(Metagame Archive) The English

By Tim Willoughby

I’d like to ask you all to take a moment and count from one to one hundred out loud.

I just did it, and in my caffeine-addled world, it takes about 34 seconds to do. If you multiply one hundred by two and a half thousand, then you will have the number of dollars that UDE are giving to us, the players, at PC Amsterdam. All of a sudden, I don’t need the caffeine to wake up and take notice. With or without it, even by my dramatically simplified maths, it would take nearly a day without breaks to count all of those dollars individually. Even with plenty of Mountain Dew, which sends me completely loopy, it seems like a gargantuan amount of money to count.

Things are all getting a bit loopy in my little Vs. System world right now. While we Englishmen haven’t really ventured out of the UK en masse since the days of empire building, it seems that the instinct is still there, as virtually every Vs. player I know is gearing up for a trip to The Netherlands to grab their piece of the pie. After PC Indianapolis, where there were a whopping five Brits that made the trip*, and PC LA, which I believe had more mad dogs than Englishmen, it occurs to me that the players we have here aren’t especially well known to the world at large.

For those of you that are making the big trip over, what follows is a bit of detail into a few of the people with funny accents that you might want to watch out for while playing and socialising. For those that aren’t, hopefully the following player profiles will mean that when you see European players in the Metagame.com feature coverage, they will be more than just intriguingly spelled names.

The following is either true or entertaining. On occasions, it may be both.

Richard Edbury

To the best of my knowledge, Rich doesn’t have a nickname, but I’d love to think that he responds best to being called “Eddy Baby.” His Vs. resume is impeccable, with multiple outstanding performances in $10K events across Europe. He won in Minehead, placed third in Vienna, and second in London after having shown up the day after going to a friend’s stag party. More machine than man, his impeccable manners suggest to me that he is of the C3PO ilk rather than T1000, but don’t let that fool you—he is a wickedly good player.

Expect to see Rich somewhere around the top tables with a big smile on his face. He might even be singing some Britney songs, both to himself and anyone that will listen.

John Ormerod

It was once suggested that the only reason that John Ormerod hasn’t made as much money as Kai Budde playing TCGs is because his face is thinner, and hence opponents might be able to gain some sort of tactical “width” advantage over him. This isn’t something worth dwelling on. John is a supremely good player, and an even better deck designer. In early testing sessions with John, results tend to be skewed in his favor, regardless of matchups or even draws. Some have called this the “Eugene Harvey Effect,” but John is both older and taller than Eugene, so it seems fitting that this phenomenon be renamed at some point. Not one to blow his own horn, John will instead simply blow you away.

Expect to see John only when he is looking to his right or left. When he looks directly at you, his face will almost disappear.

Ian “DT” Vincent

There have been many suggestions as to what Ian’s nickname actually means. While one wouldn’t imagine it to look at him, he did play American Football in the UK while at university. However, he wasn’t a defensive tackle, so that’s out. It could stand for “Definitely Tangible,” “Don’t Touch,” or even “Delicious Treat.” Frankly, I prefer to imagine that instead “Deety” is an adjective that perfectly describes this Englishman in a manner better than I could hope to here. Ian had the dubious honor of having to sit next to me on a plane while I was in the full throes of a Mountain Dew-induced frenzy of excitement before PC Indianapolis. He won’t do that again. What he may well do again is perform ridiculously well in the constructed portion of the PC before he drafts with the best. He finished nineteenth at Indianapolis, and I know that he is looking to go just a little further in Amsterdam.

Expect to Ian trying to hide from me, as I continue to jokingly suggest that he is morbidly obese. Of course, being as large as he is, his gravitational pull means that he won’t so much be hiding as orbiting the venue—though the venue may even be orbiting him.

Dean Sohnle

Ah, Dean. Technically, Dean is a Canadian, and as such, is a thoroughly agreeable and polite fellow. He has been living in the UK for a little while now though, and as such has been adopted as an Englishman for Amsterdam. There has been much speculation as to what might happen if he ever approached a door alongside Richard Edbury, as neither seem likely to run the risk of being rude by not holding doors at every opportunity. Hot off his win at $10K London, Dean has thrown his considerable creative talents into testing the Modern Age format, so he will surely be one to watch in the Constructed portion of the event. I always thought that I had about as much fun as anybody while playing this game, but I think Dean might just put me to shame. I have dubbed his equipment deck from London with the moniker “Fantastic Fun.” This phrase could easily be used to describe the cheery Canuck himself.

Expect Dean to be playing something surprising, and playing it surprisingly well—with a big smile on his face.

Stuart Wright

Stuart is the player that I am most likely to be paired against in Amsterdam, and I will probably lose that match. Stuart has a nasty habit of being really good at games like Vs.. Couple this with being the most diligent tester of anyone I know and you have quite the package. After money finishes at both UK $10K events, I feel confident that Stuart will be taking home some more money from UDE in Amsterdam.

Expect to see Stuart in the feature match area, sitting opposite me, with a wry smirk on his face as he signs the result slip.

Thom Reeve

Tom’s name doesn’t actually have an ‘h’ in it when it’s abbreviated, but I thought it might be kind of fun to put one in to add an air of mystery. Tom is smarter than your average bear. Read into this what you will.

Vince Turner

Vince was subject to one of the most bizarre misinterpretations of deck type ever in the metagame breakdown for PC LA. He is definitely not a “net-decker” and it would appear that “Trogdor,” the deck he was playing out there, went rather over the heads of those charged with sorting through the decklists. Vince has that enviable knack of winning in unexpected ways, something that I feel sure will continue into Amsterdam and beyond.

Expect the unexpected with Vince Turner, and if you aren’t Hans Joachim Hoeh, expect to have shorter hair than him.

Me (Tim Willoughby)

What can I say, beyond the fact that the photo from PC Indy was hardly my finest hour. That came about three hours later when the Top 8 at the $10K out there was finally finished. Various members of my team have suggested that I’m “the decoy,” which is a position that I am more than happy to fill. Don’t let the fact that I’ve had three money finishes in $10Ks, including a win with Teen Titans back when they were fresh and new, fool you. I am truly awful.

Expect to see me having a good old time and generally appearing a little more upbeat than necessary all day long in Amsterdam. I love big tournaments. If you’re there, come say hi.

These represent just a small selection of the characters from our little island that I fully expect to do rather well. I send out hearty apologies to any and all Brits that I haven’t mentioned. I could justify it by suggesting that it’s an additional spur to you guys to make yourselves famous by beating everyone from the “hidden area,” but honestly, it’s just that I don’t know everyone in the country. The United Kingdom is pretty small, but there is a big enough Vs. System scene over here that I don’t have words for everybody. For anyone that has ever talked to me after I’ve had a cup of coffee, you know that that is a lot of words.

Best of luck to everybody in Amsterdam!

Tim “Bouncing Off the Walls With Excitement” Willoughby

timwilloughby (at) hotmail (dot) com

* plus one Alex Tennet, who has been seen masquerading as an American in the Seattle area, last I heard.


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