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Day 2 Blog Archive

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Podcast - 7:59 p.m.: Heading for Halfway
    by Richard Hagon
  • Podcast - 7:55 p.m.: The Story of Standard, Part 1.
    by Richard Hagon
  • Blog - 7:33 p.m.: Round 7 Richard Moore vs. Stuart Wright
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 6:06 p.m.: Saproling Mayhem!
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 5:15 p.m.: Round 6: Nick Lovett vs. Stephen Murray
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 4:07 p.m.: Round 5: Tom Harle vs. Andrew 'Boomer' Clayton
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 2:34 p.m.: Artistry
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 2:09 p.m.: Flashback!
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Podcast - 12:44 p.m.: The Last Chances Run Out
    by Richard Hagon
  • Blog - 12:12 p.m.: LCQ Decklists
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 11:44 a.m.: Round 2: Ian Pirouet vs. Calum Stephenson
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Blog - 11:01 a.m.: Round 1: Quentin Martin vs. Craig Stevenson
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Podcast - 10:15 a.m.: 178 Take on the Champ
    by Richard Hagon
  • Blog - 10:10 a.m.: Players to Watch
    by Tim Willoughby

  • BLOG


     
  • Friday, 10:10 a.m. - Players to Watch
    by Tim Willoughby


  • It's rather bright, and very early here at M-Fest day two, and players are filtering into the venue at a rare old pace, zipping around the room getting their last sideboard slots filled and sleeving up before the big event of the day, the first 6 rounds of UK nationals. While still a little sleep addled, I took the time to pick out a few players to watch, and where possible get some embarrassing photos of them to go with!

    Dave Grant

    Dave Grant, a bit TOO early in the morning

    One of the 'Old School' players who is always a good bet for Nationals, Dave was a bleary eyed blur this morning as he zipped around the hall scouring for the final cards for his Rakdos deck. Yesterday he could be seen asking for 'some red and black cards'. For anyone that took the time to find out what he needed, you'd find out that he was in fact 57 or so cards short. He had 3 Dark Confidant…

    Craig Stevenson

    The Starcitygames.com editor will still be the English National Champion at the end of the weekend, but he's still raring to add another trophy to the cabinet. One of the Mox Radio team for the event, he's been preparing with some of the best players in the country, and looked pretty happy going into the event. (We're pretty sure that what's in the bottle is water!)

    Calum Stephenson

    The other Stevenson from the finals of last year's English Nationals, Calum has spent all year thinking about Magic. He went undefeated in Standard in 2006, and has been working on his draft game intently with the rest of his team from Reading games store Eclectic Games. When asked about his deck for this year, he smiled a little. "It's pretty techy… I'm pretty happy with my choice".

    Daniel Yendall

    Daniel Yendall - ever-confident!

    Last year was Daniel Yendall's first multi-day event, and after he crashed out of RGD draft 0-3, he though, much like in any PTQ, that he was all done. When he was told that he could win out and make top eight, he just laughed, proceeded to do exactly that, and then narrowly missed out on making it into the national team. This year, he's raring for a second bite of the cherry, and looking frustratingly awake and confident in spite of having been up late into the night, working out the final card for his main deck. Oh to be 15 again.

    Quentin Martin

    Magicthegathering.com writer Quentin Martin is a little jet-lagged. He got back from Las Vegas on Thursday, after an extended stay in the US following PT San Diego, and went straight to work finding cards for his Standard deck. More naturally inclined to limited formats, Quentin is having a great season on the Pro Tour, and is chasing his very first Nationals top 8, to go along with his GP and Pro Tour finishes.

    Stuart Wright

    There is a core contingent of players whose big plan for Nationals is to ask Stuart Wright for a deck. Even if he gives you his second or third choice, it tends to be pretty incredible, as to the best of anyone's knowledge all he does is play Magic. This year, he's joined part of the Mox Radio team, along with Craig Stevenson, Craig 'Prof' Jones, Andrew Clayton, and Tom Harle, to name but a few.

    Nick Lovett

    Last year's 3rd place at Worlds Nick Lovett

    Last year, Nick snuck onto the Welsh national team without too many people noticing, then proceeded not to lose a constructed match at Worlds until the semi-finals. Since then he's been enjoying level 3 status and flying around the world playing on the Pro Tour, and generally having a whale of a time. This year, he had two options going into the event… one 'exciting', and one 'boring Rakdos deck'. We on the coverage team are hoping for excitement, but Nick is known for making good constructed choices, so one way or another we're sure he'll choose the right one.

    Dan Paskins

    Dan has updated his list from last year's nationals. Now it's called Red Deck Wins 2007. No surprises there then. The original Red Mage, Dan will be throwing fire better than anyone else in the room once again, and showing people that while there might be five colours in Magic, it isn't necessarily a good idea to get distracted from the one that will burn you if you do. Dan might be the single person most happy that red's premier one drop is now not one that requires there to be a forest in play. Burn to shine Dan, burn to shine.



     
  • Friday, 10:15 a.m. - 178 Take on the Champ
    by Richard Hagon
  • If Craig Stevenson is to defend his title, he will have to go through 178 others to get there. The huge success of M-fest has seen players from far and wide descend on Birmingham for the biggest event of the gaming year. Join us on the Metagame Runaround, as we see just how many Tarmogoyfs, Blood Crypts, and Mystical Teachings are going to be making the top tables. All the top plays, all the top players, here on magicthegathering.com.

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  • Friday, 11:01 a.m. - Round 1: Quentin Martin vs. Craig Stevenson
    by Tim Willoughby


  • Round 1 Feature match Craig Stephenson vs Quentin Martin

    Round one saw a pretty saucy pairing - the current English National Champion against the English player who is currently at the top of the English game when it comes to Pro Tour performance. Quentin currently writes about limited for magicthegathering.com, and had his laptop all ready in case he needed to take notes.

    Last time they played was at another nationals, where Quentin's Mirari's Wake deck succumbed to the Blue/Green Madness of Mr Stevenson. Quentin won the roll this time though, and was all set to break Craig's streak.

    Quentin began slowly with a karoo on turn two, followed up by a Compulsive Research from his Angelfire deck. Meanwhile Craig was unabashedly mono-green to begin, with Treetop Village and Llanowar Elves over the first few turns. Quentin had to discard two cards to his research, as the Boros Garrison he had in play had increased the number of cards he had in hand anyway. As he ditched two lands, he mumbled "misclick".

    Craig had a Glare of Subdual the following turn, showing that he was still pretty happy with the plan that had served him so well the year before. Quentin, the control player in the matchup, just continued to play land, and wait for Craig to bite first.

    A Summoner's Pact from Craig found Troll Ascetic, who soon joined Craig's Mox Radio team. This was enough to prompt a Wrath of God from Quentin, who had effectively, Time Walked Craig's following turn, which was consumed with paying for his pact. This time was used well by Martin, who made a couple of signets and Lightning Angel to get in with, taking the life totals to 18-17 in his favour.

    Llanowar Elves and Harmonic Sliver from Craig (taking out a signet) were enough to stop Quentin's offence pretty handily, and he went back to the card drawing plan, using Foresee to scry into the choice of Foresee, Court Hussar and two Aeon Chroniclers. After some thought, he left them all on top, with the Aeon Chroniclers not making it to his hand. The second Foresee gave him a Boros Garrison and an Izzet Signet to think about. With a hand now consisting of Wrath of God, Bogarden Hellkite, Court Hussar and Hallowed Fountain, he chose to draw the mana sources, and still kept the Chronicler around.

    Craig's turn was a little simpler, he simply got his beat on with everyone, including Treetop Village, or Monkey Town as it's now known given it's new Ape status when animated. He had a black source and a Putrefy for Lightning Angel, keeping up pressure while denying Quentin of any sort of offence. Wrath of God plus Court Hussar followed, and Craig was left to continue on the Treetop Village beats plan, making a welcome return to Standard from everyone but the control players.

    Quentin did have an answer, with a Bogardan Hellkite, who killed off Craig's team, only to be stymied by the combination of a Putrefy and Selesnya Guildmage after combat. Quentin spent his turn on a suspended Detritivore for 3, and a suspended Aeon Chronicler for 1, tapping out in the process. With a Glare of Subdual on the board, punching through damage would be tough, and Craig seemed to have all the answers in the form of a Loxodon Warhammer to allow a swing taking Quentin down to 6, while Craig returned to a healthy 19 life. Quentin had plenty of Aeon Chroniclers at his disposal, but no real answer to the threat on the board. He hard cast a Detritivore, and suspended another Chronicler for 4 this time.

    Craig didn't need to do a great deal more to win this game, making a few saprolings to work with his Glare, and beating with his Guildmage to seal up Game 1.

    Game 2

    Quentin had a mulligan for game 2 on the play, but led off with a quick Lightning Helix on Craig's Llanowar Elves, and had a Signet to accelerate apace also. Craig's next threat was a troublesome one. Troll Ascetic might well be the best threat in the format right now, and Quentin would have to race with lifegain or play Wrath of God to deal with it. He chose the former option to start, using a second Lightning Helix on a Treetop Village to effectively fog for a turn, (with bonus Stone Rain thrown in).

    Quentin is looking afraid... or is it a bluff?

    Quentin was soon facing another Treetop Village, but his lifegain was keeping him nicely in the race, especially in the face of Horizon Canopy pain whittling down his opponent. Quentin had the time to suspend an Aeon Chronicler for two, and left a Court Hussar in the way of Troll Ascetic to buy the time to make the most of those cards. Faith's Fetters on Monkey Town bought more time for Quentin, who was busily building up lands for a pontentially huge Demonfire.

    Loxodon Warhammer on Troll Ascetic did not help this plan, and neither did a karoo bouncing Treetop Village so that at some point it could attack again. Aeon Chronicler came in and swung Craig back down to 13, then Take Possession appeared to effectively neuter Loxodon Warhammer.

    Stevenson still had a few tricks up his sleeve though. On the following turn's swing he had Stonewood Invocation, to do enough damage that it would kill Quentin before the Warhammer trigger could resolve.

    Craig Stevenson wins 2-0!



     
  • Friday, 11:44 a.m. - Round 2: Ian Pirouet vs. Calum Stephenson
    by Tim Willoughby


  • Round 2 Feature match Calum Stephenson vs Ian Pirouet

    Last year, both members of our round 2 feature match made it through to the top eight of English Nationals, and this feature match reporter managed to spectacularly Iain's name wrong. It's become something of a tradition now, so if any selective dyslexia appears in the coverage of the following games, it is all an in joke… promise. Both of these players are regulars at Eclectic Games in Reading and had tested the matchup pretty thoroughly, declaring it to be something of a bloodbath - one which they both desperately wanted to prevail in.

    Piroetu led off with a suspended Riftwing Cloudskate, and had another shortly thereafter, while Calum was all about Troll Ascetic, a pretty devastating creature given the suspend action going on. He had a Griffin Guide for it, and suddenly put Ina on a four turn clock. Venser said no to all that though, firstly bouncing the Griffin Guide, then blocking Troll Ascetic who did not have regeneration mana up. Cloudskate number one put Calum back on land, before beating for a turn, before his friend joined in.

    "All my cards are really bad."

    "It's a problem isn't it" replied a cheerful Pirouto.

    Calum played a Hierarch, and chuckled as his opponent missed on Aethermage's Touch at the end of turn. He was taking a lot of pain from Horizon Canopy, but had the Griffin Guide for Loxodon Hierarch to (hopefully) stem the beats. With just one card in hand, it looked that Ianis had run out of gas. Looks were deceiving though, as a Bogardan Hellkite sprung out to deal five to Stephenson's face. On just 4 now, he was dead to the team of flyers coming in.

    Calum Stephenson ponders on how to better Magic...

    Game 2

    On the play, Calum had a mulligan, but started with a Llanowar Elves. His turn 3 Loxodon Hierarch got hit by Remand, then another one the very next turn, as Ignatious ramped up to Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. Glare of Subdual then got stopped by a third Remand, reduced in cost by the Azorius legend. Loxodon Hierarch was hit by Venser, and Piratouet mana burned for one as he forgot about his Grand Arbiter. Troll Ascetic was held off by Momentary Blink on Venser, and an impish Iguanodon continued to beat in. A flashed back Momentary Blink dealt with Hierarch again. A swing and a Bogardan Hellkite was enough to end it.

    Indigo Pomegranite wins 2 - 0!



     
  • Friday, 12:12 p.m. - LCQ Decklists
    by Tim Willoughby


  • There were a brave 8 players that were getting to be at about 2am, and back in for the first round of UK Nationals today, and here are their decklists. It seems that Slivers might be on to something in Standard as well as in block. One of the decklists appears to have shroud at the moment - but rest assured that if any new hotness shows up, you will get the decklists.

    Andrew J Thompson
    ‘Flippin’ Slivers’


    Russell Henley
    Satanic Sligh



    Thomas Battcock
    Can’t Touch This



    Baljeet Samra
    Rakdos Flambé




     
  • Friday, 12:44 p.m. - The Last Chances Run Out
    by Richard Hagon


  • In our second show from M-fest, we get a trader viewpoint on the potential Championship metagame, follow the Limited Last Chance Qualifier to it's epic late-night conclusion, and I become an official DCI Level 1 judge. Possibly.

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  • Friday, 2:09 p.m. - Flashback!
    by Tim Willoughby


  • Aside from the main event of Great Britain Nationals today, there are a whole host of other formats and events for people to partake in. Aside from your regular, run of the mill, awesome PTQs, there are players reliving 2001 with Odyssey block sealed, doing flashback the old fashioned way, and having fun with Threshold along the way. For the rest of the weekend there are blocks going all the way back to Revised sealed deck!

    Those dual lands might be interesting for the players of Legacy events running today, which are enjoying a whole new wave of interest in the format following the big announcement that the format will be supported at worlds. Stay tuned for the winning decklists on that one later on.

    Yesterday we saw some precon tournaments, in which some of the more brutal pre-constructed decks of the last few years butted heads against each other, with the Jitte powered Rat's Nest proving it's worth. These will be running every day, and having looked at the stock room, there are precons going back all the way to Tempest block, some of which are very exciting.

    Even with unseasonably awful weather warnings around the UK right now, the only danger of flood here at M-Fest is mana flood - or possibly event flood. If you can get here this weekend, do… you won't regret it.



     
  • Friday, 2:34 p.m. - Artistry
    by Tim Willoughby


  • Here at M-Fest, we have 3 Magic artists in house doing signings, pictures, and selling prints of the various pieces of artwork they have produced in their illustrious careers.

    Jean-Sebastien Rossbach is here with some beautiful illustrations including the Edge of Autumn artwork, which is even more impressive as a large print than a future-shifted Sorcery.

    Jean-Sebastial Rossbach

    Katsuhiro Mori Token by Jean-Sebastian Rossbach

    Dave Kendall, whose latest masterpiece is the new Goblin token in 10th Edition is also here, along with R.K.Post, who when not signing Morphlings and Ichorids and Lightning Angels is showing off some of his stunning non-Magic art, including work for the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons line.

    Dave Kendall

    Jon Sonne Token by Dave Kendall

    For this event, as a little challenge, I gave each artist a Pro Player card to work with, to create a new token card. The results are, quite frankly, spectacular. Dave Kendall has turned Johnathan Sonne into a Goblin that isn't a million miles away from the new 10th ed artwork, for a classier Siege-Gang Commander Token. R.K. Post's Kenji Tsumura is a little demon who you definitely wouldn't want to sit down against. Finally we have Katsuhiro Mori as a Kamigawa block legend. Each of the artists here at the show really excelled themselves, showing that they are at these events to do more than just write their name on cards.

    rk post

    Kenji Tsumura Token by rk post



     
  • Friday, 4:07 p.m. - Round 5: Tom Harle vs. Andrew 'Boomer' Clayton
    by Tim Willoughby


  • For some reason, in spite of the fact that Andrew Clayton was on the English national team last year, he rocked up to round 5 of the Great Britain Nationals with a plush Welsh dragon on his side. Tom Harle, who has also represented England at Worlds, and won an English Nationals back when it was a qualifier for UK Nationals way back when was clear in his sentiments. He was playing for England.

    Both are members of the Mox Radio team, and entered the match pretty happy. Tom led out with an Amrou Scout who was quickly joined by Saltfield Recluse, while Boomer had a morph and the potentially devastating Chronazoa off a Chromatic Star in spite of only having Swamps and Plains in play - who might end up tough for Harle to remove.

    For a race though, Essence Sliver from Harle looked likely to make things a little touch better, and he continued to lay the impressive white monsters, with a Castle Raptors. All in all the board was getting thoroughly gummed up, as Boomer replied with Even the Odds and an Aven Riftwatcher. In the short term it would be tough for either player to get much damage through, and Boomer used a Momentary Blink to keep his best threat, the Chronazoa, alive for long enough for it to multiply, while taking down Castle Raptors in a double block.

    A rebel search found Tom a Zealot il-Vec, who quickly despatched an Icatian Crier, and then started whittling down the rest of Boomer's team, but Boomer wasn't about to get shaken off. He attacked with most of his team, and used a Shaper Parasite to take down Essence Sliver. Tom made a Kavu Primarch with kicker, but was on the back foot to what was now a pair of Chronozoa. Tom barrelled in, in what was now a race. Each player was at 15, with Boomer ruling the skies, while Tom was crashing in on the ground. Aven Riftwatcher fetched up from Tom looked good, and when it was bounced by Stormfront Riders it looked even better.

    Boomer played a Dralnu, Lich Lord and passed. He suddenly looked in a lot of trouble, behind on life, board presence and cards in hand. Kavu Primarch was acting like The Abyss for Tom, as Boomer kept throwing creatures in front of the kickered monster. Another Saltfield Recluse got fetched by Amrou Scout, making for a formidable team. A flashed back Marshalling Cry allowed for an attack for 32 points in total, and while Boomer had a few blockers, they weren't nearly enough

    Game 2

    Boomer led off with a Blade of the Sixth Pride, and followed up with Icatian Crier, while Tom had the turn one Shade of Trokair suspend, turn 2 Amrou Scout, turn 3 Hedge Troll, for a pretty formidable force.

    Goldmeadow Lookout came down for Boomer, who took a few beats the following turn from the aggressive force on the other side of the board. He had a Chronozoa to follow up though, which looked solid in the face of a green white deck. Zealot il-Vec from Tom was a fine answer to Goldmeadow Lookout, but he was, once more weathering Chronozoa beats. A Death Rattle on Zealot il-Vec further compounded the trouble Tom appeared to be in, though he did play a Luscent Liminid which may have been able to block the Chronozoa. Tom's rebels were again being fetched with some speed, and a Stormfront Riders added to Tom's air force, meaning that suddenly he could compete with a multiplying monster from Boomer. The game was suddenly tightening up, with each player sat on eight.

    Stonecloaker swapped places with a Chronozoa token in the middle of a fight, but Tom had a Castle Raptors to rule the air in spite of this setback. Ultimately, Andrew was forced to trade with them in a fight, clearing the board quite a lot on both sides, though ultimately in favour of Harle.

    While Chronozoa seemed to be providing some inevitability for Boomer, suddenly tempo was an issue. Tom's green/white deck was churning out quality creatures faster than Boomer could create blockers, and it wasn't long before an alpha strike saw Boomer scooping them up.

    Tom Harle wins 2-0!



     
  • Friday, 5:15 p.m. - Round 6: Nick Lovett vs. Stephen Murray
    by Tim Willoughby


  • In case anyone was in any doubt about the fact that this was the United Kingdom Nationals, rather than the English Nationals, one need only look to the top of the standings going into round 6. Nick Lovett and Stephen Murray, members of the 2006 Welsh and Scottish national teams faced off at 5-0, with each agreeing that they didn't mind too much who won Nationals, as long as it isn't an English player. No national rivalries there.

    Stephen launched off with a suspended Infiltrator il-Kor, while Nick had a morph for his third turn on the play. Spiketail Drakeling came down for Murray, whose draft had solidified it's colours into blue white significantly before Nick ever settled down with his - having picked something of a rainbow of good cards early on before eventually settling into what was largely a red / green deck.

    It was the blue white deck from Scotland that took the early lead with a Sunlance on Nick's only creature, the morph, revealing it to be a 1/5 Aquamorph Entity. Nick could already be seen to be leaning on the Prismatic Lens he had in play, and got a two for one the following turn with a Subterranean Shambler, which killed off the fresh Infiltrator, and a Sarcomite Myr that Stephen had committed to the board.

    Murray played Voidstone Gargoyle, naming Ghostfire, and started racing with Nick, with neither player blocking the other, and Nick dropping to 8 in short order. The difference was that Murray would ultimately be the one able to choose to block more easily - he was the one with all the fliers. Malach of the Dawn made Murray's air force one point off being lethal, and Lovett thought hard before making any swings. He eventually went for it with Aquamorph Entity and Subterranean Shambler, getting in for a point, before a Riddle of Lightning got pointed at Voidstone Gargoyle. Murray calmly looked at his hand and allowed it. A Sulfurous Blast got revealed to kill the 3/3, and Murray swung in to take Nick to 4, nearly low enough that he wouldn't be able to play his mass removal spell. A Mistmeadow Skulk seemed to ensure that the Blast would be a bad plan, and soon Nick was forced to scoop it up, in the face of another lethal attack.

    "Now I know what to name with my Gargoyle." remarked Murray happily.

    "Nessian Courser?"

    "Yeah…"

    Game 2

    Stephen led off with a powerful Amrou Scout in game 2 on the draw, while Nick accelerated out with both Prismatic Lens and Edge of Autumn. This let the Scot have a few turns to get his beat on, before Quagnoth jumped into play, as 'not quite a dragon'. Murray flashed his hand of all lands and a Sunlance… not great, but not the worst when combined with a rebel searcher. Nick made a Firefright mage the following turn, while Andrew had a Saltfield Recluse to fight back with thanks to his searcher. The rebel beat in, in a controversial play from Murray, while Nick continued to do the same with his 4/5 shroud monster. Errant Doomsayers was the next rebel to join Murray's cause, but it still seemed to be a losing one, with him languishing on 12 life to his opponent's 17. Unphased, Murray just kept on beating, if beating is really the right term for the tiny plinks of damage he was applying.

    Murray tried for a Leaden Fists on his Amrou Scout so that he could block and kill Quagnoth, but his creature fell to Ghostfire in response, leaving Murray with few outs to pull things back. A kicked out Pouncing Wurm made life even tougher for Murray, who delayed things for a turn with Snapback, but dropped to 4 nevertheless. The following turn he scooped it up.

    Game 3

    The first action of game 3 was a Spiketail Drakeling from Murray, which was soon joined by a Malach of the Dawn. Nick got an unkicked Pouncing Kavu down, but it was swiftly Sunlanced, to keep Murray in dominating position. Nick played a Llanowar Empath, revealing a Riddle of Lightning. Attacks the following turn dropped Nick to 10 before he could draw the removal spell, which traded with Spiketail Drakeling without giving Nick the scry.

    Things looked perilous for Nick, who dropped a Triskelavus onto the board with a shrug. This was his chance, he would have to see if it worked. Riftwing Cloudskate seemed to think not. Nick took a long look at his cards, and extended his hand.

    Stephen Murray wins 2-1!



     
  • Friday, 6:06 p.m. - Saproling Mayhem!
    by Tim Willoughby


  • The picture pretty much tells the story here. 20+ Saprolings in play on both sides. Even with a judge's help, things get a little silly when both players have a Sprout Swarm in play, and there are rumours of at least one deck in draft one that ended up with four!




     
  • Friday, 7:33 p.m. - Round 7 Richard Moore vs. Stuart Wright
    by Tim Willoughby


  • "I have four more rares in my deck than Stuart does… something he appears to be quite worried about"

    Richard Moore's deck is pretty nuts. Damnation, Oros, Kaervek, Serrated Arrows, etc. He went into the match a little downhearted to play against Stuart, who he has a nasty habit of losing to, but the 2005 English National Champion was definitely not offering the draw with his deck.

    Stuart led off with a Looter il-Kor, and soon had a second to join it, while taking the beats from a Blazing Blade Askari. All that card drawing found Stuart a Spiketail Drakeling, which quickly died to Fatal Attraction.

    Richard tried for a Festering March, but was stopped by a Logic Knot, which Stuart had proclaimed as they were shuffling up to have been really good for him in the draft, where apparently almost every other player has some number of dragons.

    Stuart used Stingscourger to bounce Richard's only monster, and used Llanowar Reborn to make his goblin a 3/3. A cycled Ichor Slick killed the goblin, and Stuart continued to dig into his deck with Looters. Having drawn a whole bunch of extra cards over the course of the match, Stuart's draw was looking pretty good. At the end of turn, Moore played Riddle of Lightning targeting Stuart, revealing Kaervek the Merciless. Stuart sighed.

    "I don't know if you've got any more counterspells" said Rich, as he played his bomb.

    Stuart just cast Sprout Swarm with buyback, and then once again without, all before the legend resolved.

    In the face of Kaervek, Stuart cast a morph, dutifully taking the zero damage from Kaervek.

    Richard had a Tendrils of Corruption for the morph, leading Stuart to muse that he might not be able to win the game without decking himself. Richard jumped up above 10, and finally Stuart showed that he had an answer to Kaervek, in the form of Lightning Axe.

    Richard's response? Damnation followed by Brain Gorgers. Nice deck.

    Stuart played Deadwood Treefolk, fetching back a Sporoloth Ancient. Richard had Spitting Sliver, to Stuart's Durkwood Baloth. Having played Dredge in Standard, Stuart looked at his colossal graveyard and mused that it felt like playing Dredge again now.

    Richard was on 7, and had to survive six more turns before Stuart decked himself. Attacks took him to 4, and the following turn an Evolution Charm let the Sporoloth Ancient swoop in for the final points.

    Game 2

    "Everyone else in the draft has decks full of bombs…"

    "How are you doing so far?"

    "3-0"

    After mulligans on both sides, Richard led off with Blazing Blade Askari again, while Stuart had an Aven Augur. The Augur got it's bounce on and Stuart looked like he might edge ahead with Looter il-Kor, until Richard ripped a Serrated Arrows to kill it, and followed up with a Mass of Ghouls. Serrated Arrows put a counter on the Augur, which got finished off by Grapeshot, before Treacherous Urge dealt with Deadwood Treefolk, putting Stuart to 'nearly dead'.

    A Spitting Sliver came down for Mooreo, and it was over soonafter.

    Game 3

    Richard took a mulligan on the draw, and kept a 5 land Serrated Arrows hand. As it turns out it was fine though, as he drew into Ichor Slick to kill Thallid Germinator, and was only taking a miniscule amount of beats from a Dreamscape Artist. A morph from Stuart sped up the clock, especially with Llanowar Reborn making it bigger, but Rich dropped his Arrows, and was fighting back.

    Stuart had his Spout Swarm though, which was always going to be making more threats than the arrows could deal with.

    "Are you going to Riddle me in the face?"

    "I'm thinking about it"

    The Riddle happened, but Richard did not look like the sort of fellow to have a Kaervek on the top of his deck. He showed a Tendrils of Corruption and nugged Stuart for 4. Wright made more Saprolings, and followed up with a Durkwood Baloth. Cradle to the Grave killed the big guy, then Tendrils and a Grapeshot briefly cleared the board.

    More Saprolings came, and with them more attacks. Richard was soon down to 10, and before Wright played a Looter il-Kor. Stuart nugged Mooreo with Arc Blade, and it was all over. Richard flipped his next card, and showed the Oros. It didn't matter. Stuart had it.

    Stuart Wright wins 2-1!



     
  • Friday, 7:55 p.m. - The Story of Standard, Part 1.
    by Richard Hagon


  • It's time for the talking to stop and the action to start, as we bring you the first three rounds from GB Nationals. The big news is that with a whopping 179 players, the tournament has been extended to 14 rounds. That means that this afternoon's draft will feature a single pod plus FOUR draft rounds. Clearly, any mispicks are going to be vital. But for now, tune in for the story of Standard, including commentary from a key round 3 matchup.

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  • Friday, 7:59 p.m. - Heading for Halfway
    by Richard Hagon


  • In our last show from M-Fest Friday, we feature four rounds of hot Draft action. As the rounds go by, the top names are mostly starting to assert themselves at the top of the leaderboard. Find out who's going to sleep tight tonight, and hear a potential winner struggling through a horrible matchup in the last round of the day. Tomorrow, we do it all again.

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