by Michelle Bush
This is the first Pro Tour for Stacey Allen, and she's off to a good start. I joined her match at the end of game two, just in time to hear her say in her heavy Southern accent, "I'll Wax my River Boa," and see her opponent scoop up his cards. I got to see more of Allen's deck in action in game three, as she came out early with multiple Birds, a Vine Trellis, and Chimeric Idols. Her opponent, Chris Flynn, was playing a mono red Ponza deck, and it looked like he might stabilize briefly when he cast Flowstone Overseer. Unfortunately for Chris, he never got to untap to use it. Stacey cast Armageddon on her turn, and sent with her two Chimeric Idols. Wax and Wane was again the killing blow, as Allen used it to kill the Overseer when Flynn blocked one of the Idols. Allen had two Birds of Paradise, a Forest, a Vine Trellis, and two Chimeric Idols. Flynn had no permanents, and conceded. What a beating! Although Allen seemed too modest to brag, it's pretty clear that she couldn't have asked for a better way to start off her first premier event.
Allen is from Knoxville, Tennessee, and she qualified by winning a PTQ in High Point, North Carolina with a fast deck known as "Southeastern red/green beatings." When asked how she feels to be at her first Pro Tour, she says "nervous and scared to death." She chose her green/white deck because "it's solid and has a lot of options." She is running Charging Troll, River Boa, Nobel Panther, Blinding Angel, Armadillo Cloak, Armageddon, and of course, Parallax Wave. "It stops those Skizziks cold," she grinned. She worked on the deck with her husband, Karl Allen, who is the reigning Tennessee State Champion, and players from her local gaming store, Knoxville Gaming Bureau. In a somewhat unusual choice, she is not playing Blastoderm. "He goes away," she said. Allen found through testing that in the mirror match or against Fires of Yavimaya, the 5/5 beastie had to stay home to block far too often for her liking. Rather than just letting her Blastoderms fade away, Allen opted for creatures with more staying power.
Allen is one of two female competitors qualified for this Pro Tour, and is a member of the all-female mailing list known as The Charm School. She started playing Magic around the time of Revised and Fallen Empires, and has been in and out of the tournament scene ever since. She missed portions of Mirage and Rath cycle, but her interest picked up again with Urza's Saga. She says that her friends who play are what keep her interested in the game. "I wasn't even going to go the qualifier that I won," she explained. "It was kind of unbelievable. I didn't even realize how important PTQs were at the time." That may be the case, but she certainly knows now. When asked what her goals were for this tournament, she deferred the question at first, but then admitted that she'd like to make Day 2. If her first round is any indication, she has a good chance of rising to the occasion.