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Southwest Regionals

May, 1999

Ray Powers

Arizona Regionals was held at the Memorial Union at Arizona State University in the Arizona Grand Ballroom. Total number of players at the tournament were 118 players, including players from Arizona, Texas, California, and Nevada.

The tournament ran 8 rounds of Swiss followed by a top 8 play off for the trophy. In the end, Shannon Kurick of Las Vegas, Nevada won the tournament playing a very standard Necro.

Necro was the dominant deck by far, with Oath/Survival/Death variants being a close second. Many newer players played green, red green, and white green beat down or lifeline style decks, but none did very well. Regionals were definitely Necro's last hurrah. A deck breakdown follows.

Five Judges presided over the event. Myself, a level 3, acted as local Tournament Organizer. Matt Stenger, a level 3, acted as Head Judge. Mike Bahr, a level 2, our head computer expert, and Mitch Ledford and Mike Clark, both judges in training, completed the roundup.

Many control deck players complained about the 50 minute rounds, so I took a sort of informal poll amongst the control players at the tournament.

Some examples from players:

John Meeth went 1-1-3 playing a Draw Go Variant. He feels he would easily have won two of his three draws if the 50 minute rule were not in effect.

Matt Betrand went 4-1-3 playing a Draw Go Variant. He echoed John Meeth's sentiment.

Lawrence Chetfield went 3-2-2 playing a u/w control deck. He was the player most adamantly against the 50 minute rounds. He also did not previously know about the 50 minute round rule, and said he would have brought a different deck had he known.

Marcus Santiago took 7th place playing a Draw Go Variant. He felt it was a problem, but he had a fast enough deck to handle the time change. (His deck played with Stalking Stones, Faerie Conclaves, Morphlings, and Palinchrons. He basically got an Ertai/Arcane Lab lock, then beat down his opponent.)

Brandon Gross went 3-2-1 playing Prison. He also felt he had a very hard time with 50 minute rounds. He was happy that most players were willing to concede, or he would have had more draws.

In general "6 extra turns" don't mean anything for a Draw Go, or Prison style deck, where as 10 more minutes could mean a significant difference. I'm not sure if it's the DCI's intention, but by making 50 minute rounds, they are basically removing the Draw Go archetype from tournament play.

Here's the deck breakdown:

Deck Breakdown

Necro 19
Green, GW, GR Lifeline/Beatdown 19
(These decks varied greatly in make-up)
Oath/Death/Survival 14
WW (All variants) 12
Black Weenie 8
Tinker/Wildfire 7
Sligh 6
U, U/W Control 6
Tradewind Awakening/Armageddon 6
Other 6
Wildfire 5
Hatred 4
CounterSliver 3
Pox 1
Fish 1
FlareStroke 1
Total 118

Top Eight Decks

5 Necro
2 Oath/surv
1 Drawgo

Necro took the top two.

The tournament ran smoothly, starting at around 10:15am, and ending at 10:48pm, this included a short lunch break after round four. We had minor issues with the room, as the building coordinated was told our event ended at 10pm, but were able to convince them to keep it open for the last hour.

Some of the more interesting judging issues follow.

1. We gave multiple game losses to Necro players for drawing at the wrong time off of a Urza's Bauble, placing card in their graveyard instead of removed from game, and visa versa. In general, by using level 5 rules enforcement, we were encouraging players to rules lawyer their opponent. Hands went up every time someone untapped, then drew off a Urza's Bauble. Even with us giving leeway to players, level 5 appeared to be too high a level to run this event.

2. There were a lot of Lifeline questions. The Oath/Survival/Death decks, ironically enough, generated the least questions.

3. My favorite judge incident of the day went as follows:

Player A: Wasteland your Adakar Wastes
Player B: Tap it for mana in response. (Player B now has only a Wasteland and a Plains left in play)
Player A: Cast Drain life for 8
Player B: Attempts to Mana Leak, stating he had tapped the Adakar Wastes for Blue.
(Judge is called over)
Me: Player B, did you take a point of damage when you tapped the Adakar Wastes?
Player B: I just took a point of damage.
Me: Player B, did you take a point of damage *WHEN* you tapped the Adakar Wastes?
Player B: No.

My final judgement was that, since the player did not take a point of damage from his Adakar Wastes when he tapped it for mana (although he did "suddenly" take a point of damage when he cast the Mana Leak), and did not name the type of mana, the only available option he had for his action (tap for mana, do NOT take damage) was to have tapped it for colorless.

Finally, we were able to give two more Judge tests to players, followed up by me reviewing several of the existing questions under 6E rules, and encouraging them to study 6E. The judge exams went smoothly.

I hope this synopsis was a helpful read for everyone. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at rayp@primenet.com.

Ray Powers
Level 3 Judge
Phoenix, AZ

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