The Guy That Invented Regionals Needs To Be Beaten Up: Part 2

Aw, screw it. Que sera sera and all that jazz. What was I gonna do anyway, win Regionals? 4/17/01 The last run at CMU. And stuff. Serious testing against Turbo-Haups ensued. We won. It lost. Badly. Here’s why: , , . If one of those cards hits play, it’s bad news for the Haups guy….

Aw, screw it. Que sera sera and all that jazz. What was I gonna do anyway, win

4/17/01 The last run at CMU. And stuff.

Serious testing against Turbo-Haups ensued. We won. It lost. Badly. Here’s why:
Elfhame Sanctuary, Light of Day, Ivory Mask. If one of those cards hits play,
it’s bad news for the Haups guy. If two hit, it’s much, much worse. And God
forbid all three come to town. But game one is kind of a bitch, even if you
play it conservative; blowing up the world every three or four turns is very
annoying, and sometimes knowing it’s coming is small consolation. God bless
Rishadan Port. God damn Tsabo’s Web, though.

Note: Aaron stared at Cho-Manno while he had a Rage in hand, and began to wonder
aloud:”And the damage can’t be prevented…” Interesting. So, you can kill
Cho-Manno for only twelve mana? Or does that even work at all? Shelly Shel,
pick up the white card courtesy phone, will ya, damnit?

After about five games vs. Haups, Scott and I decided that it will just lose
to us. A lot. The tutor-for-hate sideboard idea that was originally borne of
Sterling Grove worked wonders, especially when the hate is so very, very golden.
But Enlightened Tutor is just better than Grove.

Turian and Forsythe grabbed Counter-Rebel, and T-bag and I went to town up in
there; Scott broke even against Turian, while I was content to DRAW my friggin’
Rebel Informer every friggin’ game against Aaron, which of course is some funny
stuff indeed. Still, we realized that both decks can expect to go at least 50/50
game one, with Waves coming in from the board to help out games two and three.

I also found that my deck handles Land Kill fairly well, despite my propensity
to draw the worst possible mana each and every game. Scott’s deck did a little
better, with his infinite weenies coming to town like Santa Claus was all up
in here and stuff. Who needs land when all your dudes cost two?

Speaking of which, Steadfast Guard was starting to suck big time when he kept
showing up in my hand with a singleton Plains at my disposal. I figure that
the Volunteers aren’t so much worse that I should risk beating my already usually-draws-clumpy-bad-mana
opening hand up any more than I needed.

Also, Scott went with three Enlightened Tutors main, with Parallax Wave and
Saproling Burst being the bullets to fetch, unless he needed a Cloak or Story
Circle badly. The Tutors were pure gold against Fires. How fair is to beat Fires
with a Burst?

I feel confident about the deck; Scott isn’t so sure, though. Come to think
of it, I’m not so sure either, but it’s been a month of shuckin’ and jivin’,
not to mention that I’ve already written all these damn pages, so confidence
or no, this bad boy is going to Columbus.

Of course, brainstorming sessions and last minute psuedo-technology will probably
jump around, jump up and get down for the next few days, and Scott already thought
of The Ferrett (or was it Bennie Smith?) (It was Ferrett’s — as witness
today — the Ferrett) secret tech: Liberate. Problem? Um, how do you go and get
it? Pure Reflection also got a shout out, but there is too much text on that
card for me to wanna use it. But I might anyway.

The basic premise of being able to handle almost everything main deck by going
to get it seems sound to us. However, the added attraction of going to get additional
(or different) answers from the sideboard seems downright sexy. And I don’t
even have a name for the deck, even with JMS and Vasco scratching melons. If
you build it, the friggin’ name will come. Hi, it’s 3:26 in the morning.

4/18, from JMS to me

Howdy Frig,

I’ve been the playtesting dummy for Binary21’s Regionals madness, and I realized

Light of Day *must* be in the SB. I don’t know how many copies, but at least
a couple. They helps against B/R speed okay, but mostly they shut down NetherHaups,
which I am finding to be a wrecking ball.


[Heh, it’s cool to get the tech before JMS does, although he seems to have received
it at about the same time…]

“Welcome to the party, pal.”

-Bruce Willis, Die Hard

“Call me…Roy.”

-Bruce Willis, Die Hard

“My name is Roy, and I’m in a super amount of pain…”

Jamie Wakefield email sig line, circa 1999

4/18, from Aaron to me

More Aussie lists are up on the Sideboard. I don’t think you should even bother
with Rebel Informer in the main deck. And it looks like Fires is showing up
at WAY under 50%, so the”Win vs. Fires and hold on for dear life vs. anything
else” plan is looking worse and worse. Nether Spirit might be the most-played
card in Regionals, so you need to pack Light of Day and/or Honor the Fallen
and/or Last Breath in the board. Last Breath seems like the most powerful (cheapest,
instant, removes the little SOB from game) but Light of Day stops ALL the Nether
Spirits. Light of Day is obviously better vs. Nether Haups, but Last Breath
is good vs. Probe-Go, Nether Go, and even enemy Rebel Decks. (Light of Day gets
Recoiled and countered eventually).

I haven’t seen any CounterRebels lately, but there are some Rebel decks. But
not enough for maindeck Informer, especially since there is no POSSIBLE way
to cast it.

I think that the Ohio Valley is definitely a beatdown environment if I recall,
so maybe there won’t be a billion Nether Spirit decks. But even if there are
just a few, I’d expect them to gravitate to the top.

Also, what can your deck do vs. active Mageta? Anything? Just wondering…


[Talk about NetherHaups blowing up on The Net! Still, Aaron’s metagame shift
idea may have some merit…]

4/18, from me to Aaron


Isn’t that the same country where a Throne of Bone made Top Eight? I think there
will be plenty of Counter-Rebels and tons of Nether Haups, which should just
be a friggin’ bye. As for Probe-Go? Maybe a bunch around, but I’d bet that half
of those guys have no clue how to play it.

I feel comfortable enough with the deck to turn in a decent to good performance,
but I wouldn’t expect to make a Top Eight; I’m being realistic here, chief.

How can I seriously have a plan for Mageta and Fires and Nether Spirit and Probe-Go
and B/R and Monowhite Rebels and Chant and Rith and Plague Spitter? Not that
I don’t care, but I can’t solve all of those problems with one deck — and if
I could, I have no idea what that deck is.

Perhaps you’ll see this as a bad attitude, but it’s more like a realization
that I can’t have answers for everything, and I still think Fires will be everywhere.

If I have to face Mageta every round, then that might be bad times, but I feel
confident about Fires, B/R, Haups, King Red, and decks with Islands that aren’t
Counter-Rebel. And that’s more than I hoped for a month ago.

-johnny feeling groovy

[A few ninth-hour changes could be considered, but the deck is what it is, and
if I can’t do well with a deck that I’ve made some serious love to for a month,
then I guess I’ll do not so well…]

Look at what happened on Friday…

After Alex Shvartsman and Eric Taylor took their shots at Nate Heiss for his
“Mafia King” article/deck, Zvi jumped on the wagon of anti-Heissism as well.
In response, I sent this to the O-Magic mailing list (all CMUers, n’at):

“First Alex, then Taylor, now Zvi bash Nate. I can’t recall seeing this much
hate since Wakefield packed multiple Chokes in his board and thought they would
actually resolve.

“I have decided to call my Regionals deck ‘Mafia Prince’ so Nate won’t
think everyone hates him. Oh, and if Nate happens to Top Eight, I will write
an article a day for a week rubbing it in everyone’s faces.

“-johnny loves an underdog”

So,”Mafia Prince” it is; rally ’round the family, with a pocket full of shells.
And stuff, damnit.”Mafia Chief?””Mafia Chieftain?” Well, one of those will

Oh, and Sean McKeown got his licks in on Friday night as well.

Dear Nate,

Do well, you bastard.


Nate Heiss Fan Club member #000001 of what seems like 000002

I have accumulated 11,324 pieces of mail in my filing cabinet since 9/8/00. And only half of it is from Mike Mason. But the other half is from Vasco, so it works out well, sort of. No, I don’t know why I told you that either.


Mission: Do, um, well, with the word”well” being highly subjective and subject
to numerous redefinings.

Secondary Mission: Cheer for Nate way too much.

Tertiary Mission: Do better than Teamann, who insists that his version of the deck is better, damnit.

Mission Four: Beat Fires.

Teamann gets in my truck at around six and starts to wonder if I should just drop him off at the first rest stop and let him thumb his way home. He wasn’t feeling particularly chipper this morn’ at all. Foreshadowing? Would I stoop to such an obvious literary technique?

You bet yer ass I would.

Ride down: uneventful, but with random eventful things happening, although they were quite uneventful.

Tip: take Teamann to a tourney with you – the ride goes so much quicker when
you hear”Bad Times For Becky” every thirty seconds or so.

Upon entering Columbus, there’s traffic. Lots of it. Would you like me to tell you how much I ripped on all the people in their cars gallivanting around at nine am on a Saturday for the express purpose of annoying me? Didn’t think so. But it would’ve been good, well, at least it would’ve been long.

After sitting in bumper-to-bumper for the better part of thirty minutes, we finally locate a parking lot within five blocks of the Convention Center. And it’s only three bucks.

Dear Columbus,

Why can’t you be more like Pittsburgh and charge at least ten bucks for a parking spot?


Johnny pay three bucks with a smile

Approaching the venue, I spy Joshua Claytor and try my best to ignore him, which
of course has no chance of success.

Claytor: Hi, I’m John Rizzo, and I’m gonna ignore Joshua Claytor.

Me (under my breath): There’s that friggin’ Claytor, damnit!

Oh, how we laughed. And we danced a jig ’round the ol’ oak tree.

Deck registration: uneventful until Mike Patnik, who rode down with Andrew Johnson,
Mike Turian, and Nate Heiss, sits down to register Turian’s Car Deck 2001. At
last year’s Regionals, Mike built a deck for Elliot Fung while driving down
to Columbus, and Elliot ended up winning the whole damn she-bang, she-bop, and

Needless to say, Car Deck 2001 (even though it contained three City of Brass) was the talk of our little registration table. Teched-Out Fires with Battlemages and a multifunction (and color) sideboard seemed to be the consensus of what the heck the deck was.

Bryan Bandes, sometimes CMU beeyotch, had already registered and was playing
around with Chas Tressler, another sometimes CMU beeyotch, when Scott and I
noticed Bryan trying to blow up Chas’ lands and whatnot.

Bryan:”I just started playtesting this deck today.”

Chas:”Counter that Stone Rain.”

Bryan:”Tech Break for two?”

Chas:”Whatever, dude, here’s Dromar. You may now scoop.”

Billions and billions of tiny semen (not to mention many Magic players) were in attendance, and the tourney room immediately went into”Magic player armpit stench,” which I am beginning to love.

Help me.

I bumped into Walter Huber, got him to finally sign”Walter’s Lucky Montanhas” that guided me to a Top Eight a while back, shot some breeze with Shawn”Shante” Jackson (aplomb in a Star City T-shirt – he’s such a company man!), arm wrestled Famous Amos Claiborne, politely nodded to Antonio Powell and his lineup up of paid assassins and general leg-breakers, drop-kicked Theron Martin, put Mike Villa, Mike Burton, and Ron Kotwica in headlocks, sucker punched Claytor’s massive family of Kentuckians — including Ray, who I actually gouged in the eyes, boxed the ears of the infamous Owner of Claytor Laura Karem, put Olwen Wee in a figure four leg lock, kneecapped David Goblin Game Master and Tom Have a Scoria Cat (no, I can’t remember their last names, and I can’t get to Star City to look the names up in my archive either) — and broke CCGPrime writer Matt Smith’s glasses.

And that was all before round one, fight. Well, most of it.

Mafia Prince (and save the”this deck is a pile” spiel, ’cause this bad boy
is an amazing deck, dammit)

4x Defiant Falcon

4x Fresh Volunteers

2x Lin-Sivvi, Defiant Hero

1x Cho-Manno, Revolutionary

1x Thermal Glider

1x Defiant Vanguard

1x Jhovall Queen of Fat

1x Rebel Informer

4x River Boa

3x Charging Troll

4x Armadillo Cloak

2x Story Circle

3x Wax/Wane

2x Disenchant

2x Enlightened Tutor

11x Plains

6x Forest

4x Brushland

4x Rishadan Port


2x Enlightened Tutor

2x Parallax Wave

4x Armageddon

1x Light of Day

1x Ivory Mask

1x Elfhame Sanctuary

1x Seal of Cleansing

1x Nightwind Glider

1x LIghtbringer

1x Story Circle

The main deck was juicy all day, but the side should’ve sported 4x Ramosian
Sergeant instead of Armageddon. Alas, hindsight is always better when you look
back upon it in retrospect. And stuff.

Teamann’s deck rocked 4x Orim’s Chant in the side, and a three-hour drive could
not convince him that they would NEVER be sided in all day. As he put it,”Okay,
I’ll Chant you; what, no counter? Geddon, baby!” Um, yeah, that’ll work once
in every three-hundred twelve games. I guess that’s enough.

His deck was close to mine, but he had eight Bear Rebels, Sergeants, Waves,
and a super-tech Burst maindeck, and eschewed Lin-Sivvi and the other cool things
that a brother can get with her (including Thermal Glider, which I found to
be golden). Alas, so close yet not the same deck at all.

I feel all jittery and stuff, since there’s 512 players. Five-hundred and

twelve players. No, this wasn’t a Grand Prix, but it tried like hell to be one.

Dear Wizards,

Man, that idea to bring back gold cards was a good one.


1 of 512 (formerly 1 of 641 at GP – Detroit)

Round 1: Ed Miner, Flores-Type Junk

Type of Guy: Cool

Type of Opponent: Fun to play against

Game 1: Ed’s Boa and little Kavu Titan trade serves with my Volunteer and Glider
until I manage to drop a Troll, wait a few seconds for the inevitable”whoa”
that I knew was coming, Cloak that bad boy up straight away, and again pause
to let Ed realize the utter beauty of a Cloaked Troll. While it looks good on
defense, knocking on that bad boy to indicate he’s coming at your dome is an
entirely new can of whoopass and worms. Crunch.

Game 2: Seven cards seems like too many to start a game with.

It’s Ed’s turn to get the Cloak, and he figured that Fleetfoot Panther was as
good a candidate as anyone else to put on the suit. For some reason, I sided
out Informer, Disenchant, and Wax/Wane for three Armageddon. Not a good call,
at all. Hey, that rhymes! Jimmy Two-Times (gonna get the papers, get the papers).

Game 3: Ed TRIPLE mulligans (and he’s very cool about it, too) and already people
are congratulating me — but Ed figures that drawing a Sergeant, Boa, Forest,
and Plains is good times. Tru dat, ’twas indeed.

He quickly stabilized in our”race to the first Cloak that lasts long enough
to do damage” race. Ed eventually gets out a Voice of All, which ordinarily
would be bad times if it wasn’t for my Story Circle: white in play.

To win this game (with Ed recovering insanely well for a guy who triple

mulliganed), I end up calling four Falcons, Lin-Sivvi, Glider, and Jhovall Queen
to active duty, and I needed all of them. Um, I even had the Informer helping
a brother to keep the bottom of his library well-stocked with Sergeants and
Volunteers. The problem was that Ed’s flyers (except for one overworked Voice)
thought that calling in sick was a good idea.

I played very poorly and I managed to drop or flip over cards in my hand in
all three games. I blame it on those damn new sleeves and stuff. Later, I would
come to blame it on the rain ’cause, girl, you know it’s true.

Now that is fair.

(I can’t remember which one was Milli and which was Vanillli, but Ed knows and
he ain’t tellin’ me.)

Match: 1-0 Games 2-1

Games played: 3

Number of times I mulliganed: 1

Incidentally, every time someone asked me what I was playing and I responded
with”Green/White,” they, to a man, replied with”like Flores Junk?” Hi, name’s
Mike Flores and I will haunt you.

Round 2: Ben Huguenard, Nether-Haups

Type of Guy: Nice

Type of Opponent: Fun to play against

Fred, everyone’s favorite curmudgeon of a judge-eon ambles over and starts to
chew the fat with me and Ben, under the pretense of just chewing some damn fat.
Eventually, Ben and I offer our decks to each other as a token of undying commitment
and Fred steps in like the State Trooper with the buzzcut and brand new mirrored
Ray Bans, snatches those bad boy up and says,”Rizzo, I will make sure you fail
this deck check, damnit!” Or maybe I just wished he said that.

Me: I suck at deck checks.

Ben: Um…

Mike Guptil brings back our decks after about ten minutes, and it was so very
nice of him to put all the cards in order so that at least one of us is guaranteed
severe mana screw, even after five minutes of rigorous, although useless, shuffling.
I offer to take the screw this time, but tell Ben he owes me one.

Game 1: The following is a hand that should’ve been mulliganed: Plains, Port,
Glider, Troll, Queen, Boa, Rebel Informer.

I drop a land and start to hope. Audibly. Ben lays one of those funky comes
into play tapped lands, you know, the ones that you can sac for two mana and
stuff – those ones that are like the last card in the draft pack; you know which
ones I mean, right?

Three turns later, the world is blown up. Three more turns later, I still have
no lands. Three more turns later, I have to read Dark Suspicions just to verify
that, yes, I should indeed scoop.

Game 2: In comes the Haups hate — and it’s good, too: Ivory Mask, Light of Day,
and Elfhame Sanctuary, along with two more Tutors.

I feel all technological until I double mulligan. Not good against Haups. But
I do get a Plains and Port. Woo friggin’ hoo.

For the first few turns, I’m able to apply little beats with Falcons, while
Porting any land that looks like it could be sacrificed for some neato effect,
but Ben thinks Tsabo’s Web is cool — and it IS very cool, at least until he
blows up the world.

I manage to get out a very quick Elfhame Sanctuary from the lands I was stockpiling,
and it soon becomes evident to Ben that blowing up worlds ain’t all it’s cracked
up to be, especially after Ivory Mask hits the board. Still, the world gets
blown up again, since Ben found that me casting dudes and attacking with them
is kind of annoying, not to mention detrimental to his life total.

His Spirit is keeping my Volunteers on defense, but it’s not doing squat against
the Thermal Glider that starts to Fly, Robin, Fly and do two to the dome at
the same time. When Ben is at four, he manages to Rage the Volunteer, but I
tutor for a Cloak and that’s all she wrote. She really doesn’t write much anymore
anyway – how’s about considering rescinding her Feature Writer status?

Game 3: I feel like technology personified until I double mulligan. Again. Still
not good against Haups.

But I do get five cards that aren’t lands. Woo friggin’ hoo. Again.

I play nothing but three lands for the first eight turns (trying to bait him
into blowing them up, since I’ve peeled seven lands in a row) while Ben allows
me to get to three mana and blows up the universe (he’s no longer content to
just blow up worlds anymore). Once in a while I’m able to drop a Falcon or Volunteers
in his Spirit’s way, but when Ben finally blows up, well, everything, for the
second time but doesn’t lay a land afterwards, I figure that I’d better make
my move.

Move: drop the Plains, Forest, Port still in my hand, use some of those mana
to cast the Glider, who’s also chillin’ in my hand, use more of those mana to
cast a Tutor, who’s also chillin’ in aforementioned hand, and just friggin’
win from there. In performing the move, I accidentally drew another Tutor, but
Ben drew a total of one land — and it wasn’t one of those funky sac-for-weird-stuff
lands, either.

So, Porting him down and trading serves sounds like a good plan until I can
get to five mana so I can Cloak up the Glider and Port him during his upkeep.
I’m at eight when I reach the needed mana, Cloak my boy up, and start gaining
life, while bringing Ben to HEH! eighteen!

This utter funniness continues, while Ben still can’t find enough land to explode
things, and when he gets down to twelve, I have to errata the move and go directly
for another Cloak, draw said Cloak, and apply said Cloak hastily to my boy:
Take six, and I’ll gain twelve.

Now, that is fair.

And so is this:

Ben casts Void for two to get rid of a Volunteer at some point, and I have Disenchant, Falcon, Wax/Wane, and other stuff in hand. I look it over and decide to give him my cards to see what he’s going to do with the Wax/Wane. He sets it aside with the Chant and Falcon and indicates that I should bury those cards. I’m not sure, and somehow I doubt the converted mana cost of Wax/Wane can EVER be two, but I pitch it anyway since I figure I can’t win this game. Teamann is sitting beside me and motions to the Wax/Wane in the yard, saying,”What’s that doing there?”

I begin to wonder myself, so we call a judge, who calls a judge, who goes up to Mike Guptil, Level Infinite Judge From The Heavens, and asks for help. Mike strolls on back to the table, whistling merrily all the live long day, hears oral arguements, then tells me to bury the Wax/Wane because it’s converted mana cost is two.

Teamann replies with”Oh, so I can Wax this dude and Wane that enchantment with the same card?” No matter, Thine Judge has spoken.

After the round was over, I asked Mike if he was sure of that ruling, and he said that maybe he wasn’t, or something to that effect. But he did say that he thinks he got that one wrong and sincerely apologized. I thanked him for his apology, and also realized that Mike has more character and class than I thought he did. And I already thought he had a lot.

(I put this here as evidence that PES not only run the best tourneys on Earth,
but also fess up when they make a boo-boo. But I’m still not sure what the ruling
is, so he might’ve been right in the first place.)

(Ben knows all the guys in Ministry, but Ed is off camera taunting me with his
vast Milli Vanilli knowledge.)

Match 2-0 Games 4-2

Games played: 6

Number of times I mulliganed: 5

Round 3: Daniel”Joe” Bramblett, Fires

Type of Guy: Nice

Type of Opponent: Fun to play against

Game 1: I feel so confident that I can beat Fires that I’ll start with six cards, chief.

Joe gets the turn two Fires that I end-of-turn Wane, but I don’t have an answer
for the turn three Fires, nor the turn four and five Blastoderms either.

Game 2: While I’d prefer to start with five cards, I’ll keep this very crappy six-card hand; thanks for your concern, though.

Turn two Fires. I like the sound of that. Even though I mulliganed, I do

end up with a very decent hand of Cloak, Troll, Volunteers, Plains, Forest, Port. The problem will be surviving until I can Cloak the Troll and just friggin’ win.

Blastoderm hits me once, but I manage to cast a peeled Cho-Manno. Hi, all your fatties are belong to Cho. Nevertheless, Joe gets Shivan Wurm into play and brings his team. I think long and hard, figuring that I can tutor for Story Circle, cast that, and Cloak Cho with one white available for the Wurm.

Sounds good to me, but I go down to seven in the process. I swing with the newly-Cloaked Cho, gain my four, then cast the Circle naming”Green,” and since Blasty is fading away into oblivion, Joe better draw a dude in a hurry. Or a Burst. Or a Ghitu Fire. His Wurm has to play defense, because he drew his card and passed.

I draw another Cloak, but don’t suit up Cho (though maybe I should’ve) and only serve for four. He doesn’t block but now he’s really screwed, since I have four white mana available in case of a Burst, AND he just allowed an eight-point life swing that could’ve been four.

The Burst doesn’t come, but the Troll does play dress up and looks quite smart
in a Cloak.

Game 3: I get hit with an Elf, twice. Oh, it was very bad for Joe, since he didn’t get the early Fires, and had to play fair with Blastoderm, which only came out after double Boa (with regeneration mana for both up) hit the board. He gets his second and third Blasty, but I drop a Troll that quickly plays dress up. He takes five and I go to twenty-two.

I’m pretty sure that Joe has Ghitu Fire in hand, but I really want to double
Cloak Troll and win in a most insane way, so I Tutor for a second Cloak, and
wait to see if Joe will Fire Troll in response to the Cloak (so that I’ll have
to regenerate him) and get one more turn to find an amazing answer. He doesn’t
Fire, I pound Troll, and Joe scoops.

Now that is fair.

(Dan is also fully schooled on Milli Vanillli, and I just can’t friggin’ believe

Match 3-0 Games 6-3

Games played: 9

Number of times I mulliganed: 7