Friday, April 12, 2013


I took a modified version of All Nightmare Long to a Modern event at Red Castle games yesterday. I was doing pretty well, 2-0-1 going into the last round of the night. The tie had come against a RUW control deck and I don't feel too bad about that, though I probably should have played more aggressively.

I'm up against Kiki-Jiki/Splinter Twin combo and, in game two, I had dropped a Torpor Orb, which helped me lock the game up. I also had kept in my Tidehollow Scullers which meant that of the three I played, two did nothing but be 2/2 bodies to be swept away by Pyroclasm while the third arrived just in time to be boosted by Deathbringer Liege.

I had learned this lesson with Noah: Do not keep creatures that merely become bears in your deck when bringing in Torpor Orb. Since I had four Castigate in my sideboard, I realized those were the better choice and between games 2 and 3, put them in. We have under ten minutes to finish our match at that point.

It wasn't the best opening hand but it would do: lands, Nip Gwyllion, Nightsky Mimic, a Deathbringer and Duress. I open with Swamp, Duress, remove the copy of Splinter Twin from his hand, leaving lands, Spellskite and Deceiver Exarch and pass. He plays his land, passes, I draw something, play a land, then Nightsky Mimic, and pass...

And at turn 3, I draw my card and my eyes go wide. Tidehollow Sculler, which I was supposed to side out for Castigate and did not.

It all goes through my head at once. Nobody knows what I'm playing, there are no decklists, nobody here--hell nobody anywhere--really understands what I'm doing so I could just roll on. We have about five minutes and my deck is the aggressive one.

But I can't. I know it means a game loss but I can't. 

I ask my opponent to hold up a moment, tell him what's wrong. I do a quick count of my sideboard: 11 cards. Should be 15. He gets a judge, I explain and am given the game loss. Which is the match loss. Which has me dropping from a chance for second place down to 6th.

The advice I got, which I will pass on, was: always count your sideboard after making changes. If I had done that, I would have been able to Castigate the Spellskite (a card I am rapidly learning to despise) attack for 4 and may have been well on my way. At the very least, I wouldn't have lost without making my opponent work for it.

There are two takeaways for me here as I'm still bitter about that loss. I did not play the best game I could play. That's why I'm bitter but the bitterness will fade.

The second thing is this: It was still the right thing to do. There is no getting around the fact that I would have been cheating if I had continued and I just can't screw someone over like that. I could go into all the reasons why I shouldn't but I hopefully don't have to. I was in the wrong and the only thing to do was take responsibility for that.

Things will go better next time and in the meantime, my integrity and reputation stay in tact. That's more important than booster packs.

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