Am I The Bolas? – A Little Joke

Mike Carrozza • November 24, 2021

Last Laugh Illustrated by John Matson

Hello and welcome to Am I the Bolas?

This column is for all of you out there who have ever played some Magic and wondered if you were the bad guy. I’m here to take in your story with all of its nuances so I can bring some clarity to all those asking “Am I the Bolas?” Whether it’s because of a mean play or even just getting bored with your playgroup, I’m ready to hear you out and offer advice. All you have to do is email markcarbonza@gmail.com!

Who am I?

I’m Mark Carbonza and I’ve finally got a card named after me!

Ventriloquism is a dying art! BUT NOT TODAY!

This week, we’re reading the room!

MARK, OL’ BOY, HOW DO YOU DO THERE, PAL?!

Hey there, Mark.

I had an experience at my LGS recently that I’d love your input on. I was playing my new Taigam, Sidisi’s Hand self-mill deck that aims to mill myself out and play something along the lines of Laboratory Maniac to win. I should also preface this story by saying that I prioritize fun over winning, which will become apparent in just a moment.
It was my opponent’s turn. They were having mana troubles so they cast a Windfall, and another opponent had a Wandering Archaic, so there were two Windfalls on the stack. I had 13 cards in hand, so everyone was pretty okay with this. However, I saw a golden opportunity for something funny and decided to take it. With no wincon on board, I flashed in a Notion Thief in response. The end result would be me decking myself and losing while everyone else discards their hands and plays the rest of the game.
At the time, I had told the players that I would do something funny and that it would lose me the game. They told me to go for it. One of the players was pretty upset by what had happened and blamed me for kingmaking the player with the better board state, who did end up winning. That wasn’t my intent; I did what I did because it seemed funny to me and the rest of the table was fine with it. Now, after further thought, I’m not sure what to think.
So, am I the Bolas for losing on purpose for meme value?
Sincerely,
Big Al

WELL, IF IT ISN’T BIG AL WALKIN’ THROUGH MY DOOR; TAKE A SEAT!

I’m a little torn.
I’m sorry to say that I am in camp Bolas for you here, bud.
I’m sorry your joke bombed – even though, I admit, I laughed. What an absolutely dumb move, it’s so funny! It kills you with it all on the stack and takes away all the cards from everybody else.
I don’t think it was a kingmaking scenario, so let’s get that out of the way. The play might have been good if you could have stayed in the game, used all your resources, taken a turn to try to make it happen. Playing into it knowing you’re going to lose is pretty funny. The intention being to get a few laughs is something I can relate to (I’m a comedian!), so I support you there. However, the outcome is stranding the others who are still in the game without their hands and disappearing from the table.
There are so many times people try to be funny but achieve the opposite, often hurting people. It’s why YouTube “prank” channels of a certain era are so difficult to watch (any YouTube prank video that has “in the hood” in the title can go right to hell, you know it’s a white dude doing something low-key racist). They go in assuming it’s going to be all laughs, but it ends up being a disaster. I don’t want to call you a Bolas because you wanted to do a fun thing for the table, liven things up, make people laugh. You’re closer to a…Nissa Ravane, I guess? Didn’t she try to save Zendikar and then cause the Eldrazi to break out and take over? I have no idea. Or maybe Azor, the Lawbringer for when he created The Immortal Sun to trap Nicol Bolas on Ixalan but then Bolas just used the Sun against the planeswalkers during the War of the Spark?
I will say though… was nobody keen on a take back? You did warn the players that you would lose the game, but missed the part where they wouldn’t have a hand anymore.  If the joke didn’t land, wouldn’t people feel like a take back would be fine? I would have 100% said yes to that if I didn’t laugh, but I tell you what: I would have laughed… but then I’d have been a little upset, to be honest. “Okay, first of all – hilarious. Secondly – you friggin’ dingus. Alright, everybody. It’s top-deck mode.” Even if I laughed, I’d probably say, yeah bud, let’s take that Thief off the board and pretend we didn’t see it.
VERDICT:
Azor?
Thanks for writing in!
IF YOU HAVE ANY STORIES WHERE YOU THINK YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE MIGHT BE THE BOLAS AND YOU’D LIKE ME TO WEIGH IN, PLEASE REACH OUT TO MARKCARBONZA@GMAIL.COM 🙂


Mike Carrozza is a stand-up comedian from Montreal who’s done a lot of cool things like put out an album called Cherubic and worked with Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, and more people to brag about. He’s also been an avid EDH player who loves making silly stuff happen. @mikecarrozza on platforms