Mike and I were always into

competitive games against each other.

We wore out his amiga games while the loser drank till the sun came up. We raced slot cars on a track we owned together and the loser drank. We bowled, and we played magic. (Loser drank).

Strangely, I decided to join the Marines in 1993

So Mike and I only got to play when I was home on leave. We kept in touch when I was in Italy and bought Italian legends. He came to visit and we played in various duty stations I was in through the years. I also played almost every day on the USS Theodore Roosevelt on a Mediterranean deployment in 1996.

By this time I was rocking a deck featuring 4 time vault

I would feel final fortune turns to untap the vault. I played on the USS Washington in 97-98. My daughter was born in 1996 so like many, I didn’t play much except when deployed.

Her time capsule of when she was born still has a box of alliances in it.

I went a solid 10 years only playing magic the gathering occasionally

But mostly it was old school with my buddy Mike when I went home on leave. In 2009 I got divorced and had time on my hands.

I was a little nerdy and a little lonely.

I walked into the local game store, bought 2 boxes of M10, built a deck and played it un-sleeved that night at their FNM. I went 2-3 and I was hooked. Jesse and Damyan owned the store at the time. I still play with them both.

I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 where I got with the local USO and arranged a weekly draft. Damyan sent me boxes of cards and the USO provided prizes by buying extra boxes. They trusted me to be fair and prize out the free events. I ran unsanctioned drafts for 14 months through 2 deployments in Afghanistan. It was a total blast seeing army rangers, Marine special forces, Navy, British Royal Marines, all kinds of people show up for the weekly event. Everyone was heavily armed and we had no judge nor any conflicts. Even better the sets we drafted were Zendikar, Innistrad, world wake, and rise of Eldrazi.

All great sets.

During this time, I return home on leave and Mike would get the old gang back together (his brothers and friends) to play.

  • But I was way too competitive.
  • My decks were finely tuned legacy decks and they were casual.
  • Mike had all the old cards but it felt like cheating using power.

One day in 2015 I was in Damyan’s MTG shop.

We were talking legacy and a guy was there that was interested In Legacy. He was also a bit more mature than the rest and the 3 of us made plans to play legacy on occasion. We would later refer to him as “Savage”.

Our Thursday night vintage and old school game had started. Soon we had Shrek, Savage, Damyan, me, Senai, and usually a random player. Twice Jaco made the trek from LA.

That year, me, Savage, and Mike went to eternal weekend in Columbus. I even managed to begin the vintage tourney 5-0 that year but the real fun was the old school tournament Jaco had organized. I had the prestige of not only having the most fun, but also placing dead last out of 87 with a sweet black white abyss deck.

After the tourney, mike and I crashed Dan Bocks hotel room, got all his employees hammered and played till 4 AM.

In 2017 we had a private MTG Old School tournament

Savage, Damyan, Shrek, Senai, Mike, The Preacher, and I for a long weekend of magic at my cabin in Big Bear Lake, California.

We ate, drank, and played all weekend. We knew it would be an annual thing from that point on.

Another eternal weekend.

This time I played a cool mirror universe combo deck that did pretty well.

Forward to the second Risk at my house.

I think we had 36 people but not all at once. Mike and his brothers flew out.  We ate, drank, and played a lot of cards. Mostly, we met a lot of local old school players. I arranged a few events at bars but the next big one was the off site GPLA event. We capped it at 32 but I know we could of had 50 easy. I ate, drank, and played cards.

Magic got me through the times when I needed some camaraderie.

I hope some of the new old school players have memories like mine…young and excited to play awesome cards.

It’s why I play.


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