Before we start,
let’s get one thing straight. There is no happy ending to this
story. I do not storm the English Nationals at the head of a
Goblin army. In fact I spent the weekend getting beaten in a
variety of formats.
This presents some difficulties,
in that my normal form of tournament report - writing about
myself a lot - would not make for a very interesting read.
Despite personal lack of success, however, lots of interesting
things happened at the English Nationals which I want to tell
you about. So this article is going to be slightly different
from normal. It is divided into five parts. In each part I
shall write a bit about what went on at Nationals, and then
describe a situation and ask you what you would have done.
These questions will test your play skill, your ability to
evaluate matchups, your ability to select the correct deck to
play and your general attitude to the game – all essential
skills but not ones which can be honed by playtesting. At the
end, depending on how many questions you get right, I’ll tell
you which English Magic player you most closely resemble. It
is possible that you may inadvertently learn quite a lot from
this process; if you find the idea of doing so worrying or
upsetting, then read no further.
CHOOSING A DECK
I began my preparation for
English Nationals the same way that I always do.
“Hello, John Ormerod speaking.”
John, it’s Dan. Just wondered if you’d got a Red deck for me
“Certainly. Come round and see it.”
This year’s Red deck was a bit weird, though. John
explained to me that because of all the good dual lands which
exist, it is possible to replace the pretty crappy goblins in
the Red deck with amazing Green creatures - Wild
of the Herd and so on, and this ridiculous card which
gives a creature +3/+3 and makes another 3/3 when the creature
dies. The other incentive for doing this is that it means that
Eruption only costs three mana much of the time. I didn’t
think that there was anything wrong with Violent
Eruption when it cost four mana, but, hey, I wasn’t
complaining. I did a bit of playtesting, and this Red(Green)
deck beat all the other decks. I spent a couple of weeks
testing and tuning the deck and sideboard, and was all ready
set to play it at Nationals.
Then disaster struck.
I was playing a practice game two days before
Nationals with this new kind of Red deck, when all of a
sudden, without any warning, I drew an Elf.
shock and horror of this had worn off, I found myself faced
with a difficult decision. I had tested this Red deck quite a
lot, but playing it at Nationals might involve casting one or
(shudder) maybe even more than one Elf. As the inventor of the
variant of Magic known as ‘All Elves Must Die’ (European
Championships 2000), and a valued member of the Goblin
community, I didn’t think that I could lower myself to
including Elves in my deck. Playing with Forests was bad
enough, especially when I almost had to search for one with a
Wooded Foothills on one occasion, but Elves really were a step
The day before Nationals there was a Pro Tour
Qualifier, and Grinders for Nationals. I went to observe the
Standard decks which people were playing in their attempt to
qualify, and on almost every table there were green and white
decks, Beasts decks, blue-green decks tailored against
red-green, and a few dejected red-green players. What summed
the metagame for me was watching a red-green player sit there
dejectedly and cast an Elf on about turn four, to which his
opponent responded by casting a Phantom
Centaur to go with his Anurid
Brushhopper and Ravenous Baloth.
Later the same
day I hear about the four phase PTQ final from Jonny ‘going to
Yokohama’ Chapman. Jonny sits down to play the final, and his
opponent [name deleted to protect the, er, guilty] declines
any kind of prize split. They shuffle and Jonny’s opponent
draws seven cards. He is confused to find that they are rather
unfamiliar cards, due to the fact that he has managed to draw
from Jonny’s deck. That’s a game loss.
again, and prepare for game two. Jonny’s opponent draws his
hand (from the correct deck this time), and enters his main
phase. At this point, the judge stops the game owing to the
fact that Jonny’s opponent has eight cards in his hand. The
match lasted for one untap, one upkeep, one draw and one first
main phase. I went 0-2 in that PTQ. Not that I’m bitter.
Still trying to decide which deck to play, I run into
Kevin O’Connor and ask him what he is playing. It turns out
that he has been playing a Goblin deck on Magic Online for a
number of months, and is intending to play it at the
Nationals. I ask him how he beats Red-Green and he pulls a
face, but he is confident against blue-green, Psychatog,
white- green and mono-black.
So, to finish part one,
here is question number one. You are, um, me, and you have to
decide which deck to play at Nationals. It has to have
Mountains and small creatures in it (you are disqualified if
you ask why), which narrows down the choice to Red-Green and
mono-Red Goblins. Traditionally at English Nationals, the deck
perceived to be the ’best’ deck gets hated. Everyone who turns
up, barring the very hopeless, will have tested against it and
often go to extremes to defeat it. Equally, the raw power
level of Red-Green is much higher, I have tested with it and
the internet says it is a better deck.
here is the mono-red listing (life is too short to type out
the standard Red-Green deck listing, I’m sure you’ve seen
This is something
that I know now, because I know how many people played each
different kind of deck at Nationals. It turned out that far
and away the most popular archetype was blue-green, with
Slide, Tog, Reanimator, Red-Green, Wake, Beasts and
White-Green (in roughly that order) being the other decks that
showed up in significant, though much smaller, numbers. Out of
all the decks that the ten people who tested at Hampton Court
Palace played against, nearly half were blue-green, four times
as many as played any other deck.
There is no
objective way of knowing which deck is going to be the best to
play in a particular tournament before the tournament takes
place. But often you will have the choice between playing a
slightly rogue deck and one of the top decks in the field.
There is no hard and fast rule about which deck is the right
one. In many local tournaments, where players who turn up are
more likely to play experimental decks, playing the tried and
tested, ‘best’ deck is usually the way forwards. At the very
highest level of play, such as at a Pro Tour, the argument is
finely balanced, as can be seen from the results in Venice
where anti-Slide decks did well, but a Slide deck still came
out on top.
At a tournament like Nationals, however,
the arguments in favor of the rogue decks are more persuasive.
Just about all the players at the tournament are good enough
to know that Red-Green is a deck which they HAVE to be able to
beat, and so will have turned up with a strategy about how to
do so. They will probably be relatively experienced in the
Red-Green matchup, and know which hands to keep and which to
mulligan, which cards to sideboard in and out and other
important pieces of information. At the same time, the level
of overall play skill is far lower than at a Pro Tour, which
means that they will be less likely to be able to adjust to
unfamiliar situations, will make sideboarding errors and keep
poor hands and generally give me an advantage when facing a
deck which they have not tested against. The land destruction
in the Red deck takes advantage of the fact that many decks
use very shaky mana bases due to the fact that landkill is
very rare, and the big creature decks which beat up on
red-green often have a nightmare dealing with Sparksmith.
Playing the Red deck, in other words, was a bet that was based
on there being many more anti-Red-Green decks than Red-Green
decks and decks that Red-Green crushed.
took the Red deck to a 5-1 record (a feat matched by only one
Red-Green player, Craig Stevenson – and there were plenty more
Red-Green decks than mono-Red decks), beating Red-Green,
Slide, Blue-Green twice and Psychatog
and losing only to Black-White Slide 2-1.
I did very
badly. But that was not because of the deck choice. It was
because I made a big mistake. I reckoned that since I was
playing a Red deck, and all the choices looked quite
straightforward (tap Sparksmith,
point at a creature, wait for opponent to put it in graveyard,
that sort of thing), I could work out the sideboarding as I
went along. I managed to combine this with some truly terrible
play. I lost 2-1 to a Slide deck, 2-0 to a Red-Green deck,
beat another Slide deck 2-0, contrived to lose to a Blue-Green
deck 2-1, lost to a Reanimator deck 2-1 and in the last round
played against a blue-black aggro control deck with a result
that I’ll tell you about later.
The Reanimator and
Slide decks were fair enough, the matches I lost were close,
and the match I won was very easy. The Blue-Green and
Red-Green losses, though, were inexcusable.
Blue-Green I won the first, then for the second brought in 4
Bridge, 4 Stone
Rain and 4 Pillage
taking out a random collection of creatures. I got justly
punished for this by dying with a Bridge in play but four
cards in my hand because I couldn’t cast the stupid and
irrelevant land destruction fast enough. That was a game in
which my opponent had no permanent removal of any sort, so if
the land destruction had been 1 casting cost Goblins, I’d have
won easily. Game three I took out my Bridges to try the fast
beatdown backed by landkill strategy. This, unsurprisingly, is
not a very good strategy, and I lost that game as well.
Against the Red-Green deck I lost the first, and
decided to bring in Bridges and Dragons (go me!!!). I won the
second, but lost the third after my opponent pulled out of his
mana stumble early in the game. I wander over to watch Kevin
systematically deny his Red-Green opponent enough red mana to
Eruption at any stage in the game to win the third with a
barrage of Stone
Rains and Pillages
(the second had been decided by a very, very large Fledgling
The mono-Red deck is a metagame choice
(as mono-Red decks have been every year since 2000 when
Wizards decided that Red shouldn’t get cards which were as
powerful as those in other colours). If you expect lots of
Red-Green and Reanimator then it is a very poor choice.
However, against the decks which did well at English
Nationals, it is a fine choice. The top eight decks at
Nationals were Tog, blue-black control (more on that later), 2
blue-green decks, a Wake deck, a blue-black-green Opposition
deck, one Reanimator deck and a Black-White Slide deck. Kevin,
who finished 9th, had a favorable matchup against five of
those decks, and the other two lost in the quarter-finals.
To recap, the real skill in selecting a deck to play
at a big tournament like Regionals or Nationals is to pick a
deck which beats the decks which most other people decide to
play. This requires either the ability to mass-mindread or the
ability to make an informed guess about the sorts of decks
which people are likely to turn up with. But there’s no point
getting the deck choice right if you can’t play it optimally.
Anyway, on to this part’s question. It is round six of
Nationals, and you are once again me. It has been a pretty
poor day, and you/I find yourself having gone 1-4. In the
final round you are playing against a blue-black aggro control
deck with Mesmeric
Infiltrators, Nantuko Shades, Braids, Memory
Lapses and the like, similar to the not very good Odyssey
Block Constructed deck. Naturally, you win the first, but
somehow contrive to lose the second. In the third game your
opponent slams down an early Engineered
Plague on Goblins and another on Wizards (shutting down Grim
Lavamancer). He follows this up by casting Haunting
Echoes to remove Volcanic
Hammers and Goblin
Piledrivers (which could still be a threat with Goblin
Burrows). So to win I had 3 Firebolts,
4 Barbarian Rings, 4 Lava Darts, 2 Clickslithers
and 4 Blistering
Firecats. And my opponent was on 16 life.
continues, and I manage to use a Lava
Dart to kill a Nantuko
Shade (there is far from perfect play at the 1-4 table of
English Nationals). He gets out a Shadowmage
Infiltrator and attacks with it, drawing a card.
Seen the problem yet? Shadowmage
Infiltrator is a Wizard, so is a 0/2, so doesn’t damage
me, so my opponent drew a card when he wasn’t allowed to. He
is a fairly inexperienced player, and certainly didn’t mean to
cheat. When the offence is pointed out he goes to put the card
back on top of the library. Drawing an extra card is an
offence which according to the rules should result in a game
loss. And there are witnesses that he drew the card.
So the question is
SHOULD I CALL A JUDGE AND
GET MY OPPONENT A GAME LOSS?
The bonus question is
WHO WON THE GAME?
PART THREE – HOW TO
PLAY MAGIC IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT AND HOW TO BECOME A BETTER
I cannot stress enough how much
more fun it is to play tournament Magic against someone who
does not play sloppily. Someone who does not put their Quiet
Speculation in the graveyard before searching their
library. Someone who gives time after each action to find out
if you have any responses before rushing on. Someone who
shuffles their deck properly and does not object if you
shuffle their deck. Someone, in short, who plays accurately,
according to the rules of the game.
But not everyone
plays like that. And there are players who take advantage. In
the top eight, one of the players playing a blue-green deck
cast Quiet Speculation and put it in the graveyard, and the
judge ruled that that meant he had chosen not to search his
library for any flashback cards.
There is, just about,
an argument for that ruling in the top eight of a National
Championship. It is just about possible to argue that playing
the game according to the letter, and not the spirit, of the
rules is an important part of what makes a top level Magic
player. The reason why I would disagree with that is that I
remember Grand Prix: Birmingham in 1998, which was the first
and last Grand Prix run to rules enforcement level five.
The result of penalizing players for not sticking to
the letter of the rules was that many players (especially more
experienced ones) adopted a strategy of trying to win by
getting their opponent to break some trivial rule and then
calling them up on it. This resulted in an astonishingly
unpleasant atmosphere and meant that games were decided not on
play skill or skill in deck building, but on ability to trick
people and knowledge of arcane and obscure rules. This, in
case you were wondering, is a Bad Thing.
The one rule
that I would like to see enforced more often is the warning
for unsportsmanlike conduct applied to people who call the
judge over time and again to try to get free wins out of games
which they are about to lose. That’s because at heart I think
that Magic is a game and that the winner should be the person
who outplays their opponent, not the person who knows all the
rules best. Strange, I know.
In any case, sitting at
the 1-4 table, not caring about the outcome of the match and
faced with an opponent who made an honest mistake, it would be
absurd to call a judge over so that I could get a free game
win. I just told my opponent to put the card back and continue
the game. Throughout the rest of the game I fail to draw a
Firecat or Clickslither.
Instead, I draw a steady stream of Firebolts,
Darts and Barbarian Rings (I have threshold as a number of
Goblins make their way straight to the graveyard), while my
opponent draws an awful lot of land and never sees another
creature. Good karma, y’see. I get to win the game anyway
without involving the judges in anything more complex than
taking the match result form away.
When reading coverage
of major tournaments, there is often information about how
many people played each decktype. As an experiment, I thought
I would collate the results of a slightly different survey.
Throughout the weekend, I noted every single reason which
players gave for why they lost a match or a game. The results
are very interesting:
“I was mana-screwed” – 75 “I
was mana-flooded” – 54 “My opponent cheated” – 7 “My
opponent was so lucky and topdecked the only possible card
that could have saved him” – 62 “I made a mistake” – 2
What a dreadful game Magic must be. Almost every
defeat is a result of mana-screw, mana-flood, or good fortune
on the part of the opponent. And yet, I kept a tally of the
reasons why people gave for winning games and matches:
“My deck was better” – 44 “My opponent made
mistakes” – 35 “I outplayed my opponent” – 29 “My
opponent got mana-screwed/flooded/I got really lucky” – 8
What a wonderful game Magic must be. Almost every game
is a result of skilful choices, with bad play being punished,
and luck playing a very small factor.
Tony Dobson is
one of the finest Magic players England has ever produced. He
has made a PT top 8, been on the Masters and designed some
extremely innovative decks. He hasn’t played much recently,
but for a couple of weeks before Nationals had been practicing
draft on Magic Online pretty solidly. He made the pretty sound
choice of Slide as his deck for the first day. And lost the
first two rounds. I was playing some games for fun with him
after round 2, and he was explaining about how the only reason
he lost was because of mana screw. As he was explaining this,
he cast a morph creature. In my turn I Firebolted
it, and he removed it from the game using Astral
Slide and a cycling card. When it came to his turn, he
attacked with his morph. The people gathered round the table
looked at him curiously.
“Why is that still a Morph?”
Ben Ronaldson asked.
“Because I used the Slide to
remove it and now it is back in play”, explained Tony.
For some reason,
Tony’s protestations about how his defeats were a result of
mana screw weren’t much believed after that.
you see the point I am laboring to make. The truth, of course,
lies somewhere in the middle. Every match is decided by a
combination of luck and skill. If you lose, you remember the
luck, if you win you remember the skill. It is worth
remembering, though, next time you start whining after losing
The reason I mention it, though, is that it
gives me the opportunity to have a little rant about a couple
of things which I found really irritating at Nationals, but
which can be found at every tournament, great and small.
The first is the players who got pissed off about
every single thing. They whined about having to take a
mulligan, about their opponent casting a Wild Mongrel, about
losing a game, and on and on and on. It is something which the
attitude of ‘whenever I lose it is because I got unlucky’ does
tend to promote and is deeply tedious. There is nothing wrong
with occasionally getting cross after losing a game in a
frustrating fashion – part of playing well is really caring
about the outcome, and that can spill over when things don’t
go to plan. But constant whining, slamming down cards to show
frustration and the rest of it isn’t necessary. It doesn’t
make you a better player, it just irritates everyone and makes
the game less fun. It even spills over to other things on
occasion. The same player who was complaining about how
unlucky he was while playing at the table next to mine regaled
the table with his fascinating theory that the judges weren’t
advertising the side events because they couldn’t be bothered
to judge them.
Anyone who has ever judged at a big
event, or who has half a brain, knows that the idea that
people who give up their time to judge events are work-shy
layabouts is utter drivel. But I suppose that if you really,
honestly believe that it is deeply unfair that occasionally
you draw seven cards in your opening hand and none of them are
land, then you can believe anything.
The other thing I
find deeply irritating is how there are many players who feel
that making a mistake in a game of Magic is a reason to do an
impression of someone with cerebral palsy. This is something I
find inexplicable, just as a few years back I couldn’t
understand why some people insisted on using the word ‘gay’
when they meant to use the word ‘bad’. Happily, that is
increasingly uncommon these days, but what is still relatively
common is to find people doing what when I was of primary
school age used to be called ‘spaz’ impressions. Which is
I mention this not because such
impressions are deeply offensive and a sign of the widespread
prejudice that people with disabilities face in modern
society, nor out of a manic desire to look politically
correct. It is merely a desire to help the people who are
confused and lack the common sense to realize that this is an
inappropriate reaction to making a mistake in a game to become
more worthwhile human beings.
When that one has been
sorted out, we could move on to dealing with the misogyny and
anti-semitism which are kicking about in a few places. But
that’s a rant for another day.
Anyway, enough ranting,
and more than enough about appropriate behaviour in Magic
tournaments which will have been common sense to nearly
everyone reading this. It’s about time for another question.
Play or Draw?
large tournaments, be they Pro Tour Qualifiers, Nationals,
Regionals or any such similar, the last round of the
tournament offers a dilemma to the successful. The aim is
usually to make the top eight, and the question is whether
that is best achieved by agreeing an intentional draw or by
playing the final round. This is a subject which the internet
has offered little advice on, so I thought I’d see whether you
could work out which the best option is in a pretty difficult
I didn’t follow much of the second day of
Nationals, having dropped out to play in a Pro Tour Qualifier.
But when I turned up to watch, the penultimate round had just
finished, and the standings were as follows:
Artturi Bjork (a Finnish student studying in London) 27
points, tiebreaker 64.2% 2. Chris Clapton, 26, 66.5% 3.
Mike Major, 26, 62.9% 4. Simon Marshall-Unitt, 25,
61.0% 5. Oliver Schneider, 25, 60.5% 6. Scott Wills, 25,
57.4% 7. William Turner, 24, 60.3% 8. Jonny Chapman, 24,
56.7% 9. Tom Harle, 24, 56.3% 10. Quentin Martin, 24,
53.1% 11. Michael Groves, 24, 49.8% 12. Ben Martin, 24,
48.7% 13. Mark Glenister, 22, 59.2% 14. Kevin O’Connor,
22, 56.0% 15. Martin Swan, 22, 53.3% 16. Craig
Stevenson, 21, 67.4%
Just to explain for those who
might not know, it is three points for a win and one for a
draw, and for players on the same number of points, the
tiebreaker (which is the match-win percentage of all your
opponents) is used. The above table is slightly simplified –
tie-breaker is given to one digit rather than four as I am not
bored enough to sit here typing out four irrelevant
The pairings go up, and because it
is draft, people have to play someone in their draft pod. This
means that the pairings are as follows:
Artturi (27) –
Chris (26) Mike (26) – Simon (25) Ollie (25) – Scott
(25) Michael (24) – Quentin (24) Tom (24) – Jonny
(24) Ben (24) – Martin (22) William (24) – Craig
The rewards for making top eight are hundreds of
dollars, qualification for the European Championships, a
chance to qualify for the World Championships, and a chance to
play for the National Championship. The prize for 9th place or
lower are a box of boosters. The question is this
CAN DRAW, AND WHO MUST PLAY?
And the bonus question...
WHICH PLAYERS MIGHT CHANGE THEIR MINDS ABOUT WHETHER
TO PLAY OR DRAW IF THE RESULTS ALL GO A CERTAIN WAY?
PART FOUR – THE TOP EIGHT AND SOME BULLET
Right, let’s sort out this top
eight. First the easy stuff. It is going to take at least 26
points to make the top eight, unless something very weird
happens and everyone draws despite the fact that it would
knock half of them out of the top eight. Artturi and Chris are
both definitely in, as Artturi already has 27 points and Chris
has excellent tie-breakers which can only get better from
playing against the top player in the standings. Because 26
points is required, none of the people with 24 points can
draw. This means that there will be five people on 26 or more
points (Artturi, Chris, Mike and the winner of Tom/Jonny and
Michael/Quentin). In addition, Ben and William could get 27
points if they win, and one or both of Ollie and Scott will
have 26 or more points, depending on whether they play or
This leaves Simon with a tough dilemma. If he
offers the draw, then Mike will definitely accept. However,
there is a chance that this will knock Simon out of the top
eight. If Artturi and Chris draw, Ollie beats Scott, and every
match involving someone on 24 points results in a win for a
person who has 24 points, then there will be eight people on
27 points and he will be 9th.
Ollie and Scott have a
different kind of dilemma. They are friends and would both
like to make top eight via an intentional draw, but this
requires fewer than seven people to get 26 points, as Scott’s
tie-breakers are far behind Simon’s. For this to happen both
Ben and William would have to lose, or Simon would have to
choose to play and get beaten and one of Ben and William would
have to lose.
One additional complexity is that
matches where only one player can make top eight are very
strange. In the particular cases there is not even the
slightest hint of collusion (as the results would
demonstrate). However, the player with the possibility of top
eight is likely to have more incentive to win, meaning that
players who are paired down tend to have a slightly better
chance of winning.
Trying to analyse all the possible
permutations for every player can only get us so far, and is a
largely irrelevant exercise as you are unlikely to ever be
concerned about more than whether one particular player
(hopefully yourself) can draw in. So, player by player:
Artturi and Chris are in whatever they do Michael,
Quentin, Tom and Jonny have to play Ben and William have to
try to beat Martin and Craig Mike would like a draw, which
would guarantee his top eight Ollie and Scott can draw only
if other results go their way but since they could both miss
out if results go wrong and they draw, have to play Simon
has a difficult choice, and there are good arguments in favor
of playing or of drawing
Having spoken to him during
the round, I strongly suspect that Simon had not done all of
this analysis when he decided to offer Mike a draw.
Every single match which was played went to three
games. When Ben levelled his match and William was beating
Craig, it looked like Simon would be 9th. When Craig levelled
his match, a win for Martin and for Craig would let Ollie and
Scott draw into the top eight. In the end, after five minutes
of extra time, the final results were as follows:
Artturi Bjork, 28 points 2. Ollie Schneider, 28 3. Chris
Clapton, 27 4. Mike Major, 27 5. William Turner,
27 6. Tom Harle, 27 7. Michael Groves, 27 8. Simon
Marshall-Unitt, 26 9. Kevin O’Connor, 25
this rather convoluted analysis, first work out how many
points are needed to make the top eight. Then work out who is
definitely going to finish in the top eight regardless of
result, and who can’t make it even with a win. And then look
at the remaining relevant pairings (of which there should be
about half a dozen), and make a decision on whether you can
draw or whether you have to play. And Good Luck!
the pairings for the top eight were as follows:
Artturi (playing Wake) vs. Simon (playing
Reanimator) Mike (playing Opposition)
vs. William (playing blue-green) [winners of those matches
meet in semi-final] Ollie (playing Tog) vs. Michael
(playing blue-green) Chris (playing Bullet Proof Monks) vs.
Tom (playing W/B Slide) [winner of those matches meet in
I suspect that seven of those decks
will be familiar. There was nothing interesting about the
blue-green or Tog decks, the Wake deck had 4 Exalted Angels in
the sideboard but was otherwise unremarkable, the Reanimator
decks I don’t know, but there are versions on the internet,
the B/W Slide I’ll give the list for and is a
previously discussed deck, but Bullet Proof Monks???
mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>>
COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS. *Left
click on pie chart or legend to isolate a
This was the deck that tore up English
Nationals. Pete Norris took it to a 4-2 record, and Chris
Clapton finished 7-1-1 with it, with a game record of 18-3.
Besides which, it is pretty cool to play a blue-black deck
which kills with lands which require white and green mana to
activate. It is not at all the sort of deck that I would ever
consider playing (notice the missing color?), but I guess that
having a ridiculous quantity of removal, being able to combine
with an uncounterable win condition which does not require a
spell to be cast and having lots of white enchantment and
artifact removal is pretty good. And the name? Well, it kills
with Monks, they don’t tend to die in combat, and Chris and
Pete love crappy American films. Or something like that.
[Yer, yer, I know it should probably have Upheaval
But just for once in your lives can’t you control deck lovers
play a deck which is slightly out of the ordinary and a bit
more fun than your usual fare. It posted pretty good results,
And now, the final question:
PLAYER HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF BECOMING NATIONAL CHAMPION?
If it helps, the night before the top eight I made
some predictions. If you look back to my
Preview, you’ll see that these predictions might be
useful, if only to know what not to predict:
beat Reanimator Opposition
to beat Blue-Green Tog to beat Blue-Green Bullet Proof
Monks to beat Slide
Tog to beat Wake, Ollie
Schneider to become National Champion for a fourth time.
PART FIVE – THE GRAND FINALE
By the time you read this, the coverage of the
Nationals should have gone up on the Sideboard, but hasn't. Right here there should be a link to the coverage
that I did on the quarter-final between Chris Clapton and Tom
Harle. Since the coverage hasn’t appeared as of yet, the brief version is that
the matchup is totally in Chris’ favour, assisted by Tom’s
decision to present a deck in game one which was missing 4 Smothers
and a decision to sideboard out his Spirit Cairns in game
three when according to John Ormerod they were the best chance
he had of winning, Engineered
Plague in Chris’ deck notwithstanding.
mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>>
COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS. *Left
click on pie chart or legend to isolate a
I have no idea whether or not this is a
good deck, but it did get crushed under the heel of some
pretty vicious Monks.
In other quarter-finals, Ollie
lost 3-0 to Michael’s blue-green deck. Ollie’s explanation for
this was that he got mana-screwed twice and then mana-flooded,
an explanation with which I dealt in part three. Artturi
defeated Simon 3-1 and William beat Mike by the same score.
In the first semi-final, Artturi took care of William
to advance to the final, and Michael won a nail-biting fifth
game to end Chris’ Nationals dreams. The final saw Artturi do
to the other blue-green deck what he had done to the first,
and become National Champion. Meanwhile, Chris made up for his
disappointment by sweeping William to complete the English
National Team for the World Championships.
to an end my coverage of the English Nationals. Many
congratulations to all, sorry, both who are still reading – I
hope you enjoyed it. Many thanks to Ben Martin, Richard
Edbury, Paul Hawkins, Jonny Chapman, Graham Baker and Lee
Garner for lending me cards for the Red Deck, and to all the
too numerous to mention people who make English Nationals and
the English Magic scene such a pleasure to compete in, and
congratulations to the many who did better than I did at
Nationals. Any comments or questions can go to the forums, or
Oh yes, and of course one final thing. How did you do
on answering the questions?
correct – You are English National Champion, Artturi
Bjork One wrong – Close but not quite. You
are English National Team Member Chris Clapton Two
wrong – In the Top Eight but no further, former
National Champ Ollie ‘Callous
Oppressor’ Schneider Three wrong –
Outside the Top Eight, you are Jonny Chapman All
wrong – You scrubbed out early, and suffer the fate
of being that notorious past-it Magic player, Dan Paskins.
And now, if y'all don’t mind, I’m going to go to bed
and sleep for rather a long time.
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