A Meeting of Monks and Dragons - Part II
Well, it sucks when you have something good planned and you have to go second. It was always that way in school. Things don't change too much when you get older. Ray Powers wrote the companion piece to my article yesterday over in Monk's Corner. Go check it out if you haven't.
Ray and I have known each other for a while now. We have been hanging out for years over on IRC. We've shared ideas about all kinds of things. We both own stores as well, so we get a lot of shop talk in. Lately, with major tournaments coming up and new games releasing, we haven't been doing a lot of chatting. So we had this great idea of doing a two part interview series.
My goal is to at least keep it interesting and entertaining while giving you a little bit of insight to the two of us.
So let's get down to the interview questions:
PowrDragn: When did you start playing Magic and where did you get it?
Monk: I had a roommate who was a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons, and we played all the time. For Christmas that year, I was looking at presents for him, and saw a two player Gift Box Set for Revised Magic: The Gathering at the local comic store. It seemed to be the perfect thing for him, so I bought it for him. We spent most of the Winter Holiday season playing Magic, and by New Years, we were both hooked.
(PowrDragn insert: Truthfully, I think most people who got into the game early ran into this type of scenario all the time. I still get fanmail regularly that talk about this type of intro to the game.)
PowrDragn: What other games do you play?
Monk: Boy, does that depend on you definition of "play." If you mean, on a weekly basis, right now I only play Magic, Poker, Duel Masters, and Marvel. If you mean "know how to play and will usually be up for a game" then there's not much I don't play. I am a huge fan of Game Design, and try to play everything new that comes out, if for no other reason than to see what Game Designers are doing and thinking, and what I think works and why. Some of my favorite games are On the Edge, Apples to Apples, Magic, Cosmic Encounters, and Guillotine.
(PowrDragn insert: Every game that Monk mentions is pretty good. I guess it's one of those traits you pick up as a good store owner.)
PowrDragn: What do you like most about Magic?
Monk : The rectangular ness of the cards.
OK OK, in all honesty, the limited playability of the game. I love drafting. Love it to death. I love the idea of trying to build something out of a limited card pool and outmaneuver your opponents through out playing them, and out drafting them, and no other game has the draft ability that Magic does.
(PowrDragn insert: Funny as it is, I would have accepted the "ractangular-ness of the cards.")
PowrDragn: What is your greatest Magic accomplishment?
Monk : I'd like to say running multiple Grand Prix Events, but I don't think that's what you mean. I have made multiple PTQ top 8's, but never made the tour. My DCI Rating at its best was roughly 1950. In all honesty, my greatest accomplishments have been in deck building more than playing. I have built State Championship decks for multiple years, and made multiple people money at Grand Prix Events and Pro Tours by giving them decks to play. My favorite deck built would have to be Oathclasym, a deck I built for Tim, the founder of #mtgwacky, years ago to play at a Grand Prix. He ended up not playing it, but giving it to someone else, who then made money with the deck, then published an article on his success crediting the deck to Tim. There's no justice in this world!
(PowrDragn insert: That's what you get for being a judge...it's like a referee...no respect.)
PowrDragn: What brought on the idea of owning a store for you?
Monk : I hate to admit how boring my reasoning for doing a store was. I was already a Premiere Tournament Organizer for Wizards of the Coast and running Pro Tour Qualifiers and such on a regular basis. I was burnt out at work, and figured that a store would be a good home for my events, and could make me enough money to survive off of to be happy.
What a fool I was. :)
(PowrDragn insert: I'm sure there are days that he regrets that decision. And he thought he had burnout BEFORE owning a business lol)
PowrDragn : When did you start writing Magic articles and who did you get started?
Well, I started on UseNet, first responding, asking questions, etc. Then I posted my first tourney report there. This was fun, I went and did some searching to see what my first post was that was an article (which was a tourney report), and came up with this one in February of 1997, although I was posting since June of 1995:
This link is made all the more funny by the fact that it was responded to by none other than Eric Taylor, who now proclaims himself my archenemy.
My first article on the Dojo was in August of 1998, also a tournament report, which I found here: http://web.archive.org/web/19991010033834/thedojo.com/t983/ptq.980803rpo.txt
Apparently many of my articles started with "I didn't win, and don't know who did." Ooops. I just wrote Tournament Reports for a while, and then moved on to strategy articles, first for the Dojo, then for E-League.
My first big jump was due to an article by Mario Robaina that I felt a need to respond to, linked here: http://web.archive.org/web/20001005191657/www.thedojo.com/column/col.981222rpo.txt
Then I decided that article writing was fun, and dove in with and article called the Three Turn Rule in March, which I can't find a link to, so will have to settle for the first one I could find archived, which is this one in May: http://web.archive.org/web/20001008050441/www.thedojo.com/b992/bo.990504rpo.shtml
When the Dojo went bust, it kind of took the wind out of my sails, and I stopped writing. In the years I was not writing, I moved on from playing to organizing and my articles have kind of changed a lot from there.
(PowrDragn insert: I sooooooo badly want to make fun on Monk for giving me such a long response. However, his articles and other stuff on their respective sites are kind of fun to read for nostalgia sake. He gets off the hook this time.)
PowrDragn : What's your favorite animal and why?
Monk : My son. If I don't get to use that, I'll go with Dogs. How boring am I? But dogs are fun, playful, and loyal, and very pet-able. Everything I want in a girlfriend, er, pet, er...
(PowrDragn insert: I knew Monk was an animal lover but...geesh. But I did confer with the judges and they are willing to accept "my son" as an answer.)
PowrDragn : What other things do you like to do outside of playing games?
Monk: I like jogging and playing racquetball. I love a good martial arts movie. I'm an avid reader. I like MAKING games, which very different from playing them, trust me. And I like taking long walks on the beach with hot Asian playmates. Well, I think I would like that, it hasn't happened yet.
(PowrDragn insert: Between the two of us, we easily break the stereotype of gamers not exercising. Aren't game store owners supposed to be the kings of the dorks? )
PowrDragn : Being a judge, I've gotta know...what has been your most interesting judge calls?
Monk : My favorite call has to be from last year's Nationals. In between rounds, a Nationals competitor came up to me to ask me a question. I'll tell the story in IRC Log for ease of telling:
<Player> I have a question, I need answered.
<Player> Say, the round is starting up, and my player is shuffling, or watching his hand, and I am going first, and I lay a Mountain and say Duress. What happens?
<Monk> And, obviously you are not actually playing a Duress, as you laid a Mountain?
<Player> I'm playing mono-red.
<Monk> Then I would say you are deliberately misleading your opponent in an attempt to get him to show you his hand. I would consider that Unsportsmanlike Conduct at the very minimum, and might call it Cheating.
<Player> But, I'm just saying Duress. I wasn't announcing a spell. I was just saying the word cause I like it. You know: Duress, Duress, duress.
<Monk> Sir, you know as well as I do that Duress is not a word that comes up in casual conversation. Nor is it known as a common greeting throughout the land. You don't normally walk up to someone and say "Duress Mike! How's it going?” As such, I would stick with my original analysis, and penalize you as such.
<Player> But, what if I..
* Monk raises his hand to cut off Player
<Monk> Sir, you're going to have to use your own judgment on these. All I can tell you is that I will always err on the side of "he's being a cheating bastard" and you should base your actions as such.
<Player> ... OK. Thank you.
* Player walks off.
(PowrDragn insert: Rumor has it that Monk tried to drop an elbow on this guy as he walked away. However, I can find no witnesses that can confirm nor deny these allegations.)
PowrDragn : Lakers to win it all this year with four hall of famers in the starting line up or no?
Monk : Oh my goodness, you asked me a sports question. Uh, is this hockey?
Seriously, yeah probably. For basketball, I'm a hometown fan, so love the Suns, but I don't see them doing it this year.
(PowrDragn insert: If you are betting man, you know who to bet with. The Suns are NEVER going to win it...especially after the trades they made this year!)
Well, that's it for the interview portion of this week.
But I can't leave without giving you the Bad Play of the Week:
This one comes to us from ElementalMagic_Fire:
Currently I am in between decks (sort of). Im testing out this deck that I have made around one card: Tsabo Tavoc. Anyway I have ten mana on the field, six swamps and four mountains. I have nothing on the board besides that. My oppoenant has out ten islands, two ur-golem's eyes, a darksteel ignot, and a lattice. It is his turn, and he untaps, draws, smiles and declares "I have won the game" and plays Memnarch. I just laugh to myself for two reasons: One because I have a burn deck. It specializes in burn cards. I only have two creatures (Tavoc and Avatar of Woe). But he doesn't know about that. Currently I have Tavoc in my hand. He taunts me a bit and then I take my turn, and I play my Tavoc. On his turn, he quickly goes through his untap upkeep and draw phases, and claims that I was stupid for laying out the Tavoc for him to control. However I claim that he is unable to take it. He thinks I am wrong. I tell him to read the card, and he still says I am wrong. We get some of our friends over and they tell him that I am right: Tavoc has protection from legends and therefore cannot be taken captive by Memnarch. So he just scooped.
Gotta love it when people miss the details.
I guess that's it for this week. Have fun with your regionals preparation. Keep reading. Keep sending me your good and bad plays of the week and I'll keep sending out prize packages :)
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