Let me just say that I wish I could have gotten to this earlier, I wish I had
taken notes at either event, and I wish I really believed I was going to get the
whole thing done right now. That said, on to the reporting and such.

I guess this sort of all starts with me picking up 4 drains sometime during the
week before waterbury. Anyone who knows me knows that I never play control, but
I felt like since I had them I should do something with them. So I did the only
logical thing: I started playing Scepter Reaplace. It was fun as hell, it won
some games. I was even considering playing it over the pimptastic,
wins-all-the-time Dragon build I had assembled. I was seriouslly thinking of
taking it to waterbury until the night before, when me and a case of Pabst Blue
Ribbon went up to UMass the night before to do some playtesting with some other
Team Hadley heads. I think I had taken 1 game out of 12 from Mike (Mykeatog)'s
welder MUD when he said something along the lines of:

"If I had 4 of every card in Magic, I would play dragon tomorrow"

It sort of made me remember that dragon is not only the funniest deck to play
since Madness, it also wins games. That, and the fact that I love turning Bazaar
of Baghdad sideways, convinced me to bust out Dragon. I stopped losing 11 out of
12 games almost instantly. The choice was obvious. Besides, who plays with Mana
Drains anyway?

Despite the abundance of Pabst, I did not end up getting wrecked the night
before the tournament; this is a serious break with tradition for me. I decide
to go to the tournament anyway, and hope for the best.

For the record, here is what I was playing:

by: iLL_Dawg

The Combo
4 Dragon
2 A Laquatas

Bringing it Back to Life
2 Animate Dead
3 Dance of the Dead
3 Necromancy

Oh, yes I Can Animate That Dragon
3 Duress

Draw, Discard, Draw, Discard, Win
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Compulsion
4 Bazaar of Bagdad
4 Squee

7 Maindeck Tutors
3 Intuition
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
2 Lim Dul's Vault

I Think I Want Another Turn
1 Time Walk

7 SOLOMoxen
1 Mana Crypt

Lands that Love the RFG Zone
4 Polluted Delta
4 Underground Sea
2 Bayou
1 Tropical Island
1 Swamp

Board Advantage
2 Reanimate
3 Pernicious Deed
3 Xantic Swarm
3 Verdant Force
3 Stifle
1 Sliver Queen

... And a stack of Thallids, because they are way cooler than saproling tokens.

This is what I played that against:

Rnd 1 Patrick Broderick (The guy I always seem to play round 1) playing Scepter

Game 1: I know that keeper is one of my worst matchups, and I know that the
field is full of it. I remember that my opponent had been playing Long for the
past few weeks, but when he drops an early Tundra, I realize he has gone over to
the dark side and is probably playing the uber-popular scepter keeper. I win on
turn 2-3, and get the round-by-round prize for round 1. The prize was for the
first person to deck their opponent.

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-1 Compulsion
-1 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: I remember winning through a disenchant on a stick and a hand of 7
cards, after clawing my way back from unfavorable board position with a few
turns of bazaar-triple-squee lovin'. I think I ended up with no permanents on
the board, while he ended with no cards in his library.

1-0; 2-0

Rnd 2 Robert Kenny Playing Keeper

Game 1 & 2: I don't remember too much of this match. I remember asking him what
kind of keeper he was playing, because I was pretty sure I was going to be
seeing it all day. I remember animating a dragon game 1. My SBing was exactly
the same as in round 1, and I am pretty sure an animated Verdant went all of the
way in game 2.

2-0; 4-0

Rnd 3 Andrew Marshall (LOA) playing Keeper

Game 1: After the first 2 rounds, I ask my opponent what kind of keeper he's
playing before I even ask his name. I was sure that all 7 rounds were going to
be keeper of some sort, and it was eventually going to catch up with me. I
duress an Ancestral turn 1, revealing some countermagic and double STP, I think.
2 bazaars get wasted, and I remember going down to 7 or so from Monkey Beats
before I could make one stick, then going down to 1 before I feel comfortable
going off. I was holding FoW, but couldn't use it because I was at 1 life. I
remembered he had the swords in his hand, so I had been hoarding some land and
moxen in hand. My animate got forced, I dropped 2 moxen and tried again, this
time swords happened. I floated 1, dropped land and a Sol Ring and tried to
Necromancy. He tries to stifle this time, but I am able to double force it

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-1 Compulsion
-1 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: He mulls down to 6 but draws 7, when I mention this he goes down to 5
immediately. He still manages to open with sapphire/fetch. Double blue is pretty
good I hear. I open with Bazaar and throw some lovin' into the yard. He misses
his next land drop. I drop an emerald and a sea and try to animate. He fetches a
volc instead of a tundra so he can stifle and REB my FoW, with the intention of
dropping a monkey and eating my mox next turn. I drop land, lotus, necromancy
with the win already in the yard. Apparently he was holding swords, and could
have fetched tundra instead. This would have taken out my only dragon and forced
me to find another one. Instead, I end up 6-0ing my worst matchup.

3-0; 6-0

Rnd 4 Nick Cogley playing Welder MUD

Game 1: he throws down some artifacts, I animate the dragon.

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-2 Compulsion
-2 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Pernicious Deed
+2 Reanimate

Game 2: He throws down some artifacts, I am about to animate the dragon when he
pulls a trike out of nowhere and does the last 2 points at instant speed.

Game 3: He gets in some early beats, then I animate a verdant force and start
swinging with saprolings for a couple of points per turn. I manage to drop a
deed under a sphere and a chalice for 2, deed for 2 (the verdant was
necromancied, just in case something went wrong he was still sticking around) to
clear his board, then animate the dragon.

4-0; 8-1

Rnd 5 Mike Walsh playing URphid

Game 1: This really hurt. I saw counterspells where there should have been Mana
Drains, and basic mountains where there should have been other things. I draw
like shit and end up losing to a morphling. What year is it again?

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-1 Compulsion
-1 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: I drop an early swarm, he reads it and then lets it resolve. I swing,
expecting fire/ice, but instead he lets it attack, blocking with morphling. I
animate the dragon. He tries to Fow, but I point to the swarm that just turned
sideways at his face. Apparrently he thought it a 0/1 critter that had to deal
damage to have an effect. And this after reading the card.

Game 3: I remember putting a dragon in the yard, then animating it.

5-0; 10-2

Rnd 6 Andrew Stokinger (Andystok) playing Dragon



Rnd 7 Steve Houdlette (Grand Inquisitor) playing neo-GAT



Top 8: Crazy Carl Winter (CrazyCarl) playing OSE

When I hear that I am facing Carl in top 8, I immediately start hyping it as a
feature match, since we had both been sporting our pimp gear earlier. A simple
top 8 match suddenly turns into the east coast/west coast pimp-off. I am
informed that I have a moral obligation to win the match, not just because I
have to represent for team hadley, etc. There is also the issue of a previous
Dragon / Carl matchup which included ruling based on intent. All of these
unresolved issues come to bear on me as I throw on the (manly) Fur coat (which
was, in fact, real), Fedora, and Cane and get ready to shuffle up.

Game 1: I intuition early for triple bazaars, since people have convinced me
that the presence of factories in his build precludes the wastelands that I
expect to see. This was not, in fact, the case. He is able to deal with Bazaar,
but lets compulsion resolve. A turn later, I attempt to animate the dragon while
he has cards in hand and UU open. It resolves, and I win the game. I was as
surprised as anyone else on my side of the table.

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-1 Compulsion
-1 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: I drop a bazaar in the way of his wasteland, holding stifle. He lets it
go for a couple of turns while I throw a dragon and a verdant force into the
yard. He tried to waste on his turn, I stifle and he forces. I play necromancy
on my turn, he forces again and I force back. Necromancy resolves, but I have no
bazaar in play, so I end up generating an ass-ton of Mana, then targeting the
verdant force in my yard to stop the loop and hardcasting the laquatus I have in
hand to mill him.

6-0-2; 12-2

Semifinals: Andrew Stokinger (AndyStok) playing Dragon

Game 1: We both land early bazaars, but he throws the first dragon into the yard
and passes. I animate the dragon, he pops a lotus to wish for BEB and blast the
dragon. We both had 2 cards in hand. Mine were a FoW and a blue card. His were a
FoW and a black card.

-1 dragon
-1 Laquatus
-2 Compulsion
-1 vault
-2 intuition

+3 Verdant Force
+3 Stifle
+2 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: My opening hand is bazaar, Dragon x2, dance of the dead x2, lotus,
fetch. His is obviously not that cool, as he mulls down to 5. He drops a bazaar
and passes, I drop a fetch and pass. He bazaars away a Verdant, something, and a
coffin purge, drops a swamp, and passes. I drop bazaar, pitch double dragon and
squee, drop lotus, and dance. He purges, I dance again targeting the other

7-0-2; 14-2

Finals: Ben Taraskevitch (the little bitch) playing GAT

Game 1: I keep a decent hand, but it starts looking worse as he forces The
Pimpest Vamp Tutor Ever that was supposed to find a bazaar to win me the game. I
end up landing compulsion, but it is too damned slow. He gets a time walk that
gives him just enough time to walk all over my face with a dryad and a tog.

-3 Duress
-1 Laquatus
-1 Dragon
-1 Compulsion
-1 intuition
-1 vault
-1 Mana Crypt

+3 Stifle
+3 Verdant Force
+3 Xantid Swarm

Game 2: I drop an early Xantid Swarm that makes it into play. A couple of turns
later I turn them sideways, then animate the dragon.

Game 3: I made my misplay of the day when, on the turn I won, I threw away FoW
instead of Vamp tutor. I was all set to play necromancy, let it get countered,
drop a Xantid swarm, force it through with force pitching force, time walk, then
animate the dragon. Instead, I necromancy, force his annul pitching the walk,
and win. It could have been ugly, though.

8-0-2; 16-3

So Dragon pulls it out, and I end up leaving with the lotus. I sold my old (beat
to shit) lotus back to AndyStok, who I had gotten it from in the first place,
for $300. Between that and the trading I got done during the day, including
trading off the 4 drains I mentioned earlier (short matches = plenty of time for
trading) I ended up leaving with +$300, a signed ancestral, a new lotus, a new
walk, and another bazaar. That is why I will never play control. When you play
Aggro or combo, you always leave with power, so you always win.

Stay tuned for the second half of the report, including:
Lincoln, RI for a Beta Ancestral,
Random ranting and flashes of insight
the obligatory props and slops

Until then...