Meet the Pro: Bernie Makino
You've met the proprietor of Grasshopper's Comics and the founder of Team Hopper, so now it is time for you all to meet a three time National Limited Champion! Bernie Makino has a ton of Spoils titles under his belt, included the aforementioned three Limited Championship. Read on to dive into the mind of one of the best Limited players The Spoils has to offer.
This series is your chance to ďmeetĒ some of our top players before you have a chance to actually meet them at the tournament tables.
What drew you into playing The Spoils?
A friend of mine who many of you have probably heard of, Jason Tian, found it and recommended it to me. We played Magic at the time, but his description of the game sounded good, so we ran down to the local Spoils carrying card shop and did an Open Beta event. Then I was hooked.
Why do you continue to play The Spoils?I continue to play the Spoils because itís the best game on the market. Iíve played a few CCGs over time, but the Spoils is the only one I will not miss the chance to play. The flavor is great and the people are absolutely awesome, but the critical factor to me is that I always feel like I get to play a real game when I play Spoils. I make decisions and I get to match myself against another person, like a game of chess with hundreds of potential pieces instead of just six different ones.
What is your favorite moment related to The Spoils?
I think it would have to be winning the Atlanta 5K. During the summer of 2007, the Spoils Bus Tour was running wild and Iíd Top 8ed events all down the east coast, unable to secure a bus ride. Finally, I took down the Atlanta 5K and got to ride the rock star bus for a week. Thatís not to say that various National Championships werenít rewarding, but come on, a rock star bus!
What is your least favorite moment related to The Spoils?
The Boston 13K had a special incident for me. I was playing in the Top 4 round and there was a very, very questionable judge ruling. I basically lost because of it and was rather upset because I felt like, for once, I lost not because of anything I did or my opponent did but rather due to the outside world.
(Editor's Note: For those concerned, the judge in question is no longer associated with The Spoils and, to my knowledge, didn't judge any major events ever since this incident. -Terence)
Where do you play Spoils the most?
Gen-Con. I play every day of the Con, either casually or in tournament when I can. The Spoils is the reason I first went to Gen-Con and the reason I keep going back. Itís a great place in its own right, but The Spoils presence there is wonderful.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a Spoils player?
Honestly, I donít know. Iíve had a lot of success with this game over the years, but I think the best may be personal: I finally got the guts to really break out of the normal. During the summer of The Spoils Bus Tour I was 18 and I really learned that there are opportunities out there for those willing to find them. The Spoils led me to Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Florida, Detroit, Nashville, Indianapolis, as well as several smaller places. Now it seems like less of a big deal, but getting to know people (my teammates on Team Strike) well enough to travel all over with them was pretty sweet.
What do you hope to see in the future of The Spoils?
As a tournament player, I have to go with tournaments. I hope that in a couple of years I can look around and find little events that lead up to larger ones, like starcitygames.com and tcgplayer.com have been doing for Magic. I currently play Magic to satisfy my tournament hunger and love of card games, but I hope that Spoils grows to replace said inferior card game.
Which trade is your favorite and why?
I donít really play favorites. My expertise is in limited, so whatever I open good stuff in is the trade(s) I play.
What play style would you say suits you best?
Efficiency. I donít know if youíre all familiar with the article series I wrote a few years back, but I outlined my basic theories of playing Spoils and it boiled down to spending all your resources every turn while making efficient combat decisions.
Are you a member of any ďteam?Ē
My team, Team Strike, was a 4-man Maryland based team. Now, one of us isnít really in contact anymore, one plays Magic on occasion but canít make the big trips to Gen-Con, and one is starting a business in California. At heart still a team, but in reality, not anymore.
What is your forum handle?
How long have you been playing Spoils?
Since 2006, during Open Beta.
If you could describe Spoils in one word, what would it be?
LegenÖ. Wait for itÖ
Do you have any advice for new players?
Pick up the game and play it! I am still convinced to this day that people who try the Spoils like it, that itís the best game on the market, and that playing is the best way to get better. One of the reasons you hear so much about pockets of good Spoils players (New York especially) is they all got to play each other. Jason and I got good at this game by playing every day in the high school library. The more you play, the better you get. The better your frequent opponents get, the better you get. Itís a fun cycle.
What events are you most looking forward to?
I guess I have to say Gen-Con limited Nationals. Hereís to a 4-peat!
Any funny stories to share about The Spoils?
So many great stories to share, from the time Jason Tian got sick from eating an angry mob (a dessert with a LOT of ice cream) on the bus tour, to Derek Halpern showing up to a 5K as a surprise, in a limo, to so many other things. This game has given me enough great memories to write articles about them with no other content necessary.
What is your favorite Spoils format (constructed, seed constructed, seed draft, 2nd edition limited, etc) and why?
Any limited format ever. I just love the way the rules work for limited, the games are so much about how the individual plays them instead of what you get stuck doing because of the tools you have at your disposal.
What is your favorite card flavor wise and why?
Iím not much into card flavor, personally. Iím greatly amused by some of the interesting art and flavor texts, but none particularly stick out as better than any other to me.
What is your favorite card play wise and why?
Anything with the flip to a face down resource mechanic. Itís so good!
Any arch-enemies in The Spoils?
I think Jason would be offended if I didnít say him. Great friend, great opponent, and Iíve definitely lost more games of Spoils to him than to everybody else combined. Other possibilities include Hans, who knocked me out of the only major event Top 8 Iíve missed (he outplayed me by a lot, and I was running a very poor deck. I got crushed).
All Meet the Pro articles: