Eternal Warrior #54: Seasons’ Beatings!

It’s the holidays once more! The Christmas tradition here at Eternal Warrior is to play a red and green deck to commemorate the season. Sadly, times have not been great for red and green in Magic. If you’re a regular reader of my column, you’ll know that I am a crazy masochist with no qualms about throwing my tickets away on nonsense decks that would be horribly outmatched at an FNM in Muncie, Indiana. But even I won’t play red-green in Vintage. I suppose I could muddle through the queues with some Legacy Burn deck splashing a color, but I doubt you want to see me lose to combo decks all night.

That leaves Modern, the last refuge for red-green aggro players who still enjoy the occasional victory. Or, as it turns out, for aggro players who enjoy utter domination of their opponents — this is a darn good deck, folks.

The list I will be piloting tonight was played by Justin Moss to a 2nd-place finish at Starcity Games’ New Jersey Open in the Modern $5K event. I made a couple adjustments to the sideboard, in light of Justin’s loss in the finals to a combo deck, and digitally sleeved up the following list:

Check out the deck tech video below where I discuss the deck and its card choices.

Next, I have matchplay footage against some solid tier 1 and 2 decks in Modern which you are likely to encounter in the queues: Eggs, Grixis Delver, and UR Storm.

Okay, so if you’re an astute observer you might have noticed that I accidentally played with a 14-card sideboard. Whatever, dude. Quit nitpicking and take your superior counting skills back to Sesame Street. Instead of the last Spirit of the Labyrinth, my 15th card was the freakin’ Spirit of Christmas, helping me smash my opponent’s faces with holiday cheer and fire, but mostly fire.

2015 has been a great year for me in Magic. I played my first paper Vintage event in almost 20 years. I made some memorable trips and discovered several new ways to make fun of Indianapolis. I’ve met people online who really enjoy my content, and it’s a thrill to know that you added something of value to another person’s life, even if it is something as relatively minor as a card game. I continue to meet great people and new friends with every passing year that I’m involved in this community, and I’m truly thankful for that. It’s also been a year where I thought a lot about what role this game was playing in my life.

Do you ever wonder why those old 1950′s Christmas songs keep getting played every year? How they’ve survived through each generation, becoming the soundtrack of Christmas for Baby Boomers, Gen-X’ers, Gen-Y’ers, and now Millennials?

I’ve talked a lot in this column about the role that nostalgia and tradition play for me as a Magic player, and how it dictates the way I choose to experience the game as an eternal format player. Do we play Vintage because the format is better than the others, or because we like looking down at Moxen in our hands for reasons that have nothing to do with game mechanics? Why do I love endlessly paging through people’s Old School decks? Was the game and the art so much better in the 90′s, or do I just wish that I was back in the 90′s myself — am I trying to teleport back to another time in my life by collecting pieces of cardboard?

The holidays are very much about tradition, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to understand how great a role nostalgia plays in the way we experience this time of year. Or perhaps more accurately, the role we force those memories to play.

As you get older, it becomes harder to recapture the magic of the holidays you remember when you were growing up. You can try to surround yourself with memories of those years, but it can’t make you into the person who lived those memories first-hand. You can try, of course. You play the same songs, put up the same decorations, and watch the same movies. But you’ll never truly feel the same.

The little kid who ran around the house for hours with his new Luke Skywalker Return of the Jedi speeder bike, the teenager back from college who spent Christmas Eve at the Waffle House drinking coffee with his high school pals sharing stories about wild college parties, the 24-year-old who split a twelve-pack with dad on Christmas night watching the James Bond marathon — you’re not those people anymore. Those people looked at life from an angle you can’t. You can’t make yourself be that person, and you can’t make yourself feel the way about life that he or she felt. You can build an elaborate set to recreate the scene, but you’ll still just be acting in your own play, not living it.

And maybe that’s a good thing. You don’t want the same Christmas you had ten years ago repeated endlessly, no more than you really want the same Magic experience you had in 1994. You’re only remembering the best parts. That awesome toy broke two days later when your brother sat on it. Your 1994 Magic deck had 18 lands and 80 cards, at least three of which were Wanderlust, but you only remember the games where you had a Turn 2 Juggernaut and crushed it.

So don’t take the holidays as a mandate to live in the past. Take the time to make your own traditions. Shake them up once and awhile with new faces and new places. Be a part of somebody else’s tradition, and help make a great memory for them.

With that, I wish you all a merry Christmas and happy holidays, and I’ll see you back here in 2016 to kick off an exciting new year in eternal Magic!


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