A League of Your Own: How To Increase Tourney Attendance

The peasant Magic idea works well in cases where local participation is low. Let’s take my store’s attendance as an example: Prior to the opening, it was zero – the big goose egg. In following weeks, the store had six players in playing Magic on our Saturday league opening, then twelve the following one, then twenty by the third week!

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction to "A League of Your Own." No doubt that the contest helped but I received more mail from that article than perhaps all of my other work combined. I’d just like to thank everyone who responded.

The pauper or peasant Magic idea seems to work well in cases where local participation is low. Let’s take my store’s attendance as an example: Prior to the opening, it was zero – the big goose egg. In following weeks, the store had six players in playing Magic on our Saturday league opening, then twelve the following one, then twenty by the third week!

The league now has over thirty participants; I’d have to count this as my biggest success as a Magic player.

There have been few difficulties, if any. Everyone seems to be happy to play and to find that their entire card pool is usable. Despite the fact that any old cards are good, the buying of new cards and trading is up. In short, we went from no scene to a healthy vibrant one in less than a month. This all happened in a town of about six thousand residents.

We are also drawing in better players -ones that I have never met previously – and in turn, the shop’s regular gamers are getting better at Magic. The youngsters are learning what cards are good and which ones are bad and how to build decks with a focus that will lead to consistency. They too are learning how to watch for tempo and card advantage.

So far, I’ve found that the points-based restrictions on cards is keeping the format from being broken. The only card that I’ve noted for some sort of consideration at this time is Maze of Ith, which is overpowered as a common in a format that is creature oriented. Instead of putting some outright ban or restriction on the card what I think I may do is re-categorize it as either an uncommon, or more likely a rare. Most specialized lands generally fall into the rare category anyway, so I think that may work.

So without much further adieu lets get on to the contest results – and then, later, what decks I’ve been playing.

I had stated that I wanted interesting, fun, playable decks in the format: I got plenty of responses. Here are the decks that caught my fancy…

Third Place: Dan Corbin

Pheer The Seer

4 Thalakos Seer

4 Breezekeeper

4 Fog Elemental

2 Force Spike

4 Peek

4 Æther Burst

2 Dissipate (Uncommon)

2 Force of Will (Uncommon)

4 Counterspell

4 Teferi’s Veil (Uncommon)

4 Impulse

20 Island

2 Svyelunite Temple (Uncommon)

Dan Writes:”This is what the current build looks like. It contains no rares and ten uncommons… And it performs relatively well. The Seer/Veil combo is amazing.

“The Veil also makes Fog Elemental a threat. Breezekeepers are there only because I felt bad throwing a creature in that did not take advantage of the Veil, but they can be switched out for any favorite creature. The deck was originally created several years ago as a Blue/White deck based on Psychic Vortex (You’ll probably have to look that one up.) After coming back to Magic from a long break, I narrowed the focus down to what it is today. Until I get some more Ensnaring Bridges, that is. 😉

“The deck seriously needs Upheaval, as a swarm of creatures can overcome the Aether Bursts and Counterspells. If I had the cards, I would swap out the Dissipates for 2 more Force of Will and remove the 4 Peeks to add 2 more Force Spikes and 2 Upheavals.

“As it is now, it is a good performing deck and fun to play. Sometimes you get more cards than you know what to do with.

“But enough rambling… I hope you enjoy the deck idea as Teferi’s Veil can be a lot of fun (Ball Lightning, anyone?).”

Dan sent in a nice tempo oriented deck with a cool name plus notes on playing it and possible modifications.

Second Place: Andrew Wright

Life – Lite

4x Swords to Plowshares (Uncommon)

3x Angelic Protector (Uncommon)

2x Animal Boneyard (Uncommon)

3x Earthquake (Uncommon)

(12 Points)

4x Nomads En-Kor

4x About Face

4x Task Force

4x Warrior En-Kor

2x Spirit En-Kor

3x Goblin Legionnaire

3x Incinerate

16x Plains

8x Mountain

(Sideboard: 3x Disenchant, 3x Seal of Cleansing, 3x COP Red, 3x COP Green, 3x COP Black)

Andrew didn’t send any playing hints with his deck, but noted that he thought it would be good for newer players to learn creature-oriented combos. Methinks he’s a JMS fan as well with the "Lite" tag – and that’s always good for points here!

Winner: Ryan Spilhaus

Nemata’s Legion of Beggars.dec (keeping with the pauper


2 Nemata Grove Guardian (Rare)

2 Intruder Alarm (Rare)

(12 points)

4 Llanowar Elves

4 Fyndhorn Elves

4 Priest of Titania

3 Night Soil

2 Llanowar Elite

4 Inspiration

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 Arcane Denial

4 Impulse

12 Island

11 Forest

The basic premise of this deck is to get Nemata out with three creatures that can produce mana until you get Intruder Alarm out. Essentially, the blue is in there to draw cards (even the counterspell of Arcane Denial gets us closer)

The nice thing is that this deck can function fine without getting the combo off – heck, if you want to, you could take the Alarms out and make it into a crazy Opposition deck. The Night Soil is basically to control the tapping/untapping of creatures without the combo, and the Llanowar Elites are in because of the massive mana progression in the deck.

The Night Soils are also good when people start buying the new cards and stick those fun threshold cards and flashback cards in their decks.


Intruder Alarm? Tokens? Elves? Well, yes! I love this sort of deck. Neato interactions and a solid deck to boot.

All you fellas need to send me your addresses so I can get out some prize cards in the mail.

Now I’m going to get to my decks: Some of them aren’t so much fun as brutally effective. One could note that a good Extended sort of "Sligh" deck could be built – and of course I built one. It’s mostly for my son, although I’ve played it a couple of times.

Pauper Red

4 Ball Lightning

4 Mogg Flunkies

4 Mogg Fanatic

4 Raging Goblin

4 Goblin Patrol

4 Shock

4 Seal of Fire

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

4 Fireblast

20 Mountain

Three Jackal Pups and three Ball Lightnings might be better; however, I don’t own the Pups.

Similarly, we have black beatdown for when a body is feeling a tad nasty:

Pauper Necro

4 Necropotence

4 Carnophage

4 Order of the Ebon Hand

4 Dauthi Slayer

4 Dauthi Horror

4 Drain Life

4 Unholy Strength

4 Hymn to Tourach

4 Diabolic Edict

4 Dark Ritual

20 Swamp

As I said, "For when a body is feeling a tad nasty.” There is no fooling beatdown with the power of the skull. Shadow men are a real problem for most of those in the store. This deck was also supposed to be for my son, but he had trouble working the Necro…

I play the following one most often.

Counter Hammer

4 Counterspell

4 Power Sink

4 Syncopate

3 Rewind

4 Impulse

4 Accumulated Knowledge

3 Fact or Fiction

1 Opportunity

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

2 Lightning Blast

2 Hammer of Bogardan

9 Mountain

12 Island

Many of the kids were flabbergasted that I could win without creatures. I had thought about putting a Morphling in for the Opportunity, but I held to the creatureless idea.

And my fun deck….


4 Fecundity

3 Haunted Crossroads

4 Land Grant

4 Llanowar Elves

3 Faceless Butcher

4 Blastoderm

4 Spore Frog

4 Phyrexian Rager

4 Diligent Farmhand

4 Gravedigger

2 Highway Robber

2 Yavimaya Elder

1 Bone Shredder

1 Fallen Angel

8 Forest

8 Swamp

Gotta love a deck that makes folks fear Spore Frog! Also noteworthy is that I won a match starting both games without any land. I wanted to run four Bone Shredders in the deck, but I only own one at the moment. The Butchers have made a good substitute.

This has been a concept that I’ve wanted to play for some time, considering that I came up with the basic idea shortly after Prophecy gave us Spore Frog. Now, the Haunted Frog concept wasn’t unique but the problem was getting "Frog locked.” Using Haunted Crossroads to recur the Frog every turn means that that is the only card that you’ll ever draw again and that your road to victory is simply to wait till your opponent has decked themselves. Fecundity helps that problem, and also helps the deck get to all of its parts. A lot of creatures hit the graveyard with this deck – from Elves to Blastoderms and Diligent Farmhands. With the small amount of land plus the thinning, it doesn’t take long till you are seeing more than a trickle of business cards. While sometimes I can get the beatdown opening, a la Llanowar, Elder, ‘Derm, more often I fall into being the control player and winning through Highway Robber recursion.

We’ve had a good assortment of decks in the store. This week I know a guy had an Earthcraft/Squirrel Nest deck and I lost to an old school style U/W utility deck with En Kor men, Wall of Glare, Serra, and some main deck enchantments like Aegis of Honor and Worship plus an effective sideboard.

Again, I hope that you find the local league rules and ideas are a help in ramping things up if you have a slow or dwindling local scene.


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