Wisconsin States was last weekend. I have decklists. I was Head Judge, so I have a few anecdotes from the event, plus decklists. I have a few thoughts on the format, plus decklists. I also compiled stats of the Top 16 decks. Most importantly, I have even more decklists!
After 350+ articles, I have finally figured out what my readers want.
It’s all about Blue being nuts and Green sucking, right?
Okay, okay! Decklists.
The finals came down to Mike Jones playing Brian Kowal. The match was short (which was just fine with the staff, but BK would probably have perfered longer games.) Mike won the roll, then proceeded to — well, if a dozen skilled pros had spent a week debating how to stack his deck, Mike’s first dozen cards might have been better, but I doubt it. To sum up the match, when BK summoned a Call token, Mike ripped Riftwing Cloudskate.
Game two was more of the same — with Mike drawing Goyfs and BK drawing Calls.
Congrats Mike Jones, 2007 Wisconsin State Champ!
- 4 Wall of Roots
- 3 Brine Elemental
- 4 Riftwing Cloudskate
- 3 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
- 3 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 2 Venser, Shaper Savant
- 2 Sower of Temptation
Mike’s deck was quite powerful. I watched Mike make a few play errors (including bouncing his opponent’s Sower of Temptation instead of the creature it had stolen), but Mike’s deck pulled him through. It won — and won convincingly — throughout the tournament.
A note on play errors in the Top 8: In the tenth and eleventh straight round of play, players get tired and make mistakes. Even the best of them. For example, in one semi-final match, probably Mike Jones versus Derek Munden, one player cast a Morph. The opponent cast Sower of Temptations targeting the Morph. And again. And again. And again. The board, at that point, was land, four Sowers and a Morph. One player asked the judge how this worked, and the judge explained that there were four control effects on the morph, with the last winning on timestamp. (That’s the condensed version of the correct explanation.) The opponent asked the judge to repeat it. He did.
The players were both tired, at this point. The original controller asked “so if they all die, I get my Morph back, right?” The answer was, of course, “yes.” The player then shrugged and attacked with both of his Sowers, and the opponent blocked with both of his, killing them all. Neither player thought through what happened if the first-to-be-cast Sower blocked the last cast Sower — leaving just Sowers #2 and #3 alive.
A long day of Magic has an effect. I haven’t done a study, but I would bet serious money that more mistakes are made in the four matches in the first round of the Top 8 than on the top dozen matches in round 3 of the Swiss.
Ever wonder why Wizards has the Swiss end on Saturday and nothing but the Top 8 on the final Sunday of a PT? (Okay, barring flooding in Valencia, or the flood of players in San Diego.) It’s so that the players get some down time, and the finals are not full of boneheaded plays.
The most influential deck in the tournament was almost certainly BK’s new version of Con-Troll. Brian finished second with this deck. Mike Jones won, but I understand that he started with BK’s deck, and modified it. Kyle Ripp played a BKs exact list — all 75 — and finished eleventh. There were others.
Another note on the finals: Mike Jones had wanted to play TurboFog, but could not get the Martyrs. Brian was fine with letting him switch back. I wasn’t. Sorry, BK.
I did hear about one TurboFog mirror match. A judge told me to take a look — when he walked by, there were seven Howling Mines and four Rites of Flourishing in play. However, by the time I got there, the players were shuffling up for game 2. Games don’t last long when you are drawing ten cards per turn.
Notes on the Tourney
The judges arrived about 8:15am. We had the tables set up and numbered by 8:45, and opened the doors about 9:00. Registration was supposed to start at nine, but we were trying a new system: having players enter their DCI numbers into keypads connected to laptops. It actually took until about 9:10 until everything was networked correctly, we could make change and had the promotional cards in place and were taking sign-ups.
Registration closed at 10am — in theory, and we had processed the line by two or three minutes past ten. As always happens, we had four people arrive at ten past, but we were able to get them in at the last minute.
Pairings went up at 10:19 — four minutes late. Round 1 was underway by 10:30am.
We had 185 players.
185 is a lot. It also means eight rounds of Swiss. That’s a lot. Every round went into extra turns.
The Top 8 finished about 8:45. We has completed the paperwork, uploaded the Top 8 decklists and results to Wizards and had the tables cleared by 9:05pm.
We had a good crew of judges.
Sorry if your event didn’t run that smoothly…
Anyway, most people don’t care about that. They want decklists, so here you go. I’ll just intersperse a few comments in between. Filler, as it were.
Derek Munden — Windbreaker — designed by Ronny Hein
The most common question I was asked before the tournament started: “If I have play a Vesuvan Shapeshifter face up, and copy a Sower of Temptation to steal something, then turn the Shapeshifter face down and then copy something else, do I still control the stolen creature?” Yes, you do. The Control Magic ability lasts as long as Vesuvan Shapeshifter is in play — position does not matter. It can be tapped, untapped or upside down — it only matters if it is play.
The follow-up question was usually “and if the Shapeshifter is something else when it dies, do I lost control?” Yes — if the Shapeshifter leaves play, the Control Magic effect ends.
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Troll Ascetic
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 2 Masked Admirers
- 4 Oona's Prowler
- 4 Shriekmaw
- 3 Wren's Run Vanquisher
The second most common question involved Oona’s Prowler and Dodecapod. Players wanted to know if, when they discarded a Dodecapod to an opponent’s Prowler, would the DoPod get counters. No. The controller of an ability is the person who played it —and Dodecapod only gets counters if discarded to a spell or ability your opponent controls.
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Elvish Champion
- 3 Boreal Druid
- 4 Thornweald Archer
- 4 Imperious Perfect
- 3 Wren's Run Packmaster
- 4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
After the StarCityGames.com early bird tourney results appeared, a lot of people started worrying about Elves. I saw a few people replacing Forests with Pendelhavens, painlands, and Treetop Villages. I think this had an effect, both on the Elves decks and their opponents. Removing the Forests may have either slowed down the mana for the control decks, or made the manabase more painful. That change also eliminated some free wins for the Elves. I think the main result was that fewer Elves decks made it to the top tables, but the more painful manabases may have helped boost some of the Kithkin and Goblins decks. Maybe. Elves decks were present, but not really common at the top tables.
Worst play of the day (at least the worst I know of): the Elf player cast Wren’s Run Packmaster. The opponent killed that player’s only elf with Champion on the stack. The problem: the opponent used Crib Swap, which creates a Shapeshifter token. The Champion effect does not target, so eating the token worked just fine.
Sorry, Lukas, if that is not the correct / complete name for your deck. It was all I could read.
We judge frequently complain about handwriting, and with good reason. Reading decklists is a pain. Literally. We try to decipher every single line of every single decklist during the first round of the tournament, and it can be hard going. We had four judges (which included the scorekeeper and Ingrid, who was there mainly as my shadow and to test judge candidates) reading decklists for the entire first round, and we barely finished. It is hard enough to check 185 decklists for legality (at least 60 cards maindeck, 15 cards in the sideboard, and nothing that has rotated out) when you can read the cards. When the player lists four copies of squigglessmearblotsmear, it is even harder.
Kudos to Derek Munden, and others, who printed their decklist in clear, legible block letters. Thanks you. I would also like to publicly ridicule a couple others who apparently hold their pens with their toes. Idiots. I would post their names here, but I can’t read them.
Such is life.
- 1 Saffi Eriksdotter
- 4 Burrenton Forge-Tender
- 4 Gaddock Teeg
- 4 Goldmeadow Harrier
- 4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
- 4 Knight of Meadowgrain
- 2 Mirror Entity
- 4 Wizened Cenn
Jasper had a good run, but his Top 8 opponent kept dropping Goyfs in multiples games 2 and 3. Close, but no cigar. Jasper was State Champ last year (in one of the formats, but I don’t remember which.) Not bad, considering I’m pretty sure that my truck is older than he is. (In the interest of full disclosure, I bought my truck in 1990.)
Wyatt came very close to winning his Top 8 match. He had The Rack in play, his opponent nearly dead, and all he had to do to seal the deal was to untap, cast Thoughtseize and win. His opponent had nothing but land and a Shapeshifter in play — but he topdecked Brine Elemental and got the lock.
Sometimes you get lucky.
I did. I had one messy judge call resolve itself. One of the newer judges got a call. The two players disagreed about life totals. Both were keeping life totals on paper, but in a column of numbers with no notes on sources. It was clearly late game, since both libraries were maybe half gone.
The judge called me over, because he did not know what to do/rule. I arrived, looked at the scorepads, and one player said “Screw it, I concede, I’ve had enough Magic for the day.” Thank you, player. I would have just repeated when the other judge had / should have done — walked through the game, trying to identify where and when the discrepancy occurred. Since both lists had a long column of small changes, odds were that we would be trying to all agree on a painland activation or 1/1 attack someone missed six to ten turns ago. That’s usually hopeless, but that’s what happens. If you don’t get consensus, then the judge makes a judgment. Or, in this case, accepts the concession.
Top 16 Stats
Let’s look at some stats from the Top 8 and next eight decklists — or so. I cannot find Nick Osterude’s decklist. Nick finished 15th. I suspect the decklist is misfiled, but I really don’t want to sort through all 185 decklists to find it. It’s not that I’m lazy — it has more to do with the NIX TIX drafts that can happen once the article is done.
I also could not find the Living End decklists. A couple players were playing that deck. They complained about me mentioning Withered Wretch last week — but the player doing the complaining was on table seventy-something in a middle round. That sort of thing isn’t just because I mentioned Withered Wretch — it is because the deck has other problems. It’s not like many people took my advice: none of the Top 8 decks ran Withered Wretch. Or anything remotely resembling my decks.
Maybe that’s why they were in the Top 16.
Let’s look at stats:
Most common maindeck card in the Top 15 decklists?
Green sucks. Wizards hates Green. Isn’t it obvious?
Most common maindeck, nonland card?
Followed by Wall of Roots and Garruk Wildspeaker. (Garruk might have placed a bit higher, but they were very hard to find. Garruk appeared in a full 60% of the Top 15 decks.)
Wizards makes Blue too good, and trashes Green. Everyone knows this.
Most common Blue card: Cryptic Command, which is just below Call of the Herd and Troll Ascetic. If you count maindeck and sideboard cards, then Sower of Temptations ties these two Green cards.
See, Green sucks.
Look at the planeswalkers (I typed Plainswalkers at first — almost as common.) Garruk appeared 22 times in 9 of 15 decks. Chandra Nalaar appeared in one deck, three copies. Liliana Vess appeared in a single sideboard; two copies. Jace and the other, totally forgettable one were all no shows.
If you ignore lands, Green cards come in first, second, third, sixth and seventh in the Top 10 most played list. Black cards come in fourth and fifth. Blue cards come in eighth, ninth and tenth. The first White card is thirteenth (but basically it is in an eleven way tie for eleventh, with a lot of other cards that all had a total of eight copies maindeck.) The first Red card is part of the tie for 32nd place, along with a ton of cards that appeared four times each in single decks.
No question, Green gets the shaft.
(Folks, this is what is called irony — making a clearly inaccurate statement with humorous intent. Please, please, please do not run to the forums and start the whole Green is good war again. The simple fact is that U/G, G/B/W, G/B, and other decks are good now. Green has some good cards in this format.)
Here are some numbers on nonland, maindeck cards. The first number is total copies, the second is number of decks running the card.
Tarmogoyf, 32, 8
Wall of Roots, 25, 6
Garruk Wildspeaker, 22, 9
Shriekmaw, 22, 6
Thoughtseize, 19, 5
Call of the Herd , 16, 6
Troll Ascetic, 16, 4
Cryptic Command, 12, 4
Rune Snag, 12, 3
Sower of Temptation, 9, 4
Oona’s Prowler, 8, 4
Venser, Shaper Savant, 8, 3
Goldmeadow Harrier, 8, 2
Goldmeadow Stalwart, 8, 2
Knight of Meadowgrain, 8, 2
Llanowar Elves, 8, 2
Mulldrifter, 8, 2
Nameless Inversion, 8, 2
Oblivion Ring, 8, 2
Wizened Cenn, 8, 2
Birds of Paradise, 8, 2
Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender, 7, 2
Gaddock Teeg, 7, 2
Militia’s Pride, 7, 2
Wren’s Run Vanquisher, 7, 2
Saffi Eriksdotter, 6, 3
Eyeblight’s Ending, 6, 2
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, 6, 2
Brine Elemental, 6, 1
Damnation – 2, 5, 2
Profane Command, 4, 2
Avalanche Riders, 4, 1
Let’s have some more decklists:
Jeremy was the only 6-1-1 to miss the cut. Bummer.
- 3 Burrenton Forge-Tender
- 4 Cenn's Heir
- 3 Gaddock Teeg
- 4 Goldmeadow Harrier
- 4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
- 4 Knight of Meadowgrain
- 1 Thoughtweft Trio
- 4 Wizened Cenn
Griffin finished tenth. I don’t know what to say about Kithkin decks. Not my style at all.
Kyle Ripp would appear next, at eleventh. However, his deck is a card for card match to Brian Kowal’s Con-Troll ’07, shown above. I won’t make Craig put it into a deck box format. He’s got enough to edit in the rest of this article.
This Bill Stark designed deck was piloted by Will Hurst, who finished twelfth. If you had asked me to name a few cards that I thought could be playable, but were highly unlikely to compete for Top 8, Stuffy Doll would be high on that list. Will has a fascinating decklist — and it’s cheap, for those of you wanting to try MTGO without spending a fortune.
- 4 Avalanche Riders
- 1 Wall of Roots
- 4 Bogardan Hellkite
- 1 Radha, Heir to Keld
- 4 Grinning Ignus
- 1 Imperiosaur
- 13 Forest
- 10 Mountain
- 1 Urza's Factory
- 4 Rampant Growth
- 1 Call of the Herd
- 2 Dragonstorm
- 1 Stormbind
- 4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
- 4 Search for Tomorrow
- 4 Wild Pair
Ben finished thirteenth. Dragonstorm and Wild Pair would be another pair of cards that I would not expect to appear on many Top 32 decklists, provided the tournament has more than 32 players. (Hi, Craig.) This is the kind of deck I would build and play — not the kind that does well at large tournaments. Still, it worked.
The card that really raised my eyebrows is the Void in the sideboard. The decklist clearly says Void, but neither the deck nor sideboard has any way of producing Black mana. Did he intend to sideboard in a Swamp and leave it off the decklist? I was also wondering about the large number of nonbasics. I really expected Magus of the Moon in the sideboard — but I see Magus of the Library? I wonder if he finished this decklist in too much of a hurry.
- 4 Mogg Fanatic
- 4 Siege-Gang Commander
- 4 Mogg War Marshal
- 3 Facevaulter
- 4 Knucklebone Witch
- 3 Mad Auntie
- 4 Marsh Flitter
- 3 Mudbutton Torchrunner
- 4 Squeaking Pie Sneak
Sam had the highest finishing Goblin / Boggart deck, at fourteenth. Jeremy Shapiro also rode goblins to an eighteenth place finish. Actually, “rode goblins” is probably not the best way to phrase that — herded goblins? Marshaled goblins? Picked Boggies? Whatever — Sam made 14th and Jeremy made 18th despite playing Red.
As I mentioned before, I cannot find the fifteenth place decklist. I’m pretty sure that his cards had brown backs, but that’s all I know. I don’t remember watching his games at all.
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Troll Ascetic
- 3 Saffi Eriksdotter
- 4 Serra Avenger
- 4 Kavu Predator
- 2 Stonecloaker
- 4 Tarmogoyf
The final deck in the Top 16 is a pretty standard Kavu Predator deck, with nothing from Lorwyn except a pair of copies of Garruk Wildspeaker. Which makes me wonder — how expensive are Garruks now? Out of stock and a fair amount as I write this — could be more by Wednesday.
(whine mode on)
I have one.
No TurboFog decks made Top 16. I don’t even remember seeing any in the top half of the room. However, as head judge, I only occasionally had time to watch matches, and we had a lot of matches. We still had 98 players actively playing in the final round, plus one guy with a bye. That’s exactly nine times as many players as Craig’s Champs had at the start. Craig — you are welcome to come play here. Beats having an eleven player Champs… [If I’m ever in the neighborhood, count me in. — Craig.]