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The Road to Tourneyland: August's MML Report
By Mark Ortego
August 13, 2006
The Road to Tourneyland: August’s Multiplayer Magic League Report
By Mark Ortego

Hello & thank-you, in advance, for reading this report. It’s been awhile since I’ve written one and so on, blah, blah, blah….on to the report!

Just for you first time readers of my MML reports here’s the quick of what this is; The second Saturday of each month is "Game Day" for The Gaming Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania also known as G.A.S.P., and on these game days we have a multiplayer game of Magic called the Multiplayer Magic League or M.M.L. This is a yearlong, point-based, non-sanctioned league where the Banned and Restricted list are this:
~No "ante" cards
~No use of the Vanguard character cards
~No proxy’s, EVER!
~No silver-bordered cards (i.e. no Unhinged or Unglued cards)

That’s it. The four cards per deck rule are the same but we always say that; if you own four Black Lotus then go ahead, use ‘em in your deck. Of course, you will die a most horrible and hideous death from the other players but you can use them at your discretion anyway. The funny thing about having practically no real restrictions is that you COULD play the World Championship Vintage deck of any year and lose BIG-TIME in the MML and some random pile ‘o crap with absolutely NO focus could win it all! This is probably the most single reason why I love multiplayer games for Magic, though it’s frustrating at times.

You get awarded points for killing off other players called "Kill Points" and you also get points based on when you are eliminated from the game called "Placement Points" if you’re the first player eliminated from the game you are awarded one placement point and if you are eliminated second then you get 2 pts. and so on, and this year we added "Victory Points" where the winner of the game is awarded three extra points just for winning the whole darn thing. Don’t worry, this is a pretty balanced system that has taken us a year and a half to shape, we like it!

GASP has always had a large multiplayer league since its beginning in 1999, the first one was called the "Chaos League" and after a while it disbanded. Then one of the Royal Court members (yes, we have a Royal Court and all, it’s quite cool) started another league called the "Rogue League", only with more structured rules than the Chaos League. After a couple years of that league then the chairman, Guildmaster, announced the end of the Rogue League and I volunteered to run the same kind of league and having little to no imagination I called it what it actually is: A multiplayer magic league or MML. I posted the proposed rules for it on the CPA boards a couple of years ago and then I fine-tuned it and made sure that the rules had to be reviewed at the end of each season just to fix anything that needed tended to. I chaired it alone last year and was crowned the Grand Champion and I thought that that didn’t look too good; me being the "chair" and all so I handed it over to Youngbeard (as he’s called at the CPA) who made some cool suggestions for us to vote on for this year.

We use to start at 30 life and then we voted to go to 20 life to make the game shorter because, there are a ton of other games to play at GASP like Formula-De, Hero Clix, Serenity RPG, Living Greyhawk and WARMACHINE. You can view the games we play each month at www.gaspgamer.com The one thing that really made the MML more interesting this year was that we voted on using a different deck format for 4 of the games this year. In February we played the MML with "Highlander" decks, a couple of month’s ago we played "Mono-colored" decks and this month we played "Creature Feature"

So it was; personally, I HATE using creatures, most of my decks use just a smidgen of them and it’s mostly because of its activated ability or something like that. I had no REAL clue as to what kind of deck to make except that I knew it had better be control-ish. I asked for help on the CPA boards and got some good advice and a link to an article that Peter and Ingrid Jahn wrote about a "Creature Feature" tournament they played in. Good read, too.

I prepared my deck to deal with a field of cards like Avatar of Woe and Masticore and weenie horde-type decks. The article gave me two good cards to think about: Razormane Masticore and Mirror Golem. Jahn wrote that if Avatar of Woe is the Queen of Creature Feature then Mirror Golem is the King of it. Mirror Golem has Imprint and if you remove a card from a graveyard in the game then the golem has protection from it, yes, protection from creatures was Jahns intent. It costs {6} to play and is a 3/4. Good choice, IMO. So, I went with a Blue, Black & White build that I’ll list later.

We start at Noon but really don’t get to turn one until about 12:30, we are REALLY casual . Here are the players and a brief description either about them or their decks or both:
~Player 1: NecroKnight he would be called if he posted on our boards and he played his infamous "Artifact Deck" that included Diabolic Machine, Ebony Rhino, Brass Man, Triskelion and an assortment of other cards so old that they have the expansion symbol of Genesis on them. :rolleyes:
~Player 2: Jim, you remember Jim, dontcha? His "Zombie Decks" were always the bane of our games and you could always count on Jim playing zombies, but not today, he went with Goblins, hmm, that’s different for Jim.
~Player 3: "Yo!" Adrian. Adrian is always interested in playing in an MML game but gets sidetracked because the RPG game of "Hunter" is always at the same time. He plays both until his Hunter character is in trouble and he concedes the MML game; which gets him zero points in the league for quitting and not being properly eliminated. Adrian has no strategy (most of the time) and plays cards like Eye of Singularity and ticks everyone off. Today, Adrian is playing SLIVERS!!!!! A 150 card deck, in sleeves no less, and chalk full of other random stuff! In other words, no focus.
~Player 4: Me. The consummate magic player for whom all admire and adore. Enough said.
~Player 5: Jerod. Shouldn’t it be Jared? I dunno, but he’s quiet and for a teen-aged magic playing boy, that’s amazing! He’s playing an all-white (and two artifacts) angel deck that includes: DUN-Dun-dunnnnnnnn,……….Platinum Angel! Jerk! It’s actually RX maverick’s deck, on loan.
~Player 6: RX Maverick. This guy is amazing! He is the quintessential Casual Magic Player. (note: Hey I spelled "quintessential" in that last sentence without the red line coming up) I’ve been trying to get him to join the CPA but I haven’t seen him yet on the boards. Anyway, he also was with slivers, OY!
~Player 7: AzureKnight. "AK" is also a new member this year. He was playing a black and white deck with Soul Warden, Coffin Queen, and the likes.

~12:28 p.m.
Turn 1 – land and a few one-drops to include the Soul Warden by AK, who now has a target on him. Also, AK is in first place in the league standings.

~12:31 p.m.
Turn 2 – More land and Jim smacks me with a Goblin. AK’s life total tweaks up two notches because of more cirtters hittin’ the board.

~12:34 p.m.
Turn 3 – I get smacked again by a Goblin and then I lay down my own Soul Warden. BTW, no one else has been attacked yet.

~12:36 p.m.
Turn 4 – Now I start getting hit by several weenies to include some slivers i.e. MUSCLE Sliver. Here’s what my life total looked like during turn 4: 19-20-21-20-21-19-20-21-22, all during this turn. Soul Warden is "SOME GOOD" (TM).

~12:42 p.m.
Turn 5 – By now I have a Soul Warden, Shadowmage Infiltrator and a Windborn Muse (a 2/3 flyer with a propaganda ability) in play. The Muse turns my opponents away from me and concentrating on each other. There’s also several goblins on the board including Kyren Sniper which Jim seems to hit me with it, there are also more slivers like Victual Sliver and "Yo!" Adrian plopped down a Crystalline Sliver (GREAT! – NOT).

Life totals at this time are:
~NecroKnight 20
~Jim 20
~"Yo!" Adrian 19 (I hit him with the Infiltrator because I needed to draw a card to dig for land)
~Me 23
~Jerod 15 ("Yo!" Adrian hit him with some sliver smack)
~RX Maverick 20
~AzureKnight 14 (NecroKnight was beating him down with his Diabolic Machines or whatnot, you see, NecroKnight has all three Urza lands out!)

~12:54 p.m.
Turn 6 – a.k.a. "The turn that slivers came to be" AK and I gained so much life this turn it was ridiculous. I think Brood Sliver hit the board that turn, too. YEAH! More life! By the end of turn 6 I was at 45 life but AK was getting smacked down by the others because I had Windborn Muse out (it’s a 2/3 Flyer that says no creatures can attack me unless they pay {2} for each attacking creature – it’s a walking Propaganda, wait, I said that already didn’t I?) so he was at 12 life.

~1:26 p.m.
Turn 7 – Another rule we have is the "Serum Visions Effect" starting on turn seven and every turn after that you draw a card at the beginning of your draw step then you Scry for 2, then you MAY draw another card. I made it a "MAY" because I always use a 60 card deck and the old rule was a "Virtual Howling Mine" and you HAD to draw a card, yeah, that had-to-go! By this time "Yo!" Adrian had played the red sliver that gives slivers HASTE and RX Maverick played the sliver that made all slivers UNBLOCKABLE! Bad for the rest of us. "Yo!" Adrian actually had a "thing" going on here with his sliver horde and made the descision to eliminate the weak first. He "Alpha Strike’d" Jerod and Jerod was gone. Jim was the second sliver victim when RX sent his army of slivers over for the kill. RX had to do it because Jim just Matron’d for the Skirk Firemarshall which if you tap five goblins all creatures and players take 10 damage, so bye-bye slivers. Jim had to go. Too bad Jim only had 1 mountain open or he would’ve played the Firemarshall this turn.
~"Yo!" Adrian is awarded one Kill Point
~Jerod is awarded one Placement Point
~RX Maverick is awarded one Kill Point
~Jim is awarded two Placement Points

~1:48 p.m.
Turn 8 – Okay, NecroKnight, whose been ruthless to AK by always attacking him, finally gets out a Triskelion and feels that he has to eliminate AKs ONLY Soul Warden on the table. Now AK was at 7 life and getting beat-down pretty good but he also had a creature that gave all his other creatures +0/+1 so NecroKnight eliminated AK’s one Soul Warden and then eliminated one of mine. Oops, did I forget to mention that I now had TWO in play? My bad. Meanwhile, I had been hitting various folks with my Infiltrator and life totals were stable except of course for AK’s.

Life total check:
~NecroKnight 20 (soon to be dead though)
~Jim (eliminated 1st.)
~"Yo!" Adrian 23
~Me 64 (Windborn Muse and 2 Soul Wardens really helped!)
~Jerod (eliminated 2nd.)
~RX Maverick 17 (I hit him twice and he used a search land card)
~AzureKnight 7

~2:12 p.m.
Turn 9 – On "Yo!" Adrian’s turn he went for the kill at both AzureKnight and NecroKnight at the same time. The problem with eliminating two players at the same time is that it affects the Placement Points. Players eliminated at the same time are each awarded the same points, in this case 3 Placement Points each, but the next player eliminated is only awarded 4 points. So, down the line at the end of the game the last player remaining is cheated out of a Placement Point. But "Yo!" Adrian does it anyway.

~"Yo!" Adrian is awarded two more Kill Points (he’s collected three now)
~AzureKnight and NecroKnight are each awarded three Placement Points having been the third player(s) eliminated from the game.

The Sliver brothers have only me to contend with and I now have an additional Windborn Muse out. Oh, they can attack but at the price of 4 mana per attacker. No worries for "Yo!" Adrian who now has the Sliver Queen out and about 15 sliver tokens from RX’s Brood Sliver. They both can kill me but who will it be?

~2:20 p.m.
Turns 10 & 11 - Well, "Yo!" Adrian also had a non-sliver UB 5/5 Legend from Ravinca who flies and attackes me with that. But I had laid down a Yosei the turn before and I blocked his Legend and when Yosei hit the graveyard I target RX Maverick, why? Good question. But it essentially ended the game because on RX’s turn he couldn’t attack me (Windborn muse) and he had no mana open because I tapped them all down with the Yosei. When "Yo!" Adrian’s turn came he drew into something amazing!

******************************************************************
(Birds are chirping and there’s a cool gentle breeze blowing and its 71 degrees outside)
Somewhere else in the world life was going on just hunky-dory where men are playing golf on a beautiful late summer day and women are sitting on the patio of a country club somewhere in the suburbs nibbling on quartered cucumber sandwiches & sipping raspberry iced tea.
******************************************************************

Me? I’M IN HELLLL!!!!!!!!!!

******************************************************************
*In slow motion like a movie gunslinger scene*
"Yo!" Adrian looks at the card and the corners of his mouth start to turn up at the sides like the Grinch. All I can hear is my heart beating in slow thumps, sweat is starting to drip from my forehead and my lips are dried up. He taps his mana, I have no idea what’s coming yet then he starts to lay his card down (thump-thump, thump-thump). I can feel my heartbeat roaring up my neck and my stomach starts to get all whoozy. He squints his eyes, mine are wide open….

*Picture now in fast motion like one of those horror movies where the wraith moved from one side of the room to right next to you without moving its legs*
*****************************************************************

BAM!!!

Acidic Sliver. Acidic Sliver reads: "If you’ve got enough mana, you can burn all of your Brood Sliver tokens to eliminate the Soul Warden and the two Windborn Muse that Mark has in play." I’m paraphrasing a little but I bet I’m close to the correct text.

~2:27 p.m.
I am DOA! As "Yo!" Adrian proceeded to attack me with enough of his slivers to kill me but left enough behind to survive an Alpha Strike from his sliver brother; RX. Just as soon as I scoop RX conceedes the game to "Yo!" Adrian which is allowed in the MML if the outcome is eminent.

Okay, so all said and done for this month’s MML game the scores look like this:
~"Yo!" Adrian came in first with 5 kill Points/6 Placement Points and 3 Victory Points for a grand total of 14 Game Points.
~RX Maverick came in second place with 1 Kill Point & 5 Placement Points for a total of 6 Game Points.
~I came in third with 4 Placement Points
~NecroKnight & AzureKnight came in fourth with 3 Placement Points each.
~Jim came in fifth with 2 Placements Points
~Jerod came in last with 1 Placement Point

With those scores added in here are the standings for the MML as of right now:

1st – AzureKnight – 36
2nd – Me - 30
3rd – Jim "Zombie Lord" - 26
4th – NecroKnight - 24
5th – "Yo!" Adrian – 21
6th - Youngbeard - 16
7th – Kevin "Goblin King" - 11
8th – C., Chris - 10
9th – Coach - 9
10th – H., Ethan - 8
11th – RX Maverick – 7
11th - Coach’s son - 7
11th – B., Matt – 7
12th – Johnny "T" - 5
13th – Duke of Dorchester - 2
14th – W., Dan - 1
14th – H., Jerod – 1

Here’s my deck list I battled with:

Lands

1x Miren, the Moaning Well
1x Scrubland
1x Tundra
1x Kor Haven
2x Watery Grave
2x Hallowed Fountain
1x Grand Coliseum
4x Thran Quarry
4x Godless Shrine
1x Mikokoro, Center of Sea
1x Volrath’s Stronghold
1x Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
2x Orzhov Balisca
1x Eiganjo Castle
1x Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

Creatures

4x Soul Warden
2x Fog Bank
2x Wall of Souls
2x Angelic Wall
1x Masako the Humorless
4x Azorius Herald
3x Court Hussar
3x Shadowmage Infiltrator
3x Faceless Butcher
4x Windborn Muse
2x Razormane Masticore
1x Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
2x Kokusho, the Evening Star
2x Yosei, the Morning Star
2x Mirror Golem

Props: To "Yo!" Adrian for doing so well this month, it was his first time in two years that he won an MML game.

Slops: To all slivers, may they rot in hell!

We have one more "special" format for the rest of the year I think it’ll be in November but I’m not sure. So for September and October it will be as it always has been; any deck format!

Addendum: I am hosting a three-month long dueling league called "The Arcane Dueling League" or ADL and we had our first meeting this month right after the MML game. Its pretty simple; you get to play any deck you want with any cards you want except for "ante" cards, Vanguard Character cards and Proxy’s. YOU choose your opponent’s and you record up to five games (not matches). You get 3 points for a game win and 1 point for a game loss. This league is to see if we can stir-up any interested magic players at GASP who don’t really want to participate in the MML but would like to maybe play in a league where its dueling (the way magic was originally intended to be played). I’ll keep you posted on how its coming along with my Sept. & Oct. MML reports.

Later,
Mark O.

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