The Nationals Qualifier season is in full swing right now, but I’m not a part of it. My next Magic tournament will be Grand Prix London so I just don’t feel inclined to look at Standard at the moment. Additionally, I am planning on qualifying for Nationals on my rating and don’t want to risk it by playing too much. What do you do if you want some Magic but don’t want to actually play?
My solution was to get to the Huddersfield Nats Qualifer last Saturday to watch my friends play :D!
I brought my cube with me to pass time in between rounds but there’s always something to do at events when you’re not playing in an event. Whether its trading, playing side events or just chatting with friends it’s easy to have a good time.
I got picked up in the morning by Alex Gershaw who would be one of the judges for the day and we headed over to the venue. We got a bit lost walking around town but we’re in the North of England so people are friendly and helped correct our route. Gradually people started turning up and I got a Winston Cube draft in with Ben Flounders. My Cube is commons and uncommons since original Mirrodin (see http://www.cubedrafting.com for more info on Cubes) and my Winston drafts always end up 4 colours for some reason. After this I tried scrounging around for cards for my friends’ decks and then settled in to watch round 1 with Lee Houldsworth.
After spotting quite a few “interesting”-looking decks and someone playing with their hand under the table (don’t do this) I found out that Jules Parker would be along in a bit for a potential Legacy tournament. Legacy is always quite fun and it’s easy to do quite well because people think that you can practically play any deck. This isn’t true because most decks are still bad but that just means you get more easy matchups :). I managed to persuade them to run the event unsanctioned so I would be able to play in it. Even when you take a break from Magic it’s easy to accidentally start playing in events anyway.
I like to even the field a bit when I play Legacy by playing Zoo. As far as I could tell the field contained two Affinity decks and two Goblins decks which are good matchups for Zoo anyway because you have bigger, more efficient creatures and the cheap, effective removal for anything which does start to threaten you. As the tournament started I found out that the rest of the field was a High Tide deck, a Dredge deck and two White-Black-Green rock-ish decks so I felt like I had a good chance if I could avoid my two bad matchups (High Tide and Dredge).
I played one of the Affinity decks round 1, beating it easily. Then I played against Dredge and managed to squeeze out a draw by using my Lightning Bolts on my own creatures to get rid of his Bridge from Belows and sticking a Gaddock Teeg to stop him from casting Dread Return.
Round 3 I faced the High Tide deck (can’t catch a break) but I got him to 4 in game 1 thanks to Goblin Guide and then drew a Fireblast off his Time Spiral despite playing badly and casting a creature on turn 3 which I knew wouldn’t be able to attack, when I should have kept my mana up to cast Lightning Bolts I might draw off the Time Spiral. I lost game 2 as I should and then game 3 I was lucky enough to curve out with Wild Nacatl, Ethersworn Canonist (Force of Willed), Gaddock Teeg (Force of Willed), Gaddock Teeg (landed) and that was that really. The final round I played one of the Rock decks and drew better so I had the bigger creatures and managed to establish Umezawa’s Jitte advantage so I won the tourney.
I gave one of my prize boosters to Kat Donohoe who I borrowed the deck from and three to John Ingham who lent me the money I needed to enter. My last prize booster contained only a Shimmer Myr so I guess I managed to break even, yay. The main event was in the penultimate round at this point and Dan Hiscutt was qualified with Rob Catton being able to ID and Heathy being win-and-in. I Winston Cubed with Sam Fryman and again drafted a 4-colour special which won very easily due to all my token producers beating his one-for-one removal spells.
Rob’s opponent didn’t understand how IDing worked so he had to play and lost and Heath also lost so it wasn’t the best day for Team Leeds but it was a good fun day for me. That’s how you still have fun not playing Magic ;)