Monday, March 26, 2012

It's the Magic: Standard Tour of San Antonio - Dragon's Lair FNM

While the internet is full of ways to find game stores in your area, it does very little to tell you about the real character of those stores: their atmosphere, their product, their staff, or anything else a curious gamer might want to know. To help others out, I've started a week-by-week survey of the stores in my area, playing a Friday Night Magic at each one as a way of familiarizing myself with it.

Last week, I started talking about Dragon's Lair, its intimate atmosphere, and its dazzling array of comics and games. I ran out of time, but this week I'm finishing up with a description of its Friday Night Magic.

I was running late, but there was still time to sign up for the event. It took the last $5 of cash I had on-hand and I forgot my DCI number, but the staff offered to look up my number and answered all of my questions about the timing, the seats, and how things were generally organized.

Round 1
I was placed opposite a guy named Josh, because it's always a Josh. He had a ramp deck that put lands into play faster than I could, so he dropped massive titans onto the board before I could  respond to them. I managed to push him back with a Rolling Tremblor after landing my first mountain on turn six or so. But it only lasted for a turn, and after that turn he attacked hard enough to kill me. I stabilized once in the second game, bringing enough vampires out to threaten him, but I was met with a Black Sun's Zenith, a nice bit of removal that swept my little dudes from the skies.
For the toughest stains.

Josh was nice and polite. Our two games ended before the time limit for the round was up so we got to talk a bit. He was proud of all the money that he and his friends put into their decks. He said that he was sorry that he was my first opponent for a FNM, as he considered himself one of the better of the regular players. 

His use of Urabrask was unexpected. It's a good card, but not one that was on any of the pro-tour lists I'd reviewed when I was preparing. I also thought the ramping was a one-off trick for his titan-based deck, but Round 2 proved me wrong.

Round 2
Trevor was my next opponent. He was playing a birthing pod deck I could only describe as...wacky. Like Josh, he ramped into more lands to play more spells, but he did it so he could sacrifice creatures to make use of the abilities they had when they died. Then his birthing pod let him search for a larger creature and put it into play, usually using its ability for when it comes into play to further skew my game. The first game I started with just a pair of swamps and a number of black cards, but again drew a blank on pulling red land. I recovered somewhat, but what really put him over the top in both games was a Precursor Golem. It gave him 9 damage spread over three dudes, each one just slightly too big for my Rolling Temblor to finish off.
For those...not-so-tough stains.

Trey was also a friendly guy, even if it got a bit tedious waiting for him to search his library turn after turn to find just the right card to piss in my cheerios even after it was clear he was going to win. Not that I mind; he was playing well and not underestimating me. If I'd bothered to pack a two-mana spell, those games could have gone differently. So, I don't blame him for playing through with me. After all, how could he have known I wasn't that smart?

Trevor was nice. He mentioned that most players liked using mythics and rares, which I agreed with until he mentioned he'd made a three-turn-kill deck with just common and uncommon cards. We also had some extra time in our round, so we played a third game that didn't count after he reported the wins. Naturally, I obliterated him in that one.

Round 3
This was my shortest round. Andrew was younger and less social than the rest. He had a deck that ramped up to put out huge fliers and spells that removed my dudes. His Reaper from The Abyss ensured that nothing I put out would last for more than a turn, and two games of that were done in a flash. In a reversal of the night's previous fortunes, I pulled five mountains before getting a single swamp.

I got a bye in Round 4, thanks in part to my spotless 0-6 record. I picked up a DC 100-page Super Spectacular and read it with a diet coke and some trail mix (the bagel place was closed).

Round 5
I played against Lars, who was a refreshing change of pace in that he brought another tribal deck. His Call to the Grave made me sacrifice a creature every turn until the only things left alive and swinging were his zombies. Luckily, he only got it out for one game and my vampires ran roughshod over him for the other two. He was working at cross-purposes, trying to mill me while swinging for conventional damage. It seemed odd to me, but since he came close to beating me with mill and did beat me with damage once, I couldn't really fault it.
Well, Call to the Grave and a few other cards.

Again, Lars was polite. If anything, I was a jerk because in all my preparation, I hadn't thought for a contingency wherein a won a game. Still, he was nice about it and even mentioned he had a Bloodline Keeper for my deck if I wanted to work something out for it.

After the fifth round, I got my promo card (Savage Lands, but foily) and it turned out that the FNM was over. I hung out for a bit and had a talk with two nice players named Haley and Rick. It was pretty nice, and strangely enough, Rick and I had some strange shop to talk. 

Dragon's Lair is a great place for gaming. They have a lot of good stuff, a great staff, and to-date, players far friendlier than I would have expected. I can't recommend it enough. Of course, next week I'll be trying out a Friday Night Magic at Hero's and Fantasies off 410 W near Evers Blvd. I wish it the best of luck; it's got a hard act to follow. As you can see, there isn't a bagel place even close.

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