Everything you've always wanted to know about meta-gaming (but were to afraid to ask)
by Michael R. Dewey
Before we can talk about how to meta-game properly, we must first find out exactly what meta-gaming is. Frankly, I have no idea, and I'm not about to do any research to find out. Why? I'm an American! I don't have to do work like that! I expect to win the lotto or sue some rich guy for millions. Research? Ha. No thank you.
Anyway, with that explanation out of the way, this is how you meta-game.
First, you have to come up with some kind of deck. Sixty Forests, thirty Mountains and thirty Plains, one hundred Picachus -- it really doesn't matter. Just get some cards.
As you begin the tournament, you may or may not have an opponent. If you don't that's OK. You get a bye, which is basically a free win. You'll need to whine a lot about it though because it's customary to do so. If you do happen to have an opponent, the first thing you'll need to do is throw his deck out in the street (preferably when there's heavy traffic). By doing this he will most likely lose a few cards from his deck, and it will no longer be legal. Without a legal deck, he'll have to forfeit the match to you! Unfortunately, you'll most likely get a warning from a judge. Fear not, you can get as many warning as you want (I got 659 one time) without it harming you in anyway. Why? Well, in order for the warnings to have any affect, they have to be sent to the DCI. What is the DCI? It's a giant computer that spits out random numbers that people mistakenly believe is their ranking.
Now for the second match, you again may or may not have a bye. If you do have a bye, just hit Steve. If not, then you'll be able to play another match against a different opponent. This game you'll want to play as slowly as possible. Take five to ten minutes to shuffle your deck, then take another five to ten to shuffle your opponent's deck. After you draw your seven cards, take however long you need to decide if you want to take a mulligan. After you actually begin to play, take as long as you need to pick which land you'd like to play. During your opponent's turn, immediately call the judge over and complain that your opponent is stalling. After all, it's been a half hour and he hasn't even played a land. You may have to do this a few times, but before long the judge will DQ him for taking too long! You've just one your second match!
The third match will be the easiest to win. All you have to do is bribe the judge. This could be as simple as handing him a few one dollar bills or even promising him a few hours of free Ever Quest at your place or getting him pictures of Gillian Anderson's Juju Bubbles. Generally, the bribed judge will walk up behind your opponent stand there until he untaps his lands after he draws a card and simply say, "Gee, I'm sorry, you're DQ'ed." Bam, there's your third match. You're 3-0, way to go.
Now, you may be worried about playing in the finals. After all, your tricks are used up for tonight. Worry not! No one ever actually plays the finals. People always split, that is to say, that they take the prize money and divide it evenly among the people that made it to the finals. Why would they do this, you ask? Well, if they made it to the finals, all of their meta-gaming tricks are used up too! Why should they have to work to win their money, they're Americans too after all.
Now, once in awhile, someone may say that you're a cheater. Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win. Yadda, yadda, yadda. You see the rules of the game aren't really rules, they are more like suggestions. They suggest you draw only one card during your draw step. The suggest that you should pay the casting cost of all your spells. They suggest that you don't punch a nine-year old kid for laughing at how you got mana-hosed -- again.
Who makes all these silly rules? The Rules Team, that's who. And what is the Rules Team? It's a group of people who are being controlled by brain implants. The DCI -- that random number generating computer -- is secretly trying to get as many judges as possible to sign up for the rules team. I'm not really sure why, per se, but I think the DCI computer could be planning world domination.
Well, I hope you understand how the meta-game works somewhat now. It just takes a few very simple steps, and you should start winning in every tournament you play in. By the way, I have these meta-game strategies copyrighted so if you use any of them you have to sent me 25% of your winnings. If you don't, I'll sick the DCI computer on you.
Next time, in my almost-but-not-quite-weekly column, I'm going to review Warhammer 40K and tell you why Magic is so much better.