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The Dragon's Den
And the Day is Here...

By DeQuan Watson - 06.24.05

Well, the day is actually Saturday, but you get the idea.  Everyone seems to be looking for some surprise deck to give themselves and edge.  Players want that one thing that will wow the crowd and make the day memorable for them as they plow their way tot he winner's circle.  It may be out there.

But honestly, if it is, I don't have it at this very moment.  That doesn't bother me though.  And realistically, it shouldn't bother you.  If you are worrying about a special deck at this stage of your preparation you are doomed.  And honestly, I know of maybe eight players, personally, that can handle a new deck with very little practice and win a tournament.  And much as I love you guys, most of you aren't on that list. Hell, I'm not even sure if I'd put myself on that list.  I can tell you though that there is one strong word to describe the thing you need to win Regionals; Fundamentals.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the day.  There will likely be a lot of players.  Many of you will have driven tot he venue with your friends or family.  You'll be wanting to trade.  You'll be wanting to share stories.  That's all fine and good.  But be sure to keep your head on straight.  Stay focused.  Some players don't realize that regionals is a large tournament.  It's very long.  You will get tired or wear down if you aren't careful. Keep your eye on the prized and don't exert yourself too much.

Mind the rules.  If you have too, slow yourself down.  Take your time.  I've had to handle a ton of judge calls just because players were rushing or skipping past a particular point of the game.  This generally leads to one player getting and advantage because something had to be backed up.  This should never happen though.  Both sides should be aware of the game state at all times.  I know this sounds obvious, but it is an issue.  With the large number of "big event" first timers, you get multiple players that play incorrectly, unknowingly.  It works in MTG online.  It work s against my friends.  However, when practiced in real life, those results don't come out the way you want them.  So take your time.  Don't screw up the rules and cost yourself a game.

Expect people to be tough on the rules.  You can call them rules lawyers if you so choose, but I wouldn't.  I think these people are just fine.  As long as they aren't being jerks about it and they are just fine.  The rules are in place for a reason.  Make sure you know them.

Another good word of advice is to be prepared.  I mean in little ways.  Make sure you have a few ways to keep of life and such.  To save yourself time in line, most tournament organizers will accept pre-typed decklists.  This can save you a lot of wasted time in line.  There's no need to start your day off on a negative note.  You want as much positive energy from start to finish.  

In addition to the genera stuff, there are a few things to keep your eyes on.

Urzatron.  This is the name players use to identify the trio of Urza's Mine, Urza's Tower, and Urza's' Power Plant.  Tooth and Nail used to be the only big deck taking advantage of these.  Well, that was until recent past.  There are MonoBlue, Blue/Black, and even MonoBlack decks floating around.  These decks don't have a lot of ways to search for then.  However, that doesn't seem to slow them down.  With other card drawing and decent tutor effects they are make use of these high powered lands.  Expect to see some of these around.

Multicolor decks will be everywhere.  There are Birds of Paradise, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Kodama's Reach, etc.etc...that you can get lands with.  This allows people to play everything.  This includes big awkward monstrosities like the Bringers.  The Bringers are so scary.  I remember way back when we had Harrow, Rampant Growth, Birds of Paradise, and Llanowar Elves.  When that much mana fixing existed, we made lots of multicolored decks.  As a matter of fact, 5 Color Green (5CG) was actually debuted at Regionals of 1997.  I'd expect there to be quite a few of them floating around each regional.  

And just for the record, artifacts aren't deck.  You will need somewhere between four and six cards to deal with artifacts.  If you think they are dead...well...let's just say that stories of their demise were largely mistaken.  There are cards like Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Fire and Ice, and Umezawa's Jitte that you want to deal with as soon as possible.  There are others that are good utility for a deck, but can be just problematic enough for the opposition, like Solemn Simulacrum.  Then of course there are the other powerful artifacts that can swing games all by themselves like Oblivion Stone and Mindslaver.  And you can definitely expect to see these around.  They have been selling decently from all the different dealers that I've spoken too lately.   

I think the last bit of thought you should put your mind to is something that many players don't think about.  You should ask yourself why you're event going.  I don't mean that in a demeaning tone or anything.  I'm just saying that you should take a step back, look at yourself, and ask, "What are your goals for the day?"

Keep them realistic.  If this is your first big event, don't set your goal at winning the whole thing.  Something more realistic would be to finish in the top 32 and hope to get a prize or some such.  Maybe you don't care how you finish and you just want to experience.  There's nothing wrong with that.  If nothing else, you will have some great stories on the day.  Maybe your goal is to meet as many new players as possible and trade with them.  Cool.  You can do that.

Just get your mind right to meet your purposes.  And keep your goals in mind throughout the day.  If you end up in a funky ruling situation that might upset someone, if it doesn't matter to you, just let it go.  If it does matter, just call a judge and be done with it.  Don't sweat over it.  If you are about tog et a time limit draw in the second round, be nice and give your opponent the win.  If it doesn't matter to you, but it does to them, you'll be making someone happy and likely making a new friend.  

First and foremost, just remember to keep the your day enjoyable.  Big events like regionals don't come around very often.  It'll be another 12 months before we do this again.  Give yourself some good memories and good stories to talk about.  

And for those of you that are interesting, I will be at the regional in Arlington, TX this weekend.  Feel free to walk by and stop and chat.  Maybe bring a neat creature card and I'll sign it.  And come trade me your Rathi Dragons...I love those things :)

Play well.

Enjoy yourself.

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn at Pojo dot com

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