Monday, July 11, 2011

how to make yr tournament reports slightly less boring

Congratulations, you did Something Moderately Noteworthy at a recent tournament and now you want to throw some words up on a screen so that we can all be envious of your immense Magic- and writing-related skills. The biggest issue with this plan is that most tournament reports are unbelievably uninteresting and can somehow turn high-intensity situations with thousands of dollars on the line into what resembles a summary of your aunt’s weekend spent “antiquing.” Example:

This match was against Valakut, which is a good matchup for me. Game one a mulligan is taken but my hand is pretty good after that. I have pretty good early pressure and he is killed by it within six or seven turns. After sideboarding, he starts out with some mana accelera

Oh sorry did I end that quote midword, my head just slipped and hit the enter key because I was asleep because it was really boring because it is bad. Instead of causing cranial pain in both the metaphorical and (as previously demonstrated) literal senses, you should spice up your writing a bit and maybe get laid once in a while too, loser. There are so many ways to write about Magic without sounding like every other asshole with a what-happened-last-match summary. For example, why just say what your opponent was playing? That opponent is a person, and shouldn’t just get ignored and treated like the only important aspect of them is their deck. It’s disrespectful and objectifying. How would you like it if people passed you on the street and only saw you as a walking stack of cards, huh? It wouldn’t feel very good. Treat your opponent like a real human being:

My opposition this round has the appearance of a quivering batch of sticks held together with body hair and anticipatory energy; his black T-shirt (with white text that has faded off in the nipple vicinity) clings to his concave chest at seemingly impossible places. His eyes dart around to other players, the clock, the judges, his dick, as if he’s expecting one or more to jump out and assault him. Somehow managing to not knock over his own deck while presenting it toward me, the texture of it informs me that his perspiration is not limited to his armpits and forehead and that Dragon Shield sleeves can hold a shocking amount of liquid. His stuttered question, unnecessarily ensuring that the high roll will determine who goes first, leads to a die roll of Six and On The Floor. His subsequent re-roll leads to a Three and Annoyed-Sounding Bodybuilder-Looking Guy Next To Us Who Got A Die In Front Of Him Like Totally Messing Up His Shuffling. After more quaking and stuttering from my opponent, the goal of the dice is finally realized, and we’re ready to start.

Now we’re talking. Before even starting a game we’ve already clearly established who the enemy is (some nerd) and since he’s so unlikeable then the audience is going to hope you win just by default. Throw in a few descriptions of how good-looking and humble you are and you’ll have the audience supporting you through anything, even the incident later in the report where you get DQ’d for calling the head judge a very long compound insult. This will get even further reinforced when you start to demonstrate how much better you are at this simple card game than all the rest of us doofuses:

By the way he paused looking at each card before he played it, I could tell the deck was fairly new to him, which was great news for me. I had tested the matchup extensively with [name pro] and we had concluded that it was, at worst, 64/36 in my favor (“but at a real tournament you’ll do a lot better than that just by your raw play skill,” as [pro] mentioned). My hand was reasonable, but not unbeatable in the hand of your average player off the street; I would have to be careful to play as well as I did in the previous tournaments I won with the deck.

On the third turn, my opponent cast a spell, untapping and retapping his lands haphazardly (still ending up with the incorrect decision of which to leave untapped, in my opinion) and looked over to me anxiously. I paused, slightly moving my left hand to a card before hesitating and saying “okay.” A lesser player definitely would have overplayed this ploy, making it seem bluntly obvious. By the look on my opponent’s face, he bought it completely: he definitely believed I had a counterspell, despite the fact I was playing GB midrange. The whole game, he plays around it and I leave up a land or two to continue his delusion. Finally, I smile as I play the last card in my hand. He looks at me dumbfounded that I never had it to begin with. He immediately shoves his cards together, mumbles “good games” and scribbles on the match results sheet as my friends and girlfriends congratulate me on a match well played.

Oh shit yes. Now the audience is well aware that you’re by far the best player in the room, which is valuable for them to know because if they saw in the title of your report that you didn’t win, they’ll know something’s up: either someone cheated you or lucksacked you. Probably both. That’s called “foreshadowing,” folks, and it’s tricks like that which will put you far ahead in this little ol’ writing game we’ve got going here.

But wait, you exclaim, I still haven’t the slightest clue how to describe moving cards around a table in a way that will interest even the most passionate fans of moving cards around a table. Sometimes, one needs to think a bit outside the box, or at least go back to a founding principle of Magic: it’s a fantasy game, with big dragons and angels with tits and if you can’t make tits interesting to an audience of straight males then well maybe writing just isn’t your calling. Stop talking about cards and start talking about the Story Those Cards Represent:

On the mystical plane of Raund’Phoeaur, the first of three great battles is being waged between the powerful planeswalkers Jon, Savior of the Righteous (using the pure and holy armies that have conquered and ravaged so many unholy places in previous times) and Mark, Destroyer of Dreams (using a combination of intellectualism with malicious thought tampering to [author’s note: how the hell to describe ANT in fantasy jargon. think of smthng]).

The field of battle opens with Mark, Destroyer of Dreams calling forth a long-uncharted passage of water beneath the earth, before exploiting its great power as a resource to diabolically meddle with Jon, Savior of the Righteous’s thoughts and seize the inkling of a thought Jon once had regarding an artificial religious construct of moderate fighting power but which would severely hamper Mark’s future schemes. Jon, Savior of the Righteous sends a secret interplaneswalker message that Mark, Destroyer of Dreams is “A Fucking Sack.”

Jon, Savior of the Righteous calls forth the first mythical monstrosity, a proud warrior of the Kithkin race with the potential to transform itself into a variety of increasingly fearsome forms. After the great adventurer enters the plane of war, a torrent of magical spells and incantations comes forth from Mark, Destroyer of Dreams. The first of these malevolent actions is one calling forth the purest form of black mana, followed by multiple more with similarly self-serving results. Jon, Savior of the Righteous sends forth his comment that the battle tactics employed by Mark are “The Gayest.” Mark continues his slew of spells with an attempt to gain a massive influx of knowledge at the expense of his own well-being and sanity. Repeatedly, he purposefully chooses to harm himself to the brink of destruction to greedily learn as many forbidden secrets of the multiverse as he can.

His plan beginning to come to fruition, he ends his pursuit of potentially deadly information, using what he learned to call forth even more of the darkest mana, then shockingly using secret jewels to gain even more at the expense of virtually all he had just learned. Cleverly, he had done this while consulting a dark demon to learn the only piece of information he currently lacked. Jon, Savior of the Righteous has his magically-endowed arms, covered in gold and treasure from a multitude of planes, crossed dejectedly and making expressions unseen on his face since his pre-planeswalking days when he spent his time throwing tantrums when disallowed his favored swords. Mark, Destroyer of Dreams reveals the final phase of his nefarious plot by subjecting Jon to unbelievably cruel torturous magical vines that penetrate the very sanity of Jon, who goes insane attempting to hold even the most tenuous grasp on reality. His last audible words are potentially factually inaccurate statements involving himself and Mark’s mother, grandmother, and sister.

Whoa nellie I just filled like a full page with way more interesting bullshit when most inferior Magic writers would only spend like half a sentence on that game. That’s the joy of quality writing, folks, you can describe basically nothing at all and feel great about it in the morning.


Bryan said...

brb submitting a report to SCG now

John Keck said...
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