Under Pressure

Posted in Feature on October 6, 2005

By Brian Rogers

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep…

Morning. Time to wake up and face the world. No, let’s snooze for just 10 more minutes.

Beep, Beep, Beep…

10 more minutes. That is all I need, really…

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep…

I don’t want to go to work. Come on. Wait, this is my day off, why is the alarm going off anyway? Time to go back to bed.

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring.

Who would call me before noon on my day off?

“What? … Really, where at? … Booster Draft? OK, I will be there.”

Get out of bed. I said, get out of bed. GET OUT OF BED; IT’S TIME TO PLAY MAGIC®!

“Ok, I am awake. No Really, I swear.”

Find something to wear. Jeans? No, too warm. Shorts, yeah that works. T-shirt, hmm. Nemesis Prerelease staff shirt? No. 1999 State Championship shirt? Not today. 2001 Pro Tour Boston staff shirt? I don’t think so. Invasion™ staff shirt? What is on that? No way. Regionals staff shirt? Maybe. Plain green T-shirt? Where did that come from? Ah, there it is, the Darksteel™ Prerelease shirt with the Darksteel Colossus on the back that I was looking for. Wow, that thing is big. 11/11 Trample, some good.

Time to go and meet up with my friends, crack some packs, draft and play some Magic! Every day should be so good…

Playing Friday Night Magic Is Easy

In case it isn’t clear from my introduction, I love Magic: The Gathering®. I have been playing for as long as I can remember. When I am not playing, I’m judging, and when I’m not judging, well, let’s not waste time thinking about such sad, sad things.

Several years ago, the DCI® introduced something new to the world of Magic. It was something called Friday Night Magic. FNM, as it is commonly known, is a great opportunity for people like me (scary thought) to get together and play a great game and win some really cool stuff. I have been lucky enough to be a part of FNM at several different stores around the mid-east. Each had its own feel, and every store had some very interesting characters that frequented them, but at every one, I always had a great time. Best of all, each month, Wizards picks a different card to reprint as a foil with an FNM stamp and the DCI logo imprinted on it.


Each Friday in October, the DCI will be giving out four premium Duress cards to players that attend any FNM event held around the world. Duress was one of the cards that made one of my all time favorite decks tick. In the days of Urza’s Saga™, when combos were king, Duress, along with Ravenous Rats, provided hand disruption so you could control the board with a Phyrexian Plaguelord. The deck was simply called “Monoblack Control”, and since then it keeps popping up in a new form with just about every new set. By focusing on the diverse talents that the swamps of the multiverse of Magic provide to the necromancer in each of us, monoblack has come back over the years as a creature control deck, heavy discard, or simply a deck that generates a lot of mana and uses a variety of search spells to thwart your opponent’s best-laid plan. Through all of these changes, Duress has been around as one of the strongest disruption cards ever printed.

Two of these premium cards are given to the highest finishers at each event, and another two are given out randomly as door prizes. To find out where you can compete in a Friday Night Magic tournament, contact stores in your area, or check out a list of stores that offer FNM on the Wizards of the Coast website. If there are no stores near you that run FNM, then tell your local storeowners you want a chance to play in these events.

A Friday Night Magic tournament can be either Standard, Booster Draft, or Sealed Deck, so when you go to your local FNM tournament, make sure you bring a Standard deck. Standard is a format that uses only the newest expansions for Magic, so you don’t have to have a lot of the powerful older cards in order to play. Right now, cards from Ninth Edition, Mirrodin®, Darksteel, Fifth Dawn™, Champions of Kamigawa™, Betrayers of Kamigawa™, and Saviors of Kamigawa™. However, the recent release of the new Magic set, Ravnica: City of Guilds, is going to cause things to change. Standard tournaments held after October 20 will allow you to use cards from this new set in your deck. On the same date the new set becomes legal for Standard, cards from the Mirrodin, Darksteel, and Fifth Dawn sets will rotate out of Standard and will no longer be legal for FNM events.

FNM is run at Rules Enforcement Level (REL) 1. This means that even though all the rules that govern sanctioned play are in place, penalties and enforcement are relaxed so as not to punish newer players that have not had ample experience to indoctrinate themselves into the tournament environment. The focus at a Friday Night Magic tournament is on having fun playing Magic!

For more experienced players, Friday Night Magic can also be a great way to practice for bigger events. Attending an FNM event will give you a good idea about what decks players in your region are working on. Additionally, by testing your deck against other players, you might find an unexpected weakness in your game or learn new tricks that will come in handy while playing at higher-level events. Best of all, this is a great way to enjoy a great game without a lot of pressure to win.

The Place To Be

If you are like me (yeah I know, scary thought), then your local store on Friday night is the place to be. That is where all the best players and all of your best friends will be. FNM is a great chance to schedule a little time to get away from all the trials and tribulations of the real world and instead bring a little mayhem to the multiverse. I hope to see you across the table!

Brian started playing Magic in spring 1994 (when you could still buy Antiquities boosters!) After becoming a DCI Judge in 1999, he has judged numerous Grand Prix, PTQs, local events, and even a couple of Pro Tours. He joined the Wizards of the Coast Delegate program in June 2004 and in what free time he has left after judging, delegating, and playing will be a contributing writer for the MPR newsletter.

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