column

Canada Champion Crowned

  • Print

He did it the hard way.

From Grinder entrant to National Champion, that's the story of Guillaume Cardin. On Thursday, Cardin could be found scrabbling for a spot in a frantic attempt to earn one of the final places in the tournament come Friday morning. He made it, and once there, he also made it count. In fact, Cardin was nothing short of masterful when playing Constructed on the weekend, losing only a single match with his Heartbeat of Spring deck from Thursday through Sunday. Combined with his solid draft performance, that was enough to see him through to a Sunday appearance, where he beat Zoo, Hand in Hand, and then Snakes to secure the honor of carrying the Canadian flag at the Louvre.

Joining Cardin on the National Team is relative unknown Mike Vasovski, and 2003 Canadian Nats runner-up Nathon Braymore, who lost a single contested match in any format on the weekend. The Top 8 was diverse in archetypes, featuring two Black/White aggro decks plus, Tron, Vore, White Weenie/red, Snakes, Zoo, but in the end it was Cardin and Heartbeat of Spring that took home the title. Congratulations to Guillaume Cardin, the 2006 Canadian National Champion!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Nathon Braymore   Nathon Braymore, 3-2        
8 Nick Page   Mike Vasovski, 3-1
       
4 Phil Samms   Mike Vasovski, 3-2   Guillaume Cardin, 3-2
5 Mike Vasovski    
       
2 Duncan McGregor   Duncan McGregor, 3-2
7 Jason Patterson   Guillaume Cardin, 3-1
       
3 Andrew Norowaj   Guillaume Cardin, 3-0
6 Guillaume Cardin    

3rd Place Playoff  
Nathon Braymore Nathon Braymore, 3-1
Duncan McGregor



EVENT COVERAGE FINAL TOP 8 STANDINGS

  • Blog - 4:51 p.m. - Finals: Guillaume Cardin vs. Mike Vasovski
    by Ben Goodman
  • Blog - 4:28 p.m. - 3rd Place Playoff: Duncan McGregor vs. Nathon Braymore
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 3:44 p.m. - Semifinals: Guillaume Cardin vs. Duncan McGregor
    by Ben Goodman
  • Blog - 2:51 p.m. - Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 12:38 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Mike Vasovski vs. Phil Samms
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 12:24 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Nathon Braymore vs. Nick Page
    by Ben Goodman
  • Blog - 10:15 a.m. - Decks: The Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Drafting with Nathon Braymore, Bytown Flavor, Stories from the Floor, Top Pro Play, and More!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 7: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Grinders Decklists, Ted vs. The Canada Border, Lot of Richie Hoaen, Top Pro Play, and More!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 4: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Guillaume Cardin $3,200
 2.  Mike Vasovski $2,200
 3.  Nathon Braymore $1,600
 4.  Duncan McGregor $1,000
 5.  Andrew Norowaj $500
 6.  Phil Samms $500
 7.  Jason Patterson $500
 8.  Nick Page $500
Pairings Results Standings
Final
12
11
10
9
8
7
12
11
10
9
8
7
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
6
5
4
3
2
1
6
5
4
3
2
1
BLOG

 
  • Sunday, August 6: 10:15 a.m. - Decks: The Top 8 Decklists








  • Andrew Noworaj
    Canada Nationals 2006 Top 8


    Guillaume Cardin
    Canada Nationals 2006 Top 8


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 12:24 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Nathon Braymore vs. Nick Page


  • Nick Page

    If you haven't been following this weekend, let me bring you up to speed. Nathon Braymore has attained a record of 10-0 in played matches. He's hoping to make his second national team and so far he's on track with nary a loss to his name. Nick Page hasn't had quite the same success, but still accomplished an impressive 9-3 record in the swiss and even 3-0'd his Coldsnap pod with a triple Icefall deck. He'll need to be fortunate, though, as both players had come to the conclusion that this was the worst matchup he could hope for. We'll see how it plays out and who gets to go to Paris to fight for Canada on the worldwide stage.

    Game 1

    Nathon won the die roll and started off with a mulligan, but kept his next hand quickly and Page followed suit. An Orzhov Basilica from Braymore on turn 2 was not met by an Eye of Nowhere, but rather a Mana Leak was played to stop a Phyrexian Arena. Stone Rain hit the Basilica but Nathon untapped and played a Plains and a Castigate, showing Pyroclasm, Pyroclasm, Compulsive Research, Magnivore, Shivan Reef. The Compulsive Research was selected to leave the building, and on the following turns a Magnivore and a topdecked Meloku both met their doom from two Mortifies in a row.

    All Braymore had at this point was an Isamaru, and one of the Pyroclasms took it down. However, his draw step was kind to him, as Paladin En-Vec emerged and met with the Umezawa's Jitte that lurked in his hand. Page could only grimace and compliment his opponent on his topdeck while land after land came off the top of his deck. The Paladin with the knife would not be denied and charged in twice to pile on the damage, dropping Page to 7. A Sleight of Hand into a Demolish offered a short reprieve for the Magnivore player, but Braymore's luck had not run out. Another Jitte came off the top, and even though Page had a Keiga, the Tide Star to stop the beatings, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails made an appearance and set Paladin in for lethal.

    Nathon leads 1-0.

    Braymore boarded as follows:
    +1 Castigate +3 Persecute +2 Descendant of Kiyomaro
    -1 Umezawa's Jitte -2 Phyrexian Arena -2 Hand of Honor -1 Mortify

    Page boarded:
    +2 Spell Snare +3 Threads of Disloyalty +3 Goblin Flectomancer
    -1 Island -3 Tidings -4 Sleight of Hand

    Game 2

    Both players kept and a turn 1 Steam Vents was met by an Isamaru, Hound of Konda off of a Caves of Koilos. The Caves met an Eye of Nowhere on turn 2 and a Stone Rain on turn 3, and Nathon was without a land, as an Orzhov Basilica was his only land in hand. A Pyroclasm left the Orzhov player with zero permanents, and Nick was looking to try and balance out the fortune that his opponent had received in the previous game. After two turns of discarding, a Plains and a second Isamaru came down, but for both that land and the next Plains off the top, Stone Rain sent them straight to the graveyard.

    At this point an angry Magnivore charged in for seven and things did not look good for the Braymore. After a chump block on the following turn, Page played out a Goblin Flectomancer to ensure that the Magnivore would not meet an untimely demise and Nathon decided that he'd had enough.

    Braymore 1 - Page 1

    Braymore simply removed an Umezawa's Jitte for a Hand of Honor before the third game, but Page reboarded into the following configuration:

    +4 Volcanic Hammer +3 Threads of Disloyalty +2 Spell Snare +3 Goblin Flectomancer +2 Shattering Spree
    -4 Stone Rain -3 Demolish -1 Island -2 Tidings -4 Sleight of Hand

    Game 3

    Both players had to deliberate on their opening hands this time, but they stayed on seven. Braymore's turn 2 bounceland was once again left untouched and a Castigate met a quick Mana Leak. At this point Page stopped playing lands, though the following Paladin En-Vec and Castigate were met with Mana Leak and Spell Snare, respectively. The third Castigate managed to break through, though, and Nick revealed a hand loaded with powerful spells-Compulsive Research, 2 Shattering Sprees, Magnivore, Threads of Disloyalty, Goblin Flectomancer, and Tidings. The Research was quickly removed but it didn't even matter-Nick could not seem to hit a third land to save his life.

    Descendant of Kiyomaro entered play, Ghost Council of Orzhova followed suit, and a Persecute red stripped Page down to a Research, a Threads of Disloyalty, and an Eye of Nowhere. The Magnivore player finally drew a third land and took two from a Steam Vents to drop to nine and play a Research. Nathon untapped, continued his assault, and played an Eight-and-a-Half-Tails to make sure that no funny business could stop him from winning this game. Nick untapped, drew, and smiled as he packed in his cards.

    Braymore 2 - Page 1

    Nathon made no changes to his board at this time, while Page's configuration again changed significantly:

    +4 Volcanic Hammer +3 Goblin Flectomancer +2 Spell Snare
    -3 Tidings -1 Island -2 Sleight of Hand -3 Pyroclasm

    Game 4

    Both players maintained their light but determined demeanor as they started off the fourth game. Page thought for a while and decided to keep his hand and Nathon followed suit. The first turn had a Godless Shrine and an Isamaru for the Orzhov player, but the Shrine was Eyed back to the hand. Compulsive Research was Page's third turn drop and Braymore matched it with a Castigate, revealing Sowing Salt, Stone Rain, Meloku the Clouded Mirror, Spell Snare, Island, and Izzet Boilerworks. The Sowing Salt was selected as Nathon proclaimed that he'd rather "keep his lands in my deck".

    The Stone Rain was cast on the following turn but Braymore's play with the Castigate was made clear as he laid an Orzhov Basilica. Nick shrugged and dropped a Magnivore straight into the red zone for four damage. Nathon decided to Mortify it and attacked back with his Isamaru for two. The Vore player decided that Isamaru needed to die and cast a Volcanic Hammer. He also Spell Snared a Dark Confidant, untapped and played Meloku. Nathon mustered a Ghost Council of Orzhova with a Shizo, Death's Storehouse in play, but Meloku has been known to be good against creature decks and it looked like Page may steal this one and even the match. All he would have to do is race Shizo, and a Stone Rain on a Basilica ensured that he had no chance catching up. At the end of the game, Braymore showed me his hand of 2 more Ghost Councils and 2 Persecute, his hand clogged with four drops and his mana keeping him from doing anything.

    Braymore 2 - Page 2

    11-0 Baby!

    Braymore made a minute adjustment, removing a Ghost Council to bring a Mortify back in, and Page once again radically adjusted his maindeck for the last time:

    +4 Volcanic Hammer +2 Threads of Disloyalty +3 Goblin Flectomancer +2 Spell Snare
    -3 Pyroclasm -1 Island -3 Tidings -4 Sleight of Hand

    Game 5

    Braymore keeps and Page quickly mulligans, maintaining his smile as always. He sighed as he looked at his six carder but kept anyways. Nathon cast an Eight-and-a-Half-Tails that was Spell Snared, and a Hand of Honor on the following turn resolved. Page once again missed his third land drop, and it seems like the risk taken on his mulligan had not paid off. A Persecute was Mana Leaked but the third land was still not forthcoming. Even worse, the next Persecute resolved. When blue was named, an Eye of Nowhere and Meloku hit the bin while two Stone Rains, a Wildfire, and a Sowing Salt lurked in Page's hand. No lands came for the rest of the match, but Nick's grin wouldn't quit as he congratulated Nathon and wished him luck in Paris.

    Nathon Braymore advances to 11-0 on the weekend and ensures himself a spot in Paris.


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 12:38 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Mike Vasovski vs. Phil Samms


  • Phil Samms

    Phil Samms is the loveable Maritimes lunkhead that gets more press than anyone else in this Top 8, though one could hardly be described internet details of Phil's buffoonery as "good" press. Regardless, any press is good, right? Anyway, Samms ran the table on Day 2 to get here, and now he has to hope that his controlling version of Solar Flare is enough to get past Mike Vasovski's slithery menace. For his part, Vasovski did his best work in the draft portion of the event, his U/G Snakes decklist earning the 4-2 needed to put him into Sunday. During testing, both players seemed to think they were advantaged in the matchup, though neither was quite sure how the other ones would sideboard.

    Vasovski won the die roll and had to mulligan, while Samms kept his opening seven. Coiling Oracle on turn 2 got Vasovski a Ninja of the Deep Hours, which made an appearance a turn later, only to be Condemned. Court Hussar threatened to gum up the ground for Samms, but Umezawa's Jitte made any blocks of Coiling Oracle a trade instead, which is exactly what happened. Patagia Viper for Vasovski met another Condemn a turn later, and his replacement was Remanded for a turn. A snake token picked up the Jitte now, forcing Samms to reveal his third Condemn of the game, letting Court Hussar eat Coiling Oracle, as Samms dropped to 19. Vasovski rebuilt with another Viper, but that was merely the cue for Samms to Wrath the board clear.

    Vasovski's threats were entirely underwhelming as he traded counterspells for time, but Angel of Despair from Samms killed his Jitte and spelled a quick death for the Snakes player.

    Samms 1 - Vasovski 0

    Vasovski played a pair of Coiling Oracles in the opening turns for game 3, matched by a Court Hussar from Samms. Sakura-Tribe Scout and Umezawa's Jitte joined the snake army. The game stalled as Samms's spot removal managed to keep Vasovski from attacking, while Remand prevented an end of turn Chord of Calling for Seshiro, the Annointed, and then did it again a turn later. Another Court Hussar from Samms worsened Vasovski's predicament, meaning his Snakes needed to get big to do anything other than sit there. Wrath of God then cleared the board.

    Vasovski used an end of turn Chord that finally resolved to get Coiling Oracle from his deck, revealing Ninja of the Deep Hours on the flip. The Ninja died to Condemn, but a return trip from the Oracle gave Vasovski Seshiro in hand. Sakura-Tribe Scout joined the Oracle on the board, and again Samms Wrathed them both away. Sosuke's Summons finally made its first appearance of the match, and then chained a series of events that led to the immediate demise of Samms (okay, not immediate, it took a turn) due to Coat of Arms-fuelled beatings.

    Samms 1 - Vasovski 1

    Game 3 started in similar fashion to the first two, with Samms casting a turn 3 Court Hussar, but this time Vasovski had Sosuke's Summons. Combine the Summons with Umezawa's Jitte, and Samms was quickly under the gun. Wrath of God times three kept Samms in the game, but as much as Samms could munch (and if you've seen Phil, that's a lot), there always seemed to be more snakes. Kokusho, the Evening Star for Samms gave him an attacker, but Wrath number four again cleared the board to derisive cheers from the crowd, and then Zombify brought back Kokusho for another go. Two dead draws from Vasovski and it was on to game 4.

    "I guess it only takes four Wraths," lamented Vasovski.

    Samms 2 - Vasovski 1

    Mike Vasovski

    "Did you shuffle me Mike? Don't want to have to go through what we went through last game." Vasovski nodded and then sighed, "I have to mulligan." Sosuke's Summons and Sakura-Tribe Elder gave Vasovski early beaters, but Cranial Extraction from Samms made sure the Summons wouldn't get out of hand this time. Coat of Arms left Samms at 7 from the attack of what were formerly three 1/1s, pain from his lands for double white put him at 5, but Wrath provided breathing room. Vasovski rebuilt right away however, and with Samms sporting a slightly underwhelming hand, Vasovski took it down.

    Samms 2 - Vasovski 2

    Game 5 began with Sakura-Tribe Scout from Vasovski, which let him put a pair of free bouncelands into play. Sosuke's Summons resolved and you could practically hear the jet engine revving up. Snakes were gonna be on a mother****ing plane! Samms eventually discarded an Angel of Despair, and then Zombified it a turn later through a Remand with a Remand of his own, but by that time there were 7 snakes on the board. Coat of Arms plus another Sosuke's Summons made any attacks a mere formality, and Samms extended the hand, conceding defeat.

    Vasovski 3 - Samms 2


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 2:51 p.m. - Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles


  • Mike Vasovski

    Mike Vasovski

    Age: 23

    Hometown: Windsor

    Occupation: Grad Student

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Rating

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-2
    Ravnica Draft: 3-0
    Coldsnap Draft: 2-1

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    I did a few drafts the night before and also a few days of Standard testing

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    Snakes. I'm playing it because it gets absolutely nutty draws and has good matchups vs. the format.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    No strategy, I just got lucky.




    Jason Patterson

    Jason Patterson

    Age: 17

    Hometown: Barrie

    Occupation:

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Rating

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 18th GP--Toronto

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 6-0
    Ravnica Draft: 0-3
    Coldsnap Draft: 3-0

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    Smokes McCloaks gave me the deck 2 days before Nats. Ian Woodley and John Crunkletron helped me test.

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    White Weenie/red, because it beats Solar Flare, B/W, and Vore.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    I got a 10th pick Surging Sentinels in the first draft and ended up with 7 of them plus a Field Marshall.




    Duncan McGregor

    Duncan McGregor

    Age: 29

    Hometown: Toronto

    Occupation: Tech Support

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 4

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Rating

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 32 GP Boston '05, 9th Candian Nats '05, 9th GP Toronto '06

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-1-1
    Ravnica Draft: 3-0
    Coldsnap Draft: 2-1

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    I prepared with my Team Comf teammates Nick Page, Jeremy Elgar, and Adam Hurd. We all played a lot online to make sure we were familiar with Standard and then selected decks based on U.S. Nats results and what my card pool could support, since I'm the only one with a lot of real life cards.

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    I'm playing Ghost Husk. It seemed to have good matchups against several decks I expected to show up and very few actually bad matchups. It's versatile and has game against pretty much everything.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    The only decks I found to be reasonable were blue snow (usually with black), green beats (usually with red), and white aggro (with many Kjeldoran War Crys). After I opened Rimefeather Owl and was passed Heidar, I knew I wanted the snow deck and then was lucky enough to open Rimescale Dragon pack 2 to decide my second color.




    Phil Samms

    Phil Samms

    Age: 25

    Hometown: Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia

    Occupation: Internet Celebrity

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Regionals

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Last place, FNM

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-1-1
    Ravnica Draft: 2-1
    Coldsnap Draft: 3-0

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    Who prepares?

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    Solar Flare. I took a deck with good results and ran it.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    Mooooo! And then I ended up U/B Snow instead. Unlucky




    Nick Page

    Nick Page

    Age: 26

    Hometown: Riverview, New Brunswick

    Occupation: Customer Support

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 4

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Rating

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-2
    Ravnica Draft: 2-1
    Coldsnap Draft: 3-0

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    Tested on Magic Online with Duncan McGregor, Adam Hurd, Jeremy Elgar, and Jamie Peyr

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    Vore. It has good matchups against control decks and non-pre red aggro decks.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    I took red Marytrs to clean out early drops, especially Surging Sentinels. I ended up with 3 Icefall and kept all my opponents off snow lands and their expensive creatures.




    Nathon Braymore

    Nathon Braymore

    Age: 21

    Hometown: Missassauga

    Occupation: Student

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 4th

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Rating

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: None

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Nationals Finalist

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-2 (conceded twice)
    Ravnica Draft: 3-0
    Coldsnap Draft: 3-0

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    Played on Magic Online. I built most of the decks in the format and didn't like any of them, so got a list from Evan Dean.

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    Stay out of blue and stick to one color until I get a clear signal to go into another.




    Guillaume Cardin

    Guillaume Cardin

    Age: 23

    Hometown: Laval

    Occupation: Student

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Grinders

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Can Nats Top 8 2003

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 5-1
    Ravnica Draft: 2-1
    Coldsnap Draft: 2-1

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    Drafted with friends for Coldsnap and Magic Online.

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    Heartbeat. I'm used to the deck and could borrow it.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    I just took what I got passed.




    Andrew Noworaj

    Andrew Noworaj

    Age: 21

    Hometown: Ottawa

    Occupation: Student

    Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

    How did you qualify for Canadian Nationals? Grinder

    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 4-1-1
    Ravnica Draft: 3-0
    Coldsnap Draft: 2-1

    How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
    I prepared with some of the better players from the Ottawa talent pool, which is not as shallow as has been previously suggested.

    What Standard deck are you playing? Why did you choose it?
    I had four different decks (Vore, Tron, Solar Flare, and Zoo) ready to go, but I woke up and felt like swinging for 2.

    What strategy did you use for the Coldsnap draft?
    I opened Garza Zol and followed her colors. I started drafting Surging Dementia after getting two of them picks 12 and 13 in pack 1.


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 3:44 p.m. - Semifinals: Guillaume Cardin vs. Duncan McGregor


  • The finals are looming and both players here are very aware of the potential championship that awaits both of them.

    Game 1

    Duncan McGregor

    Duncan won the die roll and chose to start off. He immediately kept and Guillaume followed suit. McGregor deployed a Plagued Rusalka and a Castigate, revealing two Forests, an Island, a Kodama's Reach, a Heartbeat of Spring, and two Weird Harvests. He decided on the Kodama's Reach, and Cardin's second turn imitated his first with a land and nothing else. Promise of Bunrei entered play, and Guillaume, ever the joker, asked "Do you have Mortify?" before he played out his Heartbeat with a shrug and a, "Guess we'll find out."

    Duncan did in fact have Mortify, and even though he missed his fourth land drop he was able to play a Hand of Honor, the Mortify, and send his Plagued Rusalka to the graveyard to trigger his Promise. The Heartbeat player untapped and decided to Weird Harvest for two, getting two Drift of Phantasms while the judge chose Isamaru, Hound of Konda and Dark Confidant. Another Castigate revealed a Forest, an Island, a Heartbeat, a Weird Harvest, and two Drift of Phantasms. The Heartbeat was removed, the spirits attacked to bring Cardin to 11, and Duncan played a freshly drawn land to cast Bob.

    Guillaume was on the ropes, but he hadn't given up yet. He transmuted a Drift to go and find his third Heartbeat, though he did not have the sixth land required to cast it. Bob revealed a Plains, and the Orzhov brigade charged in for 8 points, dropping Cardin to 3. Ghost Council came down and ate Bob to keep Duncan from dying- it looked like the Heartbeat player would need a miracle. Even in his dire state, the banter continued to fly before Guillaume entered into deep thought after his untap.

    The Heartbeat entered play and a Drift fetched an Early Harvest, leaving Cardin with 12 mana available. After a lengthy series of intense mental calculations, Guillaume leaped into action, casting his other Weird Harvest for three and getting his last two Drifts and a Sakura-Tribe Elder. He used a Drift to get an Early Harvest and cast it targeting himself, played a Sakura-Tribe Elder… and then realized that his efforts were futile and conceded.

    Duncan McGregor leads 1-0.

    Duncan sideboarded as follows:
    +2 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails +3 Mindslicer +1 Castigate +1 Mortify +2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
    -3 Orzhov Pontiff -2 Promise of Bunrei -1 Ghost Council of Orzhova -3 Hand of Honor

    Guillaume boarded as follows:
    +3 Carven Caryatid
    -1 Muddle the Mixture -1 Heartbeat of Spring -1 Pyroclasm

    Game 2

    Both players kept very quickly, and Cardin started with the iconic Sensei's Divining Top and Sakura-Tribe Elder. McGregor played a Dark Confidant on turn 2 and Cardin played a sideboard special turn 3 in the form of a Carven Caryatid. Bob flipped a Jitte and Duncan fortified his army with Eight-and-a-Half-Tails and Plagued Rusalka. Cardin only worked the Top on the following turn, and McGregor untapped and had a Castigate to see a Weird Harvest, a Heartbeat of Spring, and two Forests. He selected the Heartbeat and was done after he played out his Jitte.

    Two top activations later, another Caryatid entered play and Cardin seemed to have good defenses-but no gas. The Jitte loomed over the field as a powerful way to break through, and another Castigate removed the Weird Harvest and left Guillaume with only lands. A Husk came down and it looked once again that the Heartbeat player was in need of some very good fortune… especially after Bob flipped a Mortify on the following turn. After some thought, Duncan threw his Rusalka at the Sakura-Tribe Elder and Guillaume cranked the Top once more before searching out a Swamp. The Orzhov player took this time to cast a Plagued Rusalka, equip Husk with the Jitte, and enter the zone.

    Guillaume double-blocked with both Caryatids and the Rusalka and Bob were sacrificed to the cause, taking out a Caryatid. Cardin took this opportunity to play his eighth land, Early Harvest himself, and draw a new hand of seven cards. With a grin he remarked "I'll mulligan?" before passing the turn. A Mindslicer was quickly played and just as quickly Remanded, and it looked like Heartbeat was ready to go off.

    He cast Heartbeat, transmuted Drift, Early Harvested while floating a ton, sacrificed a Sakura-Tribe Elder, transmuted Muddle the Mixture… and it was Duncan's turn to save time by packing up his cards.

    Guillaume Cardin evens up the match at one win apiece. Neither player chose to resideboard.

    Game 3

    As soon as McGregor looked at his hand, he placed it immediately on top of his deck. His second hand took significantly more thought and eventually it too was placed on top of his deck. He didn't look particularly happy with his 5-card hand while Guillaume seemed to be perfectly fine with his 7. Duncan merely played out a Jitte and an Eight-and-a-Half-Tails on turns two and three off of two Plains to face down a turn two Sakura-Tribe Elder. The third Swamp lurked on top of the judge's deck, but it didn't change his course of action from equipping the legend and entering into the zone. It also didn't change Guillaume's plan of blocking with Elder and sacrificing it.

    Cardin untapped with four lands in play and played a fifth and a Top. He let out a small sigh before passing the turn, while Duncan's five-carder continued to improve with a Castigate. The revealed cards were a Heartbeat of Spring, a Weird Harvest, two Forests and an Island. Once again the Heartbeat was selected, and when Cardin untapped he Weird Harvested for four. He fetched four Drifts while Duncan chose Mindslicer, Husk, Dark Confidant, and Isamaru, Hound of Konda. McGregor's untap yielded an attack with Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, two more counters piled on the Jitte, and a Nantuko Husk. Guillaume's untap, on the other hand, was much more impressive, as he chose to play his seventh land, a Heartbeat of Spring, and a lethal Invoke the Firemind.

    Heartbeat leads over Ghost Husk 2-1 and Cardin is one win away from a berth in the finals. He chose not to resideboard, while Duncan switched out the last two Promises in the maindeck for two Hands of Honor.

    Game 4

    Guillaume Cardin

    Duncan once again put his hand on top of his deck without delay. His second hand was much more acceptable to him, and Guillaume once again was pleased with his hand. The Sensei's Divining Top and Sakura-Tribe Elder once again entered play on the first two turns, and all McGregor could muster was a turn 3 Umezawa's Jitte. Carven Caryatid came down for Cardin, but Duncan's rejoinder was the powerful Mindslicer.

    Guillaume was dismayed at the creature but had another Elder to get some lands and stop some damage. He blocked the Mindslicer bearing the Jitte, worked his Top, and Kodama's Reached on his own turn, bringing him up to eight lands in play. The Caryatid met its demise during the end step, and Duncan's turn was just an attack with the Slicer, drawing the first blood of the game.

    Cardin drew his card and entered into deep thought. He played out a Heartbeat of Spring and looked with his Top. All he could muster was another Top and another Elder, though, and Duncan untapped quickly as he calculated what all his newfound mana would enable him to do. The Elder died to a poke from the Jitte, and when Mindslicer entered the attack step, an Okiba-Gang Shinobi jumped out and assaulted Guillaume's hand, which at the moment held only two cards. One of the Tops was used to draw a card, and Remand and another Top entered the graveyard. A Mortify tried to hit a Heartbeat, but it was Muddled, leaving Guillaume with no cards in hand but with the Heartbeat in play. The top card of his library?

    Weird Harvest.

    Guillaume Cardin wins the match 3-1 and advances to the finals. Duncan drops down to the playoff to see who gets to be on the team in an Orzhovan mirror match.


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 4:28 p.m. - 3rd Place Playoff: Duncan McGregor vs. Nathon Braymore


  • Duncan McGregor

    Duncan McGregor is on a tear this season, having played in every Pro Tour thus far, and finishing 9th at Grand Prix-Toronto just a short while ago. With his improbable victory over Jason Patterson in the quarterfinals, he also guaranteed himself a trip to Worlds, though he'll need to win one more match to play on the Canadian National Team. Sitting across from him is the guy who has steamrolled the tournament, Nathan Braymore. A 2003 National Team member, Braymore was undefeated in contested matches this weekend until he fell to Mike Zakovski's deluge of Snakes in the semifinals. The deck matchup here is a Black/White aggro mirror match, though the archetypes differ slightly. Braymore will be relying on his Hand in Hand deck to pull him through, while McGregor picked Ghost Husk as his weapon of choice this weekend.

    McGregor mulliganned to six in game 1 and then kept a one-Plains, all-Black hand for his second set. He drew a Shizo, Death's Storehouse on turn 3, but it already happened to be in play on Braymore's side of the board. That is what we in the business like to call a "bad beat." Death followed hard upon.

    Braymore 1 - McGregor 0

    McGregor kept his seven (for once - he'd mulliganned in his last 3 games prior to this) and cast a turn 1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda followed by Umezawa's Jitte. Braymore cast a turn 2 Dark Confidant and used it to block the dog. A second Confidant from Braymore died to a Jitte counter, but Nathon then played a Paladin en-Vec to stymie McGregor's fresh Nantuko Husk, and tossed a Jitte down to get rid of Duncan's. Promise of Bunrei from Duncan and Descendant of Kiyomaro for Braymore were the next two plays, though the creatures on the board were forced to do nothing more than sit and stare at each other menacingly.

    Braymore eventually sent his Descendant into the fray, and McGregor blocked it, sacrificing two spirit tokens to try and kill the warrior. Shining Shoal made sure that plot failed, redirecting the damage to McGregor's new Dark Confidant. Eight-and-a-Half-Tails provided Duncan an opening to attack, but Last Gasp made certain that only worked once. Braymore had taken care of McGregor's first Umezawa's Jitte, but the second one plus colorless tokens did him in, evening the match at a game a piece.

    Braymore 1 - McGregor 1

    Nathon Braymore

    Game 3 got off to a fast start for both players, with Last Gasp and Mortifies flying everywhere, making certain to keep cards like 8.5 Tails from having a major impact on the game. Another Last Gasp from Braymore killed Dark Confidant while Manriki-Gusari prevented any Jitte shenanigans on McGregor's part. Isamaru, Hound of Konda did the killing with help from Shizo, Death's Storehouse, but the truth was that it was McGregor's land flood that really did him in.

    Braymore 2 - McGregor 1

    Braymore opened game 4 with Isamaru, which McGregor answered with Dark Confidant, only to see it die to Last Gasp. It was quickly turn 4, and the board was already filled with Hand of Honor, a pair of Paladins en-Vec, Nantuko Husk and the puppy. The board was a stalemate briefly, but Umezawa's Jitte from Braymore rapidly changed everything, especially with a pair of protection from black creatures on the board. Promise of Bunrei gave McGregor some blockers, but not before he lost both his Rusalka and his Husk. Unanswered Jitte counters rapidly accumulated, propelling Braymore directly to the national team, having lost only a single match on the weekend.

    Braymore 3 - McGregor 1


     
  • Sunday, August 6: 4:51 p.m. - Finals: Guillaume Cardin vs. Mike Vasovski


  • Mike Vasovski

    This is it. The last lap, the final hurdle, and the conclusion of the Canadian Magic weekend. Guillaume Cardin has made it all the way to the finals from the Standard grinders with his Heartbeat deck, while Mike Vasovski has been surprising people all day long with his horde of Snakes. The pressure is on and the players are ready to see who becomes the champion.

    Game 1

    Guillaume wins the die roll and chose to play. Both players kept their hands, and Cardin had the iconic turn one Sensei's Divining Top to match the similarly iconic turn one Sakura-Tribe Scout from Vasovski. A Coiling Oracle came down and revealed a Seshiro the Anointed, but Guillaume had a snake of his own in the form of a Sakura-Tribe Elder. Scout brought out a Simic Growth Chamber on end step, and after a Sosuke's Summons, Scout and Oracle charged in. The Scout died to the Elder and a Mountain was fetched. As the Heartbeat player has been known to do, he worked the Top once again, and played a Kodama's Reach on untap, bringing him up to six lands. The remaining two of those lands tapped to cast a Pyroclasm, and all Vasovski could manage was an Elder on the following turn and a "Nice rip."

    While Guillaume transmuted a drift for a Heartbeat on the following turn, Vasovski grinned at the crowd and said "This isn't really an exciting matchup-I'm just gonna get bashed!" to a chuckle from the spectators. The Elder was sacrificed on end-step and the Summons was cast once more. Another Drift transmuted for an Early Harvest this time as Cardin assembled the perfect hand, taking lots of time due to the little pressure he was under. Vasovski played another Summons and a Breeding Pool, keeping two mana up as usual.

    Guillaume worked the top on end step, untapped, and played a Heartbeat. An Early Harvest resolved, Top was cashed in to draw a card, and a Weird Harvest fetched two Drifts, a Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Maga, Traitor to Mortals. Massive amounts of mana were added to Guillaume's pool, and after three Harvests, a lethal Maga was cast. It was Remanded, but all that was necessary was the fourth Harvest. A Drift transmuted for this very purpose and Maga once again came down for lethal.

    Guillaume took the first game in this match and moves to 1-0.

    Cardin boarded as follows:

    +2 Naturalize +3 Savage Twister
    -1 Sensei's Divining Top -1 Heartbeat of Spring -1 Invoke the Firemind -2 Weird Harvest

    Vasovski boarded:

    +3 Spell Snare +3 Pithing Needle +2 Ghost Quarter
    -2 Umezawa's Jitte -1 Forest -1 Island -3 Patagia Viper -1 Seshiro the Anointed

    Game 2

    Vasovski immediately mulliganed once… and then twice. Cardin decided to join the party and had a mulligan of his own, but kept his six cards. Mike led off with a Sakura-Tribe Scout and remarked off-hand "Now all I need is to draw a karoo!" Of course, after his first draw step, he revealed a Simic Growth Chamber with a laugh to the rolled eyes of this reporter. Sakura-Tribe Elder also entered play off of a freshly played Ghost Quarter, and on the following turn the creatures entered the zone. A Coiling Oracle revealed a Remand, which was used on the Elder Cardin tries to cast, and on the following turn the Oracle turned into a Ninja of the Deep Hours. Cardin's Elder was Mana Leaked, and when the Oracle was replayed, it showed a second Remand, continuing Mike's incredible draw.

    Cardin knew it was looking grim and made the desperate play of Early Harvest, transmute Muddle the Mixture for Pyroclasm, pass the turn. Mike's own turn was a Chord of Calling for six, fetching Seshiro the Anointed and bringing Guillaume to one life and no outs.

    Vasovski evens up the match at one game apiece. Neither player resideboarded.

    Game 3

    The players remained light-hearted as the match proceeded in earnest, though Cardin once again had to throw back his opening seven. He kept his six and Vasovski's eight did not have a Scout this time. He did have a turn two Coiling Oracle, but it met a Remand as Guillaume dug to make up for his mulligan. He found what he was looking for on the following turn with a Forest and a Sensei's Divining Top, and Mike's third turn Oracle only revealed a Sakura-Tribe Elder, leaving him behind in his efforts to race. His sideboard came out with a Pithing Needle naming Drift of Phantasms, and Cardin's pace visibly slowed as he determined how to win through the roadblock.

    Vasovski still did not have much pressure, though, and his attack squad of two Coiling Oracles left something to be desired. The Heartbeat player continued to build up his mana base, but still did nothing, and an Umezawa's Jitte entered play for Mike, looking to turn his attackers from tiny to terrifying. A Naturalize tried to hit the Pithing Needle on endstep, but it was Spell Snared-and the following Muddle the Mixture met the same fate, leaving Mike with two cards in hand and Cardin with a worried expression.

    He untapped, dropped a Heartbeat, and cashed in Top to get a Savage Twister, clearing the board. Vasovski dropped a Pithing Needle on the Sensei's Divining Top that lurked on top of the Heartbeat player's deck. His next turn was a Sakura-Tribe Scout, and it looked as though the Jitte would finish this game off. Cardin could only muster a hardcast Drift of Phantasms, and after another draw step he packed up the cards.

    Mike Vasovski takes the lead 2-1 in the finals. He declined to resideboard, while Cardin brought in 1 Weird Harvest, 1 Heartbeat of Spring, 1 Invoke the Firemind, and 1 Sensei's Divining Top for 4 Remands.

    Game 4

    Once again Cardin had to mulligan, though somehow both players kept their carefree attitudes. Guillaume claimed that he would win on turn three, but one could say that Mike (as well as myself) did not believe him. Guillaume started with a turn one Top and even though it was Needled, a Naturalize was fired out in his mainphase. Vasovski managed a turn 2 Sakura-Tribe Elder, and on the following turn he brought in a Ninja. A lighter moment surfaced when he tried to sacrifice Elder in response to the Ninja trigger (which doesn't work as Elder is returned as part of the cost) and Guillaume grinned as he exclaimed "So that's how you made it to the finals!", eliciting a laugh from the bystanders.

    His next turn had a Kodama's Reach, which led into a Savage Twister, clearing the board.

    Cardin: "Tap out! Tap out!"
    Vasovski: "Only for you."

    Guillaume tapped out to draw 4 cards with Invoke the Firemind, and after Vasovski's Coat of Arms left him low on mana once again, though with lethal damage next turn. Cardin untapped and decided he had to go for it.

    Cardin: "What do I have to lose?"
    Spectators: "Canadian Nationals."
    Cardin: "Very funny."

    He entered deep into thought, though, and played a Heartbeat, a Harvest, and then transmuted Muddle the Mixture. With the search on the stack, Mike picked up his cards.

    The match advances to the fifth and final game-the last game that will be played in the entirety of Canadian Nationals. Neither player resideboarded.

    Game 5

    Mike scans his hand and keeps, while Guillaume was finally pleased with his seven as well. Mike's first turn Breeding Pool met a Forest and a Top from the other side. Sakura-Tribe Elder entered play for the Snakes player, but the following turn simply had an attack and a Growth Chamber-not the start he wanted. Cardin got his turn 3 Kodama's Reach, to which Vasovski responded with "My hand's bad." The Reach resolved and the following turn had a land drop (a Ghost Quarter) and nothing else. Another Reach resolved and it would take some serious work for Mike to catch up.

    An end-of-turn Chord of Calling for two fetched a Coiling Oracle, which revealed a Sakura-Tribe Scout. A second Ghost Quarter came down, complicating the Heartbeat Player's plans, but the pressure of the three 1/1s was still not enough for Vasovski to feel confident in his position. Guillaume lapsed deep into thought and decided to play a Mountain and Savage Twister for one. A Ghost Quarter was used during the end step to take out the Mountain, and Vasovski tapped down to the second Quarter to lay a Coat of Arms with no creatures in play. Cardin untapped, played an Island, and once again lapsed into thought.

    Vasovski: "Kodama's Reach-you know you want to."
    Cardin: "You read my mind."

    Guillaume Cardin is the Canada Nationals Champion!

    A Heartbeat entered play and a Weird Harvest for four was cast. Cardin fetched three Drifts and a Maga while Mike got three Coiling Oracles and a Sakura-Tribe Scout. . All that was done after the Harvest was a look with the Top, though, and Mike played out all three Oracles (revealing Summons, Mana Leak, Coat of Arms). He had seven cards left in hand, two Breeding Pools up, and the Ghost Quarter ready to act.

    Vasovski: "Wouldn't it be amazing if my top card was Pithing Needle?"

    Cardin untapped and prepared to take the last turn he would for the entire tournament. He transmuted a Drift for a second Heartbeat and played it, leaving both players with ample amounts of mana. Guillaume played his Swamp and tapped it for three black mana, giving him what he would need to win. All it would take is a resolved Remand, though, and Cardin would not be able to win. He tutored for a Harvest and started his procedure of adding tons of mana to his pool as he tried to puzzle out a way to win past two counters and or if he should just move all-in. Top was used, another Drift transmuted… for a Drift, Top was used again, and finally it was cashed in. The last Drift went to get another Harvest, and Guillaume was ready to cast the lethal Maga. Vasovski looked at his hand… tapped a land… and conceded, making Guillaume the Canadian national champion!

    The kicker? Vasovski flipped over the top card… Pithing Needle.

    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator