Nicastri Conquers Australia Nats

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Aaron Nicastri came, he saw and he conquered. Armed with the "Aussie Assault" Swans of Bryn Argoll deck his team gave him on Friday night, he remained undefeated all weekend until he started conceding to let friends into the Top 8. Once there, he bested two Faeries decks before taking down Brandon Lau's Black/Red Tokens deck in the finals. All credit to Brandon though, he made Aaron fight for it, taking the match to the fifth game and forcing him to actually attack with the Swans for the win. Joining Aaron and Brandon representing Australia at the World Championships later this year will be Justin Cheung and Marcus Rokman. Congratulations all 'round, lads!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Nicastri, Aaron   Nicastri, Aaron, 3-1        
8 Evans, Merlyn   Nicastri, Aaron, 3-2
       
4 Cheung, Justin   Cheung, Justin, 3-2   Nicastri, Aaron, 3-2
5 Neeman, Jeremy    
       
2 Rayson, Shawn   Lau, Brandon, 3-1
7 Lau, Brandon   Lau, Brandon, 3-2
       
3 Rokman, Marcus   Rokman, Marcus, 3-1
6 Shanley, Glenn    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • Finals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Brandon Lau
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Semifinals: Marcus Rokman vs. Brandon Lau
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Semifinals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Justin Cheung
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Quarterfinals: Brandon Lau vs. Shawn Rayson
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Quarterfinals: Marcus Rokman vs. Glenn Shanley
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Quarterfinals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Merlyn Evans
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Quarterfinals: Jeremy Neeman vs. Justin Cheung
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Top 8: DeckLists
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Info: Day 2 Blog Archive - Metagame breakdown, featured matches, and all live coverage from Day 1.
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Blog Archive - Featured match coverage, decks and all live coverage from Day 1.
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Nicastri, Aaron T $3,000
 2.  Lau, Brandon $2,500
 3.  Rokman, Marcus $1,750
 4.  Cheung, Justin $1,750
 5.  Rayson, Shawn L $750
 6.  Neeman, Jeremy $750
 7.  Shanley, Glenn $750
 8.  Evans, Merlyn R $750
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Aaron Nicastri - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Aussie Assault


    Jeremy Neeman - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Reveillark


    Justin Cheung - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Faeries


    Marcus Rokman - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Faeries


    Shawn Rayson - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Faeries


    Brandon Lau – Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Black/Red Tokens


    Glenn Shanley - Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Dragonstorm Combo


    Merlyn Evans – Australian National Championships
    Top 8 Faeries


     
  • Quarterfinals: Jeremy Neeman vs. Justin Cheung
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Neeman stalled on 3 land, giving Cheung all the time he needed to get set up. Eventually Cheung landed a Mistbind Clique to go with his Bitterblossom, and when he added a Scion of Oona, Neeman was forced to Wrath of God them all away. With the Bitterblossom still in play, Cheung continued to beat Neeman down with a Mutavault, and had the Spellstutter Sprite to stop Neeman's Reveillark to take Game 1. The battle of attrition was again afoot in Game 2, this time Neeman having enough mana to hard-cast his Mulldrifters. Cheung again had a Bitterblossom fueling his attack. A Venser, Shaper Savant bounced the Enchantment, but Neeman couldn't stop it from coming back down. At least the Wizard meant he could now attack back, but he was falling behind as the Faerie tokens nibbled away at his life total. Finally Neeman won a counter war over a Crovax, Ascendant Hero, who cleaned up Cheung's Faerie infestation and took Game 2 for Neeman.

    Cheung again had an early Bitterblossom, and this time Venser was a minor speed bump in its production of Faeries. A Cloudskate delayed it again for a turn, giving Neeman more to attack with. A Sower of Temptation briefly stole him a Faerie Token as well, and Neeman had to Momentary Blink it around a Terror to keep the creature advantage in his favor. Cheung fought back where he could with his Mutavault, but the Faerie tokens were now having to spend their time defending instead of attacking. Once the Bitterblossom dropped him to 1 life, Cheung was forced to champion it away with a Mistbind Clique. Neeman tried to Venser the Clique, but Cheung had the Rune Snag to not only save him, but take the third game. True to form, Cheung had a second turn Bitterblossom again in Game 4, but this time couldn't find a fourth land. Venser came down and this time it looked like the Enchantment would stay out of play, with Neeman sitting on plenty of mana to stop it. While Cheung was still struggling to get enough mana in play, Neeman's Mulldrifters were feeding him more than enough to abuse Momentary Blink and stay ahead of the Faeries deck to take the match to the fifth game.

    For the last game, Neeman's mulligan to six and stalling on four land left him well behind in the race. His Sower of Temptation meeting a Rune Snag and his two evoked Mulldrifters a Cryptic Command each. Luckily, Cheung had mulliganed to five and his only clock was a Scion of Oona getting in for 1 damage a turn. However, Neeman couldn't find the land he needed to really get his game on and was visibly frustrated as Cheung stopped him at every turn with counters and well a placed Thoughtseize. Sure enough, Cheung was able to power up some Mutavaults to join the fight and finally dispatch Neeman.

    Justin Cheung defeats Jeremy Neeman 3-2


     
  • Quarterfinals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Merlyn Evans
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Evans suspended an early Ancestral Visions, while Nicastri dug with Ponder. Thanks to the Visions, Evan dealt with the threats from Nicastri as they came out. Despite letting a Seismic Assault into play, he managed to prevent any Swans of Bryan Argoll from joining it, and his Faeries took Game 1. Game 2 stretched out long as Nicastri gathered the resources he needed to combo out. When he finally went for it, he had the two Pact of Negations he needed to battle through the Cryptic Command from Evans. Content that was a valid approach to this match, Nicastri repeated this again in Game 3, complete with his double Pact of Negation. It didn't hurt that this time Evans was stuck on 3 lands.

    Game 4 looked a little better for Evans, until Nicastri managed to land a direct hit on an Ancestral Visions with his Imp's Mischief. This gave Nicastri more then enough gas to overpower Evans with a Thoughtseize taking a Terror from Evans, leaving him unable to stop a Swans from joining a Seismic Assault in play. Unfettered, Nicastri threw land after land at his Swans, drawing more and more land and shuffling them back in by dredging Dakmor Salvage and hitting Gaea's Blessing to take the match.

    Aaron Nicastri defeats Merlyn Evans 3-1


     
  • Quarterfinals: Marcus Rokman vs. Glenn Shanley
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • An early Bitterblossom from Rokman started the clock ticking on Shanley, who calmly developed his mana, building for what he hoped would be a big turn for his Dragonstorm deck. However, the big turn never came as he was forced to spend his burn spells on Rokman's incoming Faeries. Game 2 however, Shanley baited with a Rift Bolt, that met a Cryptic Command, giving his Dragonstorm a storm count of 3, plenty to bring out the Dragons to take the game. The third game was a gentle back and forth between Shanley and Rokman and their man-lands, Rokman not managing to find the full power of his Faerie deck while Shanley couldn't find the damage he needed to reveal whatever was hidden under his Spinerock Knoll. Eventually, Rokman found a pair of Mistbind Cliques, tapping Shanley out, but not before he threw 7 damage worth of spells at Rokman with a Red mana floating in his pool. The crowd waited with baited breath to see what surprise the Knoll had in store for Rokman. With a grin, Shanley flipped up a Lotus Bloom and mana burned for 1.

    Game 4 again proceeded slowly, with Rokman gradually leaking threats into play, all the while trying not to leave Shanley an opening to power up his Spinerock Knoll. Finally Rokman went for it, tapping Shanley out for a couple of turns in a row with back to back Mistbind Cliques. Without the damage in hand, there was no way Shanley could activate the two loaded Knolls he had waiting in play. With the dangerous Red mana turned off for now, Rokman was free to wake up his Faerie Conclave and Mutavault and storm over for the win.

    Marcus Rokman defeats Glenn Shanley 3-1

     
  • Quarterfinals: Brandon Lau vs. Shawn Rayson
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Lau managed to make a Magus of the Moon stick early, leaving Rayson's Faerie deck in a bit of a bind. Backed up with other aggressive beaters, they were quickly on to Game 2. Rayson managed to have the Slaughter Pact ready for the Magus this time, and followed it up with a Damnation to clear the board. A Terror took down Lau's Greater Gargadon and the Faeries flew over to even the match at one apiece.

    Game 3 however, Lau played a Magus of the Moon on turn three, and another on turn four. While Rayson again had a Slaughter Pact, he didn't have any way to kill two of them that involved Red mana, and quickly scooped up his cards. Game 4 was especially anticlimactic as Rayson mulliganed to five and was stuck on a single land for several turns. While Lau couldn't capitalise on this with one of his trusty Magus of the Moons, he did manage to unsuspend a Greater Gargadon, keeping Rayson too far behind to keep up.

    Brandon Lau defeats Shawn Rayson 3-1

     
  • Semifinals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Justin Cheung
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Perhaps the master of the turn two Bitterblossom, Cheung again had one for the first game, while Nicastri dug through his deck with Ponder. A Vendilion Clique came down for Nicastri while Cheung's army of Faerie tokens grew, and he managed to get a Seismic Assault out as well. A Mistbind Clique came down for Cheung and his Faeries appeared to be reaching critical mass, but Nicastri also happened to have a Lotus Bloom coming into play this turn. Combined with a fresh Gemstone Mine, gave him just enough mana to drop the Swans of Bryn Argoll into play and proceed to go off. In Game 2, Nicastri again repeated a trick he had performed in the quarters and Imp's Mischief'd an Ancestral Visions, but only managed to draw an excess of land, leaving Cheung free to counter the key components and take the second game for himself.

    The third game saw a Swans make it into play, and considering Cheung only had a Scion of Oona on the attack, looked like it might buy Nicastri enough time to find and deploy the Seismic Assault to match. Sure enough, not long after a Pact of Negation helped Nicastri complete the combo and they were off to Game 4. Despite being down 1-2 currently, Cheung still managed to bust out another masterful start with turn one suspended Ancestral Visions, and turn two Bitterblossom. Nicastri Pondered the top of his deck three times in a row, filling his hand with combo pieces but leaving him slightly short on land. Sure enough, the gassy start for Faeries was enough to push the match to the fifth game before Nicastri could get his stars aligned.

    However, Game 5 did not look good for Cheung after a double mulligan. Although it was something he did in Game 5 of the quarters as well, this time he was stuck on a single land for a very long time while waiting for an Ancestral Visions to dig him out of his hole. Sure enough, Nicastri had the Imp's Mischief again for the Visions, digging him out of his own mulligan. Taking the alternative route to victory, Nicastri played and attacked with a pair of Swans to win.

    Aaron Nicastri defeats Justin Cheung 3-2

     
  • Semifinals: Marcus Rokman vs. Brandon Lau
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Lau had a first turn Shadow Guildmage, especially powerful against Rokman's Faerie deck, and followed it up with a suspended Greater Gargadon and a Mogg Fanatic. Rokman had the Bitterblossom he usually liked to lead with, but Lau had one of his own as well. The Guildmage kept Rokman's board clean while the Mogg Fanatic started wearing away at his life total. Rokman didn't seem able to do much more than let Lau's Bitterblossom overwhelm him while the Guildmage kept his under wraps. Rokman did have a pair of Mutavaults in play though, and between the Guildmage and his Bitterblossom, Lau was getting low on life himself, and needed to make sure Rokman couldn't suddenly knock him out with a surprise left hook. Wary that he would soon be force fed Greater Gargadon, especially considering Lau had Thoughtseized the Terror he had been sandbagging, Rokman dropped a Scion of Oona and indeed went for the throat, forcing Lau to chump with some of his Faerie tokens. While Rokman was tapped out, Lau shot down the Scion with his Guildmage and made a Nantuko Husk. He then fed a couple of lands to his Gargadon and sent it over to be chumped by a token. A Mistbind Clique came down for Rokman during Lau's upkeep and threatened to be lethal, but Lau sent in the Husk and the Gargadon and the Clique had to trade with the Husk. When Rokman sent back his team of Mutavaults and Faerie tokens, he showed he had ripped a Scion of Oona off the top to sneak out the win.

    This time Rokman denied Lau the turn two Bitterblossom with a Thoughtseize, only to see him topdeck another. Rokman of course, had one of his own, no doubt at least happy Lau hadn't played a Guildmage yet. Lau did take the opportunity to sneak a Magus of the Moon into play though, and to add insult to injury, Rokman's deck refused to offer up a third land. The only thing keeping him afloat was the fact that his Bitterblossom was offsetting Lau's one. Rokman found a third land, but was still falling behind. He threw a Slaughter Pact at the Magus and snuck a Scion of Oona into play, but he was still left on 3 life. Lau used the opening wisely and dropped a Shadow Guildmage into play, and used it to finish Rokman off.

    Game 3 was a game of doubles. Two Bitterblossom for Rokman and two Shadow Guildmage for Lau. A few turns later, Rokman could only shake his head at his countless Mutavaults as a Magus of the Moon came down unopposed. His two Bitterblossoms barely managing to keep him alive in the face of the Guildmages, but at an exceedingly steep cost. A few draw steps were all it too for Rokman to admit "yeah, you got this game."

    Both players led with mulligans in Game 4, with Lau again getting a Shadow Guildmage but not much else in play. Rokman didn't have much either, but did at least had a Cryptic Command for a Marsh Flitter. He didn't have anything for a second Flitter though, as Lau waved it around in front of him suggesting that Rokman let it resolve on the grounds that he should like Faerie-like cards. Mutavaults sprang forth to defend Rokman, but with the help of Lau's Guildmage and a Sudden Death they were falling like flies. A Spellstutter Sprite nabbed another Guildmage on its way down, and looked like it would hang around a bit with the help of a Scion of Oona that also had Pendelhaven back up. Lau's Guildmage could take them all down given enough time, but Rockman was going to get some damage in while he could, only to see Lau have another Sudden Death for the Scion. Rokman had yet another Scion, and a Slaughter Pact for the Magus of the Moon Lau had managed to get in between the cracks. Yet another Scion from Rokman gave him enough damage to take back the game.

    Lau started Game 5 with a pair of Mogg Fanatics, while Rokman suspended an Ancestral Visions. When Rokman missed his third land drop, and didn't have either a Rune Snag or a Terror for Lau's Magus of the Moon, things were looking a little dicey for him. Lau suspended a pair of Greater Gargadons, while Rokman at least found a third and fourth land, even if they were masquerading as Mountains at this point. The Visions finally resolved filling Rokman's hand to the brim, but by now he was facing the Magus, the Mogg Fanatic brothers and a freshly cast Nantuko Husk. He played a Pendelhaven, discarded a Cryptic Command and passed the turn back to Lau, bracing himself for impact. Lau swung back and Rokman didn't have the Slaughter Pact to dig himself out of it and offered his hand with a smile.

    Brandon Lau defeats Marcus Rokman 3-2

     
  • Finals: Aaron Nicastri vs. Brandon Lau
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Nicastri opened with a Thoughtseize taking the same from Lau, who replied with a tapped Auntie's Hovel. A Reflecting Pool came down for Nicastri, who Pondered his options before suspending a Lotus Bloom. Mogg War Marshall came down for Lau, who remarked with a chuckle "let's see how much damage I can deal you before you kill me." Telling Time allowed Nicastri to continue setting up his combo, while Lau pushed out a Nantuko Husk. If anything could deal Nicastri enough damage, the Husk was a prime contender. Lau probed Nicastri's hand with a Thoughtseize, seeing two Swans of Bryn Argoll, a Beseech the Queen and a land. Lau took the tutor, and laid out a Bitterblossom. Nicastri dropped a Swans into play, which could at least block the Husk, no matter how large it got, as long as he could finish his combo before the many, many extra cards overpowered him.

    Sure enough, Nicastri took 2 damage from unblocked Goblins while Lau drew 6 cards from his blocked Husk. He played a second Bitterblossom and passed the turn back. Nicastri now had his Lotus in play, and removed the last counter from his Gemstone Mine to play the second Swans after attacking with the first. Another six additional cards for Lau gave him a suspended Greater Gargadon and a Mogg Fanatic, meanwhile Nicastri played a third Swans, but this time sent the turn back without attacking. Lau untapped and showed a Furystoke Giant, causing Nicastri to scoop up his cards.

    "So much garbage" Lau intoned as he sided out a handful of cards.

    "That's what I like about that deck!" Nicastri laughed.

    "How did you beat all of those Faerie decks?"

    "I didn't do stupid things when I played Ponder"

    Lau started Game 2 with a double mulligan, while Nicastri Pondered and then suspended a pair of Lotus Blooms. Lau had the good grace to chuckle at least, while getting in with a Mogg Fanatic. A turn three Seismic Assault from Nicastri looked menacing as the Blooms came off suspend, but all Nicastri could do was pass back the turn with 9 mana at his disposal. The Mogg Fanatic kept on trucking, hardly believing his luck. Lau added a Marsh Flitter to the board, but Nicastri finally found a Swans are started throwing land at it, digging for something. Finally he found a Thoughtseize, and pointed it at Lau with a sigh.

    "Show me that Extirpate!"

    "What if I don't wanna?" Lau replied with a grin, revealing the Extirpate in his hand.

    "You 100% showed me you had it when you leaned forward to check the Vivid land in the Graveyard, I just had to make sure you didn't have a second."

    After another mulligan, Lau started Game 3 with a suspended Greater Gargadon and a Bitterblossom, while Nicastri built up his multi-colored mana base with a pair of Vivid lands and a Ponder. Lau played out a Magus of the Moon with a smile, to which Nicastri replied "it just means I don't take pain" as he played a Seismic Assault off of a Shivan Reef. When the Magus and a Faerie token attacked, Nicastri threw a Vivid Marsh at the Magus, freeing up his mana again. A Nantuko Husk replaced the Magus, and ate a Vendilion Clique on the following turn that had failed to find anything other than land in Lau's hand. Nicastri cycled a Gaea's Blessing, but failed to find much more of note while the Faerie tokens and Husk kept coming in for more. Then Lau's Gargadon scooped up a bunch of land, so Nicastri did the same.

    "Nice fizzle deck..." Nicastri bemoaned.

    "But it happens, right?"

    Lau started Game 4 with yet another mulligan, but revealed a reasonable hand when Nicastri Thoughtseized him on turn two, showing both Extirpate and Sudden Death. Nicastri took the Extirpate while Lau attacked with a Mogg Fanatic and made a Bitterblossom. Nicastri dropped a Seismic Assault again on his third turn, and this time Lau had no play and sat on the three mana he needed to Sudden Death any Swans that might stick out their necks. Telling Time dug Nicastri deeper for answers while the Bitterblossom provided Lau an army. A Vendilion Clique came down at end of turn, denying Lau the Sudden Death, and Lau could only look on as Nicastri untapped and played a Swans of Bryn Argoll. When Nicastri showed he had two Dakmor Salvage, Lau shuffled up his cards to take it to the fifth.

    For once, Lau kept his hand. Both players wished each other luck as Lau again played a turn one Mogg Fanatic.

    "Typical!" Nicastri joked.

    "It's all about the turn one Mogg Fanatic and surviving 20 turns with it" Lau laughed.

    He followed it up with a Thoughtseize, taking a Swans from Nicastri's hand, who then Gaea's Blessinged it back in on his second turn. Lau had a Husk as the Mogg continued to chew lightly on Nicastri. Another Blessing from Nicastri shuffled in the first one as he waited for his Lotus Bloom to spin down. Lau dropped his opponent to 15 and played a Marsh Flitter, a potent combo with Nantuko Husk, only to see Nicastri play a Firespout with both Red and Green mana, thanks to his potent combination of Vivid lands, Reflecting Pool and Gemstone Mine. The Husk ate up large to survive, but at least wasn't going to be hitting for ten on the following turn. The Husk came in for two only, and Lau passed back the turn with 5 mana up. A Telling Time in Nicastri's upkeep helped him filter through his options before playing a Seismic Assault. Rather than waiting for Lau to maybe draw and play a Kher Keep, he threw a Vivid Marsh at the Husk to be rid of it. Lau untapped and passed the turn back without play.

    Nicastri dropped a Swans in play, and threw a Gemstone Mine at it. Lau didn't budge. Nicastri then threw a Dakmor Salvage at it, and Lau pointed an Extirpate at the Dredge land, an integral part of the Swans engine. Nicastri stopped in his tracks for a moment, and judge Rob Stuart intoned in his now well-known dulcet tones

    "It has split second" encouraging Nicastri to move the game forward.

    "I'm well aware of that!"

    After Lau removed the remaining copies, Nicastri drew the last two cards from the Swans and sacrificed his Lotus Bloom to play another. Lau untapped, but had nothing. The Swans entered the Red Zone, and once Lau had drawn his card for his turn, Nicastri dropped a Vendilion Clique on him. With nothing to stop the Swan Assault, albeit not the one they had originally been signed on for, Lau offered his opponent his hand.

    Aaron Nicastri defeats Brandon Lau 3-2

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