What's up, ladies and gents? The name's BBDizzler or "The Dizzler," but you can call me Brian Braun-Duin for short. That's what my parents do, only they also add in my middle name and use kind of a meaner yelling sound with their voice for some reason. I mean, it wasn't my fault that I left the light on in the bathroom again. Chill out, mom. You're always so hard on me.
Last weekend I heard it was Spring Break, and I knew there was only one place a dude like me was gonna be for that kind of can't miss action. South Beach Miami! I asked my friends a serious question, point blank. "What do you think the chances are for a guy like me to be in a city like that on Spring Break?" They told me it was one in a million. I slapped them in the face, told them to never tell me the odds, and then packed my bags. Nothing was keeping me away from Miami that weekend. Nothing! You hear me? Nothing!
As it turns out, everything managed to work itself out, and I was going to end up being able to go along to Miami for the Grand Prix. Game. I was so excited I ran outside and starting yelling and fist pumping until the police showed up and made me go back inside. It was a good thing too, as I was just starting to get a sunburn!
This Miami trip was gonna be hot! Like, 90 degrees Fahrenheit wouldn't even surprise me. I made sure to pack some shorts in anticipation. I couldn't wait to be sweating profusely while walking outside in the extremely hot Miami weather intermixed with spending the rest of the time inside of a convention center where the air conditioning was cranked up too high with thousands of other people playing a card game in extremely close proximity. Oh, I almost forgot the best part. I also get to share a cramped hotel with lots of other tired and sweaty Magic players! Being in such close quarters with other like-minded individuals is amazing!
This trip was definitely going to be one in a million, and I couldn't wait to begin.
But before I start this epic tale, I have to first introduce the characters. See, a few weekends ago I went to this Grand Prix in Memphis, where I met this really scary guy named Bard Nelson.
Holy moly. I just got scared again looking at him. Bread Nelson told me that I shouldn't play my trusty G/R Ramp strategy at that tournament and I didn't listen to him. He said that Ramp isn't a good choice for a Grand Prix. I went 4-3, and on that selfsame day I vowed that I would never touch a ramp deck again. Beard Nelson was right.
The next week, Bird Nelson approached me with an idea for a sweet new deck that he had heard about. It was G/W Ramp! I was like, damn, that deck sounds so fresh. I was instantly sold on the deck. I mean, I love playing Ramp decks. This was going to be pretty awesome!
We spent the week leading up to the tournament testing this G/W deck, and it seemed really good. I was starting to get excited. I wanted a second chance at playing a ramp deck, going 4-3 in a Grand Prix, dropping, walking back to the hotel, and tilting off. I knew that this G/W deck had exactly the kind of characteristics that could give me that chance, and I wanted to maximize every opportunity.
Coming along with myself and Bred Nelson was Ted Anderson and Charles VanMeter, two other fine gentlemen from the Greater Roanoke Metropolitan Area, or GRMA for short. I couldn't wait to get started. The best part of the trip was going to be the fifteen-hour or longer car ride where we could just sit there with nothing to do in close proximity and just hang out with each other. It was going to be balling out of control.
Spoiler alert: It was.
Let's just say I knew the trip was going to be one for the ages when we stopped at this sick restaurant.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a Mexican Restaurant, and they even gave us free Chips and Salsa! Nothing could really compare.
Or at least, that's what I was led to believe until the next day. The next day was the large leg of our trip. It could have been a miserable experience. We left around 12 PM from our hotel, and it took us until 2 AM to arrive in Miami. That would have sucked, if not for one thing. One name. One place.
I don't know who this Dennis character is, but he is simply a brilliant, entrepreneurial genius. If I had a vote for the Nobel Eats Prize, I would totally snap off a Dennis nomination. I'm not sure why he named the restaurant after himself--kind of an egotistical move if you ask me--but I won't hold it against him.
Dennis was this unbelievable restaurant. They had these awesome skillet meals you could get. Let's just say I wouldn't be called the Dizzler if I wasn't going to order the Sizzler. I got a sweet breakfast skillet and then immediately ran it back again with a dinner skillet. Eating at Dennis was definitely a Skillet game, and nobody was as adept as me. Todd, CVM, and Brad all ordered random other meals, and they paid the ultimate price for their sins. I told the waitress point blank, ship the skillet and then bill it, baby. She did. Oh, she definitely did. Skillet aggro.
The only thing better than eating at Dennis was eating a second time in the same day, also at Dennis. Hot diggidy, I was like a kid in a candy store. The only downside is that the meal was like my eggs...Over a bit too easy.
I mean, just check out this freaking sweet place.
Totally fist pump worthy.
If I could level just one single minor complaint at Dennis, it's that I later [CEDitor's Note: Radio Edit!] in Brad's car, but sometimes that's just the price you pay for greatness.
We were all set to pick up Brad's brother, Corey, from his airport when he arrived, but his flights got delayed and we were stuck waiting for nothing. We got to do some more testing in the Dennis lobby, but by the time we arrived in Miami it was really late and we were all pooped. I was the most pooped though, thanks to that second Skillet I had. Scoreboard. Get wrekt, Charles, Ted, and Bard. Dizzler 1, everyone else 0.
When we arrived, our hotel rooms were even better than we ever thought they would be. They even had a sign with my name on it over my bed!
Talk about comfort!
Whoa, how did that get there? That wasn't supposed to be part of the hotel package. I'd like a refund please.
That first night and day we were there was spent working on the deck. I was starting to get excited. We hammered out our plans in a lot of matchups and even figured out our last slots to shore up the matchups we were poor against.
It seemed like we struggled most with control decks and other ramp decks. We had a full set of Valorous Stance in our sideboard to help us kill things like Polukranos and Whisperwood Elemental in the ramp mirrors, and we had Boon Satyrs and Nissa, Worldwakers to come in against control decks and help provide additional pressure there.
The last card we added was High Sentinels of Arashin. Mike Sigrist told us that we were high, but in reality, I don't use drugs, and the Sentinels were the ones who were high. It even says so right on the card. Speaking of getting high, these Sentinels were primed to fly over our opponents and lay down a bit of a beating. Eat it, Xenagos!
I couldn't wait until the tournament. This G/W +1/+1 counter theme deck was going to be so much fun.
Not pictured: Polukranos, World Eater.
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Fleecemane Lion
- 4 Genesis Hydra
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 3 Voyaging Satyr
- 4 Whisperwood Elemental
- 4 Courser of Kruphix
- 3 Polukranos, World Eater
That's the deck I played. I came up with the idea for playing Fleecemane Lions. I felt like we didn't have enough exotic creatures in the deck, and I couldn't bear the thought of playing a tournament without at least some variety of creatures. It just wouldn't be right. It just so happened that Lions were also great against both control decks and R/W Aggro. It was a perfect card to combat those two strategies.
Unfortunately, the tournament kind of sucked. I played G/W Ramp, went 4-3, dropped, walked back to the hotel, and tilted off. I got eliminated really early on by a slew of Sultai Control decks and other ramp decks. I kept trying to put +1/+1 counters on my creatures, but they would have none of it. Oh well, I guess that's the price you pay for running back a Ramp deck after getting burned by it the first time!
The deck was pretty awesome though. Bro'd Nelson and his bro both went deep in the tournament with the deck, with Corey even taking second place in the entire tournament! Wow! What a strong finish. I was amazed at it, and I felt pretty happy that I played the same deck that both won the tournament and got second place.
I even had the pleasure of being able to watch the finals match live. It felt like watching a movie. The two players were even kind enough to drag the game out long enough so that it was actually as long as watching a movie. What gentlemen! They were both gaining much life and putting many +1/+1 counters on things. That's Magic how it was meant to be played. It was a true delight.
While it definitely sucked to get eliminated so early, at least there was still a lot of trip left to have and enjoy. The best part of the trip, by far, was that I was able to acquire a new set of hair. Male Pattern Baldness, or MPB for short, is a disease that affects roughly 8-12 percent of kids. It's really devastating to have, and I've lived my entire life under its terrible and frightful shadow. Yes, that's right. Even as a baby I was bald.
I grew some hair from the age of 1 to 23, but those years are really just a blur, and I don't think they count.
Thankfully, because of some modern medical advances, they've come up with a way to fix being bald. Sadly, it only works on part of your head. Basically, the way it works is that you're bald on the top of your head, but the rest of your hair is this giant blonde curly fro. I have to say that it looks pretty awesome, but I'll let you judge for yourself!
Sorry if you get blinded by the whiteness. That was the first time I had been outdoors for longer than five minutes since 2007. Skin is a bit pale. The Minnesota Vikings shirt doesn't come with the bald cure. I had to acquire that myself.
That night featured much drinking and general debauchery. We holed up at the Yard House to get some dinner and start in on the drinking. We then walked like 30 miles over the course of the next six hours to finally get to this small little karaoke bar called Sing Sing. By that time, the slight buzz I had acquired from watered down drinks at Yard House had already worn off. Oh well, just means there were more drinks to be had there!
I was really excited to see a bunch of friends and have a great time. I was decidedly less excited about karaoke. I don't know why they called the place Sing Sing. I think Shout Off Tune would have been a more accurate name for the place. I kind of want to sue the ownership for false advertisement. People randomly yelling songs isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I had a great time regardless.
I got to see a lot of friends, have quite a few drinks, and I even shook Shaheen Soorani's hand! He told me that his name was Shahar Shenhar, but I wasn't going to be fooled, not even for a second. I know an Esper Control player when I see one.
After we finally got back to the hotel, I was rather tipsy. I was so tipsy that I was like "Hey CVM, wanna see some BBDs?" and then I flashed him. Whoops. I would apologize, except I wasn't sorry for what I did. That's not the real me, CVM! You don't know the real me!
Only a few brief hours of sleep later and it was time to head back to Roanoke. I could barely contain my excitement. If the drive to Miami wasn't good enough, we got to do fifteen hours in a car again, but this time it was compacted into a single day! It was going to be a long trip, but isn't the most important thing being able to spend time with great friends in forced social interactions by virtue of physical proximity?
Spoiler alert: It isn't. The most important thing is stopping again at Dennis to run back that hot Skillet action. Sadly, none of my friends were interested in another go around at Dennis, which made the trip back home infinitely worse than the trip up! Scum!
Thankfully, we did get to stop at a Flea Market on the way back. The only real complaint I could level is that I was unable to find the fleas anywhere.
If you're going to advertise fleas, then please, at least have the decency to make them findable. I searched for a good solid five minutes before I gave up and called the owners of the sign to complain about false advertisement. It's hard to find an honest piece of advertising these days and I, for one, am refusing to stand for it any longer. Sing Sing. Flea Market. Does nobody these days believe in honesty? At least Dennis had the common decency to use his own damn name.
Thankfully, if there is one thing that I've learned in my travels to and from Miami, it's that when life gives you lemons, stick them all into the back of an uncovered, open-air giant truck and transport them to someone who will pay you absurd sums of money for them. That's just smart business. And I learned that by jumping out of a moving car and posing for a picture next to a truck before it pulled out of a gas station parking lot. Momma always said, "That's where you learn the most about life." She also said, "Brian Dizzler Braun-Duin! Clean your room or you're grounded."
She also said a lot of other things that I won't repeat. There are children here.
Check out that sweet polo shirt and gym shorts. Ladies, please, one at a time. The Dizzler can't multitask very well.
I don't know if I'll ever make it back to Miami again, but if I do, I hope that it's also on a Spring Break weekend and that I can also not go to the beach a single time or do anything that is relevant to Spring Break. Because that's the best part of these Magic trips.
Welp, that's all I got. Catch you later, bros and women!