Tag Archives: regionals

Power 9 Pro Online Workshops

In case you’ve heard a little about our Pro-Player workshops or caught one of my tweets about them, I thought I’d post a bit more info and a couple of clips to give everyone a better idea of what we’re putting together over here. After all, I’m a player, always looking to improve my game and imagine there are a lot more players like me out there. I have to admit I certainly don’t have all the exposure or practice these master players do, but I know that excellent coaching goes a long way to improving my game…Like I said, it’s always great to win. :)

Power 9 Pro’s workshops are your chance to get first hand advice and analysis of Magic the Gathering with some of the best players in the world. In addition to real-time streaming, we limit workshop size to 15 people. This gives everyone a chance to ask questions and interact directly with not only the pro instructor but also the rest of the participants. I can personally say that being able to hear and discuss other players’ questions and opinions has led to a number of interesting discussions. No need to be shy but if you prefer to listen and soak in the information, then sit back and relax.

By delivering the workshop over the Internet, everyone can participate regardless of location–your house, office [after hours of course. ;-)], a friend’s place, local shop, or even sandy beach in the tropics. We can always wish! The software connecting everyone is free of charge, guaranteed to be malware free and best-in-industry. After signing up, you will recieve a link with confirmation time and instructions (you just click the link). You can then stream the audio through your computer or dial a toll free number. Simple and convient. All participants will also receive the full video-audio recording for later review. I’ve found this great for reviewing important points. Here are a couple of examples from our most recent workshops with Ben Lundquist.

Our next workshop series will be starting December 8th at 5:30 PST (8:30 EST) with renowned player Luis Scott-Vargas. You can see the full schedule at power9pro.com/workshops/schedule.php .

I’d love to hear your topic requests and any other thoughts you may have, so let us know what you think in the comments. Also, if you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a free mp3 of Ben Lundquist discussing the fluctuations and changes of a Meta-game; great for trying to calculate what deck to play at your next tournament!

Regionals 2009 San Jose B/W Tokens Tournament Report

this past weekend i was down in san jose at superstars game store, a new partner location for power 9 pro products btw. there i had the opportunity to participate in regionals.

though the day was not a successful bid for a national champs invite, i did have a great time playing with all the other players. (my only complaint is that the store has yet to figure out how to properly ventilate the tourney-hall, resulting in near 100 degree temperatures. as you can imagine, this makes for an extremely long day, only magnifying the fatigue resulting from concentrating on winning.) the store is great for tournaments, easily seating 200 players.

i played a B/W tokens deck. for the previous few months, i’ve been playing a blightening beatdown deck with slight modifications since the release of alara reborn, so this was a big change in game style.

here’s the list i ran:

lands:
3x windbrisk heights (thought i had a fourth and then didn’t and the store didn’t have any and nobody had any for trade!!! oops. not going to happen @ gp-seattle as i’ve already secured my playset…for realz this time)

(1 to replace a windbrisk)

SB:

highlights:
turn 4 identity crisis off a windbrisk heights, removing a full 7 card hand. ouch!
numerous final kills w/ murderous redcaps. so many i couldn’t keep track. ouch!

most disappointed with:
sideboard. i thought i would see more red-aggro-based decks which my matchups didn’t really include. on that, i don’t like mark of asylum. that was really an anti-red tech as well but it’s a waste of a card for this deck. i would much rather have had either another ajani, elspeth (or two). i also regret not running thoughtseize. for mirror, G/W tokens and 5cc, i need–HAVE–to take a peek at their hand.

overall i’m still super impressed with the deck.
here’s the matchups and any highlights my sweat-riddled notes kept.

match 1:
vs 5cc. first game took 38 min. he’d maintained control for most of the round. toward the end of the round, he used jace to mill me for 20, used an ajani vengeant to destroy all my lands and then after my draw next turn, he double esper charmed me. doh. i conceded figuring his next card had to be a broodmate. later discussed this matchup w/ my friends (and ride)–one of which qualified for nationals because the other undefeated friend conceded (just out of friendship)–they both agreed i should never concede to 5cc because the deck may just never do anything. in fact, the deck has a high risk of milling itself. though, i still stand by my assumption that he had to have some sort of win conditions. next game went to time. 12 min just wasn’t enough.
0-1

match 2:
vs. G/W tokens. not many notes here but i won games one and two. zealous persecution rocked this guy’s world. i also distinctly remember playing a murderous redcap with a glorious anthem on the table which i directed the damage at his dauntless escort. in response he sac’d (of course), at which point i zealous persecutioned, eliminating his recently cast cloudgoat ranger tokens, leaving him with a lone 3/3 on the table. boo hoo for him but yay me! :)
1-1

match 3:
vs. R/B/U farrie variant. ran cryptics, broken ambitions and then demigod of revenge and banefire.
game one went to me. he conceded actually w/ me at 23 life and him at 6. game two i mulligan to 5 (doh). he starts swinging in w/ demigod of revenge. i have a note here of the play mistake where i could have killed his demigod of revenge but i had miscounted thinking i could only do 3 damage (including a zelaous persecution) when i actually would have done 4. doh. he later revealed he had the makeshift mannequin which still would have pulled the match in his favor. either way, i don’t like making mistakes. game three i don’t have many notes other than “saw 3rd cryptic at broken ambitions clash”. why did i write that down and only that? must be because it was really hot and i couldn’t think straight! either way, i pulled this out one, winning in game three.
2-1

match 4:
vs. mono-red burn.
nothing spectacular. i have a note in game one that i alpha swung w/ the “team” and then used a murderous redcap to finish for the last two. game two he gets me down to 3, only needs an incinerate but i swing in for 13. ouch. highlight of this match was using ajani goldmane’s third ability to put a 7/7 white avatar into play. very fun. in fact, i remember doing it thinking, “damn, this is the only way i can swinging in for the kill next turn.” luckily he used his incinerate to get me to 3 and not to 0. whew. very close.
3-1

match 5:
vs. U/G/w shorecrasher.
game one he beats down really fast. got him to one but he was able to activate the trample affect and swing in for 5. doh.
game 2, he didn’t do much. life total had me @ 19 and him going from 9 to zero.
game 3, i didn’t do _anything_. he had a really good draw. turn 5 i was finished. ouch.
3-2

match 6:
vs. Bant variation–in fact, i was pretty sure i was playing the same deck i played against in match 5.
game one, he gets me to 6 but i kept racing and was able to get the final points in before him.
game two, was the game that i identity crisis’d for 7 cards. next turn i played a glorious anthem off another heights, played a murderous redcap to kill off his recently cast jenara, next turn i played zealous persecution and an ajani goldmane to finish him off. _very_ fast match. in fact, my notes show: 20 -> 17 (spectral tokens) 17 -> 11 (glorious anthem) 11 -> 0. ouch.
4-2

match 7:
vs. fae — true fae, unlike the variation from round 2.
not many notes unfortunately. by this point in the afternoon i was dripping sweat. i lost game one. game two he scooped w/ me at 21 and him at 14. i can only assume i had a really impressive team on the board. game three i do have a note that i made a mistake–and boy was it a doosy. he bounced an arcane sanctum to my hand which i allow to resolve without adding the mana to my pool. SO dumb. my notes say i could have cast an ajani were i paying closer attention. there’s no proof of this but i’m fairly certain that were i able to stick ajani then (opp’ was tapped out at this point), i would have gained enough life to stabilize. friends watching the match agreed that it was a major mistake–though only one friend really noticed it.
4-3

match 8: opponent’s name was also james. lol.
vs. reveillark. we go to game three. game one finished w/ me at 22 and him going from 5 to zero. game two he was at 21 life and me at 3. game 3 he goes from 14 to 1 with me still at 11 life.
5-3

Regionals: Reflections

Well, after a rather grueling set of computer science exams I’m back and ready to talk Magic. As I’m sure you’re well aware, Regionals were last weekend and I’ve got some stories to share.

We left Edmonton at 6 in the morning on the 16th, and got into Calgary at 9:30, with plenty of time to tweak my decklist. I met two other players, both named David, and we chatted about our decks and the expected metagame. Between the three of us we had a black-white tokens player, a Blightning player, and a Faeries player (myself), and I leant out a few Reflecting Pools and Windbrisk Heights to the tokens deck because I wasn’t using them. All I had to hope was that those cards didn’t end up across the table from me.

After decklists were collected and all the participants were given either a promo Hellspark Elemental or a Path to Exile, the tournament was ready to begin.

Here’s the deck I ended up using:

Sideboard:


Round 1: Maes
A first-turn Aunties Hovel elicited a groan from myself as I prepared to face what was probably one of the decks worst matchups, the Blightning Deck. The fact that I didn’t draw a Bitterblossom the whole game was a blessing in disguise, because I was able to survive his barrage of burn spells and efficient creatures. Vendilion Clique was the MVP of the game, with it both sucking up a burn spell and taking out a Flame Javelin from his hand when it came down. Eventually, my cliques (both Vendilion and Mistbind) just got there and pulled out the victory, with me hanging on at a single point of life.

In game two I was able to capitalize on the presence of Vendilion Clique into a turn 4 Mistbind Clique to keep up the pressure on Maes’ crew of red beaters. The game ended up being decided by him playing a Thought Hemorrhage to make me discard a Loxodon Warhammer, instead of playing a Flame Javelin on my Mistbind Clique. With him at 6, he forgot to realize that I had a Faerie Conclave that would deal exactly enough to push his life total to zero.

1-0

Round 2: Taylor
Taylor is a prominent online personality on the Alberta Magic forums, viewable at www.sc2gg.com/magic, and this was the first time I had played a constructed match against him. After winning round 1 against Blightning, I was hoping that that would be the only red-black deck I would see for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that was not to be, as Taylor used a first-turn Aunties Hovel to put a Mogg Fanatic into play. When I managed to Vendilion Clique him, I saw a hand full of cards like Hellspark Elemental, Anathemancer, and Demigod of Revenge. Unfortunately, I was overwhelmed and started to shuffle up for the second game.

Taylor hit a bit of a land flood in the beginning of the game, which I capitalized on. By Cliquing him out of his best cards and keeping up the pressure, I was able to win with 11 life remaining. However, I did see that Taylor had sideboarded in Banefire, which promised to be difficult to deal with.

In the third game, Taylor and I traded blows for a while, but he was able to land a set of two Anathemancers, which took me down to a sparse 3 life, and he had one ready to unearth. Then I made my second biggest mistake of the tournament. With both the mana open and a Cryptic Command in my hand, I foolishly said “OK” when Taylor asked me if his intentions to attack were valid. Rather than tapping down his creatures and coming back to win with a Faerie Conclave that I had in play, I had no option but to bounce one of his attackers and chump the other with my man-land. Drawing no answers to the Anathemancer in his graveyard, I passed the turn and promptly lost.

1-1

Round 3: Chuck
Chuck, it turns out was playing Twinsanity, a deck that uses Sanity Grinding and Twincast to mill the opponent. Fortunately, this deck is one of Faeries’ best matchups, and I was able to simply use Bitterblossom and an array of counterspells to stop his deck in its tracks, and game 2 was very much the same.

2-1

Round 4: Lane
Lane is one of the better players at Wizard’s Comics in Edmonton, and he had also made the trip down to Calgary to play in the tournament. I knew he was playing either Black-White Tokens or Bant, based on what I had seem him testing at FNM, and it turned out to be the former. Unfortunately, a pilot as strong as Lane combined with a deck like his turned out to be quite an obstacle for me, a slightly above-average player with a deck that had only a 35-65 matchup pre-board.

I landed a turn two Bitterblossom, but Lane had the ever-present Zealous Persecution, as well as Tidehollow Sculler and Kitchen Finks to bolster his side of the board. I managed to keep Glorious Anthem out of his hand with Vendilion Clique and Thoughtseize, but a timely Cloudgoat Ranger and Ajani Gomdmane spelt defeat for my Faeries.

I brought in the big guns out of the sideboard for game two, including 3 Infest, 2 Evacuation, and two more Thoughtseize in the hopes of making it harder for the tokens deck to stabilize. Alas it was not to be, as my Evacuation only delayed the inevtable as a double Bitterblossom for Lane proved to overwhelm me, while he gained life from Kitchen Finks.

2-2

Round 5: Ian
Ian was playing Jund Ramp, a deck that I hadn’t tested against. All that I needed in the first game was a Scion of Oona, a Spellstutter Sprite, and a Loxodon Warhammer for me to end the game at 30 life.

Out of the board came Sower of Temptation, as Faeries can often not handle Chameleon Colossus, as well as Thoughtseizes to strip him of any potential threats, However, he had a fast start witch Kitchen Finks and Chameleon Colossus, and none of the cards I drew were of any major consequence.

In the third game, I resolved an early Bitterblossom which basically won the game single-handedly, although a late Mistbind Clique was able to ensure that the game was mine. The hand disruption that I had (7 slots total) was more than worth it to ensure that the likes of Chameleon Colossus and Broodmate Dragon never saw play.

3-2

Round 6: David
Believe it or not, this was not one of the two David’s that I hung out with before the tournament. This was actually a guy I had played at FNM the week before, and had lost to with a worse version of the same deck. He was also playing the same deck, and the match started off much the same as it had a week prior. I was able to take the first game easily, only having to play carefully around a Qasali Pridemage.

I knew from the previous week that David would have Scattershot Archers in the board, so I brought in Infests to kill them. Sure enough, David played the Faerie-killer on turn one, and was able to back it up with a second one. I didn’t see any Infests, and I lost to his perpetual onslaught of creatures.

Game 3 was a lucky one. When David tried to cast his archers on turn 3, I had Spellstutter Sprite. David then played a Path to Exile, in hopes of being able to resolve the Scattershot, but I animated my Mutavault by tapping itself to ensure the counter resolved, and I was able to fetch another land. The next turn I resolved a Mistbind Clique on his upkeep, and believe it or not, did the same thing 3 turns in a row, effectively Time Walking the deck that had no answers. Sure enough, my 4/4 fliers came in and won me the game.

4-2

Round 7: Lorenzo
Lorenzo is the brother of Marcel, an Edmonton player who has played on the Pro Tour. He’s almost as good as his brother, and I was happy to see the 5-colour control sitting across the table from me, as the matchup is generally slanted in Faeries favour, although the presence of Volcanic Fallout is something to be worried about.

In the first round, I countered all of Lorenzo’s spells and resolved a Mistbind Clique during his upkeep, and Bitterblossom was able to seal the deal.

In game 2, I made the worst mistake of the tournament. I kept a hand consisting of Underground River, double Bitterblossom, Mistbind Clique and triple Cryptic Command, thinking that if I didn’t draw a land I could always come back in the third game. A foolish mistake, to be sure and I didn’t draw another land for two turns on the draw, and promptly lost the game. The final nail in the coffin was Lorenzo casting Thought Hemorrhage, naming Cryptic Command without any prior information and stripped my hand, dealing 9 points to my head and eliminating my most powerful spells from the game. I blame this loss on myself 100%, as I got greedy.

In game 3, I got hit with multiple Anathemancers and Lorenzo was able to resolve a second Wall of Reverence after I Thoughtseized one of them. Anything I tried to play was countered by the likes of Broken Ambitions and Cryptic Command.

Overall Record: 4-3

Well, I was happy with my decks performance. If I could re-do it again, I would have tried to make better plays, but for my first large-scale constructed tournament, I am satisfied. My tiebreakers gave me a 23rd place finish out of 96 original entrants, although I was just out of the prizes.

High Points of the tournament:
-Meeting both Davids who showed up at 9:30 with a twelve pack of Coke which he shared
-Getting 3 packs from one David’s prizes because I lent him cards
-Meeting Sean, another member of Power 9 Pro, and seeing him qualify for nationals

Low Points of the tournaments:
-Getting Thought Hemorrhaged for 3 Cryptics and 9 damage
-Not making top 8

All in all, it was a great tournament, and the top eight decks can be found here. I may or may not be going to Grand Prix Seattle, but If I do, be sure to come and say hi, the bright orange shirts are hard to miss.

Regionals Reborn

Bloodbraid Elf, Anathemancer, Zealous Persecution, Soul Manipulation along with old favorites Kitchen Finks and Boggart Ram-Gang make this a regionals that is filled with either aggro or anti-aggro.

Either you are going to be playing those cards or you are not going to be enjoying how the field is looking for you.

The Regional championships are this Saturday and I have made my necessary schedule adjustments and 5 hour road trip plans to attend. I will be crashing on the couch of fellow wordpress blogger Norm over at Casual Magic for the night before the Pittsburgh tournament.

There are some decks that I will be expecting to on the immensely played end of the day and there are some that are pretty dead, let me clarify.

What I am expecting the most: Jund Aggro. I mean this in a big way. It will be pulling in new players who have been picking up the key cards in their Pre-Releases such as Anathemancer, Bloodbraid Elf, Jund Hackblade, Terminate, and Maelstrom Pulse. It is exciting, easily obtainable, and a serious contender.

I am also expecting B/W Tokens, mainly because I think it is the best deck to play in this format. Zealous Persecution is seriously awesome. Let me just Glorious Anthem my guys and nerf yours. For 2 mana. At instant speed. It is awesome in the mirror, it a ridiculous combat trick, not to mention kind of hard to play around, and an awesome answer to volcanic fallout. Save my now 3/3 fliers and kill your Ram-Gangs. Sweet! B/W also gets the Goldmane/Finks awesomeness. Kitchen Finks will be the card to be slinging a solid 4-of in a deck on Saturday. Him and Anathmancer are the 3 drops that you cannot go without in this format in a big way.

Something I am not expecting to see is Boat Brew. They can’t really use Ajani Vengeant successfully the way things are going. All they can try to do is replace him with Murderous Redcap and make sure they have 4 Kitchen Finks and also struggle to keep Reveillark relevant. It just isn’t the right time for Boat Brew. Glory of Warfare is kind of clunky, and the new Intimidation Bolt helps but it is not enough.

Faeries are so-so right now. With Agony Warp becoming their main trick of the trade to stabilize the field and then using Zombie Outlander to fend off Ram-Gang and Bloodbraid Elf on the ground until the smoke it with Volcanic Fallout. I have been playing a stream-lined Faeries build without Thoughtseize and in place of it a Zombie Outlander, an extra Soul Manipulation, and an extra Agony Warp. It attempts to keep up without losing unnecessary life. Attempting to get the most out of Bitterblossom is attempting to keep your life up too. Thoughtseize gives them a free shock on you for a card they can just unearth anyway. Ripping cards from their hand also doesn’t help against Bloodbraid Elf. That thing is really, really annoying for Faeries.

I want to build a G/W deck that can use Kitchen Finks and Dauntless Escort alongside Ajani Goldmane successfully. Martial Coup and the Sigil-Captain are also really cool alongside Elspeth, Knight Errant.

I will be testing these decks and attempt to be expecting some cool variants of each. Definitely expect rogue white decks to surface that have Runed Halos and Story Circles under their belts and in the main. It is a viable strategy against this surge of Jund in the metagame. I still haven’t decided on what I am running for Regionals but I know it will be interesting and new. Probably R/G Elves at this point.

Dillon