The Drive Home | Post SCG-Worcester

The drive home from any tournament you don’t exceed expectations or perform where you want to is a weird event. Your mind is constantly replaying the matches, turns, and plays of the day, it’s flipping from frustrated, to upset, to hungry.

Driving home from SCG Worcester with a 5-3 record wasn’t the ending I had in mind. Going in, I didn’t expect to top 8, I didn’t expect to cash out and just wanted to play tight games and play like I knew I could. After winning two FNMs in the past 3 weeks, I felt confident in my GR Monsters deck with Rabblemasters, Polukranos, Stormbreath, Boon Satyr, Hornet Queen, Xenagos, Chandra and Purphoros (and of course Mystics, Caryatids and Coursers). It performed well for me against a lot of different decks; it could be aggro when needed or could switch gears and be more midrange against midrange/control decks.

It won me 5 rounds, against Jeskai Aggro, GU Devotion, Bant Control, GB Devotion and Abzan Midrange. But, I lost to 2 Abzan Midrange and a Mono-Red aggro. What was really frustrating was that these were the two decks that I thought I had the best match ups against, and ones that I tuned my sideboard for. 2 Magma Sprays, 2 Anger of the Gods, a Bow of Nylea and 3 Nylea’s Disciple for the Mono-Red, and 2 Ranger’s Guile, a Setessan Tactics and 3 Genesis Hydra for the Abzan Midrange.

But sometimes sideboard cards don’t find their way into your hand, you get out-played, or you just make some mistakes. I know I made 3 game-losing mistakes; keeping a questionable hand with 4 lands and then drawing 6 straight, messing up blocking Siege Rhinos with Hornet Queen, insect tokens and a Stormbreath, only to have the dragon Bile Blighted, and playing another Courser against Mono Red when I should have double Lightning Striked some creatures.

But that’s the point of grinding these tournaments, playing in FNMs and play testing; it’s all a learning experience. I’ve only been playing magic for a little over a year now and feel that I’ve come a far way. Only recently getting into competitive magic, I know that some, or most, of my opponents have years or a decade of experience more than I do. Well, there’s no way to suddenly get years of experience, so next best thing is to keep grinding away and playing tight magic. No matter how much more experience they might have, no one can affect your play other than you.

So the car ride was a relatively short one, under an hour, and I thought about all this. Replayed some good plays, shook off some poor ones, wishing I hit a third land in my last game, and really wished I had put 3 Hornet’s Nest in my deck.

Everyone has bad days, but you have to put your time in if you hope to excel some day. My tip? Shake it off and start the next week with a clean slate. SCG Worcester is over, but there will be plenty more PTQs, Trials and GPs to play at, and that’s the only thing I’ll be thinking about, the next tournament, not the last one.


Alter Artist Highlight: Nidia Sias

I’m proud to bring to our readers a new installment to or Alter Artist Highlight segment!

Nidia Sias is a great alter artist that I found on Instagram and I immediately fell in love with her amazing extensions.  I reached out to Nidia and she was more than greatful to be our nextt spotlight!

Without any further delay, here is my virtual sit down with Nidia Sias.

Sias Alter Cover Photo Cropped

-Chris @ Mana Burn: Thank you for taking the time to be part of’s Alter Artist Highlight series! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, My name is Nidia Sias. I’m 23 years old, located in Albuquerque, NM but originally from El Paso, TX. I’m married to a magic player who’s been playing for a long time.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: How long have you been altering?
I’ve been altering since June 2013 right after GP Vegas. That trip really made me enjoy Magic: the Gathering to a whole other lever. My husband introduced me to alters and thought I would do a good job on them because at the time I was looking for a creative outlet for myself.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: Is there any particular commission in the future that your excited for?

Currently I’m available for commissions. I don’t have any big commissions planned, however, I have a few personal project that I’m excited for and I’ll feature them on my facebook page once I finish them. Many of these ideas usually pop up in my head and I think “that would be so cool!”


-Chris @ Mana Burn: Do you currently play mtg or any other games?
I don’t currently play MTG but I have played before which was my first time playing, which was around late 2012-early 2013. I actually had no idea what MTG was until I met my husband in 2009. Can you believe that? Haha probably a typical story. The thing I do geek out the most on are video games! I seriously LOVE them. Any and everything! If I’m not altering I’m probably playing a video game.

-Chris@ Mana Burn: Do you alter full time?

Yes I do alter full time, but its harder than it sounds since life can get pretty hectic sometimes. I have my really good months, then I have slower months which happen around rotations or new set releases.

-Chris@ Mana Burn: How long does a commission take from start to finish?
It all depends. For example, a simple art extension can take up to 2-3 hours whereas character alters or complete altered art can take up to 2-3 days to complete.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: What kind of forums and groups do you find yourself in?
Right now I’m in the MTG Altered Art group on Facebook, I also have a lot of friends and followers who alter and we speak on twitter or Instagram as well.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: Is there a style of alter you prefer or find yourself enjoying more than the other?
I really enjoy doing character alters or complete altered art. They are a bit more challenging, but that’s what I like about them. Seeing the finished product is what really makes it for me.

Kaalia Animar

-Chris @ Mana Burn: What steps do you follow in order to create a flawless alter?

Patience is key. It can get frustrating at times trying to color match or do a mock-up for a client. But I noticed that patience leads to a better finished product. I also try to ensure that I’m using high quality paints, brushes, and really take my time on the details.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: What type of artists do you look up to for inspiration?.
I think Eric Klug just goes without saying. Fabian’s Magic Alters are also really amazing and there’s plenty more out there on the FB group, but these two just have me inspired all the time.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: How many hours a week do you find yourself altering?
This is another trick question, there’s no set schedule for me. It really depends on how many commissions I have going at a time. So it can be as little as 8 hours to as much as 60 hours.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: Do you have a favorite and least favorite card you’ve done?
I do a lot of Kaalia’s! It’s one of the most popular commission I do. It’s a little tricky to make each one unique after you do so many. My favorite alter I’ve done is the Watchwolf (Tex Avery cartoon) alter I did for a friend it came out amazing and I really worked hard on it!

-Chris @ Mana Burn: Do you have a lot of out of country requests?

I’m getting more now than I have when I first started. A few of my alters are out in the UK now.

-Chris @ Mana Burn: What is your full time job away from altering?
Altering is my full time job, but I’m also a housewife and a gamer!

Thank you very much to the Mana Burn team for this opportunity I really appreciate it! You can find me on facebook at and Twitter at @NeeDeeAhh as well as Instagram at @NeeDeeAhh!

brainstorm Bubble fettpokemon


Supreme Verdict

Delver of Secrets alter

So there’s another spotlight in the books!  I hope everyone enjoyed the works of Nidia as much as I have and remember to check her Facebook page reguarly for new products and other updates.  Thank for checking out Sias Alters!