Feathers and flocks are set to fly at this, the grand reunion of sanctioned Magic and the stormy climate of sleepy Seattle, Washington, the state named for a president that never visited. The setting is Saturday, the event is a Grand Prix, the format is a Rochester draft of You Make the Set 2016, and the playing field is covered with Storm Crows dropping all over these tables. This event has proven to be historic in another way: boasting competitive Magic’s most exclusive collection of players, only the five bravest souls in the Multiverse decided their mettle was worthy of testing in what would be a grueling and punishing three rounds of Rochester Draft. We had time to speak to each, so let’s get to know these wizards now:
Jon Finkel makes a return to the big stage, finding time from typing a novel on a laptop in a coffee shop to shuffle up and show the new generation why he’s still the biggest name in the game.
Kai Budde, the German Juggernaut, makes an appearance to demonstrate his World Champion prowess by sitting in the bleachers drinking draught ale.
Sheldon Menery, also a top judge, also in attendance, taking a break between turns during an intense Commander match to play his rounds in this event.
Bobby Fischer makes his debut in competitive Magic at this event, which is impressive for a man who’s been dead for nearly eight years. He was disqualified before the first round for claiming that Wizards employs Jewish necromancers, a clear violation of his non-disclosure agreement with Wizards.
A local player who only called himself “Roy” came to the event prepared with what he called an “invincible counter troll” strategy of ten Islands, thirty Storm Crows. When asked what his last name was, he replied, “You should know who I am,” then added, “:9”.
SEMI-FINALS: SHELDON VS FINKEL
Both players examined their opening hands, with Finkel going deep into the tank on the mulligan decision. After deeply contemplating what he would later describe as an “existential crisis,” he offered Sheldon the option to decide the round with a coin flip, and was promptly disqualified. In a post-interview, Finkel described the format as “mostly solved, so there was nothing for me to gain by playing. I had a moment where I realized I could be doing anything other than attacking with Storm Crows, for example, writing the follow-up to my critically-acclaimed book, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids.”
SHELDON 0 FINKEL 0 (Disqualified)
SEMI-FINALS: KAI VS BEER
After Fischer’s pre-tournament disqualification, leaving us lacking in a feature match to, uh, feature, we “drafted” Kai to fill in. He had his own ideas.
Kai spent most of the weekend practicing for this event with his Thursday night trivia team, and the confidence he exuded was matched only by the number of bathroom breaks he took during this round.
His opponent, a pint of beer, was Kai’s seventh round against this time-tested opponent. Beer hails from ancient Egypt, and was instrumental in the building of the Pyramids deck that dominated professional Magic for millenia. While beer’s popularity in the professional circuit has waned in recent years due to vaping’s meteoric rise, it nonetheless makes frequent appearances at side events as an under-the-radar strategy.
The round began with three pints being put onto the battlefield by the event staff, but Kai brought his champion’s dominance of the format to the fore, outdrinking everyone in the building. Games one and two ended somewhat predictably, but game three wrapped up with celebration from the audience when the board was cleared and Kai summoned forth a liter of Jagermeister to close up the round.
We only then found out that Kai was in fact drinking for charity, and that this event broke his previous record. Legal informed us that this meant we were implicitly promoting said charity, which was good, but Kai didn’t ask permission to do so at a Magic event, which is bad. He received a six-month suspension.
KAI 3 (Suspended) BEER 0
GRAND FINALS – ROY VS SHELDON
Before the round began, Sheldon requested a deck check, complaining that Roy’s sleeves appeared worn. It was discovered shortly after that Roy had replaced the cards he had drafted with numerous counterfeit copies of Troll Ascetic, Crystal Shard, and a homemade card simply titled, “HEHAL.” Roy protested that his deck was tampered with by the judge staff, which is under review.
We would like to take this time to remind players that counterfeit cards are not to be used for any reason, especially not in a sanctioned event or against a player in a sanctioned event as a mechanism for sabotage. Barring any further evidence to support his claims, Roy has been banned for life.
SHELDON 0 ROY 0 (Banned)
How surprising and truly Magical that an event built around so much unity – in this case, a set of nothing but Storm Crow – could inspire such chaos. Only in an event like this would we see new and brilliant strategies for overtaking your opponents, sometimes never having to even sit down to play.
Kai’s memorial service will be held privately in a church in Berlin.
– Rich “The Hague” Hagon