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The Reality of Regionals and the Insanity of Reality

Man, it wasn't long ago, I was here writing for you all talking about how to prepare for Regionals.  Now it's just a couple of weeks before we put all this to the test.  Be prepared for some craziness though.
I know that most regions are going to be charging $25 for entry fee.  I know that some of you guys are looking at the $25 price tag and are having an issue of sticker shot.  But you should really.  It's a pretty good deal.  Regionals should take eight to ten hours depending on your turnout. 
But lets say that your regionals day event takes about ten hours.  That's about $2.27 per hour for entertainment.  It's hard to match that.
Compare that to other items you spend money on.
Movie - $6.50 average prices for 2.5 hours = $2.60/hour.
Dinner Date - $20 for two hours = $10/hour
Game of Bowling (with shoes) - about $7.00 per game for an hour = $7.00/hour
You get the idea.  No reason that you should complain about the price.  It's just the reality of the situation.  It's fun.  Enjoy the day.
I do mean that.  You should seriously try to enjoy the day.  Most of you will spend time on the road traveling to get there.  You will be your entry fee.  You will have done a ton of testing.  You will be under heavy pressure and thought all day.  There's no reason to do all of that to leave upset.
To make things a bit lighter for you on the day, you might want to try and set some small goals.  These goals can serve as a good diversion to the stressful part of your day.  But think outside the box a little bit here.  Set some goals that are outside of actual game play.  Sure, it's cool to set some competitive goals. 
Trying to win at least 50% of your matches is a neat goal.  Even trying to earn 30 or more DCI points is a good one.  There are a lot of other goals to reach for though.  It's not every day that you can get so many good players in your area under one roof.
Try to meet people.  Talk to as many people as you can.  Make a bunch of new acquaintances.  Truthfully, some of the best people in our local Magic community are people that I first met at regionals.  Maybe exchange e-mail addresses or something.  I have a saying for people in my store, "Don't go to a social place to be antisocial."  Being a wall flower is a waste of time and money.
Do some trading.  Honestly, card values are so diverse from one place to another.  Take advantage of this.  Bring a bunch of cards that you have extras of.  Trade them away.  If nothing else, sell your crap rares for a few cents each and use the case to stock up on new sleeves and supplies. 
That bring me to another point.  Be sure to check out your dealers tables.  They will usually have some sleeves or deck boxes that you can't get at your local store.  They might even have some neat life counters or something.  Consider the dealer tables to be something akin to a gift shop at a hotel.  It allows you tot take something home from the event that's useful and give you a few memories to boot.
And before we go on, print a copy of this check this.  It would be neat to hear about people that do all of these things.  I'm not sur how many really would, but it would definitely be neat.
If possible, order up a neat meal from a place you don't normally go to, or go out to a decent local place to eat.  Part of the fun of my trips is stopping to eat at places I don't get to eat at very often.  It's also a good way to relax an unwind from a long, busy day.
Find out where people play.  If you are even thinking about playing in regionals, you have some competitive blood in you.  It also means that you like playing the game and meeting new players.  If you don't, you're in the wrong place.  But seriously, ask EVERY player where they play at.  You might find out about some new places that aren't that far from you.  You might find out about that five color magic tournament you were looking to play in.  With players coming from everywhere and with so many shops being out there, you never know where the good places to play might be hiding.
Well, that about covers the ins and outs of things to try for outside of your competitive play the weekend of regionals.
We've covered the reality of regionals.  Now I want to share some funny stories of reality related to the Magic community. 
I have a personal fond memory of a r/g deck I built so many years ago.  It was not long after Ice Age had come out.  My deck had Elves, Bird of Paradise, Jeweled Amulets, Tinder Walls, and Orcish Lumberjacks.  It obviously made a ton of mana.  I used the mana to play big green fatties and some amazingly large red creatures (usually dragons).  My problem was that at the end of each game I was finishing with a ton of mana on the table.  So after a few games, I would take out a couple of land and replace them with a few spells.  Well, one day my buddies wanted to see what was in my deck. 
The punchline here is that I only had seven lands in my deck when we laid it out: four forest and three mountains.  I had been keeping one land and two land hands and going nuts with them.  Seems pretty ridiculous.  The real kicker though is that after I showed everyone I started having trouble drawing lands.  I guess that this just goes to show that sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
I have one more interesting and fun personal anecdote to share with you all this week.  This one is a little more recent.  It happened on the day of the last prerelease event that I played it.  It was the event for Urza's Destiny.  I got there a bit late so I was rushing to register.  This was also back when we ran one big tournament with lots of swiss rounds.  Those were the good ol' days.  Anyway, I hadn't looked at the spoiler.  I made it a point at that time to not look at it.  Well, I'm working on my deck and getting close to filling it out, but I end up one card short.  So I'm scanning through my creatures and I see this thing called a Masticore.  I'm a bit hesitant to put it in, because discarding a card every turn seems like a really bad thing.  And honestly, paying two mana to deal one damage doesn't seem that good to me either.  But it was a 4/4 creature for four mana.  It had regeneration too.  That's seemed fine to me.  Masticore ended up winning me two matches.  Technically, it won me a third match, because my first round opponent scooped to me.  To my astonishment, I found out later that he scooped, because he thought that I could shoot HIM with the Masticore and I couldn't.  Sometimes you just get lucky.  Not to say that I didn't play well, but luck played a large part in that day.  I ended up finishing 7th overall.
Well, let me start to finish things up by handling weekly business.
Card of the day this week is a host of things.  That's just highlight ANY cards in the format that kills artifacts.  Naturalize, Shatter, Echoing Ruin, Altar's Light, Creeping Mold, Oxidize, or whatever else you can come up with to kill artifacts.  You're going to need a fistful of these to kill lots of Skullclamp, Arcbound Ravager, and even Platinum Angels come the big day of regionals.  I would try to have at least four to six cards dedicated to artifact removal.  Maybe I'm just being paranoid.  Maybe I'm not.  You do the research and get back to me.
And let's get to the bad play of the week.  This first one is from Stefan:
Hello. My name is Stefan. Let me start by saying I love your articles, as they allow the below average player to get a glimpse at the tournament experience. Well, here is my bad play:
I was playing my sister's UW hybrid flying/artifact deck using my under construction R dragon deck. At any rate, I had sweet field advantage with my Shivan Dragon, 9 mountains, Triassic Egg, about 7 artifact creatures and another strong creature facing against her glory seeker (ugh, vanilla), mistform seaswift, and mistform skyreaver. I sac the egg to summon Furnace Dragon from the graveyard, and are both too tired to realize that the effect doesn't go off, so, I lose my robot army, and she loses a tooth of chiss goria. I'm really not worried at all, so I just go and slam her with a pumped up shivan. She blocks with the seaswift. Her turn, she gives her glory seeker flight, and proceeds to attack with the glory seeker and skyreaver. Thinking this a funny way for her to lose, I give her grace by blocking the glory seeker. She then proceeds to tell me that I lost. Puzzled, I told her I had six life, and her reaver only hit me for 3. Laughing, she hands me the reaver. I MIXED UP HER SEASWIFT WITH HER SKYREAVER.
Yeah, it's cheesy, but I'll let you decide whether or not it makes the cut.
Well guess what Stefan, your little paly did make the cut.
Here is another one fore your reading pleasure.  This one comes to us from Derek Stouder:
I'm a big fan of and all your/ everyone elses articles.  After looking at some of the bad plays of the week, I figured I'd send in a play that I was lucky enough to witness yesterday at a casual M:tG tournament.  Basically, my opponent was playing a Ravager/Affinity deck.  He had out a ravager, genesis chamber, skullclamp, 4 lands and some other random things.  After his 4th turn, he had me down to 2 life from his ravager and token generating Chamber.  I was playing a wierd combo deck based around Aether vial and coretapper (that i'd made in about 10 minutes earlier that day).  I hadn't had success all night, and I was in topdeck mode for my 4th land.  On the field, i had an Aether vial with 4 counters, an untapped coretapper, 2 vault of whispers and a darksteel citadel and a Diabolic tutor in my hand.  I drew... and got a land.  Plopped the land, searched for Platnum Angel, tapped/ sac'ed my coretapper to put a total of 7 counters on my Aether vial, and got out my angel.  He was kinda stunned, at this, and was a little shaken when I ended.  I expected him to be bluffing, as most decks have multiple ways around this strategy... and yet, he apparently wansn't one.  He drew, got a land and started going through his deck.  He was able to get out the creature that reduces equip costs by one, so he just kept using skullclamp, killing creatures, plopping affinity creatures, and digging through his entire deck.  He ended up decking himself on turn 5. 
       Anyway, just thought it was a little amusing and wanted to send it in.  thanks!
OK, with that, I'm out.  Keeping sending me your good and bad plays and I'll keep sending out prizes!  I like hearing form my readers, so feel free to e-mail me.
Until next time,
DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
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PowrDragn pretty much everywhere :)



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