Back in the early days of Magic, Hammer was truly a name to be feared. He finished in the Top 8 at the first two Pro Tours, winning in LA. Since then his performances have been rather less notable, with his only money finish since then at LA in 1998. He had been absent from most of the recent Pro Tours, but the first day of Barcelona seemed to mark a resurgence in form for him.
Entering the second day at 6-1 put him on pod three, where he was passed to by Albertus Law, from Taiwan. Hammer was passing to Tommi Hovi which made it two Pro Tour LA champions in a row. Also on this table were three Your Move Games players in a row - Chad Ellis, Darwin Kastle, and Danny Mandel, as well as AlphaBetaUnlimited.com's Chris Benafel.
Shawn's first booster was rather weak. The only choice was between Recoil and Soul Burn, and Regnier took the Recoil. To his right, Albertus Law took a Faerie Squadron over a Thicket Elemental, giving Shawn the chance to switch immediately if he desired. Instead he took Plague Spores, and then picked up another Recoil.
Despite having got three good black cards, he was fighting with Albertus for both Blue and Black once Law took a Goham Djinn over a Shoreline Raider. Before he did this all of his picks had been blue. Red was less drafted to Hammer's right, though, and he picked up a second Plague Spores.
Perhaps he should have spotted the signals and switched colors earlier to Green. Unbelievably, Hovi to his left was playing Blue as well, as part of a fairly horrible-looking Blue-White-Green pile. Shawn's deck so far did have the two Plague Spores and two Recoils, but his only playable creatures were a Tidal Visionary, and a Nightscape Apprentice.
This meant that he had to value creatures slightly higher in the second set of packs, and with this in mind he took a Vodalian Zombie over an Exclude for his second pick. He had opened Void, which always helps to improve a deck. With Hovi on his left drafting Blue as well, it seemed like Shawn would struggle to get anything playable in blue. His fourth and fifth picks were two more Plague Spores.
Then he had to choose between Phyrexian Reaper and Callous Giant. Perhaps unwilling to commit heavily to Red, he took the Reaper but this was probably a mistake as there were no Blue cards coming through. Hammer could have gone Red-Black (he did have four Plague Spores and a Void) and forgotten about the Vodalian Zombie.Shawn "Hammer" Regnier
If he had done so he would have been rewarded later in this booster by better creatures than he took. He could have had Viashino Grappler instead of a second Nightscape Apprentice, and a Kavu Aggressor instead of a Metathran Zombie.
Even though he was struggling with Blue, Hammer's deck seemed pretty good going into Planeshift, and he had a nice decision to make - between Stormscape Battlemage and Terminate. He went for the Terminate, but this was at best a questionable decision. The fact that the Wizard is blue removal counts in its favor, and with fourteen Planeshift cards to come, there could be a couple of Cavern Harpies which make the Mage insane.
This set was less kind than usual to Shawn, as he picked up no more removal. His deck's main problem was a lack of creatures, and he addressed this by taking Caldera Kavu, two Nightscape Familiars, and two Phyrexian Bloodstock. He rounded out his deck with a Rushing River.
Prediction: 2-2 or 3-1