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1.11.02 - Grand Prix Houston Report

Disclaimer: For those of you that have seen the Subliminal Man skit on Saturday Night Live, this should make more sense and be that much more of a treat.

My Deck:  Old Skool

4 River Boa
4 Sword to Plowshares
4 Seal of Cleansing
4 Werebear
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Mystic Enforcer
4 Incinerate
3 Tithe
4 Call of the Herd
4 Land Grant
4 Armageddon
2 Taiga
2 Plateau
1 Forest
1 Plains
4 Savannah
3 Wasteland
4 Grassland

I won't bother with the sideboard as it was built (wrecked) mainly for that one day.

Well, after weeks of testing and anticipation, we were of to Houston.  I was going to be the driving on this wondrous (boring) three hour excursion (road tip) to Houston. My crew this weekend consists of myself, Jason Matthews and Chad Koss.

The drive down highway six is pretty uneventful.  We do hit a ton of traffic once we get into the city, but that's fine.  We just pass some card talk between looking for exits.

Anyway we get to the hotel after passing it by once and drop the car off in the parking garage and head on in.  After running into a few other players on the way up and checking in, we head to the fourth floor where all the action was going down.

There were already a couple of drafts starting to take shape, but I was having to keep my evening free for the Event Horizons eight man closed qualifier.

Well, anyway 8pm rolls around on Friday night and it's time for our event.  As it turns out, it was Odyssey only booster draft.  Fair enough I thought.  The draft proceeds pretty fair at the start as we see lots of good (insane) green cards all around the table apparently.  I am drafting green/red.  I take some early big green fatties and several (millions) creature kill spells.  Unfortunately, during all of this, I start to realize how many people might be potentially taking green.  Going into the third pack, I felt that I could have been taking black, but I had already taken a few whites cards earlier.  Fortunately, white is insane in the last pack.  The down side is that since it is my third color and green continues to be unfair, I have to stick with it.  

It turns out that taking the white cards was a better choice for me since Leland Simmons who was drafting to me right was taking red/green/black.  Why does this matter (it doesn't)?  I played him first.  We would have both been screwed as we would have been drafting all three of each others colors.

Anyway, we are off to play. Leland wins the first game pretty soundly with the help of two Roar of the Wurm tokens.  I failed to draw more than two creatures.  So I die (get pummeled).  On to game two.  We are matching each other creature for creature pretty well.  Unfortunately though he doesn't miss a land drop the entire game and I am facing a barrage of Roar tokens and Morbid Hunger damage.

Anyway on to game three.  What?!  I said game three. What?!  I said GAME THREE.  Oh yeah, I guess I failed (forgot) to mention that this was best three of five. Anyway in this game I draw a lot of early creatures and lots of removal and just stay ahead of Leland in the race.  To be fair, he didn't draw many non-land (good) cards this game.  

Game four is pretty ridiculous, with us both have a creature with Seton's desire out the problem is, he reached threshold (lucky bastard) before I do.  He has squirrel nest out at this point now as well.  We decides to send with everything, which he has to do to kill me.  He forgets that Moment's Peace only cost two to cast.  So after a couple of moments peace and threshold (about time), I come over for the win.

Game five it is.  Various players have passed by and enjoyed (marveled at) my comeback. However Leland put this one away (ended my misery) with a sound thrashing in game five.  I have plenty of land, none of it green, while holding Ivy Elemental in hand.  I also knew at this point that Leland had no real answer for it.  As well such is life.

We spend the rest of the evening looking over different deck types throughout the room. And preparing (stealing tech) for the Grand Prix Saturday morning.

We order up some pizza from room service (best ever) and enjoy the evening while putting the finishing touches on the decks.  I still don't finish my decklist because I know I will want to make changes (procrastinate).  These are the absolute most comfortable beds at any hotel (cloud 9 *seriously the brand is called cloud nine*).  

Even though I have two byes, I still wake p for the players meeting and shower up.  Our shower has dual shower heads.  No lies.  Really different, but AMAZINGLY comfortable.  Anyway, we head down to the event room with about 35 minutes to spare and tech-talk (run our mouths) until the event starts.

As start time approaches, we get word that we will be starting late (no surprise), because of rainstorms (monsoons) in the area.

Well, during this time I start to change my decklist a bit.  There are more Mircale-gro, Super-Gro, and variants being seen (scouted) around the room.  Many players have opted to go with a tech (forgotten) card...Sphere of Resistance.  The theory is that is slows the Gro player down enough to keep them from getting all of their free spells off and give you an edge.   

Well, the tournament (marathon) finally gets underway.  I watch for a little while and pass a table wher ea player has to have it explained that Force of Will is legal for the environment. No lies, true story.  Other than that, I just head out tog et some food that I can play on a full stomach.  I go down to the mall, the Galleria (maze).  It's a really nice place.  Since it has everything we need and the hotel is connected to it, I rarely have to step outside of the venue.

Round three finally rolls (lumbers) around and I get to play.

Round 3  Warren Connell Miracle-Gro

Well, this is a match I wanted (hoped for).  In game one, we both get mediocre hands, but I am able to Wasteland away his tropical island and he gets stumped for a little while.  I cast a Wild Mongrel and swing putting down to 18.  He decides to Force a werebear to keep my damage factor under control.  He finally gets two mana on the board.  He taps it into his pool, and plays Gush.  He uses one blue mana to Brainstorm and takes a mana burn.  Strange play I thought, but oh well.  He eventually gets to lay a Dryad but I've had a Swords to Plowshares in hand all game that he doesn't have a counter for.  All the while Wild Mongrel beats him down and then Mystic Enforcer comes in to help finish (polish) things off.

Game two was not in my favor at I all.  I draw very few (zero) removal spells.  All the while Quirion Dryad is beating me down (smashing my face in).  My life total reads 16 Dryad, 10 Dryad, 3 Games :-( (my sheet actually has a sad face on it ).

Game three is a good game. We go back and forth and back and forth.  He drops a winter orb.  I still have a few mana untapped, but neither of us have any creatures on board.  I have a Sphere of Resistance I've just drawn up.  I decide to play it.  He lets it through.  The game is stalled for the moment.  There are five minutes left in the round.  In a true show of sportsmanship, we both pick up the pace of play, so at least one of us gets a win out of this match..  Unfortunately, each time I got for a threat, he has a daze and an open mana to play it.  He gets a werbear through and two turns later, has a counter in hand.  I had a turn to put the game away, but drew up a Land Grant instead of a land :(  That's inefficient (horrible) when you have sphere of resistance out.

That puts me at 2-1, not a good way to start the day.

Round 4 Albert Hatter with money blue control of some sort.

I have to start this segment by saying that I actually enjoy playing Albert.  Guys like him (black guy) aren't very plentiful (nonexistent) in the game today.  I had played him before the tournament started for several (ten or so) games.  He admittedly to being unprepared for the format.  Anyway I thought this was a bad matchup for me as he is able to Bribery away my Mystic Enforcers.

Well, during our first game he gets to play first.  He does everything that blue decks do (nothing) on the first couple of turns.  The whole time I draw utility (useless) cards against him.  He gets to bribery one of my Mystic Enforcers to work for the devil (his team).  I cast one of my own to work for the home team.  We then trade Enforcers (bump uglies). He goes to tries to pass some money to another one of my enforcers.  Then he tries again, only to get a Werebear.  I cast my remaining enforcer to slow down the beats (ass kickin' ).  I try to cast a Werebear of my own and he gets countered.  At this point I'm sad (crying) as I get beat by a a set (gang) of my own creatures.

On to game two.  While sideboarding I take out one Mystic Enforcer.  I also realize that he reaches threshold really quick (insanely fast) and that could be bad (scary) if he takes my creatures again.  I side in my two Reprisal to bail be out (prayer) in case of emergency.  He gets a poor draw and never gets rolling (watches me play) and I reduce his total to zero in a matter of a few turns (ludicrous speed).

With just a few minutes left we decide not to sideboard (mind trick) and move to the next game.  I'm in control this whole game, but trying not to show it (pumping the fist).  I have a singular River Boa doing the deed (dropping elbows) when he decides to Dominate it.  This makes me sad (frown).  But I draw up (turbo peel) another one.  He cast Hibernation (his last hope).  But after he cast Fact or Fiction, revealing nothing, he draws a card and concedes.  I shake his hand a wish him luck (time for a victory lap).

At this point, I've won a match I shouldn't have won (got lucky) and lost a match that I should have won (been screwed).  So three one isn't terrible I suppose.

Round 5  Kevin Benefield with The Rock

Kevin has played at our store (The Game Closet) back home (Waco, TX) before.  As it turns out though, he's from Little Rock, Arkansas (middle of nowhere).  Unfortunately this match was very uneventful (no, it was REALLY uneventful).  Pretty much I beat his deck the way I've always figured I beat it. I just attack all of his mana sources.  I waste all my wastelands and swords and Incinerates destroying mana creatures (walls and birds) and easily put the game away.  Admittedly during our first game he draws mostly lands anyway and not many business cards.

So I move on at 4-1.  Not a bas start one more and things are all good (groovy).

Round 6 Eric Taylor with Raisin Bran

The first game, I get a solid (insane) hand and get rolling.  I deal with everything he has.  He gets a few search cards and looks like he ends up a mana short of going off after using a Gush to search and picking up a few (all of) his lands..  

We do very little sideboarding and advance quickly to the next game.  I am slowly taking care of business (serving beats).  The whole time he is casting spells (searching) like a madman.  Unfortunately, I don't draw a lot of creatures (one) and he is at 14 and goes off for the win.

Time is light going into game three so we just shuffle quickly cut and play.  I get a second turn River Boa that he can't deal with.  Eric's life total goes 18,16,14,12,10. He tried to go off once, but a Wax/Wane and a Pyroblast later I'm still in control.  Granted he tried going off at fourteen life.  Well, with him at ten life and myself at 20 I decide to slip through an Armageddon.  Fortunately (thankfully) if goes off.  I'm fun to watch play, so I've drawn a small crowd at this point.  To be fair, I'm sure part of the crowd was do to Eric Taylor's popularity (infamy).  Anyway, after the Armageddon resolves, the crowd (peanut gallery) gets a little more interested.  I reveal my hand to cast a Land Grant.  I reveal Incinerate, Incinerate, Seal of Cleansing. The crowd is excited (in awe) at my hand.  So at this point I have a Savannah and a River Boa and ten life to go.  At this point the crowd gets to witness what might possible be the best pla

Well, now I am 4-2 with one match to go. Not good.  I've also proceeded to get screwed out of playing the Metagame decks (nothing new), while my friends are playing them all over the room.  Ah well, such is life.

Round 7 David Bass with Tradewind Geddon variant.

I'll save (spare) all of you guys the match report (boring details) here.  Your champion of justice (lame excuse for a superhero) did not come through with a victory this round.  I failed to drew two Swords to Plowshares, one Incinerate and one Pyroblast the whole match.  Just simply not a good day for me card wise.  David and I got a great bit of laughs joking with (making fun of) each other.  We enjoyed it and the crowd enjoyed it.  It's all good (could have been better).

In hindsight, all of the matches did go to a full (exhausting) three games.  Excluding my round five match (heartbreaker) with Eric Taylor, I managed to finish all my matches with 10 minutes or more left in the round (miraculously).

Well, I'm done for the day as Jason.  We run into CJ Wostal while walking through the Galleria (labyrinth).  He tells of this great (stellar) Italian place a couple blocks away.  We go to our hotel room and debate leaving the comfort of the hotel, but decide to do so.  I do have to say that was the best tip that CJ has EVER, and I do mean EVER given me.

This place is called Piatto.  It is the single best Italian food you will EVER eat.  The desert portions were huge (gargantuan), the waitstaff was helpful, and the food was great (magnificent). If this place were in a pack with Call of the Herd, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and Overrun, you first pick Piatto, period.  Hands down.  You can't beat this place at all.

Anyway, after we get back to the hotel, the great Jose Cintra has shown up, so we talk with him a little bit.  We go up to his room (swank hotel suite) later.  We join the party (guys just chillin').  We partake in the viewing of some quality video footage (S&M segment of Real Sex on HBO).

After all of our nightly events (shenanigans) are over, we get good nights sleep and head home.

Since it has been so long (a millennium) since I have written a report (rambled endlessly), I should include some props and slops.


All of my opponents.  I was able to joke and B.S. with all of you.  Also, don't take offense to anything written here, it is all in jest.

The judging staff. From what I could tell, the judges responded fairly quickly to every call and were all of the place.

The Westin Galleria hotel. It is possibly the best hotel ever.  It's conveniently located, and is connected to the Galleria.  If the have a PT Houston next season (word on the street) they should definitely have it there again.

You, the readers, for reading this far and (hopefully) enjoying it.


I thought the whole event was great, except for one random incident. A judge came over while I was playing Kevin Benefield and was looking on and asking us questions trying to figure out who was playing slow.  We were both pleased with each other pace (that sounds sexual) and were just playing our game with plenty time left in the round.

Overall I though the event was a success and hope that I am qualified for PT Houston when it comes around.

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
The Game Closet

P.S. Don't forget to attend our JSS even this weekend (the 12th) and our PTQ Osaka tourney next weekend (the 19th).  It'll be good times here in Waco.  We will also have the all rare draft the evening of the PTQ. :)




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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