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The Road to Tourneyland: I ain't been around lately
By Mark Ortego
The Road to Tourneyland
By Mark Ortego

Part I

I know I’ve been “off” and “on” around here lately but I think I’m back solid,….for a while, at least.

Lately, I’ve been drafting every Friday night (FNM) at Scorched Earth Games in New Kensington, PA (my hometown), it just celebrated it’s 2nd. Year anniversary, I’m grateful for it’s existence and wish Jim and Matt all the best.* My draft win record is around .750 that is to say that I’m winning a little more often than I’m losing. We common draft at school and that’s helped, a lot.

Speaking of school, our “Magic” club is at around 25 students, and not every Magic player in the school has joined, there’s at least 10 or more that I know of let alone all the “Closet” players unaccounted for in the student body. Damn teen social etiquette!

We have a few members who always forget to bring decks (it’s too hard to do any kind of drafting in a 43 min. period – all our drafting games happen on Fridays after school), so I started to bring some of my tournament decks, big mistake. One time, a student walked off with my Three-Deuce deck (easily priced around $250 worth of cards) and I didn’t get it back from him for about a week. But, being the nice guy that I am, I thought that I ought to bring some decks with cards that wouldn’t kill me if I lost them or had them borrowed from me,….permanently!

They started out as “All-Common” decks but soon grew to extremely watered down versions of some current and not so current decks with some rare and uncommon cards.

If any of you can recite the actual lists of the “Real” versions of these decks and possibly come up with better substitutes (i.e. Rhox is suppose to be the substitute for Spiritmonger), I would really appreciate it. Since these decks are never meant to see the light day for any sanctioned tournament, feel free to suggest, perhaps, obscure cards that want to be good but just don’t make the tournament grade.

Here’s a list of the decks as they stand for right now:

BG “The Rhox”
2 Rhox
4 Faceless Butcher
4 Quirion Elves
1 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Weaver
4 Ticking Gnomes
1 Vhati Il-Dal (a 3/3 that has the ability to make target creature’s power or toughness 1.)
4 Wall of Blossoms
3 Yavimaya Elder
4 Diabolic Edict
1 Erratic Portal
4 Innocent Blood
1 Phyrexian Furnace
2 Rancor
1 Torture Chamber
9 Forest
6 Swamp
4 Tainted Wood
4 Treetop Village

RGW “Three-Deuce”
2 Dwarven Miner
4 Granger Guildmage
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 River Boa
3 Skyshroud Elite
4 Incinerate
4 Rampant Growth
4 Rancor
3 Seal of Cleansing
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Wax/Wane
4 Forest
2 Grasslands
4 Mountain
2 Mountain Valley
4 Plains
3 Treetop Village
3 Wasteland

UBW “Angel-Go”
2 Desolation Angel
4 Spectral Lynx
4 Counterspell
3 Expunge
4 Impulse
4 Memory Lapse
2 Opportunity
3 Recoil
4 Reviving Dose
2 Spite/Malice
4 Vindicate (These are the only rares that I’m skiddish about using, any suggestions?)
2 Caves of Koilos
4 Coastal Tower
8 Island
2 Plains
4 Salt Marsh
5 Swamp

UG “Madness”
3 Aquamoeba
3 Arrogant Wurm
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Waterfront Bouncer
4 Wild Mongrel
1 Wonder
4 Aether Burst
4 Careful Study
2 Circular Logic
3 Daze
3 Gush
2 Memory Lapse
1 Roar of the Wurm
3 Centaur Garden
1 Cephalid Colisseum
8 Forest
10 Island
1 Tarnished Citadel

“UBR Control”
4 Flametongue Kavu
4 Nightscape Familiar
3 Thieving Magpie
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Counterspell
4 Dissipate
3 Fire/Ice
3 Recoil
3 Repulse
2 Spite/Malice
2 Terminate
1 Yawgmoth’s Agenda
2 Caldera Lake
1 Crosis’s Catacombs
10 Island
1 Mountain
4 Salt Marsh
2 Swamp
4 Urborg Volcano

UR “Counter-Phoenix”
4 Bottle Gnomes
4 Shard Phoenix
4 Counterspell
4 Forbid
4 Incinerate
4 Mana Leak
4 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Stroke of Genius
4 Whispers of the Muse
4 Faerie Conclave
12 Island
8 Mountain
4 Quicksand

UGW “Counter Sliver”
4 Crystalline Sliver
4 Muscle Sliver
1 Talon Sliver
2 Victual Sliver
3 Winged Sliver
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Counterspell
4 Lay of the Land
4 Mana Leak
4 Opt
3 Repulse
3 Swords to Plowshares
1 Elfhame Palace
4 Forest
8 Island
3 Plains
1 Skyshroud Forest
4 Terminal Moraine

Just so you don’t think I’m a total ‘push-over’, I actually make the kids sign-out the deck they’re using for that club period on an official school letter-head paper.

Again, supportive suggestions are welcomed J.

Part II

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a friend (former co-worker) I haven’t seen in years. At the Legions pre-release I was talking to a friend of mine when another friend of his walked up and joined the conversation. Well, it took a few minutes but I realized that I previously knew my friend’s friend. We used to deliver pizza’s together about ten years ago. It was amazing. From what I can piece together (and maybe I’m wrong), around the time I quit that job he (my pizza delivery bud) met my friend, who’s a life-long gamer, and together they started playing Magic when it first came out, DOH!!!!!!! If only I had stayed at that job for another couple of months, I would’ve been introduced to Magic at it’s infancy!!!!!!

OH, THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, as a result of this amusing reunion, my “pizza bud” told me that they play magic casually at his place on Saturday night’s. So I kind of invited myself to play with them,** and gave him my phone number. He said they get around 8 to 10 people each Saturday night and play huge multi-player games and other variants, and, other games like Settlers of Cattan (a personal fav of mine).

So my head starts going around and around about what kind of deck I should bring to the table. If any of you know me, you know that I approach multi-player games very politically, and play as quiet as a mouse until my deck gets it’s teeth sunk right into the heart of the game and WHAM!! everyones dead. Also, meta-gaming for an environment you know nothing about, is nerve racking.

I don’t want to whip out my tournament decks and besides, I’m sure most of you are aware that some tournament decks don’t do so well in multi-player i.e Psychatog, it is just lame in that environment.

Also, I’m convinced that turn-one Island or Swamp makes you the target a.s.a.p. (dual lands and any of the Power 9, too.). So I’m thinking maybe Red/Green/White. In multi-player games it’s very important to never miss a land drop in the first five or so turns, doing so can wreck your strategy or make you look weak and therefore become a victim of “First One Out” syndrome.

So I’m thinking:
4 Rampant Growth
4 Diligent Farmer
4 Krosan Tusker

Surely, I won’t miss a land drop with these spells, in fact, I may even have an accelerated mana advantage. Hey, is it me, or does this look like a “Burning Wake” deck beginning?
My wakes are in a deck that I don’t want to tear apart, not even if it’s just for the wakes alone. So, no Wakes.

Next, my Burning Wishes aren’t being used right now and besides, a deck that has four additional options is a “Good Thing” ™.

4 Burning Wishes

So far, these are cards that affect me only. Since I have not one clue as what to I’ll be up against, I figure I should use cards that’ll keep me alive.

4 Life Burst
3 Moment’s Peace

I should probably assume that somebody at the table will have some kind of a creature deck, right? I mean, whointhehell plays creature-less decks in multi-player? (except me, of course J).

2 Savage Twister (ah, Mirage, now THAT, was a good set)
2 Crawlspace
3 Powerstone Minefield (Whenever a creature attacks or blocks, ~This~ deals 2 damage to it.)

Once I plop the ol’ Minefield down, it’s “GAME-ON” for me.

Now you just know that some old Geezer, like me, is playing with Artifacts and Enchantments. I love the player that dreams of killing everybody with the Bottomless Pit/Megrim combo, Geezsh, who invites THAT guy? So, for him, I pack…..

3 Hull Breach (The “one-two” punch of Artifact/Enchanment removal)

I also added:
1 Steamclaw (because Phyrexian Furnace doesn’t target and this guy does)
1 Jayemdae Tome
2 Gaea’s Blessing (The gift that just keeps giving)

Throw in some assorted lands to taste and wah-lah! A bad meta-game deck.

Here’s what I’ve chosen to put in my sideboard which really isn’t a sideboard, it’s just a place where I can get cards that I need to save my butt.

One of Each:
Rout (Because I can use it as an Instant if need be)
Fanning The Flames (Hey, if you haven’t noticed, I don’t have a real way of winning in the main deck)
Gerrard’s Wisdom
Energy Bolt (Woo-hoo, go Mirage!!!)
Ghitu Fire (See Rout)
Gaea’s Blessing (heck, why not?)
Tsunami (For that “Timmy Power Gamer” who ruins everything)
Savage Twister (You simply can’t own enough of these)
Nostalgic Dreams
Hull Breach
Flowstone Flood (I hate fancy-pants lands like Dust Bowl)
Creeping Mold

Again, if anyone has any suggestions, let ‘em rip!

~Mark Ortego

*I used to refer to them as The Evil Shp Owner and Evil Silent Guy, but, no more
**Usually that seems rude but I felt comfortable enough to do it.

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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