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CardShark Content - Alex Capaldi (7/8/2002)

Prizes are incentive. People enter tournaments not only to play and/or to improve their ratings; they also enter to win prizes. However, getting into the top bracket requires wonderful records with little to no losses. So how can a player who isn’t the greatest at deck tech or the most skilled going to get these prizes? Play Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
League at one of many conventions across the country.

Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
is run at every major convention – GenCon being the biggest that comes to my mind. Last weekend’s Origins had a strong Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
showing. The prizes were great and entry for the entire weekend only cost $5. My success was highly…successful. I ended up winning three foil Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
s, a foil DCI 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.
and two booster packs. All this and I only played about an hour and a half a day. The investment was well worth it and I didn’t even have to win very frequently. I’m going to tell all of you how to make the best out of Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
League at these conventions.

First, let’s take a gander at what the prizes were to see why you’d actually want to play. This year at Origins, the payoff was pretty darn good. Just for signing up you got a booster of Planeshift or Seventh Edition (both sets aren’t fantastic, but hey, I pulled a Meddling Mage
Meddling Mage
Meddling MageSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
116
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
As Meddling Mage comes into play, name a nonland card. The named card can't be played.
in my Planeshift booster). Then, the top twenty-five players of the day receive a foil Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
; the top player of the day received a Sideboard deck box in addition to his or her Bolt. The top twenty five players of the weekend were given a foil DCI 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.
, top fifteen got two boosters and the top five for the weekend were awarded eight additional booster packs of Planeshift and Seventh. All of these prizes were cumulative. If you were in multiple categories you got all the prizes that applied. Remember, this was for just $5.

Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
’s point system works as follows: You win a game, you receive two points. You lose a game, you receive one point. Essentially, good players will win. The more games you play, the more points you receive. So why shouldn’t people play decks like Tog or Millstone
Millstone
MillstoneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Text:
2, T: Take the top two cards from target player's library and put them in target player's graveyard.
? It happened, and those people didn’t win Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
. Granted, they were successful decks as far as win percentages, only they lacked the speed to play a multitude of games. If you want to walk off with promo cards, you can’t spend half an hour on a single game.

I played with a version of R/G beats that I constantly tweaked as I traded and realized what worked and what didn’t. It wasn’t a consistent winner. I WOULDN’T TAKE IT TO A TOURNAMENT. However, at Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
, it did exactly what I wanted it to. If I didn’t win by the 8th turn, I didn’t win. That was good! That means that I ran people over with the fury of a Basking Rootwalla
Basking Rootwalla
Basking RootwallaSet: Torment
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
121
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1G: Basking Rootwalla gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn. Madness 0
with an Elephant Guide
Elephant Guide
Elephant GuideSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Jim Nelson

Text:
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play.
early on, or I quickly went fetal due to flying wurm tokens. My games lasted an average of five minutes and I only won a little more than a third of them. Most people played fifteen-minute games.

Let’s think about the points now: two for a win, one for a loss. So, if I’m losing three games in fifteen minutes to an ever changing group of people that’s 12 points an hour for me. However, for everyone else who’s playing fifteen minute games and winning them all, it’s a mere 8 points an hour.

That’s right, I won because I lost! Keep this method up and you’ll always stay on top. Remember though, if you’re going to speed lose, you have to keep playing different people. If you consistently give the same people speed wins, they will come out ahead.

Skill at the game isn’t what’s required to succeed at Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
. You have to keep playing and constantly check your points versus others’. Don’t play games with people who are ahead of you in points. They’ll always at least gain one point from the match. Instead, play the new people who’ve just signed up or who’ve been busy playing in tournaments.

Here’s the deck that I played. As you’ll be able to see, it wasn’t that fantastic, but I still came out near the top. Play something faster and more successful and use the above methods and I’m sure you could easily become the convention’s Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
leader.


Frog on a Spit*
Green (21)
4:Basking Rootwalla
Basking Rootwalla
Basking RootwallaSet: Torment
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
121
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1G: Basking Rootwalla gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn. Madness 0

4:Llanowar
Llanowar
LlanowarSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Dominaria
Rarity:
C
Number:
22
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures have "{T}: Add {G}{G} to your mana pool." Whenever you roll {C}, untap all creatures you control.
Elf
4:Wild Mongrel
Wild Mongrel
Wild MongrelSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.

4:Elephant Guide
Elephant Guide
Elephant GuideSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Jim Nelson

Text:
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play.

3:Sylvan Safekeeper
Sylvan Safekeeper
Sylvan SafekeeperSet: Judgment
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
133
Artist:
Pete Venters

Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice a land: Target creature you control can't be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.

2:Erhnam Djinn
Erhnam Djinn
Erhnam DjinnSet: Arabian Nights
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Djinn
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Ken Meyer, Jr.
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
During your upkeep, you must choose one of opponent's non-wall creatures in play. Until your next upkeep, that creature gains the forestwalk ability. If opponent has no creatures, ignore this effect.


Red (15)
4:Firebolt
Firebolt
FireboltSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
193
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Firebolt deals 2 damage to target creature or player. Flashback 4R (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

4:Reckless Charge
Reckless Charge
Reckless ChargeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
215
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains haste until end of turn. Flashback 2R (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

4:Browbeat
Browbeat
BrowbeatSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
82
Artist:
Mark Tedin

Text:
Unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her, target player draws three cards.

3:Grim Lavamancer
Grim Lavamancer
Grim LavamancerSet: Torment
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, T, Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Grim Lavamancer deals 2 damage to target creature or player.


Land (24)
9:Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

7:Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

4:Karplusan Forest
Karplusan Forest
Karplusan ForestSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Add R or G to your mana pool. Karplusan Forest deals 1 damage to you.

4:Mossfire Valley
Mossfire Valley
Mossfire ValleySet: Odyssey
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
321
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
1, Tap: Add RG to your mana pool.


* My friend Don and I came up with this name, as the deck isn’t as fast as Frog in a Blender, but it functions just the same.

To keep the games short, don’t waste time doing unnecessarily long rituals. Rock-paper-scissors doesn’t require you to reach into your bag to pull out a die to roll to see who plays first. Also, keeping track of life mentally isn’t that hard when the games are shorter than the class hoochie’s skirt. Why paris if you don’t mind losing anyway? Pile-shuffling to avoid mana screw takes much too long. The little things add up so all you have to do is not let them happen to begin with.

Successful decks in Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
were things like the aforementioned Frog on a Spit, Quiet Roar, Burning Bridges and White Weenie. The vast amount of speed can really improve game enjoyment. “Attack, play a creature, go” is a much more entertaining style in Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
where you’re looking for 15 second turns.

Still, keep in mind that this is only a game. Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
is all about fun, not competition. Keep the games light with humor and conversation and you’ll enjoy yourself more than if you stress out about every move. That’s one benefit to Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
over tournaments. It’s not an anxiety fest. One person I played bribed me with a Cream saver to give him the win. Hey, what’s one less point if you can have a rockin’ mouthful of chocolaty goodness? It’s about entertainment.

Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
is where fun and crazy things can happen in games that aren’t too competitive. I was sitting on no red mana for about three turns with an all red hand, so I decided to drop all six cards to my Wild Mongrel
Wild Mongrel
Wild MongrelSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
. That certainly surprised my opponent who had blocked a Werebear
Werebear
WerebearSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid Bear
Rarity:
C
Number:
282
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
: Tap: Add G to your mana pool. Threshold - Werebear gets +3/+3. (You have threshold as long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)
(in the original deck build) that just gained threshold.

Well, that’s it: How to enjoy yourself while you lose and still get awesome prizes. Stay safe all, have fun and try out that Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
League!


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