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The Road To Tourneyland: Torment PR in Pittsburgh
By Mark Ortego
The Road to Tourneyland: Torment PR at Pittsburgh (Butler)
by Mark Ortego (formerly Yellowjacket of the CPA)

First off, a word to the members of the CPA, I'm okay, I just needed a break from the place, so I won't be posting much.

Date: Jan 26, 2002
What: Torment PR
Where: Butler, PA Days Inn Conference Center
Host: Professional Events Services (PES)
Attendance: Around 350?

Does everybody remember the article that Theron Martin wrote about how to write a tourney report? And how he said that the ":Road Trip" portion of the article was not necessary? Well skip down to the star line now to avoid it....................go ahead, it's alright.

"Road Trip" portion of the report starts here:

I have been hanging out at a different store as of late (the reason is not for public consumption), and in doing so I've made new friends. One of my new friends is "Babe" (not his real name but he uses this word alot so why not call him that). Anyway, he's the same age as me (but looks younger, or so he says) and we've sparked up a friendship. Well, he's the first person I picked up Saturday Morning at 6:05 am at a BP Gas Station. He had bought me a coffee and to make sure he didn't mix up mine with his he wrote "Stallmonger" on the side of it. Now, I have confessed to some of you already that my play-style is better suited toward control decks therefore making my matches go LOOOONG! This'll all be relavent later in the report. And by the way, that was my nickname at the old shop I played at and I think, I never told them that, they came up with it all on their own, hmmmm, maybe they're right.

So I pick up Babe and start heading back to my place because I left without Doug (Insert slap happy clarinet solo here), my usual partner in crime, um, er, magic crime, that is. I get there and he's sitting on my porch (I left him instructions taped on my screen door to do so). Now it's 6:27 am. and we still have two more folks to pick up.

On to get Patterson (Wonka on the CPA Boards). I had told Patterson that I would pick him up at Eckerd Drug Store around 7:00/7:15 but we were only two min.away. So Doug tells me where Patterson lives and we pull up in front of his house and blow the horn while everyone else in the 'Hood is tryin' to sleep. But HEY! We're on a mission to play some magic and all bets are off at that point. Finally after a few minutes Patterson drags himself out to the car and away we go to FARMLAND!!!

Hart-Man (not real name because I forgot to ask him if I could use his real name in my report) was next. We had to travel a little bit out of the ways to get him, but as I'll write later, it was worth it, for him, at least.

On our way, the classic "Break-Down" of the vehicle happens, OY!!!!!!! My Automatic Brake System hasn't been checked for like years and it's on the fritz. This happens several times before we even pick up Hart-Man. But my car is okay, and we pick him up (in the remote town of Slate Lick-don't bother looking it up, it's the same size and importance as Hooterville, only, no Cannon- Ball Express) and get to the pre-release site only to just miss the first flight, bummer.

We sign up for the second flight and,...................oh wait, I gotta make my star line to indicate the real portion of the tourney report.

******************************************************************************
Tourney report starts here:

(pre-cursor: I'm not good with play details such as; this happened when I played this card which triggered an ability on his card which blah, blah, blah........It's just alot of "In-General" stuff)

I'm in the second flight and I open some noteables like Mutilate, a black card that has all creatures get -1/-1 for each Swamp you have in play (I think), the pre-release rare (can't think of the name now), two Firey Temper's & two Sonic Seizure's, two Faceless dude's, it was a freakin' great deck. Of course, I knew I would'nt be getting it but no worry's, the dude across from me has a great deck.

The swap, (This one's for YOU Jason!): The judge running this flight is ready for us to swap when he throws everyone off by announcing that the two inner rows of the tables swap, then swap again with the person across from you, jeezsh, ho-down dancing seemed easier at the time.

So I end up with this......(pile), and I'm in for the long haul. I promised myself that no matter what kind of deck I wind up with, I'm stayin' in all five rounds. Also, I was kinda broke and only had enough money to do a flight and two drafts but I wanted to stay until the end.

I don't remember much of my deck except that it was UBR, the U was for a couple of Churnning Eddy's and Skywing Aven, the 2/1 Flyer, the B was for some removal and a couple of Carrion Rats (no Friggin' Faceless Butcher's, though). And the R was for some burn a Petravark. A P.I.L.E.!!!! I had to go with three colors because everything else I had, IMO, was weak. And I had NO tainted lands to smooth things out.

Round 1 vs Hart-Man (of all people)
G1 & G2: I get beat down by something hideous like a black 3/3 flyer, my score sheet shows that at the end of both games my opponent was at 19 and 14. He was playing UB and I think green.
G: 0-2
M: 0-1

Round 2 vs "Old" Bill playing RB
G1: He and I were playing with alot of the same spells but I prevailed due to the bouncingness of the Eddy to clear the path. 31 min. ticked off.
G2: Game 1 was long because he announced nearly every thing and card he played, which is normally okay except that "Old" Bill was like 60 plus in years (good player though and extremely friendly) He wins.
G3: Starts with, "Active player finishes their turn,..." OY!!!!
G: 1-3
M: 0-1-1

Round 3 vs RW "Life Gain"
G1: Okay, that white creature card that gives you 4 life when CIP? Just sucks! He has three of them. Anyway, I get him down to 1 life and it's his turn and I have no cards in my library and I had just casted an Organ Grinder, a 3/1 Black creature, which has the ability to have my opponent lose 3 life that I could activate during my next upkeep before I draw. So it's his turn and he knows he's dead and I know he's dead and he draws. Then, he starts to tap like all of his white mana and before he slaps it down I say, "Ancestral Hella Life Gaining Card" , yup, and I lose. Time elapsed: 35 min.
G2: BTW, his red was weaker than mine so killing me via direct damage was out of the question. Anyway, I have no real way of dealing with his life-gaining shenanagans and I once again hear, "Active player finishes their turn,..." Christ, I should have that engraved on my friggin' tombstone; here lies "Stallmonger" the guy who just always ran out of time. Draw.
G: 1-3-1
M: 0-2-1
No packs for me.

Round 4 vs RG "Concede" deck
G1: My opp. smacks me down 17, then to 12, then to 9 then to 0.
G2: He gets sooooo mana screwed he concede's before I kill him off.
G3: On like turn three he notices that he didn't put all of his cards back into his deck that were removed from the last game and before I say, "That's cool, just..." he concedes.
G: 3-4-1
M: 1-2-1

Round 5 vs "The coughing dude" UBR
G1: This guy was the one that ended up with MY registered deck. Somehow, he managed to pilot it to a record only slightly better than mine. Anyway, he crushes me (with MY deck).
G2: Talk about mana screw, by the time he finally gets all the right mana, he's dead.
G3: With only minutes to go we hurriedly shuffle and I lose within like 10 fast turns. I felt very rushed, this should've been a draw. Oh well.
G: 4-6-1
M: 1-3-1

Onto draft land.

Okay, here's something interesting, Akron, Ohio did not host a Torment Pre-Release, so they all came to the 'Burgh and we were flooded with "Mid-Westerner's" and "Brother's of the Soil".

We waited in line for 45 min. they were running 4 drafts at a time around an hour between each set. We got in for the second set #5-6-7-& 8, we were in draft #8.

I try to follow a simple template since I invest little to no time into research in drafting nuances. It goes simply like this:
-Spells that help remove my opponents creatures
-Direct damage spells
-Creatures with evasion ie Flying, Landwalk, unblockable, Fear
and that's it, no card drawing, no land searching, no friggin' LIFE GAINING b.s., nada.
And then I try to stick with:
16 Creature Spells
8 Removal Spells
16 Land
I also have gotten into the habit of drafting three colors because I forgot what it's like NOT TO. Thanks Invasion Block!

So I draft UBR, and have kind of a good deck but I get mana screwed two games and I stand in line again for another 45 min.

Draft #15 (I asked Marty how many drafts there were, all said and done, and he said 22 drafts were held).

This deck, I remember well, and I did NOT stick to my 16/8 rule:
RED:
3x Firey Temper
4x Sonic Seizure
2x Violent Erruption

BLUE:
2x Skywing Aven
5x Deep Analysis

BLACK:
2x Faceless Butcher
4x Carrion Rats
1x Waste Away
1x Fledgling Imp

LAND:
2x Tainted Peaks
Swamps/Islands and Mountains to taste.

First of all, whointhehell would pass up all of this burn. At least twice, both Firey Temper AND Sonic Seizure came to me in the same pack. On other occasions some of these goodies came to me on turn 4 or 5. Someone was rare drafting and was NOT thinking.

The burn spells fell right into my usual thinking. The Faceless Butcher was the V.I.P. of the day so I had to snag these up. The Carrion Rats were good early beats. The Skywing Aven's were my Rainbow Efreets but the Deep Analysis' were the "TECH", as they say in 'pro-tour' lingo, for my deck.

I ripped through my deck like there was no tomorrow and found the land I needed and used the extra for the Aven's ability (Discard a card from your hand: Return Skywing Aven to owner's hand.)

Draft #15
Round 1 vs Mono-Red
G1: He burned me from the get go. I burned as much as I could but he was faster. Toast, no butter.
G2: Almost the same except I Deep Analysised like 3 times and got all my mana lined up and went to town by making him deal with my Flyers instead of me. I was at four and he at two, when I drew burn and finished him off.
G3: A pyro-fest again, along with nearly the same ending except, more exciting. I have ripped through my deck to find answers with D.A. and so if he could've held on for about two more turns, I would've decked myself. Ah, but alas, my topdecking skills arouse and I find burn and once again, finish him off nicely.
He told me, after the third game, that those were just about the most exciting games of magic he had ever played. Man, I LOVE this game and it's people.

Round 2 vs Doug B/W Mad Removal.dec
G1: I know he's with FIVE Faceless Butcher's and tons of other goodies. He deals with my deck swiftly and I lose. If I can't draw an Island within about the first four turns to cast Deep Analysis, I lose.
G2: I am with Isalnds and DA's in my opening hand and I win via Flyers. Doug is Stupefied!!
G3: Again, due to the powerfulness of DA I am down to about four cards left in my library and Doug is poised to finish me off or hold my Flyers off for a win via decking. He's at three and I only have one burn spell left that I haven't drawn; Violent Eruption. Next turn, I get it and he losses to me, which isn't very often.

Finals vs Black/Green
G1: My deck works "textbook" style and I polish her off quite easily.
G2: I mulligan twice and still only end up with one land, Swamp, but no Carrion Rats. Starting at turn three, she takes me down from 20 to 18 to 16 to 12 to 7 to ZIP! I only ever had two lands in play.
G3: Same scenerio but this time it went like this: 20 to 18 to 16 to 13 to 8 to ZIP!!! One land in play.

She was mentally beaten after the first game, saying things like, "Well, at least I made it to the finals." Actually, she started out that way, saying, "Uh-oh, another one of those guys who sleeves their cards in a draft." But her husband (my first opponent-mono red), kept reassuring her that it might go her way if she just hung-tight. She did, I lost. And to think she actually offered me to draw in with her, I should've.

Good Day, INDEED!!!!! (Who knew by this time tomorrow the Steelers would be BIG losers!!!!!!!!!) I think they got mana screwed.

My crew I brought up?
-Babe had fun, which was his main objective.
-Doug traded like mad and got plenty of stuff he wanted.
-Wonka/Patterson (who looks like Otto Rocket from Nickelodeon's Rocket Power cartoon) won a draft (I think)
-Hart-Man, well, remember that 2nd Flight where I played him in the first round? He went 4-1 and came in second overall and won a half a box. He also won a draft too. 27 packs!!!!! Kudos to you, dude! You're a Superior magic player.
-Me? I walked away with 4 packs and a bunch-o-crappy commons. What did I learn?
--Never draft three colors when drafting Oddy and Torment
--Never underestimate an opponent based on their race, color, age and/or gender.
--Never promise my wife I'll be home at 8 pm when, in reality, I know it'll be like 11 pm

Famous or near famous magic player's I saw and/or spoke too:
Nate Heiss (Congrats on Q-ing, dude! That's one for the Common Man)
Mike Patnik (Cheers!)
Mr. Turian
Mike Turian
Ron Kowitca (Dude, I'm still sorry about "The Incident")
Scorched Earth Games Owner's Matt & Jim (Matt, same as above)
Members of Team Butler (Wassup, Owen!)
The Kiski Boys
JC from Infinity (Chester)

I am the biggest and shameless "Name-Dropper" I know.

Props:
-PES for doing a wonderful job. Special thanks to the judges; Jason, Larry and Marty (you make playing organized magic "FUN")
-The short haired Blonde woman wearing a black sweater, blue jeans and brown boots, my friends thought you were fine
-A ton of fun-loving magic playing people

Slops:
-The long wait in line for the drafts, I know it wasn't really PES's fault, it was just something I wasn't used to, that's all.
-The dudes standing behind me in line for the draft who were messing with the dealer's stuff
-My car, for stalling out three times on the way up (The REAL stallmonger) .

Torment is gonna be okay, I don't like playing Black, in general, but "When in Rome, do what the Romans do."

I'll be seeing you all somewhere, sometime, at some tournament, on that long and dusty road,
to Tourneyland.

-Mark Ortego
(I am the short chubby Mexican older dude with a graying moustache and gote' that was wearing; blue jeans, black army boots, a long-sleeved turtle neck shirt and a black baseball cap with a white Nike swoosh symbol- just in case you don't know me already. I'm actually quite obnoxious at these events so I'm sure you'd recognize me if you are fortunate enough to attend these events in the 'Burgh AND, now with John "Friggin" Rizzo absent at the Pittsburgh events, maybe I'll be the next "Champion" for the Blue Collar people of magic......your peeps miss ya, Man.)

All flames, accusations and/or story corrections/clarifications, may be sent to:
ortegomc@cs.com

PS: What's up Wayne and Dan, it was good seeing you there!!!!!!

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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