Thursday, November 7, 2019

Eternal Weekend (77-92/302)

Hello Old School community far and wide, greetings from the cold burbs of Akron, Ohio. Winter is rapidly approaching as we barrel towards Thanksgiving here in the United States. November means Eternal Weekend, and being that the Akron Legionnaires are less than two hours from Pittsburgh, Matt, Jimmy, Sean, and I decided to make the sojourn east to the iron city to take in the fun. This was not the first Eternal Weekend for Matt and Sean, but it was all new to the brothers Casale. When I found out our cousin John would be there, he who first introduced the game to my family back in 1994, I knew this would be an excellent way to commemorate nearly a year back in the game.

The four of us spent the drive discussing what deals we would be looking for at the sprawling convention hall. Regrettably, none of us could participate in the Sunday tournament for scheduling reasons so this trip would be all about dueling among ourselves and picking up cool new cards. Jimmy was unsure what he would get, though we have all watched him acquire a sizable collection of dual lands over the last six months and he had been hinting at possibly using that EV for bigger and better things. Since Matt and Sean have their own blogs I won't go into much detail on what they acquired lest I play spoiler, but let's just say the original two members of our playgroup engaged in some pretty awesome wheeling and dealing.

Our adventure got off to an awesome start when we headed over to the artist area to talk to Mark Poole, who was of course the artist who created Akron Legionnaire. Matt was pleased to give him one of our pins and Mark was gracious enough to take a picture with us.

A cool start to a cool day
The following day we would return to the artist area and Matt and I acquired some really cool playmats, Matt grabbing an awesome Swords to Plowshares from Jeff Menges and yours truly finding this sweet mat from the aforementioned Mark Poole.

So sweet seeing this autographed mat whenever I play 

I now have quite a few autographed Mark Poole cards thanks to his presence at Eternal Weekend and the Cleveland GP. He, Anson Maddocks, and Douglas Shuler were always my favorites growing up so it was a blast to see Mark again. I also was stoked to meet and acquire autographs from Dan Frazier, Jeff Menges, Richard Kane Ferguson, Bryon Wackwitz. I always spend some time thanking the artists for the enormous contribution they made to the game. I know as far as I am concerned it was the art that initially drew me to the game, and I think many would agree with me.

Having never been to such a large gathering of vendors, I must admit it was somewhat overwhelming taking it all in. I must have spent a few hours walking (on a broken ankle) around trying to figure out what I wanted. Even though I am trying to collect a full Unlimited set, I was not necessarily going to ignore other cool stuff I wanted. After much deliberation and browsing, I ended up getting a lot of cards that not only would add to my collection but also replace reprints in my deck.

The Sol Ring really pops compared to the Revised version
While Matt, Sean, and Jimmy were doing their thing, I decided to grab some cheapies while I pondered what my major purchase would be.

God I love these cards, even the commons

Prior to my deciding what I would get, Matt made some really cool purchases (once again I will not play spoiler) and Jimmy continued to decide what to get. I was floored that after several hours he had not yet found anything he wanted. He was so excited for weeks I could not understand how he had not yet found even one card he wanted. Satisfied with my additions to the collection, I decided to focus on my deck and pick up a really nice Mana Drain. When we returned the following day I would add a card I have always wanted, going back almost 25 years: a winter factory. When 4th Edition was new I got a Mishra's Factory in a booster and loved it. During that awesome year of 1995 I heard tale of three other factories, one for each season. It would be another 24 years before I would even know what they looked like.

The Factory has a little wear on it, but compared to my cards from that era it is near-mint
I won't get too in depth on this, but the four of us decided in the car that we would go in on a box of Throne of Eldraine. After dinner we did a sealed draft with the box, which Matt won I believe. I did not take the food mechanic seriously and was soundly trounced in every match, I think I only won a total of 2 games. The highlight of that draft session for me was when Jimmy cast the following:

Awesome, just awesome
That's right, an Orb. When I was not paying attention he slipped his newly purchased Chaos Orb into his hand and cast it. For about ten seconds I felt a surreal cognitive dissonance: they reprinted this in its original border? I obviously did not think that seriously, but for a short moment I was very confused. I learned that he traded some duals into it at the convention center and somehow Matt and Sean kept masterful poker faces throughout the afternoon when I mentioned multiple times how I wished Jimmy would pick something up. I am totally stoked that he got this, as I had been hoping to get something a bit more epic than I did, but a lot of home remodeling made me keep a relatively tight clamp on my wallet. Though I am without an orb, at least my oldest companion is in possession of the mighty lava vomitter.

All in all Eternal Weekend was a resounding success for all of us. I got 16 Unlimited cards, getting me tantalizingly close to a third of the set after ten months. Jimmy got by far the coolest card either of us have ever had. The group played a little Eldraine (not gonna lie it only further solidified my love of Old School, though the art was really cool.) Matt picked up some really cool stuff. Also, thanks to some mind-bendingly awesome wheeling and dealing, Sean picked up some excellent stuff himself, though that is his story to tell. Cheers.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Blockbuster Deal Leads to Major Acquisitions (64-76/302)

Hello again Old Schoolers from sea to shining sea and across the mighty oceans. It has been less than a week since my last post, but there is some big news out of Akron this weekend. Today's post will be relatively brief but filled with major news regarding my Unlimited collection. I was playing this weekend with my brother Jim when I got to talking about my plans for Eternal Weekend. We were both tossing around ideas for what we might try to get while we were looking through each other's binders. One thing led to another and then something decidedly Old School took place: a blockbuster trade. After a lot of friendly negotiating I added the following to my collection

That's right: my first dual land. It is by far the most valuable card in my collection. Now I have seen many dual lands before, but obviously this is my first one without the tap symbol. Growing up Jim and I had four Revised dual lands (Savannah, Tundra, Underground Sea, and Plateau.) Though it is of no use to me in so far as deck building goes at the moment, I love it already. To make it even more exciting, I also added another totally bad ass card

I had an Ice Age version of this card until Jim and I split up our collection a few months back, but God is this card cool. It held mythological significance to me from 1995 onwards when I found out that the Ice Age version was in fact not the original. The art is amazing, the words "Mono Artifact" are beyond awesome to anyone who started with Revised, and it is of course useful in many varieties of deck, including my main deck (which I promise I will FINALLY blog about next time.) Now since no cash was part of this deal some may be wondering what I sent packing. What made this a blockbuster deal was that I sent away my most valuable card, both in terms of cost and usefulness in my deck: my Revised Volcanic Island. It was a tough choice, but I don't want to stretch myself to thin and moving forward my quest must come first in so far as major acquisitions go.

Trading is super fun, I now have not one but two awesome additions to my Unlimited collection, and my brother is getting tantalizingly close to a full set of dual lands, including full playsets of many of the individual duals. On a side note, I also completed the most basic part of my quest: I finished out the basic lands.

And with that my friends I bid you all farewell...just in time to go watch Fox NFL Sunday. Take care everyone and have a safe, Happy Halloween with your friends and families.


Monday, October 14, 2019

From Scandinavia with Love (51-63/302)

Greetings fellow duelists. Halloween will soon be upon us here in the states and nothing puts me in the mood for Magic: The Gathering like chilly nights, ghouls about, and stuffing my face with candy. I was going to (finally) post about my various decks this month, but then something totally awesome happened: I received not one, but TWO letters in the mail from all the way across the ocean in Europe. That's right, a missive arrived in my post box from the Scandinavian mecca of Old School. This was a very special mail day.

Back in August, Magnus over at the Old School blag was gracious enough to highlight my quest to acquire a full set of Unlimited Edition. I have really enjoyed reading through his old blag posts and have come to appreciate the Swedish roots of Old School. While I used to think it was crazy not to allow reprints, I now see that the price of the cards is the only real way to recreate the scarcity of the original Gathering set and early expansions. While I am not going to rid my main deck of reprints and Revised anytime soon, the Alpha/Beta 1,2,3 format is of course Swedish legal and a hell of a good time. One of the absolute best things about Old School is the very fact that there are so many different regional variants and house rules, that in and of itself is absolutely in line with what the good doctor envisioned back in the MC Hammer days.

Those of you familiar with the world's favorite spy know that one of the best Bond flicks of all time was From Russia with Love, an awesome romp starring Sean Connery and the smoking hot Daniela Bianchi as his Soviet double agent love interest.

Super Old School
I chose the title for this post because I recently took a train trip across Scandinavia in an effort to acquire Unlimited cards. During this trip I was pursued by agents of WOTC hell-bent on snuffing out Old School and forcing me to buy Standard-legal the crazy story I dreamed up while convalescing on the couch with a broken ankle for the last month unable to drive or walk. The real story is however just as awesome. I was watching another episode of Walker Texas Ranger when my wife came in with the mail and a big smile on her face. She had not one, but TWO letters from across the ocean blue in her hand. I got my crutches and hobbled over to her so I could open them at the table. The first letter was from the aforementioned Magnus, and in addition to a very kind note he sent proof of the devil's contract I had entered into to help me complete my quest.

Now there is no turning back....

This is not only amazingly cool, it is also my first altered card. I will admit that I am not usually a fan of changing cards, but this is totally bodacious and will take an honored spot in my binder. Thank you Mg.

Image result for but wait there's more
How could this possibly get any more ecxiting than the amazing drying abilities of Shamwow?
Remember that second letter  I mentioned? A gentleman by the name of Mikael Mallroth (apologies for the lack of umlaut, not working in blogger) who is buddies with Mg sent me a really nice letter along with a sweet little bundle of Unlimited cards. This would have been really, really nice if I had already communicated with him in some way, the fact that it was sent without us even having ever talked is just mind bendingly gracious. Thank you Mikael.

Fire Elemental is a babe...
As you can see, no gun fights, trains, spies, or Soviet love interests...just this community continuing to amaze me with its inclusiveness, generosity, kindness, and generally excellent ways. I hope to meet some of you at Eternal Weekend in a few weeks, I will be there with the rest of the Akron Legionnaires looking to sling stories and brews of both the magical and the alcoholic variety. Cheers friends.

**Please note that this article is in no way a solicitation for contributions to my quest. I am extraordinarily humbled by the kindness of these gifts in addition to those from my brother and good friends, but I am happily trudging along at my snail's pace only getting cards at conventions and LGSs.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

My 50th Card and Alpha/Beta 1,2,3 (50/302)

Greetings friends both far and wide, I hope everyone in the Old School community had an awesome summer and is looking forward to autumn as much as I am. I love this time of year. From Labor Day until the Super Bowl I am like a kid all over again. Football, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, is all right in my wheelhouse. Another great thing about winter is the cold, snowy days. It is perfect weather for slinging spells by a fire with friends and loved ones. Seasons change, but my slow, awesome quest for a complete set of Unlimited Edition continues.

Regular readers know that my original Magic: The Gathering compatriot and oldest friend is my brother and fellow Akron Legionnaire Jim Casale.  He joined me in Old School within a few weeks of my meeting Matt and Sean in January. We rediscovered the game after 20 years with a box of Ixalan a few months prior. He has contributed several great cards to my quest including the Mana Flare from my last post. At our regular Tuesday meetup last week he showed up with a gift, which he did not realize would take the honor of being my 50th unique Unlimited card:

25 years later, it is still really fun using this card...
Lest anyone think our gift giving is a one way street, I occasionally send cool cardboard his way as well, including a sick Beta Clone...which brings me to an excellent development. My good friend, local Magic cohort, and fellow Akron Legionnaire Matt Shields posted recently about Alpha/Beta 1,2,3. Jim and I created this a few weeks back. We wanted to make 60-card Beta decks, similar to what Matt and fellow Akron Legionnaire Sean Duffy had done prior to us meeting them. Jim and I decided on making 60-card Beta decks with a twist: no more than 1 of any rare, 2 of any uncommon, or 3 of any common and no more than 5 total rares. We instituted this so that it would better reflect the game as the good doctor intended it to be. Obviously the prohibitive cost of the cards would probably have made the rule unnecessary, but who knows, maybe we will win the lottery. Matt and Sean jumped on board and since they already had their Alpha decks the name of the format was changed. The idea here is to get to play the game the way it was designed by Richard Garfield: with the original Gathering edition, rare cards being truly rare, and a limited card pool, which turns the expense of the cards into a benefit and not a hindrance. Obviously my quest for an Unlimited set takes precedence, but this is a nice side project. Our rule is that you cannot have a "proxy" (i.e. Revised version) of a card unless you will buy it. This is my pile so far:

Hill Giant will mess you up...

So far the games have been awesome. It is a slower, less-optimized, more relaxing way of playing. Cards that I've looked at for years and never played with are seeing their turn under the lights. Creature enchantments are actually to be feared. Behold the craziness of this:

Only in Old School...

As you can see we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves here in Akron. Looking forward to continuing my quest at the LGSs of the world and really looking forward to Eternal weekend. Enjoy gaming!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Looking Back, Looking Forward (49/302)

***Note: Magnus over at the mothership Old School blog was gracious and awesome enough to post this article on the site. This is the same article if you already read it on the Old School blog. Thanks again Mg!!!! 

Hello again Old School friends. Here in the burbs of Akron, Ohio we seem to have escaped the cycle of torrential downpour and heatwave that has defined the summer and settled into some nice weather. There have been many great evenings for slinging some spells on a patio with a cold one in your hand or taking a long ride to that out-of-the-way LGS you've been meaning to visit. As for me, I am spending some time outside on a breezy, sunny Tuesday  reflecting on roughly six months back in Magic after a 20-year absence. I am also sorting through the exciting ideas swirling in my head to chart a course forward. The Mana Flare my brother Jim gave me is also pretty sweet, but more on that later.

The glorious sunshine...

I mentioned in my first post that Jim and I purchased a booster box of Ixalan while back east visiting relatives Fall of 2018. I am not going to lie, we had a blast in spite of the hideous frames. What had they done to the beautiful card design we remembered from the last time we picked up a Visions booster pack back in '99? Sometimes when one returns to the hobbies or joys of their childhood they are disappointed that they do not find the thrill they once did. That was not the case here. We played marathon sessions. We built multiple decks. We argued over the rules. Imagine two people who had not seen a new Magic card in 20 years trying to play Ixalan. We didn't even know what the stack was. We both resolved to get back into the game and buy more modern boosters. That plan would go out the window one snowy morning after the dawn of the new year.

I almost thew up in my mouth a little bit when I saw the new frame for the first time...

I have always been an early riser.  My wife, like most normal people, will sleep in on weekends or vacation. Not me. After a hard year of professional exams for me in 2018 we decided to take a 2 week "staycation" starting on Christmas Eve. While working on my latest Ixalan deck I had what I thought at the time was a preposterous thought: "wouldn't it be awesome if there were a bunch of people who only played with the cards from the mid-90's?" The overwhelming portion of my and Jim's collection was Revised, Fourth Edition, and Fallen Empires. I googled "old-school Magic" and was floored by what I found. Thanks to our friends in Sweden and other like-minded people around the globe there was a place for those of us who want to recapture the feel of the original game. People who don't want to play in a format where the creatures are so absurdly overpowered that Juzam Djinn would be no big deal. I called Jim. Good times lay in store.

I joined the  Facebook group Old School Magic 4Life and made a post noting that I hadn't played since Clinton was president and wanted some clarification on rules, banned/restricted, etc. American Old School luminary Dave Firth Bard  immediately responded to my post with a ton of encouragement and helpful info. Perhaps more importantly he pointed me in the direction of Matt Shields and Sean Duffy, two Old School players who live nearby. Every other person in the community with whom I have interacted since Dave responded to that Facebook post has also been super chill and helpful. Armed with a bunch of helpful links and a few local players to contact I called Jim and got to working on the first of many Old-School decks I would brew in 2019 before settling into my current long-term build.

I was fairly tentative at first about contacting Matt and Sean via Facebook, but after some back and forth it was pretty clear they were like-minded individuals and not axe murderers. We met up at our local gaming bar and started slinging spells like old friends. I cannot begin to state how instrumental my crossing paths with these guys was to my immense passion for Old School Magic: The Gathering. They welcomed me into their playgroup, were patient with me on the rules ( I had never heard the term stack, thought interrupts still mattered, etc.) and were just generally cool to hang with. After a few weeks my brother began to join and since then we play nearly every week and I have made two great new friends who live within 10 minutes of me. I guess social media can make the world a better place.

One of the best parts about Old-School is the community content. We have all spent some time on Magnus's OS blog and enjoyed the black-bordered mega decks our friends in Sweden are slinging. I spent a lot of time reading Matt and Sean's blogs and thought it would be fun to have my own blog. I also felt the urge to start some sort of fun project to fill the time while I wasn't dueling, and the blog would be a great way to document this. Like most people who have been captivated by Magic's siren call, I love collecting. When I first played I had never seen a card from the original Alpha/Beta/Unlimited sets. Jim and I had a ton of Revised cards, but in the days prior to widespread internet if your playgroup didn't have any of them and you didn't go to tournaments, they were mysterious treasure of times gone by. Remembering this led me to the realization that I had to have a full Unlimited set. I wanted to see and play the original game. An hour spent on Ebay showed that this would be a long and expensive quest, but also a rewarding one. The cost of the endeavor adds to the appeal in a sense since I can truly enjoy every card as I get it. Though I did not set out with the rule that I could not use the internet, once I realized I had gotten them all in person I decided that I would go straight Old-School and get my cards from LGSs, conventions, and trades. It has been a blast so far and I can't wait until Eternal weekend in November.

Since I started my quest in February I have acquired 49 unique Unlimited cards. The breakdown of those cards by rarity is as follows:

Rare----------5(including the Mana Flare)

Breakdown by color is:


I didn't realize until today how many of them were uncommons, that's pretty cool. The color breakdown is about even which is to be expected since I was not specifically seeking any of them. My favorite card so far is the Gaea's Liege I acquired at GP Cleveland in February. It was my first rare, my first convention, and my first tournament. I've never seen anyone playing with one, but I still love it. One thing I've figured out through all of this is I would rather win less and have a deck with cards that I love and don't see as much play than just default to a killer deck. I could build a mono-black discard/drain life deck and do better than my current build, but it would not have the allure of my Dragon Genealogy deck...

Jim came over this week to play a for a few hours. He is my original Magic compatriot and oldest friend. He is also a better brewer than me and has made his childhood R/G deck into something of a feared entity in our playgroup. I've mentioned before that I don't like posting decklists since I think it takes away something of the mystique and mystery of playing, but let's just say that Berserk and Kird Ape now give me sweats and shakes when I see them. He has also been a constant source of advice and encouragement as I have built and trashed multiple decks over the last six months. When we were kids I had a R/B deck that my dad put together quickly and I took apart after a few months to build something of my own. I then ran a B/W deck for the next 4 years that had no real theme and was generally regarded as awful even for a 10 year old. Since getting back into the game I went from White Weenie to G/B ramp/discard, on to mono green ramp, stopped over B/U control, and have finally settled into R/U Dragon Genealogy, which I adore and will never leave. I will expand on these decks in a later post, but building them has been a true joy. I have discovered that I want to win, but not at the expense of missing out on playing with some of my favorite cards. I'd rather win a few less games and still get to include some elder dragon legends and other less optimal spells.

So where do I go from here? Job number 1 is continuing in my quest for a full set of Unlimited cards. I've always wanted to savor all the cards. It would be incredibly easy, but incredibly boring, to just go and pound out all the commons and uncommmons in a manner of weeks. Even with my rule of not using the internet, I am blessed by several LGSs that carry a lot of Old-School. That being said, moving forward I am aiming to accelerate my accumulation of those cards and start going after some heavy hitters. I aim to get a major addition at Eternal Weekend, a lot of that depends on how many new clients I get at the office and how nice I can be to my wife between now and November. Aside from my quest, I also am going be working on putting together a Swedish legal version of the original R/B deck my dad made for me. Get ready for some sweet Beta Hill Giants!! I am still working on completing my collection of The Duelist magazines and have had an awesome time reading through them. My friends and I will soon be dipping our toes into premodern which is really exciting to me because I have never really played with any cards after Alliances beyond a few booster packs of Mirage and Visions Jim and I bought at the end of our original playing. I am also yearning for a more limited play environment to complement our normal constructed play as I would like to see more of the cards used. Perhaps Revised cube? As you can see there is a ton I want to do and a lot more stuff to explore, experience, and write about. Can't wait to see where the rest of the year takes me.

I've seriously wanted this since the days of Ace of Base. Possibly my favorite art.

Getting back into this game/hobby/lifestyle in January after 20 years has been one of the most positive developments in my life. I have a job in finance that I love though it is fairly stressful and this game has become my oasis. When I am having a bad day I drift off to Dominia and think of new ideas for brewing. When I am having a good day, which thankfully is most days, I have to keep myself from drifting there too much lest I become unproductive. My wife and I play together often, in fact I am fairly certain that after 4 months she is a better brewer than I am. I've made new friends and am communicating with people from sea to shining sea and even across the mighty oceans. What more could someone ask for from a hobby? That my friends, is Old-School. Stay tuned for another very special post next time commemorating card number 50! Cheers!

**Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that I've updated the look of the site. I felt that the white text and black background made it much easier to read. Also, I replaced Birds of Paradise with Frozen Shade because Douglas Shulers art on that card was one of the first cards I loved and remains one my favorite pieces of Magic art.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ten Gracious Gifts (39-48/302)

Goooooood evening Old-Schoolers!!! Since we last got together the weather here in the Akron area has turned from torrential downpour to blistering heat, I've rediscovered the joys of eating cherry airheads at the town pool, and I am pressing forward in my quest to collect a full Unlimited set. I have almost 50 cards now and am having a blast going to local shops and conventions looking for cards. I have not made any blockbuster acquisitions yet, but every quest starts somewhere, and I do have a few rares and cards that were unknown to me since they were not in the Revised set. I am also enjoying the heck out of the three decks I am playing right now with my local group. Old-School fun abounds in the Rubber City.

I have been friends with my brother Jim since the days of MC Hammer and Trapper Keepers, but my new friends Sean and Matt came to me by way of Old-School. They welcomed me and Jim into their world of brewing, collecting, and dueling and have been not only cool to hang out with but also invaluable resources in so far as collecting and rules.Every one of the cards below was gifted to me by Jim or Sean (I mentioned in an earlier post that Matt gave me a couple of very cool cards at the outset to aid me in my quest.) Jim gifted me the land, the COPs, and the Whelp. Sean brought the two walls to me on our weekly game night. I have mentioned that I am in now way interested in soliciting help from people, but if a good friend gives me a gift it takes a place of honor in my binder and further cements our Old-School bond. Thanks guys.

Who doesn't love Dragon Whelp?
Dragon Whelp. God I love that card. I'm not sure how great it is, but isn't he just adorably destructive? Amy Weber's art is perfect, he has flying, and he can use every last bit of energy to burn your butt in one final blaze of glory. When it comes to the two walls, I have always wanted to build a deck featuring walls, and at some point I will do this. With regards to the COPs, we don't play with sideboards in my play group so they wouldn't be much use to me unless I am at a tourney, but I did get them from Jim the same day I just read an enlightening article about them in The Duelist issue 1 from all the way back in January of '94. Apparently they were quite feared in the old days. I do remember another old article in which the Zak Dolan (1st winner of MTG Worlds Championship in '94) discussed trading away a bunch of power for a complete set of COPs. I ran a few at the tournament in my sideboard and they did come in handy. I've always wanted to run a deck with a bunch of creatures like Force of Nature and ignore upkeeps like its my job with the protective glow of a Circle...maybe one day.

I highly recommend picking up old copies of The Duelist. They are like Old-School time capsules. 

Now most people would probably be most stoked about the dragon, but I am most drawn to the mountain. Can we stop and take a look at that beautiful basic land?

Look at how rich that color is? For someone like me who started at Revised and never saw any Unlimited cards except for one until 2019, I am amazed at how some of these cards jump at you. I've noticed that some more than others really pop, especially the red ones.

There you have it folks, I am now ten cards closer to completing my quest. Stay tuned for an article in about a week where I will delve into the decks I have been running in my local play group. I am not into posting or looking at deck lists or deck pictures as I think it takes away from my enjoyment of the game (notice I said my enjoyment. I am all for people being chill and doing whatever they feel.) Until we meet again my friends, enjoy brewing and dueling.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Local Game Shop Bonanza Leads to New Ground Rules (16-38/302)

Hello again fellow old-schoolers. I don't know about you folks, but here in my corner of the Akron, Ohio burbs we have had nothing but rain this summer. It may be disappointing in some regards, but it makes for perfect Magic weather. Just last night my brother, Matt, Sean and I had several hours of serious spell slinging fun. All in all it has been a great time playing recently. In addition to my never-ending attempts at crafting the perfect deck, I of course have not forgotten about my ultimate adventure: the quest to collect a full set of Unlimited. Progress was minimal last month, but thanks to a trip to my local game shop I picked up my biggest haul yet. In addition to this I have made a dramatic change to the rules of my quest.

My brother called me up last week and asked me if I wanted to check out a really awesome LGS in downtown Akron, Full Grip Games. He said they had a ton of Old School stuff, lots of board games, plenty of tables on which to play, and a generally great atmosphere. He did not oversell it, the place is amazing. It was so much fun being able to actually look at and touch a huge amount of Old-School gems at one location. In fact, the amazing amount of satisfaction that this experience gave me has led me to change the rules of my quest: from now on I will only acquire cards in person. Whether that be through a trade, a convention, and LGS, or some other means (prize?) I understand this will make the quest a little more challenging, but I feel it will make it a lot more rewarding. As I've mentioned I am not in a hurry to do this, the quest itself is its own reward. Getting to savor each card is really enjoyable. Before this pickup I had only gotten a few cards online anyway. Here is the breakdown of how my cards have been acquired thus far prior to this post:
                          1995 Issue of Duelist Magazine--1
                          Gifts from Friends and Family---8
                          Bought at Grand Prix Cleveland-2
                          LGS (Not Full Grip)---------------1

I am looking forward to Eternal Weekend even more now! I am not saying I will never use ebay or ABU again, just not for this particular endeavor. I love mail days as much as anyone else. Now onto the haul from Full Grip!!

 I picked up 23(!) cards. It was an amazing day. Since I cut my teeth on Revised back in '94 my absolute favorite cards are ones I have never seen before, cards like False Orders that were taken out of the core set after Unlimited. My other favorites are the ones that left an indelible imprint on me for whatever reason. I mentioned in my first post how Hill Giant is the very first Magic card I remember and I vividly recall how cool the flavor text was about the giant's blind spot being beneath his foot. The art on some cards really spoke to me as well, though thanks to a recent alter I saw I can no longer see Power Sink as anything else but an old man dropping an open jar of mustard.

Though most of the cards I have picked up so far have been commons (I have been doing some home remodeling and other major purchases so MTG has taken a back seat recently) I did manage to get a few some more uncommons and another two rares in addition to the Nightmare and Gaea's Liege I picked up at the Grand Prix in February.

Living Lands and Farmstead have now joined the ranks of my rares. I remember thinking Living Lands was unbelievable powerful as a kid, would love to see someone make that actually work. Although I just mentioned above how much I love cards that were taken out after Unlimited, and don't get me wrong I love the art on Farmstead and the fact that it was previously unknown to me, but man is that a weak card. Red Elemental Blast (and its blue brother) has art that was one of my early favorites. Like I said, this was a great day.

Thank you to all who have visited and taken the time to give feedback, it is highly appreciated. This community is as important to me as the cards themselves and I am truly grateful to be a part of it. I look forward to getting to know more people and play in more tournaments. Stay tuned for my next post!!