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“Guys, hold it. I think something is wrong.”

September 17, 2013

Story time!

The scene is Worlds 2010 in Chiba, Japan. The end of day 1 is almost over but there is one more team round to play before myself along with my fellow team members representing team Sweden Anders Melin and Love Janse can return to the hotel for the night. Despite having already played 7 rounds of premiere level of play we were still pretty amped as we had won the previous round, which was also the first team round of the event, against team Brazil.

A small note for those of you who are newer to the game; the old structure for what was commonly known as the Magic World Championship back then was very close to how a regular Pro Tour is run nowadays except there was 3 days of swiss play and there was no elimination before the cut to top8. Also, sandwiched between the swiss rounds of the individual portion were the team portion which nowadays have been (thankfully) turned into a independent event. Much like last year’s edition of the World Magic Cup for the constructed team rounds, the team rounds at Worlds in 2010 was played by a 3-person team playing a format each; one player played Standard, one player played (small) Extended and one player played Legacy.

I had been tasked to play Extended for the team portion, or rather Love wanted to play Standard more than both Anders and myself wanted to so we let him do that and then I basically won (or lose, depending on who you ask I suppose) the coinflip against Anders to decide who doesn’t have to play Legacy. I personally had lost my match against Brazil in 3 fairly lopsided games. I got multiple Mistbind Cliqued to a quick death in game 1, then my trusty Elves exploded on to the board in game 2 and were followed by land harassment via Primal Command to even the score. The final game was much like the first, Mistbind Cliques came down in numbers and no Path to Exile could be found by yours truly. But nevertheless we won as a team as Love managed to win the Primeval Titan-mirror in Standard at the same time as Anders, like a boss, led his Merfolks to a narrow victory against his Survival of the Fittest playing opponent.

After the victory there were the hive fives between us as you would expect but soon enough the pairings for the second team round were up and our game faces were back on. We were up against team Chinese Taipei which were led by a man much more famous these days than he was back then, one Mr. Tzu Ching Kuo.

We had beforehand decided that if we were allowed to choose, I would sit in the middle with Anders and Love seated to the right and left of me as per the usual 3-man team setup. There was a couple of reasons for this, but mostly due to I was deemed to have the best multitasking skills among us. Anyways, the important thing for the story is that we wanted to sit, if possible, in a certain way. As we approached the table we were supposed to sit at, we saw that the opposing team were already seated. Naturally I went ahead and asked how they were seated to which we learned that they wanted to have the Legacy player in the middle, which for them was Tzu Ching Kuo. Because there was a disagreement on the seatings between us, we rolled a die to determine which team could decide who should sit where. Unfortunately we lost the roll and their captain Kuo announced while pointing with his hand that Extended should be on the left side of him (from his perspective) and Standard to his right, so we got ourselves seated accordingly.

Without much other action, I and my opponent were soon shuffled up and ready to start our match. I was on the draw and had to take a mulligan, but my six card hand was pretty reasonable. My opponent led with just a Mountain before passing while I had a Llanowar Elves off a Razorverge Thicket to start things out with. On my end step my opponent pointed a Lightning Bolt to my face before he untapped into a fetchland to get another basic Mountain to cast Searing Blaze to kill my elf and send me down to 14 life. At that point I was a bit worried as my hand was fairly expensive at the time and I just lost my only cheap mana producing elf. But to my joy, I plucked the one-off Burrenton Forge-Tender in my maindeck of the top of the deck and went on to happily play it and a Forest before passing. My opponent untapped and played another basic Mountain before he looked over at the card I just played. He took a good look at it before he entered the infamous “tank”.

At this point I’m snapped out of my game focused mindset as I heard Anders who was sitting in the middle seat saying with a slight confusion in his voice:

“Guys, hold it. I think something is wrong.”

I turned over to my left and saw Anders looking over to his left at Love’s match. I tried to catch what the issue might have been but I couldn’t get a good look at Love’s table as it was two tables to my left. I would soon be informed though, as Anders shortly turned around and said:

“Love’s opponent just played a Mistbind Clique.”

I took a couple of seconds before I made the connection in my mind.

“Oh, snap. Love is playing against their Extended player! But hey…that must mean I’m playing against their Standard player!”

After realizing this I became confused again. While Llanowar Elves and Razorverge Thicket (and Forest, of course) were Standard legal at the time, Burrenton Forge-Tender was certainly not but my opponent didn’t seem to take notice even after leaning over to get a better look at the card. While Burrenton Forge-Tender had been out of Standard for roughly two years at that point, it was a frequently played card in it’s time so unless the player that were sitting across of me had been playing for less than 2 years (which seemed improbable as this was Worlds after all) he should recognize the card…at least that was my thought process at the time. After a couple of further moments of total retardation, we managed to summon a judge to hopefully sort everything out.

In a joint effort we informed the judge of our predicament and once he realized what had happened he gave us a look I can best describe with “What is wrong with you?”, before instructing us to shuffle up our cards and get seated as we should have been seated from the beginning. To this day I don’t really understand how this could have happened. Did Kuo forget what his teammates were playing or did his teammates not hear what he said when he called out each format per seat? Or maybe we messed up and didn’t caught what he said? In any case, the peanut gallery had a hearty chuckle about our little situation and once the match was over for real, so did we.

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