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CardShark Content - Adam Fischer (12/12/2002)

So I’m qualified for the Pro Tour again, and through the first PTQ of the season no less! I feel quite lucky to have qualified, but also feel that I was well prepared for the tournament.

-----------
DECK CHOICE
-----------

Several factors influenced my decision of what deck to play at the PTQ. First of all, I had a predisposition to play The Rock, as that was the deck I played at PT Houston and had by far the most practice with. However, that alone was not a good enough reason to choose the deck, as it wouldn’t do me much good if the deck type wasn’t expected to perform well.

So, the next place I looked for information was my statistical analysis of deck performance data from PT Houston and GP Reims:

Read article here

The best performing decks had been:

- Oath (great in Houston but poorly in Reims)

- Sligh (did exceptionally well at Reims)

- Draco
Draco
DracoSet: Planeshift
Cost:
16
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Sam Wood
Power:
9
Toughness:
9
Text:
Flying. Draco costs 2 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control. At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Draco unless you pay 10. This cost is reduced by 2 for each basic land type among lands you control.
Explosion (did amazingly in Reims but not much data)

- Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
(did well but not quite as well in Reims)

- U/G Madness (only did a bit above average in Reims but did really well in Houston; however, only 2 people played it in Houston)

- Hermit Druid
Hermit Druid
Hermit DruidSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid
Rarity:
R
Number:
58
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
G, T: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a basic land card. Put that card into your hand and put all other revealed cards into your graveyard.
(but this appeared to be due to good matchups)

Rock had been performing about average overall. However, a deck’s expected performance is of course highly dependent on the metagame, so the next step I took was to try and figure out what decks I expected to be most popular at the PTQ.

In Reims, the most popular decks on Day 2 were

- 19% Sligh
- 14% Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

- 9% Rock
- 9% Suicide Black
- 9% White Weenie
- 9% U/G Madness

So here was my thinking:

1) People saw Sligh doing so well, so there will most likely be a lot of Sligh; there will also likely be lots of Sligh as it is seen as relatively easy to play.

2) A lot of people will expect lots of Sligh and will probably look to play decks that beat Sligh - this leads to lots of Reanimator and certain versions of The Rock.

3) Other people will look to play decks that have consistently done well – this leads to lots of Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
, especially since many people are quite familiar with Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
.

I therefore expected lots of Sligh, Rock, Reanimator, and Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
. Of course, I didn’t think that would make up all of the decks, but I figured that that should make up the majority. My expectations were further confirmed by talking with other people in the area. So what deck choices did all this lead to? Well, against those four decks:

- Aluren
Aluren
AlurenSet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
Any player may play a creature card with total casting cost 3 or less whenever he or she could play an instant and without paying its casting cost.
crushed Rock, was average vs. Reanimator, and lost to Tog and Sligh

- Draco
Draco
DracoSet: Planeshift
Cost:
16
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Sam Wood
Power:
9
Toughness:
9
Text:
Flying. Draco costs 2 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control. At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Draco unless you pay 10. This cost is reduced by 2 for each basic land type among lands you control.
crushed Rock, was average vs. Sligh, and lost to Tog and Reanimator; Draco
Draco
DracoSet: Planeshift
Cost:
16
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
131
Artist:
Sam Wood
Power:
9
Toughness:
9
Text:
Flying. Draco costs 2 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control. At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Draco unless you pay 10. This cost is reduced by 2 for each basic land type among lands you control.
was also experimental

- Hermit Druid
Hermit Druid
Hermit DruidSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid
Rarity:
R
Number:
58
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
G, T: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a basic land card. Put that card into your hand and put all other revealed cards into your graveyard.
beat Rock, was average vs. Reanimator, and was demolished by Tog and especially Sligh

- Tog beat Reanimator and was average vs. the other decks

- Reanimator beat Sligh, was average vs. Rock, and lost to Tog

- Sligh was average vs. the other decks except for Reanimator, to which is lost

- Suicide Black beat Reanimator, was average vs. Tog, and was crushed by Sligh and Rock

- Rock was basically average or slightly above average vs. all the others

- Oath demolished Rock, beat Sligh according to the data, and was a bit above average vs. Tog and Reanimator, but there wasn't that much data to base the results on and Oath did quite poorly in Reims

- U/G Madness beat Reanimator, was slightly above average vs. Rock, and was slightly below average vs. Tog and Sligh

- White Weenie crushed Tog, was slightly below average vs. Reanimator and Rock, and was crushed by Sligh.

If I ignored other decks and assumed a metagame evenly split between Tog, Sligh, Reanimator, and Rock, the top decks and their expected win percentages were:

- Oath (67%)
- Tog (54%)
- U/G Madness (54%)
- Rock (52%)
- Aluren
Aluren
AlurenSet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
Any player may play a creature card with total casting cost 3 or less whenever he or she could play an instant and without paying its casting cost.
(52%)

Oath seemed to be the clear choice according to the data. However, there wasn’t very much data on Oath. Also, Oath did poorly in Reims, was a deck I had very little experience with, and the PTQ was coming up soon, so I dismissed it as an option. The other decks could be expected to perform similarly, so because of that I decided to go with the deck with which I had the most experience – The Rock.

-----------
DECK TUNING
-----------

Picking the deck type was only the beginning – I also needed to come up with an exact deck listing, sideboarding strategy, etc. I wanted to tune the deck against Sligh, Reanimator, Tog, and the mirror. In other words, I wanted enough early defense to withstand Sligh, lots of Edicts for pretty much all the matchups, etc.

I also took another look at the lists of previous successful Rock decks to see what cards they had used and in what numbers. I addressed the following major issues and decided on them as explained:

1) What did I want to use as the second small creature/mana accelerator/card drawer – Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
, Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of BlossomsSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls cannot attack.) When Wall of Blossoms comes into play, draw a card.
, or Vine Trellis
Vine Trellis
Vine TrellisSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
C
Number:
285
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.) T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.
?

- I decided that since The Rock is a slow deck anyway, it doesn’t really need to accelerate that quickly with the Elves, nor does it need the Trellis. However, I wanted some defense against the Sligh decks I was expecting, and the Walls at least replaced themselves in the cases where they were suboptimal.

2) Should I use Living Wish
Living Wish
Living WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Peterson

Text:
Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.
es and if so how many?

- I decided that I didn’t want to slow the deck down TOO much by having too many Wishes, but I liked the flexibility of being able to tutor for whatever creature was the answer. Thus, I decided on going with just one Wish but having 3 Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.
s to use to go get it if needed.

3) What selection of bigger creatures should I use?

- I decided that with Living Wish
Living Wish
Living WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Peterson

Text:
Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.
, 2 Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
s main deck were enough. This would hurt a bit in the mirror match but would help in all the other matchups. I wanted at least one Baloth main to use to set up Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
if need be, gain life, etc., and I almost had 2. However, in testing against Sligh, having the cheaper Spike Feeder
Spike Feeder
Spike FeederSet: Stronghold
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spike
Rarity:
U
Number:
68
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Spike Feeder comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it.2, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder: Gain 2 life.
was key.

4) Should I use “silver bullets” in the main deck and if so which ones?

- I decided that the silver bullet approach made sense so I went with 3 tutors and a selection of answers. Faceless Butcher
Faceless Butcher
Faceless ButcherSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nightmare Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Faceless Butcher comes into play, remove target creature other than Faceless Butcher from the game. When Faceless Butcher leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner's control.
was for Reanimator and Genesis
Genesis
GenesisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Mark Zug

Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
was for Tog and the Mirror. Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
could get anything else and I could get Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
in the right situation. The only deck against which this approach was weak was Sligh, and that is why I had the Walls/Feeder in the deck.

5) How many Edicts should I use?

- I decided to go with lots of Edicts since they were almost never bad. Against Sligh they can help slow the beatdown, they’re great against Reanimator and Tog, and in the Mirror they can get rid of a Monger after a Deed.

6) What should be in the sideboard?

- The sideboard was relatively easy given the other decisions I had made.

I wanted a good selection of Living Wish
Living Wish
Living WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Peterson

Text:
Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.
targets plus other good answers. Finally, I used my sideboarding chart, which I included below, to determine final numbers. One of the main things the chart told me was that I had a lot to side out against Sligh and so I made sure I had a lot to side in.

By taking all of the above into account, I arrived at the following build that I used in the PTQ:


---------
DECK LIST
---------

”The Rock”

Main Deck
7 Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

4 Treetop Village
Treetop Village
Treetop VillageSet: Urza's Legacy
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Treetop Village comes into play tapped.T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.1G: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green creature with trample until end of turn. This creature still counts as a land.

4 Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar WastesSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add B or G to your mana pool. Llanowar Wastes deals 1 damage to you.

7 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

1 Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
Dust BowlSet: Mercadian Masques
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
316
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.3, tap, Sacrifice a land: Destroy target nonbasic land.


4 Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

3 Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of BlossomsSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls cannot attack.) When Wall of Blossoms comes into play, draw a card.

4 Yavimaya Elder
Yavimaya Elder
Yavimaya ElderSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Ray Lago
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Yavimaya Elder is put into a graveyard from play, you may search your library for up to two basic land cards, reveal them, and put them into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.2, Sacrifice Yavimaya Elder: Draw a card.

1 Spike Feeder
Spike Feeder
Spike FeederSet: Stronghold
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spike
Rarity:
U
Number:
68
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Spike Feeder comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it.2, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder: Gain 2 life.

1 Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous BalothSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
278
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Sacrifice a Beast: You gain 4 life.

2 Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.

4 Pernicious Deed
Pernicious Deed
Pernicious DeedSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
114
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
X, Sacrifice Pernicious Deed: Destroy each artifact, creature, and enchantment with converted mana cost X or less.

4 Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.

2 Cabal Therapy
Cabal Therapy
Cabal TherapySet: Judgment
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
62
Artist:
Ron Spencer

Text:
Name a nonland card. Target player reveals his or her hand and discards from it all cards with that name. Flashback - Sacrifice a creature.

4 Diabolic Edict
Diabolic Edict
Diabolic EdictSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature.

1 Chainer's Edict
Chainer's Edict
Chainer's EdictSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature. Flashback 5BB

3 Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.

1 Living Wish
Living Wish
Living WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Peterson

Text:
Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.

1 Faceless Butcher
Faceless Butcher
Faceless ButcherSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nightmare Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Faceless Butcher comes into play, remove target creature other than Faceless Butcher from the game. When Faceless Butcher leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner's control.

1 Genesis
Genesis
GenesisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Mark Zug

Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

1 Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.


SB:
2 Engineered Plague
Engineered Plague
Engineered PlagueSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
51
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
When Engineered Plague comes into play, choose a creature type.All creatures of the chosen type get -1/-1.

2 Coffin Purge
Coffin Purge
Coffin PurgeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
124
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Remove target card in a graveyard from the game. Flashback B (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

1 Planar Void
Planar Void
Planar VoidSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
149
Artist:
Andrew Goldhawk
Text:
Whenever a card is put into a graveyard, remove that card from the game.

1 Haunting Echoes
Haunting Echoes
Haunting EchoesSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Remove all cards in target player's graveyard other than basic land cards from the game. Search that player's library for all cards with the same name as cards removed this way, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

1 Cabal Therapy
Cabal Therapy
Cabal TherapySet: Judgment
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
62
Artist:
Ron Spencer

Text:
Name a nonland card. Target player reveals his or her hand and discards from it all cards with that name. Flashback - Sacrifice a creature.

1 Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
Dust BowlSet: Mercadian Masques
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
316
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.3, tap, Sacrifice a land: Destroy target nonbasic land.

1 Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.

1 Spike Weaver
Spike Weaver
Spike WeaverSet: Exodus
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spike
Rarity:
R
Number:
128
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Spike Weaver comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it.2, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Weaver: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.1, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Weaver: Creatures deal no combat damage this turn.

2 Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous BalothSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
278
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Sacrifice a Beast: You gain 4 life.

1 Faceless Butcher
Faceless Butcher
Faceless ButcherSet: Torment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nightmare Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Faceless Butcher comes into play, remove target creature other than Faceless Butcher from the game. When Faceless Butcher leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner's control.

1 Stronghold Taskmaster
Stronghold Taskmaster
Stronghold TaskmasterSet: Stronghold
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Minion
Rarity:
U
Number:
22
Artist:
Brom
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
All other black creatures get -1/-1.

1 Filth
Filth
FilthSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
U
Number:
66
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa

Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Swampwalk. As long as Filth is in your graveyard and you control a Swamp, creatures you control have Swampwalk.


SIDEBOARDING STRATEGY:

As I try to do before any major constructed tournament, I created a “sideboarding chart” for the deck. I first use it to fine-tune the deck list and make sure I wasn’t over- or under-sideboarding against any major deck. I also use it to think about in advance what I would sideboard in and, equally as important but often neglected, what I would sideboard out. I don’t necessarily always hold exactly to this chart, as each deck is slightly different and other factors come into play, but I do try to use it as a starting point and a guide. My sideboarding chart for this deck against the major decks I expected to face looked as follows:

Sideboarding Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
t in Excel format
--------
MATCHES:
--------

OK, now on to brief descriptions of the matches. There were 63 people in the tournament, so that meant 6 rounds of swiss before a cut to the Top 8.

ROUND 1 vs. Eduardo Chavez playing Red Deck Wins:

I lost game 1 due to his getting out 3 Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
s, which really are the problem card for Rock in this matchup. Games 2 and 3 went more as expected in this matchup.

WON, 1-0

ROUND 2 vs. Stanley Gin playing Oath:

Ugh – one of my worst matchups. I tried to play the land-game in game 1 since he got out Oath, but unfortunately he got Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
Dust BowlSet: Mercadian Masques
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
316
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.3, tap, Sacrifice a land: Destroy target nonbasic land.
advantage and won. He got color-screwed game 2 and game 3 I got the mega-disruption draw.

WON, 2-0

ROUND 3 vs. Erik Brown playing Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
:

I won Game 1 when he discovered he forgot to de-sideboard after his last match and had a Gainsay
Gainsay
GainsaySet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
26
Artist:
Roger Raupp
Text:
Counter target blue spell.
left in his deck. I lose Game 2 after he Upheaval
Upheaval
UpheavalSet: Odyssey
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
113
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Return all permanents to their owners' hands.
s for the win. Game 3 is VERY close, since although I have Genesis
Genesis
GenesisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Mark Zug

Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
in the graveyard, time is running out. Luckily I am able to win on the last extra turn.

WON, 3-0

ROUND 4 vs. Josh Fleisch playing Red Deck Wins:

I stall on land game 1 and lose, and game 2 Josh sideboards into a Ponza-style deck with 4 Stone Rain
Stone Rain
Stone RainSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
Destroy target land.
s and 4 Pillage
Pillage
PillageSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
198
Artist:
Richard Kane Ferguson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or land. It can't be regenerated.
s and he creates land problems for me when I draw less land than usual.

LOST, 3-1

ROUND 5 vs. Allen Sun playing The Rock:

Since Allen is a good friend and we’re playing the mirror we decide to intentionally draw. We figure that since we both started out 3-0 if we win our last match we should have good enough tie breakers to make it in.

DREW, 3—1-1

ROUND 6 vs. Nicolas Kidwell playing Goblins Sligh:

I get the disruption-heavy hand of Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
es and Therapies game 1 and lose. However, I am able to stabilize in plenty of time for games 2 and 3 and win.

WON, 4-1-1

The Top 8 is announced and sure enough I’m in!

QUARTER-FINALS vs. Erik Brown playing Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
:

It’s a rematch of Round 3. I get Genesis
Genesis
GenesisSet: Judgment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Mark Zug

Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
early game 1 and it’s key to my victory that game. Game 2 a Treetop Village
Treetop Village
Treetop VillageSet: Urza's Legacy
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Treetop Village comes into play tapped.T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.1G: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green creature with trample until end of turn. This creature still counts as a land.
attacks 7 times for the win as I disrupt his potential answers.

WON, 5-1-1

SEMI-FINALS vs. Josh Fleisch playing Red Deck Wins:

Another rematch! He gets a creature-light draw game 1 and isn’t able to put enough pressure on me. I don’t draw enough creatures game 2 and lose. In Game 3 I’m able to get out a Plague on Cats and never fall below 10.

WON, 6-1-1

FINALS vs. Nate Prawdzik playing UB Tradewind Rider
Tradewind Rider
Tradewind RiderSet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Artist:
John Matson
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying tap, Tap two creatures you control: Return target permanent to owner's hand.
s:

So I was in the finals, but I had heard of Nate’s deck and it was quite a bad matchup for The Rock. I was remembering from my PT Houston testing where Tradewind-Awakening
Awakening
AwakeningSet: Stronghold
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
51
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, untap all creatures and lands.
was around 70% vs. The Rock and Nate’s deck was probably at least that. Also, other people at the tournament earlier had echoed my sentiments. Therefore, I wanted to split to get the slot at all costs. And it pretty much came to that. I offered Nate $300 out of the $500 and all the product (1 box plus 9 packs) for the slot. He countered by saying we both knew the matchup was heavily in his favor and he said he was going to be greedy and ask for everything in exchange for the slot. Well, I didn’t have much of a choice if I wanted a good chance of Qualifying, so I agreed with the exception of requesting at least the 9 packs which he agreed to. So I got the Slot and a whopping 9 packs – whooppee! The important thing was qualifying.


-----
RECAP
-----

I was reasonably happy with the deck and think the only changes I would make to it would be due to whatever metagame was expected.

Next up is PT Chicago, which I unfortunately was not able to qualify for, but I still hope to at the last-chance qualifier. I still need 6 more pro points (in addition to the 2 point minimum from Venice) in the next 6 months to reach the gravy train level of 2, and qualifying for PT Chicago would go a long ways towards getting me there.

As usual, there are many people I’d like to thank for their help in preparing for this tournament:

- All the folks from Columbus, for very helpful discussions on card choices. This includes Mark Globus, Steve Shrock, Olwen Wee, Brian Akers, Sandy Tsoi, Gerald Allison, Denver Liston, Beth Liston, and Bevan Hilty.
- Allen Sun, for help playtesting.
- John Marat, for helpful discussions on deck construction.

As always, please feel free to email me with any comments or questions.


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