NACC Report – Niles Rowland 11th Place – Part 1

I’m a fan of writing late accounts of irrelevant formats, so without further ado, here is my 2009 North American Continental Championship report.


My preparation for a big event usually begins days, if not a week in advance. The first step is finding a group of like minded players who I can work with. This is important because without proper chemistry a group will often waste a lot of time and energy on tangential and unimportant things. The team for this event consisted of Rob “Scrubby” Swarowski, Eric “Baby Arm” Buckendorf and Christian “Neck Beard” Keeth. I had heard through the grapevine that one of the game’s top free agents was still without a team, so I was quick to snap up Arizona’s favorite son Big “Kevin Lambert” Dog. 


Work on the format began in earnest and we quickly came to the realization that a) Black Ice was the best deck, and b) we actually owned no cards.  The first point was actually not very profound as most of the free world was able to come to that conclusion. This meant that we were able to break our decks into three categories: Black Ice, decks that beat Black Ice and decks that beat the decks that beat Black Ice.  If you are as confused by that last sentence as I am, then you can see why the solution to the second realization was so important. We approached Tim Rivera and Dane Young about forming an alliance.  Normally these two would be auto inclusions on any team I make, but they had joined forces with a different group of players prior to the forming of my super team.  This was like adding Batman (Tim, who owns a bunch of cards) and Superman (Dane, whose only weakness is kryptonite) to the Justice League of America. They provided deck lists and answers to the Black Ice menace.  Unfortunately, these answers weren’t very good. 


Black Ice is one of those decks that sometimes just wins no matter what you do. A strong curve of allies followed by just enough counter back-up is often good enough to nullify any plan. The additions of Gromble and Dimzer made Black Ice an easy choice for me to play, so I just needed to figure out a way to win the mirror. We devoted at least 50% of our play test time to the Black Ice mirror and were able to come to a few conclusions:  The most important thing in the mirror is Myriam advantage. Whoever activates the powerful four drop the most, wins. The second thing is that Dimzer is better than Weldon. Sure there are still some decks that can’t beat a fifth turn Weldon, but the majority of decks can and when that is the case it will come down to being able to maintain the pressure.  Dimzer helps feed the steady stream of beats.  Another thing we realized was that while Adam Eternum and Eye of The Storm are good, they do not belong in Black Ice. We were able to develop a reasonable plan for the mirror by adding Sleeve of Wizard to the main deck.  This card, while not completely game over for your Black Ice opponent game one, is a good enough wrinkle to allow you to establish board control. It was also better than The More the Scarier against Orcs. With all of this in mind here is the list that we settled on:


Main Deck

4x Gromble the Apt

4x Marksman Glous

3x Instructor Giralo

4x Water Elemental

4x Myriam Starcaller

3x Dimzer the Prestidigitator

3x Weldon Barov


3x Sleeve of Wizard


4x Nether Fracture

4x The Taste of Arcana

4x Fizzle

4x Spell suppression

1x Counterspell


3x Circle of Blood                           


4x A Question of Gluttony             

3x Tabards of the Illidari

2x Corki’s Ransom

3x The Defias Brotherhood


Side Deck

4x The Bringer of Death

4x The More the Scarier

2x Counterspell


We flew in on Wednesday night and as usual Tim was able to get the hook-up on an amazing hotel just across the street from the convention center.  We meet up with Pip and Tim Corzine and after a little late night Steak and Shake (no homo) we were off to bed.


Thursday was a blur of sealed decks and trading, but mostly just hanging out with friends. Toward the end of the night we did a three-on-three draft with Tim, Rob and I vs. three Team East Coast guys Dusty, Tatta and Landis.  We lost the first round 1-2, but went on to win the draft 7-2.  Despite the fact that he won a limited DMF, it didn’t dawn on me how sick Tim is at limited until after the draft was over. We grabbed a bite to eat and after some last minute deck tweaking we hit the sack with dreams of WoW glory dancing through our heads.


I wasn’t planning on writing a report so I didn’t take any notes and can’t remember the specifics of most of my matches. What I can remember is that I went 7-2 with my first loss coming in the 4th round to a rogue dagger based deck. It was one of those loses where a lack of familiarity played a major role in the outcome. I had never seen the daggerbased strategy, but I was still in a position to win the match after winning the first game. It wasn’t meant to be as I made a crucial misplay, overextending into his Carnage while I had a Nether Fracture in hand but not enough resources to cast it.  The third game went to time and I was unable to rack up significant damage on his hero. My second loss came in the 8th round to a Pagatha deck. I can attribute this lose to just plain fatigue.  It had been a long day and I played into his Hesrianas and didn’t sideboard properly.


Rd1 Pagatha James Meaney W 2-0

Rd2 Jonas Bryan Lyons W 2-0

Rd3 Black Ice Nathan Eiskant W 2-0

Rd4 Durga Nicholas Schian L 1-2

Rd5 Bonewall Joey Gayda (little one) W 2-0

Rd6 Mazar Ramón Carlisle W 2-0

Rd7 Black Ice Patrick Peak W 2-1

Rd8 Pagatha Brain Casimiro L 0-2

Rd9 Martiana Matthew Spreadbury W 2-0


Overall I was happy with my day one.  For the most part my play was tight and the deck performed well enough to put me into the 14th spot.  In addition to my success on the first day, the other members of my team had all made day two with Tim drafting in pod three and Big Dog drafting with me in pod two.


My teammates, Dane Young, Eric Buckendorf, and Niles Rowland, were excited that there was going to be a West Coast Darkmoon Faire that we could attend. The DMF was going to be a sealed event so we went to and placed an order for 3 boxes of Drums of War. I always use this site for World of Warcraft TCG orders, and if you haven’t been there I recommend you check it out. Their customer service is amazing and they have the quickest turn around time out of all the sites I’ve ordered from.


After the Drums of War sneak preview, I was getting even more excited for the DMF, since the new set seemed amazing for limited. We received our boxes on Tuesday, and we went to work on playing sealed deck. My first impressions weere that Priest and Warlock were the two weakest classes, and Hunter, Paladin and Rouge were the strongest classes. We came to the same conclusion as what was being posted on all the message boards, that Twin Spire Ruins is the best location in the set. I also learned that I love the Berserking ability, and that Rensarth Shadowsun is the best two drop in the set. Most of the Berserking guys have big butts so usually they can attack down on a lower cost ally and trade up for a bigger drop.


We played a bunch of sealed decks and then moved on to draft. With a couple drafts under our belts,  Niles showed us that Priest wasn’t as miserable as it looked on paper.  Niles is still new to the game, so when he revealed his hero, I thought I was just going to crush him.  Boy was I wrong.  While I was still able to pull out a victory versus him, I saw the potential that Priest had. He was able to trade little guys early, kill my big guys with Shadow Word: Anguish, and empty my hand and heal with Vampiric Tendrils. Niles was gaining a ton of tempo with his Shadow Word: Anguish. I liked the idea of this deck, but I would need to draft it myself to see if really had any potential.


After going through the 5 boxes of Drums of War that we had from tournaments and the ones we bought online we felt like we had a good grasp of the set. We left Las Vegas on Thursday night and headed for Anaheim. On Friday I decided to get in the Gadgetzan tournament, but was disappointed with a weak pool with 0 early game and only late game fatties. I lost first round to Sean Wang (who ended up winning the tournament) and decided I had enough with this deck and entered in the loot tourney, which worked out since in the end I got Kiting loot. After all my teammates were done with their Gadgetzans, we went up to the room where I did a draft with Sean and Dan from Cali, Karl, Tony and Big Dog (the “Other Kevin Lambert”) from AZ, Dane and Eric. I decided it was time to try the Priest deck and it ended up being pretty nutty. I had 3 Tinker Burnfizzles, 2 Dawn’s Grace, 3 Catrina Clark, 2 Shadow Word: Anguish, and 1 Vampiric Tendrils. It was getting late and I never had the chance to play Sean in the finals so I don’t know who would have won this tourney.


Day 1 DMF: Anaheim Championship



Tim Rivera


Hero: Boarguts the Impaler



1 Centurion Addisyn

1 Darbun Steppeheart

3 Horkin Figluster

2 Jee’zee

1 Johnny Rotten

2 Logor Blackfist

1 Nok’tal the Savage

2 Rensarth Shadowsun

1 Sanva

1 Sepirion

1 Zari’zari



2 Behead

1 Enduring Shout

2 Spell Ricochet



2 Netherbane



2 Twin Spire Ruins



2 Bolstering Our Defenses

1 Enemies, Old and New

1 A Rare Bean

1 Revenge Is Tasty


I messed up building this deck and it became apparent after the first round. I included the 2 Logor Blackfist because if you look at my curve it’s a rather cheap deck. After playing I quickly realized that I never really emptied my hand. A lot of my resources were spent on attacking with Netherbane, Twinspiring or using Rensarth. After playing with this deck I started siding out the 2 Logor Blackfists for the 3rd Twin Spire Ruins and 4th Horkin Figluster. This deck was built for Rensarth and with the 3 Twin Spires, he was in play all day long.


I didn’t take notes during the matches but my opponents were:

  1. Phil Edge

  2. Jan Palys

  3. Eric Buckendorf

  4. Kyle McGinty

  5. Gareth Hughes

  6. Matt Markoff

  7. David Fujimura


The closest matches were between Jan and Matt. Both games were nail-bitters and I was able to barely squeak them out.


I had made my first top 8 at a DMF event and was pretty excited. We went to dinner at Cheesecake Factory and Big Dog provided some good entertainment with his impersonation of Davey Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean when he got some Carbonara sauce in his beard. I even have a picture:




Top 8


We sat down for the draft and I was sandwiched between the two other Las Vegas players. I decided with Dane on my left that I was going to go for it and draft the priest deck. I figured Dane would be the only other person in the draft that would go Priest and that if I cut off all the priest cards in pack 1, that I would get every single priest card in the draft. This strategy ended up working out well as I was able to get a 4th or 5th pick Misery in the 2nd pack and I ended up with all the priest cards besides the lose controls which Kyle took. My Top 8 draft deck list was:

Hero: Martiana the Mind Wrench
1 Hellfire Citadel
2 Revenge is Tasty
2 Outland Sucks!
1 Scouring the Desert
1 The Last Barov
2 Tonks the Tenacious
1 Rayne Savageborn
1 Cymbre Shadowdrifter
1 Envoy Samantha Dillon
1 Keward Rocksalt
1 Al’lanora
1 Woodsie Leafsong
2 Mollie Brightheart
1 Virkaltor
1 Catrina Clark
1 Tinker Burnfizzle
1 Sphere of Divinity
1 Misery
3 Vampiric Tendrils
3 Shadow Word: Anguish
2 Dawn’s Grace




The way you draft this deck depends on what faction you are. If you go Alliance you will want to pick up all the Tinker allies, as they combo really well Dawn’s Grace and Catrina Clark. If you go Horde I typically try to get as many aggressive drops as possible, as you will try to out tempo them cheap removal and try to take any game they have left with the discard.


Quarterfinals – Matt Markoff


1st game: I go for the Misery win, casting it on turn 2 and planning to mill him every turn. He lays down the Scouring the Desert that he had the whole game and after activating it I was far behind and conceded. I misplayed I should have just played my deck out like a normal deck and default to the Misery plan as a back up win condition, but since I didn’t I couldn’t kill any of his allies.


2nd game: This game goes long but I am able to resolve a Misery and live long enough to survive through his Scouring the Desert.


3rd game: The nice thing about the Priest deck is that sometimes you just draw the nuts and you gain a lot of tempo. An example would be the third game vs Markoff. Turn three he cast a 3/2 which I killed with SW:A, turn 4 I killed his 4/4 with SW:A, and turn 5 I emptied his hand with Vampiric Tendrils and my flip. Leaving him with 0 cards in hands to my 4 cards in hand. Surprisingly he had the Bloody Ritual in hand and later said he made a mistake and should have just cast that on turn 4 instead of the 4/4. After these sequences of turns the game was rather anticlimactic with me casting a Tinker Burnfizzle with Dawn’s Grace in hand to heal the damage off it, and I was off to the semis.


Semifinals – Kyle Mcginty


1st game: I stabilize his early rush and am able to gain board position. With him not having much going on I decide to cast Misery and mill him. After one activation he counts his deck and decides its time for game 2.


2nd game: Kyle’s deck does what its supposed to do. He gets Hala on turn 1 and is always able to have more allies out then I do. I really never have a chance as his thuds stop me from ever mounting counterattacks to kill his allies. This game ends rather quickly as he smashed my face in.


3rd game: Once again I starve off his early game, and we get to a point were we both are going off the top of our decks looking for some game. Its rather late in the game and he has the Lanthus of the Forest, Braeden Nightblade, Woodsie Leafsong and Treewarden Trolven in play and all I have is a Virkaltor. I drew Misery when he has 13 cards in his deck and I have 8 resources, and 0 damage on my hero. I play Misery leaving Shadow Word: Anguish and Dawn’s Grace in han, with him having no cards in hand. He drew attacked my hero with Woodsie Leafsong and I Shadow Word: Anguish it.  He lays Immobilization on my Misery and at first I’m thinking damn what a top deck, then I realize that I have Virkaltor in play. I mill him for 4 in response and sac the 5/4, which ends up giving me the game. My next draw would have given me a Tinker Burnfizzle, so the game would have ended up with me winning in a different fashion, because all he had next was another ally that would die to the Burnfizzle once I healed him back to full. 


Finals– Jan Palys


This match was covered on UDE website and can be found here:


The third game I didn’t win with Misery I won with Tinker Burnfizzle, but at that point it didn’t matter, since my double Shadow Word: Anguish and double Vampiric Tendrials draw just cleared his hand and board.


I won, everyone came up and congratulated which was nice. I still haven’t decided on what prize I’m going to take and times running out. I think I’m going with the entertainment center, but I need to check on a few more things (my wife).


We ate lunch and came back just in time to see Mike Basa win the leveling tournament making that 3 in a row for him. Congrats Mike. Overall it was a good weekend, 3 of the 4 of us that came down from Las Vegas made Top 8, I was able to make a bunch of new friends, and I won the tourney. Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear them.



Tim Rivera

PCLA 2006 -The Almost Deck – From Qward with Hate

I may be totally wrong here, but I thought some of the VS fans out there would like to see some of the inner workings of one of the old school teams from the Pro Circuit.  I thought it would be interesting to review a deck that almost made it to the Pro Circuit.  For those interested I am sharing one of the decks that we had built before Pro Circuit LA 2006.  This deck is one of the decks we were tuning before we came up with the Devil’s Due deck that Adam Prosak won the tournament with.  I have attached the chat logs for everyone to see the progression of the deck.  The deck was originally created by David Frayer.

Post 1:

Hey guys, please take a good look at this deck:

4x Nightshade
4x Detective Chimp (1)
4x Courtney Ross
7x Hellfire Club Initiate
3x Valeria Von Doom
1x Boris
1x Beast (2-MOR)
4x Dr Light (3-DGL)
4x Dr. Doom (3)
1x Silver Surfer (5)

4x Power and Wealth
4x Straight to the Grave
4x Enemy of My Enemy
4x Reign of Terror
4x Latveria
4x Birthing Chamber
4x From Qward With Hate

Basically how it goes is on turn 4 you need Chimp, Beast, Latveria
and some random guys in play. You need access to 1 Reign and 2 From
Qward With Hate. You call Anti-Matter w/ Chimp, play Dr. Doom and
Reign what you can, then chain the two FQWH, ko’ing your 4 random
guys and all your resources to ko the opponents entire board. Usually
you are left with Doom and Light in play, for a fairly strong board
advantage. Typically, you will rinse and repeat on turn 8 (repeat 4)
if needed.

Now, I can get this to go off about 75% (maybe more) of the time
(goldfishing) on turn 4 and almost 100% on turn 5 with Surfer back-up
(bounce their 4). It totally devastates curve decks, but I need to
test it against HV and Titans, obv. I have already been playing and
tweaking this deck for a couple weeks. I originally had the 4 drop
Doom to flip the P&W, but having the 3 is more vesatile. I went with
a Hellfire Club base in this version because of P&W and concealment,
but I think it is possible to use a Heralds base (Frankie, Surfer 2,
Creation, etc) or even straight AM.

So, the question is can we make it better? More consistant? One
problem is how to kill them after you ko their board; 5 attack is
kinda slow. Run that 6/2 2-drop w/ Light? Run 1 TNB? I dunno. Are
there search cards I am missing or synergies with like Sorcerer’s
Treasure and the like? Also, is there a better play than Surfer on 5
if you are forced to wait? What about fizzle and the like? What about
the numbers; more Boris or Beast? Less Latverias? Anyway, please
discuss, put it together and try it out. It is somewhat difficult to
play, I had to chain like 4 things on 4 to get the set-up right, but
it’s not too bad. And please, please, please DON’T show anyone who
isn’t a teammate.

Post 2:

This deck seems ridiculous. Is it supposed to have 1 drop nightshade
or 1 drop nightmaster? I agree that a better win condition might help.
I’m thinking more copies of boris could make the deck more consistent.
I will try and do some testing against high voltage and teen titans
and let you know what i come up with.

Post 3:

Yes, Nightshade, the 1 drop concealed shadowpact guy. He is there so
you can actually play Chimp on 1 or 2. Speaking of which can you use
Nightshade’s ability more than once per attack? That is can you pay 30
to give him + 10 attack?

Post 4:

What about adding in the 2 Drop Boomerang to this deck? It would
remove one of their permanents Pre-Hate and make you lose less life

Post 5:

1x Madame Xanadu
3x Nightmaster
2x Nightshade
4x Detective Chimp (1)
1x Courtney Ross
2x Hellfire Club Initiate
3x Valeria Von Doom
3x Boris
1x Beast (2-MOR)
1x Dr Light (3-DGL)
1x Dr. Doom (3)
1x Silver Surfer (5)
1x Poisen Ivy
4x Beetle
1x Nenora
1x Chomin
1x Qwardian Watchdog

1x Slaughter Swamp
4x Power and Wealth
4x Straight to the Grave
4x Enemy of My Enemy
4x Reign of Terror
1x Latveria
1x Birthing Chamber
4x From Qward With Hate
4x Hard Sound Construct
1x UN Building
1x Soul World

i’m sure this is just worse, but i think the deck has the capability
to go in this direction. also, i like the thought of qwardian
watchdogs on turn one in this environment.

Post 6:

1x haywire

4x watchdog
1x orb
4x det chimp
3x luna maximoff
1x nightshade
2x nightmaster
1x chomin
1x nenora
1x shadow creatures
2x hellfire club initiate
1x dallas riordan
1x courtney ross
1x valeria von doom
2x boris

1x poisen ivy
3x beast

1x dr. light
1X dr. doom

1x dr. doom

1x silver surfer

3x latveria
3x soul world
2x birthing chamber

4x straight to the grave
4x enemy
4x reign of terror
4x fqwh
2x power and wealth

Post 7:

Orb and Dallas are excellent, I’ll have to try them. Is that enough
copies of Light and Doom? 3 Luna? I’ll play around with this version.
Anybody else try it out?

Post 7 is the last one we had regarding this deck, because of bannings and the fact that the Devil’s Due deck was broken.  I loved the idea of this deck, going back to the old magic days this deck was like playing Ernham-Geddon.   With more and more talk about Golden Age, I would love to see this deck rebuilt and tuned.  There was one more version of the deck list that came that I can’t find the post for, and I wish I could, because we found the best character to have after FQWH, Fatility.  It was awesome to have a Fatality out and then reset the board so that you only had her on the field, guaranteeing that their new 1-3 drops would be destroyed again.   

This is just one of the crazy decks we had for Golden Age.  I’d love to hear any crazy ideas that you may have.  See you on the realms. 


Shadowmoor Release Event by Robert Swarowski

I attended the Shadowmoor Prerelease event a few weeks ago, donked it by going 2-2 and left. It made me feel sick that I wasn’t able to win some new packs, that and I got beat down by a guy who looks like a fish and a woman. I heard that the release event was going to be held in 2 different locations at the same time…6:00 PM Friday May 2nd. That’s just like Vegas to schedule 2 release events that compete with each other, this way the 25 magic players in town get split between 2 places on the same day…wonderful. There is gameworld which used to give alright prizes, but now the owner is an idiot who keeps letting his business license expire and has to pay late fees. That and his girlfriend helps run the place and lets her kid run wild in the store, this eventually makes the owner cuss and yell at the little guy. Gameworld also doesn’t put a high priority on fixing things like air conditioners, and in Las Vegas this device is much needed. The other place is Little Shop of Magic, I knew this place when is was under a different name and different management and thought it was ok. So my choice was made I’ll take the unknown owner over the white trash guy owner. I called my friends and one by one they all said that they had better things to do on Friday night then playing a sealed event, this made me not want to go as I would get roped in to conversations with people I don’t really know. On to the tournament. 


I arrived at the place at 5:40 and it was packed, I never knew there were this many magic players in Vegas. I spotted Chris Hagashi, I went to KL with him for the Pro Tour, and I spotted David Glasser. I work with David Glasser so I have more of a connection to him then the other random kids at the tournament, but other then that we aren’t much alike. He has kids, a wife, long hair, and is about 40. I don’t have kids or a wife and even though I’m young I cut my hair. David is fine to talk to in short bursts but after a while we run out of topics and he starts to tell me about his wacky decks. So I go over to Chis and talk a bit to him, after a bit of chit chat I go to register, I am number 40 and only first 32 get the foil card that they are handing out. After I sign up David catches up with me and he tells me about some enchantment deck, this is bad only 5 minutes in and hes already giving me the deck lists. I go back to Chris and he informs me that this shop owner is a really uptight, and I should watch myself around him. I look up at the front desk and see 2 girls running it, these two were beauties. The first one was blonde and wearing short shorts, which would have been really nice if her legs didn’t look like 2 pounds of lumpy oatmeal stuffed in to a 1 pound bag. She also had a really really lazy eye, I’m sure this eye was collecting welfare it was so lazy. The other girl was your typical overweight nerd girl, not much else to say. Even though I just ripped them a bit on their looks, which is funny if you know what I look like, they were nice and helpful not bitches at all so at least they had that going for them. Now the owner makes his announcement that deck registration is about to begin and everyone needs to get out. Is this a joke? No sir, he wants everyone out and then people will come in 2 at a time and sit down. We are also not allowed to bring any other cards inside, leave your trade bait and casual decks in your cars, I’m looking at you ham hock. We are all outside now and he preaches about cheating and stuff, I ask about prizes and he says 1 pack per person. Yep, 48 packs for 48 players and nothing kicked in from the store. I ask for a prize breakdown and he says that he’ll work on it. There will be a cut to top 8 with no draft and then the top 8 will get the spoils. We all head in after a bit and now the registration is going to begin, but listen to how he wants it done. He wants us to alphabetise the cards by color and then pass them to the person we are sitting across from us, they will then write them all down and pass them back to us with the sheet. Now we will get to build the deck but not register the cards, so we are free to change them round to round. Seems like a lot of drama for 48 packs.


Here is the card pool I got.



1 Foil Mountain

1 Fire-Lit Thicket

1 Madblind Mountain



1 Gnarled Effigy

1 Scrapbasket

1 Trip Noose

3 Wingrattle Scarecrow



1 Barrenton Medic

1 Boon Reflection

1 Goldenglow Moth

1 Inquisitor’s Snare

1 Last Breath

1 Mistmeadow Skulk

1 Niveous Wisps

2 Safehold Sentry

1 Woeleecher



1 Curse of Chains

1 Mistmeadow Witch

1 Steel of the Godhead

1 Thistledown Duo

1 Zealous Guardian



1 Cursecatcher

1 Drowner Initiate

1 Flow of Ideas

1 Ghastly Discovery

1 Prismwake Merrow



1 Fate Transfer

1 Gravelgill Axeshark

1 Helm of the Ghastlord

1 Inkfathom Infiltrator

1 Memory Sluice

1 Oona’s Gatewarden

1 Wanderbrine Rootcutters



1 Faerie Macabre

1 Incremental Blight

2 Loch Korrigan

1 Rite of Consumption

2 Splitting Headache



1 Poison the Well

1 Sootstoke Kindler

2 Sootwalkers

1 Spiteflame Witch

1 Torrent of Souls



1 Burn Trail

1 Crimson Wisps

1 Ember Gale

1 Inescapable Brute

1 Jaws of Stone

1 Knollspine Dragon

1 Power of Fire

2 Puncture Bolt

1 Pyre Charger



1 Loamdragger Giant

1 Scuzzback Scrapper

1 Tattermunge Witch



1 Farhaven Elf

1 Foxfire Oak

1 Juvenile Gloomwidow

2 Roughshod Mentor



3 Old Ghastbark

1 Oracle of Nectars

2 Safehold Duo

1 Safewright Quest

1 Wilt-Leaf Liege


Here is my deck.

1 Inquisitor’s Snare

1 Last Breath

1 Mistmeadow Skulk

2 Safehold Sentry

1 Farhaven Elf

2 Roughshod Mentor

3 Old Ghastbark

1 Oracle of Nectars

2 Safehold Duo

1 Safewright Quest

1 Wilt-Leaf Liege

1 Curse of Chains

1 Burn Trail

2 Puncture Bolt

1 Gnarled Effigy

1 Scrapbasket

1 Trip Noose

2 Mountains

1 Fire-Lit Thicket

8 Plains

6 Forests


Round 1: Random Dude

After the first 2 turns it quickly became apparent that this guy just started playing. He was playing all the one casting cost 1/1s he could, but didn’t really attack with them. He cast the 5/5 that puts -1/-1 counters on non black guys and he tried to kill his black hybrid guys, I reminded him that they don’t die, I also let him go back a few times because he was a retard. I Lost the first game, lame. The next game he cast splitting headache and I discarded the 4/4 lord and put him in to play and crushed him. The third game I bashed him with Gnarled Effigy as all his creatures died to it. Oh and by the way that card was the 23rd card, DING!



Round 2: Another Random Dude

He, like my last opponent, was mentally retarded. He missed attacks and just played bad. I had gained 30 life and he did knock me down to 18; so he was visibly upset that I beat him. “Without that card I would have won,” he said, “well no shit,” I said. The next game Gnarled Effigy came out again and dominated.  



Round 3: Some Guy Who Knew Me But I Didn’t Know

The first game I get the gain life guy out and start to machine the life up, but I don’t have a win on the board. He keeps casting big guys and then this one turn he concedes. I don’t know if he was running out of paper keeping track of my life or what but I’ll take it. The next game he starts to bash me then I put the defenses up, then he drops the G/W shield and brings it in the air. I have out Gnarled Effigy but this is going to take some time. 2 turns later he draws and looks at his friend, and the friend says wow I cant believe you drew that, he repies yeah I didn’t even know that was still in my deck I thought I cut it. He casts the enchantment that makes a dude fly and gives it +1/+1 for each plains, but he casts it on the shield guy, you know the one that already flys. In response I add a counter with Gnarled Effigy and last breath it out of the game. A few turns later I win cause he drew like 12 land. His friend says after why didn’t you enchant the 3/6 that pumps his attack, hes like i thought indestructible guy would be cooler. How did that work out for you?



Round 4: David Glasser

There are only 6 people that are 3-0 we all drew in to the top 8. We played for fun and I crushed him.


At this point I ask the store owner what the prize break down is, he says that he hasn’t done it yet. Nice, I guess 4 rounds of swiss wasn’t enough time.


Quarters: Spanish Guy Who Loves To Attack

This guy is relativity new to Vegas and not too bad if he would take time to block once in a while. I swear this guy taps his creatures every turn, even if he loses more guys he still attacks. The first game he lives up to his name and brings it, a few turns later he attacks with a 2/2 and I block with an 0/3 and then attack him back with 2 1/1 tokens. We end up trading removal back and forth but I sneak it in with the Gnarled Effigy. The next game isn’t as close because he cant remove the 4/4 lord.



Semis: David Glasser

He starts to moan and complain about playing me, you know coworker vs coworker. The first game he thought was amazingly close as he is one point away from killing me with Rite of Consumption. I showed him the last breath that I could have used on my own guy to gain 4 to stop those silly thoughts. The next game was a complete blow out, with the play of the game being me killing a tapped untap elf and attacking for the win (he thinks I wouldn’t notice that). BAH!



Finals: John Dwyer

John is an old school player that stopped for a couple of years but came back. His first sentence to me is, can I finally beat you, my response, no. John is playing black red, seems like everyone but me was, and my big dudes just outclassed his widdle guys game one. The next game he casts that 3/2 disrupting scepter guy. I didn’t really know what this guy did, I had read something about this guy that he cant trade for a creature and a card in hand so I went with those thoughts. The next turn when he doesn’t attack and instead taps him I am like what ohhhhhhhh. I discard a removal spell, next turn same thing he taps and I discard a removal spell. Now the 3rd time I discard the 4/4 lord and serve it up. If I took the time to read the card and not play like a mental patient I could have killed it and kept all my removal, instead I kept casting beaters and attacking but losing removal. He kills the lord and I think I might be in trouble, but of course those who know me know that I top deck burn to win when I’ve messed up. For some reason he attacks with his guys, I untap, draw burn trail, attack with my one guy, and burn him out.



I win a grand total of 16 packs. I win a 48 person sealed deck tournament and I get 16 packs. Yeah I left knowing I won but feeling I lost in the quarters with those prizes. If you want to waste 6 hours, watch trolls at the front desk, talk to annoying little kids, smash tard faces, and then feel like shit for winning and only getting 16 packs go to Little Shop of Magic! I did!


Rob Swarowski


First and Last by Tim Rivera

I remember the day as if it were yesterday, Wizards of the Coast announced its new tournament and a big grin came to my face.  They had announced that they were going to start running State Championships.  The first State Championship was Sealed Deck (Mirage Sealed Deck with 2 Vision Packs), with Top 8 receiving a new Sealed Deck.  The tournament was held at the one of the worst Casinos in Las Vegas, the Debbie Reynolds Casino (picture below). I’m sorry to tell you that if you missed your opportunity to see the great Debbie Reynolds Casino, you’ll never get your chance; it closed down days after the tournament.  


When the first state championship was held, there had two different divisions – juniors and seniors.  To play in the juniors you had to be younger then 18 years old, and at the time I was only 16.   All my friends (all of them were also under 18 ) had decided that they wanted to play in the seniors division.  I said screw that noise, I wanted the easy win so I decided to play juniors.  All my friends had decided that now they should play the juniors division with one goal, to stop me.  The only thing was that they couldn’t fight destiny.  I plowed through the field winning every match in the regular rounds.  Soon would come my first challenge of the day.  I played against Rob.  Rob is a machine….





Rob at the time was my number one nemesis.  He stopped me from qualifying for my first PT, only to lose in the finals.  It was my time for revenge.  After splitting the first two games, I was stuck on 3 lands and Rob was able to kill one thanks to a Goblin.  Luckily for me, I top decked one the following turn and that’s all I needed, as  99% of my spells had a cost 3 or less.  Rob then went on a sick run of drawing 5 lands in a row to go with his 7 he already had.  I then proceeded to bash the shit out of him. 



           After losing the game Rob blew up, he started cussing at me, yelled something about my three casting cost deck of doom, then he threw his deck at me.  I couldn’t believe it, and then 3 seconds he helped picked up all his crap and said he was sorry.  Once I had eliminated my main competition, securing the win was just a formality. 

Fast forward 11 years, wow I’m old…

The constructed State Championship had rolled around again, and during the week before the tournament I had no idea what to play, I probably switched my mind 50 times on what to play and decided on playing U/W Blink.  Below is my list:

Land, 4 Blinks, some guys that go good with Blink, counterspells.

Throughout the tourney I played a bunch of donks.  I lost one match throughout the day when I played the mirror.  He kept in cards that are terrible in our match-up, but of course I drew nothing relevant and lose to a Teferi.  IN the Quarterfinals, I was playing Venser to bounce suspended spells, which I later found out is not possible with Venser.  Neither my opponent nor myself knew that, but in the end I what could we have done after playing 5 turns that way.  In the finals I played against one of my friends named Skylar Gonzalez.   I wasn’t thrilled about the match, he was playing goblins, but I am 30-0 against Skylar in DCI rated matches, so I knew the State Championship was mine.  Throughout the match, Skylar was too distracted talking about Tummy sticks and I ended up killing him and his dream of ever beating me 2-0. 

Being the first and the last state champion for Nevada is awesome, but I’m really disappointed that they ended this program.  I believe it is the one fun tourney a year, and now it is gone.  I’ll forever be known as the first and last State Champion for Nevada. 










GP CHAMP REPORT – 1997 By Robert Swarowski

Well lets just get started without the crap introductions.

I knew that my team would be making the drive to San Jose for Grand Prix San Fransisco, yes that’s right Grand Prix San Fransisco is located in San Jose, and I wanted to practice a bit. I started by playing at the local game shop against this crappy white red green deck that played as many of the 2/1 for 1 mana as it could, Jackal Pup, Savanna Lion, Mtenda Lion. After crushing bad players I wanted to get some real games in, games that I might lose. I invited my bestest playtest partner and BFF Tim Rivera over. We played a few games and cut the Orchish artillery for 2 Dwarven Miner, 1 fireslinger, and 1 goblin bombardment. Wait let me show you the strangest sligh deck you’ve ever seen and then I’ll talk about card choices (I’m so excited to show you this list).

4 Jackel Pups

4 Mogg Fanatic

4 Ironclaw Orcs

2 Dwarven Miner

1 Fireslinger

4 Ball Lighting

4 Lightning Bolts

2 Cursed Scroll

2 Death Spark

4 Incinerate

1 Goblin Bombardment

4 Fireblast

4 Wasteland

3 Mishra’s Factory

4 Badlands

4 Plateau

9 Mountain


4 Disenchant

3 Pyroblast

2 Dwarvern Miner

2 Forsaken Wastes

2 Perish

2 Anarchy

This was right after Tempest came out so a bunch of these cards were brand new and not proven players.

4 Jackal Pup

4 Mogg Fanatics

I knew these were hits even while other players were not sold on talking damage from the jackal pup yet. Yeah Vegas was full of donks that thought Jackal Pup’s drawback was too much that is until it started showing up in every red deck ever.

4 Ironclaw Orcs

…the beats continue. Seriously I love these guys, it fits the curve and nobody ever wants to bolt them cause its such a crappy card.

2 Dwarven Miner

There were bound to be nonbasics all over the room as you could use the original dual lands baby!

1 Fireslinger

Better then Orcish Artillery but I wasn’t completely sold on it, so in goes one to give it a try.

4 Ball Lightning

4 Lighting Bolt

Nothing to say here.

2 Cursed Scroll

2 Death Spark

Ok here is the best part. I always loved Death Spark, card advantage at its best, but I knew that Cursed Scroll was good. I only had 2 Cursed Scrolls and I didn’t mind playing with 2 death sparks, cause I love them so much, instead of trying to get 2 more. So that’s why I played 2 cursed scroll.

4 Incinerate

1 Goblin Bombardment

Ok I lied about the best part, this sir is the best part. This card was so bad all day long. Tim told me to put it in cause I would get extra damage with my creatures and I could “combo” it up with death spark. The only good thing about this is it made taking cards out to sideboard easier. So random.

4 Fireblast

Next to Jackal Pup this is my favorite card. Free wins, top decks, comebacks, and careful planning with cheese.

4 Wasteland

Not since strip mine has there been a better follow up to turn one red drop, and yes I have played with strip mine in standard even if it was restricted. I’m DI infinity plus plus unreal redic old.

3 Mishra’s Factory

Seems like a good number right? Yeah I know that they work better with 4 so they can all pump each other but come on, I need mountains to Fireblast people.

4 Badlands

4 Plateau

SIDEBOARD TECH! This made the deck sort of strange, you didn’t see many sligh decks that splashed for other colors. Look at the cards that I splashed for its so funny, I don’t even know if 4 sources is enough to support 4 splash cards but I’m super lucky and never had problems.

9 Mountain


4 Disenchant

I expected I lot of the new combo deck Fruity Pebbles. To the best of my knowledge this is the first deck to start the retarded cereal naming convention that was used for combo decks. The combo was goblin bombardment, enduring renewal, shield sphere, look up the cards if you don’t know what they do, if you still cant figure it out, kill yourself.

3 Pyroblast

Had to cut one to make way for the other “hits” in the sideboard

2 Dwarvern Miner

I guess 2 main and 4 wastelands weren’t enough.

2 Forsaken Wastes

Shuts down the necro decks and Gerard’s wisdom.

2 Perish

I was afraid of Jolrael’s Centaur so I wanted the untargeted kill and it kills Ernam Dijinn so yeah sleeve it up. I don’t know why i had this fear and it seems dumb when I look back and think that I was going to be serving and smashing to the face and a 3 cost 2/2 can only block an ironclaw and not attack.

2 Anarchy

Catch all, kills pro red creatures like sotari priest, kills COPs, I love wrecking white weenies day while saving all the bolts to go to the face.

There were 4 of us that made the drive, Tim, Jason, Shannon, and Rob “Scrubby, Scrubowski” Swarowski. The drive was uneventful and we stayed at the tournament site. I forgot a lot about these rounds so don’t be surprised to see blanks in the round descriptions, I mean the only reason I have the names is because of DCI reporter.

Round 1 Bye

Yeah buddy I had a rocking rating that was enough to get me a round one bye.


Round 2 Preston K. Poulter

He was an old school pro, part of team PCL (Pacific Coast Legends), and a big baby. He cries when he loses and he talks shit when hes winning. He was playing this mono blue winter orb propaganda deck that also had Waterspout Dijinn (combo with winterorb for the idiots) and Suq’Ata Firewalker. I lost bad, it wasn’t even close, having 3 pyroblast helped out.


Round 3 Andy M. Chen

I have no idea how this one went other then I won.


Round 4 Micah L. Wilson

Drawing a blank again, I mean I can’t even remember where I live some days. I won again!


Round 5 Daniel M. DuBois

This is getting a bit embarrassing.


Round 6 Brett T. Shears

Ok I remember this one. I knew Brett and his brother Steve from all the so cal qualifiers that I go to and they are both cool dudes. We could play and only one of us would make day 2 or we could draw and we would both make day 2 but leave us with a smaller chance to make top 8. I was all about just making day 2 so we drew.


This marked the end of day one. The 4 of us got in the elevator to go back to our room and there was this older chick in there. I was wearing my huge 49er jacket and we were in 49er country so the lady asked me if I had tickets to the game on Sunday. I said no and she said that she had some extra tickets if I wanted them. Now I was young and dumb as opposed to being old and senile as I am now. I thought and I think Shannon thought too (that or he was messing with me, yeah he was messing with me) that she was offering me free tickets and coming on to me. She told me her room number if i wanted the tickets, but i knew that I was going to pass and play day 2 instead.

Rob-0 Life-1

Round 7 Damon Johnston

I lost this round but I remember game 2. I was on the play, we both played a land on turn one. Turn 2 I played ironclaw, turn 3 and turn 4 I attacked. His big play was casting ernam dijinn on turn four tapping out. I asked him what he was at, to which he replied 16. So I aimed 2 Incinerates at his head, then untapped cast lighting bolt and 2 fireblasts sacing my 4 mountains. I’m so good.


At this point I cant lose again if I want to make top 8; that draw was a smart idea.

Round 8 Jason D. Murray

This is the first time I met Jason, and I can tell you he was quite the character. He grabbed one of my dice to keep his life without asking, he made the dice roll in to a game, and he cracked jokes the whole time. I still see him from time to time and he still remembers me from this tournament. He was playing white weenie and got housed by anarchy.


Round 9 Bryan Petersen

No idea, but for some reason I think he was playing sengir vampires. I got this one in either case.


Round 10 Michael W. Dove

If you don’t know who this guy is then you are like everyone else. I’ve seen him at a few tournaments and he was somewhat known to 10 people as the guy who preformed, “favors,” to get the first turbo stasis deck list. This guy is the biggest douche bag ever, the only games this guy ever loses is when he is mana screwed or if his opponent is the luckiest ever. Screw this guy I smashed him, he was playing Fruity Pebbles and the sideboarded disenchants won me the game, never saw it coming.


Round 11 Peter Radonjic

Peter has had some fame up in the wonderful nation of Canada so I knew who he was when I saw his name. He was playing a Necro deck, pretty standard, pump knights, drain lifes, hymm, and I think he had red for some bolts. His friend Ryan Fuller was playing the same deck and he was at the top of the standings. This is the one match were death spark came to play, I kept bringing it back to kill pump knights. This was one and only match where I kept in the bombardment, he could drain my creatures.


Round 12 Alex E. Stabiner

So here it is, win and I get in top 8, lose and go eat deep dish pizza with my friends. Tough one I almost conceded to eat, all the girls at school call me fatty fatty fat fat. All my friends were watching this match so the pressure is on. Alex was playing a similar sligh deck but without the cool sideboard splashes. We split the first 2 games and in the third game there came a point where he was attacking with a jackal pup and a ball lighting. I had an incinerate and a death spark in hand, I said in my head bolt the pup and death spark the ball lighting so I have a chance at getting back the spark. What I did was spark the pup then bolt the ball lighting, even after saying it over and over in my head I made the worst play burying the spark and not doing the max damage to him. After this screw up I still ended up winning the game.


Top 8 suckas! There was some time before the first match so I played some games against some kid who was friends with Casey McCarrel. I knew Casey from my first pro tour where we played each other and he won but we talked to each other throughout the tournament. This kid was playing the same deck that his friend Dan Clegg was playing, and we were playing a dollar a game. We were all tied up and the third game I thought I was going to win when I had to leave to play in the top 8. He said that he was about to win, I told him he was crazy that I had the game in a couple of turns, he was like I have Empyrial Armor in my hand. So, you only have 3 cards in your hand, he pointed to the lad tax on the table. Whatever I think he was wrong, I then saw him at the next pro tour making top 8 with millikens in his deck and he turned out to be a cool guy and a million times better than me so maybe I was wrong about winning that third game.

Quarters, Daniel G. Clegg

Dan was the top seed and I was the eight seed, I want to say that he only lost once in the swiss. All his friends were watching while all mine were off eating pizzas like the fatties they are. He was playing a land tax white weenie with Empyrial Amor and one lands edge. The first game Dwarven miner came out and killed a plateau. He killed it then I wasted another nonbasic and brought the balls out. He commented, “does your deck always get those draws?” The next game I lost so lets not talk about that. The third I pulled out what the Duelist called a, “nail-biter”. He was a local guy, everyone was rooting for him, he killed in the swiss, but today was my day.

Semis, Brett Quorn

Brett was playing some strange blue, white and red deck with Frenetic Effrets, bolts, ophidian, sword to plowshares, and disrupt. The first 2 games we split so it all came down to game three. I started out strong doing some quick damage, but soon it was slipping out of my hands. He started killing my dudes and taking control of the game. It got to the point where he was going to kill me next turn, but for my turn I drew fireblast. This went with the other fireblast in my hand and he was at 7. Now the rules worked differently back then, you didn’t die when you hit 0 you stayed around till the end of the phase. This is important because I was low on life and fearing disrupt. If I saced all my mountains without adding mana I could lose if he had disrupt, if I add all my mana I could mana burn to death. I went in the tank and came up with just blasting him twice which won me the game and got me in the finals. Now those last few sentences, I’m not sure that’s exactly how it went. I do know I went in the tank for some reason, fearing some crazy combination of cards and I double fireblasted him for the win.

Finals, Ryan C. Fuller

Ryan was playing the same deck that Peter was playing in round 11, so I was feeling confident. Game one I was smashing him and then he hymned my and got death spark so I put that one on the top of the graveyard. He asked the head judge who got to chose the order of the cards it was funny because this was the first time in the tournament that question came up, nobody else played death spark. I won the first game pretty easily. Game 2 he went turn one ritual, Necro, I felt like extending the hand, I mean hes just making my game easier. This game I only drew 3 mountains, while he kept necroing over and over again, of course 3 mountains means that i just had a hand full of burn and got him. After he wanted to look at my sideboard to see what I was splashing for, when he saw the forsaken wastes he was like “yeah these are really good against me if I ever drew my drain lifes”.

Rob-1 Life-1

We didn’t have the room for Sunday night because we all figured that we would drive back that night. However as we were driving in the middle of the night it started to pour so we needed to pull over and get a room anyway. Since I won I offered to pay for the room, but then I struck the bargain that Tim and I would play tempest sealed for half of the rooms cost. If I won I would pay for half of the room and the other 3 would split the other half, if I lost I would pay for the whole room. I opened up tradewind, mawcore, capsize, and rolling thunder. Tim got the crap beat out of him and I only had to pay for half of the room. Some people are just the luckiest.

Rob-2 Life-1

Rob Swarowski

PTQ Report – Extended By Kirk Buckendorf

Subject: 1997 PTQ LA report — Las Vegas, NV: RGU Sligh
Date: Tue, 24 April 2008
From: Buckendorf, Kirk W (

Hey Frank, I know the Dojo is long gone and this is waaaaaaay late, but I’ve been meaning to write this tournament report for a long time. I may not have ever made the big show, but for December of ’97 and January of ’98 I was Top 8’ing the crap out of the first Extended Format PTQs for PT LA, and I started that streak with the greatest deck ever to be compiled.

Now before I begin, dear readers and enlightenment seekers to the Dojo, you will have to forgive me any mistakes I make when it comes to details. You see, I didn’t take notes during the Tournament- Oh, and it was over 11 years ago.

So, with that, on to the deck; at the time I really liked what that Jay Schneider guy was doing with the whole mana curve/Sligh thingy so I wanted to try a deck like that. But I didn’t want to just play cheesey mono red. Luckily, around that time, I owned a comic book and game shop and the week before I started building decks for the new Extended format a kid came in with a binder full of Dual Lands. I had craftily traded him some fresh packs for them, not taking too much advantage of him value-wise. In that trade I only aquired full play sets of Taigas, Volcanic Islands and Tropical Islands.

I did the math, and figured I needed to play Red, Blue and Green.

Here’s the decklist:

4 Mogg Conscript
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Elvish Archer
3 Fireslinger
4 Mogg Flunkies
3 Orcish Artillery
4 Uktabi Orangutan
4 Man-O-War
2 Wildfire Emissary

4 Lighting Bolt
4 Incinerate

4 Wasteland
4 Tropical Island
4 Volcanic Island
4 Tiaga
4 Mountain

Not the exact curve Jay was going for, but similar in spirit. Now I know what you’re saying, “Mogg Conscripts? Really? What about Jackel Pups?” and I would’ve said in December of 1997, “Jackel Pup hurts, and I have Fireslingers and Artillerys.”

No one ever accused me of being the most innovative of deck builders, and I admit I definitely missed the memo on Cursed Scroll, but Conscripts worked in this build. I’ve also had critics laugh at Elvish Archers, but to be honest he was better than the traditional bear for sligh, Ironclaw orcs, and there were a ton of Knights, white and black, running around at the time. First Strike was a pretty good option in these three colors.

(Of course I had 18 billion ways to poke or fry those knights, but don’t hold it against me. My judgment would make total sense if you could’ve seen the goofy haircut I was sporting at the time.)

With the Conscripts and the Flunkies, utility creatures were a must to give me, well utility, while still keeping the creature pressure on. I was a big fan of the original 187 guy, Nekrataal so the new Blue and Green versions were a given. Not to mention the tempo they helped create in this style of deck. I could bounce a fattie blocker and attack full force, or I could remove an artifact threat and still keep the pressure on. The Uktabis turned out to be good call, as everyone else but me seemed to get that memo on Cursed Scrolls.

Wildfire Emissarys were just an idea of mine to top off the Sligh style curve with a Swords To Plowshares and Lightning Bolt proof threat. At the time I figured 20 lands was enough, even though I shouldn’t really have counted the Wastelands as mana producers. To be honest I’m sure I was luckier than I should have been to have not been more mana screwed throughout the tournament.

So, after smashing the 10 and 12 year olds who used to hang out in my Comic Shop with the deck (a.k.a. Deck Testing) my friend Andrew, my brother Eric and I headed out for Las Vegas, a rugged two lane 90 mile drive at the time. I could pass whole conveys of slow-ass drivers and truckers in my 4 wheel drive Dodge and make it back into my own lane before the oncoming traffic could blink an eye or spill their coffee. (We were driving up from Laughlin.)

When I arrived in Vegas I remember it was at the Howard Johnson hotel’s meeting room. The room was a light brown/tannish color. The tables were closely packed and most of the players were sufficiently showered. I remember recognizing Preston Poulter in a corner by himself reading a dingy paperback. I had the first Pro Tour New York on VHS and he was on it. I guess they started everyone from a clean slate for this extended season and even the, “Pros,” had to qualify.

Round 1 – What’s his Name : Some random deck

Well, DCI’s unofficial match history has lost this poor souls name and record of our match in the annals of e-history. I don’t remember anything about this first match at all, except the echo of mumblings about Mogg Conscripts. I broke out my Sharpie and wrote on the card, “No, I’m not a Jackal pup. Yes, I am a Mogg Conscript.”

Matches: 1-0 Games: 2-0

Round 2 – Hayim Z. Mizrachi : R/B beats

Second round parings go up and I recognized my opponent’s name, Hayim, owner of Wizard’s Playground here in Vegas. Man, did I have to play someone I knew was probably better than me already? Oh well, I prepared myself for the inevitable snickers at first turn Conscripts I sat down and shook Hayim’s hand.

This is one of the matches I do remember, he was playing Red Black beatdown and I think maybe some discard. I remember reading a Sedge Troll for the first time in this match. It’s a pretty cool card, nothing an Incinerate couldn’t take care of, though. My quick starts and removal of all his threats was too much for his deck. I remember him playing Cursed Scroll and smiling as I re-read the card, finally realizing how good it was. He continued smiling, until I played an Uktabi. I took out my Sharpie and wrote on the card, “Monkey-1, Cursed Scroll-0.” I’m not sure he was completely amused.

He mumbled something about Mogg Conscripts as we shook hands after my 2-0 victory.

Matches: 2-0 Games: 4-0

Not bad, if I do say so myself. This began a long line of me having Hayim’s number over the next couple years. I don’t think I ever lost to him in a tournament.

Round 3 – Eric S. Gonce : RW Tax

This match I don’t remember very well, in fact I had to ask my friend Tim Rivera if he remembered what Gonce was playing. They were part of the same Vegas crew at the time and Tim is pretty sure it was RW with Land Tax/Scroll Rack and maybe even Land’s Edge. If I don’t remember the match (Especially since a RW Scroll Tax smashed me in later rounds) the games must have went quickly. So I’m gonna throw out that I went 2-0 and mumblings about Mogg Conscripts were heard. Eric, if you read this and I’m completely wrong, forgive me, friend. Oh, and I think you still have my Lin Sivvi’s, but that’s ok, I sold my cards a long time ago.

Matches: 3-0 Games: 6-0

Round 4 – Jason Galeski : U w/ Ophidians

I think Jason was playing Draw Go with Ophidians. He may have had another color in there, too. Red or Black maybe, he doesn’t remember either when I asked him. DCI Match History reports that I beat him though and if he was playing Blue controlishness I think I went right through him. But because he’s a rad dude, I’ll say he squeaked out a game because I don’t need an 8-0 to make me too cocky at this point in our story.

I think he mumbled something about Mogg Conscripts.

Matches: 4-0 Games: 8-1

Round 5 – Jay Wagner : RW Scroll Tax

Jay was really cool, he was from Colorado and I grew up there so we jabbered about that for awhile. He was playing a deck that after this tournament I tested and really liked enough to play in Denver about a month later. He called the Land Tax/Scroll Rack engine his white Necropotence. I wish it was good old fashioned Necropotence, because my deck would’ve never allowed him to pay any life for cards he ended up drawing.

First game I was smashing him, I had removal for everything but his Soltari Priests, but I was winning the race because I had three guys out to his one. One was a Wildfire Emissary. Thinking I had the game locked up, Jay Taxed and drew a card for the turn bringing his hand up to nine. He set aside all nine cards to Scroll Rack and drew nine more. Firestorm for the win, he wiped my board, dealt me four damage and still had a few cards left over in his hand. I wither like Pac Man touched by a ghost.

Second Game was more of the same, much beatdown was generated by me. I guess his opening hand had two Firestorms so he had to keep, but I kept the pressure on and my land count equal to his so he never had enough cards to kill the Wildfire I was able to get into play. When I finally thought I had the win, I pumped the Wildfire for the kill and he played another card I had to read, Honroable Passage. Ouch. He had a priest that had been chipping away at me and this blast from my own Wildfire put me within range of a small firestorm. Insert withering Pac Man sound effect here.

He really liked my goofy deck, you can read his tournament report here: (Insert Link:

As I said I ended up building a similar version of his deck to play in Denver, his home town. It got me to the Semi’s there too. It was a fun deck, the card drawing was amazing and I loved the Lions, knights and Warbeasts backed by Bolts and Firestorms.

Matches: 4-1 Games 8-3

Round 6 – Andrew J. Rivchin : Maybe a Jank with cursed scrolls.

He Mumbles something about Mogg Conscripts, but proceeds to beat me anyway. I don’t remember this match at all so I’ll cry Mana Screw. I don’t remember if he made top 8, probably did, though. I’ll say I squeaked out one win at least.

Matches: 4-2 Games 9-5
Round 7 – Robert Morris : I don’t remember this one either… Probably something with Cursed Scrolls.

I win. He mumbles something about Mogg Conscripts.

Matches 5-2 Games 11-5

I squeaked into 8th place somehow! I don’t recall who was in the Top 8 with me so I’ll quote Jay Wagner’s report:

“I don’t know all of the names of the Top 8, but here goes:

1) Preston Poulter (more on him later) – Tongo/Firewalker
2) Yours Truly – WW/Bolts ‘n’ stuff
3) Erik Landriz – Racktax Prison
4) Dunno much about the 4-6 slots, but I know there
5) was a Tongo and a Necro among them
7) Joe Newman – W/R/G Similar to the Czech gun
8) Kirk Buckendorf – Coolguy Sligh”

I know Jeremy D. Brower was one of Jay’s unknown, because I played him in the Semi’s.

I was pleased, this was my first Constructed Top 8 in a PTQ, but now I have to play Preston Poulter. I guess I was a little nervous but I wasn’t really intimidated.

Quarterfinals: Preston Poulter : RU Tongo w/ Firewalkers

First game I remember slowly beating him down as he tried to take board control. He would remove threats, but not until after they did some damage and I had a steady stream of creatures to take their place and keep the pressure on. I don’t think I saw any firewalkers this game and he let me keep a Fireslinger in play. As I was beating him down he got a Frenetic Efreet in play and was attacking me with it. Every time he declared an attack with the Efreet I tied to ping it with the Fireslinger, but he won the toss about 5 times in a row phasing it out. Now, he was a pretty high level player and there was a, “judge,” watching our match, but both of them let me take damage from the Fireslinger every time. I didn’t know any better until someone told me after the match that if the target isn’t there anymore I shouldn’t take the damage.

It didn’t matter anyway, I smashed his face. Preston became visibly upset at that point that a scrub was beating him. Not only is he mumbling stuff about Mogg Conscripts, he was jabbering about having two-for-one’d me like five times or something. I think I remember reading some stuff from Brian Weissman about this crazy card advantage theory-thing. Oh well, his life was at zero.

As Preston side boarded for the next game, he told me he had the perfect cards for my deck, how he totally expected to play against Sligh and was ready for it. He grabbed eight cards and shuffled them in. I assumed it was four Blue Elemental Blasts and four Hydroblasts. I guess he wants to try one-for-one’ing me instead.

Second game was more of the first, Conscripts and Flunkies did some damage and I think he ‘Blasted some of my cards, but they were just crappy red cards anyway. I think I used some ‘Blasts of my own at key moments. Anyway, faces were smashed and I won the game again. At this point he was livid and started a silent tantrum like a 6 year old girl. He’s still mumbling about how he even three or four-for-one’d me at some points in the game and wondered aloud how could I have ever beat him. His eyes started to tear up and he was throwing all his stuff together angrily.

After he gathered his things and hurled a few more passive-aggressive insults in my direction he stomped out of the room and was never heard from again. He never collected his prizes or anything. I took out my Sharpie after he left and wrote on one of my Fireslingers, “I pinged Preston Poulter.”

I think someone told me they saw him pushing a shopping cart down Melrose Avenue clothed in two dirty old coats and some stained jeans mumbling something about Mogg Conscripts a few years later.

Matches 6-2 Games 13-5

Semifinals : Jeremy D. Brower

I don’t remember a thing about this match. It must have been quick. I think I walked away mumbling something about stupid Mogg Conscripts. Congrats, Jeremy.

Matches 5-3 Games 11-7

I’m pretty sure that last match was quick because I do remember watching Jay Wagner’s Semifinal match with the eventual winner Erik Landriz. I really liked Erik’s prison deck, it was white with a splash of blue for Counterspells and a spatter of green for 2 Gaia’s Blessing. It used the Scroll/Tax engine, too and he played it very carefully. He did take a cery long time making decisions and shuffling through his deck. The Gerard’s Wisdoms were too much for Jay to handle after being locked up. Jay had a pretty cool sideboard idea for this style deck, but Erik would survive long enough to Icy and Orb lock him out. Jay was packing Sudden Impacts for when Erik would Land tax filling his hand. I remember I stuck around and watched Erik lock Jeremy’s deck out to win the PTQ. I don’t remember details from that match at all, either, though. Congrats Erik, good luck at PT LA – er, well, I hope you had good luck.


To all the Las Vegas guys who were at this tournament and would a few years later become my best friends. I didn’t talk to any of them at this tournament except Jason during our match, but when I finally moved to Vegas and started hanging out with them they remembered me as the guy who made Preston Poulter cry.

To Jay Wagner, he was a cool guy and I did use his deck to make top 8 in Denver a few weeks later.


To Preston Poulter, Jay Wagner said it all in his tournament report. Maybe I’ll head out to Melrose Avenue and see if I can find his cardboard box. I’ll hand him a $20 bill with a Mogg Conscript wrapped in it.

Overall it was a fun season for me. A few weeks later I built a WRGU Jank deck with Mox Diamonds, Tithes and Cursed Scrolls and took it to Phoenix. I had to have my set of Uktabis and Man-O-Wars in there with the white weenies and bolts. I made it to the Semi’s again, but lost to an already Qualified Truc Bui playing Sligh. Unfortunately for me he knew what Honorable passage was and even said he was playing around it. It was like he was reading my mind. I should’ve stuck to Mogg Conscripts, he would have never seen that coming.

(Stay tuned for Rob “Scrubby” Swaroski’s 1997 Grand Prix San Francisco Tournament report. It’s a doozey, he played with Orcish Librarians and Death Spark – and won!)

Empire State University: Deck Theory 101, Mega-Weekend Experience Part 2

by Patrick Yapjoco

For those who missed it part one can be found here:

After the conclusion of the Top 8 in the Silver Age tournament, we headed over to the world famous Giordano’s restaurant down the street.  Tim, Niles, Mickey, and I went ahead and the TAWC guys (John Hall, Shane Wiggins, and Michael Barnes) soon followed.  We were excited to try the Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  Since we were all so hungry, we were contemplating ordering two large pizzas (!).  It’s a good thing we didn’t.  After two heavenly slices, we were stuffed (pun intended), everyone except for Niles.  Even after eating all of the fried appetizers (mostly mushrooms), he was still talking about he can eat two more slices.  Between both parties, we had more than enough for Niles to chow down.  He ate a whole two more slices.  Wow.  That man could eat!  The TAWC guys had a lot of decks (over 15) built for the Little Deck Format (or, as they like to call it, Halfsies) that Tommy Ashton wrote about.  We played a bit after we ate.  That format is the most fun I’ve had playing in a while.


            Afterwards, we all decided to have a Cake Draft.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s just a draft pitting one team against another, and the losing team buys the winning team a cake.  It was a great idea, but we didn’t really figure out how to get to our hotel, which was about 7 miles or so away.  The other guys had a small rent-a-car sedan, which could barely fit 5 people, let alone 7 plus-sized players (to say the least).  Fortunately for us, Mickey decided to just call it a night and took a cab back to his hotel.  Unfortunately for me, I had to ride in the trunk of the car back to the hotel.  I think it was because I was the smallest of the 6 (if that is possible), but I figure lying down comfortably was better than being sardined in the back seat with 3 other “gamey” guys (not many people can smell like roses after 10 hours of gaming).  Maybe I’m just justifying it, I don’t know.  Anyway, I got in and it wasn’t bad at all, and I even made a phone call to Erick to talk to him about the day’s events so he could post it (I’m not sure he knew I was in a trunk, though), until Shane (who was driving) forgot to use the breaks on a U-turn, which threw me around a bit.  If that’s for beating you in round 8, then I guess we’re even.


            We finally got back to the hotel, and we decide to draft Marvel Team-Up.  The teams were split with TAWC on one side, and the West-Coasters on the other.  The rules were simple:  it was a 6-man draft, with each team alternating seating.  The first team to 5 wins was declared the winner.  I drafted a pretty good Underworld/Defenders deck with Hellstorm and an array of recovery/exhausting effects, as well as Blackheart.  I went 2-1, narrowly losing to John Hall and his Moon Knight deck on turn 7.  We ended up winning the draft with Tim barely beating Mike in the 0-2 table to decide the outcome.  Afterwards, we look at our Modern decks, and Niles is set on playing the IG Concealed deck since it’s easy to build and easy to play (just point and shoot).  Tim and I decide to play my Fantastic Four Equipment deck.


After the first MW, the main decks that were played were IG Concealed as well as World’s Finest.  However, in the Top 8, the top decks were Fantastic Four, IG Concealed, Revenge Squad, and Spider-Friends, with no World’s Finest to be found.  So, that was our gauntlet and we just tested against those decks, but mainly focused on the IG Concealed and WF variants.  I also thought that JLA decks would make an impact, with recent success at the City Championships.


            Michael Bean and Daisuke Hanaoka, both teammates, were talking about how large (stat-wise) that the Fantastic Four characters had from turn 4 onwards.  I really wanted to use the New Baxter Building engine in a deck, and suggested teaming them up with Gotham Knights so you can use Barbara Gordon as well as have an 11/14 6-drop in the form of Black Canary.  Add in the Unstable Molecular Suits and it should be really tough to get over that defense.  After much deliberating, I knew Force Field Projection would be huge as well as Family of Four, so I decided to make it a mono team, play a lot of defensive cards like Against All Odds and Reset and just add the equipment.  My theory was that decks have to expend so much effort in just hitting one of my characters, let alone 2 or 3, that eventually, they would run out of gas, in which case I would have the advantage.  I also wanted to be able to recruit one of the main 4 characters at every drop and maximize my board presence.  I wish I could have played 4 B.P.R.D. Signal Devices, but I only had 2, so I had to compromise.  After some tweaking, here is the deck list I played in the 67-man tournament:


4 Luke Cage – Steel Hard-Skin

3 Human Torch 2-drop

4 Invisible Woman 3-drop

1 Thing 3-drop

4 Mr. Fantastic 4-drop

2 Thing 5-drop

1 Invisible Woman 5-drop

1 Human Torch 6-drop (MVL)

1 She-Hulk 6-drop

1 Thing 7-drop

1 Invisible Woman 7-drop

1 Silver Surfer 8-drop


4 Family of Four

3 It’s Clobberin’ Time

3 Reset

3 Force Field Projection

3 Mobilize

3 Signal Flare

2 Against All Odds

2 Omnipotence


4 New Baxter Building


4 Unstable Molecular Suit

2 B.P.R.D. Signal Device

2 Demonic Embryo

1 Ego Gem


Rd. 1 – Angel Luna (JLA/GK)


Angel one of the Team Wis-Cago guys, so I knew he was a good player.  He drops Alfred, Batman, Founding Member, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Aquaman through 6 turns.  I play Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic through 4 turns, and I lose my 3-drop after he plays Skreeeeeee on her.  I have to play the 5-drop Invisible Woman to catch up.  I am able to stabilize somewhat, but I am down on endurance quite a bit.  He has to expend a lot of attack pumps (3 Savage Beatdowns) to be able to stun my equipped guys.  After he plays 3 From the Darkness, we eventually get to turn 8.  My board is Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch-6, Invisible Woman-7, and Silver Surfer-8.  They all have equipment on them, and after a flurry of pumps, I am able to stun his visible board.  He attacks back with Martian Manhunter-8 and a recovered Superman-7, but Invisible Woman’s ability added to the fact that he played all of his pumps on turn 6 means a narrow win for me. -7 to -15; Turn 8 win. 1-0


Rd. 2 – John Helt (IG Concealed)


John is playing the aforementioned concealed beatdown deck.  Through 5 turns he has Penguin (who draws us 3 cards), Johnny Quick, Owlman, Jemm, and Ultraman.  He also has a Hunte Castle.  I have a pretty good opening with Luke Cage + Ego Gem (he drew me a lot of cards as well), Invisible Woman-3, Mr. Fantastic, and Thing-5.  I lose Luke after he plays Skreeeeeee on Invisible Woman.  With so many cards in my hand, I am able to play a couple of Force Field Projections to push the game to turn 6.  John misses turn 6, under-drops with Superwoman and Catwoman, while my board is starting to stabilize.  With the Signal Device on Invisible Woman, she was safe from harm.  I also have the Suits on my 4, 5, and 6-drops.  After a flurry of pumps, I am able to brickwall an attack to send it to turn 7.  I play Thing-7, bounce his board and I pull out the win.  Turn 7 win. 2-0


Rd. 3 – Bilal Murphy (GK/Spider-Friends Stall)


This was one of the most interesting games I played all day.  He has the super engine going with Aflred, Barbara, Aunt May/Ego Gem, Spider-Man-4, Cassandra Cain, along with Empire State University and The Hook-up,  Meanwhile, I mulligan into an opening hand of 4 Molecular Suits, and missed my 2-drop and 3-drop (Mobilize is useless on turn 3 if you don’t have a 2-drop!).  The good thing is, he elects to just draw cards instead of attack me, and I have Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and Human Torch through 6 turns.  I think at this point that he is playing a Cassandra Cain deck since he has so many cards, so I flip Omnipotence, foolishly naming Cassandra Cain.  We eventually get to turn 9 and he drops his bomb: Onslaught.  My board has grown to add Thing-7, Silver Surfer, as well as She-Hulk, and my whole board is equipped.  The good news is I have Silver Surfer to prevent Onslaught from decimating my board.  The problem is he has Spider-Man-7 and Sentry to stifle my attacks.  After some safe attacks, I pull out a turn 10 win, 28-8. 3-0


Rd. 4 – Javier Perez (World’s Finest)


Javier is playing a very different World’s Finest deck.  He has Alfred, Krypto, and Barbara through 3 turns.  I have Luke Cage and Human Torch through 3 turns.  After some attacks, I lose Luke Cage.  On turn 4, he plays Power Girl ◊ Nightwing, while I play Mr. Fantastic.  He has Superman-5 (the good one) and along with Power Girl’s ability and my equipment, we go to turn 6 with our board intact.  The key comes in turn 6 as I am able to force a Bat Got Your Tongue from Javier, exhausting his Batman during his attack step.  I am able to swing back and make him lose Power Girl.  Turn 7, he has Superman, Deterrent Force while I have Thing-7.  At this point, I am able to do some damage, and stun his Superman to make him lose his cosmic counter.  On turn 8, he has Kara Zor-El while I have Silver Surfer.  I steal the initiative and get him to the negatives.  His swing back is not enough as my defensive plays were too much.  1 to -8, Turn 8 win.  4-0


Rd. 5 – Charles Huggins (Spider-Friends/Wolverine)


Also known as cchug2001, Charles was playing the Spider-Friends deck with Wolverine + Berserker Rage as the finisher.  He has Black Cat, Darkhawk, and Spider-Man through 4 turns.  He also has the Empire State University going for him, but he misses his 5-drop completely.  I have Luke Cage, Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman-5 through 5 turns.  I have the Suit on Mr. Fantastic, which stopped some attacks.  However, we get to turn 6 and out comes Wolverine-6.  I have Human Torch-6, and after I flip Omnipotence, naming Berserker Rage, I could see that it hurt his plans.  I was able to take minimal damage and not have Wolverine clear my board.  We eventually get to turn 8, and I play another Omnipotence, this time naming Gift Wrapped.  After combat, the score was 26-7 in my favor.  We go to turn 9, but he scoops after we draw.  Turn 9 win.  5-0


Rd. 6 – Niles Rowland (Injustice Gang Concealed)


So, I have to play Niles again, but this time the situation is different.  We are both at the top of the standings at this point.  He drops Catwoman, Black Manta, Jemm, and White Martian through 5 turns.  I have Luke Cage, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and Thing through 5 turns.  I don’t have the equipment engine going on in this game, but I have some good defensive cards.  However, he has Hunte Castle and Stryker’s Island to offset any defense I have as he can re-use them every turn.  Even after a Reset, he still has enough to clear my board.  We go to turn 6 and I have She-Hulk.  He drops Superwoman and Owlman and he is able to have enough to get me into the negatives.  Turn 6 loss. 5-1


Rd. 7 – Ernie (mono-X-Men)


Ernie is Todd Carlson’s friend and testing partner, so I knew he was good.  At first, I thought he was playing a Jean Grey deck, but it turns out it is a mono X-Men deck.  He has Wolverine-3, Emma Frost, Jean Grey-5 (who is 10/10), and Mimic through 6 turns.  He also has Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning and Cerebro working for him.  I have Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and She-Hulk through 6 turns.  I don’t have my equipment engine going on again in this game as well.  He plays a full 3 Turnabout so he can clear my board.  After brickwall an attack later on, I think I am able to clear board, but he has a Children of the Atom to recover his Emma Frost.  On turn 6, he drops Mimic and after a flurry of pumps, which he plays 2 more Savage Beatdowns, I am at a lowly 16 endurance.  Turn 7 rolls around, and I have Invisible Woman-7 to his Professor X-7.  I chain to the recruit, flipping Omnipotence.  I name Professor X so I don’t lose right away.  After Mimic pays the 2 endurance to burn me for 11 via Thing, I have free reign on my attacks.  After some pumps, which also sees a Telepathic Suppression, he is at -2 and I am at 5.  He has one attack back with Professor X, but he has no pumps to push the damage or to get over Invisible Woman’s ability, and after I show him the Against All Odds, I earn the victory.  5 to -2, Turn 7 win.  6-1


Rd. 8 – Abacu Miranda (Fantastic Four)


Abacu is another Team Wis-Cago member.  He is playing a Fantastic Four deck.  This match tests my theory as we are playing a mirror match, but I am hoping that my equipment will be too much for him to overcome, turn after turn.  He has a good curve with Namorita, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing, Human Torch, Thing-7, and Silver Surfer.  My curve is similar, except that I miss my 2-drop and I decide to drop She-Hulk instead of Human Torch.  I am able to get all 4 of Unstable Molecular Suit online and I have my draw engine going.  I knew he runs Finishing Move, so I name that with Omnipotence, to keep things honest.  He has a lot of pumps in the form of Savage Beatdown, It’s Clobberin’ Time, Family of Four, and Torch and Thing.  I am able to stay in the game with a full 3 Force Field Projection.  Since my characters are just naturally bigger, he has to expend a lot of effort stunning my characters.  It all came to a head on turns 9 and 10.  He has no more pumps while I still have Family of Four.  In the end, I pull out a very close victory, 7-5.  Turn 10 win.  7-1


Rd. 9 – Ben Brozene (IG Concealed)


 For the final round of Swiss, I play another IG Concealed deck.  I have found that taking the odd initiative gives me the best shot at winning, so I take the odds initiative.  He has Catwoman, Superwoman, misses his 3-drop (!), Jemm, and White Martian through 5 turns.  I have Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and Thing through 5 turns myself.  I am desperate to hit drops, so I discard my Human Torch-6 and Invisible Woman-7 to New Baxter Building, hoping to find drops.  I have my equipment engine online again, and the flurry of combat on turn 5 was the turning point.  If he stuns my Thing, then he can swing directly to win.  After 2 Blinding Rage and 1 Crime Syndicate of Amerika pump to try to get over Thing’s defense, I play Reset, which stops the attack and pushes it to turn 6.  He has Prometheus and I have She-Hulk.  Since he has no bonuses for being his initiative, he only stuns 1 character and we move to turn 7.  I drop Thing-7, bouncing some of his board, which he re-plays.  After a direct swing from me he is at -9.  His counter attack leaves me at -8.  Turn 7 win.  8-1


Top 8 (Qtrs) – Javier Perez (World’s Finest)

            Javier and I are matched up again, and I figure that I have a good chance and winning, since I already beat him.  What I didn’t know was the full extent of his deck’s power.  He plays a full 4 copies of Early Edition as well as Bat Got Your Tongue to negate anything and everything.  The first game was really close, and I had a sub-par draw.  He has a stellar draw, but since the WF deck is naturally slow, we get to turn 8.  By then I have stabilized and his mis-attack with his Kar Zor-El gave me the game I should have lost.  Game two was also a horrendous game for me.  My first play was on turn 4 while he has a great opening again.  I think I am able to get back into in the mid game, but he negated 4 of my plot twists to win on turn 7.  Game 3 was really close.  I plan for the negation by looking for Omnipotence with Mr. Fantastic.  By turn 6, I have both copies, naming Early Edition and Bat Got Your Tongue to make sure I can get my plot twists through.  I make a mistake on turn 5 by not running Luke Cage into a character, and he proved to be the liability pm turn 6.  Time is called and turn 7 is the last turn.  I think I can win, but I didn’t see the substitution of Cassandra Cain with a fist full of cards.  I burn a Reset to turn off Power Girl’s effect and I send Thing into Cassandra Cain.  He has 4 cards to force me to use Mr. Fantastic to dig for a pump, which I find.  I achieve the stun, but now I have to send Torch into Power Girl because Batman will stun back.  If he reinforces, I lose by 1 endurance.  I know he will, so I take a gamble.  He has 2 cards left.  I attempt to use Human Torch’s ability, but he has For the Man Who Has Everything to negate it with Batman, and give him the win.  2-1 Loss.



            The deck performed better than I had hoped.  I wanted to see if my theory of the deck would work out, and it did.  I did not expect to see turn 8 or later very much, but as you saw, I got to the late game almost every time.  That means there could be a better win condition in the late game.  Also, I wish I had 2 more Signal Device because that is a huge buffer against Skreeeeeee and exhausting effects like Spider-Man or Gift Wrapped.  Lastly, I would probably play 4 Signal Flare and 2 Mobilize because you don’t always hit your 2-drop, and if you have a Mobilize in-hand on turn 3, you’ll have no play as well.  Overall, the metagame was as expected, although I was expecting more Revenge Squad decks.  A potentially devastating deck is Dan Clark’s IG hand-flood deck.  It took the tournament by surprise and is a deck worth taking a look at. 


            In conclusion, the Mega-Weekend was a great experience.  The atmosphere is great and the tournaments themselves were run with great efficiency.  I got to meet some of the realmers as well as old Pro Circuit friends.  With the announcement that Worlds will be Modern Age, this could be a peek into what we might see at the event.


Mega-Weekend Chicago – Part 3

Sunday morning we get ripped off by the cab driver again.  After we finally arrived at Pastimes, we collected our cake draft prize(Twinkies don’t count next time we play :)).  I haven’t played Modern Age since PC Indy, so I had no idea what to play.  Patrick Yapjoco is the man and hooked me up with his list for the Modern Tourney.  I didn’t have all the cards, so I had to make some changes, which made the deck awful.

3 Human Torch, Matchstick

4 Luke Cage, Steel-Hard Skin

1 Thing, Idol O’Millions

4 Invisible Woman, First Lady of the Fantastic Four

4 Mr. Fantastic, Critical Thinker

1 Invisible Woman,  Sight Unseen

2 Thing, Heavy Hitter

1 Human Torch, Flame On!

1 She-Hulk, Single Green Lawyer

1 Thing, The Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing

1 Invisible Woman, Shield of the Four

1 Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd

3 It’s Clobberin’ Time

2 Against All Odds

4 Family of Four

3 Mobilize

3 Signal Flare

3 Reset

3 Force Field Projection

2 Omnipotence



4 New Baxter Building



Ego Gem

Demonic Embryo

4 Unstable Molecular Suit


I really enjoyed this format.  The reason I like the FF deck is because it based around legend cards and it has a lot of tricks for combat.  This deck plays well on both offense and defense and was one of the most popular decks of the tourney.  I like the inclusion of Unstable Molecular Suit in the deck just for the mirror match.  You can make all your characters slightly better then theirs, and by doing so you win the war of attrition as they have to use pumps to stun you back. 


In this tourney I was able to play against a wide variety of decks.  Below are the decks I played against:

  • Round 1: Cal Clearly playing Marvel Defenders/Doom Patrol(Win)
  • Round 2: Amanda Hevley playing IG concealed(Loss)
  • Round 3: Steven Boss playing ???
  • Round 4: Shane Wiggins playing Endgame(Loss)
  • Round 5: Angel Luna playing JLA
  • Round 6: Ralph Edwards playing Torch Abuse
  • Round 7: Mike Jiles – didn’t show up
  • Round 8: Dan Clark playing Big Hand(loss)
  • Round 9: Javier playing Worlds Finest(conceded)

It’s always easier to remember your losses compared to your wins.  In round two Amanda just demolished me.  I should have mulliganed to hit my 2 drop, as my main 3 drop is Invisible woman and is concealed.  One problem that the FF deck has is that you want the odd initative, and when you face off against the IG concealed deck, you really want them to have the odd initative.  Against Shane I didn’t flip my 2 Omnipotence(naming Endgame on both) in response to his, so I lost on tun 8 to his Darkseid.  Dan Clark just bashed me, the FF deck strives off its powerful plot twists, so when I couldn’t play any I just got destroyed.  In the last round I had no chance of making Top 8, thanks to my tiebreakers, so I played and won the match vs Javier.  I decided to concede to him since he would make Top 8.  Boy that was a mistake in hindsight as he beat both my teammates in Top 8.  Congratulations Javier!   



Niles – What can I say about him.  Playing with him definetly took my game to the next level.  Niles is a true master, he is always the funniest guy in the group, and a great friend.  He is also my pick to win Worlds unless he registers his deck wrong and has to play me in Top 8. 


Patrick – I have never had the pleasure of hanging out with him before this weekend, but I think we have always had respect for each others game.  After this weekend, I’m hoping that we can work together for future events and I’m thanks for all the good times this past weekend. 


TAWC – Anyone who is man enough to play us in Cake Drafts, automatically becomes awesome in my book.  Thanks again for the ride back to our Hotel, and I look forward to another dinner at Worlds if you guys are down.  I still want that picture of Pat in the trunk if you still have it. 


Todd/Javier – Congrats on winning the tourneys.


The Judges – I have to say that this weekend was one of the best ran events I have been to.  I was surprised/impressed on how quickly the transition was between the rounds and I think you judges should be applauded for your effort.


Mickey Hatcher – I meet Mickey in Chicago and he is one of the nicests guys I’ve met.  Mickey lent me some cards for the Modern Age event, and I can’t thank him enough for doing so.  Mickey I hope to see you at worlds and congrats on your Top 4. 



All opponents I played:  One of the main reason I love playing VS is because the people that play are among the nicest people in competitive card games. 



Pastime bathrooms – If you saw them you would understand.


Taxi Cab Drivers – All of them besides one decided it would be fun to rip us off, so screw them.


People who say that the Pros(Niles, Pat and myself I suppose) at Chicago aren’t in it for the fun of the game.  I don’t think that we would travel if we didn’t love this game, because the prizes themselves really don’t justify the trip.  I’d love to see the game grow again, and we are trying to do our part to make the Mega-Weekends a success. 

Mega-Weekend Chicago – Part Two


I told Niles before the tournament that I would play whatever deck he decided to play.  He really liked the Checkmate/Marvel Knights deck that I had built so that is what we decided to play.  The decklist looks like:

4 Connie Web
1 Jacob Lee
4 Black Thorn
4 Ahmed
3 Punisher, Guns Blazing
1 Elimintation Protocol
1 Captain America(5)
1 Annihilation Protocol
1 Huntress(6)
1 Punisher, Angel of Death

1 New Baxtar Building
1 The Alley
4 Brother I Satellite
3 Dr. Fate’s Tower
2 Checkmate Safehouse
1 Brother Eye
1 Sewer System

4 Threat Nuetralized
4 Cannibal Tech
4 Enemy of My Enemy
4 Defensive Formation
3 Knightmare Scenarios

4 Laser Watch
1 Amulet of Nabu
1 Cloak of Nabu
1 Helm of Nabu

     One thing that you might find interesting is the low character count in this deck.  It may seem that this is a mistake in deckbuilding given the loyalty requirements on your early drops, but Checkmate is very good at hitting it characters in the early game.  With this deck you really need to aggressively mulligan for Connie Web or Black Thorn.  Black Thorn is part of the the card drawing engine,  so she may be the most important character in the deck.  On turn 3 the main play is Amhed searching for The New Baxtar building  and recruiting the Laser Watch enabling you to draw 3 cards.  The deck want to hit Punisher on turn 4 and equip him with the Fate set and a laser watch.  Punisher seems a little overpowered to me, ang along with the Fate set he just gets insane.  The deck looks to control their board on 4 by Ko’ing their 4 drop with Punsiher, then it goes for the Brickwall on turn 5 with Defensive formations and Captain America. 

     We arrived at Pastimes and sign up.  First round pairings go up, and they tell us its going to be nine rouds of swiss, with a cut to Top 8.  This day was filled with me playing against many different decks, and a bunch of people that I’ve seen from around the PC scene.  Surprisingly in this tournament I played against 9 different decks in the swiss.  I played against: 1 Villians/Spider-Friends deck, 1 Darkseid/Gotham Knights, 1 Mirror Match, 1 Shadowpact/JLA deck, 1 JLA Terminal Velocity Deck, 1 Secret Society/Deadshot Deck, 1 IG/ Concealed Deck, 1 Checkmate/Heralds of Galactus, and 1 deck that escapes my mind right now.  My deck really came to play, as I went 9-0 in the Swiss rounds. 

     After the swiss the worst possible outcome occured as I was paired up against Niles in the first round.  The judges checked our decklists, and Niles had made a small mistake and was given a game loss because he wrote down 4 Knightmare Scenario and 3 Defensive Formations.  I won the die roll vs Niles, and with the correct initative, I was able to beat Niles in the one game we played.

     In the Semis I was paired against Todd Carlson.  My plan going into the match was to play Ahmed visible and get the Fate set onto him as quickly as possible to soak up damage.  I knew the longer the game went the more the match was tilted into my favor.  First game I missed Ahmed, and Todd just bashed me.  The second game was interesting as I didn’t recruit anything on turn 5 or 6, but Todd did not have much going on either, and Punisher, Angel of Death sealed the game for me.  The third game started off great with me hitting Black Thorn and Ahmed.  I searched up Baxtar Building, and started the card drawing engine.  By turn 4, I had drawn a bunch of extra cards, but I missed on my MK Character and was forced to recruit Elimination Protocol.   Turn 5, I drew some more cards, but missed on Captain America again, and I died on this turn with 3 Defensive Formations in hand. 

     It was a let down to go undefeated in the Swiss and not to win it all, but there is always another VS tournament around the corner.  Congratulation to Todd on winning it all and to Michael Barnes for making it to the finals. Todd you ended my undefeated record, I look forward to a rematch at worlds(hopefully we will both be at the top of the swiss again).

     After my loss in top 4, we decided to leave and get some Deep Dish Pizza.  Shortly after we arrived at the Pizza restaurant, the TAWC guys also arrived and joined us for dinner.  I have never had the pleasure of hanging out with the TAWC crew before this event(except for the great Tim Batow, who we teamed up with for Sydney), but let me tell you it was a great experience.

     After we devour our Pizza, and learned a thing or two about the little deck format, the TAWC crew were nice enough to give us a ride back to our hotel and to play a cake draft against us. The best part about the ride back to our hotel was that there were 6 of us and only 5 seats. Patrick really bit the bullet and jumped in the trunk, and rode the entire way back to the hotel this way.  After turning the wrong way a couple times, and a couple U-turns without the brakes being applied(sorry for all the laughter Pat!), we finally arrived at our hotel.  I’ll have to ask around, but I know there are pictures of Pat in the trunk floating around.

     We decided to draft Marvel Team-Up, since those were given out as prizes the night before.  I forced the off-curve Sinister Syndicate deck, and boy what a failure.  I had a bunch of 1 and 2 drops, but besides that I had very little in the way of pumps, and cards that would help my strategy of underdropping.  The teams for the drafts were: Niles Rowland, Patrick Yapjoco, and myself vs. Michael Barnes, John Hall, and Shane Wiggins.  After 8 intense matches the records were:

  • John Hall 3-0 (sick draft skills my friend)
  • Niles Rowland 2-1
  • Patrick Yapjoco 2-1
  • Shane  Wiggins 1-1
  • Michael Barnes 0-2
  • Tim Rivera 0-2

     The last match came down to me against Michael.  For some reason after 14 hours of Vs System I can’t raelly remember what happened in our match, but  my crappy deck was able to pull out a victory in a very close match.  Niles and I remained undefeated in Cake Drafts, and can’t wait for the next Cake Draft at worlds. 

     After the match was over it was about 2 a.m. and the TAWC guys decided it was time to sleep, so they left.  Patrick and I finished up our decks for the Modern Age tourney on Sunday, and were ready for the tournament tomorrow.