North-East Regionals: *Top 8*

Written by therooster on June 12, 2008

North-East Regionals: *Top 8*

by therooster 

Regionals tournaments are always interesting due to having a newly legal set added to the format. This time, however, the atmosphere wasn’t nearly as fresh since Pro Tour: Hollywood was Standard and had just passed by a few weeks prior. Shadowmoor didn’t seem to have too many strong cards and thus didn’t have a very heavy impact on the tournament’s results. Myself and many others were going under the assumption that the decks that did well there would also be the most prevalent at Regionals. 

The only problem with this theory is that some people will take any previous assumptions about the projected Regionals metagame, throw them out the window and build a rogue deck. The same usually applies for the now-defunct State Championships. As you will see later in my tournament report, I encountered quite a few of the aforementioned people throughout the tournament. 

In the weeks leading up to Regionals, I was mostly torn between two decks: GB Elves and Reveillark. Both of these decks were strong in the Pro Tour top 8 and had a number of convincing selling points. When it came time to decide, though, I simply went with the deck I had more experience with and was more attuned to my personal playing style: GB Elves. 

When constructing my list, I sort of analyzed Nakamura and Gindy’s top 8 decks and put together a somewhat cross-pollinated build. Here is what I brought to the tournament: 

GB Elves
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Boreal Druid
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
3 Civic Wayfinder
4 Imperious Perfect
4 Chameleon Colossus 
3 Nameless Inversion
3 Profane Command
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Thoughtseize 
4 Gilt-Leaf Palace
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Treetop Village
4 Mutavault
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Pendelhaven
3 Forest
2 Swamp 
4 Bitterblossom
4 Shriekmaw
3 Profane Command
2 Mind Shatter
2 Slaughter Pact

There is obviously nothing too adventurous about my Elf list, but I did customize it a little to fit my own desires. After surveying existing deck lists from the Pro Tour, I came to the following conclusions: 
1. I really liked Chameleon Colossus. Not only is it a very resilient threat, but it can often end the game very quickly if unchecked. I also really liked the fact that I didn’t have to fear creature combat too much when I’m swinging with a Colossus or two. This is what made me to decide to run the full 4 copies.

2. Garruk, although sometimes situational, can also threaten to end the game very quickly once it comes down. Some people have started to shy away from Garruk, perhaps only playing 2 copies nowadays. It can be subpar at times, but in an aggro-centric event like Regionals I knew I wanted to fit in as many as I could (which just so happened to be 3).

3. I wanted to shy away from the more popular Faeries sideboard options (Cloudthresher, Squall Line) and instead utilize Nakamura’s Bitterblossom plan. These proved to be very effective in not only gaining some edge in the Faeries match up (Damnation anybody?) but also coming in against some other strategies.
After a bit of testing on Magic-League, I brought the deck to FNM the night before Regionals. I easily went 5-0 before losing in the Top 4 to my Girlfriend’s little brother playing Swath Storm. Oh well, I suppose losing out on a foil Resurrection isn’t so bad, even if the artwork is amazing: 
After trading for the 2 Slaughter Pacts for my sideboard I was off to the races on Saturday. Our tournament was something over 200 people, so it was going to be 8 rounds of swiss with a top 8. The top 8 would play one round and then the top 4 would be qualified for Nationals. Somebody even had some byes for winning City Champs or something. Most of us found it pretty odd when we heard about it. 

Round 1: BG Aggro

I saw my opponent playtesting before the event so I more or less knew what I was in for: a rogue aggro deck using Troll Ascetic, Bitterblossom, Tarmogoyf, etc. It was sort of a new age Aggro Rock deck. 
Game 1:
This game started out fairly scary for me, as he dropped 2 early Bitterblossoms. I breathed a sigh of relief after playing a Thoughtseize and seeing 2 more Bitterblossoms in his hand.  It seems he drew the entire set.  After that I threw down a pair of Chameleon Colossus and the game soon ended in my favor. 
Game 2:
My memory is a bit foggy about this game, but I remember it being much more interactive and interesting.  I'm pretty sure we both had Bitterblossoms and Tarmogoyfs, and went back and forth trading tokens and killing each other's creatures. I eventually overran him with a number of elves and my new favorite lizard, Chameleon Colossus. 
Round 2: RG Warriors
Game 1: 
In this game my opponent's draw seemed somewhat mediocre.  It was also very obvious that he was lacking a bit in experience (I believe he stated that he just came back to the game after a very long hiatus).  With some carefully placed removal and a Garruk I was able to take the first game of the match.
Game 2:
In the second game I mulliganed into a somewhat below average 6 card hand. Unfortunately for me, he kept with a fairly spicy 7 card hand that had me packing up for game 3 after only a few minutes.  I believe he ran me over with double Tattermunge Maniac, double Ram Gang and a few burn spells.
Game 3:
This game I kept a hand with multiple removal spells and played it out basically like the first (except now I also had Primal Command and Shriekmaw to make his life even worse).  Not only was I very much in control of the game, but I was able to somehow kill off an Imperious Perfect with my Llanowar Elves and Pendelhaven. 
Round 3: Red Deck Wins
Game 1:
This round my opponent was playing a straight up mono red variant of RDW (though he did play Ram Gang and Tattermunge Maniac off his Mountains).  I basically won this game by dropping an early Tarmogoyf, having him spend some resources to take it out, and then Profane Commanding it back to play while taking out his Ram Gang. With a few removal spells I took his life total out in chunks of 5 very quickly.
Game 2:
This game went very much like game 2 from my last round.  He had a very aggressive draw on the play and my hand was less than stellar (I think I got no removal over the course of the game).
Game 3:
My heart sank in game 3 when I mulliganed three whole times.  I kept probably one of the best 4 card hands I could hope for (Gilt-Leaf Palace, Elf, Garruk and removal of some sort).  Although he did not mulligan, he was soon cursing lady luck as well when he failed to draw more than the 2 lands in his opening draw for quite a number of turns.  Not only did I draw another 2 lands, but also a Civic Wayfinder and a Chameleon Colossus.  Although my Colossus eventually fell to a Flame Javelin, I was able to amass a small army of Beast tokens as well as a Tarmogoyf.  Eventually he dropped an Everlasting Torment while I had a Primal Command in my hand.  I shrugged and simply threw it on top of his library and searched up a Shriekmaw.  This allowed me to untap 2 lands with Garruk, play the Shriekmaw to remove his only blocker, Boggart Ram Gang, and swing through with my green army to take the match.
Round 4: Mono Blue Control
Game 1:
I spent a decent part of the first game of this match deciphering my opponents deck and game plan.  It was a mono blue snow control deck with some mana artifacts, counterspells and some blue creatures (Teferi, Sower). Although I quickly bashed him down to less than 10 life with very little resistance, I unfortunately found out what else he was up to when he dropped not one but TWO Platinum Angels with triple Pact of Negation backup.  After taking a quick analysis of the cards he played so far this game I packed up and went for my sideboard to see what I could do to battle this deck next game.
Game 2:
I sideboard in my Slaughter Pacts for large artifact creatures (I wouldn't doubt a Razormane Masticore also hiding in his deck somewhere) and my Mind Shatters.  I fired off an early Thoughtseize which saw a Rune Snag and a Flash Freeze.  I gladly took the Rune Snag and proceeded to Mind Shatter him for 5 cards 2 turns later.  I think I hit Teferi, Pact of Negation (he was on 4 mana still), Flashfreeze, Sower and a land.  After this massive beating he was visibly shaking and I soon sent him to zero life with a few elves.
Game 3:
This game was very similar to the second, except I played a Bitterblossom before the Thoughtseize, as well as another afterwards instead of a Mind Shatter.  Since he had no Wrath effects and no Platinum Angels handy, I quickly reduced him to zero life by increasingly large chunks of Faerie Rogue damage.
Round 5: Faeries
Game 1:
I was bound to run into this deck eventually as it was still somewhat popular, despite its abysmal performance overall at the Pro Tour compared to a few other decks.  My opponent was very quiet and hard to read.  I goose stepped my way through game one because of this, but I believe his draw was actually very bad since he didn't put up much resistance for my Tarmogoyfs and Colossi. 
Game 2:
In this game he got a nearly ideal Faerie draw with turn one suspend Visions, turn 2 Bitterblossom.  I was able to drop my own Bitterblossom to try and stem the bleeding, but he was soon going to town with Scions and Mistbinds.
Game 3:
This game he had another Visions to suspend early, but I had the turn 2 Bitterblossom.  This proved very hard for him to deal with after a while.  It was a very tight game but I think in the long run I drew a few better cards than he did.
Round 6: Green Red Mana Ramp
Game 1:
I knew what my opponent was playing since his last match was very close to mine, and I wasn't exactly pleased with it at first.  While shuffling for game 1 I was doing a sort of silent prayer for my deck to offer up as many Tarmogoyf's and Chameleon Colossi as it could.  My deck answered my call and I ended up drawing 2-3 of each.  Regardless, it ended up being a very long and drawn out game.  We both had many lands on the board after a while, but I was playing very carefully to ensure my Colossus never fell to his Skreds.  Eventually he was able to overload my mana and send it to the graveyard, but I soon after topdecked my first Profane Command of the match to bring it back to play and wreck his Tarmogoyf in the process.  A second Profane Command a few turns later ended the game on the spot.
Game 2:
I gladly sided in my Shriekmaws and Mind Shatters and was excited to have won the first game.  Early on in game 2 I tossed a Thoughtseize at him to find a hand full of 3 Firespouts.  After taking one and forcing him to use another on some small elves, I dropped two 2/3 Tarmogoyfs and an Imperious Perfect on the board in successive turns.  Perhaps he thought I was setting myself up to get blown out and quickly sent out a Firespout while I was completely tapped out.  Much to his dismay I fired off a Slaughter Pact at his Magus of the Moon, pumping my Tarmogoyfs up much higher and basically trading a Slaughter Pact and an Imperious Perfect for his Firespout, Magus and a pair of Wall of Roots.  Word on the street is 2 for 4 trades aren't good for your health.  I crashed in for a few turns and was soon signing the match slip 2-0 in my favor.
At this point I was in the top of the standings and took a couple intentional draws to lock in a Top 8 slot.
Quarterfinals: RB Tokens
Although I was only one round away from the coveted Nationals qualification, I had no clue how this match was going to play out.  I had seen his deck during my ID rounds and wasn't happy with my chances verse his ace in the hole: Rite of Consumption.  That's right, go look it up... Now then, picture that card being used in conjunction with a Greater Gargadon, or even better yet, a huge Nantuko Husk.  I was very wary of these possible scenarios and vowed to play as carefully as I could to try and prevent any bloodbaths.
Game 1:
In this first game I played as tight as I could, but he was eventually able to take over the battlefield with sheer superior numbers.  With some careful play he managed to send a fresh Greater Gargadon and a semi-large Husk through the red zone with a Profane Command... Ouch.
Game 2:
For this game I sideboarded in my Bitterblossoms, Slaughter Pacts and Primal Commands.  I dropped a somewhat early Bitterblossom and played a somewhat defensive ground game as he had a Husk and a Gargadon to go with an army of tokens and small creatures.  While sending in a slowly growing number of Faerie tokens, I also began assaulting with a pair of Wren's Run Vanquishers and a Chameleon Colossus with double pump backup.  Not only did I kill a Greater Gargadon in combat (and have my Colossus live to tell the tale), I dropped a second Bitterblossom and padded my life total with a Primal Command.  This turned into a war of attrition and I was gladly on the winning side.
Game 3:
During sideboarding for game 3 my opponent muttered under his breath that he "threw that game away".  I was unsure what he meant, but I did notice him sideboard 4 cards into his deck.  I think what had happened is he boarded out his Bitterblossoms, perhaps thinking they weren't that useful in this match up.  On the other hand I had brought mine in with great haste as I knew I was going to need them to provide amply Husk/Gargadon/Profane Command defense.  This turned into a duel of tokens as we both dropped early Bitterblossoms.  After sending wave after wave of my own men at him, he dropped another Bitterblossom and turned the tide of the battle.  The ground was completely stalled out aside from a Colossus I had playing the role of Abyss on some of his tokens each turn.  Alas, luck was not on my side and after a few turns he drew exactly what he was looking for: Rite of Consumption.  After some very, very careful calculations, he went through the motions and tossed an 18/18 flaming Nantuko husk at my head with the aforementioned Sorcery.
Overall record: 6-1-2
I was a bit bummed out that I came this far only to fall one round short of the Nationals qualification, but I did have a ton of fun and won a box and a half of Shadowmoor for my efforts.  Overall it was a very good day of magic and I was very happy with my extremely careful plays throughout the day.

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by Slovmo on 2008-06-13 00:25 CET

got profane commands side as well as main, might wanna change em to primals~

by therooster on 2008-06-13 00:46 CET

Ya side was Primal, dunno how that happened :P

by Steveman on 2008-06-13 01:00 CET

haha matt beat you too?

by Conkisstador on 2008-06-13 01:20 CET

rb tokens is a really good deck. the kill spells range everywhere:
nantuko husk
grave pact
furystoke giant
torrent of souls
siege-gang commander
greater gargadon

my friend top8d connecticut with it X-0

by on 2008-06-13 01:25 CET

Great job man. Thanks for letting me steal your decklist at FNM the night before :)

by kby on 2008-06-13 01:30 CET

you go to my regionals and dont even say hi??

jk... 225ppl ftl man, not to mention the place sucked after round 5.

fyi this was the top8 decks

2nd-rb tokens
3rd-rb tokens
4th-Quick'n'toast dont matter

by Teh_Blues on 2008-06-13 03:47 CET

by Slovmo

You post on here? Didn't know that.

by wyvernmonarc on 2008-06-13 06:18 CET

u got a box and a half?? for 6-1-2
i went 6-1-1 and got 9th, and got 18 packs

by metzel_usa on 2008-06-13 07:50 CET

choke under pressure

by el_cuervito on 2008-06-13 14:04 CET

why nameles inversion and no terror?

by on 2008-06-13 14:44 CET

why nameles inversion and no terror?

Starts with T and ends in 'armogoyf'

Plus topdecking a vanquisher in the late game and paying 5 is REALLY annoying, so anything to alleviate that is gold.

by therooster on 2008-06-13 14:50 CET

Ya, Inversion definitely helps build your Goyf and sometimes matters for Vanquisher and Gilt-Leaf Palace... it worked fine for me :)

The top 4 got 2 boxes each, top 8 1 box each, but I arranged a prize split with my Top 8 opponent to go 1.5 each.

by TugaChampion on 2008-06-14 13:14 CET

But inversion also boosts your opp's goyfs and doesn't kill them. It doesn0t kill Mistbind Clique nor Gargadon. Overall the small things Nameless does for you don't matter that much. Besides if they do play inversion your goyfs get a boost too anyway.

by maltabus on 2008-06-15 02:49 CET

TugaChampion, be quiet. You're making criticisms as if no one else in magic plays Inversion. The PT lists play it for specific reasons -- main ones already mentioned. While you could make arguments to play Terror, you *cannot* simply state that "Overall the small things Nameless does for you don't matter that much" and expect people to put any stock in your advice.

by Shindeiru on 2008-06-15 10:41 CET

TugaChampion is wright so stfu Maltabus.
Btw terror is a better removal resource, it kills other goyf, and does more important things than nameless.

by DESTRUCTOR on 2008-06-15 18:16 CET

i agree terror > inversion

RB tokens is an interesting deck...does anybody knows why that deck doesnt use Grave pact? (2-3 on sb) looks a good addition to beat any aggro-ish deck

by on 2008-06-16 01:38 CET

Like a friend of mine said... I wish RB Tokens were a good deck (to play in GP), but it not encourages me somwhow...

congratz btw

by on 2008-06-19 04:21 CET

i agree with the columnist's choice on nameless.. besides the synergy with Goyf, vanquisher AND Gilt-leaf palace, its an elegant solution for opposing little guys, and it can do what terror does most of the time very often nameless gets to kill a black (or even an indestructible) creature making it better than terror. do note that the columnist does have shriekmaws and slaughter pacts for situations where terror is better than nameless, thats what sideboards are for. pls stop arguing. and congrats to therooster

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