Dead or Alive: Better late than never, asleep or awake, transgressions, progressions and a sea of mistakes.

By Chris Bewley 23/8/11

Monday night at 7.42pm on the 8th of August 2011 I was run down by a moving vehicle.

The ironic intrigue in this festival of two worlds is that in my sleepiness I have become wide-awake.

It was on the ride home from the accident scene, the ins and outs of consciousness in the emergency ward and in the silence of sleep that I realised how important it  is to dream.

To be alive and to be the best you can possibly be.

I am very much alive and well, and could not be happier. I also could not be more appreciative of the people in my life, the good in my life and my life itself.

We could vanish at any instant. We could be hit by cars, lightning bolts or be thrust into the unfathomable, unbearable, inconceivable Michael Bay twenty four hour Pearl Harbour marathon. Like some weird radio station competition that you’d always hoped would come your way, but at the same time really wished would never take steps into reality. So I challenge you as I challenge myself:dare to dream.


What are your dreams? Really? What steps are you taking to achieve them? I’ve realised now, more than ever, that having a dream is crucial to us being the best that we can be. Chasing that dream gives you hope and excitement of seeing something that was once part fantasy come to life. The lessons you learn when you fail, refine and achieveare integral to your character and person being sculpted and moulded into the awesome you, you were meant to be!

When I was a little boy, my first dream came from WOLVERRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!

I wanted to become a comic book artist. I used to sit on the ground in front of the fireplace when I was 8 years old and draw Wolverine, Cyclops and the whole mutant family until, well, the end of Shortland Street. Then it was bedtime. Becoming this artist was my first dream.

I honed this craft, nurtured it and followed it to a Bachelor in Computer Graphic Design which I only completed the first year of (due to illness) at the highly esteemed and fabled Southern Institute of Technology in the City of Dreams that is Invercargill.

Life slowly crept in the way of this dream. I grew and moved around. I spent time in Dunedin, Christchurch and Gold Coast. As I moved around cities, my dreams began to move around my head and slowly became a tangled and confused mess amidst a sea of self evaluation and discovery. All was not lost though - I found many things in those few years between my SIT adventure and where I am today. I found purpose through God, I found love and depth of life through friends and family and I found peace and strength in myself. So at this point in the story I have spiritual, social and family happiness.

But where did my dreams go?

I believe that the concept of “a dream” is that the dream we speak of symbolizes our goals and visions of happiness. This “dream” is who and where we want to be. I have my own goals and my own trials. We all do. I also have some incredible things that I want to achieve and just like you, I bet, sometimes they seem almost impossible. But I’ll tell you now they aren’t impossible and we will achieve them! I’ve seen incredible things and met incredible people and in this my dreams have been realised. I am absolutely in love with the idea of chasing that boyhood dream all your life and witnessing it come to fruition, seeing something you were born to do, something you crave more than anything come to life! It’s a powerful ideal that when it has life breathed into its lungs the accomplishment itself, it speaks volumes about the person who has achieved such a feat. The  resolve and personal audacity to simply be alive.

So friend, dare to dream. Live a life of intensity, integrity and intelligence! (Olympic gold medallist and former WWE Champion Kurt Angle, what uuup!) Live a life of excellence. Strive for success and live out your dreams. If you don’t have that boyhood dream I speak of, much like myself at times, make it your goal to find out what that dream is.

Find dream. Follow dream.  Profit!

It could be you want become an astronaut or a fire fighter or a doctor. Maybe it’s something a little less stereotypical, a little more subtle and personal like that novel you’ve always wanted to write, that small art exhibition that only ten people will see but when you finally pull it off it means more to you than it would even if the entire world saw it. Maybe you want to want to just get through this semester and have a fresh start for the next.

Dreams are goals. Hopes and desires. Wishes and the realisation of hard work.

Let’s be the best we can be at whatever we do. Always.

Let’s do the things we always wanted to do.

Let’s be the person we always wanted to be!

Let’s dream.

Through this chaotic maelstrom of grammatical calamity I’ll attempt to call an introduction I have now come to the part in the text where I’m about to attempt to make some kind of transition from beginning to middle. This is where concept, chaos and calamity combine to form one truth we all know, love and share in common: Magic the Gathering!

Yo! I’m about to lay it down. Two tournament reports, three decklists and four lessons learned from four awesome New Zealand MTG players  during the most magical of magic weekends, Nationals Weekend.

You want dreams? I got dreams! It’s my dream to one day be on the Pro Tour, and the following are a few notes on my road of past, present, future and how I’m getting on that tour!

Alright, enough jibber jabber. Time for some gosh darn match reports!

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS


So I’m not qualified for Nats right, and if my dream is to get on the PT, qualifying for NZ Nats is a good start. I played the signature Matt Rogers “0-3 Drop Tezzeret” deck which I tuned (from Shouta Yasooka’s Japanese Nats top 8 list) but take no responsibility for. Here’s the list: 

Deck: 0-3 Drop Tezzeret
Tournament: NZ Nationals 2011 - Chris BewleySideboard
1Consecrated Sphinx1Torpor Orb
1Wurmcoil Engine3Spellskite
4Preordain2Disfigure
3Inquisition of Kozilek2Memoricide
2Mana Leak3Mental Misstep
2Doom Blade4Flashfreeze
2Disfigure

1Sorin's Vengeance

2Consume the Meek

1Stoic Rebuttal

4Everflowing Chalice

4Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

3Ratchet Bomb

2Torpor Orb

2Tumble Magnet

1Batterskull

1Jace, Memory Adept

4Creeping Tar Pit

4Tectonic Edge

4Island

4Drowned Catacomb

4Darkslick Shores

3Swamp

1Inkmoth Nexus

60Cards15Cards
 Display Deck Statistics

Much like my recollection of my Grinders decklist, my retelling of the factual side of my Nats experience may be a little cloudy. Ha! If you know me, or possibly have even met me at a tournament you’ll absolutely believe that throughout Nats Weekend I was running around like an octopus with one leg. (A bit lost but still really fast! -for in joke see last article. That was for you Simon ;) ) So needless to say, I lost my decklists/match notes/mini articles/piece that I wrote on Ivan Schroder losing with his RUG twinpod deck in the PTQ to a dude playing a 100+ card deck that mulled to five, had no sideboard, was seated in the 0-2 bracket and pretty much taught Ivan how to play magic in game three, round three of the PTQ that fateful day. Good thing I can’t find those notes. That’d be pretty embarrassing, right Ivan!

Okay, okay sorry. I always do this! Right, grinders…

ROUND ONE

VS A real nice guy playing Vampires.

Game one I have a few Doom Blades, not the best in this matchup, and he grinds me down after I Tezzeret a few 5/5’s to stop the bleeding. Game two and three I’m rocking the full playset of Disfigure and this combined with the almighty Ratchet Bomb and an everflowing stream of Everflowing Chalice 5/5’s is enough to take me to the next round.

 

ROUND TWO

VS Aaron Newson playing CawBlade

Aaron is one of my all-time favourite Broski’s as you can probably tell by the level of irritation you find yourself suffering from whenever you are subjected to him and I being next to each other and within ten feet of you. Pretty gutting being paired against each other, but it is the first grinder of the day and we couldn’t wait so that’s just too bad.

Game one is a pretty good game, some decent interactions. Swords are flowing, Tezzeret is sculpting up a storm and in the end I cast the greatest card ever printed, Sorin’s Vengeance, and I win. Game two is pretty much the same story yet Aaron comes out on top and in the third game we battle a bit early on, but due to too many counters and discarding I win this one through a Creeping Tar Pit beatdown. Aaron did find a Tectonic Edge but not long after I find another Tarpit. Sorry, Broski.

 

ROUND THREE

VS A sick Tempered Steel master playing The Almighty Tempered Steel

Game one he does what his deck does. He utterly obliterates me. Game two he is on the draw, which already gains me like twenty eight life and he also starts off his first two turns  dropping one guy a turn which is unheard of and fantastic. We get to turn six  with his guys in check and  I cast Wurmcoil Engine. Phew!

Game three! He’s on the play again which is always pretty terrifying when I’m playing UB Control and facing The Almighty Tempered Steel but again he doesn’t turn one combo out three-plus guys so I’m still alive by turn five. Also, I’ve had the privilege of killing some of his creatures AND countering one. What a game! Here we are on turn five and his board is (something very similar to) this: Vault Skirge, Memnite, Signal Pest, Signal Pest, Plains, Plains, Inkmoth Nexus, Inkmoth Nexus. He enters his attack step. I have five mana open, two of which produce black. His two Inkmoth Nexus burst into life. The team is coming at me. I’m sweating, I’m shaking - yet not out of fear, but out of childish excitement. I pause, take one deep breath and then I do it: with a genuine apology I cast Consume the Meek. The crowd goes wild and my once-friendly opponent sinks into an abrupt, agonizing whirlwind of darkness and despair. Well…truth be told, he’s a bit gutted and has a bit of a laugh. We shake hands and I move onto the final.

 

ROUND FOUR FINAL ROUND

VS a friendly fellow playing RUG Twin Pod

He says hello to me and says, “Are you maindecking Torpor Orb?”

“Yup, two.”

“And Tumble Magnet, aye?”

“Yeah…”

“I don’t know if I can win.”

At this point I offer him my prizes if he were to drop, which a judge helped me word correctly so I’m not getting Wafo-Tapa’ed out of the DCI system and he seems to be more excited at the (approximately) two boxes than getting into Nats. He decides to drop and I’m in! Thanks again, mystery magic man for helping me out!

That was my Friday morning. It went very well. My first attempt at the LCQ for 2011 and I nailed it straight away! Easy on the mind and on the pocket. Now for the main event!

 

2011 NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

So while I’m in Auckland visiting from Christchurch I have the honour and privilege of staying with Mega-Broskis Matt Rogers and Aaron Newson. Matt and I are laying our heads to rest after my “hard day’s grinding” (Aaron and my good friend and great Magic player Guy Jacobson actually grinded from the first to the last grinders that day, but to no avail =( awesome perseverance guys!) and our bedtime stories to each other consist of “Hey Chris, Tezzeret’s pretty good aye.” This is the same guy who week after week has told me Tezzeret is terrible (which is quite possibly correct) so naturally I’m expecting a ”Chris you are such a Jason Chung. That deck’s not even good, you just Chung-a-Lung-a-Lucksacked your way into Nats with it” kind of conversation. I reluctantly respond to his compliment with “Yeah, I think it’s awesome.”

Our conversation (downwardly??) spirals into Matt getting out of bed, dismantling CawBlade and playing the Tezzeret deck at Nats. We all know how that went (hint: See the name of the decklist). I believed then and still do believe that the deck was a good Nats pick and I played the exact same list as I played at Grinders and the same 75 as Matt.

For these first few rounds, again I lost my notes by I’ll try and hook you up with the goss as best as I can!

Here’s how I did!

 

ROUND ONE

VS a fellow grinder playing Mono Black

Nationals round one and I’m and mad as a bag of gerbils with excitement. We start to roll. I sculpt a few pieces of animatedetherium and beat him up with a few 5/5s. He takes two hits and I take a few from his side of the board. A Doom Blade here, a Doom Blade there, and it’s all over with a flash of brilliance in the form of Sorin’s Vengeance!

Game two I start off a bit slow but still manage to rustle up a Tezzeret or two. They don’t quite cut it in the face of a double Lashwrithe and a Vampire Nighthawk. We move to game three. Game three starts off and the conflict on the battlefield rages on. He doesn’t have the Vampire Nighthawk which gave me so much trouble last game, and seems to be off to a bit of a slow start anyway. I take this chance to hit hard with some 5/5’s and Wurmcoil swings across to seal the deal. On to the next round.

1-0

 

ROUND TWO

VS Dan McKay (Eventual 2011 top 8’er and Uber-Broski) playing The Almighty Tempered Steel

I play against Dan almost every day. Well, maybe three days a week. Is that unhealthy? I’m not sure but this premise made for a fun, casual match. A little too casual as you will find out…

Game one he Tempered Steels me. You know the one. Blah blah play a guy. And another guy. And another guy. And another guy. And another guy. Then onto turn two. He beat me up pretty good even through two Disfigure and a Mana Leak!

So in game two I am rocking some Spellskite, Mental Misstep and two more Disfigure. I am on the play this time so I get a free 28 life as previously stated which is always welcome. I kill a guy, counter one or two and go into turn six with my Wurmcoil sitting comfortably next to a Spellskite all safe and sound. Dan doesn’t have a whole lot of cards in his hand at this point and I can take his next swing, blocking with my Wurmcoil quite comfortably. I win this game right? Wrong! He rips the Leonin Relic-Warder off the top and oversells it to me as “his only out”. I guess I fell for it because when he slammed it, I simply said “Yes please, Daniel, that would be absolutely wonderful of you to exile my win condition. You have all the permission in the world. Ha hawh! Thank you very much good sir. You may now have this match because I love you infinitely and would like to lose due tomy own ignorance and stupidity. Woooo!” Yeah…so I decided not to use Spellskite’s abilty to save my Wurmcoil Engine. Good one, Chris.

 

NATIONALS WEEKEND LESSON I LEARNED NUMBER ONE:

“Bro, why didn’t you use Spellskite?” –Dan McKay.

Lesson number one is…use Spellskite instead of losing the game.

So directly because of my decision, and my decision alone, Dan McKay made top 8! But I lost the match…

 

ROUND THREE

VS former National Champion and Animal Kaiser Visionary (and another eventual 2011 Nats Top 8’er) Dan Bretherton playing RDW

NATIONALS WEEKEND LESSON I LEARNED NUMBER TWO:

“The best writing is re-writing.” –Dan Bretherton

Dan is awesome at Magic but one thing you may not have known (but do now thanks to his awesome Nats report! Welcome to the Cantrip writing team Dan!) is that Dan is also an amazing writer. With a history of studying different aspects of journalism and literature Dan gave me some awesome advice and constructive criticism on my articles and writing in general. I learnt from Dan that re-writing is better writing and the same goes with re-reading before publishing. Thanks bro! I hope some of that shows up in this latest epic…onto our match.

Game one, much like the Tempered Steel matchup, I expect to lose against such a fast deck, let alone such an accomplished and experience RDW pilot. Dan rips me to shreds in game one and really, to cut a long story short, even when I side into more removal in game two I fail to draw enough of it and it’s very much the same story.

1-2

Okay, I’m not off to the best start, partially my own fault right? Regardless, let’s soldier on. On to the draft and a chance at redemption!

To be continued...

Stay tuned for part two of this epic tale on Thursday night - Editor

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