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The Road to Tourneyland: Miss America '76
By Mark Ortego
October 15, 2004
The Road to Tourneyland: Miss America '76 v. Plus Size
By Mark Ortego

I have 30 days from today to decide what I'm going to play for my monthly "Rogue League" game at GASP game days on November 13th. I couldn't attend the October game which turned out okay because the first place guy didn't show up either. He's currently at 39 points and I'm at 30 for second place.

If you haven't read my articles from the summer I'll bring you up to speed. The Rogue League is an unofficial year-long, multi-player, point based Magic: The Gathering tournament. We play once a month and post standings via GASP newsletter and then total up the points at the end of the season and announce the winner.
Here's a brief explanation of the point system. You get 1 point for participating in the game. You get 1 additional point for each player you eliminate. If you are one of the last three players remaining in the game you are, in what the league calls, "The Iron Triangle". If you're the first person eliminated from the I-T you get 3 additional points, second place gets 6 additional points and 9 additional points for the last player standing (but your 1 participation point is forfeited if you make the I-T).
Here are the standings as of today:

Rogue League Standings after GAME 10 (October @ GASPcon5)

Eleventh Place
Jim, 7 points (+0)

Tenth Place
John, 8 points (+0)

Ninth Place
Jason, 12 points (+0)
Sam (Coach), 12 points (+0)

Eighth Place
Steve, 14 points (+1)
Stan, 14 points (+7)
Kevin (Dragon Mage), 14 points (+3)

Seventh Place
Dave, 15 points (+0)

Sixth Place
Kelly (Goblin Kings Mother), 18 points (+0)

Fifth Place
Lee, 21 points (+0)

Fourth Place
Kevin (Goblin King), 24 points (+11)

Third Place
Megan (Sliver Queen), 27 points (+0)

Second Place
Mark Ortego (ME), 30 points (+0)

First Place
Mark (Pastor Mark), 39 points (+0)

The plus numbers are how many points were awarded from this month's game. As you can see there were only four participants for October. If you've read my articles before about the Rogue League I also put in their nicknames just for reference.

As I've written before, most of the decks played are NOT organized, nor are they based after any net.decs. Most of the players are from "pre-stack" or pre-6th edition days so sometimes I have to justify my actions such as "After the damage goes to the stack but before it resolves" - this drives most of them batty! I'm sure that I'm looked upon as a rules lawyer, a RULES LAWYER!?!! ME!?!! Sad, but true. They do have a few quirky rules and your participation in the Rogue League is confirmation that you are to abide by them. Here's one.

Say you "pop" a Nevy's Disk, the effect goes to the stack, but, before it resolves, if anyone casts a Disenchant targeting the disk, the Disenchant resolves and not only does the disk disappear (destroyed) but the effect is removed from the stack as well. Crazy? Yup. But I joined so I abide by their rules. This is all clearly stated in your new members' packet you receive via e-mail PDF when you become a member. Another crazy thing is that if none of the members know what the hell you're talking about, the by-laws state that a brief discussion, right-then-and-there, is to be had by veteran members and a ruling is made. Screw the Oracle, screw tournament rules, screw it all! You must present your case in a logical manner that makes sense to all. Even the "Golden Rule" is sometimes questioned [you know, The Card is Always Right]. A good example would be a question that came up about whether or not you could use Crystalline Sliver as one of the creatures you would use for Tradewind Rider. That question actually came up in a casual pick-up game right after the Rogue League game. But you get my point, right?

Anyway, at first, I was looking at a Prison Deck called "La Bastille en Seville" it's loosely based after Donais' 5CBlue deck but there's way too much Artifact/Enchantment removal in the environment. Also, something that bugs me is that the order of the day seems to be: "If I drew this Disenchant, welp, I ought to cast it right now." ARRRRRRRGH!!! I hate that! No one seems to really think about holding cards or using Instants at end of turn (which was something I had to defend once).

Then I thought maybe a Black/Green Biorhythm deck would work. The thread I started for it definitely made me re-think that issue.

Oh, I have several other decks not-so-finely-tuned that I could go with but they're kind of dull to play like my 3 color Astral Slide deck (again, way too much art./ench. removal around). I have my UBR Nether-Go deck but it's too much control and with the "Virtual Howling Mine" starting at turn seven, I actually get too many cards in my hand and NO, I don't want to play that stupid artifact that allows me to have no maximum hand size (It's a wasted slot :rolleyeyes[Library of Leng! - Spidey]. I don't want to play my RGW "Seinfeld" deck again, it's just too slow and the element of surprise for it is gone. I promised never to play the "Death to All Elf-Ball 2K4" deck, besides, that's probably the reason so much removal is around (btw, I played a Naturalize in a pick-up game last time and nobody knew it existed. DAMN!). I actually did think about playing UG Madness (a cheap Type I version) but I'm not so sure.

So, I think I'm going to give an old, old Type II deck a go for this format: RWU Goblin Trenches. Actually, it's a modified version of the Trenches deck AFTER sideboarding. Here's what it looks like for now:

Miss America '76 v. Plus Size

Creatures
4. Flametongue Kavu*
4. Lightning Angel* (Miss America)
2. Wall of Essence
2. Wall of Tears

Other Spells
4. Absorb*
4. Counterspell*
4. Fire/Ice*
3. Prophetic Bolt*
2. Reminisce
3. Rout (Wrath of God*)
4. Seal of Cleansing
3. Seal of Fire
2. Suffocating Blast
3. Swords to Plowshares

Land
4. Flooded Strand
2. Grand Coliseum
11. Island*
7. Mountain*
8. Plains*

Since this deck is for the Rogue League, which is only one game, there IS no sideboard.

Okay, I said this is a variation of the Trenches deck AFTER sideboarding, so any of you net decking guru's out there, don't git yer panties all tied up in a knot. Actually, it also sort of looks like Star-Spangled Slaughter.

The asterisks indicate the original staples in the deck and I'd rather not get rid of those. The others however have gone in under the consideration of the RL environment.

I don't need "card advantage", at the beginning of turn seven there's a "Virtual" Howling Mine effect that starts. No, you can't target it, you HAVE to draw it. In fact, just about everybody slaps down additional Howling Mines mostly due to the fact that all of their decks are like 125 cards plus. I can remember that at one time there were like four Howling Mines on the table, not including the "Virtual" one. GEEZSH!

So, no Accumulated Knowledge or Fact or Fictions. The Prophetic Bolt is really card economy since it's a one-for-one trade. The digging through my deck is good for me but not drawing too many extra cards. I may consider putting in four copies of Impulse, too.

Also, you might have noticed that my deck is a little swollen, well, it is. It has '76 cards in it which is totally against every fiber in my magic 'chi'. I arrived at this decision for two reasons, one: There are so many "goodies" for this deck and two: I AM, in fact, afraid of not being able to kill everyone off before I deck myself. Notice that I did put in 2 copies of Reminisce. It's a Sorcery that allows me to shuffle my graveyard into my library.

Another thing is that I changed a lot of the Instant spell to permanent spells like Seal of Cleansing instead of Disenchant or Seal of Fire instead of Shock or another Instant burn spell. The walls are there so I didn't have to play Unsummon (Wall of Tears) or gain-life spells (Wall of Essence). Play-testing the deck with a lot of instant spells showed me that I end up by having to discard down to seven a lot or using up my mana on my turn just so I didn't have to pitch a card.

The original deck never saw Swords to Plowshares but if it were available at the time I'm sure Eric Taylor (edt) would've used it. All the other stuff is subject to change pending on your good suggestions.

This "Aggro-Control" deck might just be the ticket for the environment I'll be playing in. There's just enough counter-magic in the deck to piss people off (), a smidge of burn and a pinch of life-gain makes me happy. But the star of the deck has got to be Lightning Angel (Miss America) because she has Flying, Haste and Vigilance. How cool is that? And FTK makes the deck a little fatter (plus size).

The follow-up to this article will be posted the week of November 14th.

Click HERE to take you to the Deck Forum thread called "Miss America '76 v. Plus Size" where your suggestions are welcomed.

Mark Ortego
ortegoc@aol.com

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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