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The Road to Tourneyland: Feb 2011
By Mark Ortego
The Road to Tourneyland: A return to the top at GASP
February 16, 2011

This past Saturday (2-13-11) was the second game for The MML (Multiplayer Magic League) which is held at GASP’s game days (Gaming Assoc. of Southwestern PA). I’ve written about the league in the past about how the environment was when I got there and how I helped them shape it into the game it is today. One thing that drastically changed our games was making a 75 card minimum deck rule and with that all the combo decks fell out of sight. We had been having a real problem with 13 player games and it all being over within about 15 min. because of a cool combo. Another change we made recently WAS the amount of players in a game. We decided that 10 or more players in our game just took too long to play so the new rule is that when we reach 10 to 14 players we split the group in two separate games. At 15-19 we split into three different games and so on. It all has worked out well with us and there is peaceful law & order back in MML-land. Another change was the players. My arch-nemesis had moved away to Florida so no more “politicking” against me, the players are now left up to their own devices and that has allowed me to,….well,….um,…..flourish?

From about 2007 to 2009 I could not attend all the monthly games because in the summer I landscaped on Saturdays and when I DID make it my NEMESIS was always there making sure players were rightfully scared of me. It got to the point where no one remembered that I was even the reigning King back in the old days. My ranking was always low and I was usually the first one out. Then he left and I went unchecked and I won for 2010. To top it all off I became the chairsperson for the league once more since I knew I would nary miss a game and I am good at posting the points in pretty quick time.

I say all this to tell you this; it’s not so much fun being at the top. But this past Saturday we had new blood,…..TOURNAMENT savvy new blood!

*tumbleweeds roll across the table, my eyes meet their eyes, we squint, I knew they were trouble when I noticed their playmats, well kept sleeved decks and GLASSES!!!*

All worthy opponents wear glasses, I don’t know why but all the scary players are focally challenged, LOL!!!! These Cats were clearly in their mid 20’s and smart players. They played cleaned and everyone else,……oh boy, ok, NO ONE SEEMED TO NOTICE THEM!!!! Old broken sleeves were played, Ebony Rhinos, Fire Elementals, Grizzly Bears, the USUAL crap was played while these new comers played fancy equipment followed by the inevitable phrase from the masses, “Oooo, what does THAT do!?” Oh the humility. It’s my fault, I have toned down my decks and basically stopped using new cards for the last two years and so no one is familiar with anything remotely new.

Anyway, we had to have a 9 player game since the 10th player was a no show and man, it was gonna be a long one. And so at around 12:15 we were ready to go. I was playing my three-colored UWB Akroma-Go deck which has had pretty good success but against these new guys, I wasn’t so sure. My only advantage over them was having had years of experience of playing in many large multiplayer games and these guys looked like duelists only.
The players: She-ra (Playing blue, white and green but not sure of the focus….maybe Pheldagriff?), Anthony (playing UBW infect deck,….yes, new cards, but had no idea how to play them), SilverPrime (a worthy opponent who has a fetish thing about green-white fatty decks), Me, Yo! Adrian (playing a blue artifact deck but was a “PILE”), New Guy #1 referred to now as NG1 (playing something pretty with lots of kewl equipment), New Guy #2 aka NG#2 (playing mono-black), RCA (playing pingers on poison counter critters) and the “New to Magic Guy” (playing a big white pile of a PILE! Lots of life gain spells and bigger than big white fatties).

The game is so boring but I can tell you this; between SilverPrime and me we played about 6 board sweepers, me in the form of Damnation and him with Wrath of Gods so nothing happened for a good long while. All this time, however, RCA had been getting poison counters on players (not me) and was actually able to take out 2 players before being eliminated himself. He took down Anthony and SilverPrime and then Yo! Adrian put the beat down on with tiny 1/1 artifact critters. I am sweating bullets though because I was drawing nothing in the way of real defense except for an occasional Wall of Denial and a Shadowmage Infiltrator but I am lucky the new guys lumped me in with the others (whew!). So I take out Yo! Adrian because he’s getting annoying with his classic play style, “Oh heck, let’s see what happens when I play this.” Arrrrrrgh!!!! He was sown to 3 life and I animated my new secret weapon Creeping Tar Pit (a 3/2 land critter that’s unblockable).

Now it’s down to the 2 new guys, me and BIG WHITE PLIE!

Throughout the game I have had at least 1 Ghostly Prison in play but have had them blown up. Now, I have 2 in play, a Maze of Ith, a Kor Haven and I drew into my Kokushos with Volrath’s Stronghold land and Miren, the Moaning Well ready to go. All is set up and now all I have to simply is eliminate the two tournament players……che’yeah, right.

I was able to go through the Kokusho thing (sac Kokusho to Miren, the Moaning Well then gain life then bring it back with Volrath’s Stronghold next turn) and was able to get New Guy #2 down to 14 points. I had 16 lands in play and thought, welp, I might as well go for it and used Death Grasp to eliminate him and I gain 14 life. 1 down and 2 to go. The big white pile deck player was no problem as far as tactical is concerned so I concentrated on New Guy #1.

What is next is an excerpt from our forums (GASP); the first one is my description the next one is New Guy #1 description:
“Ok, I think I remember what happened now with me taking Norm out: I think I attacked him with a 3/2 unblockable creature, he was at 3 life. He played a card with "split second" which means you can't respond to it and the card said he couldn't lose the game until end of turn and any damage that would put him at zero would put him at 1 instead. He also had an enchantment out that said if he was at 1 life at the beginning of his upkeep he wins the game. But then he played something else and I countered it with Punish Ignorance which counters the target spell and that owner of that spell loses 3 life and I gain three life. But it wasn't damage, it was loss of life. He STILL couldn't lose the game because of the first spell. Then I said that state-based effects were checked at the beginning of his turn and he WOULD be at zero because even though he was at 1 life after the combat damage the 3 loss of life from the Punish Ignorance spell put him below zero and therefore he was eliminated by me as a result.
I THINK! Help me out here Norm. I'm trying to be accurate for the viewing audience, LOL!”

His Response:
“KJ, You are correct. That is how it went down.

Toward the end of the game I was casting Mind Spring like crazy to find the two cards I needed in that combo ( Angel's Grace & Near-Death Experience) as it was the only way I could win the game at that point.

I realized after I cast Angel's Grace I should have waited until you targeted Kukusho and then cast Unsummon on it. Bouncing it to your hand, then if you cast Punish Ignorance on my Unsummon I would have still had Cryptic Command. Unless you had another counter spell in your hand I would have won on my upkeep.

The rest of my deck I put together for large multiplayer games. So I could recycle my graveyard with Primal Command and get spells back with Reclaim. The main core of my deck I didn't get to use because KJ shut down all creature abilities with that artifact. I built the deck around Meloku the Clouded Mirror and run Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Oracle of Mul Daya to allow me to play and bounce lots of land on my turn. Creating an army of 1/1 flying tokens.”

Like I said, he had a fancy deck with pretty cards.

So, at 5:45 pm that left the new to magic guy playing while pile and he was at 60+ life. I ran out of time. I had to concede and get home (insert Debbie Downer sad trombone horn sound here).

Here’s my final deck list:
UBW Akroma-Go
Land (30)
1x Academy Ruins
2x Creeping Tar Pit
1x Flooded Strand
3x Godless Shrine
3x Hallowed Fountains
3x Island
1x Kor Haven
1x Marsh Flats
1x Maze of Ith
1x Miren, the Moaning Well
3x Plains
1x Polluted Delta
1x Reflecting Pool
1x Scrubland
1x Swamp
1x Tundra
1x Volrath’s Stronghold
4x Watery Grave

Creatures (11)
1x Akroma, Angel of Wrath
2x Kokusho, the Evening Star
4x Shadowmage Infiltrator
4x Wall of Denial

Spells (34)
4x Absorb
4x Accumulated Knowledge
2x Capsize
1x Cursed Totem
4x Damnation
1x Death Grasp
2x Fact or Fiction
4x Ghostly Prison
1x Null Rod
2x Pulse of the Fields
2x Punish Ignorance
4x Undermine
3x Vindicate

I’m not so sure I’d change much of anything in the list, it took me nearly the entire month of January working on it and getting it to the point that I felt comfortable playing it. I actually added more creatures, the original only had Akroma, LOL!

The standings? Well, as of this month I sit in first place with 12 points and second place is a three way tie at 6 points. Do ya think I’ll be a target?

Maybe I’ll see you somewhere along that long and dusty road; to Tourneyland.

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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