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Pojo's Book Reviews



04.09.02  -  Subject: Regionals for Dummies

Against my better judgment... I allowed myself to get roped into constructed Magic once again. (not sure if I should put a smiley or frowny face after this sentence)

The main reason why I have stayed away from constructed for the past few years is really because I haven't had much of a choice. I'm married (happily, this week anyway) and my job as an investment banker requires I work on Saturday mornings. As a result I could never attend tournaments let alone do any real playtesting except for the occasional game on Apprentice.
The other reason why I stopped playing constructed was the cost involved. Not that I personally can't afford the cards, more the fact that I was spending all the money for the cards and never got a chance to actually USE them! When Invasion Block came to its close I had the best collection of
Magic cards I'd ever had... and I didn't get a chance to play in a single Invasion Block tourney!! Frustrated about my situation I promptly sold all my rares to a dealer and vowed to only play limited events from then on.

In the months following this decision I've played in several sealed events and had a great deal of success. I actually raised my limited rating quite a deal as a result. Suddenly I noticed how low my constructed rating was and wished I could do something about it.

At the same time I have been keeping up with the constructed scene thru my deck fixes and COTD here at the PoJo. I must say that I'm very pleased with the current Standard (I still think of it as Type 2) field. There are a TON of deck types out there that are all very playable and have a chance at being Tier 1 in the coming weeks of Regionals. Honestly I can't remember such a wide open field. Here's just a short list of decks that are currently contenders:

frog in a blender (r/g speed)
R/G goods (not as fast but more stable)
Psychatog (several variants)
Classic U/W control
Mono-black control
R/B "machinehead"
U/G tempo/threshold/madness/flashback abuse (about 100 variants)
B/x Braids (talk about multiple variants! All 4 other colors can be splashed into a Braids style deck!)

I attribute this wide open field to mainly 1 thing.... games currently last longer than 3 turns. For the longest time constructed magic was dominated by decks that win by either "going off" with some killer combo or jamming a ton of undercosted creatures and burn down the opponents throat. While
both Sligh and Combo still exist they aren't near the wrecking balls they used to be.

Seems to me games lasting longer than 2 minutes is a good thing for the game of Magic. An environment of multiple decktypes certainly seems more fun to play in than the "Rock, Paper, Scissors" meta-games from the past. I personally really like the direction constructed magic is headed...

which brings me full circle to playing constructed magic once again. I'll be playing at Pastimes this Saturday in their afternoon tourney here in Illinois.

I don't plan on doing well since admittedly I've had very little practice playing constructed in the past few years. Because of this I think the right deck choice for me is an easy to build, easy to play deck. Red/Green beats seems to fit this bill to a tee.

Here's what I plan on running this weekend...

4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kavu Titan
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Call of the Herd
4 Flametongue Kavu

4 Firebolt
4 Fire/Ice
4 Urza's Rage

4 r/g pain lands
3 r/g tap lands
3 Barbarian Ring
6 Mountains
8 Forests

4 Compost
3 Druid Lyrist
2 Hull Breach
4 Blurred Mongoose
2 Shivan Wurm

While not as fast as some other r/g beats, this deck has a much greater mid-game presence. In the early game I'll have plenty of cheap removal as well as cheap creatures which should keep me in the game long enough so that my elephant tokens, Flametongues, and kicked Titans can take over. Unlike Frog in a blender this deck RARELY runs out of gas after the first few turns due to all the Flashback. With the combination of 12 burn spells, FTK, Lavamancer and Barbarian Rings this deck has a TON of removal!! I'm thinking I shouldn't need to side much versus a Frog deck but if I run into a r/g build similar to mine I'll prolly side in the Mongeese and Shivan Wurms. The opponent will have a tough time using their burn on the Mongoose and they make an excellent gate for the Shivan Wurm.

In a control matchup this deck takes to the aggressor role quite nicely. Not as fast as other decks out there however there's still a ton of cheap creatures to deal with... and when they do that's when I'll start throwing burn to the dome! Fortunately I've seen very little pro red or green used recently so I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed that I don't see any this weekend either. Enchantments like COP's and Worship could make games more interesting after sideboarding so I expect I'll be bringing in enchantment removal quite frequently. Mongeese may be sided in against creatureless
opponents to replace FTK.

Versus Braids I'm hoping that all my removal plus lots of creatures of my own will help minimize the probability of a "Braids Lock". All that removal will look even better after I side in Compost!

My plan is to go aggressive and throw burn early at the Pyschatog matchup. I'm pretty sure I can deal 20 to the opponent before they can make a super Psychatog or use any Upheaval tricks. Keeping them on their heels will reduce the effectiveness of Standstill, and after sideboard I plan on
siding in the Lyrist as they can "get under" this card drawing powerhouse!

Wish me luck, I still have a few days for testing/tweaking before Saturday. I'll be happy as long as I don't scrub out... but like I said my constructed rating could sure use the help! =)




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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