By March 26, 2008

Pissing in people’s cereal.

So, the store final for the Magic: the Gathering City Champs tournament I wrote about last month was on Easter Sunday. I had low expectations going in since this was my first “real” tournament. I was going to play against folks with a lot more experience and a lot better cards. I kept the deck I used in February basically the same, and set out with Stilts with one objective: to ruin someone’s day.


My store is made up of awesome people, mostly. There are some guys who have played at the pro level before, but are very polite and helpful if you come to the table without an attitude. Most of the other top players are similar in temperament. My favorite player smiles and nods a lot, which helps when he’s kicking the shit out of me.

There are, however, some notable exceptions to the general demeanor of our players, and these were the people I hoped to smash to bits. One fellow, whom we dub “One More Turn,” refuses to congratulate anyone when he loses. He complains about how he didn’t get the right cards, or if he just had “one more turn” he would have done some totally crazy combo that would have not only defeated his opponent, but made them swear off Magic forever. He’s a big talker, and never backs it up. I hate this type of person, and beating “OMT” was one of my primary goals of the day.

My other target was a fellow who usually plays at another store. Apparently he called up our store’s owner (without knowing who he was talking to) and said, “I missed the first few qualifying rounds at my home store. I thought I’d come up to your store, get some wins, and qualify that way.” The assertion was that he’d just waltz in, beat all of us n00bs and progress to the finals. He was actually the guy who beat me in the last round of the qualifier in February, but I wanted to make sure he didn’t move on to VA Beach.

I didn’t get a chance to play OMT, as he got stomped early and often by everyone else. “Ahhhh!!!” he grumbled. “All I needed was to draw this card next turn!” Fucking douchebag. Oh well, at least he went home with losses.

I played the other fellow in round two. He’d lost his first match 0 – 2. I also lost my first match (to Stilts), but felt pretty good about my chances. My opponent was playing some high-skill superdeck. My deck was the equivalent of grabbing a big fucking rock and hitting people with it. I cavemanned his ass to death before he got up enough steam to beat me. It made me feel good to protect the integrity of the store, especially since I’m a new player and didn’t give him the “easy win” he was looking for. He went home in seventh place, I think.

I moved on to round three, against the storeowner’s daughter. She is totally great, and is dating the really good player who smiles and nods a lot. We had similar overall records, but she played her boyfriend in the first round and lost 1 – 2. Stilts defeated me 0 – 2. That meant she’d rank higher than I would in the event of a tie-breaker. Before we started, we talked about her chances of going to VA Beach for States with her boyfriend. He had a perfect record and was a shoe-in.

“If you win, what happens?” I asked.

“I might go, if that guy over there loses.”

“If I win, though, I’m not going anywhere, right?”

“Yeah.”

I thought about losing on purpose right then and there. There was no reason for me to try to win except for my natural competitive nature. I had to try to win, even if losing was for a good cause. We played three games, and I lost 1 – 2. That was bad news for her, because she didn’t sweep me. The store owner tallied up the standings.

“First place, Mr. Nice Grin Guy.”

I held my breath.

“Second place, That Guy Over There.”

She didn’t get to join her boyfriend at States.

Because of our one game that I won.

My stomach sank. Yeah, it felt good to paste the guy from the other store, and it pleased me that OMT had a shitty day. But I wrecked this nice gal’s chance to go to the Beach with her guy and to play at a higher level.

Fuck. Sometimes it sucks to be a fucking jerk.

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5 Comments on "Pissing in people’s cereal."

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  1. Ed says:

    She could still go to the Beach, and watch the better players.

    In fact, this way she can cheer her fellow on rather than spend that time getting stomped by the other people.

    So remember, next time CRUSH HER.

  2. IRS says:

    I used to think you were cool. Not now. I can’t believe you wouldn’t throw the game for her, chivalry is truly dead! 🙂

  3. Hey, if it had been me up against you, I’d have wanted you to play your best. Win! Win! Win! Winning isn’t everything, but I enjoy the games more when the other player is playing to win (unless it’s something like “Apples to Apples” where it’s more of a story-telling game anyway).

  4. Father says:

    Had you thrown the game, That Guy Over There would have snuck into the VA Beach tourney, doused himself in gasoline, burned the place down and killed everyone. So by taking that one game off The Girlfriend you saved everyones’ lives. Congrats!

  5. Jim Shoe says:

    I read this for the first time many years ago, and have never found a reason to doubt the wisdom of it:

    “Stay true. Meaning stay truthful.
    And now Ahbleza saw his thoughts moving into place. If he holds back his horse, he rides untrue to everyone; he misrepresents his intention to those who bet, whether they bet rattles and whistles or robes, bows, horses. And he misrepresents himself to Tonweya, who wins a race which he truthfully loses. But above all, he injures himself.
    For Tonweya eventually will discover that his horse lacks swiftness and that the black runner easily will outrun him. And so a pretense will split these brother-friends the same as flashing-cloud splits the tree, cripples the wood. Never again will Tonweya speak with certainty about Ahbleza. But more important, never again will Ahbleza respect himself.”
    – Hanta Yo x Ruth Beebe Hill, 1979