New recipients of blue envelopes often haunt the Pro Tour out of which they scrubbed.
That's right, Pro Tour. I am coming back.
With a +1/+1 counter.
After my Top 4, I received a ton of congrats, which I was really touched to hear from people I'd just met. I was ecstatic to qualify for my first two Pro Tours back-to-back.
"Did you know you were going to win when you signed up?" a new friend from the weekend asked me.
Did I? I tried to think back...
My trip began Thursday evening in a car with Dan McDonough and Tim Landale. I sent Nick Cuenca a text.
"We've been waiting outside for 20 min because Dan was calling some random dude instead of you."
After a few more minutes, we began our five-hour drive to New Jersey, where we stayed the night with the promise of a "personal omelet chef" and "Bacon Friday." I'm sorry to say that we were lied to. "Personal omelet chef" consisted of a tray of tiny, fake omelets with fake cheese. The bacon was just charred cinders.
On Friday morning, we completed our journey to Baltimore and began testing. I considered running a green/white/black token deck that had been doing pretty well in testing, and it definitely fared better against Ramp than the green/red midrange deck I'd been playing since PT Dark Ascension. However, because it took me a long time to make the relevant deck decisions, I decided it would be a bad idea to audible. The deck had 5-0'd day 1 of PT DKA, and I still thought it could be good. I talked about some of the recent changes I'd made to it in my last article. Now I decided to get back to green/red's roots or "Strangleroots" if you will. Ahem.
I had cut Llanowar Elves for Rampant Growths, fearing Slagstorm and Whipflare. I tried cutting the Birds for Sphere of the Suns before coming to the conclusion that the deck was just half-assed Ramp at that point with fewer Titans. The Spheres pretty much didn't help get metalcraft for Galvanic Blasts, and I'd built something that could never stick a turn 2 Sword despite playing four of them. I went back to the four Elves, four Birds build and tried to think of something to play over Glissa and the Titans. As soon as Dan suggested Hellrider, I realized it promised to be as powerful as an Inferno Titan in the eight mana-dork build while costing significantly less. Expecting Ramp and Control, I packed my sideboard with two Manabarbs. This is one of my favorite cards, and I'm very happy whenever I get to drop it against an appalled opponent. I also included three Corrosive Gale to combat Spirits, but I didn't end up facing any all day. I also think the Sword of War and Peaces do a decent job of this already.
In the future, I'd probably cut one for a Naturalize then either play two Combust or two Surgical Extraction depending on the expected field. You could even leave in two Gale, but I think they're not as good as last weekend, as Patrick Chapin pointed out, due to their efficacy. The meta has shifted to dodge this versatile sweeper. I would default to Surgical Extraction, since I think reanimator decks pose more of a problem than token decks do. However, if you see Dungeon Geists, the Combusts could be invaluable. I could also see cutting the Tree of Redemption, but I like the idea that it's a good search target against aggro in general and a silver bullet for Mono Red.
For the maindeck, I would probably play a second Thrun over the fourth Huntmaster. You could also cut Daybreak Ranger, but I'm a little wary to play so many four-drops and the Daybreak Ranger is an excellent search target in certain (admittedly increasingly rare) situations. If you don't have two Inkmoth Nexus, I would just play a Mountain and Forest over them for consistency. The number of times the Nexus came up was relatively low, and I didn't have them in my original build at Honolulu. I don't usually like to waste turns activating and equipping them with Swords, because if they get removed you spent a few turns dealing useless poison damage. Also, mana spent on that is mana not spent on Kessig Wolf Run or lasting threats. But here's my list as I played it.
- 3 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Daybreak Ranger
- 2 Hellrider
- 4 Huntmaster of the Fells
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Strangleroot Geist
- 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
During my three byes, I led a group of about ten people to a diner that was cheap, good, and woefully understaffed. We placed our orders in turn, according to number of byes. I then returned to my hotel to freshen up my sleeves before round 4.
First, I 2-0'd a B/G Birthing Pod deck. I really wanted this deck to work before PT DKA, but I just don't think it does. The mana is all over the place, and what you essentially end up with is a ramp deck with less consistency and threats that don't necessarily win you the game the way a Primeval Titan does. But you can play Geralf's Messenger, so I guess that's cool.
I had a similar experience against B/G Ramp, though he only played three spells for the entire game. In game 2, he had mulliganed to five when I searched out an Acidic Slime to destroy his Woodland Cemetery, leaving him with just three basic lands. When I cast Manabarbs and he was already half dead, I felt like I'd just kicked his dog.
For round 6, I played against a U/B Control deck that had won a grinder the night before. In game 2, he copied my Strangleroot Geist with a Phantasmal Image. When I Slimed one of his lands, usually a good move against a control deck, I instantly regretted it. I'd forgotten to wait until I had a way to remove his Image. When it came back into play with undying, it Slimed my Inkmoth Nexus. Regardless, I waited for an opening to cast Garruk, Primal Hunter, which is really difficult for U/B Control to deal with. He cast two Life's Finales against me, removing my Hellriders and Huntmasters. However, Garruk continued making beasts through the worst of it. Even though he wiped my board a few times and Severed my Huntmaster of the Fells, I could still attack him for a perfect five with a Beast and a Wolf. He cast Tribute to Hunger, gaining two off my Wolf, but I still had seven mana to Kessig Wolf Run for four: incidentally, still lethal.
At 6-0, I went up against Delver, which I'm rarely happy to do. The match is about 50/50, and if the player is competent it's probably in their favor. I copied his Dungeon Geists, he Snagged my copy, and we danced the Delver dance until he killed me with Mutagenic Growth on an Invisible Stalker. Which I guess is also part of the Delver dance, but I could no longer participate because I was dead. For the second and third games, he was very mana screwed, which I exacerbated by Sliming his sources of blue.
In round 8, I got my Bird Galvanic Blasted. After laying a second Mountain, my opponent waited for me to play Hellrider and Green Sun's Zenith for Thrun before scooping. I wasn't sure whether to put him on Mono Red or Ramp. I figured that no Ramp player would keep Mountain, Mountain, Galvanic Blast even on a mull to six. However, if he were Mono Red, he should've had at least one spell to play. I should've guessed he was Ramp, both because it's more common and it poses a greater threat to my deck. However, because I wasn't sure, I only sided in a couple cards that were mutually favorable against either deck. He beat me with a quick Primeval Titan, and in game 3, though we both mulled to 5, it happened again.
Now, with a loss, I played against Delver again. I pulled it out in a close three games, and afterwards, his friend told him that if he hadn't attacked with a Spirit on one turn, when he had an Invisible Stalker with Angelic Destiny, he may have won. It certainly seemed like a safer play because he could've used it to block. Of course, at that point he was at fifteen, and he didn't know I was going to follow up with two Hellriders and a Metamorphed third copy. Regardless, this is one of those tricky calls that wasn't at all obvious. It was nice to have a third person watching to point it out. We shook hands and readied ourselves for day 2.
I.e., I got crab cakes and went to bed.
I started the day by beating Humans 2-1. This matchup usually goes to game 3 and can be relatively swingy in either direction. In game 3, he was flooded with two Human tokens and a 1/1 Champion of the Parish. Having been on the play with two Honor the Pure on the table, he still would've killed me if I hadn't gained life off of equipping a Llanowar Elf with Sword of War and Peace on turn 3.
I played Josh Herr next with B/R Aggro. I had a Galvanic Blast for each Skirsdag High Priest, and his removal was not that impressive against Thrun and Strangleroot Geist. By the time he drew a Falkenrath Aristocrat, he had to leave it back to block, but I still had a Galvanic Blast for it. One notable play from this match is when I activated my Inkmoth Nexus and attacked, using Hellrider to convert it into real damage. Equipping the Sword is usually too costly to be efficient, but this is a good in-between and a single point of damage often matters.
In round 12, I played Jason Ford with traditional Delver. As against Humans, we went to game 3, which is common. I have small hands, so during one Ponder shuffle I accidentally dropped a card into my lap. I averted my eyes as I replaced it, but afterwards Jason counted a missing card before presenting for game 2. He found it on the floor and called a judge, but there was no penalty between games. However, I realized that making sure I haven't dropped a second card is probably more important than not looking at the one in my lap. In game 2, I copied his Batterskull, but he kept me off the Germ with Vapor Snag and flashed-back Vapor Snag. It was close until he equipped a Sword of War and Peace, which did me in. In game 3 on the play, I played an aggressive turn 1 Elves followed by turn 2 Strangleroot Geist. When I tapped out for four mana on the following turn and slapped a Thrun on the table, he immediately slid what must have been a Mana Leak to the graveyard but was forced to return it to hand when he saw it wasn't a Huntmaster I played. That was pretty much game.
At 11-1, I faced off against Geoffrey Thomas with Humans, outracing a slow start with War and Peace in two games. I made one of my favorite plays of the weekend here, when Geoffrey Thomas removed my Birds of Paradise with a Fiend Hunter. At this point, I had played a turn 1 Birds and turn 2 Sword, and he was on the play. All these factors made the play reasonable, and being deprived of one mana is inconvenient. I swung in with a Strangleroot Geist on the next turn. When he swung back with the Fiend Hunter and a Doomed Traveler, I tapped my lone, untapped Mountain to Galvanic Blast my Strangleroot Geist. This both made it large and untapped enough to kill the Fiend Hunter. Best of all, I knew Humans had no answer at instant speed.
Feature Match: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
In round 14, I got my first feature match of the weekend, paired up against Paulo (about 5:21 in the replay). I wasn't fazed by his godly record, however. Not only was my record nearly as good for this particular tournament, but I knew that all the Channel Fireball players were on U/B Control, which is an excellent matchup for R/G Aggro. Game 1 was over quickly, as being on the draw is really bad for him; he can't Mana Leak my turn 2 Sword. Despite mulling once, PV had a full hand with no spot removal for my Sword-equipped Birds. He Tributed me for a Llanowar Elves, then proceeded to take fourteen damage over two turns. At the end of this, I Galvanic Blasted him to five then played a Strangleroot Geist. This play was also pretty bad for him, since he had to choose between countering or removing one of those threats with his two mana while I got to untap in the interim. He scooped on the attack.
During game 2 against PV, he had to mull to five but still managed to make a game out of it. I deliberated for a long time on my turn 2, finally playing Llanowar Elves over Strangleroot Geist because I hoped to either bait out Mana Leak or play around it next turn (about 5:35). The commentators questioned my willingness to slow my aggression by playing around Mana Leak, and it was true that PV didn't have one in hand. However, in general, it's always better to play carefully when you have an advantage. It's the person in the weaker position who must take risks in hopes that will bring them back into the game. By playing around Mana Leak, I may have given him some more time to draw answers, but knowing U/B, none of those answers would be terribly great against Strangleroot Geist. I think a couple turns and a couple cards for each of us is worth this gamble.
I proceeded to Green Sun's Zenith for a second Strangleroot Geist, playing around Mana Leak and shoring up vulnerability to Black Sun's Zenith while continuing to apply pressure. When he played a Batterskull, it seemed dangerous, but I had a Metamorph in hand to copy it, restoring the balance of power. At around 5:44, I considered bouncing my Metamorph, but once PV tapped five, representing only Tragic Slip, I felt comfortable doing the same to swing back with a Batterskull-equipped Strangleroot Geist. At about 5:48, when I played a second Metamorph, I copied the Strangleroot Geist so that they could double-block and kill the equipped Snapcaster. Additionally, even if Paulo used removal to make the block supposedly unfavorable, my Metamorph would still come back into play as a Batterskull with a +1/+1 counter and a Germ token. With the few cards in his hand, I suspected he might not have the option. Finally, I played a Daybreak Ranger, figuring it would either be a lackluster dude that died or ate a Mana Leak or I could start equipping it with Batterskulls for something crazy. It was probably going to be the former, but seeing few cards in his hand and having other threats, this seemed like the perfect time to at least try.
At 5:49, you can see me pointing to PV's hand a couple times. I was just pointing out that he'd dipped his hand beneath the table. While I'm sure he wasn't cheating, it's a preventative habit I've developed.
At about 5:52, I didn't have enough mana to start bouncing my Metamorphs to copy each other and generate infinite Germs. Instead, I Slimed PV's Batterskull, allowing me to either equip the Slime or, more likely, start replaying Batterskulls in the turns to follow. However, when I saw him play Batterskull at 5:56, leaving up only Mana Leak or Doom Blade while I had an Acidic Slime and two Metamorphs on the table, I knew he was out of answers. I bounced the Metamorph without an ornamental +1/+1 counter at the end of turn, recasting it as a Slime to remove his only blocker. Knowing now that the other card in his hand was Curse of Death's Hold, his only real hope was to run out the Batterskull and hope I didn't see the play. The Curse would only buy him a turn or two, and he could always play it the next turn (which he did).
At 5:59, I deliberated over playing Manabarbs with my life total so low. I think it's a little interesting and flies in the face of the stereotype of the aggro player that I chose not to. However, PV didn't really have an answer to my two Metamorphs, and it would require a lot of mana to bounce and replay them while his removal spells would cost less. I also wanted to wait until the end of turn, so I could play the Metamorph around Mana Leak. Again, this is all very cautious for an aggro deck, but as I said earlier, the burden of risk falls on the person who is disadvantaged. I would rather gain some life from a Batterskull before setting one down. Paulo dug a couple more cards in, but couldn't find an answer.
I intended to draw into Top 8 during rounds 15 and 16, as I'd just told Sheldon Menery in a video interview. However, when I got paired against Charles Gindy, he told me he couldn't afford to draw because his record was x-0-2. We hadn't gotten enough time to look at standings, but I tried to figure out if I was truly locked into Top 8. If so, I would be happy to scoop him in. However, our calculations were uncertain, and I ended up getting a warning for slow play because I hadn't presented by the 3-minute mark. Unable to be sure, we proceeded to play it out.
Gindy was playing another U/B Control deck, and I beat him in two games culminating in seven 5/5 Wurm tokens (Curse of Death's Hold) and my first ever Garruk ultimate. After he scooped up his cards, his friend pointed out that if x-2-1 could make it, as we suspected, x-0-4 should as well. Gindy could actually have drawn with me. However, since the games were over, I was under the impression that it would be collusion to report anything but my win. He said he understood, and I signed the slip at 14-1.
Interestingly enough, I asked the head judge after the match, and it turns out that you are allowed to report an Intentional Draw at any point before signing your name. It must always be reported as 0-0-3, even if you've won a game. However, if you wish to report a concession after you've won a game, you must report 1-2. I suppose these rules have to do with tiebreakers, but I find the inconsistency fascinating.
In round 16, I drew into Top 8 with Dave Shiels.
For the Top 8, we exchanged decklists as per the new policy intended to devalue scouting.
Quarterfinals: Adam Snook (W/U Humans)
Up against fellow Massachusetts player Adam Snook, I lost the die roll. First, he delayed my Sword of War and Peace with a turn 2 Thalia. After thinking myself in circles, I tried to play it anyway, which is really an indicator of the perils of playing Magic for twelve hours straight. When he Fiend Huntered away my turn 3 Green Sun's Zenithed Daybreak Ranger, the game was pretty much decided.
Game 2, I followed my sideboard plan against Humans and noted that Adam's list had Dismembers as instant speed removal. At 0:57, Sheldon wondered aloud if Corrosive Gales would come in, to which Sadin replied with a humorous, "Doesn't...do anything." Steve was right: it's a sorcery speed answer to Angelic Destiny that costs at least five mana and two life but doesn't even deal with the Destiny itself. However, Sheldon is also correct to consider every sideboard option, and you'll see that I do end up boarding in the Corrosive Gales against Shiels's variant of U/B Control next round.
I searched out a Llanowar Elves, then played a turn 3 Thrun to completely stall out his board of Thalia and Doomed Traveler even if he played a Honor the Pure on his turn. At 1:08, I played a Huntmaster of the Fells over Sword of War and Peace for two reasons: the Huntmaster could begin to kill his more valuable creatures and the Sword was not as valuable at this point with few cards in either of our hands. However, when Adam Dismembered my Huntmaster to keep it from transforming then started playing Angelic Destiny on his creatures, the Sword looked like it might've been a better option. Moreover, equipping to Thrun may have been a better choice to force damage through, although I'd expected to get more turns before his creatures had all become Angels. Thankfully, Adam was at effectively seven, not eleven, due to the two Galvanic Blasts I'd been holding. I moved the Sword over to Thrun, and because Adam sandbagged a land, I was able to deal him the exact seven.
Semifinals: Dave Shiels (U/B Control)
I was really disappointed to see that Shiels had won his match with Paulo. I'd been looking over their decklists as they played an incredibly long mirror, and Shiels's list definitely had more game against me with its Lilianas and Consecrated Sphinxes.
Game 1, I mulled to six but played a turn 3 Thrun with multiple Birds to play around Liliana. When I equipped it with a Sword of War and Peace, Dave tanked with what looked like a hurricane of emotions, then went to game 2.
Game 2 was tricky (read: horrible). I was on the draw, yet I still stalled out on lands while he played Consecrated Sphinx. In part, this was because I had to mulligan to six again. I ran out a Birds and Green Sun Zenithed for a Llanowar Elves, forcing him to tap out for Black Sun's Zenith. This, however, allowed me to stick a Sword of Feast and Famine which he had almost no way to deal with. I couldn't, as the commentators suggested at 3:03, play Manabarbs, which costs four and not three. With only three lands, I was forced to run out Strangleroot Geist and hope he let it resolve. Even though I knew it wouldn't happen, if I waited to get two more lands into play untapped it would be too late. At least I could let him trade the Mana Leak one-for-one. Finally, when he tapped out for a Batterskull, I was able to Ancient Grudge two artifacts at the end of his turn then stick a Sword-wielding Bird. At 3:11, the commentators wondered why I didn't play Manabarbs again, to which the answer was: it still costs four.
After he dropped a Sphinx, I felt that I was up against a wall. I had yet to draw a fourth land, so I tapped out to play a Metamorph and copy his Sphinx. Desperate to draw lands, I drew four cards off of the Sphinx while noting, "This is like Bloody Knuckles." Unfortunately, I didn't get the number of lands I'd hoped to draw, and Dave forced me to tap out during my upkeep to kill his Phantasmal Sphinx. I deliberated for a long time before playing Strangleroot Geist, but what I really should've done was equip my Sphinx and force him to either chump or take six and discard a card. Having played against U/B Control all day, I'd forgotten that Shiels's list didn't run the Doom Blades to which I'm accustomed. At 3:32, I had the choice to swing in with my equipped Sphinx again, and I chose, instead, to pass. The reason was that I wanted to leave my pro: black creature behind to block his Batterskull, if he chose to attack with it, killing the Germ and keeping him from gaining life. However, if I'd attacked, I could've edicted him for a creature or a card and untapped my lands, which may have been better. At this point, the game was pretty much out of my hands. He had the choice of many plays and the lands to make them, which is more than I could say for myself.
For the deciding game, I chose to board out Ancient Grudges in favor of Corrosive Gales, thinking that they could take out an early Bloodline Keeper or a Consecrated Sphinx in a pinch. However, in retrospect, returning a pair of Swords of War and Peace might have been a good option, too.
I had to mull a hand that consisted of Rootbound Crag, triple mana dork, Thrun, Garruk Relentless, and Corrosive Gale. I wouldn't be able to play a Bird until turn 2, and by then, if I didn't draw a land the advantage of acceleration would pretty much be lost. Unfortunately, I was forced to go to four on the play after mulling a hand with two lands but no plays until an unexciting Daybreak Ranger. Thankfully, I was able to somehow play a turn 2 Strangleroot Geist, then ripped lands for two turns. On turn 3, around 3:51, I had an option to play a Sword of Feast and Famine, which would've been reasonable given that he didn't have a Mana Leak for the turn 2 Strangleroot Geist. However, he'd drawn two cards since then and now had the option to play Dissipate. I thought the Sword was too valuable to risk, and indeed, he had the Leak for it. The next turn, I curved into Thrun, which he killed with Phantasmal Image. When I attacked on the next turn, I chose not to reveal that I'd drawn another land, so I didn't play it before combat. However, if I had, I would've been able to activate Kessig Wolf Run for an extra two points of damage, which would probably have been better. I should've taken more time to consider this possibility, and to be honest, I was really fading at this point as it was almost 9 PM.
Finally, I copied his Bloodline Keeper and protected it with a Sword of Feast and Famine at 3:56. It could kill him in two turns with Kessig Wolf Run, but when I topdecked a second Metamorph I opted to copy the Sword to force him to discard a second card. I suppose this was greedy because he could've still held his best card, and it allowed him to rip a Ghost Quarter to take out my Wolf Run. With his extra turn, he asked, "Consecrated Sphinx?"
He drew, then went "Whoop!" as he slammed Consecrated Sphinx.
I tried to see if I was as good at Magic as Dave, but my topdeck was neither of two Kessig Wolf Runs or two Hellriders. I tried to draw one with Garruk, Primal Hunter, and although Dave opted not to draw ten cards off my five, I was very much dead on board to his Ratchet Bomb. If I chose to pay life for Metamorph, I would put myself in lethal range of his army of Vampires, even if I blocked his Sphinx.
We shook hands after one of the most epic games of Magic I've ever played.
A Word About Misplays
I'd like to thank the players and commentators who have pointed out potential errors I made on video. Because the match with PV was my first video feature match, I haven't had this opportunity before the three commentaries I received over the weekend. And, although there are certain things out of my control (like the fact that the GP must be finished before Monday and the Top 8 must be played out exhausted after a twelve-hour day of Magic), I do like hearing what I could've done differently.
The only reason I made it to the top tables this weekend is a willingness to look at myself and my plays objectively. As you may have noticed in this report, most (if not all) of my opponents made some kind of arguable misplay, up to and including the Top 8 matches. This is not strange. It's Magic. Even though our goal is ultimately to win, it's important to remember that if we don't notice mistakes we never learn. I enjoy winning as much, if not more, than the next guy, but when it comes down to it I play this game to push myself to my limits. I want to improve as a player and as a person. A game is just a game, even if hundreds of dollars are riding on it. But in the end, the only thing I "have" is myself and who I've become. Isn't that what we're really playing for, anyway?
If you choose to play R/G Aggro this weekend for the StarCityGames.com Open in Tampa, I would recommend you play a second Thrun over the fourth Huntmaster and cut the Inkmoths if you like. The sideboard choices I discussed when presenting the decklist are arguable and meta-dependent, but I think three Corrosive Gale are definitely too much. If you don't anticipate Spirits, you may want to cut them entirely for Naturalize and two Combust or two Surgical Extraction. I have tried both of these in the past, and while I like the fact that Combust shores up your match against Humans and Delver, Surgical Extractions may be necessary if you expect a lot of Reanimator.
Additionally, I think it's worth noting that this meta is incredibly diverse, and there are many possible builds of a given archetype. Many sideboard cards are tricky, and while they may look good (like Daybreak Ranger against Delver), they are really situationally good or bad. It's more important than ever not to mindlessly sideboard, so consider the unusual cards your opponent is playing and determine whether they merit different strategies.
That said, here are the major plans I used during Baltimore.
Does anyone play this deck anymore? If they do, this is pretty much the only thing I can do.
This matchup is very iffy, and if it's a good player you're up against, you may be disfavored. Respect your life total, and just try to get in for as much as you can.
This matchup is pretty bad. It's very draw-dependent, and if they stick a Titan you usually roll over. It's especially rough because they know this and run Slagstorms and Whipflares to keep you from doing anything. Play around sweepers as much as possible, but expect it to be a rough one.
As with Delver, this is not a great matchup, but it's less dependent on the player's skill and more dependent on the exact build and draw. The person on the play is generally favored. If you decide to run Combusts, they can function as extra silver bullets for the cards that can outright ruin you, like Hero of Bladehold and Mirran Crusader. Galvanic Blast really can't kill a Hero because you pretty much can't ever get metalcraft.
This matchup is great. Play and search out Strangleroot Geists early and often, turning their board sweepers into +1/+1 counters. Copying them with Metamorph is also excellent, as they apply pressure and can return from death as something even better.
R/G or Mono-Green Aggro
If your opponent is playing mana dorks or Huntmasters, you may not want to board out all your Galvanic Blasts.
Sideboarding against Mono Red is usually pretty straightforward: don't play spells that don't keep you alive, and definitely don't play spells that hurt you to no great gain.
Sideboarding varies between the few variants of Summoning and whether or not they are playing combo.
I haven't played much of this matchup, but here's what I would do.
I'm not sure whether or not I "knew" I was going to Top 4 the second largest GP in the United States, but I definitely knew it was possible. And I know that this is not something I can say for every GP I've played in. Now I'm excited to be back on the Pro Tour...and to put off learning Modern.
I'd like to congratulate Matt Costa and the other Massachusetts locals who made Top 8, Dave Shiels and Adam Snook.
I'd also like to thank you.
You all make this game. Every one of you: Pros, grinders, EDH players. Dealers, judges, tournament organizers.
Even the kids in the GGsLive chat who told me to "get back to the kitchen." I know you're a part of this game, too, and you deserve my respect whether or not it's returned.
All of you form a community that is such a big part of my life. So thank you.
I hope every one of you continues to follow your dreams and find happiness. Above all, I hope you get the respect you deserve as a human being.
Let's start by giving that respect to each other.
Love and battle,