Restless: Ohio Valley Regionals

At this point, I am sitting at 3-1-1 and feeling pretty good about myself… But of course, we all know that I did not X-0 the rest of the tournament. Locusts would have swarmed the earth, fire would have rained out of the sky, and other bad times would be going on.

I’m notorious for not only being a bad Magic player, but for also putting off playtesting for major events. I’ll use random local tournaments to play around with new deck ideas and teach some of the newer players… But even though the decks I used here were good enough to win in Radcliff, I still knew none of them would be good enough to actually do well at Regionals. I tested just about everything I could get my hands on: U/G Madness, R/G Beats, Tog, and Beasts. I eventually settled on playing B/R Reanimator, and kinda just laid back on my own testing. I would rather get my teammates ready for an event than myself, so I kind of have to play everything.

I’ve never really told you how bad I am at beatdown, right? I’m that bad. I’ve never liked tapping and swinging with little men; I’m a control player at heart. I mean, what could go wrong with tapping two lands and saying”no” to that game-winning spell? Maybe I’m bad at math. I’ve always had a hard time at subtraction, you know, given my award-winning education at Kentucky public schools. I’m not stupid, but beatdown and I can not, and will not, ever get along. I hate it.

So while I am swinging with little green mongrels, people are starting to put maindecked Unsummons into what I thought would be the most-played deck at the tourney. Yeah, U/G was running Unsummons to combat Elephant Guides in the R/G match… But you know, nothing sucks more than having to recast the Visara you just Zombified the last turn. On April 26, I dropped Reanimator like a bad habit. Things happened, and I thought I did not have the time to go. I learned two days later that I would have the money to pass off, and decided to start testing what may have been the hardest deck to play in the field.

Yeah, I gamed with Wake.

I had about a week to learn the insides of that deck. I playtested online, in real life, ran single-elimination tournaments by myself in my room, and Wake was just amazing. It was a really good matchup against U/G, R/G – hell, just about everything in the format. I did have a bad matchup with Tog and the Graveborn Identity – but I figured, why not keep with the deck? I have two bad matchups that I may or may not see. While I did not see any Tog over the weekend, I did run into one Graveborn Identity deck, and I kinda lost. Horribly.

My team and a few friends (Clay Baker, Brian Fox, and Laura Karem) left for Columbus on Friday. We made it up to the hotel before the hail storms hit Cincinnati, and were in for some smooth sailing. I read a book the entire the ride up, when I should have been talking to Fox about the Wake matchups – since he is, of course, an infinitely better player then I am. (Brian Fox, I also might add is the player that Gary Wise got the Beasts deck from. Yeah, we do have good things in Kentucky besides KFC and the Derby.) I must recommend The Fabulist, by Stephan Glass; it is written by the writer who was brought to national attention a few years ago when he made up stories for the New Republic. Really good stuff, there.

Anyhow, we met up with some more friends from Kentucky at the hotel, and we stayed up. My friends playtested, trying to get the last-minute ideas in place; I sat around, smoked, watched TV, and tried to relax. I went to bed at 10 p.m., only to be awoken by Fox, and so I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. Telling jokes, and stories, and smoking and having a pillow fight… It seemed like I was part of a slumber party instead of preparing for a Magic event. I had a good time regardless.

I got up in the morning, took a shower, got dressed, smoked even more. Went to McDonald’s for breakfast, watched my car driver spill his soda on Laura. Go back to the hotel for clean pants. Finally, we arrived at the tournament site… And the place is friggin’ packed. I thought the Detroit Regional was going to cut down the attendance; I was sadly mistaken. We did end up losing fourteen players from last year, but we still topped over six hundred and thirty players.

Ten rounds, with a deck that is going to go to time regardless of how quickly I win. Seems fair, right?

Instead of lamenting of how unfair it is to only have the top eight go to Nationals, I keep reminding myself, Wizards knows what they are doing; maybe they’ll actually fix something next time.

Surprisingly, my decklist looks just like the Dutch Nationals Wake deck, because that is what I played. Card for card.

Round One: Jamey Wagner, B/G Cemetery

I won the roll, and kept a hand that included four lands, Moment’s Peace, Compulsion, and Wrath of God. When Jamey cast a second-turn Nantuko Husk, I was pretty pleased with myself. All I had to do was show Peace mana, and I could pretty much go about my business, getting Mirari’s Wake and Exalted Angel into play. I beat down with Angel, countered a Braids that he Living Wished for, and Moment’s Peaced him when he tried to do the entire Husk, Wirewood Herald, Caller of the Claw play.

The second game was much different. I kept what looked like a relatively good hand with Renewed Faith, some lands, and a Wake. After cycling the Faith, he cast Stronghold Assassin number one, and put on some minimal pressure with Llanowar Elves. I kept cycling Faiths, hoping to find a Wrath of God that would kill his Assassin, so I can cast the Angel I was holding to get back into the game. The Wrath never comes, and I eventually cast and flash back every Moment’s Peace in my deck. His board was fairly full, with two Assassins, plenty of mana creatures, and other big beaters like Genesis and Ravenous Baloth. I took one hit after all the Moment’s Peaces ran out, drew my next card, and hoped that the ten minutes left in round one would be enough to let me win.

Game three was very anticlimactic. He got land screwed; I did not. I got two Angels into play; he did not. I easily knocked him down to five, and before time is called, he showed me Hurricane for five. Instead of letting the spell resolve and kill him, I decide for whatever reason to Compulsion as much as I can to find a Counterspell. I found one in Memory Lapse, thinking I was very clever and a good player… And a group of my friends burst into laughter over my classy show of Memory Lapsing a fatal spell to my opponent. He still lost, though.

I won, though – which is cool because in the last two Regionals, I started off with a draw.

Round Two: Justin Board, U/G Madness

Game one was fairly long, taking up thirty minutes. I would Wrath away his team, cast an Angel, and then he would recast a bunch of men. I was able to attack for awhile until he found the Wonder, and suddenly I had a 4/5 wall defending myself against a bunch of green dorks. I eventually forced a Wake into play, and a Mirari soon after. Finding a Cunning Wish to go off with was a different problem, but the game was firmly in my control when I cast Wish, then showed him Elephant Ambush and another Wish.

Game two, he got the nuts draw. He had a Circular Logic for my Wrath, and somehow, this game still lasted long enough for me to Wrath away his team with Wrath #2 on turn 5. I was able to stabilize, but we both kept drawing horrible cards. I was drawing land, he was drawing land, and eventually it would have to stop. It did when he cast Upheaval, and followed that up with double Basking Rootwalla. I played it out, hoping for the Wrath or the Moment’s Peace, drew into both of them… Then got my Wrath countered, and I scooped.

Turning around to look at the time, I found eight minutes left on the clock. I sideboarded feverishly, bringing in Chastise, the additional Peace, and hoping that I can get Angel, when he looks at me and offers the draw… Which I accept.

Round Three: Beau Walker, Graveborn Identity

I would really like to say that I lost my notes to this round – but no, they sit here, staring at me and reminding me of the only time in the day the deck truly sucked for me. I drew nothing after my win in game one, and his disruption kept me from being in any real contention in games two and three.

I lost, but I was having a blast playing, so I really looked forward to having twenty minutes to see how all my friends were doing (as it turns out, better then me) check out the top tables, and walk around outside smoking.

Round Four: Dan Norman, Flores Threshold

Hooray! A U/G deck that does not run Counterspell or Logic! I play around it game one, but after a Wake, and two Wraths, I feel I can confidently play the way I want to. I get Mirari, an Angel, and a Wish in consecutive turns, pull the Ambush, and win.

It was pretty much the same in game two, but he was landscrewed, and I was slower to develop. I play around Upheaval, counter one of the spells, and fly over with Angel for the win.

Round Five: Edward D DeLaPaz, U/G Opposition.

Game one, I win the roll and get down my second-turn Compulsion – which allows him to get a squirrel into play unopposed. I grit my teeth a bit, and settle myself in for the long game against Opposition. I am able to Cunning Wish for Ray of Revelation, and destroy two Squirrel Nests. I Wrath the board away, get the Angel down, and start to beat down while waiting for an opposition that never comes. Static Orb, however, made a brief appearance, and that little bit of information I got from him before I won was helpful in my sideboard preparations.

Game two, it really did not matter how much preparation I had. He was able to get me locked down on turn 5 – and instead of playing it out, I packed it in, and got ready for game three.

Again, game three was rather anticlimactic. He got land screwed, and I was able to punish that with a quick Exalted Angel.

At this point, I am sitting at 3-1-1 and feeling pretty good about myself. Not my chances for qualifying, because I knew I was going to lose again; I just felt like I was playing well, and after the mistake of countering that threatening Hurricane I had made no other major mistakes.

Of course, we all know that I did not x-0 the rest of the tournament. Locusts would have swarmed the earth, fire would have rained out of the sky, and other bad times would be going on.

Anyhow, back to the report.

Round Six: Justin Mendonca, U/G Madness

I have nothing much to write about this, as I would like to say that my deck just drew horribly… But it did not. I lost my notes for this round, but I do remember clearly that he had four Logics in game one, and three in game two. He just countered the spells that kept him from winning. Seems fair.

Round Seven: Diane Colley, BUG Opposition

This Opposition deck played was more like the popular decks around November States. I forget which pro played it at the Invitational, but it was not like the Canu Opposition deck at all. Anyway, she started playing, and I thought that she was playing B/G Cemetery. She did not show any blue sources until late in the game – and when she finally did get two blue down, I was able to Wish for Ray, and keep my momentum flowing. I got a few Angels down, and it was over quickly.

Game two was more of the same, sadly. I would like to say that my incredible play skills let me win this game, but it was not anything like that. After she took a mulligan to five, I floated on autopilot and took the match like the champ I am. Sigh; I’m really not good at Magic.

Round Eight: Matt Troutman, Beasts

For some reason, this match was a feature match – a feature match that no one cared about. However, it was the first time all weekend that I got to play someone I know, as Matt is on my Constructed team, La Forza. We had playtested this match a lot over the prior week, and we both knew who was going to win.

I was really good in game one; I drew all three Moment’s Peaces in my opening hand. I was able to safely Wrath several times before he drew an Anurid Brushhopper (The most important card in the matchup for him) but by then I had both Wakes in play, a Mirari, and two Angels.

Game two, I side in my Chastises, and am still good as I draw two of the Moment’s Peaces in my opener. I am able to Chastise a Mongrel – and after a Wrath that killed off his Dwarven Blastminer, Two Elves, a Birds of Paradise, and an Angel, my friend drew nothing of any importance for the rest of the round.

Round Nine: Doug Goddard, W/G Beats

By now, this report has spread itself pretty thin. I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I lost, but Doug played exceptionally well. I’m tired of writing the report itself, and want to share a little more stuff before I finish this up.

So I end up this Regionals with a 5-3-1 record. Not bad, but not good. I gained three ratings points off the tournament, and have started to test for Team Limited season. (I’m playing with Laura Karem and Ricky Atwood this season.)

This is how I want to end my report: A list of thoughts, words and sentences from the weekend. I’m sure the Ferrett will not edit this. (Actually, he won’t – The Ferrett)

Funny how it takes twelve people from Kentucky so long to figure out what they want from a KFC. Tim Duncan Pillow Fights, Pink Eye, Getting Buttered. Losing in a one-on-one draft to Brian Fox.

Also, I would like to advertise another tournament that I am holding in Kentucky on June 21, 2003. If you would to have more information, please email me.

Finally, the props and slops section.


  • La Forza Del Destino, Team Lethal: For helping me get ideas for what to play and helping me playtest.

  • Brian Fox, Laura Karem, Ricky Atwood, and the rest of the Kentucky Magic players that were there. Good times all weekend.

  • Mike Guptil and the rest of PES: The tournament was ran extremely well, and I continue to be impressed by the hard work that you and your staff does for the game.


  • I could make some up, but really nothing bad happened at all this weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Joshua Claytor