YMG's Reign of Fire

Posted in Event Coverage on October 31, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

A good number of jaws had to be picked up off the ground this morning when Jon Finkel strolled in and sat down for his first match of the day wearing a Your Move Games polo shirt. He is just the last in a long line of free agents that YMG has 'signed' over the past year. Brian Kibler, Eric Froelich, Gabe Walls and Jeff Cunningham are just a few of the other big names that are sporting the red and black.

Food Chain
As the team has grown to incorporate some of the best young talent in the game so have the problems associated with any large group. YMG has been plagued by tech leaks. Early on in playtesting, Tom Guevin built a tricked out version of the Gob-Vantage deck that featured Food Chain. In uncharacteristic YMG fashion the whole team got behind the deck and began the process of fine tuning and preparing a sideboard.

One of the keys to the deck was its surprise value as it could easily be prepared for with certain cards like Engineered Plague and Propaganda. When it became apparent that many of the other playtest groups had their exact list two things became apparent. For one thing there would not be a unilateral YMG deck for this Pro Tour. The second...

There was a leak.

The principal figures in YMG were able to backtrack the leak and began working on other decks. They also began to spread disinformation about the decks they were working on. They even spread disinformation within their own team. "To flush out the mole," explained Guevin. They could not just cut the leaker out entirely for fear of having all of their hard work made public.

They even went so far as to set up a sub-shell IRC channel that not all of the membership was aware of to discuss their decks and theories about the leak. They thought the leak had been contained until they arrived at the tournament for round one. As surprised as others were to see Jon Finkel in a YMG shirt, that was nothing compared to the shock Brian Kibler experienced seeing Bob Maher, Jr. playing a card for card copy of their new Scepter/Oath deck.

The team had sprung another leak. Brian Kibler explained, "The first leak was obviously two persons and I'm pretty sure the next leak was one person-and by 'reasonably sure' I mean I am 100% certain that a specific individual was playing against someone he should not have been playing with"

Guevin, who had designed the original Food Chain deck, was disheartened by the leak for more than just the obvious reasons; "You can certainly argue that if the team wasn't so big we would not have had the decks in the first place but... At Nationals there was a leak because Brian Kibler gave his agro-Zombies deck to his friends. It was a disappointment but Kibler designed that deck and it was a contained leak. This leak was by someone who did not even have a hand in designing those decks-which really hurts!"

"It really hurts to see Maher, Reeves and Tsang who don't playtest at all have all of our decks. Can you imagine how different this tournament would have been otherwise?"

Rob Dougherty was asked about the leaks but he was unusually terse, "I cannot comment." He had just dropped his third match of the day in a three game set to Dave Williams. The deck that beat him? Food Chain.

Isochron Scepter
In the end the squad ended up playing an array of different flavored decks. The most popular choice on the team was Scepter-Oath. It started out as a straight blue-green Oath deck with Isochron Scepter that was put forth by Zvi and Justin Gary. After the Food Chain leak the team was in search of a deck that could beat their previous best deck and they took another look at the deck.

Brian Kibler suggested adding Fire/Ice where there had originally been Accumulated Knowledge. "The deck is insane against goblins and Hermit Druid, which we felt were going to be the best decks. We may have underestimated the amount of Tinker and Charbelcher decks that were going to be here."

That error in Judgment may explain their mediocre showing thus far. "I had turn one Scepter and Counterspell and it wasn't fast enough because I lost the die roll," griped Kibler.

Latest Event Coverage Articles

December 4, 2021

Innistrad Championship Top 8 Decklists by, Adam Styborski

The Innistrad Championship has its Top 8 players! Congratulations to Christian Hauck, Toru Saito, Yuuki Ichikawa, Zachary Kiihne, Simon Görtzen, Yuta Takahashi, Riku Kumagai, and Yo Akaik...

Learn More

November 29, 2021

Historic at the Innistrad Championship by, Mani Davoudi

Throughout the last competitive season, we watched as Standard and Historic took the spotlight, being featured throughout the League Weekends and Championships. The formats evolved with e...

Learn More



Event Coverage Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All