Abbi Marie | 28th August 2018
So the other weekend was Nationals in Watford, and I stepped in with my playmat sticking out my backpack, eyes glistening and ready for some action. I don’t get the chance to play often, let alone competitively, and side events at GPs are the furthest I’ve ever ventured, so it’s safe to say this was a big thing for me. I was ready to see new decks, learn new things, and evidently get my ass kicked, and come out with my shiny Flooded Strand if nothing else.
I was armed with my Mono-White Prison deck and honestly, it did some dirty work. My first match was against a mirror of a red prison deck and OH was it painful. We took 40 minutes to end game 1 with him milling himself, and I took the win with a draw on the second game. There should definitely be some rules on standoffs because that was never ending! Honestly, we were both so done we’d stopped giving ourself tokens, attacking… But hey! A win is a win!
I also then kicked some Human Butt, Mono Red Burn, and Elves. Humans were slowed down massively by Ghostly prison, Runed Halo and sideboarding in Wrath of God, even his meddling mages couldn’t keep up! Mono Red Burn was unlucky on his part as I drew an opening hand Leylines 2/3 Games, giving me plenty of time to deal with him before he could do much of anything. Elves were Similar to Humans. I think Creature decks Is my best matchup.
Control was a real struggle, I saw Blue Moon, Jeskai Control, U/W Control, and a weird Eldrazi Aggro and there was no coming back. I lost all 3 matches overall. My deck is just so naturally slow that it gives them way too much time to build up that Cryptic mana base and then some, and of course once Jace or Teferei are down It’s more than an uphill battle. So coming away from my matches I definitely need to come up with something to speed up my game.
I dropped before the last round because my brain was utter mush, but I was pretty pleased with my overall 4/4 win.
The only downside to the event, unfortunately, was some of the community. I think Magic has so much to offer and is majority filled with interesting, amazing and intelligent people. However its always the few that ruin it for the many. It was my first proper serious event and I was a nervous wreck, to begin with, I was so careful with my plays, made myself clear, listened to my opponents, followed all the rules, and somehow I still had judge calls on my first 4 matches, that’s right! Every. Match. And I may not be a Judge but I know damn well that 3 of those Judge calls were 100% unnecessary. Two of them were for outside onlookers (whom I didn’t even know) commenting on my deck during the games, to which I had my opponents friends screaming Judge on me because apparently they were ‘Influencing’ my gameplay. Luckily 1 judge could tell it was bogus, but still had to ‘talk’ to me, which I completely understand on their part, but the other judge gave me an actual bollocking and explained why It wasn’t allowed. I completely understand it wasn’t allowed, but surely other people making comments and talking to their friends about what someone is playing has nothing to do with me? And even though what they said wasn’t influenced at all, surely I can’t help what people comment when watching a match?
Of course, this isn’t everyone and most of my opponents were absolutely lovely.
I get there are bad players out there, but If you’re sad enough to feel the need to scream judge for your mate who is playing because some stranger laughs and says ‘Yea she’s swinging for 10 lifelink haha’ about his opponent, you need to get a reality check. Honestly, by my 3rd game, I wanted to cry, and I was so paranoid and anxious about upsetting someone, or someone else saying something about my deck that I made an actual mistake, which could’ve cost me the game. (A mistake is a mistake, I forgot to shuffle my graveyard back in for game 2 and happily took the warning, because it’s the right thing to do) I understand it is a competition and you shouldn’t let people take the complete piss, but I did feel some people took it way too seriously, especially later on when you both know you’re not top eight-ing and could pass out from tiredness. Being a female as well in a heavily male-dominated environment can be very nerve-racking, and I’ve had more than one occasion (outside of Nationals as well) where people have tried to bully a win out of me for this reason. Maybe I’m just not as competitive as other people, which I get, I just didn’t think an event should actually be that anxiety-inducing even after you know you’re not winning any prizes.
HOWEVER that was the only negative thing I had to say, and I hate being negative. Otherwise, I had a fantastic time, the venue was lovely, clean and easy to get to, (Not to mention never queuing for the ladies loo because I was about 75% of the female presence). The Axion team were great, the event was swift and well organized, we didn’t wait long after time on the round, the tables were easily laid out, and the staff were more than helpful, as always and overall I had a fantastic day, which has revved me up for GP Liverpool!
That’s basically it, just wanted to recap what it was like, and how it went. I would love to know how you guys feel about competitive play? Have you ever had ridiculous Judge calls? or maybe I just shouldn’t be as bothered by it next time, rather than feeling like I’ve been called to the principles office hahaha
Either way, I’d love to know what you think! And if you went how did you do?