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CardShark Content - Tim Hebert, with Erik T. Dahl (2/22/2003)

ERIK: I couldn't believe it. There we were... Tim ´´Tony´´ Hebert and Erik ´´Spiny´´ Dahl sitting next to each other in our final round of the Pro Tour Qualifier in Sacramento. It seemed like everything had been against us in this, the first sanctioned tournament either of us had played in for more than five years. As aging players scrubbing the scene with our newness, I remember thinking that even if we didn't go all the way, our experience would make a great article, as a report of how a high-stakes tournament might play out for players like us.

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I know the game of magic very well; I remember buying booster packs of Legends in the stores,, I read lots of articles on the 'net, and I study the rules to make sure I understand how everything works. When I heard about a PTQ within easy driving distance, I was game. Of course I had visions of walking in and taking the whole thing, but I didn't really believe them (though I did that once just after The Dark came out, but that's another story). Mostly I just wanted to see what it would be like.

I had about a week to get ready, and as I had been playtesting a deck based on Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
for our casual format (which you can read about in my other articles here on CardShark), I thought that would be a good deck to play. I started with a white, red and green build, and after working it for a few days I decided it really wasn't fast enough to take on Sligh, which I expected to be fairly common. Right about then Brainburst published an article about a Slide deck (´´Slide Show,´´ by Jay Schneider) that seemed like it would do what I wanted. You can see more or less what I played at http://www.brainburst.com/db/article.asp?id=2609. I tried it out for three more days to make sure I was comfortable with it, made a few necessary changes to the sideboard, because I didn't have some of the cards. I added three Enlightened Tutor
Enlightened Tutor
Enlightened TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Search your library for an artifact or enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.
s in place of a Worship
Worship
WorshipSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
57
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 instead reduces it to 1 if you control a creature.
and both Light of Day
Light of Day
Light of DaySet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
29
Artist:
Drew Tucker
Text:
Black creatures can't attack or block.
s.

Take it, Tim!

TIM: So Erik and I pull into Bradshaw's restaurant a couple hours before game time, and we order some nice food. I had the Linguica, I believe, and E ordered an omelet. He had been nice enough to bring me some sleeves for the tournament. Who knew sleeves were such a big deal? Anyway, I had carefully built a rogue deck that no one would ever want to play. Erik had netdecked, more or less, which made me worry because he CAN be a little Spiky. It's not that I didn't want him doing well, it's just that I didn't want to have to wait for late matches if he did. Well, without further ado, my deck:

VERDANT SUCK SESSION
12 Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

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

4 Nantuko Monastery
Nantuko Monastery
Nantuko MonasterySet: Judgment
Color:
Land
Type:
land
Rarity:
U
Number:
142
Artist:
Rob Alexander

Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Threshold - GW: Nantuko Monastery becomes a 4/4 green and white creature with first strike until end of turn. It's still a land.


3 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.

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.

4 Wall of Mulch
Wall of Mulch
Wall of MulchSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
298
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.). G, Sacrifice a Wall: Draw a card.

4 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.

3 Blastoderm
Blastoderm
BlastodermSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.

3 Gurzigost
Gurzigost
GurzigostSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Power:
6
Toughness:
8
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Gurzigost unless you put two cards from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. GG, Discard a card from your hand: You may have Gurzigost deal its combat damage to defending player this turn as though it weren't blocked.


4 Verdant Succession
Verdant Succession
Verdant SuccessionSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
280
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever a green nontoken creature is put into a graveyard from play, that creature's controller may search his or her library for a card with the same name as that creature and put it into play. If that player does, he or she then shuffles his or her library.

4 Sterling Grove
Sterling Grove
Sterling GroveSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
278
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All other enchantments you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities.1, Sacrifice Sterling Grove: Search your library for an enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.

3 Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.

3 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 Natural Affinity
Natural Affinity
Natural AffinitySet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
260
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
All lands become 2/2 creatures until end of turn. They still count as lands.


Sideboard: A bunch of Stuff that didn't figure that prominently in any of my matches. I mean, what, are you going to copy this deck? Who cares!?!

The general strategy there was to ward off Sligh with walls and Elders, and disregard Rock's 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.
because of Verdant Succession
Verdant Succession
Verdant SuccessionSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
280
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever a green nontoken creature is put into a graveyard from play, that creature's controller may search his or her library for a card with the same name as that creature and put it into play. If that player does, he or she then shuffles his or her library.
. In fact, clean sweeps suited me fine in this deck. My Wraths 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.
s were meant for that purpose, plus bringing back all my greenies via Succession. I reasoned that 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.
/Verdant Succession
Verdant Succession
Verdant SuccessionSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
280
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever a green nontoken creature is put into a graveyard from play, that creature's controller may search his or her library for a card with the same name as that creature and put it into play. If that player does, he or she then shuffles his or her library.
would also work well together. With Gurzigost
Gurzigost
GurzigostSet: Torment
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Power:
6
Toughness:
8
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Gurzigost unless you put two cards from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. GG, Discard a card from your hand: You may have Gurzigost deal its combat damage to defending player this turn as though it weren't blocked.
's ´´drawback´´ I would be able to set up a ´´Ravenous loop´´ and keep gaining life. Same for Wall of Mulch
Wall of Mulch
Wall of MulchSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
298
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.). G, Sacrifice a Wall: Draw a card.
. I wanted to have 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.
, but Erik and I only had four between us, and, well, they were his. The absolute ideal play would be to have Succession and a bunch of beasts in play, then during the opponent's turn play Natural Affinity
Natural Affinity
Natural AffinitySet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
260
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
All lands become 2/2 creatures until end of turn. They still count as lands.
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.
, thus bringing my turn around with me having a bunch of Succeeded beasts and my opponent having no land. Looking back, I know this seems pretty dumb, but remember I had never actually competed in a tournament. Except Alliances prerelease. And I got k illed in that one too.

ERIK: We spent a little time at breakfast discussing our decks, and what we could expect to see. I remember suggesting to Tim that he play 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.
, which might fake opponents into thinking he was playing The Rock. I think he decided they didn't fit because he needed the space for early blockers like Wall of Mulch
Wall of Mulch
Wall of MulchSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
298
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.). G, Sacrifice a Wall: Draw a card.
or the Elders. We hadn't really had much time before that to discuss our decks, and we didn't take the time for any practice matches against each other.

TIM: I didn't like birds because they are not as good blockers as 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.
, Wall of Mulch
Wall of Mulch
Wall of MulchSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
298
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.). G, Sacrifice a Wall: Draw a card.
, or 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.
, and I really thought I had enough acceleration there. I am aware that Birds are a famous, expensive, card. I am old school. But dude! They're 0/1!

So, anyway, we drove to the hotel, which was difficult, because contrary to published information it was NOT a Howard Johnson's. Once we got to the place it still didn't seem certain, but soon we caught the familiar, refreshing scent of Geek, and we knew we were in the right place.

ERIK: Wow, did it smell like geek. I was actually very disappointed at how little space we had. I mean, I've played in restaurants where three of us were crammed around a four-person table with food taking up all the spots that cards were not, and by comparison those games were roomy. We were there about an hour early, but by the time the room filled up it was actually impossible to get to seats in the middle of the table because everyone was pressed together so tightly.

The judges were late, too. I mean, registration was supposed to start at 9:00, and I don't think they were actually set up until 9:30. So, we sat there chatting with a couple of guys who gave the impression they were also competing for the first time. They didn't know how to write up their decklists, but they had nice WotC deck boxes with Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
on them that came with sleeves that they were showing off.

TIM: Yeah, but I think they were FNM Veterans. One of them who was playing WUB Muffin announced he was playing a rogue deck that had never been seen in Sacramento before. When we found out it was WUB Muffin, I was like, ´´Oh, big Rogue player, huh? That deck is *so* three days ago on the internet. Loser.´´ Only not out loud.

Well, eventually, they posted our first round matches, and we all went to sit down. I was against Carlos 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.
. ´´Carlos´´ is also the name of my first basketball. I found Carlos, the ball, on a lonely court one day. I knew that was his name because it was written on his smooth, round skin, probably to prevent the exact thing that happened next, which was me taking him home. I don't know if Carlos' owner ever came looking for him or not. Anyway, it's probably the bad karma from taking the ball that made me lose the match to Carlos. Or maybe that he had Wonder
Wonder
WonderSet: Judgment
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Incarnation
Rarity:
U
Number:
54
Artist:
Rebecca Guay

Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying As long as Wonder is in your graveyard and you control an island, creatures you control have flying.
in the graveyard, tons of 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.
, Intuition
Intuition
IntuitionSet: Tempest
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
Search your library for any three cards and reveal them to target opponent. He or she chooses one. Put that card into your hand and the rest into your graveyard. Shuffle your library afterwards.
, Accumulated Knowledge
Accumulated Knowledge
Accumulated KnowledgeSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
26
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Draw a card, then draw cards equal to the number of Accumulated Knowledge cards in all graveyards.
, and other such, and would sail over my beasts with 24 points of damage at a time. That 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.
is a real killer! I never realized before that after throwing away his hand, Carlos could then double-dip the same cards out of the graveyard. After two quick games, I found myself thinking, ´´If only I had put Constant Mists
Constant Mists
Constant MistsSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
54
Artist:
Dermot Power
Text:
BuybackSacrifice a land (You may sacrifice a land in addition to any other costs when you play this spell. If you do, put Constant Mists into your hand instead of your graveyard as part of the spell's effect.) Creatures deal no combat damage this turn.
in the sideboard. I would have basically let him remove his entire hand and graveyard from the game, swing with the big boy, and then fogged him out, and let the fun begin. IF I had put such a card in my deck, I might not have lost this match. Oh well. My deck was in fact beginning to work as I expected, but I just didn't have any answers when Toothy brought it.

TIM MATCHES 0-1, GAMES 0-2

ERIK: When the time came for my first matchup, I squeezed down to the seat and tried to fit my stuff under me. There was no way; my backpack had to go on the edge of the room. I smiled at the guy when he showed up, but he was very uncomfortable with eye contact and didn't say anything except a mumbled ´´hello.´´ We shuffled. I'm usually very comfortable and friendly, but I guess it was really hard to get past the competitive nature of the event, and I don't think I even got him to tell me his name. Of course I had it from the matchlist, but alas, I don't remember it now.

I had brought my super-cool coin changer to keep score, which I didn't realize was dumb, not only because I didn't have enough room, but because my opponent would be writing down his score and mine, and thus my coins would just take extra time. Furthermore, while I had brought lots of scratch paper and pencils, they were all over in my bag, and it would have been a serious disruption to get up and get it once the match started. So, I had to be extra careful to keep track of his life total and my own with the coins, which distracted me a lot. I'm sure he thought I was an idiot.

However, I drew a very good opening hand: I had the Fluctuator
Fluctuator
FluctuatorSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
295
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Cycling costs you up to 2 less to play.
, Slide, and a couple of good Cycling cards. He went first and played a Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.
, and I played a Slippery Karst
Slippery Karst
Slippery KarstSet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
327
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
Slippery Karst comes into play tapped.T: Add G to your mana pool.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
. He stared at me for a few seconds, and then muttered something like ´´I playtested against this.´´ I could barely hear him, and I wasn't sure if he was trying to intimidate me or just making conversation. I said something like ´´Yeah?´´ and while he didn't reply, his expression was along the lines of ´´Of course I did, I'm a professional.´´ Hmm.

There was something about him that really put me off, because he spent so long on each of his turns. He would draw and then start flipping the cards in his hand around for about two or three minutes before he played. Of course I wasn't going to call over a judge, but I did narrow my eyes at him. He played a Flooded Strand
Flooded Strand
Flooded StrandSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
316
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
T, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a plains or island card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.
, got an Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
, and played 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.
, naming Fluctuator
Fluctuator
FluctuatorSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
295
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Cycling costs you up to 2 less to play.
. Well, all right, fine; for my second turn I played a land and a Wall of Mulch
Wall of Mulch
Wall of MulchSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
298
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls can't attack.). G, Sacrifice a Wall: Draw a card.
. He played another 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.
, naming Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
. This didn't make me happy, but I rolled with it. I drew and knocked. He played a THIRD 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.
, naming 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.
. Slowly. I shrugged, and he Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
d my Wall and started attacking.

At some point I asked him how much life he had, and he said ´´20.´´ I pointed out that he had used the Flooded Strand
Flooded Strand
Flooded StrandSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
316
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
T, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a plains or island card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.
, and he blinked and admitted, ´´Okay, yeah, 19.´´ This made me kind of skeptical that he was on the up and up, but he killed me and I went on to sideboard. The first game had taken about half of the allotted time, even though he didn't do anything but kill me with the Mages.

Game two was even slower, which was probably in his favor. This time I shuffled his deck when he offered it, which I don't think he liked, because he became even more withdrawn. However, I didn't get anything exciting in my first few turns, and he got a Whipcorder
Whipcorder
WhipcorderSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Soldier Rebel
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
W, T: Tap target creature.. Morph W (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
and a Phyrexian Negator
Phyrexian Negator
Phyrexian NegatorSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
65
Artist:
John Zeleznik
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
TrampleWhenever Phyrexian Negator is dealt damage, sacrifice a permanent for each 1 damage dealt to it.
, so I started dying. He was still playing extremely slowly, and the game lasted until we were almost out of time, but he managed to do me in before it was over. I don't remember a lot of it, I'm afraid.

The thing I kept thinking about that game was that besides not being fun for me at all, it didn't seem fun for him, either. His hands were obviously shaking, he kept fidgeting with his cards, and he wouldn't look at me or talk. That made the whole match very distasteful, and made me suspicious of his play, because I didn't really like him as an opponent. This is probably why I'm a ´´Spiny´´ rather than a ´´Spike´´ -- though I want to win, I also want to have fun. I couldn't relate to this guy as a person, and that made it hard for me to respect him as a player. I was very glad that game was over, but I was more unhappy that I lost because it felt as if his *cards* beat me, not him.

ERIK MATCHES 0-1, GAMES 0-2
COMBINED MATCHES 0-2, GAMES 0-4

TIM: In between matches, Erik was a big huge whiner. I mean, I lost too, but you didn't hear me complaining. Well, actually, my opponent was nice, too, even if he did know he was better than me. Erik's opponent did sound like sort of a not-fun person. Lighten up, you know? Well, anyway, we went downstairs and had a sort of cozy fireside chat with a tall guy named “Tall I.T. Worker Guy from L.A.” Tall I.T. Worker Guy from L.A. seemed to share our general outlook on life that 1) Not having fun sucks, and 2) people at tournaments are not guaranteed to help you have fun. But, he was upbeat, and I think this helped cheer a despondent Erik up for round 2.

ERIK: I was in a fairly foul mood before match two, but I did like Tall I.T. Worker Guy from L.A., and I gave him my email address so that he could write to me about a game he was working on. He hasn't yet, though. Anyway, I sat down opposite my opponent, this time armed with a pencil and paper, and though I felt kind of crappy I did smile at him. I was pleased that he smiled back. He looked familar; I realized Tim and I had ridden the elevator up with him, and he had made a joke. Wow, an actual person! I was a lot happier about our game. I shuffled, he shuffled, we rolled, and he was going first.

He played a forest, and I played a Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil ThicketSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
326
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Tranquil Thicket comes into play tapped. T: Add G to your mana pool. Cycling G (G, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
. As an aside, I'll say that I had really debated putting in the Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil ThicketSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
326
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Tranquil Thicket comes into play tapped. T: Add G to your mana pool. Cycling G (G, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
s, because I couldn't cycle them for free with the Fluctuator
Fluctuator
FluctuatorSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
295
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Cycling costs you up to 2 less to play.
and they were basically a tapped Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
most of the time. I had even considered Blasted Landscape
Blasted Landscape
Blasted LandscapeSet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
319
Artist:
Ciruelo
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
instead, but I decided I should stick to the tested decklist. Anyway, I played the cycling land first because I never had a one casting cost spell, and it was a good time to play a land that comes in tapped.

I realized my opponent was staring at me, with his mouth open. I kind of let myself feel good, since my last opponent had done the same thing. I guess Slide Show wasn't very common. He said something like, ´´Oh my god, this is going to be insane,´´ and tapped his forest to cycle HIS OWN Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil Thicket
Tranquil ThicketSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
326
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Tranquil Thicket comes into play tapped. T: Add G to your mana pool. Cycling G (G, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)
. Then I got to stare at him. He grinned nervously, and I grinned nervously. This should be very interesting, though I had never even considered playing a mirror match. I took a deep breath and started playing more seriously.

He was nice enough to appreciate my Unglued lands. I got out an early Slide without a Fluctuator
Fluctuator
FluctuatorSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
295
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Cycling costs you up to 2 less to play.
, but he played a Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
. Yes, that's right, a Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
-- an absolutely perfect card to play in the mirror. He started gaining tons of life, and 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.
ed for a Monk Realist
Monk Realist
Monk RealistSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Monk Realist comes into play, destroy target enchantment.
. I played a 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.
. I really wasn't sure what to do about those creatures of his, but I cycled like mad and got a 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.
. He played the Realist, getting rid of my Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
, and put his own into play.

I played very badly in this match. I don't know if I was off-balance from my last game, or if the fact that it was a mirror match threw me off, but I made some very dumb moves. The first was that I went and got a Deranged Hermit
Deranged Hermit
Deranged HermitSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Echo (During your next upkeep after this permanent comes under your control, pay its casting cost or sacrifice it.) When Deranged Hermit comes into play, put four Squirrel tokens into play. Treat these tokens as 1/1 green creatures.All Squirrels get +1/+1.
with my 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.
. No, I didn't get a Monk Realist
Monk Realist
Monk RealistSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Monk Realist comes into play, destroy target enchantment.
, or a Krosan Tusker
Krosan Tusker
Krosan TuskerSet: Onslaught
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
272
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
6
Toughness:
5
Text:
Cycling 2G (2G, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.). When you cycle Krosan Tusker, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
, or what I realize could have been the killer, Terravore
Terravore
TerravoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
278
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Trample Terravore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of land cards in all graveyards.
-- I got the Hermit. Then, to make matters worse, I cast it. My opponent must have been grinning inside (though he was really friendly the whole match -- I really enjoyed playing him). He let it resolve, and I pulled out four of the cool little color squirrel tokens that look like miniature versions of the player rewards cards. He did comment that those were cool. Then I put the second half of my ill-thought plan into practice, and played Clear
Clear
ClearSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
7
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target enchantment.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
on his Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
. I know I should have done that *before* playing the Hermit, but there it was. In response, he cycled four cards and removed all my tokens. I grimaced, but decide
d I could make more later.

He played another Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
, still gaining tons of life with he Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
, and removed his Realist. I stared at his cards and thought about it some more. The advice for this deck was to cycle when you need answers, so I decided that's what I would have to do. I untapped and drew. My opponent ruefully informed me that the Deranged Hermit
Deranged Hermit
Deranged HermitSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Echo (During your next upkeep after this permanent comes under your control, pay its casting cost or sacrifice it.) When Deranged Hermit comes into play, put four Squirrel tokens into play. Treat these tokens as 1/1 green creatures.All Squirrels get +1/+1.
was gone. What? Oh, yeah, Echo. I hadn't decided whether to pay the cost or sacrifice it. Didn't that mean I had to go back, since I had the mana to pay it? No, he said, it meant I just had to sacrifice it. Can I ask the judge? Sure.

I called the judge. The guy sauntered over and took a look. I explained the situation: I hadn't paid the Echo cost before drawing, could I go back? He squinted at the table and asked, ´´Did you already draw?´´ Yes, I said. He looked uncomfortable. ´´I think you lose it,´´ he said. I shrugged; judge's ruling was enough for me, but I still felt really dumb. I didn't even need the Hermit at this point, because I didn't have a Slide, but I felt like a ´´RRRRRookie!´´

Needless to say, I lost the game. I think he actually killed me with the Monk Realist
Monk Realist
Monk RealistSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Monk Realist comes into play, destroy target enchantment.
. I Clear
Clear
ClearSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
7
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target enchantment.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
ed his Slide, and he played another Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
, and the life gain got insane. By then he had about 45 life. I thought life gain sucked? So, I had to cycle through my library desperately looking for another Wish, and he kept gaining life, and it was hard to keep track of it all, because he had to keep putting his gain life on the stack or he would lose it (´´may´´ gain 1 life). He killed me about five minutes before time.

I wanted to play the second match if we could, but I was having serious difficulty because I had put all of my sideboard cards in different-colored sleeves. I had thought this would make it harder to accidentally mix them up with my deck, but in fact it made it harder to switch cards out. The guy was very nice, waiting patiently while I tried to get myself organized, and we chatted a bit. He hadn't expected a mirror, and he had the Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
s because he didn't have any Walls of Blossoms and he thought they'd be good against Sligh. Unfortunately, they weren't -- he'd lost horribly to Red Deck Wins in the first round. He offered to help me resleeve, which would also let him see what I'd done for the sideboard, so it was nice for both of us. We basically ran out of time before we could start round two, probably because I was so flustered, but that was probably better and we both left for lunch after shaking hands.

One thing that sort of dawned on me after a while about my deck was that the surprise factor was greater than I thought it would be. Both games I played a cycling land on my first turn, and I think that signaling to my opponents what I was playing made a big difference in how they played against me. In the first match, Mr. 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.
locked up the whole game on his second turn, and I know he couldn't have done that if I'd gotten the Fluctuator
Fluctuator
FluctuatorSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
295
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Cycling costs you up to 2 less to play.
into play. My tapped land gave him all of the information he needed. Match two, I revealed before he did, which gave him the opportunity to get a Confessor
Confessor
ConfessorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
15
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.
he hadn't tried to play on his first turn into play. I'm not saying the matches would necessarily have gone differently if I had played a basic land on my first turn, but I still wonder how valuable the information on what deck I was playing was. For those playing Astral Slide
Astral Slide
Astral SlideSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
4
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
, either Extended or in Type II, I suggest you think about this. Perhaps it's better to lose your second t
urn and not give away your deck than to get the jump with two untapped lands.

ERIK MATCHES 0-2, GAMES 0-3

TIM: So, I also played a second match, and I was playing against this guy called Friday Night Magic Sligh-Playin' Teenage Guy. I was so excited to test my walls and Elders against this matchup until turn 4, when I died. First turn, he played a Raging Goblin
Raging Goblin
Raging GoblinSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Number:
200
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Haste (This creature may attack and tap the turn it comes under your control.)
. Second turn, another dork and 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.)
. Third Turn, I blocked it out from my memory, and fourth turn, 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.)
. It was exactly 20. I think I had managed a Sterling Grove
Sterling Grove
Sterling GroveSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
278
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All other enchantments you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities.1, Sacrifice Sterling Grove: Search your library for an enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.
and a Nantuko Monastery
Nantuko Monastery
Nantuko MonasterySet: Judgment
Color:
Land
Type:
land
Rarity:
U
Number:
142
Artist:
Rob Alexander

Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Threshold - GW: Nantuko Monastery becomes a 4/4 green and white creature with first strike until end of turn. It's still a land.
, but no Threshold. Game two was a little more tolerable, and a little more balanced, but I realized I needed more of two things in my deck. 1)Cheap Walls or Blockers. 2)Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
/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.
. Once, I used a Wrath to reset his attacking force, but then it got big again, and I was basically looking at a useless Natural Affinity
Natural Affinity
Natural AffinitySet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
260
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
All lands become 2/2 creatures until end of turn. They still count as lands.
in my hand. Silly Johnny, combos are for Casual play! Still, FNM Sligh-Playin' Teenage Guy was nice, so I couldn't complain, and the round was over awfully fast, so I got a chance to do some knitt
ing. I'm not kidding, I brought knitting to a Magic Tournament. I was secure in my masculinity. I expected snickers and giggles, but actually, a surprising number of competitors and judges said, ´´Oh cool, I crochet,´´ or something along those lines, thus demonstrating the supreme dorkiness of MTG players. The other nice thing about playing FNMSPTG is that I got to watch the rest of Erik's Slide Mirror Match. And let me tell you, nothing on Earth could have been more boring. Except maybe knitting. Two control decks duking it out? Yuck. I made a mental note to play Sligh at my next tourney.

TIM MATCHES 0-2, GAMES 0-4
COMBINED MATCHES 0-4, GAMES 0-7

On the way out to the car for lunch, Erik informed me that he thought the technical definition of ´´scrub´´ is someone who goes 0-2, drop. Dang. This meant if I didn't want to be a scrub, I was going to have to come back for more punishment.

IN PART 2: Lunch, plus More Punishment.

-Tim&Erik


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