Network  May 31, 2002

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The Tome

TurboLand Take 2
  - by Tim Sprague

Before I even start things off here, thereís something I have to get off my chest, and itís non-Magic related. If you donít care to read something intended for one particular person, then go ahead and skim down. Thereís tech in this article, I swear.

Now then, down to business. On Friday I received a very disturbing message that was intended for someone else. The person who sent it has been through hell and back lately, so it was understandable that with all that stress this person would have a lapse like that occur. The problem was that it was a message that seemed to have one point and only one point to it: the mocking of a very serious problem that I had recently dealt with in my life.

Bah, fuck it, this isnít working. I have to go back further and be more specific.

Just over a week ago I was informed by my ex-fiancee that she was pregnant. That was it: no details, no time period of the conception, nothing. There was a very real chance that the little unborn child was mine, and that possibility scared me shitless in many ways. I took my fears to a close friend of mine, Val, and she basically talked me down from the tower (figuratively speaking). She listened to my concerns and gave me some very pointed advice. A few hours later I found out that the child was not mine, and for some reason that depressed me quite a bit. As corny as this sounds, I began to love that baby girl even before I knew if she was my child or not, and to have that taken away was painful.

In any case, I sent a message to Val thanking her for her support during that difficult time. Val and I have been friends for about a year now, and there have been times when weíve been more than just friends. Some of those experiences, however, have not been good ones for either of us, so it was comforting to know that when the chips are down I could count on her to help me with things. Iíve done everything I could to be a good friend to her. There were times when I have given her money when she needed to buy food or pay the rent. Iíve tried to comfort her as best as I could when sheís called me in a state of near-panic in the middle of the night. I have tried to come through for her in tough situations as best as I could every time it was needed.

There have been many times, however, when I have felt Val turning on me for no reason that I could determine. My suspicion is this is based on the fact that she still feels bitter towards me for those times when we were more than friends. When all was said and done, there wasnít a very good ending to that period in our lives, and the blame for that rests squarely on my shoulders. Do I feel bad about that? Of course I do, but I have tried to make up for it. Maybe thatís why Iíve been so patient and understanding when it comes to Val and Iís friendship. There are times when sheís made me want to scream with frustration when her bipolar nature has made her cold and even nasty when around me, but Iíve gutted it out because I thought the friendship was worth it. Besides, a lot of that anger that is directed at me is probably still due to the poor way I handled things a while back.

However, that doesnít excuse the fact that the friendship really seems one-sided at times. Iím willing to take my share of shots when itís all in fair play, but really I think that Iíve more than made up for my actions in the past. There have been times when Iíve reflected on the fact that Iíve really earned my forgiveness by now, but I still just gritted my teeth and continued on. Besides, I know Val well enough to know that thereís a friendship worth having even if you have to endure a certain amount of abuse.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I sent Val a message thanking her for the help and support she gave me during one of my more depressing times. I even made a small joke at the end, saying that Iíd deny every word of the thanks to save my reputation. However, later that same day I checked my messages and found a message from her staring back at me. It was obvious that it wasnít meant to be sent to me, that it had just been a slip-up in the sending process. Here is what that message said:

wow, I guess he was sure scared ****less!
Oh well, something for you to be amused with, especially the ending statements of secrecy.

Youíre damned right I was pissed off. I was livid when I read this message. What exactly does it look like to you? Just from reading it the way it was presented, it sure as hell looks like someone completely mocking the problems that I had gone through and the fears that I had experienced. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who read this reply would have assumed the same thing that I did: a betrayal by a friend had occurred. The fact that it was a betrayal by a friend like Val made it even worse than it normally would have been since I had poured so much into that friendship. I was hurt, yes, but mostly I was mad. I had put up with too much shit in my life recently to sit back and be a victim this time around.

I have certain resources at my disposal that could have made Valís life even worse than itís been currently, and I was extremely angry. In my mind I put two and two together, and I realized that I could raise some hell for her with the very minimum of effort. It would be so easy to burden her with even more than she was already carrying with her. Yes, it would be so simpleÖ

But I didnít do it. Despite the fury I was in, I reminded myself of the good times that Val and I have shared in the past, whether it be as friends or more. I remembered the women who had shown up at a Red Lobster twenty minutes late for our first meeting and had stopped my breath in my chest. There were the times that weíd sit in my apartment or her bedroom and put together Magic decks and try to work concepts. Then I remembered the night that Val left my apartment close to tears because of my own stupidity. I realized that I couldnít go through with any plans of vengeance because I cared about her too much. What I really wanted was an explanation, a reason for why she had done what she had. I canít stand backstabbing; Iíd rather be shot in between the eyes.

I probably made a mistake when I sent a message to her telling her to call me. I had intended it to convey the severity of the situation in my mind, but I think Val mistook it for a message calling for help. She called my cell phone while I was at work, but unfortunately I was working a double shift that night and I couldnít call her back. From what I understand, she was worried all night that something had happened to me. That wasnít my intention, but itís how it happened.

When I finally caught up to her online, I decided to skip the bullshit and go right to the heart of the matter. I demanded an explanation. I did the online equivalent of yelling in her face, trying to drag out an answer as to why I was betrayed. However, she danced around the issue, trying to turn things around so that I was the bad guy in all of this. She kept repeating, ďWhy should I give an explanation when youíve already come to your own conclusions?Ē That only infuriated me more. Didnít I deserve an explanation? Hadnít I earned the right to be pissed off? Of course I had, and I wasnít about to take anything but what I was owed.

Eventually, though, she stated that the message was meant for her boyfriend. She said that she didnít keep anything from him, which in this case I believe was a disservice to me. After all, she was betraying my trust by sharing what I had said with someone else, something that I had messaged her with in complete confidence. Then she proceeded to tell me that she wasnít mocking me, but that she was just laughing in the message to try to lighten a serious subject.

Iíll leave you to decide if this was the truth or not. Read the message she sent again, and you tell me if thatís what she was really saying. By the way the message is worded, it certainly doesnít appear to be trying to lighten the mood of a serious subject. It appears as if itís a very uncaring joke at my expense, doesnít it?

But you know what? Who knows if this was true or not? I have my own opinions on the matter, and Iíll keep my own council with regards to those. However, I decided to work from the assumption that Val was telling the truth even though I had my doubts. After all, I trusted Val totally at one point, and I owed her this last bit of trust.

She then went into a description of exactly what has been going on in her life, most of which I already knew. It was almost like she was trying to play things off like she was the victim in this entire affair, which simply wasnít true. Either I was the victim, or I hadnít correctly interpreted the message and there really wasnít any victim at all. Those were the only two real options. After all, God knows Iíve forgiven Val for enough slights and comments over these past ten months or so, as a friend should. However, apparently Val didnít follow this same philosophy. Sheís so convinced that she canít trust most people in this world that she automatically assumed that I was assaulting her rather than demanding answers. She accused me of not really knowing her at all since I was angry about her statements, but exactly what else could I have assumed the message meant? Since I wasnít getting everything that she was saying, I forced myself to calm down and asked her to explain what she meant. She seemed to take even more offense at that and simply wouldnít listen to reason or even attempt to let me in on what she was trying to get at. How in the hell was I supposed to understand something that I wasnít if I couldnít get a goddamn explanation?

Was I wrong in my approach? Possibly. Was she wrong in her response to that approach? Possibly. Iím not here to assign blame, however, because Iím sick of doing that. Instead, Iím making this highly public statement to Val: either we bury the hatchet over this whole mess in which weíve both fucked up like human beings tend to do, or we go our separate ways completely. Itís up to you, Val. Iíve done everything that I could in the past to be a good friend to you, sometimes even going far out of my way to accommodate you. If you want to let past grudges and imagined slights stop a friendship that has so much to offer, then thatís your choice. But this will be your choice, Val, not mine. Iíve already made mine, and now you have to make yours. Let me know either way, but make sure you think long and hard before you cut the lifeline if youíre leaning that way.

Now then, onto Magically-related thingamabobs.

Can you believe that ďthingamabobĒ is actually in my writing programís dictionary? That surprises me, for some reason.

TurboLand Continued

I know that I said that I would get a couple of other post-rotation Extended archetypes this time around, but most of my testing time has been consumed by trying out TurboLand. Zvi Mowshowitz, the father of the deck and its most vocal supporter, even got into the act by posting his latest version up on The Sideboard. For reference, that deck was:

14 Island
4 Yavimaya Coast
5 Forest
1 Brushland

1 Battlefield Scrounger

4 Brainstorm
1 Capsize
4 Counterspell
4 Exploration
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Forbid
4 Gush
4 Horn of Greed
1 Krosan Reclamation
4 Oath of Druids
2 Scroll Rack
2 Thwart
3 Time Warp

This is a very interesting design as it seeks to use Oath of Druids in a new way: dump every single card in your library into your graveyard, minus the Scrounger. From that point, you just keep putting Time Warps on the bottom of your library using the Scroungerís ability and go infinite as early as turn three. Itís probably the most explosive version that Iíve ever seen since TurboLandís inception, and thatís exactly how it was designed to be. Compare this to my current build:

2 Spike Weaver

3 Call of the Herd
1 Capsize
2 Dwell on the Past
2 Time Warp
4 Counterspell
4 Foil
4 Gush
2 Scroll Rack
4 Brainstorm
4 Horn of Greed
4 Exploration

4 Yavimaya Coast
13 Island
7 Forest

Keep in mind that this was without any Judgment in the list, and no, I did NOT steal the one Capsize idea from Zvi. Itís been in there since May 23, to be exact, BEFORE Zvi posted his article on The Sideboard.

Both decks attempt to do the same thing, but take vastly different approaches to going about it. Zviís goes for the throat, attacking every (or every other, as the case may be) turn with a 6/6 monstrosity while taking infinite turns. This is extremely effective against an aggro environment, and itís something that most likely will be a solid concept to work from.

Mine, however, exists for a control-heavy metagame, with the Spike Weavers being the only two slots devoted to helping the fight against aggro. Call of the Herd is just a stick against control decks, doing what it does best at gaining card advantage. My TurboLand takes longer to ďgo infiniteĒ, yes, but it also isnít totally reliant on one card the way Zviís is (Oath). Two solid decks, two different metagames.

The more I test around with TurboLand, the more that it becomes clear that there are dozens of ways to go about building it. You can go for a heavy control version, using Powder Keg and more counters to keep the board clear while you get all the pieces in place to go infinite. Thereís the Intuition build, abusing both Intuition and the new Quiet Speculation to achieve obscene card advantage through Call of the Herd, Roar of the Wurm, Deep Analysis, and Accumulated Knowledge. Iíve even come across a build that is using the Horn/Exploration engine to fuel Wild Mongrel and Zombie Infestation. No, itís not the best deck Iíve ever seen in my life, but hey, there was a TurboLand deck using Wild Mongrel!

Iíll be moving on to a different archetype next article, but for now I say this to all you post-rotation Extended testers: ignore TurboLand at your own risk. The deck might have actually been made better due to certain cards leaving the environment, and there will always be a place in a format for taking an unlimited number of turns. You can be sure that there will be an update on TurboLand soon, because itís fast becoming my pride and joy testing deck.

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