In the last two months (give or take a day), there have been a few changes in my personal life. The biggest change for me was that I started a new job at an internet software company, which has actually given me for the first time my evenings and weekends. As the editor of a small weekly newspaper, weekends and evenings were never mine since I was also the main reporter.

That said the new company is amazing and I’m loving the culture and what I’m doing. Oh and did I mention that I get to play Magic at work?!

Within the first day of working there, I was approached by one of the IT guys who asked about me playing Magic. At first I was a bit shocked that he knew, but then he explained the whole bio thing and how I’d forgotten that I added that part into said my internal bio.

Fifth place was the best that either of us had done together - to that point!

Team Star Wars FTW – Fifth place was the best that either of us had done together – to that point!

Let’s put this in context – literally the day before I started, I was playing with fellow PlaneChasing author Benagos at our local gaming/comic store, Amazing Stories, during the Shadows Over Innistrad pre-release 2HG tourney. It was the first time that either of us had placed in a tournament – not that either one of us are bad players. We just tend to build behemoth decks that don’t fit the Standard or Modern mold.

So when my new colleague explained that there were at least a dozen or more people who were going to do a confined league with SOI packs and the pool limited to just the cards we opened and what we traded in the league, I was more than intrigued.

It has now been just over six weeks since we started the league and it has been a very interesting experience to say the least.

As a guy who scoffs at the word Standard in more than one sense, this league has been quite enlightening to me. Yes, I know by definition this is a limited setting, and frankly that is just one of the things I find the most challenging.

Within the league, you can trade all you want. But the pool is very limited since we’ve only opened about two boxes of boosters by now. There have been four or five Thing in the Ice opened (not all by me – but that’s a whole nother story!), but no Arlinn Kords. Some people have a tonne of rares, because they’ve traded large numbers of commons and uncommons (myself and at least one other person I know). Frankly that tradebait doesn’t help me, but the rares I got do because I was laser-focused.

When I played in the pre-release, I played WBG Investigating Spirits with an Odric, Lunarch Marshal. I realized then that I LOVE the new Investigate mechanic. But as I got into the league, I saw that my best critters were human and I had a decent start to Investigate. So I quickly focused in and was able to trade into bombs that really helped my synergy.

For some people, it took a lot longer to get to a winning strategy. That said, I know I won’t be in first when we end. There are other people with faster decks or with the rares that would really amp my deck. Now we’re also getting to the point that people know what you’re playing and don’t want to trade away those key cards that will make your deck even more ridiculous.

Those faster decks are something that is an issue for me as well. Since I typically play casual multi-player, I don’t build decks for standard duels – I build combo decks that will kill everyone in 10-12 turns, not one person in five. And the league members have started to realize the faster they can dwindle me down the better. If they let me live too long, I will get set up and taking 10-12 damage a turn is not an insurmountable feat for me.

Did I mention there’s just a bit of lifegain in my deck?

At any rate, the league will be ending within the next three weeks with a tournament – just in time for me to alter my deck even more to make it Standard legal for a Face-to-Face tournament coming to Toon Town. I’ve mentionted this in our Facebook feed, but it warrants another mention.

This will be the first time I have ever played in a tournament with a Standard constructed deck. Shocking, I know – I’ve been playing this game for 20 years and this will be my first go!

I’ve got butterflies and it’s a month away! I don’t know, maybe those are dragons flying around in my stomach …

Until next time, may your humans live long and Investigate!