that.  Because I know if I do build Tron, then all sorts of beautiful cards are going to rain from my hand onto the battlefield.  I'll wipe the board a few times, put some wurmcoils out and then eventually frickin' Emrakul is going to own the battlefield.

Just knowing that Emrakul is out there ready to save my bacon is what gives me this sense of peace.  This weird blobby tentacled interdimensional eater of worlds is on my side.  As Alfred E. Neumann says, "what. me worry?"  Heck no, I can get Karn on turn 3, Ugin on turn 4, Ulamog on turn 5, and Emrakul on turn 6.  And I can blow stuff up while waiting for any of those.

I try to keep a poker face but when I look down and see a hand like this?  How do you not just breathe out, relax, smile, and wish your opponent "good luck"?

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