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Decisions: The Tournament-Casual Player
By John du Bois
I'm reading Forsythe's Dojo column today and I see something about the CPA "hanging him in effigy" in response to a previous article. I first restrain myself from informing Aaron that we would NEVER hang him in effigy; we'd burn him in effigy. What does he think the word "flame" means? At any rate, I decided to look at this article he was mentioning. I'd read it before; it was the article on whether to play tournament or casual. I decided to test myself in each position, and found that I fit fairly well in each category. I wondered about the idea of a tournament-casual player. I had also promised myself I'd write this week, and I was rather desperate for a topic, since I had none and the new Discworld book comes out tomorrow (effectively destroying my chances of writing later this week.) (Off-topic to Orgg and other Pratchett fans: This is the 25th one! Yay!) I must read this book because my D&D party killed my last Discworld character because he annoyed them, and I need a new one.
At any rate, this article will touch on the tournament-casual player. I am sure that there are many of these, especially in this group. Some may be casual players who are more competitive than their playgroups. Others may be tournament players looking for a break. It is my belief that, with his consistent themes in his decks and his refusal to use the broken cards, the Great Wakefield was a tourney-casual.
So what are the elements of a tourney-casual? Well, first, they LOVE using cards nobody else does. I personally did this by the 3 Raven Familiars I swore by in any T2 deck while they were around. Wakefield's various fatties are other examples of tourney-casual cards. Also, many tourney-casual players find the fun to be in deck-building and writing about various events rather than playing. You can tell the orientation of a writer of a report by reading it. The hard-core tournament player is someone like Nate Heiss, who writes tournament reports detailing just the games themselves. A casual player may not even include the games, just talk about what happened. But a tourney-casual will write about everything: the preparation, the flight in, the judges, the players he hung out with, the various rules discussions, and the compulsory What This Unbelievable Moron Did This Time. The Unbelievable Moron varies from tournament to tournament for Wakefield, is Vince in my one tournament report, and is always Matt Viennau in Matt Viennau's reports.
The real question is, what drives the tourney-casuals? My guess is that most tourney-casuals are people who love playing competitively, and would PT if they could, but they are satisfied by simply playing at their local tournaments because of the flavor. What drives me as a tourney-casual is two things: first, local flavor. I love my group I play with, even the spoiled brat known as Vince. Second, I enjoy building decks that are just subpar enough so that people will not be expecting me to use certain cards, but that the deck will not lose every game. My latest go at it is the Nether-Go deck with No Nether Spirits. These decks will never win a PT or even a PTQ, but they'll do OK locally and are great fun to play and play against because of all the mind games.
So, if you are reading Forsythe's comparison between tournament and casual and can't define yourself, resist the urge to hang and burn him in effigy. Instead, take comfort in the fact that you lie in the category that is so good that he doesn't mention it: the tournament-casual group.

Read More Articles by John du Bois!

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