Playing Magic in Cornelius

Last Friday, I played a Magic: The Gathering tournament in Cornelius, North Carolina. It was an M12 draft, and I had to drive a fair distance to get there. With two card shops within five miles of my house, I can't believe I agreed to drive so far... but then again, I was rejoining some old friends who haven't played in quite some time and don't have enough newer cards to play standard. Getting to hang out and play cards with them again was cool, even though the tournament was a little bit of a let down.

The draft itself was great. My first pick was an Oblivion Ring, and I cut off white in the first pack. I thought I would end up in red-white based on what I was seeing come so late, but the second pack showed me a Dungrove Elder (which is fast becoming my new pet card), and then several Trollhides. I ended up with a pretty impressive green-white aggro deck, with griffins and their riders, multiple Pacifisms, some spiders, and some more hexproof guys. I didn't draft any true bombs, but hexproof regenerating guys are pretty impressive. My MVPs of the tournament were definitely my two Stingerfling Spiders, though. I didn't take notes this time, but I went 4-1 for the tournament, placed fourth, and won... two packs? Really?!

I knew from the beginning that this tournament would be harder on my wallet just because of the drive and the cost of gas, and that isn't the fault of the store. However, the draft costed $16 just to enter, which is $1 more than what we pay in Hickory. That doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but if the draft costs more, I expect there to be a bigger prize pool, even if only marginally so... and apparently there wasn't. If I heard correctly, first place only got six packs. I got five packs for this third place finish in Hickory last week, at a tournament with a similar number of people.

I haven't played enough tournaments outside of Hickory to know for sure, but I felt like I got ripped off. Maybe whatever prize structure they use is more common than I'm imagining and I'm being unfair in this assessment. Maybe Tim at The Dugout just spoils us. I don't know. I do know this: it will take a lot of convincing to get me to play in Cornelius again... which is sad, because the players there were really cool. I met some folks that I would really enjoy playing again. I wonder if they have any clue how much greener the grass really is on the other side?
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