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!)