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Biloxi, Mississippi - December 6th, 2003
Long.dec takes the tourney!
W hoah! This was a close one. If it hadn't been for my final opponent's gracious leniency in regard to my sloppy playing, I might have ended up 2nd. Fortunately, he was cool about it.
And it just goes to show that I still don't have the full skills necessary to play vintage uber-combo decks. I struggled the entire time, beginning with a suicidal 1st game that resulted from trying to win on turn 2. After that, I lost to Replenish, beat WelderMUD and ID'd to a Ducktapish deck. Fortunately, the deck shined for my last 4 games. I consecutively managed to go 2-0 in the last 2 matches (the Top 4), scoring 10 packs of Mirrodin.
I had a great final hand that went something like Gemstone Mine, Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, Dark Rit, Demonic Tutor, Duress. Shortly after Duressing away a Force of Will, I went to town, for fear of having a Rule of Law slapped down (he had sided 4 in). My respect goes out to anyone who can handle long.dec with ease.
I narrowly missed winning a box, but at least I had a good time. I managed to get some game wins in against the local ringer and I didn't make any critical play errors.   Biloxi, Mississippi - November 29th, 2003
Good times with Tinker, despite not winning
I played vs Elves, UG madness and then Bosh (it's not Stax!), before drawing into the Top 4. Too bad they had the top 4, else I could have had a good shot at winning by going 4-0. My first matchup against Bosh went suprisingly well (2-1). The match hinged on a play error of his: he Tinkered for Bosh first instead of Mindslaver whilst having a Welder in play. I responded by Tinkering up my own Mindslaver and self-Boshing him for 8.
Of course, I had to play him again in the Top 4. He pretty much owned me in the 1st game, but the 2nd game was awesome. I put down a 2nd turn Metalworker and then tapped it for 12 on turn 3, casting a Masticore and three Spheres of Resistance. It's one of the more wicked plays I've seen in a while. The final game had me rather hopeful. I began hitting him with an early Masticore and Metalworker, turn after turn. At first I was concerned that the beatings might be too slow, but I became quite hopeful when he quickly plummeted to 5. Unfortunately, my hopes were smashed as he Thirsted into a Tinker (3rd card) and Tinkered up a Mindslaver. It's exactly what he needed to get rid of my Masticore and establish a lock after getting a Welder into play. Close... so close.
Biloxi, Mississippi - November 8th, 2003
Damn the luck...
F or some reason I just can't seem to win my first match. Last week, I wasn't too broken up since it was the Rock, but this week, I lost with MUD to a scrubby elf deck.
The second game, I even had a Skullcap out for a while and just couldn't seem to draw a Bridge or Smokestack. I must have gone through half my deck and neither card wanted to come out. Sometimes you just can't win, although I suppose I could've mulliganed down to a halfway decent hand of 4 and done better. Next matchup was a powered Charbelcher deck. I was a bit concerned, but managed to get some decent hands and win. What a jacked up night. Here we were at the last table with about the only power in the store. Anyway, the last 2 matchups were cake. But, with only 4 rounds, I ended up 5th again. Doh!

T hings sure have changed around here. On base, the triangle looks completely different and they've moved finance and mpf types to Allee Hall, EP to Dolan Hall, and avionics over to Sheppard AFB.   Biloxi, Mississippi - November 1st, 2003
So close to PT New Orleans, yet so far...
Off-base, things look about the same. Jak's is still in the same spot and even smells the same. This is where I bought my first magic cards, so I was anxious to demonstrate that I've learned a thing or two about magic since. One important rule is to play something good, and I sort of fell short here, since I didn't have anything spectacular. I played Cog Oath, since I didn't quite have the cards for anything else. That and I was inexperienced with the deck.
Here, the meta was a bit of a step up from that of 1.x in Spokane, which wasn't something I'd counted on. Oath isn't the most powerful force in 1.x and aside from that, I made the deck Intuition heavy and threw Roar of the Wurms in it to add a little spice. Still, I did alright, losing only my first matchup (to the Rock) and coming in 5th.
Spokane, WA - October 3rd, 2003
My 1st Mirrodin draft
Y et another draft at Getaway Games. I did suprisingly well, considering my severe lack of experience at drafting. In fact, this was my 6th draft ever.
This was the first day of Mirrodin, so Getaway had a number of draft pods going. This would explain how I managed to place 1st... I didn't have to deal with the local draft pros. This is doubly good, as some of the better players around here are real punks.

Anyway, I played a 3-color deck and scored some real bombs: Mirror Golem, Relic Bane and Goblin Dirigible, to name a few. I thought it would suck, since it seemed weak compared to every other draft I've been in, but apparently it was good enough.

G etaway Games rocks! It's by far the coolest store I've ever seen. They have m:tg tourneys Wednesday through Saturday, with everything but type 1.5.   Spokane, WA - October 1st, 2003
My 2nd and last Onslaught block draft
Not only do they have a number of tournaments, but the management is hella cool; almost makes me feel bad for being a mooch and not really buying much product. But, hey, I do draft there, and that's what this is about. I actually drafted Onslaught block here before I left for Montana and this time, I came back with a vengeance, placing 1st in my 2nd such draft thanks to elves and beasts.

Spokane, WA - September 30th, 2003
Da House
H aving been in the military for nearly 9 years, I've been waiting to settle down for some time, given that most of the places I've lived have been for 2 years at most.
So I'm quite proud and happy to have finally bought a house. Even if I go back to active duty, at least I'll have a convenient place to stash most of my stuff. But best of all, I have a place that's mine. I can fix it up and decorate it to my heart's content, which is something I've never really done, since it's generally a waste of time if you're on the move. And it's all mine. No mortgage, no worries... and my cost of living is cut way down by paying only property taxes. It's definitely a good beginning to a new chapter in my life.

W hile waiting for rentors to clear out of my house, I cruised over to Helena to stay with the folks. The place is virtually an m:tg ghost town.   Helena, Montana - September 27th, 2003
Totally lame meta...
There are only 2 spots to play magic in Helena: Cosmic Comics with their various unsanctioned tourneys and Hobbytown with their scrubby type 2 sanctioned tourneys. Hobbytown would be a decent place to get rating if not for the 8k tourneys and incredibly small pool of players. Anyway, I played welder MUD over at Cosmic Comics and quite easily won a box of 8th. Now I just need to find someone willing to buy it from me...

Newark, California - July 31st, 2003
Here we see a large head blocking my view of a game between UnstableCornBread and Saucemaster
S weet. I managed to get 2nd place again, losing terribly in one match to Hulk. Looks like Bazaar Control is less a fluke than I originally thought. Or so it seems, anyway.
I played PT Funk, Sligh, some janky Mystic Enforcer control deck, Hulk and then TnT. Similar to last week, I was fortunate enough to avoid rough matchups until the end. While my playing skills still need a lot of work, I seem to be doing well again with a non-meta deck (much like in England). I guess it's nice to know that I can do alright in small playing enviornments of less than 40 people... maybe I don't suck as bad as I thought and there is still some smidgeon of hope for me yet in taking pot shots at the pro tour some day (shhh... let me have my moment)

W ith yet another Friday off, I headed to C&Js for what will be one of my last tourney attendances there. I managed to luck my way to 2nd with the same Bazaar Control deck I used last week.   Newark, California - July 26th, 2003
The deck certainly demonstrated its power with a draw engine that far surpasses Library of Alexandria. It being very easy to hate out, I was very fortunate to see neither graveyard hate nor heavy land destruction. I went on quite a roll, going 2-0 against Enchantress, Dragon and then White Weenie. Of course, I was pretty lucky to get such easy matchups. My luck prevailed as I was paired up 4th round with the only 3-0 deck I had a chance against: TnT. I somehow eked out a win against it and then dropped so I wouldn't have to face Phuong.

Fort Ord, California - July 18, 2003
Such a scenic view...
F rank and I grew up on Fort Ord and always end up going there for a visit down memory lane. This time, we planned to revisit the Impossible City in East Garrison.
Since I plan on moving to Spokane, we thought it appropriate to have a last visit, this time taking a camera so we could capture it all. There was a slight problem, though. A controlled burn was being conducted and while we were leery of all the law enforcement and firefighting personnel, the opportunity of getting some pics near the burn was simply too good to pass up. We proceeded cautiously, but just as we reached the Impossible City, we ran into some firefighters and decided to exit promptly.
U nfortunately, I'd made a critical blunder, having parked my honda in a rather treacherous sandpit. Attempts to escape resulted in beautiful geysers of sand. Another page in the history of adventures on Fort Ord...
This didn't really bother us too much, and we began working on getting it out, using a jack and some rocks. We were slowly making progress and would have gotten out in a matter of time, but things went sour when we were spotted (could I have a more conspicous vehicle?). Law enforcement types swarmed in on us and called a tow truck. Despite our diligent efforts, we were unable to free the car before the tow truck arrived. After some toil and deliberation, we were let go.

Newark, California - July 3rd, 2003
Yeah... whatever...
O nce again, I drove up to Newark for some vintage action with the only viable deck I have constructed: MUD. This time I tweaked it a bit more to my liking.
I had some pretty lucky matchups this time, aside from the first against the nearly impossible to beat Enchantress. I busted 3 Caps on this guy and he still won, despite being rather low on kill cards. Next came 2 Sligh matchups, and a Sui. No problems there. And then finally, I went toe to toe with Rector Trix. I didn't have the best of hands and narrowly lost to the nasty little combo deck. I did manage to get one good Cap in, quickly swiping 2 Donates and a Bargain.

I nstead of playing some janky build of mine, I went to C&J's with an exact maindeck copy of MUD from I went 2-2, then dropped.   Newark, California - June 26th, 2003
Dave kicks butt with ABM
First round was against Tainted Dreams, with an almost exact repeat of last time. Crushing win first game, followed by two losses. This time I didn't get a Cap to even try and save the game in time. Next up was Vengeur Mask, which got me despite outstanding hands (thanks to a playing error on my part). Finally, I had 2 Sui matches, back to back and if there's one deck I like to play against, it's Sui, given the low permanent base. A fun time as always, but I really wish the tourneys were earlier... getting up at 4:00 and playing Magic past midnight can be a bit rough on me and my playing skills. Mmmmm... cheese.

Newark, California - May 29th, 2003
Here's MUD in yer eye!
I finally managed to assemble something playable for vintage at C&Js. So, with a very aggro version of MUD (Mono-Brown Control) in hand, it was game time.
At first, things were looking pretty grim. I lost the first match to an Ophidian deck, caught a bye, and then lost the next match to Tainted Dreams (due to a bad move, no less). Three rounds in with no wins bummed me out a bit, but I held fast and managed to get the better of Goblin Sligh and Void in the last rounds. All in all, I had a good time and somehow managed 6th out of the 21 participants. Check out the deck here.
A little addendum: I took the exact same deck to Matchplay some days later and went 3-1. I went 2-0 on my last 3 matches after a 1-2 vs. GAT. Not bad for my aggro MUD, aye?

One week later: I molded the deck into Duct Tape and put Mishra's Workshops to work again at C&J's. The results were quite disappointing. I nearly lost to a casual elf deck, had an easy sui match, swindled a win from Rector Trix, lost to Urphid and was utterly wrecked by an Enchantress deck. I was not impressed with Duct Tape... with any luck, it was brutal, but often the deck underperformed, so I won't be playing it again for some time due to its inconsistency. At least I got Brian back for beating me with GAT the week before (:

A ck! Iraq sucks! Well, okay, maybe not. The area we were in was really, really nice. Northern California nice. If civilization had actually developed, it might have been a great spot for tourism.   Bashur, Iraq - April 18th, 2003
Fun with full auto
But thanks to backwards people and rampant impovershment, I hope not to return any time soon. The part that really sucked is that we were camping the whole time. Trenches for latrines, rare cold showers, MREs daily and all that. It might not have been too bad if it hadn't been for the mud. You see, we were in some farmer's recently plowed field, so when it rained once a week, the soft dirt would turn into shitty mud. That damn mud really made it miserable for me. But hey, that's just me.
Anyway, I'm glad I'm finally home (after five months, no less). Now I can finally get on with life as previously planned. I still have my sights set on guard units in Portland. Hopefully, I can get a different job and a retirement salvaging AGR slot. Oh yeah, and a house would be nice. Words of wisdom: California is a great place to live... if you have some serious cash flow. My rent is $750 a month for a tiny studio, and that's so rock bottom, most people are like, "Wow! Only $750? That's a hell of a deal." As for buying a house... forget it. In Mountain View, dumps start at $300,000 and just up the road in Palo Alto, make that $600,000. That, my friend, is retarded.
Diyarbakir, Turkey
Ever been in a Turkish prison?

Just a note... this is what I really look like when relaxed. It takes constant effort to maintain my normal appearance and keep from looking like a troll.
O h, the insanity! On December 2nd, I left for Operation Northern Watch and on March 17th we were held in place for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
I was planning on leaving the 129th Rescue Wing last December, but wanted to get Tech Sergeant first. This turned out to be one costly stripe, since the hoser who was slated to go fell off his roof and impaled himself (after calling in sick). Mere weeks to go and I was sent in his place. But on the brighter side of things, I'm getting BAH for Mountain View, which is about an extra $2000 on top of $2000 a month, thanks in part to the previously mentioned stripe... and on top of all that, I get $81.50 a day for per diem at Diyarbakir. Too bad I can't spend the entire deployment here.

Copyright 2003 Coastal Dragon. All rights reserved.
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