My name is Joel DeAngelo, and I have been playing Magic since early 1994. I took a few years off after Ice Age during which I got married. I got back into play Magic just before Masques was released. Since then, I've made two Provincial Top 8s (including this year) and two Regional Top 8s.
In the weeks leading up to Provincials, I mostly tested the B/W decree deck. I just couldn't win with it. Next, I tried MBC. I was a big fan of it this past season, but it had let me down last year at Provincials and again at Nationals... And it got totally hosed by Karma. I didn't like that detail one bit.
With one week to go, I tried out U/W. I didn't want to play Goblins because I felt everyone would be prepared for the little red dudes. I think U/W is the most powerful deck out right now. However with twenty-six lands, I still consistently get mana hosed. I would get three lands and a Temple of the False God and get run over by Goblins.
In the past two weeks, I had discussed rebuilding the Beasts deck that I qualified for Nationals with. Everyone on the team told me the deck sucked and wouldn't win... So late at night, I would test on Apprentice with my Beast deck with moderate success. When I couldn't draw jack with U/W on Thursday, I decided to play Beasts. Of course, my teammates laughed at me. We did tune the sideboard a bit before calling it a night.
Here's the deck I played:
3 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Vine Trellis
2 Thoughtbound Primoc
4 Krosan Warchief
4 Ravenous Baloth
4 Hunted Wumpus
4 Shivan Oasis
4 Contested Cliffs
We had fifty people this year for Provincials, down by four from the previous year.
Game 2: Gordon drew a Plains and five Mountains. Needless to say, morph guys just don't do much against Tephraderm.
Round 2: Bryan Pelly, WW
Bryan gets some quick beats in with a Suntail Hawk. He puts a Pacifism on my Thoughtbound Primoc that I put out to block the board. He cast a Glorious Anthem, but quickly went on defense when a Tephraderm and a Krosan Warchief came over to visit.
Game 2 ended up quite close. Turn 1 Suntail Hawk, followed by Turn 2 Savannah Lions. I put out a Vine Trellis to hold back the cat. Bryan dropped an Anthem; I put out a Baloth and Bryan put down another Anthem. I put out a Tephraderm, followed the next turn by a Hunted Wumpus, giving him a free Dawn Elemental.
Hmm... Well, I had more guys and a Cliff. He then put down a second Elemental and started swinging. I ended up winning at three life.
Round 3: Nathan Pay, MonoRed Haste
I took a hit from a Blistering Firecat, but that was it. I put out a Baloth, followed by Tephraderm. Contested Cliffs took out all the Goblins and the game was over very fast.
I sided in Starstorm because it's an instant, and Molder Slug because I knew he was running Shrapnel Blast and Isochron Scepter. What I didn't expect was Ensnaring Bridge and Goblin Charbelcher. I saw a Charbelcher on turn 4, then an Ensnaring Bridge on turn 5.
Hmm... This Baloth isn't gonna do much.
I pulled a Molder Slug off the top, but Nathan sacrificed a Great Furnace and was able to do three to it with the Belcher, then Volcanic Hammered it to death. He eventually killed me with the Charbelcher.
Game 3: I took a hit from a Raging Goblin. I put out a turn 2 Vine Trellis, and he dropped a turn 3 Blistering Firecat via Chrome Mox. I put out a Baloth, then a Tephraderm, and then kicked his teeth in.
Round 4: Chris Tennysen, U/W Weenie
Chris played a WW deck with control elements like Mana Leak and Wrath of God.
Game 1 wasn't even close, since I got an early Cliffs.
Game 2: I kept a six-lander with a Pyrite Spellbomb. I thought,"Screw it. I'll draw guys." Which I did, but I almost died to a Cat Knight with a Bonesplitter while I was waiting for them to show up.
I dropped a Hunted Wumpus and he played an Exalted Angel. Lucky for me I had a Cliffs, right?
Round 5: Ted Slone, U/W
By now you might be wondering,"How do you beat control?""Well, I don't" is the short answer. I got totally smashed game 1.
Game 2: I sided in everything but the Molder Slugs. I started with first-turn birds, second-turn Warchief, third-turn Baloth, fourth-turn Wumpus. Ted had no Wrath effects.
Game 3: I got a good aggressive start. Ted did have a Wrath, so I gained eight life. I Hammered him and dropped a Tephraderm, and Ted had to cycle a second Decree of Justice to stem the bleeding. Then he dropped an Angel. I hammered him to four and then he started gaining life. A second Angel joined in. I drew an Obliterate and had eight mana but no land to drop, so I tried to hold out... I drew Hammers but no land. Ted was up to twenty-two and I was down to fifteen, so I decided it was time. BOOOM!
Ted cast Chain of Vapor to pick up his two Exalted Angels.
Ted dropped two fetchlands in a row and it took me four turns to draw a land. I put down a mountain and then a Cliffs. Ted drew his third land and put down a morph guy. I need a mountain off the top or it's game over...
It's a forest. Ted drew a fourth land. I scooped.
Close but no cigar.
Round 6: Terrance Johnstone, MBC
We drew, but played two games for fun. He smashes me.
Semifinals: Andrew Macdonald, R/U cycle control
Ahh - a control deck without white! No Wraths means I win.
Game 1: Andrew put out a Lightning Rift and Rifted me down to twenty, but I drop guys on turns 4, 5, and 6 and smash.
Game 2 wasn't even close. Rift doesn't kill 4/5 guys too well.
Quarterfinals: Darby Vickery, Goblins
Darby is one of my teammates. I Shocked a few dudes and took a bit of damage... But out came a Baloth and that's game.
Game 2: I sided in Starstorm for Hystrodon to pop off little dudes... And he dropped a Charbelcher. Ooops! I forgot it was in his sideboard. Well, I lost real fast.
Game 3: I brought in Molder Slugs to help, but I didn't even need it. My guys are twice as big as his.
Finals: Allen Renolds, Goblin
I kept a one-forest hand with two Birds. He burned both the birds, so I got smashed.
Game 2: I sided in Starstorm as normal, but put in Molder Slug on reflex. He got in some early beats, then out came my Warchief! With his help, a Rorix got knocked over the edge of a Cliff by a Tephraderm, and the Tephraderm lived to tell the tale. The big boys finished the game quickly soon after.
Game 3: I didn't get a fast start, but dropped a third-turn Thoughtbound Primoc to stop the smaller Gobbos, followed by a fourth-turn Baloth. Allen dropped a Sulfuric Vortex, and in response I sacrificed the Primoc. Turns out that was a good play, since I ended up at four life at the end.
Allen burned off the Baloth after the Baloth took out Rorix with the help of a Chief and a Shock. I rode the Krosan Warchief to the win.
All through the tournament, everyone was laughing at me for playing"old tech," including myself. I played the deck I was most comfortable with and got myself a trophy.
I don't like how StarCityGames classes my deck as R/G beats instead of what it is: Beasts. 4/4s and 6/6s are not the puny 2/2s you find in R/G Beats - but when only two decks with mountains and forests make the top 8, what can you do?