There was a farmer ‘had a ‘Tog.
And Ting-o was his name-o.
T-I-N-G-O. T-I-N-G-O. T-I-N-G-O.
And Ting-o was his name-o.
Let me tell you about a day of Magic where nothing seemed to go right. I got the call, rolled out of bed. Showered, dressed (if you can call plaid pajama bottoms and a Samuel Adams T-Shirt”dressed”), tossed a cap on over the bedhead, and made my way down to the store. When I arrived, there were four Magic players out front playing hacky-sack – kicking a bit of the proverbial bag, as it were. Or literal bag.
Or something. I don’t play hacky-sack, so I wouldn’t know. I was bad at soccer during my flaming youth (and keep your smart remarks to yourself). When the sickly-sweet smell of summer was in the air, I was usually inside, playing Nintendo.
They’re playing hacky-sack because they’re waiting on me. That made me”Mr. Popularity.” Two hours late, but instrumental to the tournament because I was the eighth man in.
The format was Type One, and I was with”The Deck” – except that I don’t own four of the Moxes, an Ancestral or a Time Walk. I managed to borrow everything except for a Mox Emerald, which I replaced with a Tropical Island.
Excited yet? You should be. I don’t know how hearing about how I borrowed six cards would not get you excited. Your heart should be beating”Scentless Apprentice” by Nirvana.
Time to switch tenses, because I’m a bad writer.
Let me describe”the scene” in Sarnia with regards to T1 – it’s strange. The tournament site is Future Pastimes, my comic/gaming store of choice. The field is full of the regulars. Ridiculously enough, there is another Type 1 tournament going on half a block away, across the street, at a place called The Cave. The Cave is where the younger, less-experienced gamers play… Which works out fine for me, because there’s something about most thirteen-year-old kids that makes me want to punch them in the face. The Cave also sells cigarettes, so while you’re playing the burn-on-burn matchup (Cave T1 tournaments feature a lot of red), you get treated to the sight of a steady stream of middle-aged housewives buying flip-top packs of Player’s Light.
There’s a big disparity level in power between the Future Pastimes T1 scene and the Cave T1 scene. The Cave guys don’t play in the Future Pastimes T1 events because mono-red with Wall of Fire and Mountain Goat doesn’t do so well against Keeper, Morphling Blue, Monoblack Beatdown, and the like. The Future Pastimes guys don’t play at the Cave, for the most part, because some of the little kids there make you want to grab their heads and turn them until they stop speaking.
So there’s two T1 events going on on the same day and on the same block. You’d think that would mean that the T1 scene in Sarnia is fairly healthy… But sadly, such is not the case. Like I said, we couldn’t start the tournament for two hours because I was needed as an eighth player for it to be sanctioned. The other tournament probably had about eight to ten guys as well… Enough to run it, but nothing more.
It’s sad to see, but not altogether unexpected. As a new T1 player, you have two choices: Go to Future Pastimes and lose to a Morphling, or go to the Cave and meet kids who make you want to euthanize your own firstborn. Either way, you aren’t winning anything because The Cave has no prize support and at Future Pastimes you are just going to get tooled.
So anyhow, I’m with”The Deck”/Keeper, as I said.
Here’s the listing.
Geordie Tait“The Deck” (July 2002)
4 Mana Drain
4 Force Of Will
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Stroke Of Genius
1 The Abyss
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Mind Twist
1 Yawgmoth’s Will
1 Swords To Plowshares
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Sylvan Library
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Zuran Orb
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
4 City Of Brass
4 Volcanic Island
4 Underground Sea
1 Tropical Island
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Blue Elemental Blast
2 Powder Keg
1 Aura Fracture
1 CoP: Red
1 CoP: Black
1 Teferi’s Response
1 Dwarven Miner
Round 1 vs. Joe w/ White Weenie
Joe doesn’t play that often anymore, but he’s got a new deck for this month’s T1 – a WW featuring Glory and Divine Sacrament. He’s playing the usual suspects like Empyrial Armor and shadow priests, but it wouldn’t be a Joe deck without a couple of cards that make you wonder what he was smoking when he made it. In this case, those cards are Wrath of God (I guess for opposing Morphlings, though in a WW deck it doesn’t seem quite right to me) and Golden Wish.
You know the story with”The Deck.” I start getting beat down by a Longbow Archers and a Devoted Caretaker, but his weenies don’t concern me – I’m warming up for the big push. At eight life I Plow his Glory, cast Balance, Ancestral myself, Time Walk, then clear his hand out with Mind Twist and drop a Morphling. His life goes 23, 18, 13, 8, 3, dead.
Joe gets some early beats with Soltari Priest, Devoted Caretaker and a Crusade, but I stabilize with Plow and Edict and go about the business of trying to win. My City of Brass combined with hits from little white dudes see my life headed into trouble – namely… Down to two! Just as I think I’ve got him with the Abyss, he baits my last counter with a second weenie (he already has one in play, a second would kill me even with the Abyss out) empties his hand and casts Balance, wiping his creature out but also taking my entire hand, which included both Regrowth and Yawgmoth’s Will, plus Mind Twist, Braingeyser, my own Balance, and Jayemdae Tome.
The worst part is that I used Mana Drain on the weenie and now I have to topdeck a use for it or die to mana burn.
I topdeck – Merchant Scroll (yes!), and go get Fact or Fiction, which turns over some gas including my Zuran Orb. I think I’m out of trouble as Joe tries to find creatures, but he manages to get Glory into the graveyard (The Abyss killed it – I didn’t have much choice) and that means every weenie he draws is a killer, especially since he has a Crusade and a thresholded Divine Sacrament.
Before I can do much of anything, he draws Longbow Archer. I’m in deep trouble… But Joe forgets to give it protection from black during his upkeep and I make him bury it. Better stingy than good, am I right?
I topdeck Sylvan Library, which finds me my Morphling. Joe is using a Scroll Rack in a frantic effort to find some pressure, but it’s not happening. Again he goes 23, 18, 13, 8, 3, 0. Near the end he gets a Soltari Priest and Golden Wishes for Empyrial Armor to put on it, but by then I have ten land and a Zuran Orb out.
Match Record: 1-0
The field is like this:
- Chris”Christ” Borek w/ T1 Star-Spangled-Slaughter (pitch counters, Meddling Mage, Serendibs, Bolts, etc)
- Jean-Marc Babin w/ Survival Madness (Survival Of The Fittest w/ Madness creatures…broken!)
- Trent Rogers w/ Survival Madness (as above, but with Stampeding Wildebeest and no Genesis)
- Joe Borody w/ T1 WW (including Golden Wish and Wrath of God!)
- Mark Weymouth w/ Disruption Black (pretty much a T1 Pox deck)
- Geordie Tait w/ “The Deck”
- John Labute w/ U/B Workshop a.k.a. The Teletubbies (Mishra’s Workshop, Su-Chi, Juggernaut)
- “Evil” Matt Fox w/ “Blue Bullsh*t”
I’m playing Jean-Marc in Round 2.
Round 2 vs. Jean-Marc Babin w/ U/G Survival Madness
This is a cool deck. You play Survival of the Fittest and then start firing out Basking Rootwallas and then Arrogant Wurms, which you power out with Gaea’s Cradle – also great for multiple Rootwalla pumping. The deck also features Llanowar Elves, Genesis, Wonder, Blastoderm, the extremely annoying River Boa, the blue power, and some Force of Will. There’s also a couple of copies of Foil, which has synergy with madness spells.
To win, I just have to Wasteland the Cradle whenever it appears, and sit around playing defense with The Abyss out until I can pull some tricks to push through twenty damage with Morphling. Since he can infinitely recur a Rootwalla with Genesis and block Morphling forever if he has Wonder in the grave, it might not be easy.
As far as I can tell, the deck has no search cards. This means it has to draw Survival in the opening hand.
He comes out fast this game with a second-turn Survival, but my draw is first-turn Mox, land, Sol Ring, Ancestral… Second turn, Regrow Ancestral, cast it, land, Black Lotus, Morphling.
He gets Wonder into the graveyard and starts chump blocking with Rootwallas while trying to build up some offense (which he periodically does by dropping a Gaea’s Cradle and going to get a bigger creature), but I eventually get him to five life, Strip Mine his last Island, and serve for the win in the air.
Wastelanding Gaea’s Cradle proves to be key; if you don’t, you’re facing down all four Arrogant Wurms within two or three turns. I side in Dwarven Miner and a couple of Powder Kegs, but not the Aura Fracture. This was a mistake, since his deck is horrible without Survival on the table. This game took forever, too… Probably about 35 minutes.
This time he gets second-turn Survival and my draw isn’t nearly as good. I try to defend while he leans on me with Basking Rootwallas, but all I can muster is the Miner. The Rootwallas just keep popping out (drawing him free creatures, keep in mind!) and when I have to start using Force of Will on Arrogant Wurms that are just replacing themselves anyway, I know it’s over. My draw was fairly weak this game, without any tutoring power – just a bunch of one for one creature removal, mana sources, and countermagic.
You can’t trade card for card when your opponent is drawing a creature every time he plays one. Time expires just as he kills me, and the match is a draw.
Match Record: 1-0-1
With eight guys, we’re doing three rounds of Swiss to a Top 4. I’m probably in regardless of the outcome of this match, but we decide to play.
Round 3 vs. Chris”Christ” Borek w/ SSS
This is an interesting case for T1 without the power cards – Chris’ deck doesn’t have Ancestral Recall or Time Walk where it should, but he replaced them with Standstill and it seems to be working well.
Chris mulligans and keeps the one-land draw. I draw a bunch of Wastelands and leave him with no permanents in play when he scoops to my Morphling about seven or eight turns later. Not much more to tell, really.
I side in Red Blasts, Blue Blasts, and Powder Kegs.
He mulligans and against gets land screwed while I pile up cards in hand. He gets to two land and lays a Goblin Legionnaire, so I lay the Abyss. He lets it go and casts Seal of Cleansing on the Abyss, and I have two Mana Drains but no Force of Will. Still, he’s having serious mana trouble.
I draw the a Force, and a sure win turns into a loss when I go for a six-point Mind Twist with counter backup and he has Misdirection and Force Of Will, along with the Blue cards to toss to ’em. I lose my hand (including Yawgmoth’s Will, with my Ancestral already in the grave…sigh) and he gets to hang on to two cards.
I’ve already taken four from my City of Brass when he starts the beats with a Mishra’s Factory. Chris draws a ton of Wastelands, using all four plus his Strip Mine over the course of the game, and I can’t get the right mana for my spells, especially once he plays an uncontested Mox Monkey and eats my three Moxes before I can Fire/Ice it.
He plays a Meddling Mage (naming something irrelevent – he made a mistake here, especially since it was obvious that only a Regrowth for Will could win me the game) and passes the turn. At five life, and facing four damage the next turn, I can’t use my City of Brass unless it’s my last great act of defiance.
I draw Regrowth (which would get Yawgmoth’s Will, which would get four Moxes and a Lotus, plus a land, plus about ten amazing spells and a Time Walk)… But I can’t cast it because he ate my Mox Jet and my only source of black is the City Of Brass, which I need to use to cast the Regrowth!
He gets the Standstill/Factory draw and beats me down to nine; I break it at the end of his turn with an Ancestral, which he Misdirects to himself, . Force, he Forces and draws three cards, then Bolts me twice down to nine life. What a backbreaker.
Match Record: 1-1-1
During the round I was able to watch and laugh as Matt Fox got smoked by the Survival/Madness deck while playing Monoblue. It was funny watching him try to face off with Genesis, Scragnoth, River Boas, and 4/4 cantrip tramplers with his fistful of Ophidians and one-for-one countermagic. I’m in, though, and I’m playing Chris again, since he’s undefeated and I’m fourth seed. Time for revenge?
Semifinals vs. Chris”Christ” Borek w/ SSS
Hey…I just thought of something. If I were to insert some sort of editorial comment at some point in this article, how would you know it was me and not the Ferrett, were I to dress it up correctly?
(I’m not wearing any pants! – The Ferrett)
Looks just like real thing, doesn’t it?
This is a weird game. He Bolts me and hits once with Meddling Mage before I blast it, and then I Wasteland a Plateau, and he drops a Factory the turn after, making me instantly regret it. Then the beats start…From 11….to 9…to 7….to 5….to 3….to 1…and then I die!
The Factory went all the way – I drew two land, two Mana Drain, two Force over the course of those six turns, and I have nothing in hand to help me – just more countermagic!
Same sideboard as before. I love Red Blasts – when they counter Force of Will, it’s like Hymn To Tourach.
I get off an early Ancestral and then we trade card-for-card – a Plow for one creature, an Edict for the next, a Fire/Ice for the next. Then I Mind Twist his hand away, cast Fact Or Fiction, and then Yawgmoth’s Will, then Ancestral again… Then Time Walk, and suddenly he has no cards and I have seven.
I make the mistake of keeping a land-heavy draw with Ancestral Recall, when I attempt to cast it with Red Blast backup, he of course has what I should have expected from a guy named”Christ” – two Misdirections. Thus, he refills while I sit with land in hand. I draw Zuran Orb… But so what? He ends the game beating down with Dwarven Miner, Serendib Djinn and Meddling Mage.
Curses – foiled again. Scooby Doo ending:
“I would have done it to, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
After the tournament, we draft, and I end up getting something like fifth-pick Battle Screech, seventh-pick Chastise after cutting off White… And still lose in the first round to Jay Vanderwielen’s ultra-aggressive R/B deck, featuring Browbeat, Blazing Salvo, Firebolt, multiple Bullies, Sengir Vampire and solid two-drops and three drops with Reckless Charge. A disappointment to be sure, since I thought my excellent W/B/u deck with Psychatog and Balshan Collaborator as the splash was going to rule the table – I had Ghastly Demise, Morbid Hunger, Faceless Butcher, Shelter, Patrol Hound, Kirtar’s Desire and many other very solid black and white cards, including Chainer, Dementia Master and four or five Nightmares.
In any case, it was a poor matchup, and Jay’s deck kept the pressure on, winning a couple of close games, one on the strength of Whispering Shade.
No win in the T1, no win in the draft. Poor me. I guess it was just one of those days. Oh well…I can still amuse myself with the little things.
(A human head weighs eight pounds! – The Ferrett)
See you tomorrow. Have a good one.