Sideboard Online Event Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage

By Alex Shvartsman

1998 World Championships
Rath Cycle Constructed Day Recap


The Winners

Three days and twenty one rounds into the tournament, top 8 of the 203 competitors have finally been determined. The big winners include Jon Finkel, who is now virtually guaranteed a Pro Tour Player of the Year title unless he somehow gets disqualified in top 8. Finkel is followed by the French Rapahel Levy, the only competitor to take Jon Finkel down twice in this tournament. In the third place is Brian Selden, a young player competing at Costa Mesa, California who has participated in two Junior Pro Tours only prior to this event. Scott Johns, the fourth finisher so far, has a curse. He is able to make top 8 fine but keeps losing in the round of 8. It remains to be seen if Johns, one of the favorites for the world champion title, will have better luck this time around. Ben Rubin, yet another young player from California has recently made top 4 in Pro Tour: Los Angeles now has a shot to do even better on Sunday. Chris Pikula is well overdue for the top finish according to many pro players, most of whom like and respect the easy going Pro Tour regular. Brian Hacker has been doing pretty well recently and will surely do his best not to disappoint the fans this time around. Alan Comer has not been in top 8 of a Pro Tour since PTLA '96 - but he is certainly among the players that deserve to win, having created a healthy share of popular type 2 decks over the last year.

Among those to do exceptionally well are Rod Ho, Mike Long and Paco Martinez. Unfortunately, their records in other portions of Worlds prevented these competitors from making top 8.

Professional teams have done very well at this event as four of the top 8 finishers are members of various teams such as The Legion (Levy, Comer), Deadguys (Pikula) and Hitmen (Hacker). Daniel Brickwell, the only person to go 7-0 today and the overall 9th place finisher is captain of a German-based sponsored team and an advisory member of The Legion. National teams have not fared as well, only one national team member finishing in the top 8 (Jon Finkel of team USA).

As far as deckbuilders are concerned, major credit goes to Brian Schneider, who came out of Magic retirement to help design the Humility/Prayer deck as well as helped Mike Long with the mono-red deck he used to finish 6-1. Schneider's teammate Erik Lauer of team CMU has done well as well, creating a weird infinite recursion "Workhorse tech" deck discussed below.

Of interesting note, this is the first pro event in almost a year where Dave Price of team Deadguy played a non-Sligh deck. Price, who finished 5-2 with black weenie comments "I enjoy playing black, too."

The Decks

Prior to today few players could or would comment on Rath constructed. Some jelaously guarded their secret "tech" for this format while others simply had no idea what to play until the night before the tournament. Finally, the top decks in the format are revealed, proven during the seven rounds of intense competition.

Top decks

  1. Black weenie
  2. Sligh
  3. Sligh
  4. Black Weenie
  5. Humility/Orim's Prayer
  6. 5-color Anarchy
  7. Survival-Death
  8. Survival-Death
  9. Humility/Prayer
  10. Humility/Prayer
  11. Humility/Prayer
  12. Rude Awakening
  13. Black weenie
  14. Humility/Prayer
  15. Sligh
  16. Sligh
  17. "Workhorse tech"
  18. Black weenie
  19. 5-color Sliver
  20. Black weenie
  21. Oath of Ghouls
  22. Rude Awakening
  23. Survival-Death
  24. Black weenie
  25. Survival-Death
  26. Black weenie
  27. Red-black weenie
  28. Rude Awakening
  29. Survival-Death
  30. Rude Awakening
  31. Survival-Death
  32. Rude Awakening
  33. 5-color Anarchy
Black Weenie

Daniel Brickwell of the German national team was the only player to go undefeated through the day. Like so many other top players, his deck of choice was mono-black weenie with four Hatred. Black weenie decks are extremely fast in Rath and, like Sligh in type 2, can often win even in the toughest matchup. Most creatures used in the deck have shadow or flying to increase the chances of winning early with a Living Death.


Kim Eikefet's deck list


4 Carnophage
4 Sarcomancy
4 Dauthi Slayer
4 Dauthi Horror
3 Dauthi Warlord
4 Foul Imp
4 Dark Ritual
2 Culling the Meek
4 Hatred
1 Enfeeblement
2 Dark Banishing
2 Reckless Spite
1 Helm of Posession


4 Wasteland
17 Swamp


Originally designed by Zvi Mowshowitz and modified for this format by Sigurd Eskeland, blue-green Turbo Awakening deck takes advantage from being able to tap the land for mana during your upkeep before processing the Awakening, than using it to cast buy-back spells. Several turns into the game Turbo-Awakening can be casting Whispers of the Muse with buyback during each player's upkeep and eventually win with its several creatures once control over the game has been established.


Sigurd Eskeland's deck list


4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Tradewind Rider
3 Spike Weaver
2 Spike Feeder
4 Legacy Allure
4 Counterspell
4 Forbid
4 Awakening
4 Whispers of the Muse
4 Capsize


4 Reflecting Pool
2 Skyshroud Forest
10 Island
8 Forest


Although most players believed that Sligh is too weak in this format, several people have done exceptionally well using diffirent versions of it. Mike Long finished 6-1, losing in a close match last round) with the following deck.


Mike Long's deck list


4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Mogg Raider
4 Mogg Conscript
2 Raging Goblin
4 Jackal Pup
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Fireslinger
4 Canyon Wildcat
2 Goblin Bombardment
4 Maniacal Rage
4 Sonic Burst
4 Shock


16 Mountain


Blue-white or blue-white-green, this control deck relies on the combination of Humility and Orim's Prayer to shut down creature strategies. In addition it stops the ever popular Tradewind Riders. Using Grindstones for the win, the deck is slow but reliable.


Brian Hacker's deck list


2 Scroll Rack
3 Orim's Prayer
4 Humility
3 Propaganda
4 Forbid
4 Counterspell
2 Reclaim
4 Intuition
2 Grindstone
2 Disenchant
1 Capsize
3 Whispers of the Muse
3 Mox Diamond


2 Vec Townships
4 Thalakos Lowlands
2 Reflecting Pool
1 Wasteland
9 Island
6 Plains

5-Color Anarchy

There is a tremendous amount of Living Death/Survival of the Fittest decks in the field. Some use creatures from multiple colors relying on the Living Death and Recurring Nightmare to bring them into play. Some play with counter magic for increased control - the two cards are so powerful in this format, a number of decks that could be designed around it is virtually endless. Among the more original variants is the "5-color Anarchy" designed by team Legion - it is utilizing some original cards not present in other versions.


Brian Weissman's deck list


3 Spike Weaver
2 Tradewind Rider
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Wood Elves
2 Spike Feeder
1 Thrull Surgeon
1 Cloudchaser Eagle
4 Rampant Growth
2 Mirri's Guile
1 Scragnoth
4 Recurring Nightmare
4 Survival of the Fittest
3 Living Death
1 Coffin Queen
1 Verdant Force
1 Altar of Dementia


12 Forest
8 Swamp
1 Island
1 Volrath's Stronghold.

Workhorse Tech

Perhaps the most original of all decks debuting today is team CMU's Workhorse Tech. The deck works much like Mesacraft - it needs to enchant a Swamp with Overgrowth and get two Workhorses - one in the graveyard and one in play. Remove three counters off Workhorse for mana and tap it via Earthcraft to untap the Swamp. Than cast Recurring Nightmare, switching the 1/1 Workhorse in play with the 4/4 one from your graveyard. Do so any number of times gaining virtually infinite mana. At that point you can draw any number of cards by recursing Wall of Blossoms and eventually get Mogg Fanatic into play with Corpse Dance enough times to kill the opponent.


Mike Turian's deck list


4 Earthcraft
4 Overgrowth
4 Recurring Nightmare
3 Corpse Dance
2 Workhorse
3 Scroll Rack
2 Spike Feeder
2 Mindless Automaton
1 Hemit Druid
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Spike Breeder
3 Survival of the Fittest
4 Wall of Blossoms
1 Stronghold Assassin
3 Spike Weaver


12 Forest
10 Swamp

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