Tomi Walamies and Josh Wagener are the captains of their respective countries squads this weekend. They are the National Champions. Tomi Walamies has the Pro Tour pedigree that you look for in these situations and directed his team through the draft with only a few minor stumbles.
Josh is unfamiliar with this rarified air and he has deferred to the much more experienced Justin Gary in the leadership department. He obviously has the skills to compete—he is just lacking the experience.
While they were shuffling, Tuomo took a mulligan and an exuberant Gabe Walls high fived his mates, "Mulligans? Finland- 1 USA – 0!" When Tomi also took a mulligan the more laid back Joshua deadpanned, "Finland – 2 USA – 0" Gabe took a mulligan himself and was not as exuberant.
Josh opened with a Wirewood Herald and followed with a morph before Tomi played a Mistform Dreamer. Josh had the Swat and attacked him down to sixteen. Tomi put down a Keeneye Aven but Josh kept attacking. Tomi chose to block the Wirewood Herald instead of the morph and Josh searched out Ambush Commander and played it.
Tomi flew over for two on the next turn and played a Prowling Pangolin. Josh let it stick and played a Brontetherium. He fell to ten on Tomi's attack step and the Finn cast Lingering Death on the beast. Tomi added a Coast Watcher to his team.
There was some contention on the next turn when Josh played a Forest and cast Mythic Proportions on his Ambush Commander. The forest he played was a creature and therefore had summoning sickness. He did not have the mana to cast the enchantment but he had clearly tapped his mana before playing it.
A judge was called over to determine if he would take six points of mana burn or if he could untap. When the judge allowed the untap, Tomi appealed to Head Judge Rune Horvik. Rune upheld the original ruling and Josh breathed a sigh of relief, "How lucky!"
Josh provoked the Pangolin and sent in his troops. He unmorphed a Spitting Gourna for an extra point. Josh double checked with the judge that he could trample over a protection form green creature. "I almost mana burned for seven—I want to make sure."
"For six," corrected Tomi who drew nothing on his next turn to deal with the +8/+8 creature enchantment.
Tomi – 0 Josh – 1
Gabe Walls was locked under a Sunstrike Legionnaire with Lavamancer's Skill. He was vainly trying to hold off a swarm of creatures with only a Zealous Inquisitor but to no avail. He went down in the first game. Arho emerged victorious on Game 1 as well.
Tuomo – 1 Gabe – 0
Arho – 1 Justin – 0
Tomi and Josh made morphs on turn three. Tomi missed land number four and played another morph. Josh trumped it with a face-up Snarling Undurak and passed the turn back without battle. When Tomi played land number four the US Champion frowned, "I thought you were going to give me an easy one."
This one was not going to be easy for Josh as Tomi played the ridiculous Undead Warchief. Josh weighed his options—he could set Tomi back with a Temporal Fissure or he could play some guys. He played an Interrogator and a face down Cadaver.
Josh lost his hand on the next turn when he chose not to block a morph. It was a Cadaver and he took four points to boot. He took a Raven Guild Initiate with his Interrogator and played a Brawler—he was out of cards.
Mistform Dreamer started to take four life chunks out of Josh's hide. He was eventually able to Swat it when Tomi tapped out but the Finn had another pair of fliers to finish him off.
Tomi – 1 Josh – 1
Gabe fell to Tuomo in two straight but the American promised to even the series tomorrow.
Game 3 was looking like a waste of time for the champs as Justin was under the gun in his second game. He had a mediocre looking board while Arho had monsters—including Kilnmouth Dragon. Arho cast Rush of Knowledge and the Americans groaned. Rather then let him draw seven, Justin used Skirk Alarmist to flip up Skinthinner and kill the dragon. Arho still drew six cards but his dragon was dead.
A couple of turns later, Arho had dumped even more behemoths into play and Justin went for a desperation kill. He cast Erratic Explosion but only revealed a big enough card to take his opponent to nine. He slumped. His morph was obviously Egotist—he showed an Island—and the card in his hand Torrent of Fire. Right?
On the next turn, Arho cast Wave of Indifference and rendered Justin's team useless. He attacked with everyone and Justin asked glumly, "Any effects before damage goes on the stack?"
"I was just thinking, maybe..."
Justin snapped into action, "Don't bother!" The crowd sensed something and all eyes turned to Justin. "Let's go on to Game 3!" He used his Skirk Alarmist on his morph and revealed an off-color Frontline Strategist to the roaring delight of the crowd and his teammates. "That was the only way I could win—if he drew Wave of Indifference!"
Tuomo – 2 Gabe – 0
Arho – 1 Justin – 1
Finland – 1 USA – 0
Josh led off the now critical Game 3 with a Birchlore Rangers. He missed his third land drop but played a Wirewood Herald. Tomi was also hurting for lands and cycled an Aven—Josh had cylcled Swat already.
Tomi had lands and played Mistform Dreamer and its cousin the Wall. Josh was able to squeak out a morph with the Birchlore Ranger's ability but he needed a land. "I deserve a land," he said after missing two straight drops. He was rewarded with Island and played a Keeneye Aven. Tomi stalled on four and cast Lingering Death on the Aven but Josh had the Naturalize. He wasn't attacking though and kept his Aven on 'D'.
Tomi had another Death and his fifth land to play a morph as well. Josh sent his Keeneye in for two before it died and played another. Tomi played a Pangolin and Josh sac'd his Wirewood Herald and a face-down Bulvox. He retrieved an Elvish Warrior from his deck.
Tomi played an Unspeakable Symbol and sent in the Mistform Dreamer. Josh debated and put his Keeneye in the way. It cost Tomi six life but his Dreamer survived combat with two +1/+1 tokens. Josh Temporal Fissured the Dreamer and sent back the turn.
Justin announced that he was somehow victorious and the burden of the USA team went squarely on Josh's shoulders.
Tuomo – 2 Gabe – 0
Arho – 1 Justin – 2
Finland – 1 USA – 1
Back to the match at hand...
Tomi cycled a Barren Moor and found an Embalmed Brawler and played it alongside the recast Mistform Dreamer. Josh tapped out to play a Brontetherium and passed the turn. Tomi swung in with everyone but the Mistform Wall and Josh chose not to block—he fell to twelve.
On Josh's next turn he sent his beast into the red zone and said the word, "Provoke..." after thinking for a while he decided he wanted to bring the Elvish Warrior and the Birchlore Rangers as well. Tomi called a judge and this time the ruling went in his favor and Josh could only send the beast. He provoked the wall and Tomi paid six life—falling to four—to make his Wall a 3/6. If Josh had swung with the elves the wall could not get that large without dropping Tomi to one.
Josh compounded his mistake by playing an Ambush Commander over Spitting Gourna during his second main phase. Time was announced and Josh asked, "Why do I always get the draws?"
An irritated Tomi explained simply, "You are slow."
Tomi was able to fend off an attack from a mythically enchanted Elvish Warrior with a Raven Guild Initiate that saved his Dreamer. He was able to keep enough creatures alive so Josh could not get his final points through and the match ended up a draw.
Tomi – 1 Josh – 1
Tuomo – 2 Gabe – 0
Arho – 1 Justin – 2
Final Result: Finland – 1 USA – 1