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The Road to Tourneyland: PA States Report
By Mark Ortego
The Road to Tourneyland: PA State Championships
November 11, 2001
The Westin Convention Center
Pittsburgh, PA
205 Participants
Sponsored by Professional-Events Services (PES)

Upon arrival at the convention center I was 5 slots shy of having the popular U/G Opp deck together, I was missing 3 Herd and 2 Spellbanes. Here's the run down of the deck in it's entirety:

U/G Opp
4 Opposition
4 Call of the Herd
4 Beast Attack
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Spellbane Centaur
4 Mystic Snake
4 Counterspell
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Yavimaya Coast
10 Forest
10 Island

Appropriate Cards

I had filled the five slots with 3 Repulse & 2 Rushing River, hey, they're "Some Good" (tm) cards. So with only an hour left to register, I had no real luck in finding someone who would trade them and so I head toward the dreaded . One dealer was selling them for $15 and the other for $20. With no extra cashola on me I decided to go for the "trade for 'em" mode.

Well, I got two Herds for 1 Shadowmage Infiltrator, 1 Haunting Echoes and $7 (For me, it was worth it). Now I just had to get one more herd, somehow, and two more Centaurs, which I heard that they were on the rise from $5 to $7 and getting higher, I had some work to do.

About 20 minutes to go and I was having no luck with the hunt for the three cards I needed. Then, this guy I know from the local shop sits down next to me and shows me his finished collection of the "Power 9" and that disputed 10th power card; Library of Alexandria. Anyway, I say to him, "Yeah, but do you got any Spellbanes?". "Yup." BAM! I get two Centaurs for like a foil Skycloud Expanse and a couple of other non-essential rares. Okay, 1 slot left to fill and,.........."This is the last call for registration!", I hear. Crap, oh well, I fill the slot with a Rushing River.

I fill out my decklist and registration and WHAM!, like a bang in the face from walking into a telephone poll, I see this BIG BOX wanting your age in it. Jeezsh! My age? What for? So I can be told later that I'm too old for this game (I always have that reaction anytime I'm asked my age at a tournament). I'm friggin' 39 and I write so big that part of the 3 and 9 are bulging out of the box. There! I hope they're happy now! Later I find out it's because there's a prize for the 15 year olds or younger that places the highest. Oops, my bad.

Okay, let's get to that tournament thingy:

*Round 1 aka "I'm sitting out in the hallway of this fancy hotel/convention center and have been placed at table 100"
U/G Opp vs U/G Counter Beats
Game 1: A turn one BoP followed by a turn three Call followed by a turn four Opposition makes for a nice beginning. I win via Elephant AND Beastly tokens.
Game 2: Clearly my opponent is frustrated with me playing Opposition and does not focus on the game, I win via my opponent distracting himself.
2-0 games
1-0 matches

*Round 2 aka "Hi, I'm Rocket Shoe Boy and you'll lose."
U/G Opp vs R/G Rocket Shoes
Game 1: He beat me down SO bad, the game was a blur, all I remember was that I had no counter magic and an Oaked BoP killed me.
Game 2: Adriannnnnnn!!!!!!
I get nearly the "God Draw" and win quite nicely with several tokens and a diverted Rage, wha- hooey!
Game 3: Man, do I hate R/G beatdown, I mean, I don't even appreciate it. YUCKY!
3-2 games
1-1 matches

*Round 3 aka "Ah, now I know why playing straight blue is boring."
U/G Opp vs Solid Blue with that Counter Wizard Legend dude.
Game 1: We were told at the beginning of the tournament to feel free to shuffle our opponents decks before each game (Yeah, like Mike Long would ever allow THAT to happen). So my opponent starts to shuffle my deck and drops it all over the table, yeah, with cards facing up, too. So I do my standard, "That's okay, man.", line and I hate myself for it, I should've called a judge over and been a pest about like most snotty nosed kids I see playing around me (what!? you mean I SHOULD act my age!? How dare you, Miss Thang!). Did I mention that I lost game 1, yet?
Game 2: I beat him down like the solid blue guy he is!
Game 3: "Please, just cut the deck.", I say. This guy gets out an early Temporal Adept and it-is- O-V-E-R for me. BTW< I got a *Caution* from the judge who was watching our table because on turn four of the first game I drew my card and there was a Llanowr Elves staring right at me, "Judge!", I cry for a ruling (hopefully against my opponent for dropping my deck) and I get this *Caution*, it's a soft porn *WARNING*, heh, what's up wit dat!?
4-4 games
1-2 matches

*Round 4 aka "Hmmm, I guess Sado-Masochists DO play magic, too."
U/G Opp vs Domain
Game 1: This kid takes a wicked beating from me and it looks like he liked it. I countered all of his Harrows and well, he was just plum stuck at 3 mana (heh-heh), I win.
Game 2: Much longer game due to his uncontested 3, count 'em, 3, Collective Restraint follwed by a turn fifteen Global Ruins (I had no counter magic in my hand) I eventually get out 15 mana sources and win with a Kavu Chameleon.
6-4 games
2-2 matches (and a little dignity re-gained)

*Round 5 aka "I've pretty much have runned this gag into the ground, huh?"
U/G Opp vs U/B/r
Game 1: I am 'in-love' with this guys' deck, he had a friggin' answer to every gawd-dang thing I put out. I must have run him out of spells with my Herds and Beasts because they finally killed him.
Game 2: I cleverly Diverted 3 of his Bolts and he was getting mad, but in the meantime, I was a little land screwed and I had tapped-out when, BOOM!, his Agenda hits the board and resolves. I lose to the Bolts in his graveyard and a couple of unchallenged Undermines.
Game 3: It was easy as I smacked him down quickly.
8-5 games
3-2 matches

*Round 6
U/G Opp vs Mono-Red
Game 1: Burn, burn you BoP, burn you and your little doggy, too. Burn everything! I lose.
Game 2: If ya could believe that I lost even quicker than the first game and actually had time to go to my car (four city blocks away) and grab a bag-o-chips and still make it back in time to chill- out.
8-7 games
3-3 matches

*Round 7 aka "I'll have HIS deck, please."
U/G Opp vs U/G/r Opp
Game 1: Boring, I lose.
Game 2: I finish my "Thesis Paper" for my masters degree and still manage to stay awake to see me lose. Ya know, FTK makes all the difference.
8-9 games
3-4 matches

*Round 8 aka "Some people should just stay at home."
U/G Opp vs U/R Bounce-n-Burn
Game 1: This dude bounces and burns me into oblivion.
Game 2: Finally, my Opposition works! I lock him down and win with beastly tokens.
Game 3: I win this one but let me tell you about the "mana burn" incident:
Okay, I pretty much have him locked down during his upkeep because I have enough BoP's and Elves to tap all of his land. So, in frustration, I'm sure, he taps his lands in response, "Sure.", I say. Then he draws his card, I say, "Take 5 for the mana burn." and he starts flippin' out because he wants to use the mana he tapped during his upkeep and use it for the spell he drew, no, uh-ah, no way. I explain to him the proceedure and he's NOT backing down. So he whistles his friend over for affermation on his flipping-ness, and his friend tells him discreetly that he's wrong and so he conceedes and looks awfully embarressed.
10-10 games
4-4 matches

Do I suck at Magic? No. Could I expect myself to do better? Yes. Should I have played my U/W Millstone deck with Memory Lapse and Predicts?..........Nah, I had loads of fun playing with U/G Opposition, but I gotta tell ya, I think this deck could run fine without the Oppositions and add red for FTK's and/or Fire/Ice's.

-To PES for running, yet, another well oiled tournament.
-To all of my opponets, for shaking my hand at the beginning and end of each match (see, there IS room for civility in magic)
-To Doug, for buying me dinner at the Burger King in Harmerville off of PA Rt. 28

-To Wonka, for doing what he did to a mail box.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all had fun at states like I did. I'll be seeing you on that long and dusty road, to Tourneyland.

This is Mark Ortego
A lover of all things Blue/Green.

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
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 - Wednesday (Jan. 17, 2018)

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