Every event has its stories, the little things that happen outside the glamour of the feature tables.
We Warned You
At the beginning of the event, during the player meeting, players were advised to be mindful of upkeep effects, particularly those generated by opponents' permanents. The tacit implication was to keep your eye on Braids, Cabal Minion
, sure to be in the board of every black deck, and in the main of some. The players were chomping at the bit to get the tournament underway, and so they smiled and nodded, assuring Head Judge Nat Fairbanks that they'd keep their play clean.
By the end of Day 1, more than fifty, five-zero, warning had been given to players whose hands went from untapping their permanents to the top of their library without a second thought.
What's worse, come Day 2 things didn't improve. Forgetting to sacrifice a permanent to your opponent's Braids, that's a warning. But forget your own? That's a game loss. Two players got a hard lesson in scrupulous play.
Hardly a Warm Welcome
It was a big day for Dave Williams. Coming off a year-long suspension, he was eager to get back in the game and show that he still has what it takes. Of course, he had only one bye to his name, so it would be an uphill battle.
His first opponent was Judah Alt. As Williams tells it, things stalemated and Alt played land after land. When he hit eleven, he tapped them all.
Williams's hand was stripped, and the giant monster would kill him with one swing. All the preparation on Magic Online to keep in top form, he could see it all flying out the window. This loss would breed another, and he'd be left out of Day 2. He untapped and drew.
Williams went on make Top 8, showing he's still got it.
To the Victor Go the Spoils?
The artists at the event this weekend, Arnie Swekel, Glen Angus and Matt Cavotta, each donated an original piece of Magic art to be handed out as prizes this weekend. One piece would go to the winner, Swekel's Hydromorph Gull, but what to do with the other two?
Matt Cavotta got the ball rolling. His piece, the original to Volcanic Spray, would go to the highest-placing player with red in their deck. Cavotta is a player as well as an artist, and he knew that red was considered unplayable in the format. Well, at the close of Day 1 things were still undecided. William Jensen, Cedric Phillips and Matthew Schmaltz. Before the last round they were in a dead heat. All three won, finishing nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-second. Out in front was Schmaltz, playing white-red beatdown. The art was doubly sweet for him, as Volcanic Spray had single-handedly given him a game win that day.
The other prize was The Perseverance Award. It was the original to Glen Angus's Wormfang Crab, and would go to the player who stayed in the longest with the worst record. It went to Jeffery Kreutz, who stayed in the full eight rounds of Day 1 despite earning only a single match win. It was Kreutz's first major event and he had a great time working his game against tougher competition. Receiving the art was a golden end to an already great weekend.
However, Kreutz's intial reaction, as it was explained what he was winning and why, was one of relief more than anything else. Hearing his name called out over the loudspeaker, he showed up at the scorekeeping station worried that they had found an error in his match report slips and that his one win would be taken away from him!