It's closing in on the end of the second round. As my opponent is pondering a
brainstorm, I think back to round 1. I was forced to draw with a kid who was
stalling for several turns. I should have called the judge, he only had two
cards in hand. As it turns out, they were lands. My tog had a couple chump
blockers to run over but didn't have the time to seal the deal. That was last
round. This round, I'm staring at the clock and I'm playing against phid. A phid
deck that also drew in the first round and apparently is going to this round as
well. As time expires, my record becomes 0-0-2. My first experiance at Waterbury
and I expected it to be my last as well. Driving two and a half hours to put up
with the "big tournament" aggravations just seemed like it wasn't in the cards.

I returned home to my local metagame. Playing at Scholar's on Mondays, GM on
Fridays. Saturdays I'd either go to mox tournaments or do a double header at
both the Wizard's Duel and Battlegrounds. With so many great places to play, I
felt no need to do any of the "main" tournaments. I was mostly winning with Tog,
but would mix it up with other decks on occasion as well. I was running a combo
keeper deck when Rich Shay finally showed me the power of Control Slaver. I had
destroyed the deck several times with Tog, and had no idea it was even viable. I
knew Rich from back in the day with 4 gush GAT. He seemed to always play the
best deck in the format, so I had to check it out. From that point on I've
constantly adjusted my control slaver list with much success. Like GAT and Tog
before it, I felt feel it has the best plan in the format.

Having so much success, I decided to try playing in a big tournament again. I
set my sights on Stoks Double Lotus Tournament. I finished the swiss w/o a loss,
even in the infamous round 2a. I lost in the top 4 due to my own unspeakably
henious play errors. It was certainly no fault of the deck I was playing. I
stayed with Control Slaver with tons of success. I'd often play in 4-5
tournaments a week. I had won 15 straight tournaments when I got the phone call.
There was work in Boston. The time of playing Magic was over.

I missed the competiton, but Magic doesn't pay nearly as well as working. Magic
just takes up to much time to be a big part of my life when I'm working. I
worked for 5 months without much Magic at all. Then, uxpectedly, like belated
Christmas gift, it came. I woke up the day after Christmas and there it was. My
face, it didn't work. The entire right side. My eye, wouldn't shut. My mouth
wouldn't smirk. My ear wouldn't wiggle and my eyebrow wouldn't raise. I got
Bell's Palsy for Christmas.

As it turns out, blinking ones eye is the only way to keep it clean. I didn't
like the idea of working with the possibility of getting a eye infection. With
some time on my hands, I picked up my cards. Due to this unexpected bump in the
road, I now had the chance to return to competition. I returned to my favorate
spots, and was greeted like I was back from the dead. My 5 month absence from
the game seemed so much longer. Droopy face and all, I was back and ready to

I did not return to my winning ways though. Control Slaver, was being played by
nearly all the strong players in my area. Usually, that wouldn't matter. I find
mirror matches are typically about skill. The Control Slaver mirror, however,
sucks. It was so very random and draw dependant. Game one seemed to be somewhat
about skill. Resolving key spells though timing and a careful duress. Knowing
when to pull the trigger, and when to wait until an opening. After boarding
though, Lava Dart reaks havoc. It became impossible to defend welders. If you
don't draw the dart, welders destroy you. If your hand clogs up with 2 of them,
you often lose to a tinker served with heaping portion of CA. I looked for Tech,
but found none. Though I feared no other deck, the mirror was a nightmare. Armed
with this knowledge I prepared for Waterbury and hoped to dodge the mirror.

I packed a full bag of food before the tournament with tons of water. I decided
I wasn't going to bother trading. I showed up to win.

//NAME: control slaver
4 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
3 Duress
3 Island
1 Jester's Cap
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Echoing Truth
1 Pentavus
2 Mindslaver
1 Tinker
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Time Walk
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Ancient Tomb
4 Polluted Delta
4 Volcanic Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Mana Drain
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
4 Goblin Welder

Round 1 - Meandeck SX

Game 1
At the time, I thought this was a belcher deck. Just a weak belcher deck running
cards like slight of hand and cabal ritual. As it turns out, cabal ritual is
really solid in this deck and it is quite fast. It does, however, fumble quite a

Game 2
I board in Lava Dart because I think it's belcher. Killing welders and xandid
swarms is pretty good. Of course, there were no creatures to be darted here. His
turn 1 he cantrips a ton and ends up burning a little. I duressed on my turn. He
ends up resolving a necro on turn 2 and sets aside cards putting him at 5. He
loses a mana crypt roll and ends up at 2 life. With 2 mana floating, he
demonics. I drain it because even belcher runs a tendrils main. He burns to
death. I was going to mytical for lava dart if he did have a way of using the
mana. After the round, I talk to some people and find more out about this deck.
It turns out a ton of people are playing it. I look forward to seeing it again,
as it doesn't seem very solid.


Round 2 - Bomberman

Game 1
I out draw him and can establish an infinate lock when I'm ready to. I wait a
little bit before I drop pentavus in the yard so I can see his deck. Fortunatly
he drew a cunning wish, so I get to see his sideboard as well. With all that
extra info I drop the pentavus and a second welder to seal the game.

Game 2
I out draw him again. With 2 cards left in hand, he casts Salvager. I mana drain
it. He taps out to play another salavger. I let it resolve, keeping a mana drain
in my hand as I plan on slaving him. On my turn I cast slaver with the mana and
slave him. Sadly he has no way of getting lotus or LED. I kill his salvager with
his pyrite spellbomb. From there I get pentavus down and he never gets another


Round 3 - Meandeck SX

Game 1
He tries to combo off first turn and fizzles. On my turn 1 I duress him leaving
him with only a land in hand and 3 mana sources in play. He rips yawg will on
his turn and wins

Game 2
I manage to get a slaver active and a concession follows a welder and several
moxes hit play.

Game 3
He boards in Negators. He leads with a ritual Necro which I force. His other
mana sources allow him to dump his hand for a negator. I drop a sol ring on turn
2. Turn 3 I FoF into thirst, force, land, mana crypt, mystical. I get a pile
with Mystical, Mana Crypt and the land. I mystical EOT for Tinker. On my turn I
tinker the mana crypt away. I get slaver, as I have no creatures to get. On his
turn I see Will in hand but not enough mana to do anything with it. He draws
cabal ritual and it's game over.


Round 4 - Rector Trix

Game 1
I win the roll but have to paris to 6. I go anciet tomb, sapphire, lotus hard
cast Mindslaver. This leaves me with 3 mana in play and a thirst and a force in
hand. I let his ancestral resolve on his turn. On my turn, I don't draw a land.
I play thirst and he forces. On his turn he drops a land and plays mana vault.
On my turn I draw another non land card. I force. He casts rector. I never draw
a land and he kills me.

Game 2
I was never really in this one. He gets out a Future Sight and a Necro. He
eventually goes off under abeyance.


Round 5 - Oath

Game 1
I'm happy to be playing against control again. I let him resolve an oath, so I
can kill him during his upkeep after a slaver activation. An earlier duress
showed the Spirit of the Night in his hand. He plays scrying with both blessings
on the stack to kill himself.

Game 2
I get an infinate slaver lock. He doesn't never saw oath or ground seal. He's
not familiar with how it works, so I show him how it works so he'll be better
prepared to face it in the future. If you're going to be playing in N.E. you
should definately know control slaver inside and out.


Round 6 - HHH

I discussed with other players who had played HHH already. They explained that
the players were not using possessed portal, but instead were playing it like a
reanimator deck. This means that they cannot beat a pentavus.

Game 1
I tinker emerald for pentavus pretty early and follow it up with a welder. His
welder tried to weld out my pentavus, but my welder plays D. I make a pentavite
and weld in the emerald. I never let another artifact hit the yard and he can't
stop the beats.

Game 2
He keeps a hand of 6 and opens land, mox, mox NULL ROD. I smile and keep my
force in hand. I build a solid mana base and start playing thirst EOT like 3
turns in a row. My hand is all drains and forces with card drawing. He is stuck
on two lands and I know this game is over. I eventually get out a welder and
keep drawing tons of cards. He is forced to bazaar away a mox while trying to
find an answer. His eot I weld out his null rod. On my turn I Will off of lotus
and win.


Round 7 - Control Slaver w/o Lava Dart

Game 1
I out draw him every step of the way. I eventually get active slaver and win
shortly after.

Game 2
My hand would certainly lose to lava dart. I draw a ton of cards and attack with
3 welders for a few turns, and eventually thirst something worth welding. As it
turns out, he didn't have dart in the board. How lucky!


Round 8 Rich Shay with Control Slaver
We ID and I end up the 3rd seed after the Swiss. Rich and I always have epic
matches. I prefer our games to count for something and if all goes well I'll be
playing him later on. Rich and Phelon are at the front of the pack.


Top 16
Game 1
He demonic's for Mox Monkey. A morph creature joins the monkey shortly after.
It's quite late at night at this point, and I honesty think it might be
willbender. I thought it was some kind of janky Tog or something. He had forced
out a wish and it just didn't dawn on me that 4cc could be in the top 16. I
finally figure it out and feel much better. 4cc has little game vs slaver. I
slave him and he never gets another turn.

Game 2
He's on the play and leads with ancestral. I force ancestral removing
brainstorm. He forces my Force with a Brainstorm. I should have used TFK as I
didn't do anything for several turns after that. I finally reached enough mana
to start interacting, and fought for a long time. It was a losing battle though,
and I eventually kicked it after way too long.

Game 3
This was the longest game ever. He gets out a mox monkey and cycles decree for
2. He cycles his 2nd decree with 2 card's in hand. I echoing truth his buddies.
He tries to get crucible/strip going, but I weld out for crypt. He demonics a
bit later. I weld out his mox jet killing his black. Obviously he had Yawgmoth's
Will, so it really hurt him. I duress later and take drain leaving him with
Will, E. Plague and Rack & Ruin. I weld out his crypt for his jet as I need to
build my graveyard for my own Will. I have 2 drain in hand with will and some
other stuff. I'm at 8 with 2 welders out. I drain E. Plague. I have will in
hand, but not much of a graveyard so I burn. I drain his Will later and burn
again. I end up at 1 life. I have 3 lands and a fetch. I start eliminating
fetches and forces with brainstorm and TFK. With me at one, I wait a few turns,
afraid to walk away from drain in case he has fire/ice. I realize that if he
does have it he'll draw back up if I let him. I bite the bullet and cast thirst
eot. The next turn I drain a crucible. I use the mana to play FoF. It pushes me
way ahead on CA and puts a lava dart in the yard. I kill his mox monkey with the
lava dart. He FoF's and finds scrying or Force, Drain, Rack and Ruin and Swords.
He takes the big pile. I'm going welder beats for quite a while. Eventually he
has to swords a welder to try and slow the bleeding. This puts force back
online. I hard cast slaver with a welder in play and pentavus in the yard. He
tries to rack and ruin. I weld out for pentavus. I swing once, weld and slaver.
Game over. I had 2 cards left in my library.

Top 8
Control Slaver

Game 1
I tinker for Jester's Cap turn 1. Turn 2 I activate it and take his angel,
slaver and pentavus. I count 4 forces in his deck, so I cast my welder as well.
The next turn I weld in the cap and cap him again taking 3 welders. A couple
turns later he casts FoF revealing welder and force and 3 other good cards. I
give him welder or the 4 good cards. He has to take welder as it is his only win
condition. I get down a second welder and that pretty much seals the game.

Game 2
I thought I was going to win this one. I don't remember the details though. I
think I slaved him and he killed his duplicant by making it target his pentavus.
Somehow I lost.

Game 3
I get out 2 welders, and 3 artifacts. I slave him 3 times. I still lose. I was
very disappointed. He intuitions for lava dart, lava dart and mindslaver after I
had run out of artifacts. I draw several lands in a row. He then got a slaver
thing going and ended it.

UB 5/3

His deck featured such goodness as duress, force and juggernauts. No welders or
3spheres made it much less stressful.

Game 1
I counter several threats. Finally a memnarch is hardcast. I force, he forces
back leaving him with no cards in hand. On my turn I draw cap. I think Memnarch
needs UU to steal things. I strip his land and then cap his only 3 fetchable
blue lands. He steals my mox emerald and I RTFC. I can't hardcast slaver unless
I get to 10 mana. I die before I get that much mana.

Game 2
Rack and Ruin is nuts against his deck. I eventually get a slaver and pentavus
with a welder which is enough damage.

Game 3
Pretty much the same as game 2. I Will early after Tinker for mox Sapphire. My
hand was just so retarded and I had so much mana that it was the play to make. I
won with tons of counters in hand and rack and ruin waiting.

Split with Control Slaver
We negotiate a split with him getting the mox pearl and me getting the twister
and $50. It was 3 in the morning and I really didn't want to play another slaver

I enjoyed the tournament quite a bit. The only thing I would have liked to see
would have been better prize support. I don't understand cutting to top 16 if
9-16 are not really good prizes. All it does is make another round of single
elimination and adds to the randomness of Magic. If you do well in the swiss
you've proven yourself on that day. Losing to another good player in the top 16
should not decimate your overall winnings. I would have been pissed if I
finished the swiss in 3rd and got practially nothing for it. With $4000 taken in
from entry fee's perhaps the prizes could have stretched further.

Props to Corey from Brockton. I've seen him improve since he first started
playing in tournaments. His improvement has been steady and top 16 at Waterbury
is proof.

Props to Nick from Brockton. His first Waterbury resulted in a 5-3 record and he
was the highest finishing player under 15.

Props to Rich Shay for going undefeated in the swiss, despite everyone gunning
for him.