Welcome back to my Deep Dive on some of my favorite Magic stories. If you missed the first two parts, check them out in the links below. Let’s get to it!
PT New Orleans 2003 was the first PT that I qualified for. The format was Extended and I was super excited. We organized the trip together with three other Czech guys (Lukas Horak, Dan Krutil and Tomas Krejsa) that also qualified and we are all very close friends to this day.
I have only been playing Magic for a few years at this point and this was the first time I went to a big tournament in another country. Unfortunately the DCI database isn’t accessible anymore, but I’m not even sure if I played any GPs before this, certainly not to a Day 2 finish.
Magic Online was about one year old and I obviously had no idea it even existed (I’m actually not even sure if I already had access to the internet), which meant that we had to prepare by meeting in person on the weekends and playing whatever decks we had built, which wasn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world since we all live in four different cities. My only inspiration was local tournaments and the old Sideboard magazines, which came out once a month, so as you can imagine the deck lists weren’t exactly up to date.
After meeting for a few days together, I brought with me a Psychatog deck, an Oath of Druids deck and I believe Mono-Red, eventually settling on Psychatog with cards like Isochron Scepter, Brainstorm, Accumulated Knowledge, Diabolic Edict, Fact or Fiction and Counterspell.
In one of the rounds, I got paired against a player with Goblins, splashing green. I was wondering what the splash was for, until my opponent played Food Chain and killed me out of nowhere. I had to read what Food Chain did because I have never seen the card before in my life. And I thought I did some “serious testing.”
As a cherry on top, I missed one of the rounds because I was waiting in a line at the concession stand, buying a hamburger.
That was the level of preparation and knowledge of the format that I’m sure many people playing their first tournaments in that era experienced as well. These days, even if you are a totally new player to high level tournaments, you can still tune in to your favorite streamer on Twitch, check out guides for just about any deck and make sure you show up with a deck list and a perfect sideboard guide that are going to be nearly identical to those of the top players.