Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #97: You CAN Dominate T1

I haven’t done a tournament report for a while. It’s time. I also haven’t written about T1 for a while. It’s time. I also haven’t won a big tournament for a while. It was about time. March 20, 2004. The big 5-Proxy T1 tourney. It was time.

I haven’t done a tournament report for a while. It’s time. I also haven’t written about T1 for a while. It’s time. I also haven’t won a big tournament for a while. It was about time.

March 20, 2004. The big 5-Proxy T1 tourney. It was time.

Having a big T1 tournament in driving distance is a rare thing around here. Sixty-eight people attended, which meant a long seven rounds, with a cut to the top 8. The tourney allowed up to five proxies, so nearly all of the players were close to fully powered. Me, too.

I played a truly rogue deck. I could give you some story about how I was going to play a more-standard Tier 1 deck (like Tog, with my autographed ‘togs, minty BB Demonic Tutor, foil Japanese Fact or Fiction, Korean Saga Duresses, Mox Sapphire signed by the artist and Richard Garfield, Asian mox monkeys, beta duals, etc., etc.), and how I left that deck on the kitchen table and arrived, four hours later, to find I only had one of my funky, casual play decks along, and how I had to play that. I could talk about the anguished screaming and desperate – and unsuccessful – attempts to borrow a deck. And how I had already preregistered, and had prepaid, so I had to play the casual deck.

But that story makes me look like an idiot, so I won’t.

Instead, I want to reveal a format-defining deck: Infinite Pings. It is an evolution of a deck I played in Extended, way back in the bad old days of Necro-Trix. That deck was designed around the troika of Trix-killers: Force of Will, Emerald Charm, and Pyroblast. It had a beatdown kill, and could produce infinite tokens or infinite damage. Two spice things up, however, I had added another combo engine.

Infinite PingZ:

5 Mox Emerald, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Black Lotus, Sol Ring

3 Karn, Silver Golem

3 Citanul Flute

1 Coat of Arms

R Tinker

1 Tel-Jilad Stylus

4 Suq’Ata Firewalker

4 Force of Will

4 Intruder Alarm

2 Mana Drain

R Ancestral Recall

R Timewalk

R Fact or Fiction

2 Misdirection

3 Saber Ants

2 Gaea’s Blessing

1 Collective Unconscious

1 Simian Grunts

4 Crookshank Kobold

3 Bravado

3 Embermage Goblin

2 Fire / Ice

4 Volcanic Island

4 Taiga

4 Tropical Island

4 City of Brass

4 Wooded Foothills

2 Undiscovered Paradise

R Tolarian Academy

1 Gaea’s Cradle

3 Wasteland

1 Strip Mine


3 Red Elemental Blast

3 Blue Elemental Blast

3 Naturalize

3 Tormod’s Crypt

3 assorted pingers

I won’t do a card by card, but I will explain the combos:

Intruder Alarm, Saber Ants, Bravado, pinger

Bravado on the Saber Ants. Ping the Ants, it makes a token, everything untaps. Repeat. Bravado keeps the Ants bigger than the cumulative damage – the result is infinite tokens and a big ant. With two pingers on the table, you can ping both the Ants and your opponent infinite times.

The second combo engine is Intruder Alarm, a pinger, Citanul Flute, Karn, Tel-Jilad Stylus and some Kobolds. Karn makes the Flute, Tel-Jilad Stylus, and Sol Ring creatures. I ping the opponent. Citanul Flute searches out a Kobold. I play it, untapping everything. I tap the Sol Ring for mana and use Tel-Jilad Stylus to put the Kobold back under my library. Repeat until the opponent is dead.

Rd 1: Joe Kidd, Reanimator

In every tourney, you face some kidd playing Reanimator. Yup – round one no less. And he gets the God draw: Lotus, Bazaar of Baghdad, Entomb, Worldgorger Dragon, Animate Dead. He then proceeds to generate a ton of mana an dumps his entire deck into the graveyard. His very last card was Ambassador Laquatus. He windmill slammed it on the board (he should have discarded it, then let reanimate target it, but whatever) and says”mill you.” Then he started to scoop up his cards.

I stopped him and asked if he wants to see my deck. He said”Sure.” About five cards down he started looking confused, and wanted to read the Kobold, and the Flute, and the Firewalker.

Twenty-three cards down I paused at the Gaea’s Blessing. He goggled. He looked at his zero card library. He looked back at me. I tapped his Krosan Reclamation and showed him a Force of Will. He scooped and went for his sideboard.

Game 2: We dinked around for a bit. I had a Saber Ants in play, and not much else. He went for the Dance of the Dead/Worldgorger Dragon combo. I asked if he knew about how the remove, return effects stack if I kill the Dragon. He said he did. I shot the Dragon with BEB. He Forced. I targeted the Dragon with another BEB. He tried to Misdirect the BEB (discarding Ancestral Recall, the only other card in his hand), but I explained that it was modular, and he could only redirect it to another Red permanent (there were none.) He tapped his last mana to Ancestral, and I Misdirected it. He had no other Blue cards in hand, and, once the stack resolved, no permanents. The Ants ended up going the distance, since I just sat on counterspells and removal.

Round 2: Jasper K., Lackey Sligh

Game 1: He won the roll and started with a true T1 busted play: Mountain, Lotus, Lackey, Lackey, Goblin Piledriver. My hand was gas, but all I played was Lotus, Mox Ruby, Sol Ring, Tropical Island. He drew, then entered his attack phase. Before declaration of attackers, I cast Fire and Ice to kill his Lackeys, then blew the Lotus for Simian Grunts. Now his Piledriver was attacking as a 1/2. He Bolted the Grunts after combat, and was done. I dropped a Volcanic Island and Suq’Ata Firewalker. He read it, looked at me, at his deck, at his hand, counted my cards in hand, and scooped.

Game 2: He double mulligans, then busted out a Lackey. I BEBed. We dinked around for a while, then I get Suq’Ata down, and Pyroclasmed his crew. Everything I played – even the Saber Ants – gave him problems. To be fair, my draws were amazing, and his were just bad. The mulligan to five cards didn’t help him much, either.

Round 3: Carl W., Prison

I guess his deck name was a joke – Winter’s Icy Prison. Carl kept saying it, with the stress on different syllables. And, yes, he does wear a sombrero while playing.

Game 1: I won the roll and dropped a Lotus and Volcanic Island. He opened with Mox, Mox, Mox, Goblin Welder, Chalice of the Void for zero, then dropped a Mishra’s Workshop and tried for Smokestack. I blow the Lotus for UUU and Mana Drained the Smokestack. I Fired him and the Welder to empty my mana pool. I then ripped an Ancestral (how lucky!), and Ancestralled into Wasteland, Sol Ring, Mox. I played Wasteland, Sol Ring, and Karn off the Drain mana. He played a Juggernaut. I Waste his Workshop and used Karn to kill his Chalice, then dropped a Mox and killed his Mox Jet. He did nothing special, and Karn blocked Juggie. I played another land and Citanul Flute, then tapped the Flute for a Kobold and played it. He played a Mishra’s Workshop and Tangle Wire. I Wasted his Workshop, tapped the Flute for another Kobold and then tapped everything but Karn to the Wire. After that, I was tapping Kobolds to the Tangle Wire, while beating with Karn and an animated Citanul Flute to end the game.

Game 2: He double mulliganed, then got a nothing-much hand. I got Suq’Ata Firewalker in play before he found a Welder. I resolved Citanul Flute and fetched Karn. He tried for Smokestack, but I had Force. I played out stuff like Tel-Jilad Stylus and Sol Ring, and fetched a Kobold – and told him I would let him play Smokestack at that point. He had a rather pained look. It was clear that the mulligans and bad draws, and the fact that I had Misdirection for his Ancestral, and he could not return the favor, did not make him happy. Next turn, I went for Intruder Alarm. It resolved. Tel-Jilad Stylus, Karn, Sol Ring, Citanul Flute, Intruder Alarm and a pinger may not be a great combo, but it is a combo. Ping, ping, ping – you’re dead.

I obviously had my Ninja cutting action going. I didn’t mulliganed once. My opponents squandered often.

Round 4: Oscar T., Keeper

I think I recognized this guy’s hat, but I couldn’t see his face because he kept hiding it behind this fan of cards. I also think this affected his game, because he refused to play cards – he wanted a full grip at all times. I guess that’s why they call it Keeper

Game 1: We played lands and Moxen and I eventually got down the Firewalker and Intruder Alarm without much opposition. OT apparently decided they were not a threat, and continued to build his hand. I then cast Saber Ants, and he let it through. Next turn, I tried Bravado, he Drained, I Forced, he Forced and I Misdirected. He let it resolve. I had one card in hand, so I pinged the Ants to start the chain. In response to the Intruder Alarm trigger going on the stack, he tried to Swords the Ants. I cast my card – Simian Grunts – getting a free untap and going off. I only had one pinger, so all I could do was produce 1.28 trillion tokens, then let swords resolve and gain 1.28 trillion +5 life from the Swords. On his turn Oscar dug like a maniac for Balance, but all he could find was Morphling and Decree of Justice. That left him slightly over 1 trillion blockers short.

Game 2: I run exactly two Misdirections in this deck. I drew both early, and Misdirected Oscar’s Ancestral and a Mind Twist for six. I was even able to hard cast the second one. Oscar was crushed when he lost his hand, and conceded. Of course, he was topdecking, and I had six cards in hand, lots of mana and Citanul Flute going.

Round 5: Z. Bus, Keeper

I think that’s his name. He said full instructions for spelling it were on the web(?), or something like that. Weird little guy. Watching me play my deck out, he kept mumbling things like”no way he ever gets a membership” or”scrub forum with restrictions” and stuff like that. Like I said – weird little guy. He could play, though.

Game 1: He had the cards he needed, as he needed them. Force this. Drain that. Use the mana to power Stroke. Balance away your dudes. End of turn, summon soldiers. It was grim.

Game 2: If anything, it was worse. He attacked my hand, my mana and countered whatever I played. My hand was empty, and I had something like two land in play. He blew the Lotus and some other stuff, then cast Yawgmoth’s Will, replayed the Lotus, cast Ancestral out of his graveyard, replayed the Strip Mine and –

I got the one thing that could save me. Literally, the one and only thing.

Wrath of Mom.

Yup, his Mom showed up and said that he has to leave”right now! No, I mean it! Now! And no sniveling.”

Wrath of Mom: 0cc white instant, shuffle your hand, library and graveyard together. Pack up your deck and sideboard. Concede your match and drop from the tournament.


Round 6: JJ”Dy-no-mite” Meyer, Hulk Smash

It took a while for the organizer to fix something, so we were seated, then just sat for a while. We talked. He was laughing about my deck and wondering how I beat the Bus guy last round. I told him about being saved by Wrath of Mom, and how I was super lucky guy. I told him my sob story about how I forgot my real deck – oops – no, I didn’t, since that makes me look like an idiot and it didn’t happen, and this deck dominates the format, and all that.

I offered an ID, but he figured he would crush my deck, so we played.

Game 1: He shuffled, presented his deck, then started looking for his sideboard. I started riffle shuffling his deck, then stopped. He said he couldn’t find the sideboard. I set his deck down next to mine. They looked pretty much the same height. We looked at each other. I asked him if he was also playing a seventy-five-card deck. He wasn’t – we had found his sideboard. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said that since this tourney is for a real prize, and he once read about me calling a judge on myself, he said to call the judge. I have to applaud his honesty. The end result was game loss for failure to de-sideboard.

Game 2: We shuffled up. He presented his deck, but was obviously still shaken from the sideboard thing. I asked him if he had his sideboard. He said yes. I jokingly asked”All of it?” He counted out the cards onto the table. All sixteen of them. I stared at him. The judge, who had stayed around to write a description of the game loss penalty on the match results sheet, stared at him. JJ counted his sideboard again, then looked up at the judge. The judge just shook his head.

I never even drew a hand of cards that match, and I has two game wins.

I expressed my heart-felt hope that JJ would still make the top eight and left the table. JJ just sat there. I know just how he felt. Good ending, though, he won his last round and made the top eight.

Round 7: Ingrid, secret tech deck – ID

Ingrid’s my wife. We always end up playing each other, even in huge tournaments. However, we were both undefeated and paired in the final round. It was a tough decision: lunch and conversation, or play it out and starve? I opted for lunch – besides, she’s better than I am.

Ingrid mentioned that she had a couple players try to cheese some games by bending the rules. I guess people were surprised that that tactic didn’t work against a woman. Well, Ingrid not only won the last women’s open, but she’s a level 2 judge who has worked at several GP’s and judged more PTQs, Regionals and States than most players have attended. She was winning rules arguments with the likes of Bob Maher years ago, guys.

I tell her about my match against JJ. In her first official action after passing her judge test, she gave me a game loss for failure to de-sideboard, (see YW#13 for details) so we can both sympathize. We talked a bit about the top eight, and the power of our decks.

The Top Eight shook out as follows:

Ingrid (STD) v. – well he didn’t show, so I’m not going to name him.

Smenemenemanamem (Hulk 2k4) v. JJ Meier (Hulk Smash)

me (Infinite Pings) v. Joe Kidd (Dragon combo)

??? v. ??? (I don’t remember. Check the TO’s website.)

Top 8, rd of eight: Joe Kidd with the Dragon deck again.

Joe survived his round one loss and made the top 8. Nice. I congratulated him.

Game 1: I was beating down, and Karn was wrecking his moxen, so he went for the combo in desperation. He had only a Tropical Island, City of Brass and Bazaar of Baghdad in play. I Wasted the Tropical in response to Animate Dead. He started digging, looking for answers, and pumped the City of Brass for mana until he was at one life, then reanimated Ambassador Laquatus and tried to Stroke himself. I tapped the City of Brass with the Fire/Ice in response.

Game 2: I got Intruder Alarm and a Suq’Ata Firewalker into play, but lost the fight over Tormod’s Crypt. He tried to go off, but didn’t realize that having a Dragon come into play a couple dozen times is a bad thing with Intruder Alarm and an active pinger on the table. He managed to stop the pinging when he was at 1 life, but I cast a creature to untap the Firewalker and killed him.

Ingrid’s opponent was there for the announcement of final standings, identified himself to the TO, then left. Who does that?

Top 8, final four: Smenemenemanamem, Hulk 2K4

I have heard of this guy from somewhere, but I can’t remember where. Maybe the Guinness Book of World Records – longest name? Whatever.

I needed some luck in this matchup, and I got it.

Game 1: I won the roll and opened with Tropical Island, Mox, Mox, Sol Ring, then tried to bait a counter with Goblin Embermage. It resolved. He fired off a Duress and missed (Land, Suq’Ata, and the searched out Embermage.) He had no moxen, etc., so he was done. I played the land and Embermage number two. He still had no counters. He played a land and said go. I played my third Embermage and it resolved. I was a pinging machine. He dropped a land, a Sol Ring and went for Mind Twist. I Drained the Twist. He Forced the Drain, and I Misdirected the Mind Twist to him. Can I draw cards, or can I draw cards? Super lucky guy. I then topdecked Ancestral, and got land, Coat of Arms and Time Walk. He didn’t.

Game 2: I cut. I cut again. I cut again. And again. I am the Ultimate Ninja, a Master of Cuts. He had no-land, no-mana hands three times in a row.

He was not happy with his hand of four cards, but decided to play it. He did nothing and said go. I busted out Wasteland, Mox, Sol Ring, Lotus, Karn, go. He drew, sagged in his chair and said go. I dropped a land, beat with Karn, cast Ancestral, dropped a mox and a Citanul Flute and said. He drew, shook his head and said go. I beat with Karn and the Flute, and said go. He drew, shook his head and said:”Mox, Mox, Mox?” He played them. I pointed at Karn and said”Die, Die, Die.” He tapped the three Moxen for mana in response, then played a Tog. I Forced and he conceded. His hand of four – three Psychatogs and a Mind Twist. His three draws (after I had Karn in play) – the three Moxen.

Finals: Ingrid – secret tech deck.

We sat down and started shuffling our decks. I busted out with”Shotgun winning!” She was startled, but you can’t get her on a rules issue – apparently you cannot shotgun until decks are presented. I had jumped the gun – no free win for me.

Then I offered to split the prizes: for the good of the dogs, since we would get home, and they could get out and play, an hour earlier. She agreed, but wanted the win. I raised the stakes”I have the car keys!” She had the counter”Yes, but I remember where the car is parked.” Damn – foiled. So I came in second.

Second, with just one and three-quarters game losses all day. It was worth the trip.

Happy today, everyone.



Infinite Pings: defining the metagame for years to come, baby!

All my opponents: they were good sports, even when I misspelled their names.

JJ Meyer: for being honest enough to call a judge on himself.

Ingrid: Undefeated throughout. Congrats.


Ingrid: I can’t find anything in the rulebook that says you can’t shotgun until decks are presented!

The Mana Drain and StarCity: for facilitating netdecking. The decks I faced were almost card for card identical to those posted on these sites. For example, that Z. Bus guy’s decklist was obviously based on the Mana Drain Zherbus’ Keeper Primer from TMD. Show some originality, guys.