n00bcon Invite, Brewing for Casual

I was completely floored last week when I scanned through the list of invitees for n00bcon 11 and saw my name listed as a content creator. It felt a little ironic, as leading up to that point I'd been spending a lot of time in a more casual headspace and tossing together piles that included white-bordered reprints and cards from Fallen Empires. I'd even opened the sealed box that I got for Christmas last year.

The most expensive cards I pulled were a pair of Aeolipiles, though I did manage to open thirteen Hymn to Tourachs.

The invite from Magnus was entirely unexpected; I had to go back and recheck the Facebook post half a dozen times before messaging my closest Magic friend, Sean. His reply to me, verbatim, was "You HAVE to go." That's sound logic; the chance to participate in something like n00bcon (not to mention the Wizards' Tournament II, more relevant to this blog) feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Early logistics are still being worked out, but I fully expect to be making the trip next April.

To Mg, I don't think I can possibly put into words how humbled I am to receive this. The reality is, there are probably 100+ oldschool players, bloggers, and organizers who deserve the honor more than I do. That anyone thinks the posts I've written warrant the distinction of attending the premier 93/94 event of the year is something that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. But, given that it's happened, I mean to represent the oldschool Magic community with as much integrity and inebriated card-flinging as possible. Playing in the actual Wizards' Tournament was never an explicit goal of my project, but damn if it's not some sweet icing.

In addition to the initial phases of working on an actual n00bcon list, I need to at least get the alpha deck to a slightly more respectable place. Since signing up for the WT, I was able to procure three more Swamps to replace the Forests I was using as stand-ins. This thing will never begin to approach Marc Lanigra levels, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't consistently be able to resolve a 6/6 Nightmare.

Turning back to casual for a moment, I'd be remiss not to mention the amazing Oldschool Players' Ball deck recently constructed by Ben Perry, a.k.a. Shaman Ben, a.k.a. the tortured and defiled soul of the #mtgunderground.

I followed the Twitter polls as he was building this, not realizing exactly how large the deck was getting until it finally came together. In my three years involved in oldschool Magic I've not seen anything so reminiscent of my earliest days. Ben's pile is pure summer of '94, and represents exactly the way that my friends and I used to play, before there was knowledge, before there was a metagame, before the last vestiges of cardboard chastity had flitted away.

It's really tough to put ourselves back in that unadulterated mindset and "unlearn" what we now know, or content ourselves with cramming together a stack of cards without regard for playing a hard 60 or having a precise mana ratio. Ben's deck makes a profound statement about what it means to play and enjoy this format, and where its importance truly lies. Tournament 93/94 Magic is undoubtedly awesome, but I can't imagine that any of us wouldn't benefit from taking a few steps down the less-trodden road, every now and then. We might learn a little more about the game, or even a little about ourselves.

Did you know that Vampire Bats' pump ability can be combined with Pendelhaven to make it a 3/3?

Did you know that there were around 289,000 of each Revised rare printed, and 1,000,000 of each uncommon? That's fifteen times more than Unlimited.

Did you know that Fallen Empires booster boxes contained 60 eight-card packs that retailed for $1.45 each?

Did you know that they included these blue serial number tickets at the bottom?


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