Hareruya Osaka Modern 12/31

New Year’s Eve!

Round 1 - Walls?

Don't know this deck. But I was not able to combo game one before he got a metric fuck-ton of walls and played Arcades. I have no idea how to side, but I’m expect graveyard hate and maybe Leyline of Sanctity. I was right about the Leyline. 0-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Dredge

Game one starts with a Shriekhorn. Things don't get better. A ridiculous board smashing into my face soon after. Game two he has a slower start and I manage to storm off at 2 life. Game three I mulligan down to enough rituals and an Empty the Warrens, but I waited too long. Turn four he casts Stain the Mind for Empty the Warrens. Didn’t even know that was a card! 1-2 and I’m 0-2.

Round 3 - Blue Black Ninjas

Sometimes winning doesn't feel good. My opponent seemed new to Modern. He got some Ninjas out against me, and he seemed proud each time he Ninjitsued one onto the battlefield. But each time I comboed off the next turn. Two of the easiest games I’ve played with Gifts Storm. They didn't feel good, though. 2-0 and I’m 1-2.

Round 4 - Slivers

This was my first time against Slivers. Game one he almost gets me but I combo on turn three. Game two he has a Relic of Progenitus turn one. I finally get a high enough storm count to make twenty-two Goblins and pass the turn. He then plays a Sliver that gives them all flying. Oops. Didn't know that was a thing. Game three was similar but this time he lacked Slivers that pumped his team. I put sixteen Goblins on the board and then cast Abrade on his flying-granting Sliver. 2-1 and I’m 2-2.

Round 5 - Tron

I lose the die roll and flip through my notebook. I went second every game one today. Oh well. I’m not going to make top 8, but maybe I can squeeze out a win. He leads with an Urza’s Mine and an Expedition Map. Fuck me. He plays a Wurmcoil Engine and it hits me twice. He’s at thirty-two and has a Relic of Progenitus. I cast Repeal at the end of his turn and he activates it. But I had two Gifts Ungiven and Baral. Two Grapeshots take him out. Game two I am stuck on two lands as he plays the Karn-Father. But for some reason he exiles a land instead of Baral. I draw a Mountain, make eight Goblins and Grapeshot him twice (Thanks, Remand!) to kill off Karn and get in some damage. He plays two Thragtusks in as many turns, but the ten life isn’t enough and he’s bricking on draws. (Not that I had much. I had been drawing lands.) He’s finally at two. He draws and passes the turn. I have three Goblins and Baral. I swing and he admits defeat. 2-0 and I’m 3-2.

I kind of hate Modern. I could (should?) play a more broken deck. But I do like puzzling out games of Storm. Although I’m not quite yet good at figuring out what to do in weird situations. There was a game against the Walls player where a different Gifts pile might have given me a chance. There’s much to learn about Magic. That’s why I love it.

I had time, so I signed up for five o’clock Standard. They were offering it for free, but there were only six of us. My first round opponent was on a creatureless, planeswalkerless Jeskai deck. My draws with Chromatic Black did not line up well. During the match they announce that I got twenty-second place in the Modern tournament. This month was the store’s second anniversary. So they gave a pack of Ultimate Masters to anyone who ended the tournament with a two in the one’s place. A garbage rare, but it’s the thought that counts.

Round two I’m paired up against one of the round one winners. I mulligan a no-lander into a no-lander. I grab the slip, sign it and congratulate him on winning the match. It’s New Year’s. He can have it. Anyone 2-1 or better gets a prize. I didn't feel like fighting for it. He thanks me and I say Happy New Year. I head home.

Tomorrow is 2019. Damn. Well. Hey. Happy New Year.

Hareruya Osaka Legacy 12/30

Hareruya Legacy 12/30

It's the end of the year. In Japan that means family things! But not for me! Well, yes, I have my son, but I see him on Xmas. He spends New Year's with his Japanese family. Now, I could stay home. But there's Magic to play.

I head to Hareruya and order three Urza Saga Duresses. Four mismatched ones were starting to bug me. Some friends show up and we have fifty-nine people and five rounds. Time to make it rain.

Round 1 - Maverick

Game one he has a Scavenging Ooze on turn two. I take some damage as I try to fill my graveyard to cast my three Cabal Rituals. Turn four he plays a Tireless Tracker, a fetch, and gets two Clues. I get enough into my graveyard that Ooze can't stop me. I make a bunch of Black mana, cast Past in Flames, sack two LEDs for Blue and Red. He thinks. His Ooze eats a Brainstorm and I flashback Ponder and get an Infernal Tutor. Game two he opens with just a land. I look at my hand. Lotus Petal, two Cabal Rituals, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, LED and Polluted Delta. I draw a Bayou and make fourteen goblins. He plays Thalia, takes thirteen, draws and scoops. I'm 1-0.

Round 2 - Omnitell

My opponent is from my usual store, but I haven't seen him recently. He usually plays Omnitell, but last we played I was on RUG Delver. I start with an Underground Sea and Ponder. Grab Thoughtseize. Next turn he counters it. I play Preordain for nothing. He casts Show and Tell. Omniscience and then Emrakul. Sigh. Game two starts like the first, but he doesn't have enough counters. I make him shuffle away Emrakul. He plays a Grim Lavamancer and Search for Azcanta. Next turn I lay out my Storm counters, he laughs. I combo off. He thought I was on some BUG variant. Game three I have lots of Dark Rituals and some discard. I go for it. He's got Flusterstorm for my first Dark Ritual and a Force of Will for my Thoughtseize. Next turn he has Show and Tell with Emrakul. I double Dark Ritual, cast Ad Nauseam and don't see a Petal or an LED. I'm 1-1.

Round 3 - Merfolk

I play Duress. Mutavault, Island, True-Name Nemsis, Lord of Atlantis, Phantasmal Image, Force of Will and Umezawa's Jitte. Fish! I combo off turn two and check my sideboard guide. This was my first time against Merfolk in Legacy and games two and three are ones I won't soon forget. Game two I bait his Cursecatcher with a Duress. Or did I? Because next turn I get a Chalice of the Void for one slammed on my face. I do my best stave off death. But I only hit him with seven Tendrils and could not find the resources to finish him before the fish finish me. Game three we both mulligan. I hit him with a Thoughtseize and see two Islands, three Lords of Atlantis and Harbinger of the Tides. He plays a Relic of Progenitus. The fish don't stop. I'm 1-2.

Round 4 - Omnitell

I Thoughtseize. He casts Force of Will. On my next turn I Ponder, hoping for something. He plops down Ancient Tomb, Show and Tell into Omniscience. Guess who comes next? Yay, Emrakul. This is familiar. Game three: Tropical Island, Ponder, Brainstorm, Lotus Petal, Flusterstorm, Duress and a Cabal Ritual. Guess how many lands I saw after that? Here's a hint: I lose 0-2 and I'm 1-3.

Round 5 - Maverick

Hm. Wait a second. Anyway. Game one I have this feeling and after a Ponder I fire off a Thoughtseize via a Lotus Petal. He had an Ethersworn Canonist! A few cantrips later I combo off. Game two he has a Gaddock Teeg when I hit him with Thoughtseize. Safe! The next turn I combo for fourteen goblins. Should be good, right? Well, see, there's this card called Armadillo Cloak. It's not bad on a Geist of Saint Traft. And it's pretty bad when you forget it gives trample. I didn't leave enough goblins behind to block. I should have anyway because he would have outraced me with the angel token. Alas. Game three was dull. First I sent back a bad seven. Then I send back a decent six. A mistake. My five was bad. Hatebears kill me. I'm 1-4.

But it was fun. I love ANT. I hate Ad Nauseam.

I watch some games and decide to grab some food and go home. I couldn't find an open restaurant. I ate some jam-filled bread and drank some coffee as I waited for my train home. The old man at the convenience stand rang up my items by hand and he had mistaken my ¥160 beverage for one that cost ¥140. I correct him. It was the right thing to do.

It's those little things that matter and I am sure I will pick them up as I play more ANT. I've got no plans for the New Year's and there's a Modern tournament tomorrow. Time for some more Storm.

12/29 Standard PPTQ

It’s the last PPTQ of the calendar year. I am not in the mood for Drakes or Golgari. I decide to bring Chromatic Black. I have been goofing around with the deck online and at Friday Night Magic, and it has been fun. Plus someone actually brought it to Worlds? So hey, why not have some fun.

Round 1 - Boros Aggro

A quick 0-2 remindered me why I shouldn’t have registered this. Game one was somewhat interesting as I lead with a Thaumatic Compass, quickly get lands and draw... More lands. I was able to blow up the board once, fight off with two fake Maze of Iths but mana flood into extinction. Game two was a mulligan for Boros and a decent keep for me. Alas, their six was better. Legion’s Landing, Adanto Vanguard, Legion Warboss. I wipe. He pays four life. Next turn for him is Heroic Reinforcements and then an Ajani the next turn. Could it be any more perfect? I wish him luck, and he laughs. The last time we were both at this store we played each other first round. But he got me this time. I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Golgari

Six rounds today. If I get home before 8pm I can play a Sealed MCQ on Magic Online. I decide to focus on doing something fun today before I drop. So I did that game one with a quick Josu Vess and my opponent doing lots of math to see how I could not kill him the next turn. Game two he embarrassed me with double Duress after I took a mulligan. Losing my Treasure Map and Ritual of Soot was game over. Game three opened like two. Mulligan and he casts Duress. My hopes dropped as I kept casting things he used Assassin’s Trophy on. But I had two Cabal Strongholds so I needed to draw my Masterminds. Then I did. Two. Belzenlok and Josu took the round 2-1 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3 - Izzet Drakes

Spirits higher, I see my opponent is the person who sat next to me round two. But he watched my game end, so we both knew what the other was playing. I shuffled up and he went down to five cards. I kept a slow hand but lots of removal with The Eldest Reborn to clean up. Game two was a long back and forth where the fake Maze of Ith kept me alive long enough to finally Banefire for 29. 2-0 and I’m 2-1.

Round 4 - Treasure Red

Game one it’s a Karn on Karn battle. He has more Karns, though. His Constructs soon overpower me as I’m looking for a Ritual of Soot. He Banefires me for one to end the game. This is important. Remember this. Game two I flip two Treasure Maps early. I untap and look at a his board with Karn, a Construct and a Rekindling Phoenix. I count my mana twice. He urges me to speed up. I cast Mastermind from a Cabal Stronghold to get Zacama. Cast Zacama, blow the shit out of his Phoenix and its elemental. He draws and scoops. Game three he’s flips a Treasure Map early. I have a Compass and am trying to assemble lands. He plays a Chainwhirler into a Legion Warboss. I Ritual of Soot and pass. He drops Karn, makes a Construct and drops the Snapcaster Pirate. I topdeck land six and stare at the board. I’m at thirteen. I have my other Ritual of Soot, a Mastermind’s Aquisition and Belzenlok. What would you do? I play Belzenlok, go down to twelve, losing a Cabal Stronghold and gain a Duress. He untaps and swings. I write down six. He casts Banefire. Fuck. Why was I worried about losing Belzenlok? Now, I didn’t know his hand. Had I cast Rain of Soot, I would have drawn the Cabal Stronghold. Then Belzenlok, get Duress and toss away his Banefire. Not that I knew it could have gone that way. Either way, I sped through that turn too fast and didn’t consider my opponent’s cards. Something I have to pay more attention to. 1-2 to be 2-2.

Round 5 - Boros Angels

Turn two Adanto Vanguard from him and I know I’m in trouble. Lucky for me I’m able to stay alive long enough to kick Josu Vess. His paying four life to keep his Vanguard alive through a Ritual of Soot let my Zombie Knights deal exact. Game two I mulligan away garbage and open a few lands and a Treasure Map. He plays an Adanto Vanguard, and then Resplendent Angel. The icing on the cake was an Ixalan’s Binding on my Treasure Map. It wouldn’t have helped as he smashed my face in.

Then there was game three. He goes land. Land. Land, History of Benalia. History of Benalia. History of Benalia. I flip my Treasure Map and kill two knights with two Moment of Cravings. I have two Vraska’s Contempts in hand, but I am in trouble if something big happens. He swings for twelve when the second History of Benalia pops. I top deck a Ritual of Soot to clean the board. He plays a Rekindling Phoenix. I scry with Treasure Map to flip and want a land but see a third Vraska’s Contempt. This was a game of multiples. I Contempt his Phoneix. He plays Rekindling Phoneix into Lyra and I thank the world that I did not scry that third Contempt to the bottom. He drops two Resplendent Angels and I respond with a Josu Vess. He swings at me, pumps the Angel I didn’t target with Fake Maze of Ith and he puts two Angel tokens into play. He’s at twenty five. I uptap and count my lands and treasure tokens in my head. I swing. He decides to block a Zombie instead of Josu. He goes down to seven. I activate Cabal Stronghold, cast Mastermind’s Aquisition and grab my sideboard. Tap out and Banefire for nine. Wouldn’t have matter if he blocked Josu or not. He extends his hand. 2-1 and I’m 3-2.

Round 6- Golgari

I’m eleventh place. My tie breakers don’t look great. Playing for points. That’s fine. Let’s have some fun. Game one I’m on the play and mulligan down to a decent six. Unfortunately he gets going and my removal can’t keep up. I die short of flipping a Compass. Game two is another mulligan to a keep I’m not as happy with but feel pretty decent against Golgari. But he’s got Duress on turn one. He takes my Chromatic Lantern and I start working on a Treasure Map I had scried to the top. Although I have plenty of removal, he’s got plenty of planeswalkers. Karn, Vivian, Carnage Tyrant. I drop a Karn of my own before he plays Vivian and minus for a token. Vivian kills the token. I play yet another Karn and get out a token. Then here comes the Carnage Tyrant. I make another token to have six artifacts out. Vivian is too low to kill another token, so I swing into Karn to kill it. Now, was this a misplay? I had a Duress. Should I have done it first? He had another Vivian, and Carnage Tyrant. Plus Vraska’s Contempt, The Eldest Reborn, Find//Finality and a Chupacabra. I take The Eldest Reborn. Karn’s dead, but my tokens are going to die. He plusses Vivian to find a Plaguecrafter, my one token dies. He Contempts the other and slams into Karn. I play my third Karn, make a token and wait to die. He kills Karn. and plays the other Carnage Tyrant. I Vraska’s Contempt Vivian. He swings in for 14 and I’m at eight. I topdeck my fourth Karn, play it with mana floating from a Cabal Stonghold, plus Karn, praying for a miracle. (Double Masterminds? I had enough treasure tokens to make this happen. I did get doubles, though. Swamps. I laugh, he laughs, some people watching the game laugh. I sign the slip. A quick 0-2 to end 3-3.

As I leave I see the guy who beat me round one relaxing outside. He drew into top eight. I wish him luck and hop on the subway. I grab a Big Magic coupon out of my Modern deckbox from MMM The Finals two weeks ago. I then sigh when I see a sign saying Big Magic won’t open again until January third. I run over to Dragonstar and take a quick look at the Green and Blue binders. The Xantid Swarm and Chain of Vapors I needed for Storm are on page two each time. I message the group chat I’m in and they say there’s a Legacy tournament at Hareruya tomorrow. I’ve got my plans.

What did I learn? I can get lucky even when my opponent gets lucky. Three History of Benalias back to back to back? I cannot believe I pulled that out. When a friend asked him how the game went he said he lost, but it was a good game. Even if I hadn’t pulled it out in the end, I don’t think I could have been mad that game. It was swingy and fun. I ended on a bummer of a note, but we can’t have them all.

What did I learn? I need to take a brief moment at the start of each turn and think a little. Now, when I did this to do the math for Zacama, my opponent made a comment about how I should speed up. I let this get to me. I may have taken a little too long that time, but that doesn’t mean I take no time. As soon as I wrote down six on the lifepad I realized a Banefire was coming at my head. A second too late, but at least I realized it? Either way, a 3-3 with what I would hardly call a top tier deck doesn’t feel that bad. I had a good time.

Fucking cars

Back in 2017 I had an accident. Nothing serious, but my car was totaled. Easily done when your car isn't worth much.

So I bought a "new" one. I'm still paying it off. But it was acting funny. Just as I was about to call the place I bough it, they called me saying they were offering a fairly cheap checkup. One of my back lights had gone out so I needed that replaced anyway and this gave me an excuse to go and get everything looked at.

The car's fine. I spent ¥4000 to get the bulb replaced, have the car looked at and got a free oil change.

I feel better. So much better. Not as good as if I put myself in a position where I would never have to drive again, but we'll get there when we get there.

I hope.

Stupid fun

I played this deck tonight at Friday Night Magic.

It was easily the most fun I had this entire Standard. I wish I had brought this to the Grand Prix. I don't care if I won any more or less. I would have had so much joy.

Okay, but still. It's a bit of a silly deck. I ended up going 2-1, beating two Selesnya Token decks and losing to Keld Red, but I was surprisingly close to beating the Red deck. I might have misplayed somewhere. Still. This was more fun than I ever could have imagined.

There are just joys of hitting your opponent with a Banefire for twenty out of seemingly nowhere or your oppenent's jaw dropping when you flip over a Niv-Mizzet, Parun and Josu Vess, Lich Knight with Karn, Scion of Urza.

Magic can be fun. I have to not forget that.

Getting sloppy

I went 1-4 in a Competitive League tonight with Gifts Storm. Lots of sloppy play. I was surprised to not see a single Phoenix deck, but I did see a lot of mainboard hate. Lots of decks with Relic of Progenitus in the main, and two with Anger of the Gods that both got me turn three after I had gone off with my one of Empty the Warrens.

Kind of impressive!

But I think I tilted, or at least I let it get to me because I started overthinking and was playing a bit sloppy. Then I lost, and lost, and lost. And lost! Four losses. But I did get a match win and usually a win per match, but some were due to luck and some were due to not-so-bad playing. But at least I shook off some rust before this weekend where there's going to be lots of Modern and Legacy.

Grinding

I played a Dominaria sealed tonight. I got to face off against someone with two Verix Bladewings. Seriously? On top of that they had another Mythic, and I look at my pool and wonder why play sealed?

Other than it's fun. I had fun. 4-3, I believe? Maybe 5-3? No, 5-3 would have gotten me enough gems to do another. 4-3. Still, with a Muldrotha, the Gravetide and a decent BUG pool to play along with I did okay.

Although poor Muldrotha got exiled.

Then I did a 3-2 league with ANT. I messed up clicking one game. I swear I was holding down Control, but I must have messed up somewhere. Then there was Miracles where I kept a hand I probably shouldn't have, and well, soemtimes you don't draw what you need to draw.

But I'm feeling better with ANT every time I play it. And I'm excited to bring it, and Gifts Storm, to this weekend of Osaka Magic tournaments coming up. It's going to be a fun time.

I like fun.

Getting back on track

With the (deserved) hubbub about Tumblr banning adult material, I went through to see if anything of mine got tagged. What I did find was that I used to write a lot more. And it kind of made me sad. What happened?

I was writing a lot more prior to the divorce. I guess now that I have stepped out of that stage of my life I have other things going on so I don't feel the need to express myself?

No, that doesn’t make sense.

I spent the past two night sleeping as soon as I got home. Had I not pulled myself out of bed tonight to actually do something, I would have done the same three nights in a row.

I’m not quite happy with that.

This was originally meant to be me writing about me writing, and now I feel like I’m wasting my time, and yours.

But I’m putting up a blog post. That's something I haven't done in a few weeks now. So maybe this can help me get started again.

If I only knew what I was working towards.

Oh, go fuck yourself.

I streamed some Arena and Magic Online tonight.

I went 4-2 with Eight Drakes. I did terrible with the deck over the GP weekend (I still need to write up the whole GP stuff, but that is coming.) but winning with the deck at least made me feel a little bit less insane. It literally felt impossible over the GP weekend.

Then I went over to Magic Online for some Legacy. Gotta get ANT practice in before Eternal Party 2018.

So I get paired up against Manaless Dredge. Go off game one. Game two I get them with some back to back discard. You might think "But they want to discard!" Ah yes, but if you keep them off of their Dredge cards and unable to choose what to discard, well, they get stuck.

So I get to my turn three and I have the kill in hand. I cast Brainstorm to get things going. I cast Dark Ritual.

They don't respond.

A minute passes.

Five minutes pass.

Eventually the respond. I combo off and win. But this kind of shit is why I'm starting to like Arena more and more. Yes, Magic Online has the timer that almost prevents this, but still, having to wait, what, ten minutes if someone disconnects or is just quote mode, AFK?

Fuck you. Come on.

Sure, something seirous might have happened, but I doubt it. People just want to be buttholes.

Bring on Arena.

Focus lost

I finished up a lot of translation work last week. I was actually ahead and only had one job that required minimum work a day. I figured I deserved the time "off".

But then I get a big job today and it was surprisingly hard to get into it. Maybe it was because I had just woken up from a nap, but focusing on getting 5000 characters done when I only needed to do around 1000 for the past three days was surprisingly hard.

In just a few days, and seriously just a few days because I was doing a lot of characters per day last week, I got super lazy. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it?

Perhaps over-analyzing it will get me nowhere. Perhaps I just have to be grateful for the work, grateful that I had time to nap and woke up around the time the new work came in, and was able to get some translation done and then even streamed for about a half hour.

Not a bad day. Hopefully I can just focus better on translating tomorrow.

ANT Progress

One of the nice things about streaming, even if I don't get many viewers, is that I will get people who will help me with my playing. That was a big help.

Although I went back to review some of my play and I don't talk enough. I went through one thing thinking a lot, but I don't think out loud, and that's not entertaining for viewers.

I still need to find a Magic Online layout that I like. I realized into a Ad Nauseam that my video was covering part of my hand, and rewatching the video I see my chat covered the Storm count. Whoops.

Although I am no designer and don't know what would look good. Or how to get Magic Online to fit the best while still being able to have the stuff available. I’ll have to try and figure something out.

I usually don't go back and watch my videos unless I know something is awesome that I want to make a clip of, but seeing myself play silently for five minutes, even though I won, is eye-opening. I think a lot, I should just vocalize it. That’s probably not only good for viewers, but for helping me think.

That said, I ended the night 3-2. Not only did I get my first match win with Storm tonight, but my first set of prizes. So the event paid for itself and I’m up two tickets. This was my third league with the deck, so ticket-wise I’m down, but knowledge-wise I am making progress.

I played Vintage Magic

So for some reason I was looking at Vintage deck lists. I think the ship has sailed on me having a set of Power 9. But then I looked at Magic Online and they are... Relatively affordable. Well, I mean we're talking $2 or so for a Mox instead of $1000+. So hey, I had a bunch of tickets from some winnings and selling other stuff so I grabbed a list that seemed interesting, had put up some results and didn't require stuff like four Mox Opals.

So I put together this. Is it good? Well, I never got to cast its namesake once, but in my first Vintage game ever I started off by cracking a fetch for an Underground Sea, played a Mox Emerald, cast Demonic Tutor, got a Black Lotus and then cast Tinker to get a Blightsteel Colossus. I had a Force of Will but my opponent scooped.

I did win one game each match but overall went 0-5. I definitely don't know the format well enough to say that I wasn't making terrible mistakes, but goodness it was a good time. A genuinely fun time.

Now I just need to make a game that makes me hundreds of thousands of dollars so I build a Vintage deck in person.

Learning

I went 4-1 with Gifts Storm Monday night. That felt good. I have been playing around with Gifts Storm since September. I feel like I'm constantly getting a little better.

Last night I tried Ad Nauseam Tendrils, affectionally known as ANT. I’m playing a version with Daze because I don't want to buy a Bayou. Yes, I purchased Lion’s Eye Diamonds, but that is neither here nor there. I can't be spending all the money all the time.

This was my second attempt at playing ANT. It was another 0-5 experience.

I’m sure the Daze version has its issues, and I’m also sure I’m just making mistakes or have a weak Sideboarding or sideboarding skills. But it's actually fun to play, which despite my worries that now is not the best time to be getting into ANT, as they say, formats like Legacy are part about knowing your deck and the matchups. So I’ll keep trying.

Maybe I’ll win a match one day. I hope so. Grand Prix Shizuoka is coming up and maybe Grixis Control or Grixis Delver would be the smarter choice, but right now I’m thinking ANT. We've got a few weeks for me to decide.

Little Joys

So. Today is my birthday. I don’t really expect much. A few “Happy birthdays” from friends and family. Maybe treat myself to a nice dinner.

Normally on Tuesdays I stay home and stream. But I didn’t want to stay home alone. So I went out.

One of the shops I like to go to does Legacy tournaments on Tuesdays. It’s a bit of a drive, but hell, treat yourself.

So I went. Got some happy birthdays from my Magic playing friends. Played Grixis Control. Got beat by Mono Black Reanimator, Burn and Miracles. Wasn’t a great record, but I felt like I played pretty well and just had some bad beats. Whatever.

Last place. Eh. I had fun. Chat with my friends. Store owner comes out, announces the winner. They get a Masters pack. A die gets rolled for the random prize. I win it. Nothing good in the pack, but still nice.

Shop owner says one more thing. Happy Birthday starts playing. A piece of cake gets brought out to me. Everyone applauds.

It was good cake. It was a good night.

Now it’s my turn to make 36 a good year.

Wish me luck.

On the edge of 36

It's New Year's Eve for me!

Tomorrow starts my thirty-seventh year on the planet because I'll be thirty-six years old. That's how the math works, right? When you're zero, that's your first year, so... Yes.

Ah, I am glad I studied computer science. It came in handy.

I've been... a bit of a shit recently. Well, I can blame lots of things but I've just been an up and down emotional rollercoaster. I could and slash or want to blame it on things like my results in Magic tournaments, but that's not quite it. It's... more existential. Or some bullshit. I dunno.

I streamed for a few hours tonight. It doesn't matter how many viewers I got since I would have wanted to practice Magic anyway, so why not stream it? But still. At some point the brain goes "Why am I doing anything? Am I actually being a service to the world?"

And that makes me sad.

I know several people who just seem to do things. I don't. I have intense fear of, well, everything. And for fuck's sake do I not have the excuse for it. I am blessed in so many ways. And yet I let so many opportunities pass.

Why? Why am I so scared? What made it so innate in me?

What makes me hate myself so much?

I've made it through thirty six years. That's nearing the halfway point of life expectancy. I could die tomorrow. I probably won't, but things happen. I've already lost two of my gradeschool friends. Their families lost their children.

I'm alive. So why am I not living?

Pointless, but it feels good

My classes were canceled today.

I’m really lucky in several ways with this job.

So, I was a mess yesterday. I’m actually a bit embarrassed about the post, but I’m not taking it down. I need to remember the good and the bad.

Today I slept in, did translation work, handled some bank stuff, took a bag of Halloween goodies to my son, got a haircut, went to Standard Showdown.

I went 3-0. Crushed it. I haven’t done this well in a while. Now, I have to stop myself and remember that this changes nothing. Not really. I just played a game and did well instead of poorly.

But I needed it today.

It was a reminder that sometimes things can go “right”. Sometimes they can go wrong. I actually was mana flooded two of the games I won. Let’s talk about math. A 21 land deck should probably not be hitting land drops more consistently than a 26 land control deck, but that’s not what happened.

But it doesn’t matter what “should” happen. What happened happened and I had to deal with it. And I was able to turn it into wins.

And much like I’ll forget the many tournaments I bombed out of, I'll forget this one I won. It doesn’t make me suddenly the best player in the world.

But while winning was nice, I’m really happy that I played well. I mulliganed more aggressively than I usually would. It happened to pay off this time. I set up plays where I knew I was reducing my opponents’ chances to win while increasing mine.

And I feel like I learned stuff. How to handle this weird Phoenix deck. When to sideboard a bit more aggressively. When to side into a controlling position.

Does this mean I’ll always win as I continue to play this deck? No. Does it mean I’ll never make a mistake again? No.

But it’s a reminder that I’m not a complete failure in everything I do. Some days I’m lucky. Some days I’m on point. Some days I don’t be, but that’s okay.

I’m not fixed, by any stretch of the imagination. But between the people who reached out to me today and my success in a silly little game, I got a little boost of confidence that I needed right now.

And the next thing I need is some sleep. Goodnight, all. Take care. And thank you.

Pointless

I stream and no one watches.

I make games no one plays.

I play Magic and I lose.

I write and no one reads.

I teach and no one listens.

This has been a dark year. While simultaneously realizing how lucky I am, I realize how unhappy I am. And this is because I am selfish and have trouble with that.

For some reason I want attention. I crave it so badly. Perhaps it is because I live alone and it’s starting to get to me.

But it’s not that I don’t put myself out there. But I’m clearly a selfish, self-obsessed person without true passions. When I stream, people don’t watch because I’m not interesting. People don’t play my games because they aren’t good. I don’t win at Magic because I’m so focused on winning and “proving” myself instead of having fun. No one reads this blog because it offers nothing but an outlet for me to be a whiny fuckwit. No one listens when I teach because they don’t care about what I’m teaching.

I know I have these problems but I don’t know how to fix them. I don’t know how to stop being such a bore. I don’t know how to make friends or keep them. I don’t know what I’m doing here and why I care so much that other people know it.

I know I don’t like myself, though.

Dominaria draft is still fun

I don't know if Magic Online has Dominaria draft still, but it's just finishing up a run on Arena, and goodness it's still fun.

I probably wouldn't pay the cash to play in Magic Online, but I sure will trade in my Arena funny money to play it there. Yeah, drafting with bots has its problems. The games are still fun.

They did this "Gaby Greedy Dominaria Draft" where it's still basic drafting but you start with nine cards and can play two lands a turn. It gets kind of stupid with all the good Kicker spells in Dominaria. But stupid fun. I drafted two decks I thought were pretty mediocre but took them to 6-3, one win away from the top prizes.

All the while earning credits for my daily rewards.

I've been playing a lot of Shadowverse on my phone and the thing is I never seem to complete my dailies on that because they are generally tied to winning with certain classes. With Arena, they are tied to either casting spells of certain colors, dealing damage, destroying creatures or the like. Things almost any deck can do. Especially if you're doing sealed.

So I'm liking Arena more and more. I'm getting frustrated with my Windows machine, so I really cannot wait for this to be on my Apple stuff. I also did some Standard practice which was good enough that I sold out of all Standard stuff on Magic Online and dumped the tickets into Legacy and Modern decks. I'll do my practice for those there, but Standard I am pretty sure I'm sticking to Arena from here on out.

Big Mouth Season 2

So I finished Big Mouth Season 2 last night. I am not sure why I am watching this show. Honestly, I am not sure who this show is for. I think it's trying to tackle the social issues of going through puberty this day in age, but it also feels like it is written by someone with experiences with the time where I myself went through puberty, but is trying to talk about modern days.

Also some of the characters are... I don't know. I don't know if they're bad stereotypes or trying to break stereotypes or being insensitive or what.

I don't remember season one having as much in terms of penises, pubic hair, breasts and vaginas on screen - although I think the vaginal stuff is still more implied than implode, but hey, the world is a tricky place. Anyway, there were arcs that felt really questionable (Like is this one adult character actually mentally challenged or just supposed to be a stupid fool? The characters in the show actually call this out at one point but again, I don't know exactly how I'm supposed to feel about it.)

The season’s main story seems to resolve around shame in the form of a character called the Shame Wizard. The kids each have their own experience with the Shame Wizard and the various things that life as a pubescent teen entails. Having sexual thoughts about people you might consider “out of bounds”, doing things with people not because you like them but because the opportunity is there, kiss-and-tell, slut-shaming, masturbation shame, questioning sexuality, inexperience, experimenting with drugs, fear of future loneliness, depression, and more.

But there's also pillow fucking and a grown man living in a storage unit that sometimes gets taken on a diaper barge because... I’m not really sure I follow that one.

It hits home on a few personal notes. Depression and shame especially. I know I was ashamed of myself as a teenager and still carry a lot of that shame with me today. Depression is of course a thing I deal with daily.

But at the end, I just don't know about this show. I realize it is supposed to make me feel uncomfortable, but I’m unsure if it is doing the things that it wants to do as well as it wants to do them. I’m not even sure if that makes sense, but it can be as confusing as going through puberty is, and perhaps that's the point.

I don't know.

Counting blessings

When you go to a lot of Magic tournaments in the same area you're bound to run into the same people over and over again. Sometimes there are new (or at least new-to-you) faces, but sometimes it's a fairly solid crowd that you've seen before.

Yesterday I was at a Sealed PPTQ. I went 2-3. That's like my fucking mantra at this point. But that is neither here nor there.

There's this guy I see a lot at PPTQs. I've never actually played against him, so I don't know his name. But every time I see him I count my blessings and am reminded of some important things.

While the majority of players sit down, he has to stand.

He has a, well I guess the word is stand, and uses that on top of the table to play. His opponent might sit, or might stand and use something to play on top of. Sometimes I’ve seen this guy lift up his shirt to scratch himself (This makes me sound more like a pervert than just something I've seen by chance.) and he's wearing a back brace.

Every single time I see this man I adjust my posture a little bit and try to be more conscious of how I’m sitting.

I have been typing since around age eight or so. I wanted a typewriter for, I believe, my eighth birthday so bad. I got one. I also had access to a Commodore 64. In 1995 or so we got our first PC, a Windows machine with, guess what? Windows 95. It was the “family” computer but I commandeered it pretty hard. When I went to high school I started taking programming classes and that led, weirdly, to where I am now.

But even as a teacher, I type out all my class notes. My freelance translation is a lot of typing. I still program. And I just use my computer for lots of communication. During summer and other long vacations sometimes I don't use my voice at all. (This is one of the reasons I started my YouTube series An Honest Five.) I type to lots of people though.

This all goes to say that I haven't had any wrist or finger injuries at all. Either I’m doing it right, still young enough or extremely lucky. I'd wager it's a mix of all three and some stuff that I don't exactly know.

I do have a bad back. I don't know if I am misremembering this because it sounds kind of weird to say but I remember being told by the doctor that my spine is “a little too straight”. Not bad enough to require surgery, but they could have done it. I do recall hearing that it would have been risky (at the time?). This came about after one night of bowling with my grade-school’s bowling team and then me being unable to sleep because of back pain. Not something you expect an eleven-year-old to endure. I remember “sleeping” on the couch that night and going to the doctor the next day.

X-rays, talking, pamphlets featuring old people laying on the ground and squeezing their buttocks. I never got into that stretching routine. I probably should have. I still get some back aches now and a again. Rarely is it as debilitating as that one night back in 1993, but sometimes it hurts bad.

And then I have to remember that I’m still pretty lucky. No RSI, no back braces. But I probably slouch a little. I could stand to improve my posture a bit. I sit a lot for playing Magic and when I stream and probably could have a better layout. I don't actually have a desk, I just have a table on the floor and a legless chair. I doubt that's good posture making with my legs stretched out under the desk and weirdly positioned because there's not enough space.

I need to move somewhere nicer. Eventually. That's not going to be an easy process. But that's another story for another time.

Anyway, I see this guy standing. He's still out playing Magic. He gets by. I’m sure it sucks though but it's nice to see someone making it through their issues and a reminder that I am a lucky boy and should try and take advantage of that as best I can.