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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jan 18 2008 12:25am
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Have you ever played someone on Magic: the Gathering Online and just assumed you were going to lose?  Maybe you were just intimidated by the player's rating, or clan affilitation, or the deck they chose to play.  Regardless of the fear, you get paired against them, see their screen name, and resign yourself to a quick defeat. 

FFfreak happens to be one of those players that I have the fear of.  It's not his rating, or his deck choices normally, it's just he's so good at Magic in my opinion, and I'm just some guy that scrubbed on the tour. 

Turns out that FFfreak really is a gentleman.  He just happens to have a solid reputation because he plays in just about everything and puts up consistant results. 

Of course you can have a reputation when you are the runner up of one of the largest events ever run on MTGO.  Brad Nelson was the runner up to
Toshinori Shigehara in the 2004 World's Qualifier that was held online, and since then has played in the United States National Championship. 

I got to sit down and chat with Brad for while.  The twenty one year old may be still a kid in some people's eyes, but he shows maturity beyond his years.  Let's learn a little more about FFfreak now! 

Osyp may not actually drive a bus to school. 


Player Dossier

Name:  Brad Nelson

Age:  21

Location: Bismarck, North Dakota

Occuptation:  Student at North Dakota State University. 

Clan:  Osyp Drives Me to School

Previous accomplishments:  Runner up to
Toshinori Shigehara in the 2004 World Championship Online Qualifier.  Top Sixteen finish in the 2007 United States National Championships.  Top four finish in the 2007 Minneapolis Regional Qualifier.  Runner up 2006 North Dakota State Standard Championship.  Top four 2005 North Dakota State Championship. 

Favorite Magic Format:  Single Set Block

Favorite Magic Card:  Tangle Wire

Favorite Magic Set:  Ravnica: City of Guilds

MTGO Composite Rating: 1764

MTGO Constructed Rating: 1690

MTGO Limited Rating: 1839

Like I have said before, I get to watch a ton of Magic while I am gathering data for the Extended Play column.  It seems to me that every other tournament I am writing down Brad's screen name and the deck he played.  A sure sign of a good player is one that shows consistency, and Brad does that without a problem.  He has been making the top eight of PE's with the following deck with an almost alarming regularity.   CounterTopGoyf may not be something new, and most of you may know the deck better as Next Level Blue, but watching FFfreak in replays shows me something new almost everytime.  That's another thing about good players, when you watch them play you can learn something from them.  

CounterTopGoyf by Brad Nelson

1 Hallowed Fountain


1 Yixlid Jailer


Let's cut to the chase and get to the interview! 

Joshua Claytor (JC):  Why did you play your build of CounterTopGoyf?

Brad Nelson (BN):  I have all of the cards for it online, and I have those same cards for use in the upcoming Pro Tour Qualifiers.  There is not a lot of Rock Paper Scissors going on in the online Extended metagame.  I just decided to be successful I should get to know a deck very well.  Knowing a deck well will increase my chances of winning a PTQ.  The list has been changing a lot lately, just trying out different things a lot fo the time.  I have three weeks to solidify a decklist, so until then I will keep trying random things.

JC:  What are the decks good matchups in the format?

BN:  Gifts rock, Doran, any Zoo varient, and random metagame deck choices (Like the wizards deck from the recent PTQ in Boston and such).

JC:  What decks do you feel offer CounterTopGoyf poor matchups?  
BN:  Ravager Affinity and Dredge are not good unless you can cast Living Wish on turn two.  Against Affinity you can wish for Kataki, and slow them down with the legend.  Against Dredge wishing for Yixlid Jailer really makes it more difficult for them to combo off quickly.  Tron is by far a horrible match, it is a winable match but not very often!

JC:  Do you have any advice for Magic Online players?

BN:  One big thing about Magic Online compared to real Magic is that no one wants to put money into MTGO. It gets very expensive online. Play block and get good at the format. This is the easiest way to start a bank roll. In fact this is how I make my money online. I learn a single set block format and try to win as much as possible. For players that are not just starting online, beware of Mr. Perfect; I think he draws extra cards in PE's!

JC:  Anything else you would like to add?

BN:  When Im sitting in class I sometimes day dream and go to this magical place where V3 has already came out.  Magic players are happy in their one hundred person sealed event that does not crash, and while that is going on others watch the final game in the match. Others leave messages to friends that are not on, and everyone is a litle more happy. Then I wake up from this dream only to find my draft isn't coming back up after a crash.

While doing research for this interview I happened upon a few decklists from Brad that he has used in past tournaments.  I'm going to present those lists now, just think of them as a Best of Brad Nelson collection!  I want to offer my thanks to Brad for agreeing to do this week's interview, and thank him again for his time.  Good luck!  

Ravager Affinity
2004 Magic Online World's Qualifier

4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Arcbound Worker
4 Disciple of the Vault
4 Frogmite
3 Ornithopter
3 Somber Hoverguard
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Cranial Plating
2 Night's Whisper
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Thoughtcast
3 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Darksteel Citadel
3 Glimmervoid
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Vault of Whispers

3 Electrostatic Bolt
3 Mana Leak
2 Myr Enforcer
3 Pyroclasm
4 Welding Jar

Arcbound Ravager
Heartbeat Combo
2005 North Dakota State Championships

4 Drift of Phantasms
1 Maga, Traitor to Mortals
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Compulsive Research
4 Early Harvest
4 Heartbeat of Spring
4 Ideas Unbound
3 Kodama's Reach
4 Rampant Growth
2 Recollect
3 Weird Harvest
14 Forest
7 Island
2 Swamp

4 Boomerang
4 Cranial Extraction
2 Dosan the Falling Leaf
1 Farseek
4 Muddle the Mixture

Heartbeat of Spring
2006 North Dakota State Championships

4 Kird Ape
3 Magus of the Scroll
4 Savannah Lions
4 Scab-Clan Mauler
4 Watchwolf
4 Char
4 Lightning Helix
4 Rift Bolt
4 Seal of Fire
4 Volcanic Hammer
4 Battlefield Forge
1 Brushland
2 Gemstone Mine
2 Karplusan Forest
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden

2 Bathe in Light
4 Cryoclasm
2 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Ronom Unicorn
3 Tin Street Hooligan
Kird Ape

Swath Combo
2007 Regionals

3 Chromatic Star
4 Claws of Gix
4 Empty the Warrens
4 Hatching Plans
3 Ignite Memories
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Perilous Research
4 Remand
2 Repeal
4 Rite of Flame
4 Seething Song
4 Sleight of Hand
2 Gemstone Caverns
6 Island
4 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents

3 Delay
1 Ignite Memories
3 Ignorant Bliss
4 Martyr of Ashes
1 Surge of Zeal
3 Tri

Lotus Bloom


by Dreager_Ex at Fri, 01/18/2008 - 08:15
Dreager_Ex's picture

I am curious about these community profiles... are they just for players that do well in the PE setting or anyone who the community knows well enough?

Regardless I like these articles keep em' coming :)