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The Road to Tourneyland: An IBC PTQ Tourney Report
By Mark Ortego
Today (Sat. 8.25.01), was a very good day for me. There's nothing like waking up early in the morning and picking up friends to go play magic, all day. Doug , and the 2 Billy's made up the crew today, in fact, we always seem to be the only crew from our local shop to go to these things. On the way up, Doug was chit-chatting his usual theories about how his deck will wreck the environment (Doug is not a net deckker), and Billy was just kinda quiet and Bill was sleeping, totally oblivious to anything going on around him. The drive through farmland in Western Pennsylvania is just beautiful; light morning fog rolling along the hills during late summer and the smell of the morning dew is just to die for, ahem, anyhow, it took us about 45 minutes to get there and I am sure that we'll be the first ones there (we left my house at 7 am).

We get there around 7:45 am and except for about three or four dudes, we seem to be the only otherones there. But, Mike Gulpit (I think that's his name) is chief judge and the rest of his team is there ready to go (Professional-Events Services is damn good-always early and ready to go!), so I figure I'll register my deck. Here it is:

U/G/W Snake.dec
4 Mystic Snake
4 Meddling Mage
4 Sunscape Familiar
3 Questing Phelddagrif
1 Fleetfooted Panther
1 Sabertooth Nishoba
4 Repulse
4 Absorb
3 Prohibit (Thanks Gizmo!)
2 Exclude
3 Fact or Fiction
3 Treva's Charm
1 Treva's Ruins
2 Forest
4 Plains
6 Island
4 Elfhame Palace
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Coastal Tower
SB//
2 Dodecapod
2 Jungle Barrier
2 Disrupt
2 Armadillo Cloak
3 Aura Blast
4 Gainsay

So there it is, once a U/G Tempo Bears deck, now a counter-hell, LSD, Purple Hippo, Mosaic, pile-o-matic, titanic, deck. Okay, not really, but man, was this thing fun to play!

However, before we go on to the report, just a sidenote of shameless name dropping. I was sitting there playing a casual game of magic with this dude. He and I were play testing our IBC tourney decks. So, sometime during the game he says, "Hey, there's John Rizzo, do you know who he is?", and I say, "Yeah, I've read some of his stuff before.". Well, this dude goes on about Rizzo, like he's good friends with him or something. All of sudden, Friggin' Rizzo walks up to the table and I think this kid thinks Rizzo is going to say something to him (actually, so did I), and before I could say anything, Friggin' Rizzo shakes my hand says "Hi" to me, this kid's jaw drops and he looks speechless. However, the shameless name dropping doesn't stop there, appearently, a 'deadpool' was going on headed up by Arron Forsythe. I think it worked like this; folks in the pool paid like $X to be in it and the object is to gain the most points by the end of the tourney to win the pot (I don't want to say what the pot was just in-case this isn't kosher with the law). Here's how the points were gained: You got 1 point if you win any match, you got 2 points if you beat a specific person on the list who is not a 'deadpool' participant, and you got 3 points if you beat another participant of the 'deadpool'. Well, yours truly made the "2 point" list! But none of the 'deadpool' participants ever played me during the tourney, oh, well.

Now, for those of you who don't care about that kind of stuff, so be it, but me, I think it's kinda cool to be recognized by notable folks in the world of magic. And, "No", I didn't ask to be recognized, nor did I hang-out with these guys forcing myself on them, they recognized me, and that's nice.

Going on. The place: Butler Days Inn - Route 8 The Event: PTQ New Orleans
The people: 170 participants (high for the Pittsburgh area), so they make it 8 rounds, OY!

So, at about 10:20 am, we start:
Round 1 UGW vs.UGW (yup, the mirror match!)
Chris B. is a member of "Team Butler" and is a quiet kind of guy, like me.
Game 1:I seem to have won the land race and get two hippo's out pretty quick. I win.
Game 2: We both drop lands like mad and battle it out. He's got like 2 hippo's out and a Sabertooth Nishoba and I have like 3 hippo's out and it's a mess! He has me at one and his creatures are tapped out (he's at 9), and I'm poised to stike at him for 15. I announce my attack, he FoF's in response, I give him one Repulse and he dumps the other pile. Boing! Goes one of my attacking hippo's and he draws another FoF from the Repulse. He does it again and I give him a single Repulse and Boing! goes another hippo. Now, he does have two Sunscape Familiars out but never declares them as blockers and so my 3 tokens (from an earlier pumping of HIS hippo) and my one un-bounced hippo get through and I pump it up for 2 and he's takes 9 to the dome! I win.
2-0
1-0

Round 2 UGW vs. Deed-Go
Matt K. is another member of "Team Butler" and is a former Junior Super Series Champ. This kid was nothing but class, everything you would wnat from an opponent; cordial, helpful and announces every gawd-dang phase and card he went through! He definitly "out-classed" me, by a mile.
Game 1: Un-Blockable Vodalian Zombies suck for me. No Sunscape Familiars in-sight. I only clip him for two, and I lose.
Game 2: Another un-blockable V-Zombie takes me down to 1. I somehow get rid of it and finally get a Hippo through. A few Absorbs later, I win.
Game 3: It was a counter war until I got a hippo in edge-wise, and I win. But I'm shaking (I think my sugar was up).
4-1
2-0

Round 3: UGW vs. Aggro-Solution
Ben V. was also a very nice dude who was very casual about the whole thing, as if he had nothing to lose, but I tell ya, this guy was all about winning. Also, I look around, and all of a sudden I'm seated at table 20, there's Nate Heiss sitting catacorner from me and a few other notables. It was like sitting first-class in an airplane. . Okay, maybe not, but I'm tryin' to make an interesting story here, sparky!
Game 1: He drops several (3) early V-Zombies and I die horribly.
Game 2: He drops several (2) Meddling Mages (naming Sunscape Familiar and Temporal Springs-HA! I didn't have any of them in my deck, I'll show him). I got no game and I lose horribly via Mage death. How embarrassing.
4-3
2-1 (and so it starts)

Round 4 UGW vs. Tokyo.dec (R/G)
Bryan B. seems nice enough, as nice as someone can be if they're playing R/G!!!!!!!!
Game 1: Okay, how come I'm playing a counter deck and he gets a Flametongue Kavu in play (tourching my lil' Sunscape Familiar) and I lose to it, even with 2 Absorb's gone off, I still lose.
Game 2: In go the A-Cloaks. I drop a fourth turn hippo followed by a 5th turn Cloak. I win.
Game 3:A 2nd turn Gaea's Herald wrecks me and I lose. Gaea's Herald, a friggin' Gaea's Herald, man, I HATE that sucky card!
5-5
2-2

"Should I stay or should I go."
-The Clash

I once read an article that Mike Turian wrote that said something about staying in for the whole tournament. I could be wrong about he being the author of that article but I took it's advice anyway.

Going on.

Round 5: UGW vs. B/W
Doug P. and I are at like table 40 something (I should write a book on how to go from table 20 to table 40 in a blink of an eye).
Game 1: Shotty notes will keep this simple. I win, but, I learned a couple of things:
1.) Never play an unprotected Sabertooth Nishoba or any other creature for that matter.
2.) pump up the hippo BEFROE the damage goes to the stack. You see, I didn't do it that way so I had a 7/7 hippo dealing only 4 damage and my opponent had 3 free 1/1 creatures.
Geezsh, you'd think I would know that by now.
Game 2:Again, I manage to stumble through this game and win. The only memorable moment was that he played Bog Down and I was with Dodecapod and I slamed it down, it was kinda cool. Oh yeah, I'm a bad Mo' Fo'.
7-5
3-2

Round 6:UGW vs. Aggro-Solution
Kevin W., all I knew was that he was a huge NY Yankees fan. Before I start, allow me to put you into the scenario of what happened before this round started. I always have to go to the bathroom before I play each round (again, diabetes is tough if you're out of shape), so I go, and I come back after most of the folks are seated (about 2 min. into the start of the round), I sit, and there was trash all on my side of the table (did he put it there? I dunno), so I pick it up and throw it away. How long does it take to throw away trash? I dunno, but not 5 minutes, that's for sure. This'll all make sense later.
Game 1:To make it short, I'm with no counter magic and he Routs a few of my creatures away and then Desolates my land away with the D-Angel (nice move!), I lose. (this game sucked up about a half an hour though.)
Game 2: In go the A-Cloaks. An early hippo followed by a Claok make for a nice win. (about 10 min. for this one)
Game 3: Almost the same as Game 1 except that time runs out. He just played his D-Angel (turn 1), I'm at 14 life. I draw and play a land (turn 2). He attacks for 5. I'm at 9 (turn 3). I draw and play a land (turn 4). He attacks for 5. I'm at 4 life. Game over. Draw.
I sign the sheet, he signs the sheet. I deliver it to the judges table. A few minutes later, I'm jotting down some notes and he (my opponent) walks over to me and asks me to tell the judge to alter the game results because I showed up late and I "technically" had a 'game 1' loss. Well, he never mentioned that at the beginng of the match and he certainly didn't mention it before he signed the match slip. So off we went to the head judge who basically said the results stand. Oh well, if you have a question about something, then you better call a judge!
8-5-1
3-2-1

Round 7:UGW vs. UBW Arena/Solution
Mike W. is kind of an older cat like me, maybe a few years younger, but not much, I think. Nice guy, though.
Game 1: I'm tired and have forgotten to take notes. But this game took like 40 minutes off of my life. He eventually wins, we almost decked ourselves (Hey, Stallmonger!)
Game 2: An early Cloaked hippo wins the game for me.
Game 3: This game lasted 2 minutes as time had run out. Draw.
9-6-2
3-2-2

Round 8: UGW vs. URB
Elliot M. is a shop owner and is a really nice guy. I'm gonna take the crew out to his place someday.
Game 1: He never takes a point off of me (which is unusual) and I win via the "Hippo Express"!
Game 2: He wins by Lynx.
Game 3: I manage to keep in-play a Sabertooth Nishoba and I win.
11-7-2
4-2-2

I make 41st. place out of 170 registered players.
Doug scrubed out at 0-3
Billy scrubed out at 3-3
and sleeping Bill went 5-3 and made 36th place.

My best showing yet!

I've always wanted to do a props and slops section, so here it is!

Props:
PES is just awesome!
Making the 2-point "Deadpool" list!
Chit-chatting with John "Friggin" Rizzo (who, incudently, played someone with a last name of Izzo, kewl)

Slops:
Altering Match Results is NOT cool.
Sleeping Billy yelling out the window in downtown Butler at nine-year-old girls (he's 13).

This was, by far, the longest report I've ever written. Maybe Star City or CCG Prime will pick it up (yeah, when Monkeys fly out of Istanbul's butt!)

Later.
-Mark Ortego

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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