Intro and week 1 can be found here
Being located in the main shopping area of the city meant that I had plenty of choices of where to get dinner before gaming commenced, and I turned up full of chicken and rice. Again their gaming space is located above the main store and consists of a single large, well lit room with toilets located on the second floor. When I got there, there were a few different groups using the room, but there was still plenty of room for us MtG players (yeah, by this point I'm already counting myself as one again).
As I’m sat sorting through my deck, which by this point actually has a sideboard, a chap sits down opposite, introduces himself as Konrad, and asks if I fancy a friendly game. Annoyingly, I can’t remember what he was playing, but it stomped me good. As we’re playing the first round match ups get announced, and I’m playing Konrad. The match goes the same way as all our friendly games, and with the official business out of the way we get to talking. He got into MtG about the time I got out (2003-ish), and he looked through my deck offering advice on little tweaks I could make. Honestly, he was such a nice guy that it was a pleasure to lose to him.
The next round was also a loss, but my opponent kept criticizing my deck and going on about how I shouldn’t be losing to them as they had built their deck in 20 minutes (based, I feel I should add, on an established G/B energy archetype, so I don’t believe that it was exactly built from the ground up in that time). As we had time I asked if they would fancy letting me try another deck I’d built which I felt was more fun, but a lot less powerful. This time round I took the win and while their feedback was positive, it did feel like their attitude towards me soured a little bit as a result. But this could also have been due to them not looking forward to facing their opponent for the next round, and I like to think that they meant well and just didn’t come across as they intended.
After a bye in the third round (and more deck advice), my fourth round saw me paired with against a player running a U/B control deck. Again we got to chatting and they started complaining about there being too many people running netdecks, and this was something I have to agree with as I’ve always preferred to build my own decks and really enjoyed the diversity of decks in the early days. I get a win in the first game, but then lose the next two.
I think it was maybe for being the new player, but I came away from the event with a couple of promos and an Aether Revolt booster.
Handy, spacious location
Plenty of interest in Standard
Still a high standard of decks/players
Too often the ‘advice’ seemed to boil down to ‘spend a fortune on cards/just buy a netdeck’
Some of the chairs are terrible (I was worried that the backs of some of them were going to fold backwards if I put my full weight on them).
Other observations: Play the other deck, it’s much more fun.
This was described to me by a couple of players as being the ‘least spiky’ (least competitive) place to play in Bristol, and it’s free to enter too (the other venues each charge £5). Again, due to its location, I had plenty of choices for dinner before the evening started and there’s even a dedicated motorcycle parking area a couple of minutes away. FP, have some extra brownie points.
This week I had declared my Waymo deck SORN and instead was running a deck based around Pia’s Revolution, low cost artifacts and Reckless Fireweaver. Of the three weeks, this evening had the highest attendance; I can’t be sure of the exact number but looking at how Planeswalker points are calculated, it appears to have been in the 16-31 players range.
The first round saw me paired against a fairly new player running an Eldrazi tokens deck. Their deck failed to fire in the first game and I actually felt a bit bad beating him, but they took the second and I took the third, giving me the win. Like me, they said they were there for a bit of a laugh, and I enjoyed chatting to them after our match had concluded.
Second round and I had a mirror match! Yep, someone else had also decided that Pia’s Revolution looked like a fun card and had built a deck round it. While their deck had more ways to deal damage, I felt mine was a bit more consistent and won games two and three after losing the first. We both agreed it was a lot of fun (first ever mirror for both of us), and as we compared decks afterwards we both came away with a few fresh ideas for changes.
Round three, and I got soundly beaten by the person who would go on to claim top spot for the evening running a G/R energy deck; it was just too aggressive for my deck to cope with and I had no solid answers to it in my sideboard. Again we got to talking, mostly about MtG and watching the game going on to the side of us.
Round four, and my opponent was much more serious. Conversation was limited and the game was businesslike, with me losing in two games to a combination of Jace, Chandra and counter magic. Afterwards they listed the mistakes I’d made during the game (it was now after 10pm, and as I’d been up since 3am there were a few), and in an effort to keep things light-hearted I acknowledged them and added ‘but sure, it’s only a bit of fun’. At this statement they looked genuinely confused, and I’m still not sure as I write this if their confusion was due to my accent or the concept of playing for fun.
At the end of the night I placed 7th, coming away with another couple of promos.
The friendliest crowd in my experience (I even got offered a doughnut at one point)
Handy, spacious location
Plenty of interest in Standard
Broad range of abilities and decks on show
I got offered a doughnut
It’s free to play
Not the most accessible space for getting to and from tables (the tables are set up on the shop floor after hours; but honestly, this is such a small downside I wish I had another emoticon.)
Other observations: A few ideas to tweek my deck after the mirror match.
Since stepping back from the organised play scene, my two biggest complaints have been the pay to win nature of MtG and the barriers to entry to organised play for players looking to move beyond the kitchen table and expand their potential play group. I think the first one is pretty obvious, but please give me a moment to explain my thoughts on the second.
FNM is billed (amongst other things) as being an introduction of organised play, but there’s nothing to stop players who have completed at much higher levels from filling the spaces. I know that most players abide by Wheton’s law, but I’ve also known new players to turn up to ‘the wrong group’ and after a couple of weeks of getting roflstomped, just give up. As it was, I had committed myself to playing at all three venues (the fourth venue, 8-Bit seems to mainly run casual, and no Standard, events) with the view to assessing the current state of Standard FNM in my area, but I’ll freely admit that I was feeling pretty disheartened after the second week. I‘m still trying to think of a sport in which vastly more experienced players are allowed to compete on a level playing field with beginners. Can anyone help me out here?
But I guess my final thoughts are that, for Bristol at least, there are FNM groups that cater for a range of levels. If you find yourself giving FNM a try but don’t get on with the group for any reason, then I would encourage you to try a different group if you have that option in your area. The stores I visited are all less than a couple of miles apart, but my experiences of them were much further. To me, Magic: the Gathering was always been first and foremost about the community, and it’s good to know that there’s still a lot of players who feel the same.
3 Inspiring Vantage
3 Spire of Industry
4 Aether Hub
4 Ravenous Intruder
4 Reckless Fireweaver
4 Pia's Revolution
1 Hope of Ghirapur
4 Implement of Combustion
2 Implement of Ferocity
4 Implement of Improvement
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Foundry Inspector
1 Scrap Trawler
3 Workshop Assistant
The idea here is to get a Reckless Fireweaver or two on the field and start dropping cheap artifacts to deal damage. Then once a Pia's Revolution is cast you can sacrifice your artifacts to draw cards and force your opponent to chose between allowing you to return the artifacts to your hand, or taking three damage to put each of them into the graveyard.
If the artifacts come back to your hand then you can keep repeating the cycle for as long as your have mana (and many of them become free to cast if you have a Foundry Inspector or two on the field, and free to sacrifice if you have a Ravenous Intruder).
I really enjoy playing this deck, and as I was able to use the mana base from my previous attempt (see the replies to Intro and week 1), and pull a lot of the cards from my FLGSs 5p common and 20p uncommon boxes, it cost me very little to make the switch.
Mike De Groote
I started playing magic when fourth edition came out. I invested heavily in completing sets (4 of each card)
I did some of the early FNM and some tournaments.
my own feelings for magic is that it is a game that moves at two speeds.
competition is just that cutthroat and there is no place for a joke or a farce
Example from one of the matches I remember is that the guy next to me was playing a girl (extremely rare at that point in time for the game)
and she used a fireball on one of his creatures. i pointed out that he was luck for her to be so hot (temperature) and on fire for him. I got a seriously bad sneer back, the girl at least gave me a quick smile..
so in the end I kept my mouth shut and just played the game. and as you pointed out even in the beginning there where net deck. If you came with a custom deck , own design most of the upper players would actually look down on you. but you know what I noticed I had way more fun playing the game then they do. yes they win and take the winnings but they are actually working, no room for a joke or a jest. It is just numbers crunching getting the advantage.
Guess I'm really no Timmy but really a Vorthos. I like my art, stomping with a nice legend or dragon, going for the quircy combo, or playing cards that would never be used in competiton.
But what kept me playing the game?? well the casual crowd i played with. we had a blast playing 1 on 1, two headed or emperor . going from singelton , to pauper to commander. my best time I had was with a artefact from Mercadian masks where I had to state a card and my opponent had to guess if I was lying. if he was wrong I would get a card. Man that card alone got us the most laughs ever....
But in the end I gave up on the game. lost my gaming group. moved , got kids and could no longer invest in the game. I still have a few decks from then but sold the rest. Trying very hard to never look at the game again.... Its a great game but no longer for me. The time money commitment is something I can no longer invest.
But I will still trash you with my clever Thallid deck or my Green thinks its blue (all lands) deck :D
Have a great time with the game I sure did in the past
- Last edited Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:47 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:28 pm
Lol, when I took the test I came up as a Johnny (actual breakdown was 50% Johnnyosity, 10% Timmyness, 40% Spikelikelyhood and 0% Vorthosia; I honestly thought there was more Timmy than Spike in me).
Yeah, I remember when netdecks started to become more prevalent in my local scene and how quickly the diversity went downhill. But there were also a few local players who preferred to build their own decks, so I mainly stuck to playing with them. Like everything, life moved on and for many of us MtG fell to the pressures of responsibility. I still see a couple of them around, but the guy I've kept in touch with the most actually lives in Australia now. He's still playing, and we always make a point of getting a few face-to-face games in when he's home visiting family.
I'd love to hear about your decks (if you can remember them / still have them?). I have a book somewhere in which I used to write down all my brews, and if I find it and thinks there's anything worth sharing then I'll post them up. Maybe we could get a classic decklists thread or geeklist going.
Besides paddling in the shallow end of the local FNM scene (there was also an evening of Modern that I'll try to write a session report on too), I'm also still working on my long term project of collecting playsets of all the Slivers. They have been my favorite creatures since I first saw them.
And finally, thanks for the interest.
Mike De Groote
I think I have 3 decks still constructed ( and I blame you for this I just bought 4 commons from weatherlight to top them off, read replace the proxies)
I'll see if i can put up a decklist here, i might still have them in MTGO. It seems my online account is still active and kicking with 17000 cards :what:
I do know that my green thinks its blue works around a beacon to make insect tokens and the horn of greed
I'll see what I can do
Mike De Groote
this is my green thinks its blue
and yes its using old cards. This deck has been in my possession for a long time and has been evolving ever since. its not a competition deck and its not intended to but it will put your opponent on the wrong leg and have them asking. what does this deck do ?
Most don't see it coming :ninja:
- Last edited Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:45 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:37 pm