By Gavin Verhey
Months of waiting. Days of testing. Hours of grueling, critical decisions. It all surmounts in one day each year, the day when pros show why they are pros and the next rising stars are revealed. The day when thousands of decks, some old standbys, some brand new, all over the United States do battle for the chance to play at Nationals. The day of US Regionals.
As I write this article, I am at Washington state Regionals. For all I know, at this point I could get first or get last; it's all up in the air. I will write an overview of how each round goes after the round is over. The only exception is if the round goes late and I have just enough time to stand up and talk for a few seconds before pairings are put up. In this case I will write it to the best I remember, althought it may be slightly inaccurate.
This is the decklist that, after talking with my team members and some good local players, and making some important decisions, I have decided to play:
|Gavin Verhey's Regionals 2005 DecklistMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Eternal Witness
2 Viridian Zealot
3 Rushwood Dryad
4 Troll Ascetic
4 Blanchwood Armor
3 Sword of Fire and Ice
3 Plow Under
3 Umezawa's Jitte
4 Beacon of Creation
4 Cranial Extraction
3 Creeping Mold
3 Arashi, the Sky Asunder
1 Rushwood Dryad
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Plow Under
It is announced at the begining that there are a little over 220 people playing, which means that there will be 9 rounds. Decklists are collected, pairings are posted, and the first round is underway!
Round 1: Howard.
He is playing some U/G variant that's more aggro then control. I lead off game one with a Birds and a Tribe Elder as he does the same. At this point I think he is playing mono-green but he sacrifices the Elder for an island and then played one on his turn to reveal that he was playing UG. I play a Rushwood Dryad soon after and give it Blanchwood Armor and a Sword of Fire and Ice. He manages to play out a Meloku with a Jitte but my Dryad overwhelmed him.
Game two was much longer, but that's just because he kept bouncing my early creatures with 2 Crystal Shards. The game stalls for a while as we both draw and play lands and equipment, as he plays an Aether Vial, then eventually a Chisei, Heart of Oceans and a Birds, but I Channel Arashi and knock them off. Soon after I drew into an Eternal Witness and a Troll Ascetic, and once I equipped both of them with a Sword of Fire and Ice the game ended soon afterward.
I think I'll let the card
speak for itself.
speak for itself.
Round 1 result- I win 2-0. Match Record: 1-0
Round 2: Blue
My opponent called himself "Blue." I don't know if that was really his name or not, but it's what he went by. Anyway, he was playing mono blue control, but he didn't really handle it the best. I won the die roll and went first. I drew a hand of Forest, Birds, Birds, Birds, Sword of Fire and Ice, Eternal Witness, and I think Blanchwood Armor. It was a very risky hand to keep on the play, but I kept it. I lead off with Forest and Birds and next turn I drew a Forest and played a Sword of Fire and Ice. Next turn I equipped it and started to attack, which spelt doom for the mono blue player. In the next few turns he did very little while I played two Birds (Which he countered, oddly enough) and then another Sword of Fire and Ice which resolved. I equipped the second Sword to the Birds next turn and that was game.
Game 2 I led off with land, land, Viridian Zealot while he builds up his mana. I played a Sakura Tribe Elder and a Cranial Extraction the following turn but it's countered with a Hinder. Next turn he dropped Meloku, but didn't attack or make any tokens while I managed to draw and Channel an Arashi two turns later. I stayed on the offensive with a Beacon of Creation while he played Bribery to get a Troll Ascetic (Another odd choice) and a few turns later he played a Shackles but it was already too late to make any difference.
Round 2 result- I win 2-0. Match Record: 2-0
Round 3: Anthony
He was playing mono blue, but more of an aggressive version with Ninja of the Deep Hours and Spiketail Hatchlings. I led off with forest, birds but I didn't have a play until turn 4 which is Plow Under. In the meantime he didn't really do much besides lay a Top and cast Thirst for Knowledge. The Plow gets countered, but I had double
Witness and a Plow in my hand so I Plowed him 3 more times while attacking with Witnesses and equipping equipment and enchanting them with Blanchwood Armor. Game two he got a quick start with turn 2-4 Spiketail Hatchlings. Then he played Spire Golem. I played a few minor creatures but got stuck on land. He beats me down for a few turns until I'm at 2 and I manage to draw some lands to Channel Arashi to kill his board, but it leaves me at two, and while I attacked the next few turns to almost kill him, he dropped a Ninja and casts Hibernation, losing me the game. Game 3 I started off with a slow hand and had to cast a Witness on turn 3 without anything to get back just to cast a threat, although it got countered. Nothing else much happens for several turns as creatures are traded and lands are built up but I managed to break the stalemate with a Splinter on his Vedalken Shackles that has been letting him control the game and then two Extractions on him for Meloku and Hibernation. After that I resolved an Arashi and give it a Sword of Fire and Ice and that's game.
Round 3 result- I win 2-1. Match Record: 3-0
Round 4: (Forgot name)
Game one is a stomping. He goes first and he leads off with Frostling which killed my Birds, a turn 2 Slith Firewalker, and then a Stone Rain while I didn't mount much of an offense. That was game. Game 2 was the opposite. I played turn one Birds and a Troll the turn after. The following turn I gave it a Jitte. He didn't play much in the next few turns besides a Kumano as I'm about to win with my Sword of Fire and Ice'd, Umezawa's Jitte'd Troll. Game 3 was a back and forth affair. I had a turn 1 Birds and he played a Chrome Mox removing a Seething Song and cast Frostling to kill the Birds. I got stuck on two lands, but I cast a Sakura-Tribe Elder and a Troll Ascetic the next turn to keep me going. He played a Genju of the Spires. I managed to play Jitte but it got Shattered. I managed to draw another one, which got Shattered as well. I played an Eternal Witness to get the Jitte back and equipped it to the Troll and swung the following turn. Although he played an Arc-Slogger two turns later, I played Sword of Fire and Ice on my Troll Ascetic for the game.
Round 4 Result: I win 2-1. Match Record: 4-0
Round 5: Elliot Woo
The Woos are some of the more notorous players around Washington. While only two of them are related, they are all pretty good. Game one I led off with a early Birds and a Sword of Fire and Ice but he burned my Birds with a Magma Jet when I tried to equip it. I played a Troll but he played a maindeck Pyroclasm to kill it. I dropped a Rushwood Dryad and a Jitte the following turn while he played a Talisman. I attacked for the following two turns and I had the game in hand when I swung in with my Rushwood Dryad with a Jitte with two counters on it. But after I removed the two counters to deal the final four points of damage, he cast Hidetsugu’s Second Rite on me while I'm at 10 and I lost. Game 2 I got the fast start of turn 1 Birds turn 2 Troll turn 3 Jitte/equip while he burned me. He managed to get off a Flamebreak but I played another Troll while seemingly all he drew was land I beat him down for the win. Game three was close. I got a pretty good start despite the fact that I kept a hand of 5 lands and two Sakura-Tribe Elders. I played a second turn Elder and then a Troll the next turn while he burned me a little. I dwindled dangerously near the 10 life range as I cast a Birds and continued to beat down with my Troll and two Elders, but he cast Flamebreak destroying my board but leaving my Birds. On my turn I cast Blanchwood Armor on the Birds and swung to bring him down to 4. I cast Cranial Extraction and in response he casts Pulse of the Forge twice to bring me down to 5 with 2 cards left in his hand. I was left with trying to figure out what I should name. Since he didn't have any artifacts in play I didn't have to worry about Shrapnel Blast unless his hand was artifact, Shrapnel Blast. I decided to name Pulse of the Forge and I hit one in his hand. The other card was a Mountain, making me win unless he managed to draw and stall with a Blinkmoth Nexus, but he drew a Talisman and I won.
Round 5 results: I win 2-1. Match Record: 5-0
Round 6: Zack Maples
Zack Maples is another notorious player from around here. He looks pretty menacing, but he is actually quite a nice guy. Anyways, Game one started off with me playing a Birds that got Frostling'd. Then I played an Elder and drop a Troll next turn after I blocked his Goblin Cohort with the Elder and he cast a Zo-Zu. I gave it a Jitte and swung. He played an Orcish Artillery and then on my turn I played a Sword of Fire and Ice and equipped it to the Troll. That was game soon afterward.
Game 2 was a total beating for me. He went turn 1 Firewalker, turn 2 LD, and after that he killed my Birds and I never got past three land the entire game. Game 3 I led off with Birds which got Frostling'd and then cast a Sakura-Tribe Elder. I dropped a Sword of Fire and Ice and swung with the Elder, then he
played an Orcish Artillery. I played a Troll and he attacked me, but I gave the Troll a Sword the next turn and a Jitte after that. He played a Goblin Raider and an Adamaro which died the next turn, but I kept his board mostly clean with Jitte. He Unforged my Jitte, but by then my Armor and Sword were enough to seal the deal.
Who would have ever expected to have
Goblin Raider, Orcish Artillery,
Rushwood Dryad, and Blanchwood Armor
at table number one at Regionals?
Goblin Raider, Orcish Artillery,
Rushwood Dryad, and Blanchwood Armor
at table number one at Regionals?
Round 6 Result: I win 2-1. Match Record: 6-0
Round 7: Gregory
He opened with a Coastal Tower and an Urza's Tower followed by a Sensei's Divining Top showing that he was playing Blue Tron. I played a Birds and then a Troll. He laid his second Urzatron piece and passed the turn. I attacked and pass the turn. He Thirsts at end of turn and laid his third Urzatron piece on his turn but on my turn I cast Plow Under. He used the Top and a Serum Visions to slightly avoid drawing the two lands then looked at his top 3, but looked at the fourth by accident and was given a warning. I continued to beat down with a Troll while all I had was lands in my hand. He completed the Urzatron and played a Oblivion Stone and on my turn blew everything up. I played a Witness to recoup my Troll, then he played a Staff of Domination and countered my Troll and started tapping down my Witness. He comboed out with Mindslaver a few turns later and that was game.
Game two we both mulliganed down to five but I stalled on two land and he assembled the Urzatron. I played a Sakura-Tribe Elder while he played a Staff of Domination. I sacrificed Sakura-Tribe Elder at end of turn and drew my fourth land, then played Cranial Extraction for Mindslaver. He halted my offense completely with Staff of Domination for several turns. One turn he drew a card off Staff of Domination with only 4 mana untapped. He got a game loss. Game 3 we played as fast as we could, but time was called early and it was a draw.
Round 7 result: 1-1-1 I draw. Match Record: 6-0-1
Round 8: Christopher Scudder
He was playing the same deck as Zack Maples (round 6 opponent). Game one he got a quick start with turn 1 Slith, but he had no turn 2 LD. I set up with a Birds and play a Sword the next turn. He played Frostling but didn't destroy my Bird and I played a Viridian Zealot. He got me low on life with the Slith and when I attempted to equip Sword of Fire and Ice to Viridian Zealot he destroyed the Zealot with Frostling. Next turn I gave Birds the Sword and dealt 4 to him and drew a land. He powered out a Zo-Zu and attacked. I played a Troll and gave it the Sword and then the next turn gave it a Jitte for game. Game two was just a massacre as I played a turn one Birds, turn two Sword, turn 3 equip while he stalled on two land and had no destruction for my Birds or Equipment. I dropped a Troll soon after along with a Jitte and that was game.
Round 8 result: 2-0 I win. Match record: 7-0-1
Round 9: (Forgot name)
After some slight thinking, we decided on a Intentional Draw.
Match Record: 7-0-2
I managed to get into the top 8 in second place. We were told that we will only be playing one match each and that the top 4 will all recieve the same prize. The player in first got DQ'd for Bribery early so if I won my match I would be in first and recieve the "Northwest Regionals Champion" plaque.
Round 10: (Forgot name, same player as round 9)
He was playing Tooth and Nail. Simply put, game one I mulliganed to 5 and got stuck on two lands while he assembled the Urzatron and cast Tooth and Nail on turn 5. That was game. Game two I mulliganed down to 5 again and I went turn two Elder and Creeping Mold his land while he went turn 2 Elder turn 3 Witness getting back Elder. He hadn't played any Urzatron yet so I just hit a Forest with Creeping Mold. I played a Rushwood Dryad and a Viridian Zealot while he played a Sensei's Divining Top. My Zealot traded with his Witness and then he cast Molder Slug with two Urzatron pieces out. I played Armor on Dryad and swung but he played Urzatron piece number 3 and cast Tooth and Nail for game.
Final Record: 7-1-2.
Not too bad, I'd say. I really wanted to win Regionals (obviously) but a top 8 is pretty good. I had a fun time, and my rating will probably get a huge boost as well. Also, since I think a plug here is required, if you're interested in joining the team that helped form the deck that I played and made it to the top 8 with, Unknown Stars, you can apply to join the team at http://mtgteam.myfreebb.com/
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my article.
Image provider: Iloveatogs, Gatherer, and Lesurgo
Article Writer: Lesurgo
Tournament Organizer: Tim Shields
Head Judge: James Lee
Other Credits: To everyone on team Unknown Stars and Sameer Merchant for collaborating on the deck with me. Also, a huge thanks to the person (You know who you are) who gave me the decklist for this deck a few months ago. I probally wouldn't have been able to get this far without you.