This was a slow week for Magic events. While nothing much happened around the world on the previous weekend, there will be no shortage of news next week as American players are gearing up for the Regional championships this coming Saturday.
Sixteen tournaments will be held across the continental United States, awarding eight invitations to Nationals each. Two more two-spot events will take place in Alaska and Puerto Rico. For most players, this is the largest and most competitive Standard tournament they will play in all year.
For those that need some catch-up, here's a very quick run-down of the top archetypes you are likely to face – or play – at Regionals.
The most popular archetype of the day, you won't likely avoid facing this one in Regionals. Affinity decks are built almost exclusively out of Mirrodin and Darksteel cards and are set to abuse the artifact theme of these sets. Key cards for this deck are Arcbound Ravager, Skullclamp and Disciple of the Vault. Many deck lists have been adjusted to include anti-artifact hate in order to help defeat this archetype. While cards like Shatter and Viridian Shaman are helpful, often the most effective way to combat this deck is to utilize a global effect such as Damping Matrix. Affinity
Yuhi Kubota, winner, Tokyo Regionals #1
2) Tooth and Nail
This may well be one of the top 2 or 3 decks in the field, though it is not often recognized as such. Tooth and Nail variants performed incredibly well at Japanese Regionals two weeks ago, and will definitely show up this weekend. This archetype is all about generating mana very quickly and staying alive long enough to cast Tooth and Nail with Entwine. At this point you will be able to either put a pair of huge creatures into play (think Darksteel Colossus), or drop a Leonin Abunas / Platinum Angel combo that most aggressive decks won't be able to deal with.
This deck cannot do much of anything unless it is able to generate a lot of mana, fast. Attacking its mana base with cards like Stone Rain or Death Cloud is often the most effective way to thwart its plans.Tooth and Nail
Takeshi Sekine, 4th place, Tokyo Regionals
3) Goblin Bidding
Goblin strategies used to have no late game. It was win quickly or lose the late game. Goblin Bidding variants come out almost as fast early on, but can also come back from a losing board position to win the game with a large Patriarch's Bidding. Skullclamp is very good at helping set up an even larger Bidding in the mid-game. Circle of Protection: Red and other sideboard spoilers are effective against this deck though it can still often overcome quality sideboard strategies due to its speed, consistency, and power level.Goblin Bidding
Heiwa Rengo Edo, 9th place, Tokyo Regionals #1
4) White Control
This deck comes in mono-white and blue-white varieties. Although there are no good counterspells out there, control isn't dead. Wrath of God and Pulse of the Fields allow for a solid game against aggressive decks while cards like Eternal Dragon and Wayward Wayfarer ensure mana consistency and provide card economy. Like most control decks, this one is far more vulnerable early in the game than later on. W/u Control
Jens Doppes, 1st place, Hessen Regional, Germany
5) Death Cloud
Descendant of The Rock, this is the current incarnation of the black-green metagame deck. Death Cloud has proven to be a powerful spell in most matchups, as few decks enjoy having their hand, board, or land base wrecked thoroughly. Not quite as consistent as the other decks listed here, Death Cloud decks are viable nevertheless.
There are also a number of other archetypes that will certainly show up at Regionals – Astral Slide, mono-red control and land destruction among them. Whatever deck you choose to play, good luck at Regionals. BG Death Cloud
Last week's question:
What was GP DC winner Bill Stead's top individual finish?
Bill Stead won Grand Prix: New Orleans in 2001.
What was the first cycling card ever designed?
(Please do not e-mail me the answers. The correct answer will be posted in next week's column.)
Play of the Week
Courtesy of Amy Derks
I have been playing Magic for about ten years. About nine years ago, I met a guy named Regi. One of our games went like this:
My first turn: lay Island
His first turn: lay Mountain, Mox Ruby, Mox Emerald, Black Lotus. He sacked the Lotus for three red mana and summoned a Ball Lightning. He then tapped Mountain and Mox Ruby to play Blood Lust on the Ball Lightning and Mox Emerald to Berserk it. He attacked for 20.
Me: tap Island, UnsummonBall Lightning!
Needless to say, I burst his bubble. We still got married three years later when he finally forgave me.
Play of the Week #2
Courtesy of Scott Smith
I was watching two friends play each other in a weekly draft. One player was playing b/w and had out 3-4 creatures about to attack for the win the next turn. The other player was playing a 3 color deck (g/b/r) and had cast three spells. Sylvan Scying, a Journey of Discovery and a Goblin Charbelcher.
Needless to say, with lethal damage on the stack the guy had no other choice but to point the Charbelcher and pray. After the first 10 cards were turned over he only needed the mountain which was two cards away for the win. The funniest part was that he was splashing three mountains. One in play, one in his hand, and the other to double 12 damage to the dome =)
Bad Play of the Week
Courtesy of Vasily
This happened in Moscow during a draft.
My teammate and member of Russian National Team Eugenius Idzikovsky played against someone in the 3rd round of swiss. He had Disciple of the Vault on the table and Domineer in his hand. Opponent was at 1 life and played Bottle Gnomes and Frogmite on his turn. The Gnomes weren't very helpful because if he sacrificed them he would die from Disciple damage before gaining life.
Eugenius thought hard and ... played Domineer on the Frogmite!
Please e-mail me any Magic news, stories, tournament results, or anything else you think should appear in this column. You can contact me by sending an e-mail to ashv at kingsgames dot com