GPLA Tale of the Deep Spawner

In the Sopranos pilot episode, Tony explained to Dr Melfi that he missed getting in on something (the mob) at the ground floor, that he “came in too late for that”, and that he realizes now he came in at the “end”

Remember that for a moment – we’ll come back to it.

Without getting all philosophilosicalacious on you, here in Southern California, our contemporary western culture seems, too many, as if it is being yanked in different directions.  Pulled apart at times, what-have-you.  Societal friction, economic pressures, political disagreements. All that rancid mess.

But for those of us in the Deep Spawners, we get a break from all that…”stuff”.  For a while, every so often, we get to ”pause” all the sharp shrapnel swirling around us and step aside.  Like a Jet Li fight scene, we get to stop action, and move around all the flying bullets and broken glass frozen in air, and go have a seat.  Relax a bit. Let our mind wander to different things.  Rest our muscles a minute and catch our breath.  We get a mental break, before having to dive back into the fight.

Aug 18th, we had one of our “pauses” at our own GPLA event we hosted at Barcito.  Approximately 30 Duelists (along with other guests in the wings) went head-to-head, drank, ate from the buffet, all in a terrific atmosphere in the heart of downtown.

I ran an odd Erhamgeddon-ish (GWub) pile because I was jones-ing for a fix of Spirit Link — Force of Nature action:

Magic The Gathering

Old School Player

Grand Prix

Los Angeles 2018

1993 / 1995

Card Formats
GWub pile for Deep Spawners GPLA. SB is bottom row.

I ended the night in 4th place

but, what may be more entertaining or interesting

is where I started…

I first tapped mana sometime back in 1994.

I was a newlywed idiot, and we were living in married housing attending a Louisiana university.  I was studying secondary education, thinking I would teach high school Art and English for a living (Ha!).  One day in Baton Rouge, I took my (now) ex-wife to a book store my friends and I used to frequent when I played DnD and painted miniatures back when I was a kid – Elliot’s Book Store — now known as Little Wars.  While browsing around, there were a group of teens frantically opening packs and “jazzed” about  some card game.  They even played, standing up, on a little 18” round table, designed for book displays.  It was the only space around to play.

I asked the cashier what “Magic the Gathering “ was and he described it as “some silly card game these guys are addicted to”.  Then he showed me the packs he had next to the register and explained he had to limit them to buying 2 packs a day.  We then giggled about “limiting teens to 2 packs a day” and I ended up buying a Vampire the Masquerade RPG rulebook.  Wrong choice, huh?

A few months later, a classmate insisted I try playing this “magic” card game,

Which I did…My grades that fall semester sucked.  Bad.  Thanks, Richard.

Between then and Aug 18th, 2018 a whole bunch of malarkey happened.  Mainly, we moved to Los Angeles and I sold all my collection in 1996 to a little comic book store in Whittier named “I’m Comics”  (pssssst – anyone with any information regarding the owner of I’m Comics, please let me know – I am trying in vain to hunt down my original Lotus, which was pretty distinctive, and the trail ends with him).  We moved back to Louisiana.  Hurricane Katrina.  Relocated back to Los Angeles.  Divorced.  Raised 3 kids.

But over the last 10 years I have slowly rebuilt my MTG collection

Probably a few times over.  With only one or two people remotely interested in playing those old decks I used to love playing.  So, I was forced to play standard and modern crap, just to get games in.  The formats were, well….at times “OK”.  But the crowd of punks you always ended up playing against, man those little dudes suck.

And WoTC….I’ll save those thoughts for later.

But now, my oldest son and I enjoy MTG 93/94 Old School.  By odd circumstances, we ended up connecting with the Deep Spawners, who I had only heard about, but could never connect with.  Chris’s handle “Elusiv” is pretty spot on – trying to track these dudes down was like trying to catch Bruce napping in his Batcave.

As a father, getting to enjoy this hobby with your son is amazing.

My greatest wish for all of you Old Schoolers is that one day you get to do the same, if not already.  Its one of those rare things in life where there just aren’t enough words to describe it.

Fast-forward to our event, my lazy red-neck recollection of my matches went as follows:

  • Round 1 – I faced a Living Plane/ Tim deck piloted by a hilarious fellow Deep Spawner. Won 2-1 in some fun “swingy” games where we exchanged control and momentum back and forth a few times. Ernie finally brought the meat across for the win.
  • Round 2 – Paired up against another Deep Spawner running R/U “arti-tog” (I don’t know what he calls it).  Lost 2-1 in some honestly fun games, keeping a poor hand and ultimately getting hosed never drawing G in one game and getting crushed by a perfectly timed City in a Bottle in another.
  • Round 3 – I won the Father-Son match, getting revenge on my kid for destroying me all week at home in play testing. He was on Mono Black Discard Dreams (finished 3-2 I think), but Whirling Dervish can punish that deck like a Skynet T1000
  • Round 4 – My first match ever against a Beast of the Bay. The couple of them who came down for our event were terrific and meshed right in as if we had been playing together for a while.  Unfortunately for him, he was on a RB Shops deck, which this deck has done well against.  I was fortunate enough to get a Serra and spirit linked Force out, then ‘Gheddon away all lands game one.  After Boarding in 4x Energy Flux, my turn one was Land, Lotus, Flux, Go – which was enough for me take the match 2-0.
  • Round 5 – I was paired with one of the greatest The Deck pilots, and I believe one of it’s developers from “back in the day” – Jason Murray (who won the GPLV OS event). I had been getting my behind handed to me for the past two days at the GP OS side events by Jason, but had a blast trash talking, getting to know him, and laughing it up with him.  I hadn’t won a single game against him all weekend – his deck and his skills are simply that good.  And, game 1 was no different.  He quickly gained control and “managed” my lands to where he could then outdraw me and counter key spells I cast.  I boarded in 4x Flux since The Deck has so many key artifacts, but I also shifted gears and brought in 4x Dervishes to attempt to up the aggro.  This strategy worked, as I eeked out a win of game 2, on the back of Flux and multiple creatures.

Game 3 was rough.

We went far into both decks, before I was able to get 2x Flux on the board and gain momentum.  We finally went to time in the round and at the end of turn 5, I wasn’t able to hit him for the last few points of life he had.

So, we go to Orb flips for the tie-breaker, and after about 9 flips, he finally missed on a corner/edge bounce, giving me the match, and ending the night 4-1.

Looking around, talking to everyone, watching other matches, I was extremely fortunate.  Many of the decks that showed up, being run by some of the smartest, most experienced players around would have smoked me if we matched up against each other.  I could have very easily had a 2-3 night instead.

But driving home, my son chatting up a storm about  all the fun he had, and cards he wants to collect, and decks he would like to try…that was probably the best part of the night.  I am very, very fortunate.

I may have missed fully getting in the game at the ground floor, and the game itself, with all the junk surrounding newer formats, maybe its nearing the “end” as Tony puts it…But not for me.  Not now.  Not at my house.  Sometimes, every so often….the timing’s right, and life’s good.

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