Thursday, April 24, 2008

Card Carrying Geek

I brag and/or lament about my geekitude often on this blog, but until now you have had to take my word on it. However, now my status and is official and permanent. I have a DCI card. DCI does not stand for Drum Corps International (that would represent a entirely different plane of geekdom), but for, well, I’m not quite sure. It does mean I am a certified tournament player of Magic: The Gathering® (check out this post if you have no idea what that is).

Last weekend, my son and a friend wanted to go to the pre-release tournament for the Shadowmoor set of Magic cards down at College Park. I offered to drive and rather than make the whole trip down just to turn around, I decided to stick around and see what the big deal was.

Wizards Of The Coast publishes new Magic cards three or four times a year and they make a big production out of it with sneak previews on their web page and hints about all the new rules. Part of the point of Magic is to make the rules as cumbersome, arcane, and confusing as possible. Then about two weeks before the cards go on sale to the public, they have a pre-release tournament with the new cards.

The tournaments require that you be a DCI member (which is free) so I filled out my form and now I have a permanent record. I could go on the pro-tour (and there is one) if I were good enough, which I'm not. The tournament is divided into several categories. I entered a sealed deck tournament that cost $20 to enter but came with about $15 worth of cards.

We got there quite early so we could be near the front of the line. Plenty of other people had the same idea. Some were in such a hurry that morning that they hadn’t bothered to shower. The guy standing in line next to me was a student from a private school in Baltimore with a particularly tragic case of acne and a rather distinct odor. Not a way to impress the ladies.

But then that point was fairly moot. Of the couple of hundred participants, at most a dozen were women. In the second round of my tournament, I happened to draw one of the more attractive female players. She had a vaguely Eastern European accent and seemed a little shy and unsure of herself. In hindsight I’m certain that at one point the both of us badly misinterpreted one of the rules. She may have only been an average player, but she had great accessories. While not the biggest I have seen, her icosahedron was one of the prettiest I had ever laid my eyes on.

I ended up losing my first two matches two games to one, which put me out of prize bracket, so I forfeited my other two matches and ended up 29th out of 32 in that draw. My son fared little better, placing second in a draft tournament earning him three booster packs, but he didn't make the prize pool in any of his other entries.

Back at home I showed him the cards that I got from the tournament and he was impressed with my Oona, Queen Of The Fae (who is a mighty sweet legendary creature). He explained which of my cards were better than others and what I would have to do to build a better deck. Most of that went over my head.

Next weekend is the official release and my son wants to go to another tournament. I think I will pass. I have had all the nerd-bonding I can handle for now, but that doesn't change my status as a world class geek. After all, I’m official now. And I've got the card to prove it.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: What are your geek credentials?


Anonymous said...

I'm secure enough in my geekdom, that I don't need "credentials" to flash around.

Actually, I have very few things I can point to. There are only 2 keys on my key chain, my wallet is thin enough to sit on comfortably. I suppose all I have to point to is a large library, but the fiction is only about 60 % SF/F and the non-fiction is rather light in the hard sciences. I suppose I may have a few gaming con badges at the back of a drawer somewhere, and I'm probably in the 3rd quartile when it comes to quoting things.

yellojkt said...

I guess all my science fiction convention badges would do, but they aren't handy wallet sized.

Cham said...

I'm eternally grateful for my hot body, my good teeth, and the fact I have never played a computer game. Back in high school I was the one who gave the AV club dirty looks.

yellojkt said...

That's okay, cham. I have lots of non-geek friends.

Anonymous said...

I think that first we need to draw a distinction between "geek" and "nerd", as it sounds like you're using the terms interchangeably and I'm pretty sure you shouldn't. Once we get that established, we can figure out where on the spectrum we fall.

Never mind, I think I just outed myself. Because my Kindle post wasn't bad enough.

yellojkt said...

I did the Nerd/Geek/Dork distinctions a long time ago. I admit to be a little sloppy in this post.

And I envy your Kindle.