As you have probably all seen and heard, anabolic steroid use has come under increased media scrutiny in professional sports over the last couple of years. Dynasties have been broken, personalities have been debunked, dreams shattered and titles rescinded. One only needs to look at the legal troubles facing Barry Bonds or the financial difficulties and title revocations of Lance Armstrong for proof. But one area that has been suspiciously absent from the anabolic steroid scrutiny has been Magic: the Gathering. Over the course of months of investigations I have found many clear links between top MTG competitors and illicit anabolic steroid use. As such, I've prepared a quick dossier so that you, the informed reader and Magic: the Gathering enthusiast, can make up your mind for yourself. I didn't expect many of these players to admit to their anabolic steroid use, but I was aghast that so few players would even comment on the issue.
Some of the most obvious signs of anabolic steroid use (besides titanic muscle growth) is increased facial hair and a sudden, unexplainable drive to succeed. For obvious evidence of steroid abuse, one needs to look no farther than top MtG player Christopher VanMeter.
Christopher has undergone a recent and explosive drive to win an SCG open contest. (For those of you don't play Magic, an open event is a large tournament where hundreds, sometimes thousands of players will enter a single cutt-throat style tournament to try and reach the top). Despite already being rated #1 on the esteemed SCG player points scoring system, Christopher has vowed not to shave his facial hair until he wins one of these events. Although his shaving habits are outside the prevue of this article, one look at his fiery, explosive, healthy, crimson mass of facial hair is very convincing evidence of steroid abuse (and magnificence). I caught up with Christopher at SCG New Jersey and when I asked (him) about how he feels regarding the impact of anabolic steroids on competitive MtG and whether he has ever used steroids to gain a competitive edge, he looked at me like I was crazy and said "what??". Whether he is a steroid abuser or just a bearded warrior on a mission, I'll let you make the call.
Although steroid use in competitive sports like MtG has likely been around since the beginning, increasingly difficult-to-detect "designer" drugs on the market are probably in use in very high, unsafe quantities. I recently asked Level 3 judge Jessie Dunks about whether existing drug testing protocols are properly equipped to detect new, "designer" drugs, and whether he personally oversees urine testing to ensure it gets safely from the collection facility to the testing laboratory. Mr. Dunks refused to comment on the issue, but issued me a stern warning, stating "your match has already started and if you aren't in your seat in the next 45 seconds I'm going to issue you a game loss." Although I expected resistance to my inquiries regarding steroid abuse, I never expected that there was a cover-up at the highest levels of judges.
This is an artistic rendition of a magic card depicting level 3 judge Jessie Dunks. When asked about steroid abuse in competitive MtG, he made no comment.
Another convincingly clear-cut example of how steroids have sculpted the minds and attitudes of the contemporary Magic player is Brian Braun-Duin. Brian was one of the only players to admit his ongoing steroid abuse. Furthermore, his attitude about the subject was as jovial as it was disconcerting. When I asked Mr. Braun-Duin at SCG Indianapolis about whether his body was evidence of his past and ongoing abuse of anabolic steroids he smiled at me before shouting "Oh yeah, bay-bay! You don't get guns like these sitting on the couch!" He then pulled back his shirt sleeve to reveal a Herculean 13" bicep. Further evidence of his recent anabolic steroid abuse can be seen in his male pattern baldness in the picture below. His gruff demeanor serves as further testament.
Brian Braun-Druin, pictured above on the left, shows signs of male pattern baldness. Here, he is about to explode into violence against his opponent. Above right, he can be seen in a graphic representation of his inner rage.
One last example of both contemporary and previous involvement in illicit anabolic agents can be found in multiple grand-prix winner William Jensen. William was enjoying a storied career as a MtG player when one day, without explanation, he dropped from the competitive scene entirely. Speculation about his departure was rampant, but the prevailing theory at the time was that his steroid abuse had caused health problems and his doctor may have given him an ultimatum: "stop playing Magic Cards and taking steroids or you could suffer from a heart attack or other cardiovascular abnormality". Many thought that Huey's days of slamming anabolic steroids right before slamming down Magic cards were over. Then, inexplicably, he reappeared on the Magic scene. And not only did he reappear, he reappeared with a bang, stringing together a very impressive resume of high profile victories. When asked late last year to comment on the speculation that he is once again involved in the distribution and personal use of anabolic steroids and whether his career resurgence can be attributed to the same, he responded pugnaciously, saying "what the f&!k are you talking about?"
William Jensen, seen above, was once considered the golden-boy of the drug-free Magic the Gathering scene. Nowadays, he appears to have joined suit with other top contenders and is, once again, thought to be using anabolic agents to bolster his performance at the card table.
I hope you have enjoyed my report on the impact of anabolic steroids on the competitive Magic the Gathering scene. Please remember, we are all role-models for younger players and we should make it a priority to leave behind a legacy of drug-free and natural Magic the Gathering, the way it was originally intended to be.
Please note: This article is for entertainment purposes. The author has no knowledge, whatsoever, of any steroid use amongst the personalities described.
You don't call "dying to removal" if the removal is more expensive in resources than the creature. If you have to spend BG (Abrupt Decay), or W + basic land (PtE) to remove a 1G, that is not "dying to removal". Strictly speaking Goyf dies to removal, but actually your removal is dying to Goyf.
I know someone is going to say to take the sand out of my vag@#$, but I think it's potentially very harming to those people mentioned. Although it can seem like a funny idea, it just isn't worth it, especially using real names. What they do or probably don't do in their lives is their own business.
Private Mod Note
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Legacy - True-Name Salty, Imperial Painter, Shardless BUG, Lands, Elvis, Miracles, Tin Fins, Enchantress, 11 Post, Storm, Eldrazi (haven't played since 5-2 drop at Vegas) Modern - Grishoalbrand, Titanshift, Knightfall, Humans, Bogles, Affinity
Standard - Standard actually seems to be in pretty good shape after the bannings, but I don't want to waste money
Pauper - Bogles, CawBlade, Affinity (dead format for me)
Draft - (I wish I had more time for limited...)
Commander - Norin the Wary, Grimgrin, Adun Oakenshield (taking forever to build) (dead format for me)
Understand, Dredge is not really a Magic: The Gathering deck. When a card is playable in it, it doesn't mean it's a tournament playable card. It means it's playable in whatever crazy fantasy world that Dredge operates in.