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CardShark Content - Dave Andrews (9/13/2001)

Playtesting is for Sissies! -- IBC PTQ @ Niles, IL, 9-8-01
Dave Andrews

After picking up three byes at a Grand Prix Trial at The Outpost in Grand Rapids, I had started to feel a bit more confident that I could do some winning at the tail end of the IBC season and not have the entire season end up as a Magical disaster. The deck that I had used at that trial was virtually untested, and I had been able to spend a little time working with the deck and, most importantly, the sideboard, where I replaced the ridiculous Sleeping Potion
Sleeping Potion
Sleeping PotionSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
34
Text:
When Sleeping Potion comes into play, tap enchanted creature. Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step. When enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice Sleeping Potion.
s with Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
as an answer to 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.
, as well as added some additional beatdown critters for certain matchups where I needed a little more gas. As opposed to when I headed off to the trial a week before, I was heading for last Saturday’s PTQ with a much more tested and practiced deck.

So I trashed it.

On the ride to Niles, IL, Scott Herzberg was trying to decide what deck he was going to play for the day. He turned down my suggestion to just take a nap and let the magical elves build a deck for him while he slept, and turned to a much more scientific method of deciding on a deck: he shuffled a stack of cards, each card representing a different deck, and pulled his deck choice from among them. The card he pulled represented a B/W/u deck similar to the B/W decks we all started the season trying to build, but with Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
instead of Phrexian 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.
, plus a few other blue enhancements. As he and Troy Skinner sat in the front of the car, discussing exact numbers of cards in the list, I kept hearing the cards they were mentioning and thinking, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good. Oh, U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
, that’s nice. Probe
Probe
ProbeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Kicker 1B (You may pay an additional 1B as you play this spell.)Draw three cards, then discard two cards from your hand.If you paid the kicker cost, target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
? Sounds interesting. I like Dromar’s 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.
m, too.” My cards were locked away in the trunk, but I whipped out my trusty Palm Pilot and started scribbling out just how I would build the deck if I had wanted to play it. By the time it was done, I indeed wanted to play it.

4:U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)

3:Ravenous Rats
Ravenous Rats
Ravenous RatsSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat
Rarity:
C
Number:
68
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Ravenous Rats comes into play, target opponent chooses and discards a card from his or her hand.

2:Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.

4:Recoil
Recoil
RecoilSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
264
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.

4:Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.

4:Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
’s Verdict
4:Dromar’s 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.
m
2:Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

3:Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
(should have been 4)
3:Probe
Probe
ProbeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Kicker 1B (You may pay an additional 1B as you play this spell.)Draw three cards, then discard two cards from your hand.If you paid the kicker cost, target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
(should have been 2, what was I thinking?)
2:Yawgmoth’s Agenda
4:Caves of Koilos
Caves of Koilos
Caves of KoilosSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
140
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add W or B to your mana pool. Caves of Koilos deals 1 damage to you.

4:Coastal Tower
Coastal Tower
Coastal TowerSet: Invasion
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
321
Artist:
Don Hazeltine
Text:
Coastal Tower comes into play tapped.T: Add W or U to your mana pool.

4:Salt Marsh
Salt Marsh
Salt MarshSet: Invasion
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
326
Artist:
Jerry Tiritilli
Text:
Salt Marsh comes into play tapped.T: Add U or B to your mana pool.

3:Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

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

5:Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.


I’m going to list the sideboard, but I’d prefer that you just skip over it – it is somewhat embarrassing. Not 3 Sleeping Potion
Sleeping Potion
Sleeping PotionSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
34
Text:
When Sleeping Potion comes into play, tap enchanted creature. Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step. When enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice Sleeping Potion.
s embarrassing, but still. I really need to play a deck a few times to get an idea for the strengths and weaknesses in each matchup before I can build a sideboard. Here’s what I put together:

2:Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

2:Lobotomy
Lobotomy
LobotomySet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Look at target player's hand and choose any of those cards other than a basic land. Search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of the chosen card and remove them from the game. That player shuffles his or her library afterwards.

3:Gainsay
Gainsay
GainsaySet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
26
Artist:
Roger Raupp
Text:
Counter target blue spell.

2:Marauding Knight
Marauding Knight
Marauding KnightSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from whiteMarauding Knight gets +1/+1 for each plains your opponents control.

2:Dodecapod
Dodecapod
DodecapodSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
134
Artist:
John Howe
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Dodecapod from your hand, put it into play with two +1/+1 counters on it instead of putting it into your graveyard.

2:Urborg Shambler
Urborg Shambler
Urborg ShamblerSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
U
Number:
133
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
All other black creatures get -1/-1.

2:Crusading Knight
Crusading Knight
Crusading KnightSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
R
Number:
12
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from blackCrusading Knight gets +1/+1 for each swamp your opponents control.


We arrived at the tournament site a half hour before the tournament was set to begin, so I quickly assembled the deck and prepared to play the PTQ with a brand new (to me) deck.

Round 1 vs. Jason Tozier with U/R/W Control

In game 1, my deck came out with the terribly disruptive double-Verdict draw, and discarding four cards in two turns wrecked Jason’s hand. I got in a few hits with a Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
, and continued to disrupt him with Recoil
Recoil
RecoilSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
264
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.
and Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
until a Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
hit the table, and that was checkmate for game 1.

Game 2 started with a Ravenous Rats
Ravenous Rats
Ravenous RatsSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat
Rarity:
C
Number:
68
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Ravenous Rats comes into play, target opponent chooses and discards a card from his or her hand.
, followed by a Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
on one of Jason’s lands. A few turns later I had both the Rat and a U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
working, and drew and played a Lobotomy
Lobotomy
LobotomySet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Look at target player's hand and choose any of those cards other than a basic land. Search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of the chosen card and remove them from the game. That player shuffles his or her library afterwards.
. I had to take Powerstone Minefield
Powerstone Minefield
Powerstone MinefieldSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
115
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Whenever a creature attacks or blocks, Powerstone Minefield deals 2 damage to it.
from his deck in order to keep my offense going, and while thumbing through his deck I saw a full 4 Dodecapod
Dodecapod
DodecapodSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
134
Artist:
John Howe
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Dodecapod from your hand, put it into play with two +1/+1 counters on it instead of putting it into your graveyard.
s – I’m glad he didn’t have one for my turn 2 Rat! Jason never quite recovered from the early disruption, and the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
shows up to wrap up the game a second time.

Round 2 vs. Mark Piunn with G/U/r Tempo

U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
is a troublesome creature for the G/U/r deck, and in this game I had 2 working early. With all the disruption in my deck keeping a real race from ever developing, the 2 Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
es were all I needed to reduce Mark to 0.

In game 2, Mark was a little land light, and my deck was very unforgiving to him, providing me with 2 Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
s to further his mana trouble. I had only a U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
to pressure with, but Mark continued to draw non-land cards, until it had gone too far and he just packed.

Round 3 vs. Mike Dickerson with B/U/W control

I started off game 1 with 2 early Ravenous Rats
Ravenous Rats
Ravenous RatsSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat
Rarity:
C
Number:
68
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Ravenous Rats comes into play, target opponent chooses and discards a card from his or her hand.
, while Mike started off a little land-light. Once again, the deck I was playing was very unforgiving to a mana-screwed player, and the disruption kept him from dealing with the 2 Rats, who eventually brought him down to be finished off with the help of a Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
.

In game 2, my opening hand was not as disruptive as I had become accustomed to thus far in the tournament, but it was enough to sneak out a Marauding Knight
Marauding Knight
Marauding KnightSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from whiteMarauding Knight gets +1/+1 for each plains your opponents control.
. Soon after, I realized Mike had probably sided out his discard in fear of Dodecapod
Dodecapod
DodecapodSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
134
Artist:
John Howe
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Dodecapod from your hand, put it into play with two +1/+1 counters on it instead of putting it into your graveyard.
, so I cast the ‘Pod in my hand as a 3/3, and together the 2 beasts brought Mike down to 0.

Round 4 vs. Eric Berger with U/W/G Hippo

So far on the tournament the deck I was playing, combined with the occasional poor draw by an opponent, had been doing all the work. At no point in any of my first 3 matches had a felt like I was in any trouble. This round was to be different, as I started out game 1 with a mulligan. I was playing from behind the entire game, but was finally able to clear my opponent’s critters from the board and drop the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
when I was at 2 and my opponent was at 17. A few swings later, and I was happy to have won a game in which I had been so far behind.

In the second game, I was in worse trouble than the first, when I was able to cast 2 early Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
’s Verdicts, but didn’t draw much of anything else and was soon facing an impressive army without anything to protect myself. I had come back from behind by playing carefully in the first game, but in this game it all came down to a topdeck. Facing a Phelddagrif
Phelddagrif
PhelddagrifSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
W: Flying until end of turn. Target opponent gains 2 life.U: Return Phelddagrif to owner's hand. Target opponent may draw a card.G: Trample until end of turn. Put a Hippo token into play under target opponent's control. Treat this token as a 1/1 green creature.
f and 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.
, I knew I needed to topdeck Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
to win, so I played Yawgmoth’s Agenda with only the 2 Verdicts in my graveyard, to make sure there would be no countermagic if I did draw the Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
. Eric added a Sabretooth Nishoba to his army, and brought me down to 6 life (thankfully I had gained 9 life by casting 3 Verdicts). With my last chance to draw an answer, I flipped over the Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
from the top of my deck, and triumphantly cleared away Eric’s Phelddagrif
Phelddagrif
PhelddagrifSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
W: Flying until end of turn. Target opponent gains 2 life.U: Return Phelddagrif to owner's hand. Target opponent may draw a card.G: Trample until end of turn. Put a Hippo token into play under target opponent's control. Treat this token as a 1/1 green creature.
f, 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.
, Nishoba, and 2 Sunscape Apprentice
Sunscape Apprentice
Sunscape ApprenticeSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
41
Artist:
Stephanie Law
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
G, T: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.U, T: Put target creature you control on top of its owner's library.
s. I thought that was a pretty good topdeck, but on the next turn my deck decided to go for one better – following the Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
from the turn before, I peeled a Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
, and slapped it on the table to take over the second game. Twice in a row I had been on the verge of losing, and the Angel came out to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Round 5 vs. Sam King with G/R/U Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.


I was careful in game 1 to hold back a few lands, and not overcommit resources to the board. When Sam cast Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
for the first time, I was waiting to cast Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
in response, which my buddy Troy Skinner had advised would be the key to not only recovering but coming out aggressively following the Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
. It worked beautifully, and both Sam and I were active in fighting for control of the board following the first Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
. Things were looking good for me when I had 2 Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
es versus Sam’s 2 Blurred Mongoose
Blurred Mongoose
Blurred MongooseSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mongoose
Rarity:
R
Number:
183
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Blurred Mongoose can't be countered.Blurred Mongoose can't be the target of spells or abilities.
s, but I made a horrible error that opened the door for Sam to burn up both of my Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
es. Without blockers for Sam’s creatures, I was forced to drop a 6th land (I had already been hit by one Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
) and Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
.

As it became apparent that total control of the board would be difficult to obtain, even with the help of Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
, I think Sam decided he would have to use his burn spells to win this game, which meant he couldn’t afford to lose too many lands casting Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
again. He pitched 2 Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
s to a Gerrard
Gerrard
GerrardSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
2
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
-4
Toughness:
+0
Text:
During your draw phase, draw an additional card.
’s Verdict, and I guessed (correctly, as it turned out) that there would be no more. Sam had drawn more cards than I had using Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
and cantrips, and was nearing the end of his deck, when we found ourselves in a very delicately balanced situation. I held Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
in my hand, and a Dromar’s 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.
m that Sam knew was there. If I could get the Angel to resolve, that would be victory for certain. There were only 1 each of Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
and Exclude
Exclude
ExcludeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Mark Romanoski
Text:
Counter target creature spell.Draw a card.
in Sam’s graveyard, and not yet 4 Mystic Snake
Mystic Snake
Mystic SnakeSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
You may play Mystic Snake any time you could play an instant. When Mystic Snake comes into play, counter target spell.
s. He had been holding 1 of the cards in his hand since way back when I cast Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
, so I knew it wasn’t a Snake, and he had let another Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
hit the table, so I knew that specific card wasn’t an Exclude
Exclude
ExcludeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Mark Romanoski
Text:
Counter target creature spell.Draw a card.
, so I was pretty certain it was a Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
. Of the other 2 cards in his hand, it was reasonable to assume 1 was either a Snake or an Exclude
Exclude
ExcludeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Mark Romanoski
Text:
Counter target creature spell.Draw a card.
, based on the cards remaining in his library, the cards in his graveyard, and the way he was playing. The other I knew was Urza
Urza
UrzaSet: Vanguard
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
-1
Toughness:
+10
Text:
3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
’s Rage because it had been revealed in an earlier Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
, and he had the 12 mana to kick it up. All together, we were both in a situation where the first player to flinch would lose – if I tried to cast Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
, he would counter, and if I tried to back it up with Dromar’s 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.
m, he would Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
it, untap, and Rage me out. On the other hand, if he tried to Rage me, I’d 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.
m myself up in life to stay alive, and then drop the Angel while he was tapped. I desperately wanted to draw another land to play around Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
, but the next land I drew was a Coastal Tower
Coastal Tower
Coastal TowerSet: Invasion
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
321
Artist:
Don Hazeltine
Text:
Coastal Tower comes into play tapped.T: Add W or U to your mana pool.
, and by the time it untapped, he had 15 mana available to Exclude
Exclude
ExcludeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Mark Romanoski
Text:
Counter target creature spell.Draw a card.
an Angel, and Rage me in response to my 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.
m, so the way was not clear for me to make a move.

While we waited for our opportunity to slap a game winner on the table, we maneuvered carefully with the creatures on the board and the additional spells we drew. I was able to work out a creature advantage with U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
, and Sam was forced to Rage the Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
to regenerate during my attack phase or take lethal damage. This led to the Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
being Repulse
Repulse
RepulseSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
70
Artist:
Aaron Boyd
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand.Draw a card.
d and countered, my Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
being countered, and Sam bringing me down to 1 life with Blurred Mongoose
Blurred Mongoose
Blurred MongooseSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mongoose
Rarity:
R
Number:
183
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Blurred Mongoose can't be countered.Blurred Mongoose can't be the target of spells or abilities.
and Mystic Snake
Mystic Snake
Mystic SnakeSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
You may play Mystic Snake any time you could play an instant. When Mystic Snake comes into play, counter target spell.
. With both of us at 1 life, and Sam having two creatures to my none, I cast Yawgmoth’s Agenda, then Rout
Rout
RoutSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may play Rout any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
as an instant during Sam’s turn, followed by Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
from the graveyard on my next turn, to bring about victory in game 1 as time was running out for the round. The match ended as a 1-0 victory for me, and that 1 game was my hardest fought battle of the day.

Round 6 and 7 vs. Jacob Janoska and Ryan Opalk, intentional draw.

Quarterfinals vs. Prakhesh Madhev, mirror match

I wasn’t excited about starting the top 8 with a mirror match. I won the die roll and played first for game 1, and started with 2 Ravenous Rats
Ravenous Rats
Ravenous RatsSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rat
Rarity:
C
Number:
68
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Ravenous Rats comes into play, target opponent chooses and discards a card from his or her hand.
. Those 2 Rats kept attacking while my opponent struggled to draw land, and by the time my opponent had land, I had drawn 3 Dromar’s 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.
ms to protect my Rats, and those 2 brought home the game 1 victory.

I started game 2 with a mulligan, and kept a very non-disruptive hand. I got beat up by U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
es while providing little more resistance than tossing out the occasional Recoil
Recoil
RecoilSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
264
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.
or Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
target. Game 3 was even worse, as I mulliganned twice to keep a 5 card hand with 1 land, and proceeded to miss several land drops. I did eventually get enough mana to play the game, and got a Marauding Knight
Marauding Knight
Marauding KnightSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from whiteMarauding Knight gets +1/+1 for each plains your opponents control.
on to face my opponent’s 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.
and U3BlY3RyYWwgLynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
, but my opponent followed that with another Lynx
Lynx
LynxSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Forestwalk (If defending player has any forests in play, Lynx can't be blocked.)
and Mage, and once he had the way cleared with 2 Mages naming Dromar’s 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.
m and Recoil
Recoil
RecoilSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
264
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.
, he dropped the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
to wrap up the match.

Now, winning a match when you take 3 mulligans in the last 2 games is difficult, but the truth of this match was that my opponent had done more preperation for this tournament than I had. I think he had a good understanding of the mirror match coming into the tournament, whereas I was learning this deck as I went along, and he had a much better sideboard. I’m looking forward to finally having an opportunity to do some real playtesting and practice in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully I’ll be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming PTQ in Detroit and Grand Prix: Minneapolis. At any rate, I was happy to be able to break out of my recent slump, and get back into the Top 8 of a PTQ.

I don’t normally do Props/Slops in my reports, but recently my work schedule has been crazy, and I’ve had a ton of help trying to stay competitive this PTQ season. Thanks to CardShark for continuing to support Team CardShark and magic players in general. Thanks to The Outpost in Grand Rapids, MI, for providing a well-run tournament close to home so I could get my game back on track. Thanks to Travis Cullum, who has been able to provide me with a good number of practice games even with my crazy schedule lately. Most of all, thanks to Troy Skinner, who has done all of the work in this format with no help from me up until this point, and has been my lifeline of information during this PTQ season. I’ll be pulling my weight again soon, I promise!


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