Get the MTG
Interactive Encyclopedia


Like Clockwork

     The recipe for success at Regionals consists of a lot of different things, and there's a very simple fact that you are going to have to accept: you cannot control all of them. Basically, it's the second half of the metagame mistake that you have to understand: overmetagaming.
     A large amount of practice and preparation is done against the primary matchups that you will see at Regionals. In this case, you are primarily looking at Fires, Rebels, and Skies. These will, in all probability, be the three most popular decks across the country, and will qualify people for Nationals by simple virtue of their numbers in some cases. However, simply being prepared for those three decks will not provide you the greatest chance to win; you are ignoring the most important time in the tournament.
     Being prepared to beat those decks can sometimes take you to the finals, and can put you over the edge. And sometimes, you can metagame yourself right out of the event, by overemphasizing the later rounds, and forgetting that you are going to have to deal with a very long event, sometimes spanning eight to nine rounds. But, with all those rounds, you do have to start at the same place as everyone else: 0-0. The beginning.
     Let's look at the simple anatomy of Regionals. The first two to four rounds are the most important part. The beginning. This is when you set yourself up to fight against the standard decks, the decks that you expect to see. Everyone starts here, and everyone is equal. However, you are going to have to be ready to stack up against anyone. That means not only the tier one and two decks, but also anything else that might fall in or outside of that. The metagame deck you've practiced with for weeks and weeks could get matched against something that just crushes you, something that you didn't test against, something that wasn't on the net. While you can be prepared for every major matchup, you have to have at least some awareness of what else you might encounter. Someone might think Warped Devotion works, someone else plays pure Elf beatdown, and where does that leave your preparation? Rare-drafting after round 3, out of competition, and very, very frustrated.
     In my personal, very ugly history at Regionals, I haven't successfully made it past round five yet without two very disappointing losses. Last year, my tried and tested (and successful) Wildfire deck was doing just fine; then someone pulled a random Kill Switch out of their sideboard. Not being prepared for that, not thinking that anyone would be using it, I had incorrectly sideboarded, and as a result received my day-ending match. It was something that I hadn't expected, and something that I didn't know how to deal with. Worst of all, though, I did not have cards available to deal with that threat.
     There are two primary lessons to be taken from this. The first regards your selection of cards and deck. It helps to be able to deal with just about any issues you can encounter; in any color, you should be able to have some way to deal with anything. You don't want any surprises that you can't deal with; the worst feeling you can have is of losing simply because you left something out of your deck and sideboard. Over the course of so many rounds, it will help in the long run to have an answer to any potential problems. You almost can't afford to disregard any matchups, simply due to the fact that, over eight rounds, there's no telling what you'll encounter.
     The second lesson is the more simple one: bad luck happens. Over eight rounds, you are going to have to fight through bad matchups, mana problems, poor draws, unfortunate pairings, hunger, who knows what else (PACK LUNCH, you'll thank me, and I won't have to listen to you gripe). Fix your own problems the best you can, and be content with just arriving and doing the best you can. It doesn't hurt to play through the tournament, but make sure you enjoy it as best you can. In my case, I just assume the worst will happen within the first few rounds; but it still doesn't hurt to be prepared.
     Well, that's it for now. I'll actually give you a report and opinions after we're done; we've got about a week and a half to go. Good luck, good hunting!

-Jonathan Pechon