Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The 2012 Blowfish Invitational: Enrico Agostino Guarneri


My preparation for the Invitational really started before I left for Seattle to attend the Pro Tour, since Return to Ravnica Draft would form part of both events.

After my dismal performance on the Friday at the Pro Tour I wasn't really in the mood for Magic for the rest of the weekend.  On the Saturday I decided to take a downtown tour of Seattle on foot which resulted in me getting lost and having to ask some police officers for help getting back to my hotel.

On the Sunday morning I spoke to my fiancĂ©e Nicole (who had not come with) telephonically and she pointed out that if I was serious about doing well at the Invitational I should do some drafting at the Pro Tour side-events.  I took a walk to the neighbouring hotel (where registration for the Pro Tour had taken place on Thursday night) and found a couple of players who told me that free unsanctioned Drafts were being held at the Pro Tour.

I lost count of how many Drafts I did that Sunday.

On my return to South Africa, I felt quite confident about RTR Draft but was rather worried about what I would play in Standard.  I played in three tournaments the weekend before the Invitational.  I played BR Zombies at the FNM at THUG and AI Fest on the Saturday morning and concluded that the Thragtusk-deck match-ups were just too tough.  I tried BG Zombies on the Sunday Game-day at THUG and found it even worse.

By Sunday night the deck I liked most was WUR Midrange.  However with less than a week before the Invitational I felt that there would be too little time to become comfortable with the deck and the various match-ups.  I felt my only chance to do well would be to play Aggro.

It seemed like Selesnya Aggro was the best Aggro deck.  However I also knew that most of the top players would be prepared for it and decided to give Azorius Aggro a try at Warfare on Tuesday night.  I finished 4th after losing a very close match against WUR Midrange.  I felt comfortable with the deck.  It was easy to play and had a lot of raw power.

Later that night I found a list by Tomoharu Saito.  For the next three days I tested the list against Jarcque, Damian, Robert and Nicole.  From the testing I knew that my Control match-ups would be tough but I would have a reasonable match-up against Midrange (especially Jund) and Frites (especially post boarding).  I knew that my Aggro match-ups would be close but I suspected that most of the top players would not be playing Aggro and I could therefore avoid these match-ups in the later rounds.

Stepping up from Regular to Competitive: Part 1

By Mark Young.

Hello to everyone again.

As promised in my previous article, I am now going to focus on the progression from regular
events to competitive ones.

This may take a few articles to cover all the information, but rather that, than flood you with
it all at once.

As I mentioned previously, the rules for Magic stay the same, regardless of the event you
are playing, only the Rules Enforcement Level (REL) changes. So when you step up to a
Competitive (Comp) event from your Regular (Reg) ones, you can expect a few changes as to
what happens.

First and foremost, there should always be a judge present at a Comp level event.
Judges cannot play in a Comp event, nor can players judge. In the same light the Tournament
Organiser (TO) cannot participate in the event either.
The one thing that I want to focus on this week, is deck lists as you will be required to submit
one for every Comp level event that you play, upon registering.

So, what is a deck list?
A deck list is a piece of paper, on which you will have written down all the cards in your
deck and sideboard that you are going to use for the event.
Normally, Comp events have substantial prizes for doing well or winning, and the elevation
of the REL is in an attempt to minimize cheating.