Report

1/11/03 T&T Collectibles, Hadley, MA.
5 Proxy Type 1 Tournament.
39 Players.

The prize was an Alpha Sapphire, though Beta if you really wanted to receive
your prize then and there, as the Alpha was late in coming.  Being my last
tournament for about four months, and proxies being allowed, I decided to play a
deck I had only been playing for a week, but would be a change of pace and thus
more fun than playing Keeper or OSE.  Suicide was out of the question as
mono-Black was in the process of being hated out, and I only own cards for 4
archetypes.  As it was, I played the following:

ReapLacement Killers 2003

4 Intuition
4 Force of Will
4 Accumulated Knowledge
2 Prismatic Lace
2 Cunning Wish
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Timetwister

4 Reap
1 Regrowth
1 Sylvan Library

4 Duress
2 Deathlace
1 Demonic Tutor

1 Balance

7 SoLoMoxen
1 Tolarian Academy
2 Polluted Delta
2 Flooded Strand* (should have been Deltas)
2 City of Brass
3 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
2 Bayou
2 Tundra

SB:
3 Tangle
3 Naturalize
1 Reclaim
1 Interdict
1 Misdirection
1 Abeyance
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Deathlace
1 Stroke of Genius
2 Morphling

I ended up proxying Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, Intuition.  I should have borrowed
a 4th Intuition (people had them if I really wanted/needed them (in the car,
etc)) and proxied two Deltas because I could only manage two, even with nearly
ever CT Crew member in presence.  It ended up only mattering once, but that once
almost cost me a game.

I never sided in the Morphlings, Interdict, Reclaim and never Wished for them
either. I never Wished for or cast Abeyance or Vampiric though they did make
appearances in game 2's. Naturalize and Tangle single handedly won me games both
in tournament and in testing, and beyond the Deathlace and Stroke were the most
useful of my sideboard cards.  Only once did I consider bringing in the
Morphlings and host of control cards and siding out the entire combo, but never
actually did it.

ROUND 1:  Nick (BilltheDuck) - OSE.

Game 1, he plays first and drops a dual, I drop a land, Mox, and Sylvan which
gets Forced.  This pretty much sets the tempo for the game, as I have the speed
to continually cast threats and he ends up not drawing into much, even with
Ancestral.  I believe I resolved an Intuition, later Duressed him revealing no
counters.  I made the mistake of Intuitioning and tapping out after this, though
I should have Walked then Intuitioned.  As it was, I got through his next turn,
Walked and went off without him drawing a counter.  A poor mistake on my part,
but luckily I still won.  His mana troubles were no match for my bombardment of
threats, and an Intuition resolving pretty much means game.

OUT: 1 Prismatic, 1 Balance.  IN: 1 Deathlace, 1 Abeyance.

Game 2, I draw Lotus, Scroll, Mystical, land.  I Paris and get land, Mystical. 
I get lucky, draw a Mox, and my turn 2 Timetwister resolves.  I get some decent
stuff, but a few Duresses on his part over a couple turns, followed by a Shaman
for 2 Moxen and a Sol Ring and I'm toast.  I'm mana short to continually push
stuff through, and lose.

Game 3, I don't have a horrible start, but its nothing great and I Force his
first turn Ancestral.  He had made a comment under his breath that "I hope this
doesn't get countered" and thinks I fall for his Jedi Mind trick. 
Unfortunately, he's wrong, but I have nothing to race an Ancestral and have to
Force it anyway.  I believe I removed my one remaining Prismatic.  I don't draw
-complete- crap, but its nothing to overpower him, and eventually do just start
drawing land.  Despite a Shaman (and a waiting Keg) I get to 5 mana with nothing
in hand (well, holding 1 land, with 4 mana on the table, but still).  He taps
out to play a Morphling with only one card in hand, and I promptly topdeck a
Force of Will.  As I get beat by the Morphling and a Shaman, I drop Land and
another Force of Will.  I did make one mistake this round, though considering I
can't remember it among all the other mistakes I remember, I assume it wasn't
anything that would have truly changed the nature of the game.  

It turns out Nick will go undefeated, drawing in the 5th round to be first seed,
and I think I was his only game loss.  Not horrible at least, though
disappointing considering my limited testing had shown that Keeper was in my
favor.  While I don't believe I have a particularly fantastic game against
multicolor control as I am still a combo deck, I would expect, in infinite
testing, to break even at worst.  Oh well, even a 75% win percentage still means
you can lose.

Matches: 0-1  Games: 1-2

ROUND 2, Todd (MaligorCT) - Aggravated Assault

Unforunately, Todd drew after time was called 1-1 in the first match, and he's
part of the CT crew, being a regular at the store I play at most often.  He's
playing G/r Aggravated Assault/Elves. Essentially, the combo is Priest for 6
mana, Skyshroud Elf, and Aggravated Assault for infinite mana.  It also has the
ability to drop a Recycle or Slate of Ancestry very quickly to blow through the
deck and find the combo.  Unfortunately for Todd, his deck is essentially Aggro
to me.  Game 1, he plays first and I Duress a Recycle turn 1, which stops it
from hitting turn 2 or 3 after he drops some elves.  He's able to deal some
damage, but I Wish into a Tangle and tap down about 6 1/1s, shutting down most
of his mana and his attack phase.  His Quirion Ranger can't manage to save him
as I Lace two permanents and go into Reap/Regrowth/Tangle recursion while he
continually draws Elves and no combo parts.  I don't have enough mana to keep up
the engine (since Regrowth slows me down 1G a turn) and carry on with my deck,
but Todd concedes after 3 turns of Tangles. Here, holding my Sapphire and
Academy until he was forced to cast Uktabi on nothing (wanting a 2/2 to Quirion
instead of just 1/1s) got me to enough mana to protect myself.  It slowed down
my early game, but won out in the end.

OUT: 2 Cunning Wish, 1 Timetwister, 1 other card.  IN: 1 Naturalize, 3 Tangle.

Game 2.  This is where having Polluted Deltas would have been nice.  I keep a
hand with Duress, Naturalize, Sea, Tundra, and a Strand.  I also had Intuition
or some sort of search/draw so that it was worthy of keeping, but those cards
weren't important.  Knowing how much a first turn Duress helped last game,
keeping him from drawing beyond his patch of Elves, I Duress first turn again. 
Unfortunately, not realizing the I couldn't fetch a Bayou (in testing I had been
using Deltas, so I didn't really pay much attention), I dropped the Strand.  I
thus couldn't get Green and Black, and had to go for a Sea to ensure the Duress
first turn.  Luckily I drew into a Tropical, because turn 5 (going second I had
4 land in play) he drops a Blood Moon.  I'm sitting on an Intuition but no other
blue card to go for the Force of Will.  I had seen no Moxen and had that
Tropical been a non-Green land, I would not have been able to float 1G and
Naturalize it.  It would not have been an issue if I had Deltas, but as it was,
I'll consider myself "better lucky than good."  Having taken an Assault with the
Duress first turn, he only had a few damage worth of critters and not much more,
so I combo him out shortly with no Tangle tricks, after drawing into a Reap and
2 Laces, and Intuitioning end of turn for Lotus, Walk, Reap for the win.  This
game I would actually have to Ancestral him out if he wanted me to kill him, but
being game 2, being a friend, and knowing that I very well could, he conceded. 
At least there is -one- benefit to playing against friends...

Matches: 1-1  Games: 3-2

ROUND 3: Bill, B/w

Game 1, I never saw what the White was for, but he dropped a Caves of Koilos
this game to prove it was more than just mono-Black.  Game 1 he starts with a
Swamp and I get excited.  Though Black was not the force it was reported to be
in the past, I at least got to face one of the two in attendence.  I drop a Mox
and Land, and Scroll into Ancestral with a hand of decent mana, a Lace or
something, and a Balance.  He Hymns out my Ancestral and Balance, of course. 
Luckily, I had enough assorted search/draw to combo him out shortly.  He never
played a non-land permanent this game, but did Hymn me twice in a row.  Luckily,
I did what I did best, cast Intuition, recurred my Ancestral, got the pieces and
won.

OUT: 3 cards (probably 1 Lace).  IN: 3 Tangle.

Game 2, he starts with an Unmask.  Having Ancestral in hand, I decide card
parity is worth it and Force with an AK.  I get to Ancestral, only to get
Hymned.  I can't remember exactly when I Regrew my Ancestral, but without it in
my hand, he Hymns me.  Having 4 cards in hand and only 1 mana available (I
believe I had just Scrolled for a Lace) I decide to Lace a land, though it
weakens my hand verse the Hymn.  He takes the last card with another Unmask. 
Unfortunetly, his two Hymns and two Unmasks are no match against what I do best:
draw recursion (Reap) and proceed to kick his teeth in with massive Ancestral
recursion.  I cast Ancestral at least 4 times this game, then went infinite.  He
-still- never played a black permanent, only laying basic Swamps and a Marble
Diamond.

Matches: 2-1  Games: 5-2

ROUND 4:  Tim - Academy.

Game 1, we play a few turns out, neither of us doing much, besides dropping mana
and playing a small draw and search cards.  I believe I lay a land and a Sol
Ring which gets Capsized with no buyback during my discard step.  He drops a
Helm of Awakening, and I respond with a Duress and my Sol Ring (paying for it
because I'm dumb).  The next turn he drops mana and Impulses.  I drop a Lotus to
AK, Ancestral, Scroll.  I misplay this, playing the Ancestral first, and he
responds with his own Ancestral.  It resolves, but he finds no Force so mine
resolves as well.  I then AK (still misplaying it, though I had noted the first
mistake) and then Scroll for a Lace I believe.  He Impulses again and Crop
Rotates for Academy.  I allow it because he had only 2 or 3 artifacts and
because Helm was already a huge advantage.  My hand contains a Force I had been
holding a couple of turns, so I don't think his mana is getting him anywhere,
and having drawn two AKs to start, and a third off all my card drawing, we're
about equal in terms of mana and cards drawn/seen.  He mentions that he has no
idea what I'm playing yet, only to be responded to by a Cunning Wish for a
Deathlace.  He laughs and mentions that he just took apart Reap to build
Academy, though I don't think he'd ever played it in a tournament.  I have my
second Lace and the next turn would win if I drew pretty much any mana source
except a Tundra.  I draw a Tundra.  I have two Deathlaces and a Reap in hand,
Reap in the grave, and only a Sea and Bayou for green and black.  Luckily, he
can't find something to win and I get to use his end of turn to cast both Laces,
untap and have the green to Reap for infinity.

OUT: Balance, Fact or Fiction, Timetwister (I know Twister for sure, though not
sure about the rest)  IN: 1 Abeyance, 1 Vampiric Tutor, 1 Misdirection.

Game 2 starts out with me in a strong control position.  A Duress and Ancestral
come my way, and I have a Force and eventually Merchant for a second Force.  I
Duress him, taking a Spiral (3 tapped land and 1 Lotus on his board, so next
turn he could use it) and leave him with 2 Meditate, 1 MoMa and a DT.  He draws
into a one and DTs for the other, but Twisters with Force backup.  My two Forces
stop that, and I go off in a turn or two.  I had sided in the Vamp to go for my
own Tolarian, but drew the Tolarian and the Vamp at the same time.  I dropped
the Tolarian and rode that for a few turns before winning.

He later trades me the two Intuitions he wouldn't trade before the tournament
(though I had told him (and coincidently my first round opponent) they were only
for a casual deck).  Lying for no reason is fun  I see pieces of his
Reap deck; it wasn't ReapLacement Killers, but since it wasn't together and I
got pieces of it, I'm happy.

Matches: 3-1  Games: 7-2

ROUND 4: Keith (Ctthespian) - U/G beats (Flying men, Faeries, Scrybs, 'Dibs, and
Dryads, Gush, Fastbond/Exploration, Standstills, power)

Luckily this deck isn't netdeck Grow, but Keith is also 3-1 and also a friend
from the CT crew.  With 11 3-1's and a 2-1-1 that ended up playing a no-show,
its too difficult to figure out how to both get into T8, so we decide to play
and then figure it out.  I win 2-0, then go on to win the next 3 or 4 games
(post SB).  He can't stop Tangle recursion with zero counters, and I win easily.
 The only tough part was me at very low life against an Unstabled, Rancored
Dryad.  I can Ancestral myself and hope to get the Lotus to go infinite (being
otherwise tapped out, having tried to hardcast the combo getting back an AK for
3, and not finding what I need) or casting Duress.  Luckily, I decide to Duress
hoping he will not draw a non-green, non-land spell -and- have one in hand. 
Luckily, he has Exploration and Berserk, and I save myself from certain death as
I found out Lotus was not in the top 3.  He doesn't draw Ancestral, Twister, or
Gush and can only get me to two.  I go off next turn.  We run out of time trying
to figure out how to get both of us into the T8 and I take my 2-0 win because I
have to report, it's the only sure thing, and Keith isn't terribly heartbroken
(though he was doing very well, only having lost a match to Mask, the second
seed deck).  The prize is an Alpha Sapphire, Keith has a set of Alpha power and
about 275 other Alpha cards towards a set, so he'd rather have me have a chance
than neither of us, considering I'm the one proxying power.  It sucks to play
teammates, but I can't exactly complain.  The only sideboarding notes are out: 3
Duress, in: 3 Tangle.

Matches: 4-1  Games: 9-2

I go into the Top 8 as the 4th seed.

QUARTER FINALS: Dan (Pernicious Dude) - U/r Fish

I saw Dan playing CT Crew member BigChuck earlier and noted that he had only 4
Force of Will and 2 Misdirection.  I also saw Null Rods, a single Extract SB,
and the obvious Rootwater Thieves main.  This matchup outright SUCKS for me.  If
Null Rod hits, I can't go infinite without a Time Walk.  Without Time Walk or
Black Lotus I cannot go infinite at all.

Game 1.  Dan wins the roll and we both draw up.  I wait until he decides to
Paris, then take six myself.  Dan looks at his new hand and decides to take a
new hand.  After he takes his five, he tells me I made yet another mistake. 
Playing second, I am not required to declare a Paris until my opponent has kept
his hand.  Had he not known I was Parising, Dan would have kept a poor hand of
6, not wanting to be two cards down.  A 5 to 6 disadvantage makes little
different to a redundant deck compared to a 6 to 7 disadvantage.  He drops a
land and Manta Riders, and I Duress him seeing nothing I could take (but seeing
land and my enemy Rootwater Thief).  Next turn he drops the Thief and I can't
stop it.  I Duress again to see what he's drawn, because I have nothing of
importance, but want to Intuition as soon as possible and can't Duress/Intuition
at the same time.  I catch his freshly drawn Force of Will, so the play paid
off.  He Thieves, and looking through my deck, tries to figure out exactly what
I'm holding.  Not knowing exactly how ReapLace works, he decides to take Demonic
Tutor first, with the reasoning that he'd rather take my extra copy of what I
needed rather than taking a useless card.  The next turn I Intuition for Lotus,
Walk, and Reap (holding a Reap) to get the combo into my grave and away from the
Thief.  The following turns he takes Cunning Wish, Cunning Wish, then Reap.  He
assumes my only kill is through the Wishes, and does not take the Wishes and
Ancestral.  At this point, he has 2 critters (Thief, Riders), 2 land (untapped),
and 2 cards in hand.  I wait until he Thieves to Mystical (something I and
tournament winner Jarad both almost didn't do :P ) and went for Ancestral
Recall, assuming I had better get my only win condition out of my library before
Dan figured it out and Thieved it.  I cast the Recall with no backup, but
needing to find something soon, as I had no Black permanents yet.  He Ices one
of my lands in response, and pauses after he draws his card.  I take this as he
didn't draw anything, and as I pick up the top card of my library he announces
Misdirection.  The game is essentially lost there.  I immediately note that I
could have gone for Balance instead.  I had artifact mana and only stood to lose
a few useless cards to take out the Thief, and knowing at least 1 Force was
gone, he had similar chances of having either a MisD or Force if anything.  I
considered a mistake, though it was definitely a tough play even if I had
thought to go for Balance.  Its one of those things that was game if he had a
Force, and good for me if he had what he did, and I got Balance, horrible if I
got Ancestral.  I didn't see Null Rods this game, but later found out 2 were
maindeck.

I considered bringing in: 3 Tangle, 1 MisD, 2 Morphling, 1 Abeyance, 2
Naturalize and going purely control on him and his lower number of counters, but
decided that I didn't have -that- much trouble assembling the combo if I could
merely stop the Thieves.  I decide to only bring in 3 Tangle, 1 Naturalize,
knowing that if he removed my Wishes again, it would be best to have a maindeck
Naturalize to take out Null Rods if needed.  Time Walk recursion is usually good
enough, but serves mostly to Walk into something to find Lotus to truly win with
ease.  Walk/Ancestral recursion without infinite mana is more than annoying.  I
forget what I side out.

Game 2, he gets another early Thief, but I have enough pressure through AKs
followed by a Sylvan that he doesn't Thief for a couple turns.  Instead, he Psi
Blasts me after I pay for Sylvan.  I take it instead of Forcing, as I have
shuffling effects and an AK for 3 to see lots of cards with Sylvan and hopefully
assemble the combo and win.  Later he Psi Blasts me again, all the time dealing
1 and not Theiving, and with a Wish in hand, I decide not to Wish for a MisD to
turn the Blast onto the Thief before it did get dangerous.  This was a mistake,
as I Sylvan for 8, dropping to 2, thinking to go off and forgetting about his
Mishra's Factory that had been in play, but hadn't swung because he was using
the mana for Blasts.  I can recur Reap and AK for 3, but run out of mana without
finding an answer.  He promptly activates the Mishra and I extend my hand.  I
should have brought in at least 1 Morphling as well, probably instead of the
Naturalize, and hope for a better streak of luck (as in, any luck at all) in
being able to protect either the Morphling, Walk, or Lotus and at least 1
Cunning Wish.  Afterall, all I need to do is get them out of the library;
getting them countered is the least of my troubles; that can be dealt with. 
Afterall, I am playing 5Regrowths.DEC 

Overall, it was well played by him for not knowing the deck, and being
considerate enough not to spend 15 minutes figuring out my exact combo and
wasting time.  He played well considering he didn't know exactly what to take,
and made almost all the correct choices post-Intuition game 1.  Unforunetely I
lost to my own mistakes, but just as I came "preboarded" against the expected
mono-Black decks, he came, knowingly or not, "preboarded" for me.  Dan made it
to the finals where CT combo got the best of him, but he did a fine job,
especially beating Mask 2-0 in the quarters, a match I expected him to lose 2-0.
 I only saw the second game, but Null Rod sure kicks the crap out of Mask having
a bad 6 card hand.

Overall, I would change the sideboard, playing only 1 Morphling as Darren
suggested because I saw a total of one graveyard hate card (Phyrexian Furnace)
and that was in Nick's OSE and he never even drew it game 2 or 3.  The Planar
Voids and hate seemed to disappear as did at least 2 of the mono-B decks, and
Dragon decks.  I guess people wanted to play something new when allowed the
proxies.  Except for the one Fish deck, Reap was a wonderful call for the
metagame, and I merely got unlucky enough to face him in the T8.  The maindeck
worked beautifully, and I would only change the second Morphling and the MisD
slot if anything.  Perhaps run a second Interdict/Bind (only difference is color
and Interdict can't stop Cycling or from-the-grave effects and such, ie, nothing
you really want to use it for) instead of the Morph and keep the MisD unless I
expect enough Crypts that I want to be able to Intuition for an answer.

-Eric Spinelli