My name is Abe Corson and I am a junior at Virginia Tech. I am one of the three 
ďVT DudesĒ in attendance at Richmond yesterday as previously reported upon by 
URMage. Anyway, hereís what happened.

One week ago Ė

Perusing the T1 mill, I read about the tournament. Iíd yet to play my keeper 
deck in any sanctioned event and I thought that this would be a good 
opportunity. I read that Matt and Darren planned to attend which made me want to 
go even more. Unfortunately, the tournament site was roughly a 4-hour drive away 
and I have no car.

I ask my trusty sidekick Egon if he had any interest in going (driving me) but 
he complains that he had no type 1 deck and wouldnít want to play without one. 
This is problematic in that the cards I have with me at school are my keeper 
deck, its sideboard components, and the pieces to put together some similar 
decks. I could almost build him mono blue, but I donít have extra drains and 
fows. I could almost build him academy, but I donít have an extra stroke or 
undergrounds. My other cards are at home, which is an even longer drive away 
than the tournament, and I donít particularly trust dad to find and mail the 
correct cards to me.

I email my other friend Jordan to see if he wants to go (drive me). He asks me 
for some more information and I give him the url to Richmond Comix and show him 
a map I made on mapquest, and he decides to go. Joy! On a side note, Mapquest 
seems to believe the drive will take just over 4 hours. If I were to ever write 
an Internet mapping algorithm, any trip that starts in a college town would 
calculate both a regular trip time and a male studentís trip time. The latter 
would be roughly half that of the former.

Thursday Ė

Jordan messages me and asks if I want to come over for some play testing. Since 
Iíve played exclusive apprentice for the last 9 months I suppose that I really 
should get some practice and make sure that I still remember which end of a 
magic card is up. He picks me up and we go play on his dirty dining room table.

Jordan has two decks, parfait and nether void. His parfait is missing Lotus, 
Pearl, 4 Abeyance, Balance, and a Serraís Sanctum. Void is missing just the Jet 
and Lotus. We play a few games of Keeper v. Parfait, most of which I win. He 
puts his Void deck together and we play some more games, most of which he wins. 
He doesnít yet know which deck he would rather play, so I suggest that he bring 
both with him and decide there. We make plans to leave on Saturday at 6 amish.

When I get back to the dorms, I mention to Egon that Jordan will have an extra 
deck that he could use. So Egon is officially in.

Friday Ė

Completely unrelated. I go to Wal-Mart and buy Silent Hill 2. I was AMAZED with 
the first one, and I maintain that it is the scariest thing, be it movie, novel, 
amusement park ride, etc, known to human kind. Sitting in a movie theater or 
reading a book doesnít have the same effect on you as a video game. With a video 
game, you tend to feel as though you ARE the main character. Therefore, 
instances of the main character in horrific situations within the video game 
evoke the same feeling as being in one in real life.

Iím about an hour into the second one now, and it looks like it is going to be 
about as good as the original. The graphics of this thing are insane, as is the 
voice acting. It looks like, plays out like and feels like a movie (a really 
spooky and disturbing one). I highly recommend this game and the original to 
anyone with a psx/psx2.

Saturday Ė

I wake up at about 5 am to get a shower and some food and stuff. 6 am comes and 
goes, and Jordan does not appear at my door as promised. 6:45 comes with him 
finally showing up. Weíre off.

We do roughly warp speed up 81 and seem to be making good time. We have some 
interesting conversation about what happened to the northern VA magic scene in 
the last couple of years. As far as we can tell, most of the great players in 
the area (Gallitz, Long, etc) have moved on, moved away, or quit magic. We stop 
for taco bell for a half an hour or so, then gun it to Richmond. We make it 
there just as registration begins.

On the way in, we see Matt and Darren playing. Wow neato! Mattís deck is so 
cool! As far as I can tell, itís completely black-bordered. We register, but 
there is a small matter with regard to Egonís deck in that we donít have one for 
him. Jordan has decided to play Nether Void, which would leave Egon with 
parfait. Unfortunately, Parfait is missing a good 15 cards at this point 
(including the wastelands in void and some extra plains) and the entire 
sideboard. Hm. Jordan and I go through our things and he suggests that we have 
enough stuff to build him BBS. Jordan has most of the deck including the fows, 
drains, and morphlings and such. I fill in the components that he does not have 
(mainly the islands and kegs). I lend my spare Mox Jet to Jordan, my spare 
Emerald, Ruby, Walk, and Library to Egon, and we basically have his deck. The 
only glaringly obvious things that are missing are Fact or Fictions (which 
Jordan buys for $3 each- ow) and a Sol Ring (which we never do anything about). 
We also manage to put together a decent sideboard for him. We give the deck to 
Egon and he seems happy with it. I really wasnít a bad deck for being made 
exactly 5 minutes before the tournament began.

Round 1 beginsÖ and I get the one bye. Damnit. I could have sword that the 
organizer and storeowner, Mr. Frank Miller, said that a bye is only worth 2 
tournament points, whereas a win is 3, and a draw is 1. I watch Egon crush a 
surprisingly represented Stasis deck as Jordan gets run over by a Sligh deck 
played by Ian Dennette. And Jordan wasnít even playing with Negators (used pump 
knights instead). Hm, oh well. I wander over at some point to watch the Virginia 
Tech game and talk to Frank. Heís a really cool shop owner, especially as 
compared to what Iím used to at home. One game takes almost the entire 65 
minutes allotted for the round and Iím growing increasingly more desperate to 

Finally, itís time for round two. I get my slip and notice that I have to playÖ 
Egon. Ugh. The good news is that I know exactly what is in his deck. The bad 
news is that I know that he has 4 main deck back to basics. Ok, just focus here.

Game 1: I win the die roll and start with Underground Sea and Lotus. He plays an 
Island and is done. I attempt to Ancestral at the end of turn, to which Egon has 
no response. I draw Mind Twist, Force of Will (have 2 other blue cards in hand) 
and a Sol ring. I untap and play pearl, tap it for Sol Ring, Tundra, tap out and 
blow off Lotus for black to Mind twist for 5. Egon pitches a Fact or Fiction to 
force. So, I pitch a Fact or Fiction to force, and Egon loses his remaining 5 
cards. Hehe. I draw a FoF next turn and use it, then get a Morphling in short 
order and end the game.

Sideboard: out- plow, abyss, counterspell, stroke, shaman, zuran orb, in- 4 red 
blast, 2 aura fracture

Game 2: I believe he started with Library, which I am able to Waste away. I have 
nothing much to do for the first few turns, and when Egon gets to 4 mana the 
FoFís start and they do not let up. He gets a Morphling and I have no red mana 
to blast, so I die dead.

Game 3: I start with Volcanic, Sol Ring. He just goes island. I play tundra, 
aura fracture, but I donít think he quite realized what that card does. A turn 
or two later he tries to Back to Basics, but I demonstrate exactly what aura 
fracture does by sacrificing a Wasteland to kill it. I get a Morphling and start 
attacking. Heís at 15 life and plays his own Morphling. I Mana Drain and he has 
no Force. At 10 life, he tries the next Morphling, and I tap 5 to Force, again, 
he has no force. At 5 life, he tries Morphling #3. I use the last Counterspell 
in my hand (a red blast) on it, and he still has no Force. Phew.

I notice that my slip says I have 3 points instead of 2 for the bye. The 
following round, I see that the next person who got the bye also got 3 points. I 
am kind of surprised, but I obviously decide not to complain.

Round 3 begins and I am paired against Ian Denette who played the sligh deck 
that beat Jordan. Iím really confident in my ability to beat sligh, and I have a 
lot of sideboard cards for the matchup, so Iím not too scared.

Game 1: He starts fast with a couple of early pups and cadets. I canít get any 
black mana and die with an Abyss, Demonic Tutor and Mind Twist in hand. Frown.

Sideboard: out- mind twist, counterspell, abyss, stroke, shaman, dismantling 
blow in- 3 hydroblast, 2 cop: red, 1 ivory mask

I make these changes with the following things in mind. Moat doesnít deal with 
his Shamans and this is important in that Shamans like to kill my Zuran Orb. 
Abyss doesnít deal with his Ball Lightnings and also doesnít deal with Shaman 
very well. I assumed that he would be sideboarding out most of his creatures 
anyway in favor of the scroll and burn route to victory because keeper is 
somewhat known for being able to deal with creatures. As a consequence, I 
decided to play with neither Moat nor Abyss and instead focus upon playing cop: 
red and ivory mask as quickly as possible. I removed the Blow because I feel 
that the only thing worth blowing is a scroll, but mask is just a better card at 
dealing with scrolls. I took out the shaman because, like the blow, it is not a 
permanent solution to cursed scroll in the sense that it can very easily be 
burnt away, and Iíd have to invest too many counterspells in protecting it.

Game 2: All goes well and I get an early cop: red and eventually tutor for my 
mask. I notice a very weak creature start from him. It was like first turn 
fanatic, third turn pup. The turn after I play cop: red, he price of progresses. 
I shrug and tap 1 to prevent it. He concedes.

Game 3: I drew 4 land, zuran orb, a fact or fiction and a hydroblast. He starts 
with a first turn Shaman which I consider blasting but instead decide to save it 
and hold on to the orb. I drew 3 lands over my next 3 turns and am somewhat 
annoyed. He bolted me at some point and attacked with the shaman to put me at 
14. At the end of his 4th turn, I tap 2 tundra, a volcanic and an underground to 
Fact or Fiction. He responds with Price of Progress and Fork. If I had a single 
force in my hand, I could counter both of them, but unfortunately, I do not. I 
lose what should be an easy matchup.

I turn around and watch Egon finish his game at the table behind me. As it turns 
out, heís playing Darren, and I begin watching just in time to see both of them 
make incredibly bad mistakes. Egon has a morphling, 4 islands, and a tapped Grim 
Monlith in play. Darren has a red blast and mana drain in hand, a city of brass, 
and two untapped source of blue, and apparently no way to deal with the 
morphling. Darren is done, and egon taps out to untap his monolith (!). And 
Darren does nothing (!!!). Egon untaps and wins the game with that Morphling. In 
Darrenís defense, he told me after the game that he had slept only 3 hours the 
previous night and his brain wasnít working. In Egonís defense, Egon is a moron. 
Er, no wait. In Egonís defense, he was playing a deck that he had never even 
seen before, and was doing well with it.

Round 4 begins and I am playing against David Williams. Heís a really nice guy 
playing suicide black. My sideboard doesnít really contain a whole lot of 
helpful tools aside from the Moat, so Iím somewhat concerned about this game.

Game 1: He wins the die roll and starts with swamp, carnophage. Incidentally, 
this will be the only game all day I have against him in which he does not start 
with dark ritual. Nothing terribly interesting happens. He has a skittering 
skirge, a carnophage and he tries to cast a phyrexian scuta. I inform him that 
as soon as he announces the scuta, he has to sacrifice the skirge. He does so, 
then I counter the scuta. At some point I tutor for an Abyss and play it. The 
next turn I get a morphling and he concedes.

Sideboard: out- gorilla shaman in- moat

Game 2: I have no idea what he sideboarded in against me. He starts with 
something insane like first turn Ritual, Duress (taking one of my 3 force of 
wills), Ritual, Hymn (I force pitching the other force), Carnophage and 
Sarcomancy. Guh. What a bad card force of will is. Anyway, I have not a whole 
lot to do for the first few turns, and eventually he casts a specter. By turn 4 
I have Sol Ring, Zuran Orb, Mox Pearl, Black Lotus, Tundra and Underground Sea 
in Play, and Iím at 2 life or so. I have nothing in my hand and I hope to draw 
Balance but instead get the Dismantling Blow (I really wish I had more sideboard 
cards for suicide black). I think for a minute and attempt something tricky. I 
blow off the Lotus for Blue, Tap the Tundra for white, the Sea for Black, tap 
the Sol Ring, eat both of my lands and Dismantling Blow my Zuran Orb with 
kicker. This would leave me with 0 lands, 0 creatures, and enough mana to cast 
Balance should I draw it. I did not draw it. But still, David mentions that he 
liked what I was doing and he compliments me for being so tricky.

Game 3: My first 7 cards have 0 mana sources. My next 6 cards have 0 mana 
sources. My next 5 cards have 0 mana sources. I want to cry, but I keep. I tell 
him to go ahead but he is confused because he thought that I was playing first. 
I told him that I am, and he understands. He proceeds to Ritual out 3 first turn 
carnophages and casts #4 on turn 2. Well, he wins, and Iím positive 2-2-0 is not 
enough to make it to the top 8 (there were 17 people).

As it turns out, Jordan and Egon had to play each other but drew instead. I 
desideboard and put my cards away. Frank announces the top 8 pairings andÖ Iím 
in?? Iím truly surprised but I am glad to still be in. I am matched against the 
top seed, Ian Denette (again).

Game 1: We talk a little bit before the game and he mentions that he thinks our 
match up comes down to the die roll. I personally donít agree with that in that 
I feel keeper should beat sligh regardless of who goes first, but proceed to win 
the die roll anyway. I start with a first turn mox and ancestral. The game goes 
long with an Abyss in play and scroll on his side. I have a zuran orb in play, 
and I keep drawing lands. This is ok, because each land I draw brings me closer 
to something more game-ending. I have an active library in play and I am drawing 
and FoFing like a mad man. I stroke for 7 at some point. Eventually, I cast a 
very broken will for Ancestral, Walk, the Lotus, Tutor for another counterspell 
and Morphling. He dies a few turns later.

Sideboard: out- mind twist, counterspell, stroke, shaman, misdirection, 
dismantling blow in- 3 hydroblast, 2 cop: red, 1 ivory mask

I use the same philosophy as before except that this time I decide to keep the 
Abyss in. I get an early cop: red but he has scroll. Eventually, I draw demonic 
tutor and go get my Mask. I am able to prevent basically everything he does, but 
I cannot draw a morphling and am getting frustrated. The game goes on for a good 
30 turns and I am sure he is saving up a hand full of 7 red blasts and anarchy. 
I continue to not draw morphling and hover at 2 life or so. Eventually, he tries 
to anarchy. I drain, he pyros, I drain that, he pyros that. I have several more 
counterspells in hand, but I FoF in response in hope that I can dig into a 
morphling. FoF reveals nothing helpful, but I take a pile with a timewalk in it. 
I then hydroblast his pyroblast.

I untap, take my turn, timewalk and say Iím done with that turn. He says:ĒDonít 
you mana burn for 5?Ē


I say, ďok, Iíll just sacrifice some lands thenĒ hoping that heíll let me do it. 
He does not let me do it, and thatís game. Tough way to lose a game, but it was 
certainly my fault.

Game 3:

I get a second turn cop: red and I think he stalls at a couple of mountains. He 
gets a scroll and I play The Abyss. I vampiric tutor down to 2 to go get my mask 
and play it. I prevent most of the damage and finally get a Morphling into play. 
He does try to anarchy at some point, but I counter. I remember to use the 
Morphlingís ability during my upkeep each time to prevent him from falling in 
the hole, and he concedes after I attack 3 times.

Jordan and Egon both lost their games so Iím the only one left in the top 4. I 
am paired against David Williams (again).

Game 1: He does first turn double ritual (jesus!) duress, hymn and hypnotic 
specter. I canít draw anything to save me in the next few turns, and I think he 
played a necropotence. He kills me very dead.

Game 2: He rituals a first turn specter, but I force. I am slowly getting 
control of the game, but I canít draw the abyss that I really want. At some 
point, I am at 6 life, with him at 7. He has a phyrexian scuta (kicked) and a 
mishraís factory in play and attacks with both. I do not have enough lands 
untapped to block/kill the scuta and save the morphling. I think for a minute or 
two and decide to block the scuta and pump its toughness without getting either 
killed. I hope to draw a wasteland or strip mine on the following turn to deal 
with the factory and have enough mana to attack for 5 and block the scuta. He 
has no combat tricks, so I go to 4. Then he plays a carnophage, which is bad for 
me because I canít block enough next turn to save myself. I untap and draw Fact 
or Fiction. I count my mana and see that I have a sol ring, 5 untapped lands 
(one city), and two moxes. I tap 4 to FoF, but it only reveals a land, a stroke 
of genius, another FoF, and a lotus. David thinks for a minute or two and puts 
the Lotus and FoF in one pile and the other cards in the other pile. I tap 4 
more (leaving just the city untapped) to FoF again. This time, it turns over 
another fof, 2 lands, mystical tutor and regrowth. He asks to see my graveyard 
and I hand it over. He puts the regrowth in one pile and the other 4 in the 
other pile. I also look at my graveyard and see a demonic tutor near the bottom. 
I think for a moment, then play the Lotus, tap the City for green (down to 1) 
blow off the lotus for black, and play regrowth. He asks me what Iím targeting, 
and I say that regrowth doesnít target. I pick up my demonic tutor and cast it. 
There are like 10 cards left in my library, and one of them is my Zuran Orb. I 
put it directly into play and tell him that Iím done. I win the damage race and 
we move to the next game.

Game 3: He has first turn double ritual AGAIN with I think duress, hymn, 2 
carnophage. I simply cannot deal with this and die fast. David was a cool guy 
and I didnít mind losing to him one bit.

And that was it for me. I got a couple invasion packs and a few odyssey packs 
for making it to the top 4. Thatís a refund of the tournament fee (although not 
the gas money), so I was happy to accept them. We stayed and watched the finals 
in which Josh beat David with OSE, then got out of there.

I want to say that this was an excellent tournament. It was run very well, the 
organizer was a great guy, the prize was generous and the entry fee was 
reasonable. Also, the decks represented consisted of what I believe to be an 
accurate illustration of type 1ís diversity. I got to meet (or look at) Darren 
and Matt, which was my primary motivation, and I had a good time.

And, oh yeah, my deck list:

4 Tundra
4 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
4 City of Brass
3 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Academy
1 Library
5 Mox
1 Lotus
1 Sol Ring
4 Drain
4 FoW
1 Counterspell
1 Misdirection
2 Morphling
4 Fact or Fiction
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Ancestral
1 Walk
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Twist
1 Will
1 Abyss
1 Plow
1 Balance
1 Edict
1 Zuran Orb
1 Regrowth
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Dismantling Blow

3 Hydroblast
2 Cop: Red
1 Ivory Mask
1 Moat
1 Jesterís Cap
2 Aura Fracture
1 Tormodís Crypt