Rogue Report – Kansas City Rogues, Part I

I’m sitting in a friends hotel room, typing this article the Sunday after US Nationals, so I’ve still got that fresh-off-the-tournament feeling. Whether this is a good or bad feeling, you’ll just have to read to find out!

This is the deck I registered for the tournament. I decided a long time ago that cascade was insane, so this is my attempt to keep breaking it. It started with a Mike Flores list (hence the name) but I feel like it evolved into a deck of its own.

Flores Barn

I talked about this deck in my last article, and I had settled on playing it probably two weeks before Nationals. This is what the deck ended up looking like once I squeezed Volcanic Fallout into the maindeck. I used Zaiem’s spreadsheet strategy (which I should write an article about) to lay out this deck, matchup by matchup, and the Volcanic Fallouts were key in three of the big matchups: Elves, Kithkin, and Faeries. I didn’t want to run them, as they were really awkward and often killed my own creatures, but it was a necessity for the metagame. If mana and Faeries weren’t an issue, I would happily run Jund Charm instead.

The spreadsheet also told me to cut a Kitchen Finks, which let me move a Primal Command back into the maindeck, so I did what the spreadsheet told me to, even though it felt really weird.

I have a lot to say, so let’s dive right in to round one.

Round 1: AJ Sacher, GW Combo Elves

I know AJ a little bit from Honolulu, and we also played against each other at Grand Prix LA (where I almost threw the match away, but squeaked it out on turn five of time). I’m trying to figure out what I think he could be playing, and he answers it for me pretty well by playing a Mosswort Bridge on turn one. He protects his team with two maindeck Burrenton Forge-Tenders, and combos me out.

This is how I sideboard against Elves:
+4 Hallowed Burial
+3 Thought Hemorrhage
+1 Shriekmaw
-1 Primal Command
-3 Kitchen Finks
-3 Borderland Ranger
-1 Bituminous Blast

I would want to fix the maindeck/sideboard if I were going to play this deck again. Most of the sideboard is great, but I’m currently playing one more card against Elves than I need to, which feels inefficient. That fourth Bituminous Blast should really still be in the deck against Elves, especially after sideboard when it’s much more about attrition if a Thought Hemorrhage resolves, but that’s just the card that had to go. I’m not sure what the weak link is, and it may be in the maindeck, but I’m sure the list isn’t at maximum efficiency this way. I also had a Fetid Heath in the sideboard for this matchup for a long time, as siding out Borderland Ranger (which you absolutely have to do) makes your Hallowed Burials harder to cast. I ran the risk without the 27th land, and it may have hurt me in game three. I just didn’t have the space for any more cards just against Elves. Even though switching the Fetid Heath with an Exotic Orchard in other mach ups (like Faeries) is nice, I couldn’t justify it.

In game two, I get to Thought Hemorrhage him (always naming Regal Force), but I see two Ranger of Eos, which can be tough to fight through. Luckily, my deck is loaded with removal after sideboard, so I manage.

Game three is weird. I end up getting Thought Hemorrhage off on turn four or five, but am still in danger of losing to beatdown. I have two Hallowed Burial, but no fifth land, so I’ve just got to survive. I Maelstrom Pulse his Burrenton Forge-Tender on my next turn, setting up for a Volcanic Fallout to clear his board on the following turn in case I don’t draw a land. AJ plays a Burrenton Forge-Tender and a Primal Command, cards he must have drawn in the last turn or two because I just Thought Hemorrhaged him. This keeps me off my fifth land and stops my Volcanic Fallout, killing me. Not how I wanted round one to end, losing to Elf Combo beatdown with two Hallowed Burials in my hand.


Round 2:  Andres, Kithkin

He has no one drop, so I get to Lightning Bolt, then Naya Charm, then Lightning Bolt his guys without taking any real damage. There’s no Spectral Procession, probably their scariest card, but a Cloudgoat Ranger comes down later. I have a pretty good board position by then, kill the 3/3 Giant, and keep swinging.

This is how I sideboard against Kithkin:
+4 Hallowed Burial
+1 Shriekmaw
+1 Primal Command
+1 Footbottom Feast
-4 Bloodbraid Elf
-3 Kitchen Finks

This was my most controversial sideboard strategy I had. Take out Bloodbraid Elf and Kitchen Finks? You crazy! I felt like those cards were nice, but I found myself actually losing the attrition war against Kithkin, not the early game. That meant Primal Command and Footbottom Feast (which is awesome with Shriekmaws) stayed in. Bloodbraid Elf rarely blocked profitably against their flying and first strike creatures, and Kitchen Finks had the same problem. They were good at stalling, but stalling wasn’t what I needed to do. If the Kithkin player goes all-out aggro, the situations where Kitchen Finks and Bloodbraid Elf are useful, they will lose to Hallowed Burial, straight up. If the Kithkin player just puts one threat on the table at a time, and protects their important threats with Burrenton Forge-Tender, then you need to be positioned to win the long game.

Also while discussing sideboard strategies, Enlisted Wurm kept coming up. I had the same idea early on while playing the deck, and often sideboarded out one Enlisted Wurm in aggro matchups. Then I found myself losing, or at least having a very hard time killing my opponents. Sometimes it’s really hard to kill somebody with just Bloodbraid Elf and Kitchen Finks (which is another reason Shriekmaw is so awesome: it kills people). After playing the deck more, I’ve realized that Enlisted Wurm is the best card in it, and there’s no matchup (yet) where I cut that guy. Your game plan is essentially to cast Enlisted Wurm as many times as possible and let it win the game for you.

Back to round two vs Kithkin. Early on I Lightning Bolt a Figure of Destiny, and he chooses not to save it with his Forge-Tender. An Ajani Goldmane comes down and puts a counter on Forge-Tender, but Ajani gets Bolted. The next turn, he attacks his 2/2 Forge-Tender into two of my Borderland Rangers, so I double block, mostly playing around Harm’s Way. He ends up using Rustic Clachan and a Harm’s Way to make his Forge Tender survive and kill my Borderland Rangers. I think this is pretty awesome, because all I’m trying to do is run him out of cards, and now he only has one. I untap, cast Enlisted Wurm, and he has no chance.

Normally, the Kithkin match, while in your favor, is much tighter than these games were. I guess that’s what happens when you have two Lightning Bolts early on and they never cast Spectral Procession.


Round 3: Brian, Five-Color Cascade

It looks like we are almost playing a direct mirror match for the longest time. I get way ahead in game one with three Kitchen Finks (all three!). He expends a lot of cards dealing with them, and is getting beat down pretty well. I don’t think he is playing Five-Color Bloodbraid because there is no sign of a Cryptic Command anywhere, but Brian gets right back in the game with a Cruel Ultimatum. Damn. I can’t beat that card.

This is how I (think I) sideboarded:
+3 Thought Hemorrhage
+1 Primal Command
+1 Footbottom Feast
+1 Identity Crisis
+1 Shriekmaw
-4 Lightning Bolt
-3 Volcanic Fallout

In game two, I cast a Kitchen Finks, and he immediately Lightning Bolts it at the end of my turn. Great, I think, this is going to go very well for me. If he’s expending a full card just to downgrade my Finks, I’m ecstatic. This game isn’t even close once I Thought Hemorrhage the Cruel Ultimatums out of the deck. I take the three out of his deck, and note the pile of Primal Commands that aren’t in his hand, as well as the lack of Cryptic Command. We keep playing, but I’m certain I’m going to win at this point. I’ve seen his deck and his hand, and there’s no way he can stop the tech I’m holding. As the attrition war is grinding on I get to cast Footbottom Feast on my turn, creating this stack:

Enlisted Wurm
Bloodbraid Elf
Kitchen Finks
Bloodbraid Elf
Borderland Ranger

I draw the Enlisted Wurm, and then use the rest of my mana to cast Bituminous Blast, killing his creature, and cascading into Bloodbraid, cascading into Kitchen Finks. My opponent draws his card then scoops, knowing what’s coming. I was kind of annoyed at the end of this game because I realized that I messed up the stack order. I should have switched the order of the Borderland Ranger and second Bloodbraid Elf. This way I can draw the Borderland Ranger on my next turn, then cast Enlisted Wurm into Bloodbraid Elf into whatever. I don’t actually want to hit the Ranger at this point in the game. I’m sitting at six life, and don’t want to randomly lose to Lightning Bolts, so I just want to dig for (or kill my own) Kitchen Finks. I was still happy because I had met my Rogue quotient for the weekend. Go, go Footbottom Feast! Man that card is fun.

In game three, he Lightning Bolts my Kitchen Finks again, and I get to Thought Hemorrhage his Cruel Ultimatums, again. His hand is two [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card]s and an Enlisted Wurm, while mine is two Enlisted Wurms and a Primal Command (which is really just an Enlisted Wurm in disguise). I get to Primal Command a land, which puts me pretty far ahead. I really blast ahead, however, when my second Enlisted Wurm cascades into a Primal Command. Nice play. My opponent laments his lack of Primal Command, which I can understand, and signs the slip.

This is when something weird happens. I extends my hand, say good game, and wait. He is picking up his stuff, packing his bags waiting with my hand in the air waiting, and then it hits me. He’s ignoring my hand. Oh, he sees it, but he just walks away. I have no idea how to react, because that’s never happened to me.

I brought this up with various people throughout the weekend to get their opinion on it. A few players were saying how in the Midwest it is rude to say ‘good game’ after a match if you had just won, and Tom had a hard time adjusting to this standard in the Northwest. In Seattle, as far as I can tell, everybody says good game. I say good game and extend my hand at the end of every match, win or lose, but apparently this is rude to some people. It never struck me that I would come across as rude, so now I’m wondering if I should stop offering the hand shake and good game when I win. I just feel rude not offering it, so I’m not sure what to do. [Tim Aten may have an opinion on this. [Riki, feeling nostalgic]


Round 4:  John, Faeries

I played John in Honolulu, and asked him how many Soul Manipulations were in his deck this time. He then harasses me for taking my time shuffling, saying ‘come on’ and asking me to present. I absolutely hate when somebody does this. If I’m taking too long to sideboard, that’s another thing, but I’d still rather you just call a judge over if you really think I’m taking to long. In this case, the round hasn’t even started, so what’s the point?

Once we get playing, John leads off with Bitterblossom. Yikes. I’m happy he’s not playing Five-Color, but a turn-two Bitterblossom is always scary. He then plays a second copy of the pesky Tribal Enchantment: Faerie, and that strikes me as very weird. John seemed like a good player to me, but it is rare that you play the second Bitterblossom, though I suppose turn three is the turn you would do it. I cast Bloodbraid Elf into a Maelstrom Pulse, eliciting a deserved groan from John, but he follows it up with a third Bitterblossom. This makes me think maybe he wanted me to use a Maelstrom Pulse, but I’m not sure. He gets stuck on Swamp, Swamp, Island, Gargoyle Castle, giving me time to get a little aggressive. I get John to two life before he stabilizes. I’m hoping for a Volcanic Fallout, which I hadn’t seen yet this game. The turn before I would die, I cast an Enlisted Wurm, which hits the exact spell I need, and I win the game.

After I cascade into the game-winning spell John makes some sarcastic remark about how good at Magic I am, another thing that bothers me. To tell you the truth, it actually hurts. I feel like I try hard, and even though I make some mistakes, I’d like to think I’m getting better. Sarcastic “you’re so good”comments really bring me down. I just respond with looks like I run Volcanic Fallout in my deck, which I think got my point across, but more on that later.

This is how I sideboard for Faeries:
+4 Great Sable Stag
-1 Primal Command
-2 Shriekmaw
-1 Naya Charm

I’m still not sure if one Maelstrom Pulse, Naya Charm, or Bituminous Blast should come out. Blast is so key for killing Mistbind Clique, but a Pulse kills Bitterblossom, and a Naya Charm is useful in tapping their team to win a race with your Stag. I think cutting the Naya Charm is right, but I could see cutting the Maelstrom Pulse on the draw, as hitting a Bitterblossom with it is much less likely. I can’t remember what I actually cut in this match.

My hand looks pretty good with lands, a Bloodbraid Elf, Lightning Bolt, and a Great Sable Stag. Unfortunately the Stag gets Thoughtsiezed, making my hand look suddenly much worse. My Bloodbraid Elf cascades into a Naya Charm, which I use to get back the Stag. This resolves (surprisingly) and Stag comes down a turn later. I beat for a while, while John is again a little mana-stunted. Enlisted Wurm comes down, hitting a Bituminous Blast on an empty board, so I don’t get any real advantage, and then a Mistbind Clique comes down. On my next turn, Kitchen Finks gets countered, and Enlisted Wurm is bounced. I think this is weird, but it makes sense later. I get attacked down to 16, and then Duressed, a card I actually forgot was legal. My hand is Enlisted Wurm and Vivid Grove, so it’s a whiff. In my draw step, I get Vendillion Cliqued, and wouldn’t you know it, I draw Bituminous Blast! The Bituminous Blast hits Vendillion Clique and cascades into none other than Bloodbraid Elf, which cascades into the perfect Maelstrom Pulse to kill a Mistbind Clique. Is. This lets me attack him to one. He casts Time Warp next turn, but it just cycles. I laugh when he casts Time Warp, because it is the last card I expect him to cast there, and he just stares at me. If you’re going to play Time Warp, you’ve got to have fun with it! His extra turn doesn’t result in anything, so he scoops.


This ends yet another round where my opponent was less than happy, and I’m pretty sure it’s cascade’s fault. (I mean, maybe I’m a jerk when I play and don’t even know it, but nobody has mentioned it yet. [You did laugh at his Time Warp, which taken out of context can seem pretty baggish. Riki]) I think people need to re-evaluate their position on cascade and luck. I played eight rounds with this deck, cascading many times each match. Sometimes you hit Kitchen Finks, and it’s good. Sometimes you hit Maelstrom Pulse, and it’s a blank. Other times you hit Volcanic Fallout for the win. When playing against cascade you’ve got to accept the good with the bad. For every blank cascade there is a nuts cascade. I’ll admit that my topdeck of Bituminous Blast after getting Durressed, and cascading into those exact spells, was pretty lucky, and my opponent let me know how lucky I was. It doesn’t matter to my opponent, however, that the Enlisted Wurm I cast two turns before hit a blank, which was ‘unlucky.’

Even the reaction to my Enlisted Wurm hitting a Volcanic Fallout was a little uncalled for, I feel. We’ve all gotten used to an opponent topdecking a good card, yet somehow cascading into that spell instead feels even luckier than drawing it from your library. In fact, it’s the exact opposite, as you’re much more likely to cascade into the spell you need (assuming its casting cost is in the right range) than you are to draw it. In the same way that you play for topdecks, you need to play for good cascades. Minimizing the blanks when you cascade, and maximizing the upside, is a big part of looking lucky, especially in a matchup like Elves, where hitting a removal spell isn’t just lucky, but it’s guaranteed! (At least after sideboard.) So I’m tired of the obligatory ‘must be nice’ every time I cascade into a Bloodbraid Elf; it’s bound to happen! That’s the exact reason I chose to play this deck, because of how powerful cascade is, and if you’re going to complain you might as well play it too. It’s like complaining as you die to Tarmogoyf while you’ve got a Grizzly Bears Runeclaw Bear in play.

Ultimately, this is where I think Wizards messed up with cascade. It’s true that the mechanic is just a little too good. There’s not much tuning that you can do with cascade; either it exists or it doesn’t, and Wizards decided that it would, probably because of how fun it is to play. I’m ok with it from a power level perspective, as a little bit of power is ok every once in a while. Unfortunately, as fun as it is to play with, it really isn’t fun to play against. Really not fun, at all. Mechanics that are too powerful and not fun to play against are the worst, and that’s why I think cascade should have gotten the axe.

Oh man, where was I? Was I just playing in a tournament or something? Oh yeah, it’s time to Draft! I listened to some Superchick* to clear the bad thoughts and pump myself up for Limited. This is the deck I created, complete with the relevant sideboard cards and things that almost made the maindeck:

Draft Deck One BRug



I really like how my mana turned out. I got to run basically BR and splash two colors off of only a single basic land each. This makes your draws a lot smoother, as you don’t have much getting in the way of your two main colors. Unfortunately, I was about one BR spell short, and I had to run a Violent Outburst that stretched my mana a bit more than I wanted, as that’s a really weird spell to splash. I almost played Drastic Revelations instead, but I couldn’t feel comfortable without adding another Island, a move I really didn’t want to make. Violent Outburst worked out all right, and had some small synergy with Necrogenesis. My mana was pretty awesome most of the time, as hitting my splashes wasn’t hard even though I never drew Rupture Spire.

Round 5: Brad (FFfreak), Grixis

I recognized Brad from Honolulu, but couldn’t quite remember why. We were called up for a feature match, and that’s when it hit me: he’s FFfreak! Turns out he got 9th in Hawaii, so this could be a little difficult. I also heard another player mutter as we made our way up: ‘I haven’t even heard of those two.’ Thanks, guy. Turns out the other feature match involving LSV got the actual coverage, but at least we got to sit in the feature match area and play on the cool mats.

Brad wins the roll and hits a turn-three Shambling Remains. This makes me laugh because I have two of them. I then cast Blightning, which then makes him laugh and comment I’ve got a couple of those, too? couple? Uh oh. He makes true on his Blightning promise by cascading Kathari Remnant into one. I have three cards in hand, so I keep [card]Violent Outburst[/card], which I cast and hit the Necrogenesis I want. Unfortunately, he has an Agony Warp to kill the one token I can make in time, and the Shambling Remains kills me after attacking every turn of the game it could.

I (accidentally) tried to cheat in game one by casting a Violent Outburst off of Firewild Borderpost and some Swamps, and I was starting to cascade when Brad stopped me. Luckily, he got me to stop before I saw any cards, so I thank him for that.

Now it’s my turn. I start off game two with a Shambling Remains of my own, hoping things will go my way this time. Unfortunately, he starts the game with Esper Stormblade into Parasitic Strix into double Blightning, and that is definitely that. Good games.


Round 6: Jonathan, Esper

Game one is very weird. He plays a turn-one Court Homunculus into a turn-two Tidehollow Sculler, taking a Sangrite Backlash. I get beat down for quite a while through my first play, a Shambling Remains. I start attacking back, and eventually kill the Tidehollow Sculler, which kills another random creature. He casts Stormcaller’s Boon into Wall of Denial, slowing my beats immensely, and follows that up with a scary Brackwater Elemental. I’m at six, but luckily the Court Homunculus isn’t being pumped. I get to attack a lot, and have him one turn away from death, when what artifact does he topdeck? Sphinx of the Steel Wind. Yikes! I am upset because I make a small mistake involving attacking with a 1/1 instead of leaving it back, which essentially gives my opponent three extra mana to use to topdeck his artifact. It ends up not mattering, but it is still frustrating.

I sideboarded in both Molten Frames, taking out Violent Outburst and something else.

I lose this game to Wall of Denial and lots of flyers. I was missing black mana for a while, which was frustrating when I couldn’t Fleshbag Marauders his Wall of Denial on turn three. Otherwise I was pretty behind this game anyway, but I think I should have mulligan a hand without both red and black mana. I’m not sure why I didn’t.


Round 7: Nathaniel, five color

Each game goes very much the same. He is playing at least two Exploding Borders and an Armillary Sphere, so it takes his deck a long time to get going. In game one, I have a turn-two Goblin Deathraiders, and in game two I have a Shambling Remains, which each get to deal some good damage. Bituminous Blast into Brackwater Elemental really accelerates my aggression, and I even get to use Unscythe! I don’t see much of his deck, so there isn’t much to say.


End of Day One

This isn’t where I wanted to be, but at least I was still in contention. The Limited rounds scared me, so I was hoping I could at least escape with a 2-1 and be in contention for the money. I would feel much more comfortable once I made it to the Constructed rounds. Tune in next time to see what became of my dreams.

Thanks for reading,

Jonathon Loucks
Loucksj at gmail

*Superchick is some band that sounds like it was made to make middleschoolers feel better about themselves. Personally, I just like the music, and the positive messaging is just a bonus.

34 thoughts on “Rogue Report – Kansas City Rogues, Part I”

  1. You shouldn’t blame yourself for your opponent’s reactions to losing. If they don’t want to shake your hand or act decently then it’s on them. Don’t start wondering if you should behave differently or if cascade is annoying, the fact of the matter is they have a personality defect and they’ve had it long before they ever sat down to play you.

    Laughing at time warp doesn’t sound that much to me, you don’t appear to be condescending and if this guy read your articles at all he would know that you enjoy playing rogue cards. I know it’s Nats and a lot of people are stressed because this is their first invite only tournament they’ve been to, but this guy was at Hawaii so he’s been there before and should lighten up a little.

    Of course if you don’t feel this bitter about your opponent it’s ok, but that kind of stuff just irks me. Why should anyone feel bad about getting a little lucky and just because it takes a little luck to win a game doesn’t mean you are totally devoid of skill.

    Also, midwesterners say GG too for the most part.

  2. I wrote an entire article about the GG thing once. I got surprisingly positive feedback about it too. I tend to take the sentiment as meaningless or annoying depending on my mood at the end of the match.

  3. Don’t let another person’s poor attitude get under your skin like that. That malice is his revenge against you. Since he can’t beat you in the game itself, he is going to try to hit you where it hurts; he’s going to try to make the game not fun for you because it isn’t fun for him.
    People need parity. If someone feels hurt in some way, they tend to lash out to see someone else suffer with them (it validates them). It goes the same way for feeling good though. You clearly enjoy the game for the game itself and it baffles (and frustrates you) that another person doesn’t share this attitude.
    Your ability to find your own responsibility in a sour state of affairs is the difference between the two of you. You feel compelled to try to figure out what you did to make him so negative while he wasn’t able to figure out why he lost those games.
    Ultimately, there isn’t much you can do about those kinds of people because their problem lies precisely in their inability to properly assess the effects of their actions. The best thing you could possibly do as a player and as a human being in situations like this is keep doing exactly what you do; enjoy the game as hard you can. He’s trying to enjoy it but he doesn’t know how (he thinks that it’s winning that makes it fun), show him how it’s done!

  4. The proper mood is to stay focused and never blow your cool. If you lose say, “Good Game”. The real trick is to say that even if your opponent is a jerk. Gamesmanship is very hard for competitive people to master.

  5. Hey, great article.

    I’m actually about to move to Seattle for grad school. What are the good places there to play?

  6. Dont say GoodGame when u are winning. It is considered rude in the video game society as it is being sarcastic. Extend the hand and say ”Good luck with your next matches” or something like this.

    Also dont feel bad about cascade. You know of a deck which has only instant speed spells in it? They should feel bad. Nice tuning of your deck, cascade is a powerfull mechanic but other than BBE and Bituminous the rest of the cards havent top8ed much. So yea. People playing Cryptics should feel bad.

  7. I go with the ‘perceived luck’ angle – not only on the cascade (I play a similar deck to this and get more than the occasional mocking comment on MTGO), but also elsewhere.

    I drafted a Jund Broodmate deck the other day, and on winning game one was told “man it sucks drafting a good deck and then losing to luck” and then, on game three, got “man, now I just want to [expletive deleted] vomit” when I attacked with the Broodmate pair (opponent on 5) and dropped Resounding Roar (which I’d been holding for two turns) on the one he couldn’t block.

    Some people just don’t take to losing well, especially if they think they’re the better player and that you’ve basically got lucky (whether that be on the draft, the top-deck, cascade, or whatever)

  8. I’m sorry, but no decklist can be named “Flores Barn” with less than four copies of Borderland Ranger/Civic Wayfinder =P

  9. (midwesterner) We certainly say good game here, I dunno why someone would tell you differently. Personally, I always extend the hand, but only say good games if they were good games. I thinks it’s very rude to say good game to an opponent that just got mana screwed or where you just top-decked your one out, but wishing them good fortune in the rest of the tournament and telling them that it was nice to meet/play them is always nice.

  10. (Alabama here) I say “Good Game” when the games are, in fact, good. If I get absolutely crushed or crush someone, I do not say good game…since I either

    A. Feel like I didn’t play to my potential or
    B. Don’t want to be seem facetious to my opponent

    I can, however, see why you say it after every game. The fact is, you were being courteous….and the real dick move here is that guy not shaking your hand, regardless of what you said while offering it.

    In the future if I were you, just judge how well the match actually went…and judge your opponent’s demeanor after winning/losing, and go from there with what you’re going to say.

  11. I think tone has a huge thing to do with it. I mean if you had close games with your opponent and you win then I think it’s okay to say, “good game.” Although yo should make your decision on whether to say it or not based on how they acted during and after the game. If they seem angry I just walk away laughing, because that seems appropriate. If your gonna act like a baby you get treated like one. Losing is part of the game. The sooner you accept it the easier it is to not be afraid of losing. Self reflection and a positive attitude is key in becoming a better player. If you feel some one is really being sarcastic and rude just scoff at them and procede to ignore them.

  12. Nice article, Jonathon! I’m glad you highlighted your opponents’ shabby behaviors too, even if hearing about that sort of thing is a drag. Maybe by shining some light it will become less common? Fingers crossed?

    From your account all you did was play a deck you thought would win and try to have fun, so don’t give the griping more credit than it deserves.

    A lot of people just automatically say “good game,” that’s how they were raised, and you need to lighten up if you’re going to be insulted by that. Still, it might be a good idea to just sidestep the issue with something like “Good luck with your next round.”

    Maybe handshake guy was a germ-phobe!

  13. Hyalopterous Lemure

    I was wondering about the Zaiem’s spreadsheet that you mentioned. This is not the first time I’ve heard of using some kind of formula for strategy, and I’m interested in the technique used here. I’ve always been interested in developing a kind of Universal Field Theory for Magic and have worked on some statistical fundamentals for deckbuilding/SB myself. An article on the subject would certainly be intriguing and if you could provide a sample of the spreadsheet that you used, that would be awesome.

    I personally always extend the hand after a match and have something to say like “good game(s)” or “good luck with the rest of the tournament”. It’s polite and it’s professional and I definitely don’t think anyone should feel bad about doing it. If your opponent is such a sore loser that they can’t appreciate the competition and the camaraderie of playing the game, they shouldn’t be expecting to get much of anything out of their tournament experience and you shouldn’t let that drag yours down either.

  14. I think the “good game” culture varies from game to game. In chess, it’s almost mandatory even in the worst of games; “good” in that case means “fairly played,” not necessarily a very close or interesting game. Occasionally you’ll find someone who doesn’t like hearing that when they lost, but it’s pretty rare. I can’t imagine ever being offended at hearing “good game,” but again, that’s because of where my competitive experience comes from.

  15. It just occurred to me that if I’m afraid “good game” will sound bad to my opponent, I usually go with “thanks for the game” instead. It gets across the message I’m going for with even less chance of offending.

  16. Yea, this is the Ryan (Michigan) you played at Origins 1st roudn of GPT, I believe I gave ya the GG handshake after your never ending army of Unearth men stomped me 🙂

  17. The whole GG thing is really subjective these days. I just say ‘Thanks for the game’ now irrespective whether i win or lose. I’ve had some people abuse me or in one case, throw his enitre deck into a bin when they’ve lost in the distant past but hey, I wasn’t always a gentlemen in some of my games either. But I’m a lot older now.

  18. John, my fourth round opponent playing faeries, apologized after the match for any unsportsmanlike behavior. I meant to mention it, but I must have got caught up in cascade ranting and forgot. That was unfair to John, as he did apologize afterwards, and he was really nice in Hawaii, so I think it was just a bad match. Sorry about that John, now I’m the mean one for sure. Hopefully this misstep won’t cause any hard feelings.

  19. I like your comment on Volcanic Fallout. I’ve watched people complain about their opponent “getting lucky’ and hitting a needed card so many times in instances where the card was played as a four-of by the opponent specifically so they could use it in that situation. I recall a game from Regionals where a Kithkin player was blown out by topdecked mass removal, and when he complained about it, the opponent said, “Well, that’s why I’m running the card.”

    I think better sportsmanship was shown by my turbo-fog opponent in round one of Regionals after I’d Pulsed away all his card-drawing effects two games in a row and killed him with Doran. “You looked like the kind of guy who’d run all four Pulses main.” Notably, this also meant he wasn’t on tilt after the round – he’d hit a bad matchup, it wasn’t a luck-based “bad beat,” and he figured based on his guess a the day’s metagame that he’d be okay in his subsequent rounds (he was wrong about the day’s metagame, but he seemed to be okay with that, too).

    All of the “must be nice” comments let people make personal narratives where their own deck building or game play choices did not contribute meaningfully to their loss, so it “wasn’t their fault.” It’s pesky, but it also means you’re playing against someone who’s choosing to be a bad player. There’s not much you can do about that.

    (And I entirely agree with laughing at the Time Warp. It helps if you verbally cue the opponent that you think it’s cool that it’s seeing play.)

  20. David Daugherty

    I don’t think you were out of line at all. “Good Game” doesn’t really evoke much of a reaction from me unless it’s used condescendingly or after terrible games involving mana screw/flood, lots of mulligans, etc. I’ve had a few jerks actually use the “GG” literally, which sucked obviously. Win or lose, I usually just wish my opponent good luck in the next round. Sometimes when it’s appropriate, I’ll comment that they were a fun opponent or that they had a neat deck etc, but only if I really mean it. If there’s one thing that provokes people easily and consistently, it’s being facetious.

    All things considered, I definitely side with you in this case.

  21. I actually watched the whole (non-) handshake thing transpire. I happened to notice that the match was finishing up, so I figured I’d save them the trouble of calling a judge.

    It was a little surreal, actually. Active ignoring of someone is uncool. I mean, if you don’t want to shake their hand, whatever, but man up and say so. I thought it was pretty rude to leave Jon hanging out there like that.

    Never let someone else dictate how you handle yourself. If they want to engage in d-baggery, that’s on them, not you.

  22. Man I get into suh a competetive kill kill mindset and it takes me awhile to cooldoen after a match loss that felt like a bad beat. I’m always upset about something different though like maybe my mana played out poorly or my five outs were in my last six cads. It’s defnitly a weakness though and I try really hard to control it.

  23. i actaully live in a city south of Kansas city so i got to go and watch! it was a lot of fun. I don’t remember seeing you, were you wearing one of the channel fireball shirts? i completely under stand the whole “it’s rude to saw good game when you win thing” generally the loser is the one who decides if it was a good game…. I also understand the “everyone always says good game” they each have pros and cons and must both be respected methods. don’t worry about it to much.

    write another good one next week. i like how you do tournament articles, instead of the confusing play by play stuff you see at the mothership, you just summarize it smoothly

  24. I always place the onus of saying good game on the loser. If I win and they don’t say it I’ll wish them luck. If they say it I’ll say it back.

    For all I know it was a terrible game for them. Maybe they saw the exact wrong half of their deck where even getting one or two cards in the other half would have gave them a better shot.

  25. I love the article, and I also love you writing style. Really keep up the great work dude ^^

  26. Really, don’t feel sorry about performing a sick Cascade draw if you are playing against Faeries: their players are expecting to perform the much more unfun and broken openings of Blossom – Jace / Spellstutter / Scion – Mistbind against you, so a Bituminous into Bloodbrad or the Wurm into Fallout are only fair against them.

  27. The funny thing is that Loucks is like the single nicest guy I met at Nationals. I got to hang out with him a bunch and play Type 4 and stuff he’s just awesome to chill with and it’s crazy to me that someone would do that to him. I’m fully in favor of being a jerk to someone who’s a jerk themselves, but when it’s to someone like Loucks, it just sucks.

  28. Just another view on the whole Good Game situation, it really does seem to depend on where your background lies. Personally I have no problem with GG after a game of magic that I lost. However I can see where the sentiment comes from. In Starcraft for example, it is considered to be one of the highest forms of bad manner to say “gg” before your opponent if you have won a game.

    That being said though it’s usually pretty easy to tell if somebody is being rude on purpose. You clearly weren’t.

  29. On the “Good Game” topic, I have to admit that I think the main thing is just whether or not the games really were that good for both players. I’ve fought some really grinders that I’ve lost, and because they were so back and forth and really taxed us both could confidently shake my opponent’s hand and reflect that it was in fact, a good game.

    On the flip side, at a local M10 midnight draft I went 1-2 against my third round opponent. Our game 1, he seemed to be playing mono-red, and lost because he was manascrewed and cast 1 spell all game. Games 2 and 3, I was horrifically flooded, and cast about 3 spells each game in an aggro deck. At the end, when he said “Good Games” I replied that our games weren’t good, that the game I won he didn’t do anything, and the games he won I didn’t do anything.

    In summation, most of the time I will reply good game whether or not it really was. However, in the games where one person is never in it, I find it kind of offensive when my opponent says “Good Game” when it really wasn’t. I don’t know why, it just seems to irk me.

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