Well, it’s been a salty couple of weeks. A lot of you disagreed with a few of my points from last week so this week I hope that I can get all of you disagree with me. We can make it happen people, with a little elbow grease and a can do attitude, all of you will be calling me an idiot in the comments!

GP’s, an experience like no other. I’m sure a lot of you have been to a GP or a GP like event (SCG Open, TCG Invitational, etc) and even though I love attending them, there a few people and things that always occur that always make my blood boil. What are these things? Will I talk about them in a rational and coherent manner? If I would, would any of you even be here?


1. Trade Grinders

If you sit down in a group, or God help you, by yourself at a GP, chances are you will be approached by, “The Grinder”. Some, Jonathan Medina type character looking to see if you’ve “got trades?”

And you, a happy go lucky first time GP goer thinks, sure why not, I trade at my local store, why not interact with someone, after all, isn’t that what GPs are about? Interacting with your fellow Magic player, making trades, seeing all there is to see.

No, not for this guy. He smelt blood in the water, he sensed this was your first time, and he sensed you were looking for a fun time at your first GP and he’s going to make it his mission to  ensure your binder looks like a Wal-Mart after Black Friday, and he’s looking to pay prices the Waltons would blush at.

He’s never looking for anything in particular, but he’s always looking. He’ll take those Tasigur‘s off your hands for a reasonable price, after all Wally’s Magic World isn’t even buying them, so him valuing them at $.25 is a steal.

Value to the community? What’s that? Ruin a kids weekend because they didn’t know Living End spiked 2 Hours ago? So what?

It’s people like this that make me tell most newer players going to GPs to not even bring their binders.

I’ve even seen guys mercifully take a Mox Pearl off of a poor kid who couldn’t find a buyer, he gave him a really good deal too, the kid needed a bunch of Standard staples and tribal cat cards with the new Commander deck coming out. At the end of the exchange, the kid was even up a dollar!

What a gentleman!

Trade sharks are the worst, and they don’t even get me salty, I just perpetually hate them, if you could bottle my anger towards them and turn it into a fuel, it could power the Las Vegas strip for the next 50 years.

If you are one of them, please defend yourself in the comments, or on Reddit, I look forward to it!


2. Commander “Pros” Ruining a Casual Game

I’ve seen this just as often as I’ve seen trade sharks. It isn’t quite as egregious as ripping a kid off, but it might be more cowardly. At least a trade shark is wrecking you face to face, casual Commander groups almost never see this guy coming.

This doesn’t necessarily happen just at GPs, I’ve seen it happen in LGS’ just as often, but allow me to set the scene.

3 friends sit down to play a game of Commander, with there casual decks built for their own meta. As they take their die-rolls a tiger shark, waiting in the weeds, pounces.

He guys, mind if I join?”

Sure! They proclaim, the more the merrier. So he sits down, shuffles up quickly and everyone rolls. It just so happens that the new guy ends up going last, awe shucks he says, everyone laughs. What a great start to what was supposed to be a great game of Commander.

  • Player 1 plays a Temple of Triumph, decent first turn play for this aggressive Anax and Cymede soldier deck.
  • Player 2 lays a swamp and pass, pretty typical for this casual Gonti player.
  • Player 3, before playing a land, casually asks what the new guys Commander does before playing an Izzet Guildgate and passing the turn.
  • Player 4 (the new guy) says, “Oh?, you don’t know what Azusa does?” he questions condescendingly. His foil Russian Azusa barely readable across the table. He then confidently casts a Mana Crypt and before anyone has a chance to ask what it does taps it to cast a Grim Monolith, followed by a Crucible of Worlds, Forest, Fastbond, Strip Mine all 3 of his opponents lands. Go ahead he says!

All 3 players look at each other, not wanting to be salty, they play on, never allowed to play a 2nd land, and the new guy eventually wins after a mind numbing 45 minutes.

Why not savour this clubbing?”

So, what’s my point? Why tell this terrible short story? Because, it’s these people who are terrible. There is a certain sub-set of Magic players who always have to be the “Big Fish”. Normally they are the guys who have never done anything in any real tournament. But, wow, do they crush EDH night at the strictly casual store.

I’m not sure what it is about this section of Magic players but they always need to feel like they are the best, and more often than not that means finding smaller, weaker prey rather than actually working and becoming a better player. I failed to leave out the sub-optimal lines and missed triggers from the above game, but be sure, they were there.

These players also normally gravitate towards Commander, again, most likely due to the abundance of weaker more casual prey, why play Modern against filthy net-deckers he says, as he plays T2 Static Orb with 6 available mana and Derevi in play vs his 2 opponents who are playing unsleeved out of the box pre-cons.

The Big-Fish syndrome is something I may cover a little more in a future article, as I wanted really to zone in on this specific type of Big Fish for this point, as it’s the one you see most at GPs and LGS’.

Do you have an experience with one of these guys? Are you one of these guys? Let’s hear it down below!


3. The Guy Who Can’t Take a Loss Like a Human

Again, like my last 2 points, these exist beyond the spectrum of the GP but they are so centralized at them that I had to add it to this point.

It’s round 7, you’re 3-3, basically playing for fun at this point, and in G3, your opponent mulls to 5 and complains about how unlucky he was.

Not taking into account you mulled to 5 in G2 and also not taking into account that he missed lethal in G1 if he made the correct attack.

That doesn’t matter, he’ll refuse to shake your hand and say, no, it wasn’t a good game.

Okay, pal, we’re 3-3, you weren’t winning this GP let alone qualifying for the PT, it isn’t my fault you sideboarded incorrectly because when you play against the “stiff” competition at your 12 person FNM it’s the equivalent of Tribal Cats and you’ve never actually side-boarded vs anything that isn’t a home brew.

This also is a symptom of the “Big Fish” syndrome. A guy, who crushes FNM against the same 6 Home-brews every week loses against the first actual deck he’s played against and complains about not “pulling the right cards”.

“My buddy Morty has a Zombie deck and I’ve never lost against him with my UB Control deck, it isn’t my fault he can’t afford Cryptbreakers


That’s all for this week, Points 1 and 2 ran a a bit long but as you can tell, they hold a dear dear place in my heart.

I’ll see you next week, be sure to comment on what an idiot I am, I’m waiting!


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9 Responses

  1. The Salt Must Flow

    Giving this another read, yes, I know this particular person who seems to always fit all your types, at the same time.

    The defensiveness in personality and play style has become predictable for some people at my LGS, so it’s almost cute how easily one can bait this player into putting down removal or fish for responses. “Hey, I’ll Demonic Consultation.” “Uhh… Pact of Negation,” as he quickly puts it into his graveyard, not letting the new players at the table read it like they /should/ know it.
    On that note, it’s something I rarely see where I frequent, but it’s the demonized Legacy player stereotype outside of Legacy: “I play x, y, z, any responses? No, well, missed opportunities.” While the other player is almost too shy to ask what the first spell does; after all, it ended up immediately in the graveyard and the player casting it already drew his card.

    I have been born in salt, so out of my nature, I went and began racing arms, do the loopty-loop infinite, and of course get called things that — wait, are there younger children in the back? — probably shouldn’t have been said. Oh yeah, and then net-decker is one of the worst things those people can throw at you. Excuse me for looking at statistically cohesive and performing decks to shut people like yourself down.

    … Big Fish also likes MLD.

    Perhaps I’ll bring my salt back here some time. I like hoarding it, but always vent outside the store. Like a good person, aiming to die of heart failure before 40.

    • Austen Hoey

      Hey, I have no problem with you playing Protean Hulk, I have a problem with you scoping out a couple kids playing wih pre-cons and comboing them on t2 to make yourself feel like Jon Finkel

  2. alex

    I disagree with everything you said, out of principle, because this was not a pauper ponderings article.

    Unfortunately I’ve had the “pleasure” of dealing with all of these people. The guy that can’t take a loss is most common for me since I only play pauper decks, even in standard. People generally seem to dislike losing to a pauper deck at the tail end of their miserable weekend where they failed to make the cut with whatever net deck they brought.

  3. HeraldBFC

    Ok, I get the arguments for all of these, and I thoroughly agree on the Trader and EDH Big Fish stuff, but I can kinda get the attitude of someone 3-3 at a GP when 6-3 is still live for day 2 (even if only casually.) Pretty much every GP I do seems to start either start with a high before a few dropped games – usually when the players with byes get to reap the advantage of their superior PWPs – or start low before some amount of optimism aaaand crushing defeats. When you’ve been way too inconsistent as a player for the majority of the event and have a peek at that ray of hope, getting it crushed by the extreme edges of the game kinda begins to beg the question of “where did I go wrong?” and that sucks.

    For the EDH guy – was the Fastbond play deliberate, as a way of showing “Oh he’s such a dick that he’s playing with cards that aren’t legal in the format”? At least with that sort of combo the other players can just stare at their nonexistent boards and just say “Yeeeeah instead of all that how about we play and you go find a different group?” – it’s a GP, not the local game store. The more frustrating GP pickup EDH is when you play 10 turns and slowly realise that either you’re too good for the group and it’s now Archenemy every game/turn or you’re miles better but with a durdly strategy so that even 45 minutes of grind isn’t enough, and you can already tell that your scheduled events are gonna start soon but the game’s so warped around you and/or another player that you can’t just drop because that’d be rude, right, and the game’s going so well but you just can’t do it, man. Just the worst feeling on a good table, or the more relieving on a terrible one.

    Trade sharks are the worst, though. Good reason to always have a phone and a pocket battery for it at all times – you never know when you might need to ACKSHULEE a trade you’re involved in. Won’t help you against the CFB or SCG buylisters, though, but ah well, you can’t win them all.


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