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The Twelve-Step Program for the Strategy Impaired
with Scott Gerhardt

PTQ Chicaco at San Diego Report Oct 5, 2002

     When I first started playing Magic, I loved writing tournament reports. I'd do it for fun, however I finished just to do it. As a I played more and more, I found the routine to be more and more tiresome. It just stopped becoming worthwhile to me to tell everyone that I finished 17th place in some tournament no one cared about. In the end, I basically stopped writing reports all together. Well, this last weekend was so incredibly strange for me that I felt writing a report to tell the story was the only real way to go.
     This story starts long before the PTQ, though. To tell the story right, you almost have to back-up a week to the Onslaught Pre-Release. Now those who know me, know I am the co-owner with my wife of www.shuffleandcutgames.com. We make our living selling Magic (and Yu-Gi-Oh) cards. One of the ways we do this is by dealing at major tournaments, like pre-releases. So we went to the one in San Diego, and did pretty well. Our stock got hit pretty hard, we bought and sold cards, and in the end were quite happy we made the trip. It was quite a long weekend, though, so we were quite wiped when we made it back home. This is the time when I get sick from Sunday to Tuesday. Now this is obviously bad, because we have to go from dealing at a Pre-Release one weekend to a PTQ the next. There is a massive amount of stock to check inventory on, make sure it's full, and be ready for the next show. Well, it didn't happen that way. The flu blasted me under for 3 days, and we barely were able to get ready for the show. Putting it bluntly, we absolutely pushed out bodies to their physical and mental limits. I don't remember the last time I was as stressed out as I had been the last week.
     So we leave Friday afternoon for San Diego again after having what we feel is everything for the tournament. Now to start with, I'm still not completely over whatever kind of bug I have, so we have to make some stops into San Diego for bathroom breaks, etc. Not real pretty. We finally make it to the Holiday Inn and talked a little about heading over to Horton Plaza (this outdoor mall with lots of shops and places to eat) for some food before bed. Figuring out that we're too tired, we scratch that idea and just order some pizza instead. Chris (my wife) gets some Antipasto salad and I grab a pepperoni, ham, and green pepper pizza. When it arrives, the pizza is not extraordinarily good, but I eat it anyway. From here we do a 1-on-1 Onslaught draft. I draft an okay U/W deck while Chris proceeds to open a Grinning Demon, Blistering Firecat, AND a Silvos, Rogue Elemental. WTF?!?!?! Okay - I lose that draft 2-1, but she got Silvos ALL THREE GAMES and saw Blisting Firecat both that she won. She wasn't playing the demon since she was r/g. At this point we've busted half the box and no foil rare. We decide to play a little DC-10 to see if we can bust out the rare, then go to bed as it was about midnight. Well, about 2-3 games in, my lower back on my left side started to hurt. I thought maybe it was just gas or something. Well, the pain got worse. A WHOLE lot worse. Okay. Eventually the pain becomes downright excruciating. With no options remaining, we go to the University Medical Center. Once there, they confirmed what I thought it was - a kidney stone.
     For those of you who have never had a kidney stone (this was my second), let me tell you about these fiery demons from hell. They are usually 2-5mm in diameter and will put you in pain like you have never felt in your whole life. You'll be BEGGING for someone to put a bullet in your dome to make it all stop. It is pain like you can't imagine and I can't describe. There is no relief - no way to make it stop. A hot shower will lighten the pain, but only temporarily - maybe 10 or so minutes in the early going. If you have a Kidney stone, you are almost undoubtedly going to the hospital. At 2am, that was the decision that was finally made - hospital.
So, of course it's an emergency room, and thus slow. But I would guess that within 25-30 min, I was checked in. It took about another 15-20 min for a doctor to see me and finally, about another 10 to finally get them to give me a shot of Tordol and Phenagrin in the butt. Add 20 min to take effect, but finally I went from wishing for death to being fine. Eventually they scan me and hook me up to and IV to get fluids. I get about 3 shots of Morphine on the hour to keep the pain down. Around 6:45am, after no sleep, they release me. We have just enough time to get to the hotel, grab our things, and head off to the PTQ to set up. Please note: no where in this whole report did I mention sleep.
     We get to the site about 8am and get unloaded and set-up, against both our better judgments. We just did not want to make the trip for nothing. So right now I am dead tired and incredibly drugged up on the Ibuprophin and Vicodin the doctor gave me for pain. With a lighter turnout (66 to be exact) we feel it's okay for me to play. My goal: go 1-0 drop and walk with some product. After deck reg I get a deck back and am able to play the following deck:

1 Aphetto Vulture
1 Boneknitter
2 Profane Prayers
1 Spined Basher
1 Fallen Cleric
1 Nantuko Husk
1 Gangrenous Goliath
1 Aphetto Dredging
1 Feeding Frenzy
1 Cruel Revival
1 Swat
1 Severed Legion
1 Disciple of Malice

1 Oblation
1 Exalted Angel
1 Crude Rampart
2 Daru Lancer
1 Doubtless One
1 Aven Soulgazer
1 Battlefield Medic
1 Grassland Crusader

1 Secluded Steppe
7 Plains
9 Swamps

Okay. Now remember some things before I give this report:

#1 - I was quite drugged and tired at the time. That said, my memory probably isn't all that clear - just going off scorepads.

#2 - I forgot to write some opponents' names down. Sorry.

#3 - I'm well aware that most people don't care about limited reports, so I'll be brief.

Round 1 vs Paul Grasshoff (W/G/B)

We kinda jockied back and forth early before I got the fear guy and was able to break through for 2 a turn until I won. Don't remember much about game 2 except I'm pretty sure I dropped Angel at some point and just won.

Games (2-0) Matches (1-0)

Round 2 vs Pierre Lalague

Game 1 he held me off with a Soulless One before Visara hit the board and blatently beat me up. Game 2 I served with Angel on turn 4 - goodnight. Game 3 was long and good. He got Soulless One down to hold me off for a while. I eventually get 3/3 flier down, and knocked him to 5. From there I was able to rush finish him. The game was better than I make it sound.

Games (4-1) Matches (2-0)

Round 3 vs Rick Chong

Game 1 he sees mana and turn 2 AND 3 Sparksmith. I see not much, and what I do gets Smithed away no problem. Game 2 he gets a fast jump, but I stabilize at 9. He drops Gratuitous Violence with a Crowned Goblin pumper-guy on the board. My Nantuko Husk is whittling him away, when with no cards in hand (turn before I'm gonna kill him) he TDs a Blistering Firecat. From there I still hold him off some and live because I had a Crude Rampart, but I'm at 3 when eventually he has too many creatures for me to handle and I die.

Games (4-3) Matches (2-1)

Round 4 vs Scott S.

I was pretty upset over my last loss. I don't remember much about this except that I blatently annihilated him 2-0. I know I got fast angel game 2. I remember these games not being very close. Nice guy, though.

Games (6-3) Matches (3-1)

Round 5 vs Brian Hacker

Just the opponent I wanted when I'm tired, in pain, and drugged. Nice. Anyway, game 1 we both play some creatures, me a few more than him, but he hold off my stuff with Crowd Favorite. A few turns later I Cruel Revival it at end of turn. He concedes at 19-19. Game 2 he gets some things down and tries to race me, but I drop Angel, which makes racing VERY hard. In the end I won pretty solidly. I think he just had a bad deck because I know he's not a bad player.

Games (8-3) Matches (4-1)

Round 6 vs ???

Didn't catch the name as I was getting SUPER tired at this point. Game 1 I know I was never touched. Don't remember how, but I have no change in my life total on my pad. Game 2 I was touched more than a couple times. I took 5 in the air, followed by him making his own angel and taking 6. He went for the kill with Aven and Angel, but I oblationed the Angel and took 3. I have a ground crew ready to serve back and get him kinda low, to about 4, before he gets Mobilization. I Profane Prayers his Dive Bomber and start serving. I get him low, but he can make 3 soldiers a turn and that holds me off for a while. Eventually, I get him to 3 and find my own angel. When it comes over, there really isn't anything he can do. Again, this was a better game than I make it seem. As a an interesting side note, he sold me the Angel, the Mobilizaion, and an Arcanis (I think) after the tournament. Something weird about owning the cards of the opponent you just beat.

Games (10-3) Matches (5-1)

Round 7 vs ???

Dunno who the guy was because we Drew in.

Games (10-3) Matches (5-1-1)

I get in at 6th place and get slapped in the #2 slot in the draft. I'm gonna summarize my draft: I was forced to go crap colors that dried up into nothing late. The decent green that did show was sucked up by the guy to my right and the guy to HIS right. I was getting screwed worse than a cheap whore in the draft. Well, at least in Rochester you know WHO is screwing you instead on wondering.

Here is my crappy-ass Rochester deck:

1 Krosan Groundshaker
1 Vitality Charm
1 Symbiotic Elf
1 Elvish Vanguard
1 Wirewood Pride
1 Spitting Gourna
2 Barkhide Mauler
1 Wall of Mulch
2 Wirewood Herald

1 Grassland Crusader
1 Improvised Armor
2 Dive Bomber
1 Gustcloak Skirmisher
1 Daru Healer
2 Gustcloak Harrier
1 Battlefield Medic
1 Daunting Defender
1 Gravel Slinger
1 Ironfist Crusher

1 Secluded Steppe
8 Plains
8 Forests

Quarterfinals vs Peter Kvetkosky (Goblins)

I never even caught his name - just know it was his first top 8. He starts with a couple goblins - a Sparksmith and the pumper. I drop Wall of Mulch. He serves into it, but Vitality charm makes an insect and kills the Smith. From there I start making some more creatures, mostly bigger than his. Eventually I get an Elvish Vanguard with some armor on it and get some damage in. He kills it, but in the end, I have more and bigger creatures than him. Game 2 I find my pro-goblin guy and that holds him off. I start swinging for 4 in the air a turn with a Harrier w/ armor. I hold down the ground until he swings with everything. I block some, but he's tapped out, at 8, with my having 8 total. I swing for the win. I think his inexperience hurt him in this match some - he'll be a force to recon with in the future, though.

Games (12-3) Matches (6-1-1)

Semifinals vs Blake Quelle (Blue/Green)

I had zero chance of winning this match. I knew my deck was crap, and at the end drafted to simply win my quarters match since I knew my opponent was Goblins. I'm not even going into details except to say Blake mauled me mercilessly. I provided almost no resistance in two games.

Games (12-5) Matches (6-2-1)

     So I leave with a pin and a box. Downright exceptional considering the circumstances. Was nice to do well at a bigger tournament since I don't play much these days and my play is not what it used to be.

    Not much else to say - went back to the hotel after a REALLY crappy day of dealing but a good one of playing and slept for 12 hours. Woke up, had lunch, came home, wrote this report. Fun fun. Hope you all enjoyed this little report. That's it for now. Be sure to check out my deck garage when I give it an update next - should be soon. Until next time, keep playing!

Scott Gerhardt
Editor, Pojo.com

 

 

 

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