DJINN & TONIC #1
Article by Nick “Djinn” Bonham
What it do freaks and geeks, and welcome to the first ever installment of Djinn and Tonic. Now some of you old school MTGCast followers might query – “WTF happened to Djinn’s Playground???” Sigh….Just as I was wrapping up Episode 12.5, my computer transformed into a flaming doorstop and is currently taking an indefinite dirt nap. Some unknown electrical thingie inside of it has melted, and of course, all of my pod casting files that I use are on the infernal thing. What can I say? I am a sad, ignorant panda when it comes to the inner workings of my computer. So instead of taking five years to explore why my smoking hunk of metal and plastic is the way it is, I carved off the skrilla to purchase a sick-nasty-pimp-ass laptop that I will be doing all of my future writing and casting from. And good times were had by all.
For those that aren’t familiar with who I am, my name is Nick Bonham, and I roll out the podcast “Djinn’s Playground” oh, about once every decade or so. Some people call me Djinn. I was actually asked recently about the origin story of the Djinn and how this nasty and ingenious superhero came to be. I wish I could say he was abandoned by mysterious gypsies, left to be raised by the Kobra Kai, with skills tempered by years of Iron Chef (the original Japanese version, not the lame American version)….but sadly the story is not that cool. I forget which set it was, but there was a set where a lot of Djinns were printed and all of them had names that sounded a little bit like my last name. You had Ernham, Goham, Juzam, etc. Someone called me Bonham Djinn at some random tournament and well, history was made as they say.
Anyway, I produce Djinn’s Playground pretty much whenever I feel like it. I don’t operate off of a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. I got nothing but respect and love for those that do put in the work to bring you guys a weekly effort. I don’t have nearly the same kind of time and diligence that those pod casters have and since I’m not getting paid to blast this shit….when I feel like it will simply have to do.
For those who enjoy and prefer listening instead of reading, take comfort. The podcast is not dead, far from it. Rest assured that once my works have been salvaged and are operational again, the Playground will return, and with a vengeance. In the mean time, I figured that instead of depriving all of my loyal disciples of the blood and glory that only the Almighty Djinn can provide, I have decided to unleash this little write up on y’all mofo’s. It is my hope going forward to alternate between doing a full blown Podcast production of the Playground, while writing a ‘Djinn and Tonic’ article during the spaces in between, resulting hopefully with even more sickness from yours truly.
As you may have already figured out, this is an adult oriented musing. I will drop bombs on occasion, make sexual references, and yes, there will be a healthy share of violence if I have anything to say about it. So readers beware! If you guys are interested in listening to any my past episodes of the Playground you can do so simply by going to mtgcast.com, clicking on shows, and following the drop down until you see my show. Check em out if you are so inclined.
On very rare occasions, I’ll talk about Magic: The Gathering. Well, at least we give it our best efforts. I’ll be the first to admit that I may not have the most insightful content out of all the podcasters/authors we have on the game. But here’s the way I look at it: there are plenty of deck lists out there on the internet right? A lot of good writers explaining their points of view when it comes to technical play, deck building, and there are round by round tournament reports as far as the eye can see. I, on the other hand, tend to focus on all of the cool “in between” gobshite. I am of the opinion that this is the real reason why most of us play the game. It’s not the technology you found for your sideboard because in the grand scheme of things who’s really going to give a shit about that? I won’t, your friends won’t, nobody. No dap for you. What it’s REALLY about are the life lessons and stories that surface from the hotel rooms after Day one of a Grand Prix. Or the Magic road trip where an unleashed fart proved to be so potent that it ripped the hood off of the car. When you get right down to it, the fact of the matter is, life is all about explosive flatulence. And female boobies. Am I right or am I right?
So after that slightly lengthy lead in, let’s roll on with a little thing I like to call Djinn’s Bullets. These are simply thoughts, musings, news, as well as other Magic related topics mixed in with my own special sauce. Enjoy….
THE TOPIC: Slow playing at the Highest Level
THE MEAT: Round Nine of Grand Prix “Sea-Tac”, at six wins and two losses, I’m drawn to Pro Ben Lundquist and eventual GP Sea-Tac second place finisher. We’re both playing the same deck, and like a pro, he leads with Secluded Glen untapped showing me Bitterblossom, tapping it for Thoughtseize. Fack. He gets my lone Bitterblossom. From there, one would think that the game would be over with shortly after, yes? No. I keep him off his bitterblossom tokens with warps and spellstutters, and when it’s safe, I champion a Spellstutter with a Mistbind. He draws shallow while I am getting damage in when I can, and his Bitterblossom is slowly killing him. A thoughtseize from me as he’s tapped out, with only two cards left in his hand, reveals two Cryptic Commands. I pilfer one of them. I get him low enough that I create an opening for me to steal a win if I draw one of the 4 remaining Cryptic Commands in my deck. Alas, I do not, and he ends up capturing the win.
But here’s the problem with this. There were turns toward the middle and end of the game where he took entirely too long to do something. At one point I asked him nicely to try to speed up the play. There was a little over 18 minutes left in the match after game one. During sideboarding, he had made a comment about how that game went pretty long and I dropped the nugget “Hmm. Well, I thought that my pace of play was pretty acceptable.” He got my point, and he ended up playing the second game at a very fast and reasonable pace. Granted, I had to mulligan and he drew incredibly well during the second game. When you are winning the current game along with the first game in your back pocket, playing fast, although appreciated, doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot to me. I pick up my loss, shake hands, and take it like a man.
THE TAKE AWAY: You gotta protect yourself. I am not accusing anyone of anything; I am simply making an observation. It’s very possible that he was playing methodical Magic and trying to figure out how to stay alive while not leaving himself open to a potential alpha strike. It’s possible. It’s also possible that he’s played in a bazillion more of these tournaments than I, all the while knowing precisely what to do in terms of manipulating the time of the match in the effort lock up the W. I don’t know the guy well enough to make any judgments, but regardless of the who’s and why’s, if there is ever a point during a game when you feel your opponent is taking an excessive amount of time, ask them nicely to pick up the pace. If they do not, call a judge immediately. Spectators of my match felt I should have called a judge, and you know retrospect is always 20/20. It had been so long since I’ve ever had to deal with that kind of problem that for some obscure reason I felt like giving someone I didn’t know the benefit of the doubt. If/when there is a next time, I will not hesitate to call over a zebra when it feels that an opponent is taking too long in their decisions, and neither should you. (EDIT – please no witch hunts. Don’t go blowing up Ben Lundquist. As far as I’m concerned he’s a good guy, sporting, and played very well. Just a bit on the slow side).
THE TOPIC: Conley Woods shows his Aloha spirit.
THE MEAT: MTGCast and Colorado’s own C-Dub makes his mark on the Pro Tour Circuit scoring a top 4 finish in Honolulu Hawaii. In return, his hand gets frozen with a cold 13 dimes along with a handful of pro points for his efforts.
THE TAKEAWAY: Bout friggin’ time. Seriously. I’m not precisely sure what he was waiting for. And please, let’s not use his schooling as a weak-ass pretext. You and I both know that’s just a piss poor excuse. Perhaps it was his passion for Renaissance Fairs that kept him from capturing Pro Tour glory? Or maybe it was his heavy involvement in local Oatmeal Festivals? I’ve been told that Magic has often served as a distraction from his real love of yodeling (CW = World Ranked Yodeler). But I digress. He put himself in a position to get it done, and with an incredible looking draft deck on top of that. After watching all of the matches, I did not see any mistakes on his part. It might be easy for him to feel disappointed about the result, but as long as he played the best he could, that’s good enough. That’ll do C-Dub, that’ll do.
THE TOPIC: “Special Group Rates”
THE MEAT: Large tournament event sites (such as Convention Centers, etc) often have hotels located nearby for the convenience of convention goers, as well as the good people who travel to play competitive Magic. As an “added value”, this hotel greets us with open arms as valued guests by offering us a Special Group Rate!
THE TAKEAWAY: Prison Rape. There is absolutely nothing “special” about that group rate unless you consider sexual assault in a correctional facility special. Let’s take this year’s US Nationals just as an example.
Special Group Rate of $139 a night!
Cutoff date to make your reservation is 07/03/09!
When making your reservation, be sure to tell our reservation specialist the rate code – “I play Magic, please rip my wallet from my soul”.
As you know, this year’s National Championship is located in the Mecca of glamour and excitement: Kansas City. I mean…its Kansas City. Shouldn’t they be paying us to stay there and not the other way around? And at a $140 a night!? This isn’t Las Vegas, folks. Right at this very moment you can get a Junior Suite at the MGM Grand Signature for what they are asking for their “special” rate.
If you plan on driving out there or are planning on flying out and renting a car, then there is absolutely no reason at all to stay at the event site for a buck forty a night. Think about what a Magic trip is about. There’s no relaxing and taking advantage of luxurious amenities. Planning on discussing tech while getting yourself a Mani Pedi maybe? Scouring decklists online while taking in a Dove Bath perhaps? C’mon. You guys know as well as I do—You’re going to have cards spread out over the beds and counters and you might get 2 hours of sleep on the floor. So I ask you, $140 plus taxes and nonsensical fees? Or maybe it’s just a better idea overall to pay a whole lot less for the exact same thing a couple miles down the road? You make the call. My advice: Just type in the event site address at hotels.com or another travel site and do a grid/zone search, and you’re bound to find something a hell of a lot cheaper. Trust the Djinn. There are plenty of other things you can spend your money on once you get out there. And you experienced Magic travelers know exactly what I’m talking about. 😉
THE TOPIC: The nuclear bomb we know as the M10 Rules Changes.
THE MEAT: WotC announced this week that there will be some serious game play changes with the coming of M10. Forums explode and E-mail chains fire with mixed to hard feelings about the alterations.
THE TAKEAWAY: Take a deep breath. Relax. Calm Down. Have some dip. I can understand that some of you do not like the changes. And that’s cool. Honestly, I can’t say I’m in love with the changes either. I’m not necessarily opposed to change, but I can’t help wondering if these changes were really truly needed.
Nevertheless, being a tournament player during the 6th Edition days, I learned a very valuable lesson. A lot of energy and time was wasted complaining about the rules changes instead of mastering them, and subsequently the overall learning curve was stretched from long to longer. Eventually we all embraced the changes and even learned to use them to our advantages. So the way I look at it we have two choices here:
The first choice is easy: Quit the game. Go ahead, sell your cards and take up Wii Golf or something. If you truly dislike the changes to the point where you are willing to give up the game then chances are you were on your way out the door anyway and this was just the straw. If you vehemently hate these changes, then it’s probably a good thing to find something else to do with your time.
The second choice is a bit more difficult but a lot more reasonable: Learn it up. Instead of exhausting your energy complaining about the changes, spend it learning the new rules and interactions. Because it’s highly unlikely that we’re all going to give up on this game. Since we can’t control these changes coming down the pipe, it only makes sense to concern ourselves with the things we can control: our own personal mastery of the game.
And you know, if these changes really do make it easier to teach others how to play, then I am all for it. I’d like to continue to see the 1000+ player events and watch the game grow into something that we’ve never seen before. The more players the better, IMO.
That’s all I got for now, kids. Feel free to sound off below as I’m always interested to hear your guys’ noise.