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2002
W hile PT Houston was underway, us scrubs came out to play. It was definitely a much less narrow metagame than the PT, with no similar decks.   Monterey, California - November 9th, 2002
Monterey's Top 4 in the new extended
I did some playtesting in apprentice and came to the conclusion that 3 of the 18 decks I tested seemed to fair well: Contamination, Forbidian & Trinity. I accurately predicted that Tinker wasn't much of a contender and Reanimator would fall to hate, but I inaccurately predicted that The Rock was too slow and rather unimpressive. I hadn't the slightest clue about Angry Ghoul, which whooped up on me first match. And I certainly didn't consider Psychatog or Aluren (or Oath with... Cognivore!?!).
While The Rock, Reanimator, Psychatog and Aluren dominated over in Planet Houston (in numbers), the Monterey folks played a panoply of non-metagame decks such as MBC, UR, Mono-blue, UG madness, Elves, Three-Deuce and me with my Contamination. As aforementioned, the only metagame deck I saw was Angry Ghoul, a rather interesting surprise for me. I did poorly... 2-2. The Angry Ghoul deck caught me off guard and the Three-Deuce had Seals of Cleansing, Masticore and Powder Keg.
Mountain View, California - Sep 21st, 2002
Bleh!
T hat's it. I give up. No more block constructed or standard for me. Just when I figure a format out, it changes, so I'm going to stick with extended for a while.
Anyway, I went to the third and final PTQ for Houston around these parts and did quite badly. Only after three PTQs have I figured out what I should be playing. But now it's much too late. I could have bought some good cards with the money I've blown on entry fees... and for that reason, I say good riddens to Neutral Ground as well.
I'd much rather spend my time at C&J Collectibles, where it's cheaper and the people are cooler... even though it's a bit of a drive. If only they had good tournies on the weekend... say, extended at 1pm on Saturdays... now that would be perfection. Is that too much to ask for?
W ith so many tournaments going on around here and the convenience of my own transportation, I've played quite a bit these last couple weeks.   Sacramento, California - August 31st, 2002
Check out the dude with the fro on the right... yes, that is for real.
I borrowed 3 Praries and a Glory from Frank and threw together a GW deck for yet another PTQ. This turned out to be a little more fun, even though I didn't exactly end up with a good record (4-3-1). I think I enjoyed myself a bit more since my rating was already shot, so I didn't care... that and I didn't get mana screwed nearly as much as I did during the last PTQ.
You know, I read somewhere that English regionals are far easier than in the states and I wonder if this reflects a general disinterest in the UK. The stores in England are nearly non-existant (at least around Suffolk) and GP London had a much bigger pull on players beyond the channel than locals. So I guess what I'm driving at is that I'm thinking I had it pretty easy back in the UK, my performance in the states being fairly poor thus far. Then again, it may be changes in the format along with a complete and utter lack of playtesting. Walking into a PTQ with an untested deck with a mangled sideboard probably isn't helping me any. But on the other hand, I played some decks in the UK that look pretty sloppy in hindsight.
Newark, California - August 22nd, 2002
The Newark crew... on the right is Phoung Tran, who won the PTQ a few days ago and actually manages to be a pretty decent guy as well.
S omeone at the PTQ mentioned there was Type 1 at C&J Collectibles, so I checked it out, since I had Friday off. This turned out to be the best spot yet for m:tg.
I didn't do well at all, but I had a lot of fun. The tourney was sanctioned and still free, which is a bonus. But the best part was the crowd. I really wish C&J Collectibles had a different timetable for tournaments instead of weekday nights. Staying up like I did is not something I like to do, so I probably won't go there as often as I would like to... quite a shame.
I think the highlight of the night was the mirror match I played afterwards. I wanted to get some tips on academy and it proved to be both fun and valuable. Here I am playing the one and only Gongmeister.
I saw that I'm not the only one that requires a bit of time to think every now and then, while playing the deck. Just goes to show that no matter how much you playtest academy, it's a very complex deck that takes a lot of skill to play.

Mountain View, California - Aug 17th, 2002
One very crowded PTQ
U gh... Maybe I should stay away from block constructed much like I should avoid type 1 & 1.x since I can't seem to do well in those formats.
Having moved to Mountain View, I went to PTQ Houston at Neutral Ground and paid $20 for a severe beating. I shaved nearly 70 points off my constructed rating by going 3-5. I only carried a few cards with me from England, so the easiest thing for me was to go blue/green. Unfortunately, while UG madness isn't too bad in OBC, I converted my standard deck to Quiet Roar. Graveyard and token hate being a plenty, I was devastated.

W ell, I finally made it out of that hellhole known as Mildenhall, England. First stop: Salinas, CA.   Monterey, California - July 13th, 2002
Small group, but don't let them deceive you...
Frank was kind enough to drive me all over the area in search of a decent spot for magic and the only place worth going to for miles and miles is the Game Habitat in Monterey. Not only are they the only decent place around here for card singles, but they're fairly close to Salinas, too. Unfortunately, Frank works Friday and Saturday nights, so I had to wait until I got my car.
And so, with my own rapid transit, I went, I saw, I got beat down. And it was entirely my own fault. I took a perfectly good deck and really screwed it up. Tip: Never, under any circumstances, take Capsize out of Trix. Also, I seem to be a slow learner. Much like in Colchester, enchantments killed me. I mangled my sideboard pretty badly and had I kept Cleansing Meditations and more Disenchants, I'm quite sure I would have made top 4, but alas, I didn't.
London, England - May 11th, 2002
Mark and Bully practicing some m:tg gang signs
R egionals! This time in London and with greater numbers. We showed up with 2 BUG decks and 2 U/G madness decks and covered a broad spectrum of placings.
Bully and I played Norweigan U/G Madness, while Sam played a Japanese BUG deck and Mark played a home grown one. I managed to go the furthest. I was on a winning streak until I hit table 2 and got mana screwed. Had I won, I'd have gotten to play a Frog deck at table 1, where I would have no doubt won, but alas, fortune would have it otherwise. Either way, I qualified for nationals, eating up a slot that I won't be around to fill.
S am did alright, and Mark wasn't far behind. But the odd thing was Bully did rather poorly, even though he had a near copy of my deck. Operator error or bad luck? Team Eclipse! Sam, Matt, myself and Mark
It appears to have been a combination of both. In one game, Matt cast Standstill only to have his opponent cast 3 Aether Bursts in response. Apparantly, this sort of thing was a typical problem. But in general, it sounded like he was just having a bad day, since he conceded that he was losing to some poor decks.

Lakenheath, England - May 5th, 2002
Sifting through the deck of madness...
L ooks like I'm back in my groove. I managed to get first place once again. It helps to have a good deck, and I've never played anything as smooth as U/G madness.
Sam and Mark both gave Bully and I their decks so we could give our best efforts at doctoring them. It appears to have payed off for Sam who took my advice and added Nightscape Familiars which were begging to be added for FoF and Shadowmages. He placed 2nd only because of mana problems when he played me. My matchups were rough with 2 BUG decks and Hoop's Sligh, but I managed to pull through.

R egionals! I was planning on playing BooGeR, but switched to Terminator, which did well against Bully's RG. Then I decided to actually try playtesting on IRC and switched to UG madness after being beatdown by it. Colchester, England - April 27th, 2002
I'm not really *that* pale... it just looks that way since Bully left the flash on
I copied Noastic's decklist fairly closely, but took out Unsummons for Call of the Herd. The sideboard proved fatal, but overall I didn't do too bad. I played a variety of decks: TraumEchoes, Braids, Tog, WUG, Frog in a Blender, Opposition and Mono-Black. I placed 31st out of 82 with 3 wins, 3 draws and a loss.
Poor Bully... Bully's deck reigned undefeated in local tournaments, so he had high hopes for the day (as usual). But like me, he had some fierce trouble from enchantments: Trenches, Teferi's Moat, Worship, Squirrel Nest and Opposition to name a few. He placed only 44th.

Quote of the day:
"This is your struggle to the top."
"No... this is my freefall to the bottom."


O uch! I got stomped! I was hoping to do well and hook in the season trophy, so I brought my sure and tested BooGeR deck. With a 9-2 record, I thought I should be able to get a decent placing comfortably. Wrong!   Lakenheath, England - April 14th, 2002
Mark, Anthony, Sean's head, Chris, Will & Erin
I started off against Bully and his ever-reliable RG Beats deck, and lost miserably. I almost pulled a win the second round, but he topdecked a Rage. No problem... the rest of the day should be easy, right? Nope. Next came Mark with a pretty good WUG deck. I lost the first game to a Sabertooth Nishoba (argh!) and the third to a Mystic Crusader (yes... Crusader, not Enforcer).
I asked if we could have a 6th round since I figured I could use the extra win, only to match-up against Sam and revisit PT Junk. As in Texas, the regenerators proved too much for my mass creature destruction. And to top it off, he had the dreaded Nishobas as well. I was crushed. Guess I won't be taking BooGeR to regionals...
Lakenheath, England - April 7th, 2002
Me vs. Will P, Chris vs. Brian, Shawn vs. Will G, and Mike on the sidelines
H ey... I've been on a roll lately. I managed 1st out of 13 for Bully's spring trophy makeup limited event. This puts me at 2nd place in the overall running. Now I just need to be able to make the other 2 events...
I thought I'd drafted poorly. I was trying to draft red/white/blue, but with someone on my left drafting red and Ken on my right drafting red/white/blue/black, I started drafting green near the end. It was a struggle, but somehow I made it to the top.

C omm/Nav 7-level school moved to Texas, so I spent a few weeks there. It was a nice vacation. I didn't really go much of anywhere while there other than Arlington, to check out the Fry's Electronics store there.   Sheppard AFB, Texas - Mar 29th, 2002
The view from my room...
There was a store right outside the front gate called Pegasus Loft (hey, I didn't name it). I walked in Saturday evening with my Type 2 deck just as they were starting a t2 tourney (lucky indeed). I did pretty well, placing 2nd out of 17 in a fresh & untested neighborhood.
The fun ended on the weekend of my return. After 10 hours of flying, several hours of waiting, and a two and a half hour bus ride, I arrived home after 20 hours of travel to find that my house had been broken into. Fortunately, the cuplrit didn't take any magic cards or computer hardware, but still... being robbed is not cool. Oh, and I was supposed to work the next day, but instead showed up and went home after someone said I wasn't supposed to be there (made sense to me). As usual, I got in trouble...argh!

Lakenheath, England - March 10th, 2002
Matt plays our special guest Sonic the Hedgehog as Angelo (thief bastard!) and Sam watch. Meanwhile, Cory ponders about the universe while sporting headgear sure to be a hit by the year 2099.
F inally I managed to get 1st, after getting 3rd and 2nd so many times! Not only that, but I beat Bully once again! And I played with a deck of my own conception. No cheese, no net deck... no excuses for my opponents.
It could have easily went the other way, especially with Amy playing Matt's RG Beats deck, which has never lost a local tourney until today. I was smoked during the 1st round against her, but my sideboard and some decent hands changed that around.

T ype I is my favorite. Why? Because I get to play my favorite deck. And nothing is more fun than drawing my library in a matter of turns and then decking my opponent. Also fun, is the multitudes of shuffling. Lakenheath, England - March 3rd, 2002
I just finished casting Time Walk... I'm moving really fast, while Sam remains absolutely motionless.
Or usually that's how that works anyway. I was well aware of the potential to run out of time, having scored some draws in London with this deck. So when I went well past the 30 minute mark with no end in sight to the match, I started to rush, and given Sam's counter stuffed deck, I started to choke.
Check out those manly biceps... must be from carrying so many canned foods all the way from the commissary. And that's when the mass amounts of shuffling turned into trouble. I made a pretty big mistake by accidentally shuffling a hand set aside with Memory Jar into my library when I Timetwistered! This really unnerved me, and for the rest of the day, I made mistake after mistake. It was a tourney nightmare.

Despite my failings, I placed 2nd. I didn't get a turn 1 kill as I had hoped to, but did swindle Chris with a turn 2 kill.

A fter last week's screwy pairings, it was nice to play a game without byes. We had a theme tourney based on winning by getting 100 life. I immediately thought of Enduring Renewal... what better way to win? Lakenheath, England - February 24th, 2002
Some serious play between Chris and Anthony.
My first matchup went pretty quick. I got a turn 4 kill in! Next was Hoop, who felt robbed afterwards, given how it was a cheesy combo. Matt beat me down with slivers... arg! Can't I ever win? Oh well... Matt is, after all, a pretty decent player.
On the lighter side of things, Will watches Matt have a sudden aneurysm while Hoop writes love letters to his wife... Next came Sam. Sam was pretty irrate about my combo. But, hey, if you don't plan for combo decks, you're sure to lose against them. Finally I played Will G. I didn't really get to see what his deck did... I overheard him casting Time Stretch earlier in the tournament, and was interested in what he had going on, but never got a chance to find out.

I did okay (3rd as usual!).

Y et again, I returned from Sicily (not taking pictures this time) ready for some tourney play. I was sorely disappointed about missing a Type I tournament, but pressed on with an extended deck I constructed.   Lakenheath, England - February 10th, 2002
Amy vs Will G, Mark vs Brian & Hoop vs Chris.
I didn't really have anything ready, so I threw together a combo-ish deck I'm proud of, given it's originality (despite it's shortcomings). I started thinking of a mono-red deck that ended up so heavy on the artifacts, that I shifted towards the artifacts and made green and white supporting colors.

Lakenheath, England - January 6th, 2002
Hoop and Ken battle it out...
A rg! Again with the same old Griff deck. What's worse is that I still don't have anything else, so I might end up playing it yet again next month. Oh well... such is life. At least I had Sabertooth Nishobas this time.
The important thing, I suppose, was that it was fun, with the exception of losing again to Bully! Some day I'm going to beat that hoser. It kinda miffed me, since I had an anti-RG-beat deck. I had some pretty bad hands, which really mucked it up, but at least I had my moment on the second round. 3rd place again...



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