I Just Don't Care About Wins and Losses

by Etters

PART 1: The Rainless Kingdom

Hotter Than July

“I just don’t care about wins and losses.” — Moss

It was a long day.

We rose with a blood red sky.

Dreamless and dreaming.

Again the rains carried us asleep.

PART 2: Forgiven Mysteries


“I think it is just because Old School has so much variance I became unwilling - don’t play two pips when a one drop will do. Finding the ghost of Garfield. Middle school, thankfully, isn’t quite as caught up.” — Moss

To Handlebar for a hearty gathering. Eggs, potatoes, sour-dough toast, and black coffee for me. Shane is on some advanced Bloody Mary + Beer build. Not yet. Time enough for that later.

PART 3: Scars of Metropolis


“It never feels good to go 0-5.” — Moss

I’ve been traveling for two weeks. Today is the penultimate day.

Again we find ourselves at Metropolitan Brewing. Again bathed in sun. A goddess.

Last time it was fall. Or winter. I’m not sure. The seasons don’t line up anymore.

Not how they used to.

Brief. So brief.

I digress.

The venue, Dmen, opens at noon. The game, Magic: The Gathering (Middle School), begins at 12:30.

Entry fee? A donation to Meals For the Food Insecure.

Bring your own prize card to sign.

Greg lets me borrow an extra slide so I can get mine in the pool.

PART 4: Rushing River is the Hidden Technology


“The way I see it, I’m always on the record.” — Moss

I’ve been brewing this list for several years. Extended was always the next plane. I could never reach it. Astral Slide was the legendary deck of the format. Forever out of my reach.

Middle School was a chance to revisit, reclaim, reinvent.

I began minimal - just the core combo in red and white. Built out the bare essentials. Geological sediment of my tappedout.net account deck-lists reveal a certain persistence… Played well it can grind out just about any match, quickly shifting stance from control to aggro and back.

To keep or not to keep first seven is the most important decision of any game. Sometimes you need to be the aggressor. But your first seven is too good to ship back against the attrition deck. So you need to churn through your deck even more.

Here’s where the new theory comes in.

I haven’t piloted any build of slide since before the plague.

Hell, I’ve hardly piloted any build of anything.

But I was lamenting the lack of an Eternal Witness analog - something that would just always be good and would always get you exactly what you need. I found the answer in two places. Wall of Blossoms and Urza’s Bauble. Today was the proving ground.

PART 5: Hauntological Tournament Report

Stevie Wonder

“It is jarring. There is an equivalent of a Highland Park [shooting] every weekend in the summer.” — Moss

The psychic fog clears and round one begins.

Round 1

I’m against Carter. Woefully unaware of the new interactions with shapeshifter, Hypnox, Phage.

I cast swords against the shapeshifted-Hynpox but it was already too late. My hand vanishes. Mind blank.

A new nightmare waiting just beneath.

Game two is even more terrifying.

I used to run from the psychatogs; back when they ravaged the FNMs, howling into the abyssed night, devouring themselves, their ancestors.

As kids, Matthew beamed in the technology from the internet and our gentle metagame of two players was forever upturned.

The psychatogs are still terrifying, 20 years later.

Round 2

I’m against Kyle. Rajah’s fabled gift from many moons lost - the proxied Battle of Wits deck complete with casino shuffler.

Casino Shuffler

Game one my deck did its thing, but so did his. Battle of Wits resolves and I scoop with a beautiful kingdom of permanents before me. A handful of answers. And, sadly, not enough wits.

Battle of Wits

Game two I get to Pyroblast a Battle of Wits. But I was trapped in the mountains and the Monk Realists and Disenchants demanded the plains. Agoraphobia, you see.

Round 3

I’m against Ian. We’re both 0-2. It’s not about winning but it ain’t about going 0-X either. Ian and I think alike so I always enjoy the chance to play Magic with him.

Game one was a slug fest of discard.


Oppression is a very real card. Paired with Nether Spirits, too.

My cycling technology enables me to surgically land keys spells. Crop Rotation into a Wasteland to answer his lone factory. (“Perhaps wastelands this year…”)


Exalted Angel closes it.

Game two was quicker. Double Lightning Rift with cyclers.

Round 4

I’m against David. It is the nightmare from round one all over again but things are different this time.

I know to keep different hands.

I know to respond at different moments.

Game one I Spark Spray his turn one Birds of Paradise.

This maniac plays a main deck Monk Realist.

Fiends arrive.


The game is sharp.

Excellent. Exactly the kind of magic I wanted to play today.

Game two he scoops to manascrew.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Round 5

I’m against Ray.

I die to from Sickening Dreams.

For exactly five.

And leaving Ray exactly hellbent.

I can’t even be mad.

That’s just damn fine magic.

Game two he has it all. Immediately a Phyrexian Dreadnought appears before me and phases out. My glorious Wall of Blossoms grow from the dunes but it isn’t enough.

Trample for eight.

The wall caves in. My hand becomes the artwork.

Fling for twelve.

Count to twenty with me now.

London bridge is falling down.

Brief. So brief.

PART 6: A Sundered Landscape


“Last round, last game. I’m against Lorien. We’re each 2-2. Nothing on the line. I have Altar of Dementia in play. He plays the silver bullet: Cursed Totem. Against Phyrexian Devourer, a complete shut down. Normally I would not be disciplined. I’d scoop! Luck sack full of lies…

He was about to go infinite.

But, okay. Alright. I’m gonna play this out. I know I have outs. He’s playing squirrel/enchantress, so he plays a Cursed Totem, Aura of Silence. I’m just durdling around, I double-FoW, double-Impulse, and I hit my trump card against him: Rushing River. I kick it and bounce his Seal of Cleansing and Totem. He cleanses my alter. But I Tinker. Monolith gone. Devourer in. Then I flung it at him for lethal.” - Moss


We cross the city and dissolve.

Disperse our separate ways.

Weave and rejoin.


A fabric of time and space.

People and dreams.

Friends and foes.

Imagined and real.

PART 7: Decklists