Am I The Bolas? - Family Feud

Mike Carrozza • November 17, 2021

Deafening Silence, Illustrated by Igor Kieryluk

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!

Who am I?

I'm Mark Carbonza! I'm what's hatching out of the Biolume Egg!

This week, a tight-knit pod that needs little help.

(email edited for brevity, clarity, and anonymity)

Oh, Hi Mark!

Our playgroup is just three people 90% of the time, my cousin, me, and our friend from way back when we were kids. My cousin had this Niv-Mizzet, Parun deck with Thousand-Year Storm and a million cantrips, was able to copy spells like Time Stretch and Time Warp, to take an ungodly amount of turns. If he didn't win that way, he also could win with the Curiosity combo. Well, our friend had quite enough, one night after my cousin just resolved his Time Stretch taking a grand total of 12 turns in a row, our friend got up and said "Your deck is no fun and I refuse to play against it."

This upset my cousin: not only did he think his deck was fair, it was definitely not "no fun" So what does he do? He built a Zur, the Enchanter pure control/stax deck, and calls it his "No-Fun" deck. Wow, was he right, that deck was miserable to play against and proceeded to laugh at us saying "You asked for no fun, so here it is." Is he the Bolas for being salty and building a nightmare deck? Or is my friend the Bolas by being salty and making him change the deck?

Cutter Spindell


Hi, Cutter. Seems like you're the sweetiepie caught in the middle here (WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?!). Having a close friend and a family member at odds can be difficult, especially when they're butting heads over what you do for fun in your free time.

I think they're both being a Disciple of Bolas in their own way. According to our exchanges, your friend had never expressed a dislike for your cousin's deck nor had they mentioned that they would prefer playing a different deck until this moment. To bottle something up like that to have a (minorly) explosive moment pushing the group to a standstill... that's not the healthiest way to handle things. Does your friend have a tendency to keep things that bother him to himself for a while?

The lesson here is to check in with each other with some full honesty in a post-game chat or even just reaching out to each other and asking a hard question. I have one of these guys in my playgroup, and since we've gotten to know each other better, from time to time I ask what he thinks since the last couple of times we played.

It's the way some people are. A group dynamic is a relationship, and making things smoother works in everybody's favor. I don't like how he did it, but I am happy he expressed his displeasure of playing against this deck.

Your cousin, on the other hand... playing a deck that takes 12 extra turns? Why play multiplayer at all? It's a strategy that really chafes me, if I'm being honest, but people are entitled to their joy as long as they aren't hurting anybody. However, your cousin was. He played this deck that caused your friend to feel like his time was being wasted on the opposite of fun.

And to top it off, rather than consider everybody's feelings in the matter, your cousin doubled down? Bolas move. If someone says, "Stop tickling me," and your reaction to that is, "You think I'm tickling you now? Check this out," as you reach out to tickle more? Guess what, dummy: you're a Bolas.

I understand being hurt by the fact that your friend hadn't spoken up in all the times that your cousin played the deck and, all of a sudden, something your cousin thought was okay no longer was. I get why one would feel this way. However, for someone to physically need to remove themselves from the table after declaring openly that the deck is not fun or worth their time, there must be more to consider.

Neither of them handled the situation well. They are both born of the Bolas in their own way. I see their points of view, but if I had to rank them, your cousin is worse of the two.

But you, ya sweet lil pumpkin, are perfect (WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?!?!?!?!).

Thank you for your story, Cutter.


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