Welcome to the final day of GB Nationals here at M-Fest in Birmingham!
We have a varied and powerful top 8 for you today, with examples of most of the big archetypes in Standard at the moment. Jonathan Randle’s Faeries is hotly tipped against the Seismic Swans and Reveillark decks in the field, but might well have a rough time against the Mono-Red of Ioannis Kyriazis, or the Elves of Dr Chris Stocking.
Stay tuned for all the action here, where in just a few hours time, we will have our National Champion!
Podcast: Same Again, Please
by Rich Hagon
For the dozen or so players on a 6-1 record, a similar performance here on Day Two will see them comfortably in to the Top 8 shootout. For the many just one round adrift on 5-2, they will have to better their already-strong performances from yesterday if they are to see Sunday play. Join us for the pivotal Shadowmoor-Eventide Draft as the second half of the Swiss gets under way.
The Skinny on Shadowmoor Draft
by Tim Willoughby
While yesterday’s draft was Lorwyn/Lorwyn/Morningtide, much of the draft talk was all about today’s draft format – Shadowmoor/Shadowmoor/Eventide. Having gone around the room, it seemed that many of the top players were looking to effectively be mono-colour going into pack three, and then dip into a second in Eventide if something interesting came up.
In a format full of hybrid cards, the idea of being flexible was very highly talked of by many players – nobody wants to be stuck behind someone with the same plan as them. Interestingly though, there were a few dissenters in these ranks. Amongst various players, the mono-red deck, sporting an aggressive curve, and hallmark one drops like Intimidator Initiate, was considered so good that it was worth forcing. David Yendall and Richard Moore, both at 6-1 going into the day, had the ‘force red’ plan going, and fortunately for each, they ended up in different pods.
In pod 3 sat Quentin Martin and Stuart Wright. Quentin was intent on avoiding red if at all possible, as it doesn’t particularly suit his play style, and Stuart took a more laissez faire approach, seeing what he could get when he opened his boosters. While Quentin did end up with both Flame Javelin and Knollspine Invocation in his pile, and was possibly in a rather awkward position overall colour-wise, Stuarts plan of ‘going with the good cards’ seemed solid.
In his first pack, Stuart went for Kulrath Knight as the only good red card in the pack, while passing on a few blue/white hybrid goodies. His early picks showed that he could happily be either red or black, with a Faerie Macabre and a Tattermunge Duo in otherwise unexciting packs. A fifth pick Giantbaiting looked like it might be a signal that it was good to be in red.
While at the start of pack two Stuart took the giant Midnight Banshee, he clearly wasn’t ready to say goodbye to red, as he elected for a second Tattermunge Duo over Blowfly Infestation. It turns out that his senses were bang on. While he had a third pick unexciting Manamorphose, there was a Jaws of Stone waiting for him fifth pick! Following that he gradually started rounding things out, with an Intimidator Initiate among others before pack 3.
If pack 2 was good for Stuart, pack 3 was just nuts. He had a first pick Cankerous Thirst, before a second pick Call the Skybreaker. Believe it or not, it is following this that things got silly. Picks 4, 7, 8 and 10 were all Riverfall Mimic, which is, frankly, ridiculous. With Clout of the Dominus and Crag Puca in there too, it would be pretty easy to trigger them.
“I got pretty lucky in this draft... I didn’t really have 2 drops at all for my beatdown deck. I guess it all worked out!”
I turns out that Stuarts luck didn’t stop there though. Due to a disqualification in his draft, there was a bye going up for grabs. Without even having to cast a spell, Stuart is already 1 match up in his draft pod!
Round 8 Feature Match: Tap Dancing - Craig Stevenson vs David Yendall
by Tim Willoughby
Both David and Craig have seen top 8 of Nationals before, back when Craig won English nats in 2006. Now they are each 6-1 and in good shape to get there again. Both players like the red decks in this format, so we might well be in for a quick match.
Craig won the roll and chose to play first. Both kept, and Craig led off with a pair of Islands and Puresight Merrow. David had Rustrazor Butcher off a two Mountains. A Mountain was the third land from Craig, and he had an Elsewhere Flask. Mudbrawler Raiders came down for Craig, but was somewhat trumped by Boartusk Liege.
Craig Stevenson, the Smiling Demon
Stevenson, the Starcitygames.com editor, did not seem too bothered. One Power of Fire
on his Puresight Merrow
, and he was able to leverage 3 Island
s into one dead liege, and a slightly improved draw. Kerpow!
"That was pretty good." declared Yendall, as he played a Burn Trail on the Merrow.
Craig followed up with a Merrow Wavebreakers. This gave Yendall, who had drawn rather a lot of lands, pause for thought. He played a Blazethorn Scarecrow, and elected not to attack.
Craig was all about the big plays, having a Banishing Knack, which along with the untap ability of Merrow Wavebreakers allowed him to bounce Yendall’s team, and still swing in. This left Yendall at just five. Not a happy place to be.
Fire at Will killed off the Wavebreakers, leaving Stevenson with an empty board, but with just 5 points to deal, this wasn’t a problem. Noggle Bandit was a great attacker, in spite of Yendall having put down a Morselhoarder. Yendall tried to make a race of it, with a conspired Giantbaiting, to knock Craig to 3.
Unfortunately for Yendall, 3 is definitely not dead, and a Puncture Blast from Craig was enough to seal Game 1.
Craig Stevenson 1 – 0 David Yendall
Tickets to Yendall’s Gun Show: £5
For game 2, Yendall elected to draw first, looking to make the most of that extra card, and be able to get card advantage from killing off multiple creatures with spells like Burn Trail
and Fire at Will
. A mulligan from him hurt this plan a little, but he seemed to have a solid enough defence, with both Rustrazor Butcher
to hold off Spiteflame Witch
, and Hobgoblin Dragoon
to deal with Dream Thief
There was a conspired Burn Trail from Yendall which killed off a Shrewd Hatchling and the Dream Thief, leaving Stevenson with just a Spiteflame Witch. He followed up with Sootwalkers, and soon later a Mudbrawler Raiders. While Yendall had a Slinking Giant, Stevenson was rebuilding quite a team, with both Inkfathom Infiltrator and Noggle Bandit.
A Noggle Hedge-Mage from Craig got to work all its magic, burning Yendall for 2 and tapping down some of his blockers to allow for big attacks. While Yendall had a Duregar Arsonist to stop Inkfathom Infiltrator, he was on the ropes.
When Stevenson attacked with all his creatures, Yendall laughed. "That wasn’t the attack I wanted to see!"
He was knocked low by this attack, and lost creatures to chump blocking. When Merrow Wavebreakers came along post combat, Yendall looked at his land heavy draw and extended his hand. It was all over.
Craig Stevenson wins 2 - 0!
There Can Be Only One
by Rich and Elizabeth Hagon
It’s always nice to have a helping hand on the Coverage team, especially when it comes in the form of my 6 year old daughter Elizabeth. Already a veteran of assorted Trading Card Games, she is busy counting the months to her eighth birthday in January 2010, when Daddy will take her to her first ever Pre-Release tournament.
“What do you want for your birthday?”
“A DCI number Daddy!”
Still, three days of Magical spells and fantastical creatures could test the patience of even the most saintly child (which for those relatives reading she obviously is). Thankfully, there’s another of our favorite activities to while away some time. It’s not exactly that I’m obsessive, but I do have roughly seventy different Monopoly sets at home. I’ve played thousands and thousands of games. Designed dozens of themed boards. Hundreds of game variations. It’s a good job I’m already married, because I can feel my eligibility status falling with every syllable.
I have to admit though that I’m more than a little excited by the fact that just a few yards away from our Coverage station, players from around the country have congregated for the Monopoly Regional Championship, with a potential trip to Worlds in Las Vegas on the line. With three ninety minute games to successfully wheel and deal their way through, there’s less luck to the game than you might suppose. Best set? The oranges. Worst? The greens. Winning with the green set is like winning with a 1/1 over 20 turns. Possible, but not very likely.
Meanwhile, I’ve been giving a crash course in Monopoly theory to multiple Day One dropouts from Magic Nationals who fancy a crack at an alternative gaming experience. Right now though it’s back to the Main Event for Hagon Senior and Hagon Junior, no mean Monopoly player herself, and coming to a Pro Tour near you circa 2015. Oh, and the average match length of a two-player game? I reckon somewhere round about 7.5 minutes. Yep, about 8 games an hour. Want proof? Just bring me a board at one of these great events, and I’ll be happy to show you. And so will Elizabeth.
Round 10 Feature Match: Quentin Martin vs Stuart Wright
by Tim Willoughby
Prior to this round, Stuart came up to me and told me not to give Quentin a feature match, as a penalty for his cheekiness, sitting in the feature match area before pairings were ever called. Unfortunately we don't have so many players who play on the Pro Tour in England, so he got away with it this time.
Stuart's all Wright
The only real punishment for Quentin is that he has to play against Stuart's monster red deck, which sports a full 4 Riverfall Mimic, and three more red/blue cards, including Call the Skybreaker. None too shabby.
Stuart won the roll and kept. His first monster was a Riverfall Mimic, as was his second. A Tattermunge Duo came down for Quentin, but there was a third Riverfall Mimic for turn four. A Hoof Skullkin was the play from Quentin, but there was a convoked Giantbaiting from Stuart, which killed it off and took Quentin to 7.
"I'm probably going to lose this game."
"You don't say!?!"
Jaws of Stone finished things off. Nice deck Stu.
Stuart Wright 1 - 0 Quentin Martin
"I'll see if I can draw all my mimics this game. The fourth was on the top of my deck at the end of the last one!"
Quentin takes a big handshake from Stu
Stuart had the turn 2 Mimic, turn 3 Mimic again, while Quentin had a Dream Thief. There wasn't a third Mimic this time, just a Giantbaiting to allow an attack for 8. Quentin had a Mudbrawler Raiders and an Old Ghastbark. He kept attacking, and played a Barrenton Cragheads. This was a race.
Stuart cast Kulrath Knight, and used it to knock Quentin to 6. He cast a Tattermunge Duo and passed. The life totals were 7 to 6 in Stuart's favour. Tattermunge Duo blocked Mudbrawler Raiders on Quentin's attacks, but Stuart went to 2 regardless. He couldn't quite get enough damage in to get the kill, and scooped before dying to Quentin's swings.
Stuart Wright 1 - 1 Quentin Martin
At this point, the match looked pretty random. As the players shuffled up, they both mentioned that they didn't really like playing a matchup that was going to be a straight race. Stuart drew his seven and took a mulligan. Quentin did the same.
"6 cards... this is going to be a little silly... ID?"
The intentional draw seemed like a safer place for each player to be at this point, and Quentin was quick to accept the handshake.
Quentin Martin 1 - 1 Stuart Wright
The Standard Metagame at GB Nationals
by Tim Willoughby
You might have noticed that the deck tech was a little quiet during yesterday’s Standard portion of Nationals. That’s because we wanted to make sure that players wouldn’t be able to get too much of an unfair advantage over any of their opponents by reading the coverage.
Well, now that we are actually at the second Standard stage, there are no such worries. First things first, here’s how the metagame breaks down.
Red Deck Wins 35
Quick N Toast 12
G/B Elves 11
R/G Mana Ramp 6
B/R Tokens 5
Aussie Storm 4
Martyr of Sands Control 4
G/W Aggro 3
As you can see, Faerie’s is not quite where it used to be on the Standard tree. The power of fire has attracted many players, and in turn this and the downswing on faeries play has meant a much greater amount of Reveillark seeing play. For those that saw this coming, like Rich Moore, there was the option of Swans, which has a great matchup against both these decks. It is quite a melting pot overall.
Stay tuned and there’ll be a few decklists to look at for some of the more unusual decks in the format, for this final Standard stage of the tournament.
Round 11 Feature Match: Richard Moore vs Dr Chris Stocking
by Tim Willoughby
Richard won the die roll and starting singing to himself.
“Gotta win turn four! Unless I get hit by a Thoughtseize! Then I lose.”
Even coverage reporter Tim Willoughby laughed at Rich when he rocked up to GB Nationals with a Swans of Bryn Argoll deck, but so far he is undefeated with his constructed deck. Dr. Stocking pile shuffled Rich’s deck, and casually asked “61 cards?”.
Dr Stocking Works It Out
Chris counted again, and found that he’d just miscounted the first time around. Just as well that PhD wasn’t in counting. Not quite sure how high a number you’d have to count to to get that one, but I’m guessing it’s quite a few.
On the play, Rich had a turn one Lotus Bloom, and saw a Llanowar Elves from Chris on turn one. Rich effectively cycled a Gaea’s Blessing on turn two, and saw a Wren’s Run Vanquisher from Chris on turn two – but no second land.
Rich had to play a Dakmor Salvage as his third land, with a slight wince. He saw a Mutavault from Dr. S on the other side of the board, and took his first beats of the game. Another Wren’s Run Vanquisher came along and Chris passed.
On turn four, Lotus Bloom came along, and Rich cast Telling Time, suggesting that he didn’t have the turn four win. He played a Reflecting Pool and had a little think before passing.
Swings from Chris took Rich to 7, with lethal damage on the board. Would Chris take the first game with his elf deck that is functionally pre-sideboarded against red decks? Attacks from Chris prompted a Vendilion Clique targeting himself. He blocked a Vanquisher and went to 3.
On his own turn, a Ponder saw Rich shuffling his deck, hoping for a big topdeck, but he didn’t find it.
Richard Moore 0 – 1 Chris Stocking
“If I’d just played my Dakmor Salvage on turn two, then I could have used Beseech the Queen early, and I reckon I could have gone off. Oh wells...”
Chris found 14 cards to sideboard in – Hypnotic Specters, Thoughtseizes, Faerie Macabres and Krosan Grips. None too shabby! Rich was not impressed...
“Some of these cards are a little bit suspect. I haven’t really tested this match so much.”
Fortunately for Chris, it seemed that the 27 land deck with 4 Lotus Bloom was unable to draw mana sources. He went to 6.
“Come on, be fair! Mulligan?”
Dr Stocking had a slow start, not playing a card until Hypnotic Specter on turn three. Meanwhile Moore had a Vivid Marsh and two Reflecting Pools as his first lands. He cast a Seismic Assault on turn four, and used a land to off Chris’ creature.
Chris rumbled in with a Treetop Village, but didn’t have much follow up in terms of monsters. A Thoughtseize from Rich saw Faerie Macabre, two Slaughter Pact, and an Eyeblight’s Ending. He took the Faerie. Beseech the Queen fetched Dakmor Salvage for Rich, who then passed.
Chris continued his attacks with Treetop Villages, taking Rich to 9. Moore looked at the three Firespouts in his hand. Not the best. He cast Ponder on his turn, and shuffled away Seismic Assault, Seismic Assault and Gaea’s Blessing.
When Chris next attacked, Rich felt compelled to off a Treetop Village with two lands. He was living on the edge, and went to 3 on swings from Chris. A Krosan Grip on Seismic Assault to stop any Seismic Assault shenanigans was enough to get Rich to extend the hand.
Chris Stocking wins 2-0!
Podcast: No More Moor Moor for Moore
by Rich Hagon
Former Champion of England in 2005 Richard Moore will be sorry to see the back of Shadowmoor Limited, as he has continued his relentless progress towards the top of the leaderboard. Meanwhile the serious jockeying for position has quickened, as each new round assumes critical importance. In this middle show of the day, we take you inside the crucial last rounds of Limited, and set ourselves up for the downhill run to the finish.
Round 12 - Quentin Martin vs Stuart Wright - Ding ding! Round 2!
by Tim Willoughby
"So... no I.D.'s this time"
That was what both Stuart and Quentin (along with this reporter) were heard to say at the start of this second matchup between Martin and Wright.
The game started briskly, with each player having Prismatic Lens, but Stuart winning the Lens War with another pair of them soon thereafter.
Stuart played an early Careful Consideration, and had a little think before discarding a pair of lands. For his turn, Quentin had no play whatsoever. An end of turn Cryptic Command from Quentin tried to bounce a chargeland of Stuart's which was threatening to give him a great deal of mana, but for his own turn, Quentin had nothing again.
Stuart played a Mirror Entity, and passed with a great deal of mana up. Quentin had a Runed Halo to stop Mirror Entity itself from dealing any damage to him, but it could still make other threats very scary. Stuart's next threat (after a fashion) was Mulldrifter.
This prompted a Pyroclasm from Quentin, to which Stuart responded by tapping 3 lands, to make his team 3/3 creatures.
"Do you have another Pyroclasm? I was thinking about making my guys 5/5s, but that seems a criminal waste of a storage land."
It turned out that Quentin didn't though, and Stuart's team lived long enough for Mulldrifter to peck in for two. Stuart cast a second Mulldrifter, loading up his hand, and then passed.
An end of turn Careful Consideration from Quentin resolved without a fight, and Quentin discarded a Murderous Redcap and a Rune Snag. Stuart had a look at the board for a while, and then did his customary shrug that meant it was likely something bad was coming. He attacked with his two Mulldrifters, and made each a 9/9. That was enough to finish it.
Quentin Martin 0 - 1 Stuart Wright
"I don't know what to board against you... you're going to be bringing in some sort of random dross right?"
"Let's hope that the raw power of this deck can get over the raw intensity of my own stupidity..." Sage words from Quentin.
Both players had a mulligan in the second game, and Stu had the first play of the game in a suspended Riftwing Cloudskate. Quentin had a morph on turn three, and laughed when Mirror Entity came down from Stuart.
"My morph is bigger than yours!"
It wasn't when Stu attacked for 4 with his changeling. Quentin wasn't drawing land with which to flip up his Akroma, Angel of Fury. Riftwing Cloudskate came down and bounced a land, and Stuart got to beat in, forcing blocks with that Akroma.
"Are you just going to die to Mirror Entity beats again?"
"Nope, cast a spell, I want to Pact it!"
With 3 lands in play Quentin would die to his pact. Stuart had a pact for that pact though, so he won with attacks in spite of Quentin's shenanigans.
Stuart Wright wins 2-0!
Deck tech - Greedy Control
by Tim Willoughby
Ever since the bizarrely named Quick 'n' Toast showed the way in terms of complicated mana bases using Lorwyn and Shadowmoor, we have seen decks that push things further and further in terms of mana. The latest iteration of this is Quentin Martin's 'Q and Toast', which he excitedly showed me while writing out his decklist prior to round one.
On the face of things, there are elements of the five colour control that we know and love... the wacky manabase where casting Cryptic Command doesn't mean that you are remotely needing to be mono-blue. In fact though, there is quite a lot going on in here. Check it out
Q 'n' Toast
Great Britain National Championships
Unlike a lot of Quick 'N' Toast builds, Quentin has a straightforward enough approach to winning. Smash with Demigods just like the red decks. There are some really interesting choices in there though. Pyroclasm came when Quentin realised that most of the time it kills virtually the same things as Firespout, but that it crucially kills off a turn one Figure of Destiny before it can become a 4/4. In the sideboard, there are also a tonne of different threats, as much as anything to play around Runed Halo. Akroma, Angel of Fury can on occasion be particularly hilarious against Reveillark. Quentin recounted one story in testing, where his opponent managed to 'go off', bouncing all of his other permanents, but still died to beats from the 6/6 angel.
If you are looking for a different take on 5 colour control, there is a lot worse you could do than have a butchers at this latest Martin build. It's a little quicker, and a little toastier.
Grand Melee Madness!
by Tim Willoughby
While the action is hot in the main event, there has also been a lot of crazy play on the other side of the room in the Grand Melee event. 28 players showed up, and there were a whole host of clever decks, and extra rules about spell distance, and to avoid too much in the way of instant wins, which would not knock everyone out of the game, only your immediate neighbours.
Early on there were some nice little combos, including Kavu Predator getting double pumped by Grove of the Burnwillows, as both neighbours were gaining life. A Helix Pinnacle got up to 72, but it's owner got beaten before he could seal the deal. By the end of the game things had gone from silly to utterly ridiculous. The final conclusion saw a deck win, in spite of the only other player being on over 700 life, with protection from decking.
He had a bunch of copies of Rites of Flourishing, four Howling Mines, Wheel of Sun and Moon, and a whole tonne of fog effects, such that he would always be able to cast a fog every turn. His opponent had 2 Primal Commands with which to avoid being decked, but could do nothing about the Spiteful Visions in play which would gradually mean he got burned down to nothing.
A suitably mad ending to a truly crazy event.
Round 13 - The Moore Dawes Open, The Moore Dawes Close
Richard Moore vs Laura Dawes
by Tim Willoughby
Richard Moore, previous National Champion came into the constructed stage today with 2 extra lives in effect, due to being just X-1. This standard portion has not gone well for him. Paired against Laura Dawes, he crossed his fingers as he rolled the die. The roll went in his favour, and he even had a keeper.
Laura looked at hers and just started laughing. She quickly went for a mulligan, and winced a little as she saw a Vivid Creek and Lotus Bloom on turn one from Moore. There was a Vivid Creek from Dawes, who resolved the first spell of the game just a turn later with a Prismatic Lens.
Aven Riftwatcher came down next for Laura, who saw an end of turn Vendilion Clique from Moore. Of two Wrath of God, Mulldrifter and Momentary Blink, Moore chose to get rid of the Blink.
For his own turn, Moore first resolved Lotus Bloom, before attacking with Vendilion Clique, and getting the trade. There was no big combo though, and Moore just passed. In Dawes draw step, he played another Vendilion Clique and had to crack his Lotus to pay for a Mana Tithe. He got rid of Mulldrifter, leaving just Wrath of Gods and a mystery card in her hand.
That new mystery card was a Magus of the Moon. All of a sudden every land in play was a Mountain, and the game ground down a bit as neither player could play any spells. Laura, having a Prismatic Lens, was able to sneak down a Reveillark, and she seemed happy to run in with it and trade with Vendilion Clique, getting back an Aven Riftwatcher.
"I'm doing particularly well over here." declared a despondent Moore. "I've got 8 good draws in my deck. It would be good if one turned up soon."
Every turn, Rich would draw and play another Mountain, though on occasion it would be of the Vivid variety and come into play tapped. Eventually, he ran out of lands to play and had to start discarding, all the while being beaten up by Magus of the Moon.
When Laura played an Epochrasite and then played Momentary Blink on it, that was enough.
Richard Moore 0 - 1 Laura Dawes
At this point, Laura wasn't quite sure what Rich's deck was doing. This was some small consolation to Moore, who was a little flustered by not really drawing anything at all in the first game. His Swans combo had barely shown up in Game 1 against the Blink Riders Redux deck run by Dawes.
Moore had a turn two Telling Time, but was taking the early beats - this time from Burrenton Forge-Tender. On turn 3, he cast Beseech the Queen, fetching a Ponder, as he'd screwed up and forgotten quite how the Beseech worked.
Laura just carried on with her game, plinking in, and evoking a Mulldrifter for value. Rich cast his Ponder, and sadly declared that his deck doesn't like comboing any more. Rich cast Seismic Assault, suddenly letting Laura know exactly what deck he was. A Disenchant swiftly dealt with the red enchantment before anything too silly could happen.
Rich had another Ponder, and a Telling Time to try to piece together the bits he needed to go off. Another Telling Time came. Surely Rich would be able to get there with so much manipulation this game?
Magus of the Moon again came down for Dawes. This wouldn't be a problem if Rich could find another Seismic Assault, but without, he suddenly had nothing but Mountains. Avalanche Riders came down next from Laura, eating a Vivid Creek that could only tap for red anyway.
Rich cast a Seismic Assault. Part one of his combo was there. On Laura's turn he tried to kill the Magus, but first Burrenton Forge-Tender, and then Momentary Blink kept it alive. The Blink got flashed back, but there was yet another Dakmor Salvage to finally kill it.
Rich played a Swans of Bryn Argoll on his turn , and explained that as he had 2 copies of Dakmor Salvage, and no Gaea's Blessing in hand, he would be able to hit Laura for an unbounded amount of damage, with his Swans loop. Once she knew what was up, she was quick to scoop.
Richard Moore 1 - 1 Laura Dawes
Laura had to mulligan for Game 3, and didn't seem too happy with her 6 on the play either. She kept though, and with a Gemstone Mine she passed. The first spell of the game was an end of turn Telling Time from Moore, who followed up with a Thoughtseize on his turn. He saw a Disenchant, Magus of the Moon, Avalanche Riders and some land.
"Do I care about Avalanche Riders?" he asked himself. In the end he went with taking the Disenchant. Rich then played another Telling Time and passed.
Avalanche Riders took out Rich's Vivid Creek, and bashed in for two from Laura. At the end of Laura's draw step, Vendilion Clique traded Magus of the Moon for something new, and Rich saw that there was a Disenchant in his opponent's hand.
Laura evoked Mulldrifter, and Rich was excited at the opportunity to bring some beats on his turn. He did so, then cast Gaea's Blessing to put Avalanche Riders and Mulldrifter back into Laura's deck.
Magus of the Moon came down from Laura. "I'm not going to lie to you, that was a pretty good draw" remarked Rich, who was now in an awkward spot.
Rich cast a Seismic Assault. Laura had no Plains to cast her Disenchant in hand. She played one though, after evoking a Mulldrifter. Rather than playing the Disenchant though, she cast Pithing Needle. Rich used his Seismic Assault in response to kill Magus of the Moon, and hit Laura for 2. The needle then turned off the Assualt.
Rich was now in beatdown mode. He cast Swans of Bryn Argoll. There was then a Krosan Grip to stop Pithing Needle. Rich swung to take Laura down to 11. He had dredged back a Dakmor Salvage, and was able to combo out for the remaining points.
Rich Moore wins 2 - 1!
Round 14 - Win Moore?
Stuart Wright vs Richard Moore
by Tim Willoughby
"Ooh er, not a good start" declared a concerned Stuart Wright. Having to play in the final round to make top 8 of GB nationals, he found himself with an awkward matchup against a former champion, and had lost the dice roll.
Rich played a Thoughtseize on turn two off a Vivid Creek.
"If I'd won the roll, I'd have been able to play this!" remarked a despondent Stuart Wright as Runed Halo went to the graveyard. That might have been the game right there.
Moore suspended a Lotus Bloom, and had another Thoughtseize to take a Venser, Shaper Savant, out of an unexciting selection including Kitchen Finks, Mulldrifter and Reveillark.
Moore was taking quite a bit of pain from his lands, and in turn from those Kitchen Finks. He cast a Swans of Bryn Argoll, and was disappointed to see that Stuart had drawn a Wrath of God. With Lotus Bloom, Rich cast Beseech the Queen to be able to cast Seismic Assault. With 3 Shivan Reef on which to cast it, Rich was doing a good job of killing himself, going to 9 to play his enchantment.
Stuart played Runed Halo naming Seismic Assault.
"I am the Master!" declared Stuart, who'd drawn very well in the game.
He followed up with Body Double, copying a Venser in his graveyard rather than Rich's Swans, which could have been an epic misplay. He cast a Reveillark next, and had plenty enough beats on the board to be able to take the first game.
Stuart Wright 1 - 0 Richard Moore
Stuart takes a sideways glance at his opponent
"It's really easy for me to sideboard in this matchup - I have so many cards that are just terrible against you."
"Bloody maindeck Runed Halos. Damn you and your overthinking the format Stu!"
For game 2, Rich didn't have the Thoughtseize for Runed Halo, but conveniently, Stuart hadn't drawn it. Stuart played Prismatic Lens on turn two, while Rich had a Telling Time.
At the end of Stuart's draw step, Rich had a Vendilion Clique, and got rid of Venser, leaving a pair of Mulldrifters and a Reveillark. As seems customary, he was happy getting his beat on with the 3/1 flier, and followed up with a Beseech the Queen for a Seismic Assault.
Stuart cast a Mulldrifter, drawing two. He had to discard at the end of turn, and put Venser, Shaper Savant into his graveyard. Seismic Assault came down, allowing Mulldrifter to be killed, and Rich used Gaea's Blessing to get rid of any creatures in his opponent's graveyard.
This rendered the Reveillark that Stuart played next merely an efficient beater. Efficiency is all well and good, but it doesn't always have a great time against power, and that is what Rich had when he cast Swans of Bryn Argoll to complete his combo. When he showed he had all the parts, Stuart scooped up his cards
Stuart Wright 1 - 1 Richard Moore
Rich had a mulligan to 6, but was very happy with this smaller grip. A Prismatic Lens came from Stuart on turn two, while Rich had Telling Time.
"Man... this Telling Time is like a bad Ponder!" Moore's top 3 cards were not hot ones.
In the interests of keeping on top of things, Stuart played Venser to bounce one of Rich's lands. Rich had a Ponder, but was way behind on mana development, and had to look on as Stuart cast a Runed Halo, naming Thoughtseize.
Rich cast Seismic Assault, but saw another Runed Halo the very next turn. He responded to it, with a Seismic Assault activation discarding Dakmor Salvage to dome Stu for 2. The Halo named Seismic Assault.
"This is annoying." Rich had a Ponder, digging for a way out of what was a tricky situation. He was on 14, but not under too much pressure.
Vendilion Clique in the draw step kept away another threat from Stu, but didn't really get Rich much closer to winning. What did though was Beseech the Queen for Krosan Grip. Stuart gradually whittled Rich down to 8, but would need more time, as he couldn't cast Swans and Krosan Grip in the same turn with the lands he had.
Attacks from Vendilion Clique knocked Stuart to 12. At the end of turn, Rich got rid of the Runed Halo naming Seismic Assault. When he played Swans in his turn and showed the Dakmor Salvage it was all over.
Richard Moore wins 2-1, advancing to the top 8!
Podcast: Tiebreaks? Heartbreaks.
by Rich Hagon
Watching hardened Magic players melt under pressure is what I do. Liking it is what I don't. To come so far to the final rounds of Swiss with everything you've ever wanted just a few turns away, or infinitely away if the cards fall awry. This show is about the countdown to the Top 8, and as each player signs the result sheet that takes them to the Promised Land, so their opponent signs away all hope for another year. Pretty it isn't. Compelling drama? Always.