… And if there’s one thing in life that makes the journey totally awesome; it’s the people that buckle their seat-belts on that road trip with you.
We are ever evolving and learning from our mistakes and experiences, and we tackle situations over and over again until we figure out how to overcome the challenges.
How to make the most out of anything. How to take the most out of everything.
We are what we repeatedly do.
You can fly with broken wings. It’s about the journey, not the destination and you can never tell what tomorrow brings. Or, can you?
GP Manchester 2014
Round 1 vs. Alex
We often think about our problems as our very own, and ours only. Eventually, we come to realisation that other people might have the same problem too (well, or similar). And when someone shares their problem with us, it’s hard to not think of a solution from our own perspective. Ah, perspective— mother of all evils!
Alex was mana screwed.
What did I learn from this match? It happens to others as well. And, because you (most certainly) were in the unlucky side of the battlefield before, it is a victory and you take it. Does it feel good when you realise it’s not a monster living under your bed, but instead Lady Luck whispering in your hear? Yes, yes it does.
Round 2 vs. Marek
We both keep our seven and– on the play –I open with [card]Mountain[/card] and [card]Akroan Crusader[/card]. He Mystery scries and looks back at me. I untap, draw another [card]Mountain[/card], [card]Titan’s Strength[/card] my Crusader and scry, leaving the card on top.
Three turns later he stabilises on 2 life which slowly (but surely) [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card] puts him back in the game.
If the plan all along was to give the Crusader some extra strength and swing with him and one of his minions, why not pump him during my upkeep and (slightly) manipulate my draw?
But it wasn’t done, and whatever will be further drawn might arrive one turn too late. And it’s too late baby, now it’s too late, though one really did try to make it, something about aggro decks that can hide the fact a turn is way too much.
Round 3 vs. Graeme
When a person feels good about himself, it’s hard to not radiate that energy around. At some point, we all realise that a huge problem is nothing but the sum of small little ones.
I decided to do my regular exercise every day right after work. As I arrive home (and before I do anything else) I quickly change into my running gear. Six months into it and a stone and half lighter, I have moved from completing 1 daily mile in 16 minutes, into regularly complete the daily 3 miles run close to the 23 minute mark. But there is no excuses and it’s not “whenever possible”. It’s every single day, right after work. This moment.
As the opponent opens with [card]Plains[/card] followed [card]Favored Hoplite[/card] and passes the turn, your [card]Magma Spray[/card] will sit in your hand for the remainder of the game if you don’t use it now.
I learned from this match that (some) things have to be done right now. Right this moment. It’s not a case of “jump, then grow wings” kind of thing. It’s not about playing around potential cards-in-hand or forcing spells on a mulligan’d hand. No point calling bluffs— give yourself unto the moment, the time is now.
Round 4 vs. Michael
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Round 5 vs. Joe
One lives and one learns. Sometimes, it seems like the journey is made of journeys. The ignition is answered by a roar and there’s plenty of tarmac ahead of us. And air space. And the more we do this journey the more we become comfortable with them.
It’s the difference between standing the next 40 minutes in the queue to board the plane, or sit calmly finishing your snacks. At some stage, you stop having random facts happening around you and it seems you can “manipulate” the situation, so to speak. If almost feels as if you can predict the future. The more you practice, the luckier you get.
It’s game 12 and I haven’t mulligan’d since the start of the tournament.
Sometimes, life is not what you experience but how you respond to it. And what you can do to change the possible outcome of a certain situation. Many of things learned. A chocolate bar is a great sugar fix for the day but it will melt inside your backpack.
Oreos can be a very good substitute for that situation, specially if they come in small handy packs. And I accept the chocolate will always melt and I can’t do anything about it, but I will certainly change the snack to Oreos and can only hope this is a wise decision.
Round 6 vs. Tom
Should the day be finished now. The result is not in my favour and I wish the day was over. Where’s my Sundial? I know we’ll share a comfortable silence in our cab journey back to the hotel. We will be meeting in the foyer again in 2 minutes— enough time to drop the backpack upstairs. When the company is good, you know you’re all set for a good time.
Six down, three to go.
I smile and introduce myself. In every match we might have some troubles but when you worry you make it double. I’m not worried, for what its worth, I’m very happy.
Round 7 vs. Michael
We’re both shuffling for game 3 and a judge requests a deck check. We resume our conversation about the weekend before I’m called to the judge’s table. “Sir, would you please step out of the car.”
I believe what triggered the judge’s call to check both decks was that, under a certain light, the back of my card sleeves appear slightly different. When separated, lands and other spells did have a slightly different tone to it.
What the judge didn’t know was that it was game 3 and we both had side-boarded already. When I returned the deck to it’s original form, there were a lot more creatures and spells in the same tone as the lands and both judges pondered for a second if I could play with the sleeves, since there wasn’t a specific marking.
The fact they didn’t makes it clear that rules are rules— and they apply to all tables, regardless if they’re 6-1 or 1-6.
As the 3 of us de-sleeve the cards, my revised [card]Mountain[/card]s have slightly different backs. One of the judges promptly and kindly brings me enough land, just as I notice that one of my [card]Magma Spray[/card]s have a defect line across the back of it.
I have two options now:
a) Go to the vendors and buy a new set of sleeves, or
b) Go to the vendors and buy a [card]Magma Spray[/card].
I stop for what I thought it was a split-second, to think.
“Don’t look at me. RUN!”— Oli Bird
There is a business to run and [card]Magma Spray[/card] costs 50p. Just one, not the playset.
All my Standard/block decks have the same black sleeves, from the same brand. This allows me to quickly change cards between decks without worrying to change sleeves as well.
I always make sure I use new sleeves for a Competitive REL tournament and, for this deck, I used the remaining 10 (or so) from a pack, the next 50 from the next pack and a few more from a third pack.
The obvious message from the Gods of Magic for this match is to shuffle sleeves before actually sleeving the cards. Everyday I’m shuffling.
Round 8 vs. Malte
The weekend was spent in Vienna and the first step of leaving the GP behind sync’d with pressing the ground floor key in the elevator.
Mark silently joins me and I confess “I enjoy weekends where everything goes smoothly. No problems and no hassle— just great fun with friends.”
He thinks for no more than a couple of seconds and replies that “You need to travel with dumb people to bring back home dumb stories.”
And we plan our trips. And we get to chose who do we go with. And we avoid problems. And we make plans.
But my deck (and sideboard) plan against Minotaurs failed. Miserably.
One thing to take from this match is that there’s no problem when Plan A fails. As long as you have a Plan B (or C, or D, … ) Plan for the best and prepare for the worst. The wind will change and will blow straight into your face every time, just as if life’s storm wind wants you to fail. Preparedness is key.
Round 9 vs. Tammy
The story we should teach our friends;
And of these moments we are made,
From this day to the ending of the rounds,
But we in it will forever remember;
We few, very happy few, our sisters and brothers;
For you to-day that play cards with me
You are to me my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
And prevailing will grant a condition:
That gentlemen in Galway now a-bed
Shall wish they were here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any of us speak
Of battles we fought in GP Manchester’s day.