Am I The Bolas? - Late to the Party

Mike Carrozza • March 2, 2022

Reality Strobe Illustrated by Dan Scott

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!

I'm Mark Carbonza! I'm the Myojin of Disappearing Chips!

Another Reddit post, but this week it was screenshot and sent to me! Sorry I don't have a link to it. If you do, feel free to post it in the comments. I appreciate when people do this, by the way! Anyway, here goes.

LOOK OVER HERE, MARK! YOU'LL LIKE WHAT YOU SEE!

I was the bad guy for the first time...

So I got cussed out by a player over Spelltable this evening. Here's the story:

Joined a lobby and we only got to three of four chairs filled. We had the Rule 0 discussion and landed on one guy playing Lathril, Blade of Elves, another played Obosh, the Preypiercer, and I played my Elsha of the Infinite deck. I do have the Sensei's Divining Top combo in there, and I made it clear to everyone that it was in there. I offered to switch decks if they wanted. No one minded and we started. We were about 3 or 4 turns in when a fourth finally joined the game. We allowed the guy to take 3 consecutive turns to catch up and went about the game as normal. Around turn 8 or so, I got the Top combo online, drew my deck and won the game. Well, fourth guy, who missed our rule 0 discussion, cussed me out for bringing an infinite combo to a causal game, told me I was what was wrong with the Commander community, and a few other choice words before leaving the game. Was I in the wrong? My deck definitely is not optimized at all, and I felt bad that he felt that way about our game. I just want to have fun. How do you handle it being the "bad guy" at the table? I just apologized to the guy, but it kind of left the game hanging on an uncomfortable note, when we were all enjoying ourselves to that point.

I LOOKED AND I LIKE! THANK YOU!

It feels like I'm being lobbed an easy one this week. Let me get this out of the way and say that I don't think you're the Bolas. I would love to have more context, but in this case, I wasn't in direct contact with the author of this post, so I can't have any.

That said, homeboy who showed up and lost to a combo so common with your commander that the combo needs to come up during pre-game chats. The only reason I'd be a little on his side is if the broad strokes of the Rule 0 chat hadn't been covered. That said, to cuss someone out for comboing off and call them what's wrong with the Commander community is absurd.

I myself am not a fan of combos. I run my Sevinne, the Chronoclasm full of Brash Taunters, but you won't see me playing Guilty Conscience in that list unless I really really really wanted to play the deck and the rest of the table was playing high-powered stuff.

I like an engine. I like synergy. I like that if something wins the game it's because six other pieces got it there. I get not liking that a game ends because you top deck the other 1/2 of a game-winning combo. That said, I'm not about to chew someone out for it if the table cleared it...

Which is what happened! The table gave it the okay, but the fourth player showed up after the game had started. Did the other two players in the pod not mention the Rule 0 conversation or support you or tell the fourth player to cool it? I guess the only thing I might be able to fault the OP for would be not giving a heads up like in the pre-game conversation.

But they did their part at the beginning of the game. Not the Bolas.

Thanks to everybody writing their stories in and sending me Reddit snippets! I appreciate it greatly!



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