Exclusive Sneak Peek: Randy Buehler’s New Biography “Year One: The Skull”

Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017 Good Gamery
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We at Good Gamery are glad to announce that we were asked to preview an excerpt from Randy Buehler’s upcoming biography, Year One: The Skull! We didn’t have time to read it however, both because we didn’t see the e-mail right away and we weren’t that interested, so we’re just printing it here as it was sent to us instead. Enjoy!

My recollection of the events leading toward Pro Tour Chicago, despite lending themselves to my future recognition and fame in the greater Magic community, are somewhat hazy as I did not see fit to document them at the time. Some of the following descriptions and places have been recollected for me by those present to witness them, and as I began chronicling them for this book I found myself leaning on their oral accounts more readily. The following events are therefore transcribed with the best possible accuracy I could muster. It must be noted here that I do not seek to embellish or exaggerate my story, and the greatest portions of this tale are matter of historical record.

Where my memory is clearest is the day I purchased my first Ice Age starter deck. At this time in my career I was a fan of the concept of snow-covered lands, as they enhanced the mystical flavor the game of Magic is known for, so I saw to fill my decks with as many of these lands as possible. I harbored a secret bet that snow-covered dual lands would follow soon, possibly in the next expansion, though this was a trivial wish as it relates to my story: I simply wish to impress upon you what the game meant to me during this era.

Upon touching the pack of cards, I felt a cold pulsing feeling emanating from within its shrink-wrapped cardboard exterior. For the first time in my career, I felt something ominous and perhaps foretelling in that instant, as though there were some higher power and it was looking down upon me. However, this pack was not particularly great, as it sported four rares — lucky — but they were all Necropotence, a known junk rare that players were loathe to open — unlucky.

About an hour after skimming through the cards and putting the Necropotences away in my trade binder, a sudden illness fell over me and I felt quite faint. I thought not of it, perhaps a reaction to the addictive ink we knew the product contained but that we had built a tolerance for — maybe this newest expansion was targeted at the hardcore addicts, those of us who had felt the hooks and developed the shakes yet could never be sated by something as simple as Wednesday drafts. After arising from a short spell my mind remained clouded, and I had not thought about the contents of the starter pack until some weeks later, when a small child of no more than ten years of age inquired about the four copies of Necropotence now on display. He, wisely and beyond his years, simply pointed at the card rather than making direct contact, and remarked that the art was “gnarly.” I agreed with a wry chuckle, thinking it ironic that such evocative art would grace such a terrible card; it will become clear later, dear reader, that “terrible” is not the most inaccurate way for me to describe the card.

I resigned to my apartment to sleep off whatever malady had struck me, hoping it was either some seasonal flu, a mild headache, or a reaction to the several cans of Jolt I had consumed while at the store. After a lengthy, dreamless nap, I awoke to a dark-lit room, aglow only with the pulsing of my computer monitor which, to my memory, was not on before my slumber. Approaching it, my eyes were not yet able to focus until reaching the desk proper; at that moment, they focused onto the familiar yin-yang symbol taken as a banner by the now-legendary Magic theory site known as The Dojo. The specific page it was loaded to would contain a deck list that would seal my fate and impress my person upon the collective Magic player base: Necro.

I immediately recalled that I had acquired four copies of the namesake card in a prior hour, and dashed to my bag and binder to ensure I had not traded them away or perhaps not acquired them at all. It was then that I opened the binder straight to the page containing the Four Skulls of Apocalypse, as I had nicknamed them in the years following this story. I resolved then and there, from the bottom of my stomach and parts of my small intestine, to assemble the deck and give it a couple of tries before I wrote the concept off and went back to playing other decks.

After taking the symbolic oath to Tourach and playing some test matches, progress was in short supply: I took to the deck immediately, as though I knew instinctively how to pilot it to victory. This period of time is admittedly somewhat of a blur, but the short version is I put a couple of smaller tournaments under my belt unde rmyb el t un and therefore felt comfortable enou gh t ota k e it to ta a k e i t t o the Pro Tour I had managed to quality for with a lesser, pitiable deck, not worthy of my devotion or love despite our good times together in the past — I clutched the deck with the fire of Hell in my eyes and threw it on the ground. There was no room for inferiority before this precious, precious gem with four heads and four Skulls.

I will not belabor you with a retelling of events that have been well-documented, so instead I will speak only of the Finals, so as to impress upon you the majesty of deck design that we mere mortals havvvvve beennn blessd d ed to experience in our short, insignificant lifetimes. It was during this match that I felt what the believers of the gods of light would describe as an “unholy power” emanating from the ender of all tournaments, the literal representation of trading my soul for the pursuit of something greater, something distructive, something that allowed me to feed off my opponent’s very essence, their raison d’ĂȘtre: the Skull.

I felt this power as a slow build, sometimes waning whenever I cast a Disenchant, but coming on strongly when tapping Lake of the Dead. It was in these brief low moments that I felt weak, cold, and somewhat abandoned, though by who I could not say. I would regain my draw step, and every single time, I hoped the top of my deck was another Necro Necro Neexrro xmecro nnnnnno

It was during the Finals that you felt most powerful. It was when I was with you the closest, consuming all that you were and replacing it with a being higher-evolved, capable of ravaging the world and laying waste to all of these pitiful, verminesque humans. You would have your worldly crown and reclaim My throne as the ruler of this dimension, and I would accept the demise of our strongest opponent, David Mills. You once felt a fondness for him as a friend and confidant, but now only saw him as the most dangerous challenger to our ascendancy, worthy only of scorn and terror. His body count, after all, was as high as yours.

You have done well to spread My majesty and infect others with My power. This power was manifested in even more perverse and sacrilegious ways, for example NecroDonate. No, seriously, that deck is terrifying even to Me.

[Editor’s Note: The transcript of this report ends here. There is additional writing in his hand-written copy submitted for publication, however it remains untranslatable, resembling some sort of arcane symbolic language. After its crimson glow hypnotized one of our editing staff, we elected to not reprint it intact here.]