California Regionals: A Bumpy Road to top 8

Written by TheInferno on June 16, 2008

California Regionals: A Bumpy Road to top 8

by TheInferno

This year regionals was held at a venue called Great Escape Games. My girlfriend and I arrive at the scene with neither of us having slept in the last thirty hours. ( No we aren't tweakers we just had a lot to do the night before.) My girl and I immediately get in an argument when we find that mapquest skipped a step when explaining where this place was. Great Escape is conveniently located BEHIND an Old Navy store. When I say behind, I literally mean we pulled into the shopping center drove around all of the stores a few times and then drove into the back of the shopping center where old navy's loading dock was before spotting it. I'm guessing it's called great escape because if your are running from a store that you have stolen something from, this is where you go.

I meet up with all of the other Reno players in the parking lot (Shyft, Jon Stocks, Nick, Brad, and St). I was hoping that one of them would have Mutavaults handy but it's then that a playset of Mutavaults is more expensive than a barrel of oil. The only man with mutavaults in the whole tournament let me borrow them for $40 and $100 in collateral!!!! I have to agree to this seeing as how my deck is garbage without them. I register this deck with one minute to spare and zero hours of testing under my belt...
UW Merfolk
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Merrow Rejeerey
4 Cursecatcher
2 Tideshaper Mystic
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Sower of Temptation
2 Sygg River Guide
4 Stonybrook Banneret
4 Mana Tithe
4 Sages Dousing
2 Cryptic Command
2 Mystic Gate
4 Wanderwine Hub
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Mutavault
7 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
4 Burrenton Forge-Tender
3 Flashfreeze
4 Sunlance
3 Stone Cloaker

Round 1: Josh ( Faeries) Josh is on the play game 1
Game 1: Josh leads out with turn two Bitterblossom which I'm not very afraid of with two Lord of Atlantis in my hand staring back at me. I play turn one Cursecatcher, turn two lord, and turn three Rejerrey. On my fourth upkeep he attempted to Mistbind Clique which was immediately met by a Mana Tithe.
"MANA TITHE," he yelped, "What kind of garbage are you playing?" Turn 4 Rejerrey, Lord, Lord was enough to take game one.
Game 2: On the draw I choose to play turn one untapped revealing Cursecatcher and pass. At this point Josh either didn't care or completely forgot about my Mana Tithe that won the last game, but he played Bitterblossom straight through my untapped white producing land. Of course I was obvious could it be? Anyhow, his blossom produced enough faeries for him to beat me down to twelve with and then came back to back scion of Oona's to put me away while stuck on three land.
Game3: NUTS!! First turn Cursecatcher. Second turn Cursecather, Mana Tithe his Bitterblossom. Third Turn Merrow Rejeerey. Fourth turn Lord, Lord, Mana Tithe his Cryptic Command on my fifth turn for the win! He was a little bit more than angry.
Games: 2-1

Round 2: Another Josh ( More Faeries) I am on the play game 1
This match was really boring.... Game 1: Josh mulls to five while I'm looking down at Island, Island, Mutavault, Lord, Rej, Catcher, Dousing.
He only played two land this game. My notes for this game were: He M to 5. Oppo= No second land until turn he loses.
Game 2: This game was as exciting as the first. I played Curse catcher followed by Banneret. After that I doused his next three spells and then Cryptic commanded his first Bitterblossom of the match and beat him down with my two 1/1s and two Vaults.
Games: 3-1

Round 3: Jeremy (5c Combo simalar to 420.5n) Jeremy is on the play game 1
Game 1: All I can say about this game is with me at nine and him having six permanents on the board, Jeremy sacrificed his Horizon Canopy to draw a card and then proceeded to Firespout to kill my whole team and put counters on his Kitchen Finks and Murderous Redcap, and then sacrificed his whole board to put Greater Gargadon in play since I only had a plains open thinking this was the play that would end the game and then…MANA TITHE!!! He effectively Obliterated his half of the board! I drew Silvergill, which drew me a Mutavault, which both attacked four times to win me the game. Try to tell me that this isn't the best punt in magic history!
Game 2: Jerry drew multiple firespouts to ruin my aggro draw with no counters. He won the game with three kitchen finks and a Horde of Notions.
Game 3: I lead out with two Burrenton Forge-Tender and a Silvergill Adept with a Mana Tithe for his Kitchen Finks. From here on out I had a counter for every spell he attempted to play for the rest of the game. Thank God for punt of the century!!!
Matches: 3-0
Games: 6-2

Round 4: Miles ( Mono Red Burn) Miles is on the play
Game 1: Due to my lack of any sort of testing I had no clue this deck even existed. His draw was great game one but mine was about par with it. The game came down to him drawing only to a burn spell that did three or more damage and he ripped Rift Bolt for the win.

Games 2 and 3 my notes were almost identical. Turn one Forge-tender. Turn two Silvergill. Turn three Forge-tender, Flashfreeze his creature and proceed to smash with tender and two Mutavaults for the rest of the game. I find that this match is very easy to deal with if you draw multiple Forge-Tender and Flashfreeze.
Matches: 4-0
Games: 8-3

Round 5: Yong (LARK!!!!!!!1 YAY) I am on the play
Game 1: I didn't know much about the format but I know this matchup was great for me. At this point my lack of rest started to catching up to me. This game I had Sygg River Guide on the board the whole game with him controlling an Island, but I never attacked. Whenever I get close to top 8 I get pretty nervous and when it is mixed with sleep deprivation I am terrible. He plays land-go forever until I get ready to start attacking for the win. He Cryptic Commands three turns in a row tapping down my team; he didn't realize these attacks would have only taken him down to one, so I saved my own Cryptic Command for Wrath of God. He attempted to Wrath, I countered and drew a Rejeerey for the win.

Game 2: Yong goes into the tank for roughly five minutes while thinking about whether or not to keep his seven card hand and eventually decides to keep it. I play turn one Cursecatcher, turn two Mutavault and Silvergill Adept, and he scoops on his fourth turn becuase of a lack of land and my ability to draw great hands in this situation.
Matches: 5-0
Games: 10-3

Round 6: Jon Stocks (Mono Red Burn) Jon is from Reno and a good friend of mine so we draw with both of us only needing 1 more win to top 8!!!

Round 7: Jacob Mills ( Homebrewed U/G) I am on the play... I think
I am basically asleep for this whole match. I didn't keep very good notes, and I punted three times in game two. Game three I won on turn five of time and burst into celebration. I'm sorry Jacob, I wish I remembered this match. TIME FOR TOP 8!!!!!
I intentionally draw round 8.
During round 8 I met up with the other three players that intentionally drew... We smoked and talked about our decks. Two of them were playing faeries and the other was playing merfolk. Suddenly I'm feeling very comfortable with my odds of going to nationals. I re-entered the room just in time to see another faeries deck take out G/R mana ramp and Jacob beat his opponent. So far I'm pretty sure I have a bye against most of T8.

Top 8: Mark (Faeries) Mark Is on the play
Game 1: My deck shines in this game. Turn one Cursecatcher. Turn two Jeremy resolves a Bitterblossom. Turn two I play Silvergill Adept. Turn three I play Lord of Atlantis, which Mark immediately attempts to smother. I sacrifice Cursecatcher he pays 1 of course, and I Mana Tithe. Turn four Mark attempts to Mistbind Clique which is met by another Mana Tithe. I draw Mutavault and the game is history from there.
Game 2: My opening hand is Mutavault, Adarkar Wastes, Lord of Atlantis, Lord of Atlantis, Cursecatcher, Cursecatcher, Sages Dousing. Eventually I decided to keep since I was on the draw and this hand had some serious potential. I didn't draw a second blue producing land as Mark's deck delivered and average hand and an average outcome against a land screwed deck. After some joking around and quoting The Office Mark and I get back to it.
Game 3: (What a way to end it) After much contemplation Mark and I both decide to keep our hands.Mark suspends Ancestral Visions. I play Stonybrook Banneret. Turn two Mark Played Bitterblossom. Turn three I played Sygg. Sadly enough he was the best creature in my hand, but I did have three Sages dousing. Mark keeps the aggression on with Bitterblossom but doesn't play anything else. On my fourth turn I draw Silvergill Adept which Mark attempts to Spellshutter Sprite which is met by one of my three Sages Dousings. I draw Lord of Atlantis and Island and pass. On his fourth turn Mark finally plays an Island so I can get in there with my Banneret and Sygg, now that they can't block Mark attacks with his two bitterblossom tokens, putting me at 18. On my turn I draw Lord of Atlantis and go into the tank. Do I play a lord and attack putting him at seven and just cast one dousing on the visions which is coming out of suspend next turn? Do I play both lords since he only has two cards in hand and hope that neither of them is a counter or terror or cryptic command? I decide to attack for three putting him at thirteen. At the end of the turn Mark plays Scion of Oona. This makes things really interesting. Do I douse this or do I double douse the visions and go to nine. I decided to race. But wait! Mark lets the first Sages Dousing Resolve and doesn't pay. I draw Island from Sages Dousing. He attacks for six which puts me at twelve and attempts to play Vendilion Clique I have to counter this because it represents unblockable lethal damage. I draw Adarkar Wastes off of Sages dousing. Mark Terrors my Sygg while I am tapped out. Mark now has zero cards in had with two open land. My draw is another Adarkar Wastes of course. I play Lord, Lord attack with the team which puts Mark at seven and a certain end to his regionals. Mark draws and all of his buddies gasp as he flips over another Scion of Oona. I show him my two land hand and give him a well deserved hand shaking. What a match. Mark is a great kid and an even better opponent. I wish you the best of luck at nationals.
On no sleep, no testing and no Mutavaults when I walked into the room, I top 8ed at regionals. It was an uphill battle, but it was a lot of fun.
On no sleep, no testing I lost to a top deck.
Thank you Heather for coming with me.
Thank you Chris Davis (Shyft) for your support.
Thank you Jon Stocks for drawing with me when we both know I couldn't beat your deck.
Thank you ST for the deck.
Until next time,
-Charlie Hawkins

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

by Eldariel on 2008-06-16 15:34 CET

Could you PLEASE tell me how you draw a Cursecatcher every game? I wanna be that good in Magic too!

by CalebD on 2008-06-16 16:11 CET

Mana tithe looks like it was hot all day long, good show.

by Lynolf on 2008-06-16 16:33 CET


And any tech is strong, even Mana Tithe, because it holds the surprise factor. Just look at Pro-Tour Hollywood.

by Circa on 2008-06-16 18:26 CET

Goddamnit, Charlie. Another top 8 with a loss..

I am sitting here with your brother hoping to read some really funny shit, but I guess you edited it for content. We'll get together soon, and you can tell me the whole story.

Sucks I couldn't make it this year. first regionals I missed in the past 5 years...

by Circa on 2008-06-16 19:08 CET

Bitch, let's fight.

by Shooter on 2008-06-16 19:18 CET

I stopped reading when I saw 2 command =/

by emerus on 2008-06-16 21:09 CET

Yeah, CC is the bread and butter of Merfolk... Mana Tithe is tech and all, but as a 2-of and side it out every game.


by TylerTMK on 2008-06-16 23:28 CET

The only man with mutavaults in the whole tournament let me borrow them for $40 and $100 in collateral!!!!


by trueeevil on 2008-06-16 23:33 CET

Circa, are you going to the block PTQ?

by TheInferno on 2008-06-17 01:03 CET

You like my article? I didn't feel the need for 4 command because shyft and I decided that Sower was probably more important... especially since elves were such a bad matchup. I did fine without testing. Thank your for the constructive criticism.

by Conkisstador on 2008-06-17 02:38 CET

congratulations on a solid performance. my buddy went 6-0-2 and then lost top8 also to topdeck.

hope u get that nudge over the top next time!

circa u still owe me cards and blastoderm too. anyone who knows circa please cuss him out for this infantile thievery.

by Acid_Christ on 2008-06-17 02:58 CET

"The only man with mutavaults in the whole tournament let me borrow them for $40 and $100 in collateral!!!!"

Screw playing, I know what I am doing from now on.

by |eric| on 2008-06-17 03:01 CET

Did I played you round 4? I won game 1 vs merfolk and got wrecked games 2 and 3 because of the Burrenton Forge-Tender. Was your gf the cute blonde and you told her I looked like your friend???

by Conkisstador on 2008-06-17 03:11 CET

round 4 was miles

by Quantumdemon on 2008-06-17 16:42 CET

CHARLIE! Awesome article and great job on top 8 and forget about the naysayers, although CC is probably the best card you were savage of enough to top 8 with only 2 =P

by on 2008-06-18 03:04 CET

congrats at making top 8,deck looks cool tho i didnt c that many r/g aggro players(are they that scarce?) and how would u have dealt with vexing shusher!

by Quantumdemon on 2008-06-18 05:49 CET

Northern California has always and probably will always be home of the aggro-control/combo/control metagame.

by kwarlord on 2008-06-18 19:12 CET

A winner is me!...seeing as how I'm the man that lent mutavaults to you. Grats on the top8, you certainly paid enough for it. Also, don't be mad, you made the offer.

Also, forget about playing with mutavaults. Those things are going to pay for every tournament I enter from now on, one way or another.

by OldBear on 2008-06-18 19:39 CET

Magic the gathering card rental a new business is born.

by Circa on 2008-06-18 20:16 CET

Bitch, let's fight.

by Circa on 2008-06-18 22:29 CET

Seriously, bitch; let's fight.

by BlackDahlia on 2008-06-19 21:12 CET


by Ownj00 on 2008-06-19 23:09 CET

awful list, awful strategy, several punts from opponents, and three blatent unnecesary "i have a girlfriend" mentions. fail.

by Quantumdemon on 2008-06-20 02:35 CET

Ownj00 you fail at life, stfu.

by TheInferno on 2008-06-20 08:04 CET

Sounds like someone wants a girlfriend... Im sorry man you will find her/him someday. Im sorry i built my deck with the metagame in mind. Mana tithe won me games! I told you all I didnt all.... but i made top 8 in a field of 211 that tested. Im sorry you 0-2 dropped. Better luck next year. Oh, I hear its good to use lube the first time you let him put it in there. And dont forget to ice it up afterwards.

by on 2008-06-21 16:21 CET

Since Mana Tithe gets those damn Bitterblossoms (Commands, LLarks, Colossus, etc) game 1 you have my vote.

The BEST argument against a deckbuild, card or strategy is to test it yourself and blablabla later.

by Nehemia on 2008-06-22 16:51 CET

the list is ok. mana tithe is tech, cutting commands for sower is bad, playing 4 sages dousing is also bad in your list. i cant see what you mean by "having the metagame in mind" with how you built your decklist or your sideboard. i mean 1 random venser?..bad. 3 stonecloaker? ..what for?
well gz for makiing a qualifikation.

by BlackDahlia on 2008-06-22 23:33 CET

You're all really ugly.

by TheInferno on 2008-06-23 22:25 CET

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love that really ugly comment. I was expecting a lot of elves... Elves seemed like my biggest problem and sower rocks that deck. Every time you get a chance to time walk take it! Oh and by the way I only had access to 2 commands. Even if i had 4 there is no way i would run 4 in this deck. And any deck with 4 stonybrook banneret should have 4 dousing. I went 6-0... I beat every type of deck with the exception of elves on my way to top 8.

by Nehemia on 2008-06-24 00:27 CET

that doesnt say anything about how good you or your deck are.. sadly.

by Flips on 2008-07-17 18:30 CET

IF that to mean anything than what does it mean lol. I am guessing you think it means you suck? Common dude get a life. Oh let me guess it means you got lucky 6 times in a row right?

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