Last call in Rimini, and a goal for next season

The last major event in the Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block constructed season is coming up next weekend with Grand Prix Rimini 2008.
Rimini is on Italy’s eastern coast, southeast of Bologna and east of Firenze. I was in Firenze earlier this year — quite nice. Good churches, good food. If I were magically transported to the GP next week I’d bring my final worked Romper Room variant, as described at the end of this post.
Following Rimini, we step into the qualifier season for Kyoto, which will be Alara sealed (the full PTQ season for 2009 can be found here). This brings me to my goal for the coming PTQ season:
Figure it out sooner.
This was my second full PTQ season where I attended the majority of events I could reach, and the first where I’ve really had full access to the cards I’d need. One thing I realized, going along through this season, is that it took me a while to realize what was fundamentally important for succeeding in the format. Obviously, PTQ seasons are scheduled such that the metagame is a moving target as you go along (with new sets coming into the format), but that only adds pressure to be able to quickly figure out what’s going to matter for allowing a win.
In my case, I realized soon after starting the last PTQ of the Lorwyn-Shadowmoor season that I really should have just bit the bullet, accepted that Vivids were a good idea, and had four Firespouts in addition to my Hallowed Burials. Basically, I need to be less in love with a concept (in this case “not having lands come into play tapped”) and more willing to be flexible in what I push into my final build.
How will this apply for Alara sealed? Well, I recall from my single outing for the Kuala Lumpur PTQ season that I decided to go two colors, despite seeing triple Avian Changeling in the deck and thinking “It would be good to have flyers…” In the upcoming Alara season, I think it’ll be similar — trying to teach myself to make the best choices, considering not just what’s in my pool but also what one can expect to see in everyone else’s pools.
I’m looking forward to all the upcoming qualifiers for the 2009 season. Alara Sealed, then Extended, then Standard, along with Standard Regionals. That’s a lot of fun queued up for 2009.

And the winner was…

Deck lists from Bay Area Magic events typically don’t make it on the Wizards site proper. My understanding is that’s down to whether or not the TO forwards them the lists. That said, the top eight decks from our recent PTQ for Berlin 2008 have appeared here at It was Faeries taking the envelope as the sole representative of that archetype, with the rest of the top eight a decent mix of Kithkin, blue-white Retrace action, Doran, five-color control, and Merfolk. Notably, no red decks, despite their prevalence on the day.
My report from that event is here.

Tournament report — Romper Room at PTQ Berlin 2008

I just returned early from the final PTQ I’ll be attending for the 2008 Berlin PTQ season. I brought my latest iteration of a Planeswalker-centric control deck. Overall, I think it performed as well as it could have, but I should have made some different design decisions and a few different play decisions as well. Click through to the extended for the decklist, some explanations about that decklist, five rounds of tournament report, and then a revised decklist that I’d use if I went again.

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Aachen is pessimal, Montreal is red

Two interesting sets of results from Berlin Pro Tour Qualifier top eights came in this week. First, we have the top eight from a 58-person PTQ in Aachen:
1. Faeries
2. Faeries
3. Faeries
4. Faeries
5. Faeries
6. Kithkin
7. Kithkin
8. Kithkin
So what were the two best decks in the format again?
However, a second set of results from a 110-person PTQ in Montreal says that we aren’t stuck in a mire of Faeries and Hobbits:
1. UG Merfolk (including that chunkiest of Merfolk, the Chameleon Colossus)
2. Red
3. Faeries
4. Red
5. Kithkin
6. Red
7. Edge of the Divinity (that is, black/white)
8. Red
Click through on either link for full deck lists.

A thousand blooms – infinite mana in Lorwyn block

Everyone is already familiar at this point with the arbitarily-large-critter combo of Devoted Druid with Quillspike. Even before the full set spoiler came out, I suggested a Project-X-inspired Quillspike build here. Now, an arbitrarily large creature is a lot of fun, but can we set our sights even higher and shoot for an arbitrarily large amount of mana?
Yes. Read the extended for the somewhat-misleadingly named Thousand Bloom combo, all packaged and ready to go.

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PTQ Berlin 2008 – On the (statistical) significance of Faeries

One of the things I enjoy doing during each constructed Pro Tour Qualifier season is reading through the posted decklists, looking for interesting novel choices or just overall trends in successful builds. There are a number of resources for decklists from the current Berlin 2008 Pro Tour Qualifier season:
2008 PTQ Berlin decklists at Wizards
Star City Games deck database
These are partially but not entirely overlapping resources, so it’s good to check in with all of them to get a comprehensive view.
One thing I felt I’d been noticing during the current Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block constructed PTQ season was a tendency for Faeries decks to appear more often in the top eights of larger tournaments. But was that just my personal impression, or is there something to it?
Click through to the extended article for the answer.

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One more time, Bay Area (Pro Tour Qualifier for Berlin 2008)

The last Bay Area PTQ for Berlin is coming next month. Per the qualifier schedule page, it’s happening on August 16th, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
Between the two typical Bay Area PTQ venues, I tend to prefer the Santa Clara Convention Center to the San Jose Convention Center. Both lack character, but Santa Clara is cleaner and has much better parking.
More on possible PTQ decklists later — we’ll have six post-Eventide PTQs before that PTQ weekend (one of them was two days ago in Springfield, a mere day after the Eventide release — that’s a seriously untested format!).