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Copeman's Creatures Conquer

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It took two days, 222 players, and sixteen rounds of play, but we now know that the new Grand Prix--Brisbane champion is an Australian. Twenty-four year-old Will Copeman and his nearly mono-green deck overcame teammate Bryce Trevilyan in the quarterfinals before smashing Masami Ibamoto in the semis, setting up a meeting with countryman Anatoli Lightfoot. Copeman fell behind in the first game, as Lightfoot played Meloku the Clouded Mirror and then bounced Copeman's creatures out of the way long enough to get a game 1 victory. However, it was at that point that Lightfoot's deck decided to let him down, completely manascrewing him in games 2 and 3 and giving Copeman his first Grand Prix Championship. Congratulations Will, and to all the great competitors this weekend in beautiful Brisbane, Australia!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Andrew Grain   Andrew Grain, 2-0        
8 Tom Hay   Anatolin Lightfoot, 2-0
       
4 Anatoli Lightfoot   Anatolin Lightfoot, 2-1   Will Copeman, 2-0
5 Andrew Varga    
       
2 Will Copeman   Will Copeman, 2-0
7 Bryce Trevilyan   Will Copeman, 2-0
       
3 Jarrod Bright   Masami Ibamoto, 2-0
6 Masami Ibamoto    


EVENT COVERAGE FINAL TOP 8 STANDINGS

  • Blog - 7:39 pm: Finals: Anatoli Lightfoot vs. Will Copeman
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 7:07 pm: Semifinals: Anatoli Lightfoot vs. Andrew Grain
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 6:56 pm: Semifinals: Will Copeman vs. Masami Ibamoto
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 6:38 pm: Quarterfinals: Masami Ibamoto vs. Jarrod Bright
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Decklists: The Decks of the Top 8
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Blog - 5:10 pm: Round 13: Svend Geertsen vs. Bryce Trevilyan
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 4:59 pm: Round 12: The Ben Seck vs. Svend Geertsen
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 4:11 pm: Draft 2 Report - Pod 1
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 3:55 pm: Jeff Miracola, the Artist in Residence
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 3:21 pm: Round 11: Jarrod Bright vs. Andrew Varga
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 2:13 pm: Round 10: Tom Hay vs. Will Copeman
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Round 11: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 1:12 pm: Round 9: Svend Geertsen vs. Anatoli Lightfoot
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 12:44 pm: Round 8: Tomoharu Saito vs. Masami Ibamoto
    by Ray Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 12:09 pm: Draft 1 Report - Pod 1
    by Ted Knutson
  • Round 8: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Decklists: The Undefeated Decks of Day 1
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 6:02 pm: Round 7: Masami Ibamoto vs. Luke Bagnall
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 5:28 pm: Round 6: Daniel Piechnick vs. Jarrod Bright
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 4:51 pm: Ask the National Champs
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 3:33 pm: Round 4: Cole Swannack vs. Jason Whitby
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 2:55 pm: 1,000 Miles from Nowhere
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 2:30 pm: Round 3: Justin West vs. Neil Roberts
    by Ted Knutson
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 11:33 am: The Judges
    by Ted Knutson
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Will Copeman $2,400
 2.  Anatoli Lightfoot $1,700
 3.  Masami Ibamoto $1,200
 4.  Andrew Grain $1,000
 5.  Tom Hay $800
 6.  Andrew Varga $800
 7.  Jarrod Bright $800
 8.  Bryce Trevilyan $800
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  • Saturday, November 13: 11:33 am - The Judges


  • A view of the fine judging staff here at GP: Brisbane, without whom this event would not be possible. The following names are in no particular order.

    Pete Allan, Russell Alphey, Mark Brown, John Carter, Ryan Dare, Scott Devney, Angus Foster, Dan Gow, Lindsay Heming, Pip Hunn, Danesh, Jogia, Steven Kok, Michael Mason, Jason McDonald, Michael Puccini, David Redfern, Rob Stuart, Scott Wernham, Robert Williams



     
  • Saturday, November 13: 2:30 pm - Round 3: Justin West vs. Neil Roberts


  • Neil Roberts

    West was the 2002 Australian National Champion who is perhaps more famous for his bug-eyed MiseTings icon than anything else. Today he's wearing a "Death Dealers" T-shirt not only sets off his eyes, but also his tattoos. Neil Roberts is an amateur from Gladstone, Queensland, who traveled six hours to get here.

    Roberts is playing a three-color deck in what is probably the most popular color combo in Champions Sealed - white/black with a splash of red. The deck doesn't have many bombs, but it is deep, and contains solid removal to go along with some white staples like Kabuto Moth and Kitsune Blademaster. West's deck is a straight black/green number that he claims is underpowered in both the men and removal departments.

    Game 1 actually saw a Deathcurse Ogre enter play for the first time in recorded GP history (okay, maybe not... but it's not usually a card you see played in the Feature Match area), as Roberts cast the six-drop 3/3 to go along with a whole bunch of considerably better creatures while he made short work of "The Bombah." This was in spite of some extremely cautious play that gave West a long time to make a potential comeback.

    Roberts 1 - West 0

    Justin West

    Roberts first two plays in game 2 were No-Dachi and Ghostly Prison, followed by Gibbering Kami, as West was forced to choose between building his board or getting some damage through. He chose to swing with his Kami of the Hunt and Order of the Sacred Bell, dropping Roberts to fourteen. The game then degenerated into a ground stall, as West couldn't get enough good creatures on the board to break through, while Roberts simply decided that he didn't want to win the game, as his passive play allowed West many more turns than he should have had. Eventually West played Seizan the Perverter, giving him a creature large enough to break through a No-Dachi-based defense, but that just let Roberts draw the best parts of his deck faster, and West was soon overwhelmed.

    Roberts 2 - West 0


     
  • Saturday, November 13: 2:55 pm - 1,000 Miles from Nowhere
  • When most people look at a map, they see the continent of Australia as something similar in size to the state of Texas. In truth, the country is much closer to the same size as the continental United States, and what look like short jaunts between the population centers of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane on the east side of the country are actually ten or eleven hour drives. This makes getting to the yearly Grand Prix here a situation where players either have to fly in or they have to be ready to drive a day or more just to get to the site, which limits the potential attendance of events in a country where Magic is growing by leaps and bounds.

    The Ben Seck

    In addition to the difficulties you see with traveling to Magic events in Australia, they also have the difficulty of traveling to PTs abroad, seeing as how their country is basically thousands of miles from anywhere you would normally see a Pro Tour held. It's a nine hour flight to Japan, fourteen to the west coast of the United States, and a round-about twenty-two to Europe. Therefore it's hard for Australians to make their impact on the world Magic scene, if only because it's so friggin difficult to get from here to... anywhere.

    Since many of you may not be familiar with the local player base here, we figured it would be useful to highlight some of the bigger names in Australian and New Zealand Magic that will be competing here this weekend.

    "The" Ben Seck
    Seck is probably the most famous Australian Magician. He's known for his charming ways, and his insane ability to win at Rock, Paper, Scissors.

    Career Highlights: 2 Grand Prix Wins, Top 8 at Pro Tour--Yokohama, former Australian National Team member.

    Cole Swannack
    Career Highlights: This New Zealand youngster has already been on his national team three times, an he's still only fifteen years old.

    Tim He
    Career Highlights: Reigning Australian National Champion

    Andrew Grain
    Career Highlights: 2003 Grand Prix--Sydney Champion

    Andrew Varga
    Career Highlights: 2003 Australian National Champion

    Justin "Bomber" West
    Career Highlights: 2002 Australian National Champion

    In addition to these Magicians from down under, we also have notable Japanese players Tomoharu Saitou and Masami Ibamoto, and German exchange student Svend Geertsen, who is rumored to have slung very few spells during his time here, but who is always dangerous.


     
  • Saturday, November 13: 3:33 pm - Round 3: Cole Swannack vs. Jason Whitby


  • Jason Whitby

    Cole Swannack is only fifteen years old and yet he's made the New Zealand National team twice so far and finished fourth once as well. Jason Whitby is a twenty-six year old from Melbourne. He's the new Victorian Player of the Year, who finished fifth at 2004 Australian Nationals.

    Swannack's deck is a G/R/u deck sporting platinum hits like Uyo and Earthshaker, but it lacks any depth beyond the top fifteen spells or so in his deck. Whitby's deck, on the other hand, is patently ridiculous. It's "a bit greedy" as he puts it, since he has moderate commitments to white, red, and black, but every card in the deck is solid or better.

    Game 1 was an interesting affair, as Swannack had a turn 3 Order of the Sacred Bell, but then choked as he drew only Forests, while Whitby kept playing guys. Eventually Swannack managed to stabilize at two life by casting Glacial Ray with an Earthshaker on the board, giving him a four-for-one. Unfortunately for Swannack, Whitby simply snatched Hanabi Blast from the top of his deck and burned him out.

    Whitby 1 - Swannack 0

    Cole Swannack

    Game 2 was a spicy affair, as Swannack's Order, Teller of Tales, and Soratami Mirrror-Mage faced off against Whitby's army of Kumano, Master Yamabushi, Kitsune Blastmaster, Kami of Fire's Roar, and Kitsune Diviner. Unfortunately for the New Zealander, Kumano and Whitby's bevy of removal proved to be far too much for Swannack to handle, as Whitby smashed through any defenses Cole could muster, killing him before Swannack cast either the Glacial Ray or the Uyo left in his hand.

    Whitby 2 - Swannack 0

    Looking through both players' decks after the match, Whitby has an awesome set of power rares and commons (Befoul, double Moth, Blademaster, Blast, Kumano etc), while Swannack was forced to play lowlifes like Orochi Leafcaller and Thoughtbind to complete his deck. Swannack will have to work hard in order to make a Day 2 appearance, while Whitby realistically only needs one more victory in the next three rounds to ensure his spot at the drafting tables on Sunday.


     
  • Saturday, November 13: 4:51 pm - Ask the National Champs
  • What One Card Do You Want to Open in Sealed?

    Ben Seck: Kumano, Master Yamabushi or maybe Keiga the Tide Star. Both are excellent.
    Tim He: Blind with Anger or Hideous Laughter
    Cole Swannack: Meloku the Clouded Mirror
    Andrew Varga: Kumano, but I like Nagao too. Thankfully I have both in my deck today.

    Andrew Varga

    What's the Best Color Combination in Draft?

    Ben Seck: Red/black or black/blue
    Tim He: Blue/red. Splice onto Arcane is really good, and you get some very strong spirit interactions in that color combo.
    Cole Swannack: White/black
    Andrew Varga: Black/red or white/red. The white/red decks can be really fast.

    What Are People Overlooking About this Set?

    Ben Seck: I think people are overestimating bombs and underestimating the two- and three-mana tempo cards
    Tim He: I think people are actually overestimating the Green decks. Their creature types don't seem to have as much synergy as the other colors, and it makes Green decks rather clunky
    Cole Swannack: I think Green is really underdrafted in Rochester right now.
    Andrew Varga: The importance of mana curve and tempo, particularly in draft.


     
  • Saturday, November 13: 5:28 pm - Round 6: Daniel Piechnick vs. Jarrod Bright
  • Daniel Piechnick is a twenty-four year is a retired web designed from Adelaide. His opponent is none other than famed Brainburst writer Jarrod Bright, who flew in from Perth for this event, and boy are his arms tired. I would like to note that I did not make this joke, but both players did while shuffling up for game 1.

    Daniel Piechnick

    Jarrod ironically described this matchup correctly after the first couple of turns, saying "The Green/White mirror match runs faster than any other match in the format."

    "Plains of Evil, your go." "Forest of Doom, your go." The Australian sense of humor is apparently an acquired taste, as both players made tossed horrible puns back and forth across the board as if they would have some sort of outcome on the match itself.

    Jarrod ironically described this matchup correctly after the first couple of turns, saying "The Green/White mirror match runs faster than any other match in the format." Game 1 was over in a hasty *ahem* twenty-two minutes, as Piechnick eventually overwhelmed Bright with a series of weenies without needing to cast the Kokusho in his hand. Combat in this game became an utter hash, with Kabuto Moth, Burr Grafters, and sundry small creatures on both sides. However, Bright stalled on four land with fat in his hand and even a Matsu-Tribe Decoy with a No-Dachi equipping him was not enough to help out.

    Piechnick 1 - Bright 0

    Game 2 saw Piechnick get out to an early lead, while Bright simply built his mana base and cast double No-Dachis. Yosei the Morning Star. Piechnick had an immediate answer in Rend Spirit, putting him in a reasonable position to win with Bright at nine, but Jarrod had Yamabushi's Flame plus Orbweaver Kumo and Moss Kami to form a formidable pair of first-striking walls on his side of the board. Things were suddenly looking bad for Piechnick, even though he had Kusari-Gama and a couple of creatures on the board, as Bright also added a Honden of Infinite Rage to his board. Until... Bright attacked Piechnick with both of his creatures, while still sitting at nine life. Piechnick wisely chose not to block (Bright had no cards left in hand), dropped to two, and then swung back for the win.

    "Jarrod, did you just attack for the loss?" asked your bewildered match reporter. "Yep. He called my bluff there." "You bluff..." I replied. "Well you see, he was going to attack next turn with his Gama-equipped creature anyway, so I don't think I was going to win either way. I felt like I had to go for it."

    Jarrod Bright

    "You realize that Kusari-Gama requires that he deal your first-striking creatures damage right?"

    "Oh dear. Can I read the Gama?"

    I guess the one good thing that can said about Jarrod in this match is that unlike when he was on camera in 1999, he managed not to light himself on fire. This is a true story heard from the man himself, but one that we don't have time to explain here.

    Piechnick 2 - Bright 0


     
  • Saturday, November 13: 6:02 pm - Round 7: Masami Ibamoto vs. Luke Bagnall


  • Masami Ibamoto

    Luke Bagnall is a Queenslander who started the day with three byes from one of yesterday's Grand Prix Grinders. His opponent is a Japanese player who has a much more significant name in Magic. Ibamoto recently made a Top 4 appearance with his team S.A.I. at Pro Tour--Seattle, to go along with his four Grand Prix Top 8s. The winner of this match will be one of the few undefeated players going into Day 2, giving them a very strong position going into the draft portion of the tournament.

    Ibamoto's deck is a four-color special that splashes for strong Arcane cards to power Masami's Glacial Rays and Kodama's Mights. Bagnall's deck is a quick white-red number that runs a bunch of zubera and your basic W/R mix. His deck probably isn't strong enough to normally make it through the day undefeated, but the three byes clearly helped his cause.

    Game 1 ended quickly when Bagnall got stuck on two land and Ibamoto did not, thus leading to a quick victory for the Japanese visitor.

    Ibamoto 1 - Bagnall 0

    Luke's situation didn't improve at the beginning of game 2 either, as he was forced to mulligan. Ibamoto thought for a very long time before choosing to keep his two-land, five spell hand, and then proceeded to draw two more lands on his next two turns, though he had no action. While Ibamoto was doing nothing, Bagnall was busy smashing with Ronin Houndmaster, Lantern Kami, and Konda's Hatamoto, with a little help from Godo's Maul. Ibamoto stayed stuck at four land, and lacked a Mountain to cast the two removal spells residing in his hand, thus making for a second quick game, and evening the score.

    Luke Bagnall

    Ibamoto 1 - Bagnall 1

    Game 3 was the first real game in appearance, as both players hit their land drops and played early creatures. Unfortunately for Bagnall, Ibamoto simply ran him over with flyers and sliced spells, as Luke hit a huge land glut and drew the bad half of his deck to put Ibamoto into the pole position heading into Day 2.

    Ibamoto 2 - Bagnall 1


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 12:09 pm - Draft 1 Report - Pod 1
  • This pod featured four undefeated players, plus four more players with six wins, though the time where a strong sealed deck can save bad play has passed: it's time for the players to get their Rochester Draft on. The Japanese pros are obviously familiar with Rochester, but it will be interesting to see how the Aussies work things among themselves.

    Pod 1
    Seat 1: Andrew Varga
    Seat 2: Richard Johnston
    Seat 3: Daniel Piechnick
    Seat 4: Tom Haddy
    Seat 5: Will Copeman
    Seat 6: Tomoharu Saito
    Seat 7: Masami Ibamoto
    Seat 8: Tom Hay

    The draft started off with a ruckus, as Johnston took a Befoul first out of pack 2, and Piechnick jumped into the color right behind him by snatching Horobi, Death's Wail. Pack three had a similar situation, as Varga, who started out strong with white in the first two packs picked a Mothrider Samurai and Johnston grabbed an Indomitable Will right behind him. So much for peaceful cooperation among Rochester drafters.

    The rest of pack one was relatively uneventful, excluding Hay's pack where he opened a Yosei, and even though his entire deck to that point had been B/R and Yosei is unsplashable, Hay chose the Yosei over a variety of other strong picks, leaving Varga holding his head in frustration. Would Hay now try to duke it out with two other nearby White drafters, or would he back down and stick with his B/R deck, where his position was already very strong. At the end of pack 1, Varga settled into U/W, Johnston into B/G, Piechnick into W/B, Haddy into U/R, Copeman into B/G, Saito into an undetermined color set, Ibamoto into U/G, and Hay bringing up the rear in B/R.

    Pack 2 saw Saito eventually settle into W/R, though he was a bit late to the party leaving him scrambling to cobble together something strong out of a mishmash of cards. The rest of the players largely cooperated from that point out, as Saito's switch kept Hay from complementing Yosei with any strong cards in that color, and Johnston and Piechnick contented themselves with splitting Black and gobbling up the good cards in Green and Black respectively. The final pack of this set featured Soulblast going tenth, a curiously late pick for what many regard as a strong finisher for any deck running Mountains.

    Pack 3 featured some very interesting/curious choices, with Johnston passing up a first-pick Sosuke in favor of Moss Kami, Copeman passing up an early Soratami Savant in favor of a Teller of Tales, neither of which he was playing, and Varga producing some astounding lucksackery as he stumbled into not one but two Nagao in the final pack.

    In the end it looks like Varga, Hay, and Piechnick ended up with very strong decks, Ibamoto, Johnston, and Copeland have passable stacks, and Saito and Haddy need help, though Haddy's problems stem mostly from some questionable deckbuilding choices.



     
  • Sunday, November 14: 12:44 pm - Round 8: Tomoharu Saito vs. Masami Ibamoto
  • It's the age-old story; we've travelled this far only to play each other in the first round of Day Two. Everyone has had a chance to grizzle about this or something similar at some time or another, but it has to happen eventually. As we sit down, I find myself looking for those ever-present subtitles, or perhaps some comical overdubbing. Sadly, the table judge and I were left out of the ensuing game chats.

    Masami Ibamoto

    Thankfully for our two plucky heroes, they got to draft next to each other, with Tomoharu in seat six, and Masami in seat seven. So at least they managed to stay out of each other's colors quite happily. Masami stuck to Blue/Green, and while Tomoharu started out Black/Red, he managed to float into White/Red to fill the role of the table's fourth White drafter.

    Both players get off to a bad start. Not for them, but for me. Fast players make for unhappy writers, it's true. Thankfully, after a couple turns of "You have offended my family, I swing with Kami of the Hunt" and "I summon the might of Ronin Houndmaster with mighty kung-fu power *insert excess lip movements here*" both players settle down for a good ol' think. Masami has a Cage of Hands slapped on his Order of the Sacred Bell, and Tomoharu smashes aside a Rootrunner with a timely Indomitable Will on his Houndmaster. The game turns around for Masami after he swings in with his Soratami Rainshaper to drop Tomoharu to eleven. When Tomoharu attacks back with his fat Hounds and a Kami of the Painted Road, Masami double blocks the Kami with a Soratami Cloudskater and his Kami of the Hunt, and manages to save the flyer with a Serpent Skin before dropping to nine. Masami comes back for four, and drops one of his three Mystic Restraints on the Hounds when they try to return fire the following turn. At this point, Tomoharu decides he prefers his chances in Game 2.

    Ibamoto 1 - Saito 0

    Tomoharu leads with a Kitsune Diviner on turn 3, and a Kami of Fire's Roar on turn 4. Masami is off to a better start however, with a Floating-Dream Zubera on the ground, a Soratami Rainshaper in the air, and a fourth-turn Soratami Savant. One of these board positions is not like the other, and Tomoharu can plainly see this. He takes his one opportunity to drop the underappreciated Soul of Magma, which can at least take down the Rainshaper without much trouble, and may hopefully manage to kill the Savant to perhaps get himself back into the game.

    Tomoharu Saito

    Masami has other ideas obviously, and Consuming Vortex puts the Soul of Magma back into Tomoharu's hand, where it can be handily countered on the following turn if need be. Masami swings in for five to drop Tomoharu to twelve while himself sitting on a nice, plump sixteen life. With mana to counter any two of Tomoharu's threats, the game is all but over, and it doesn't take Tomoharu long to see this. Tomoharu offers his hand to his friend, and with what could have been anything from "You are a most honorable opponent" to "So like, lunch at the food court,or no?" Masami continues on undefeated.

    Ibamoto 2 - Saito 0


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 1:12 pm - Round 9: Svend Geertsen vs. Anatoli Lightfoot
  • Anatoli Lightfoot is a twenty-two year old from Canberra who just graduated university. Svend Geertsen is an unexpected name down under, as the Danish (not German, as I listed yesterday - Sorry Svend) player has been visiting the country as an exchange student, during which time he says he has played very little Magic because, "I've mostly been partying and drinking down here."

    Svend Geertsen

    Game 1 kicked off with a Humble Budoka plus a Forest and a Mountain for Lightfoot. "Did I actually just do that?" Lightfoot asked himself on turn 3. "I can't believe I just attacked before casting my Houndmaster." It didn't matter in the end, as Geertsen's mana screw prevented him from gaining any tempo from the mistake, and he died a hideous death a few turns later.

    Lightfoot 1 - Geertsen 0

    Game 2 started off with the battle of the bears, as Geertsen's flying Rainshapers competed with Humble Budoka and Hearth Kami from Lightfoot. Lightfoot added to the pressure with a Burr Grafter and Ronin Houndmaster (before combat this time), smashing with his team to drop the Dane to ten, while Brutal Deceiver traded with the Hearth Kami. Lightfoot attacked again the next turn, dropping Geertsen to four, while Svend continued to pound away in the air. Rainshaper's ability countered Blind with Anger from Lightfoot, and the flying beatings plus a pair of Yamabushi's Flames evened the game count in very fast, aggressive style.

    Lightfoot 1 - Geertsen 1

    Anatoli Lightfoot

    Game 3 saw Lightfoot get out to another lightning fast start, curving from Budoka to Order of the Sacred Bell and Rootrunner in no time flat. Svend tried to staunch the bleeding with a Callous Deceiver and Sokenzan Bruiser, but a well-timed Kodama's Might during combat just exacerbated the situation. About the time things looked hopeless for Geertsen, he mounted a comeback, trading some removal for Lightfoot's fat, while Lightfoot began to choke on cards he couldn't cast without a Mountain on the board, which he just couldn't draw. Fortunately for the young Aussie, just about the time it looked like Geertsen might actually pull this one out, Anatoli drew the Mountain he was looking for and burned extra crispy for the final three points of damage.

    Lightfoot 2 - Geertsen 1


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 2:13 pm - Round 10: Tom Hay vs. Will Copeman


  • Tom Hay

    Tom is the only remaining undefeated player left in the field, and Will is looking at putting a stop to this. To be honest though, I suspect he'd want the win regardless - that's kinda how this game works.

    Tom wins the roll, 4 versus 2, and keeps his opening hand. Will on the other hand, looks to the ceiling for a few seconds before cashing his hand in for six of the best, or so he hopes. Okay, so they weren't the best at all because now Will's going back for five while helpfully pointing out to Tom that he won the last round 2-1, and the game he lost was where his opponent mulliganed to five.

    Tom starts out fast with Hearth Kami, Nezumi Ronin, and Kami of Fire's Roar, while Will has a Matsu-Tribe Decoy, and a Nezumi Ronin of his own. Tom has a Nezumi Cutthroat followed by a Wicked Akuba to make sure Will's Decoy can't block. But that said, blocking a 0/1 Kami of the Fire's Roar is somewhat overrated, and Hideous Laughter is not. Tom loses his Hearth Kami, Nezumi Cutthroat, and the Akuba and effectively the game, as Will then follows up with two Cursed Ronin, a Burr Grafter and a Scuttling Death, which Tom's Gutwrencher Oni just cannot stop.

    Copeland 1 - Hay 0

    Tom mutters that Will has six removal spells while shuffling up for Game 2, and Will just shuffles on without giving anything away.

    Will Copeman

    Neither player mulligans this time, being unwilling to run the "mulligan to five equals win" gambit. As you would expect, both players have early plays, but only one player has Hideous Laughter. Check that. Make it Hideous Laughter, Cursed Ronin and Sosuke, Son of Seshiro. Will takes Game 2, while Tom reveals land after land off the top of his library with Brutal Deceiver. With no undefeated players left, it's now anybody's tournament. Well, except mine, that is, but I'll be around for the Top 8, regardless.

    Copeland 2 - Hay 0


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 3:21 pm - Round 11: Jarrod Bright vs. Andrew Varga


  • Andrew Varga

    Former Australian national champion Andrew Varga only needs one win and a draw in the next two rounds in order to secure a spot in the Top 8 for himself. His opponent Jarrod Bright actually pleaded with me not to feature him this round, as he didn't want to repeat yesterday's debacle, but his play since that time warrants another visit to the hot lights of the feature match area. The way I figure it, this just gives Jarrod a chance to atone for yesterday's oversights.

    Both players commented ahead of time that their draft had gone very strangely. Varga ended up with a very fast W/B deck that splashes blue for Honden of Seeing Winds. Bright's deck is a much more methodical U/G creation that runs two Swamps in order to cast Kokusho, close cousin of the Keiga, the Tide Star that is also in his deck. If these games go long, Bright may be able to bring his fat online and eventually win, but Varga's deck is going to be tough for him to stall long enough for that to happen, and the blue Honden gives Andrew a better late game than would normally be expected with such an aggressive deck.

    Varga's deck showed its speed early with a Konda's Hatamoto plus two Kitsune Blademasters, creatures that are very tough for Bright's U/G deck to deal with. Bright managed to get some beats in with a Soratami Mirror-Guard and Orochi Ranger, but Bright hit a land glut and got mauled shortly afterwards, as a surprisingly solid Hankyu mauled his team, while the Blademasters efficiently snuff out Bright's life.

    Varga 1 - Bright 0

    Jarrod Bright

    Game 2 began well for both players, with Bright casting turn 3 Kami of the Hunt followed by a Mirror-Guard, while Varga played a Silent-Chant Zubera, Thief of Hope, and Kami of the Old Stone. The big Kami was locked down by a Mystic Restraints from Bright, giving the man from Perth a chance to get some beats in. Varga shrugged and cast a Kitsune Blademaster, gumming up the ground. The players traded blows for a bit until Bright dropped Varga to one with Strength of Cedars on a Mirror-Guard. Varga untapped, looked at the board position, attacked with his men to drop Jarrod to six, and then cast Devouring Greed for eight, giving Bright another feature match loss.

    Varga 2 - Bright 0

    "Well, two Feature Matches, two losses this weekend. You just had to break my streak, didn't you Ted?"


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 3:55 pm - Jeff Miracola, the Artist in Residence
  • It's not a professional Magic event without an Artist in Residence, it's not just the Pro Tours and Grand Prix any more. Some enterprising T.O.s are even having Magic artists come along to their prereleases. Our artist this weekend is none other than Jeff Miracola. Okay, I admit I haven't checked his drivers licence or passport, but he seems to be the guy behind such cards as Thoughtbound Primoc, Frantic Search, and those ever-Bouncing Beebles. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (of "Wayne's World" and "Laverne and Shirley" fame), Jeff has been creating magical art since Mirage, and has done some work for most sets since then. While he hasn't done any of the art for Champions of Kamagawa, he assures me he has pieces in both Betrayers of Kamigawa, and Saviors of Kamigawa, and there will also be cards in Ninth Edition and Unhinged that have his name on them.

    Jeff Miracola

    Not only is Jeff selling some pretty spiffy prints from his current portfolio, he is also doing sketches of his work for ten Australian bucks. I asked if he could do a beeble in a random pose, and he called my bluff and said he certainly could. However, my wife would probably not allow me to put that on the wall, so as I type this, he is whipping me up a rendition of Angel of Grace that will hopefully win her over. I did turn down Jeff's suggestion of Raging Goblin, which along with Acidic Sliver make up his favorite works thus far.

    Just to be cheeky, I asked Jeff what his least favorite part of this trip was for him. Sadly, he took the high road and said he couldn't be happier. "It's a break from the usual routine, and the weather is just spectacular." Yeah, that picture of a beach not five minutes away from the tournament site at the top of the page is exactly how it is outside. Remind me what I'm doing inside again?


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 4:11 pm - Draft 2 Report - Pod 1
  • While it wasn't a dark and stormy night, it was a Just Another Draft.

    Draft 2 - Pod 1 Seating
    1) Tom Hay
    2) Anatoli Lightfoot
    3) Andrew Varga
    4) Chris Kwan
    5) Daniel Piechnick
    6) Scott Hunstad
    7) Will Copeman
    8) Jarrod Bright

    Tom Hay opened up in seat one with a Befoul, and had soon established himself in Red/Black with many Brutal Deceivers and Cruel Deceivers, backed up by two Swallowing Plague. Following Hay was Anatoli Lightfoot, who sat quite nicely on Green/Red with two Kodama's Reach to help "splash" such cards as Teller of Tales and Rend Spirit. Andrew Varga in third hung on to white for dear life, grabbing two Kami of Ancient Law, two Kitsune Blademaster, and two Cage of Hands. Varga also nabbed a Devouring Greed, a Thief of Hope and a Nezumi Graverobber from under Chris Kwan's nose in seat four, as he felt he needed some punch to go with his random supporting spirits. Kwan wasn't too worried about this, as he also has a Nezumi Graverobber in his Black/Red deck. Kwan has plenty of removal and plenty of cheap guys backed up by a Dance of Shadows that he picked up over a Glacial Ray in pack 18.

    Did I say it was Just Another Draft? It was until seat five's Daniel Piechnick viciously dove straight into one of Scott Hunstad's color. Hunstad had started out Black/Blue in seat six, but a Honden of Seeing Winds was too tempting for Piechnick, who decided Blue was a perfect compliment for his Green deck. Piechnick spent the rest of the draft grabbing Soratami Rainshapers and Soratami Mirror-Guards in front of Hunstad. This didn't stop Hunstad from getting two Teller of Tales and a Thief of Hope to go with two Consuming Vortex however, so he isn't out for the count just yet. Will Copeman saw an opening in White when the only other real White drafter was sitting directly across from him. Unfortunately, neither player managed to pick up any Kabuto Moths, but both Copeman and Varga found at least got two Cage of Hands to ease their loses. Copeman supplemented his White with Red for a Pain Kami and Blind With Anger.

    Lastly in seat eight sat Jarrod Bright, who I knew from the outset was prepared to force Green/Blue, and that's just what he did. He didn't get many of the picks he would have wanted, with only one Kami of the Hunt, and no Soilshapers, but he did at least get two Soratami Mirror-Guard and two Order of the Sacred Bell. In pack 21 he grabbed a Pull Under from Hay, (who if you remember was Black/Red in seat one) because he figured it wouldn't be too hard to splash with a Sakura-Tribe Elder. Bright was then rewarded by getting third pick Kodama's Reach in pack 22. Copeman opened a Kokusho, the Evening Star in pack 23 but stuck to his colors by toking his Pain Kami, and to Hay's horror, Bright didn't hesitate to scoop it up. When the last pack was opened, there were groans all round as Bright laid out a Kiega, the Tide Star. "This draft is dumb," joked Varga as Bright hovered his hand over the Blue Dragon, waiting for the call to "Draft". Varga reached out and switched the Dragon with the Strange Inversion sitting next too it while Bright was looking over at the judge calling the draft, but he noticed before it was too late.

    General consensus is that there are two or three strong decks at the table, and the rest are quite weak. After wandering around in deck construction, I suspect those claiming to have weak decks are really just selling themselves short, and are about to venture into an even playing field.


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 4:59 pm - Round 12: The Ben Seck vs. Svend Geertsen
  • When this matchup was announced as the feature match, TBS bellowed "I have no chance, I had better get this over with quickly!" He then noticed his name was spelt "TBS" on the scoreboard, and decided "gas" was indeed the word of the day.

    The Ben Seck

    Svend got off to an exceptionally slow start with an Orochi Leafcaller on turn 1, and no other plays until a turn 5 Blood Rites. Unfortunately for TBS, he got the Two-Power Two-Drop in Orochi Ranger, but only managed to follow it with an Orochi Eggwatcher. Svend soon gets a Honden of Life's Web, and follows up with a Kumano, Master Yamabusi. TBS spits out an Iname, Life Aspect, and a Kodama of North Tree, but it isn't enough to top the Honden slash Blood Rites combo AND Kumano, and the mono Green Machine falls.

    "But you should LIKE mono Green," TBS shoots at Svend. "It's just like Stompy!"

    Geertsen 1 - Seck 0

    Game 2 is far better for TBS, who comes through with fast Feral Deceiver on turn 3 off an Orachi Sustainer. Svend "matches" it with a third turn Orochi Leafcaller and an "ohh, there it is". TBS swings in dropping Svend to 17, and plays a Burr Grafter. Svend crashes back into the game with turn 4 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro. TBS peeks with the Feral Deceiver and then swings it directly in Sosuke's direction. "Bluffing?" Svend inquires. "Maybe." Svend throws the Orochi Leafcaller in the way, and TBS reveals the Forest for some Trampling Goodness. Svend plays Honden of Life's Web, and after another peek at the top card TBS swings back in with the Deceiver and again points it directly at Sosuke. "You get lucky again?" "Yep" Svend doesn't block, and TBS merely plays a Humble Budoka. TBS soon shows exactly how he got lucky by untapping and flipping the Kodama of the North Tree on to the table. One land on the top later and some more Trampling Goodness, it's off to Game 3.

    Geertsen 1 - Seck 1

    Svend Geertsen

    On Svend's third turn, he points a Yamabushi's Flame directly at TBS's turn two Orachi Sustainer. TBS then plays a Commune With Nature and a Hana Kami on his third turn. Svend plays a Rootrunner, and TBS a Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro. "Sooo lucky to have to killed this guy" TBS laughs, rapping his knuckles on the removed Orachi Sustainer, "I would have gone OFF!" Then as Svend taps five mana, "Please don't be Master Yamabushi…" "Who?" Svend smirks placing the Red legend on the table. TBS plays out a Moss Kami, only to lose it when Svend attacked into it with Kumano and a Kodama's Might. Thankfully for TBS, he is able to follow one Moss Kami up with another. Then after swinging with the Moss Kami, the Kodama of the North Tree. Svend then ponders for a bit, and throws out a "so you're eleven?" "Yep" Svend then thinks a wee bit longer and turns to the table judge. "So if I play the same legend…?" "You're kidding me, I'm gonna lose to the new legend rule?!" TBS exclaims. Sure enough, Svend drops his own Kodama of the North Tree, killing both of them in a flurry of Failing to Front up to Reality. Svend swings in, knocking TBS out of contention for the top 8. "Such a gas hand" TBS bemoans, "I had third turn Sachi, but you killed my guy. I would have been toooo fast!" Svend now has to win one more round to make the playoffs.

    Geertsen 2 - Seck 1


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 5:10 pm - Round 13: Svend Geertsen vs. Bryce Trevilyan
  • Coming into this final round, six spots in the Top 8 have been sealed, leaving four players to fight it out for the final two. This match features Geertsen's powerful three-color deck vs. Trevilyan's Mono-Black deck that contains threeNezumi Cutthroats among its eleven two-drop spells, while Jarrod Bright and Chris Kwan are also battling for a slot of their own. Since we've already featured two Bright implosions thus far this weekend (though it's unreported, he missed an on-the-board kill in his last Feature Match to send it to a third game), we decided to be merciful and put the other match in the spotlight here.

    Bryce Trevilyan

    Game 1 was a bloodbath, as Geertsen kept a questionable hand with lots of green spells and only Mountains (to be fair, he only needed a Forest to cast a Sakura-Tribe Elder), and Trevilyan quickly turned the Dane into roadkill.

    Trevilyan 1 - Geertsen 0

    Geertsen's deck again roughed him up in game 2, giving him two Forests but no real action in the early turns - a clear death sentence against Trevilyan's deck. Of course, his second hand was actually a bit worse, containing bombs and two Mountains. Trevilyan chose to mulligan after Geertsen kept, causing Svend to ask, "Is that just to be nice to me?"

    "It's funny how I play so many Forests and I don't ever draw them." Poor Geertsen had to endure back to back games of his deck letting him down, as he again got stuck on with three Mountains and no Forests plus a hand full of green spells and Trevilyan smacked him around like a red-headed stepchild.

    Trevilyan 2 - Geertsen 0

    Trevilyan has now secured a place in the final draft.


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 6:38 pm - Quarterfinals: Masami Ibamoto vs. Jarrod Bright
  • Masami faced heat early on in the draft from last year's GP champ, Andrew Grain. Andrew, who was on Masami's right, wanted to draft Red, but having cracked a Ryusei, the Falling Star in pack two meant Masami was willing to fight back. Jarrod started out taking Red, but couldn't find a reasonable second color. He eventually settled on White, and was rewarded late in the draft with a third-pick Nagao.

    Masami Ibamoto

    Jarrod has been wearing a navy-blue t-shirt all day, with a large white Japanese Kanji slashed across the front it. Masami managed to be the first person today to correctly identify what it actually says. It says "first place".

    Game 1

    While Masami won the roll, Jarrod started out well with a first turn Lantern Kami. Precisely the kind of start his deck needs to beat Masami's bomb-heavy deck. Masami's third turn Distress showed just how far from perfect Jarrod's start actually was, when he revealed a hand with a third plains and five red cards. Jarrod failed to make any relevant plays for several turns, allowing Masami get in with an Ashen-Skin Zubera, and a Kami of the Fire's Roar for some cheap smacks. Jarrod finally managed to get a Hundred-Talon Kami into play, but Masami had a Thief of Hope and an Ember-Fist Zubera to ensure Jarrod couldn't come back.

    Ibamoto 1 - Bright 0

    Game 2

    Jarrod's deck needs to come out fast and barrel on past his opponent's bombs, so when he passed his second turn without play, things could have been better. Masami again had a turn two Ashen-Skin Zubera, and Jarrod redeemed his third turn my playing a Kabuto Moth. The Moth isn't as spectacular verses Masami's removal, as it's all Befoul to left of him, and Rend Fleshes to the right, but at least he's still all up in there with the combat phase. Masami appeared to lag behind with a third turn Godo's Maul, but followed it up with a Kami of Fire's Roar and a Sokenzan Bruiser. With Godo's Maul, the Bruiser could end the game in five turns if Masami could muster enough defence.

    Jarrod Bright

    By this time, Jarrod had managed to get down a Frostwielder, and a Mothrider Samurai. He swung in with the Mothrider, and a fresh Ronin Houndmaster taking Masami to 16. The Kabuto Moth was conspicuous in its absence from the combat phase, but would make for a fine blocker against Kami of Fire's Roar, if it weren't for Masami's Befoul. Masami then equipped the Maul to the Bruiser, and together with the Kami swung in for six, dropping Jarrod to 13. Jarrod untapped and landed an Uncontrollable Anger on his Mothrider Samurai, and came in for six of his own, taking Masami down to 10. Masami untapped and stopped for a think, which made me a very happy man indeed. The match had taken around three and a half seconds to reach this point, and I was ever so glad for the breather. Before I knew it, it was all back on with Masami playing a Spirit triggering the Kami of Fire's Roar, so there was certainly no blocking for Frosty the Frostwielder. Sadly for Jarrod, this new spirit was none other than Ryusei, the Falling star, who watched on as the Kami and the Sokenzan Bruiser took Jarrod down to a perilous nine life. Jarrod tried to swing back, but it was for naught as Masami failed to forget about swinging back with Ryusei and the equipped Bruiser for the win. Jarrod's t-shirt failed to bring home the goods, and Masami goes on to face Will Copeman in the semi finals.

    Ibamoto 2 - Bright 0


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 6:56 pm - Semifinals: Will Copeman vs. Masami Ibamoto
  • Having just despatched Bryce Trevilyan, Will Copeman sat down facing Masami Ibamoto, who had just bested Jarrod Bright in two quick games.

    Game 1

    Will played out a Matsu-Tribe Decoy, an Order of the Sacred Bell, and a Kashi-Tribe Reaver. These soon made work of Masami's smaller Red and Black Zuberas, while a Kami of the Wanning Moon watched on in dismay. Masami tried to get back in the game in with a Soulless Revival spliced onto a Waking Nightmare, but this left Will with one card in hand. That one card came down the following turn and happened to be Jugan, the Rising Star. Masami mustered a strong defence in Ryusei, the Falling Star, but after the dragons traded in combat, Will was left with a 8/7 Kashi-Tribe Reaver. But wait, Masami valiantly flipped the top card of his deck onto the Reaver, and it was one of his two Befouls. We all gave a wee cheer and a smattering of applause, and then did the same in turn for Will, because he cleverly drew a Moss Kami off the top for the win.

    Sideboarding went on for some time, with much "hmmm"ing from both players. Will broke the peace and started shuffling up, but Masami sideboarded on, flipping cards in and out of his deck. "Super-sideboard!" Will said with a grin. "Su-per-sideboard," Masami nodded in return with a smile.

    Copeman 1 - Ibamoto 0

    Game 2

    Will Copeman

    Masami thought long and hard about throwing back his opening hand, but kept it anyway, quite possibly because Ryusei was once again grinning back at him. His third turn Forest drew a quizzical second glance from many, as we'd only seen Swamps and Mountains from him up until this point. He soon trumped that with a fourth turn Sosuke, Son of Seshiro. Masami then suited up his legend with Godo's Maul and Will was left facing off against a 6/7 on turn 5. Will didn't mind however, and he slapped a No-Dachi on an Order of the Sacred Bell, and swung in to meet the Snake-Warrior legend. Masami took the bait, and Will pulled out a Serpent skin to take down Sosuke.

    Masami Soulless Revivaled Sosuke and came back with Seizan, Perverter of Truth, who also picked up Godo's Maul to become a 9/8 "card all 'round!" kind of guy. Will swung in at Seizan with his 7/4 first striking, regenerating Monk, and a Orochi Ranger. Masami blocked the Monk, and Will regerated while the Snake dropped Masami to eight. Will played a second Order of the Sacred Bell, and passed the turn back to Masami. After dropping to six life, Masami sent Seizan into the Red-Zone. Will declined to block, dropping to nine and waiting to see what kind of defence Masami could muster. Masami played out Sosuke, Son of Seshiro, and a Matsu-Tribe Decoy and then ended. Will untapped and fell to seven life, and set in for a good ponder. After the pondering, Will tried a bit of frowning. Once done with the frowning, he let out a "whooeesh!" Then he finally shook his head as if to dislodge the silly thoughts that weren't "equip the No-Dachi to the Orochi Ranger and swing in for the win" and proceeded to do just that. Masami blocked two of Will's guys, pick two, any two, and dropped to two life. He untapped and looked down at Seizan as if to say "why?!" before offering his hand.

    Copeman 2 - Ibamoto 0

    Will Copeman will now face Anatoli Lightfoot in the final playoffs for Grand Prix Brisbane.


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 7:07 pm - Semifinals: Anatoli Lightfoot vs. Andrew Grain
  • Grain won last year's Australian Grand Prix, but had to do a lot of work on Day 2 to make the Top 8 here. His perseverance has paid off thus far, placing him in the semifinals against opponent Anatoli Lightfoot, a twenty-two year old Magician who recently graduated from school.

    Grain had to mulligan in game 1, but came out of the corner swinging with his second six, getting in some early beats with Kami of Ancient Law and Silent-Chant Zubera. Lightfoot played a more patient game, casting a turn 2 Soilshaper, followed by Kodama's Reach and Kami of Twisted Reflection. The game stalled for a while, with both players playing lands and doing little. Eventually Lightfoot cast Kodama's Might with Reweave spliced onto it, getting rid of Grain's lone Mountain before swinging with the Kami, Soilshaper, and a land. Grain blocked the Kami with his own, and then cast Otherworldly Journey with damage on the stack, saving the bear and making it 3/3.

    Andrew Grain

    The two players traded damage for a while, as Lightfoot began to push enough damage through that a real race looked possible. Eventually the board stalled again with Grain at two and Lightfoot at six. Grain tried to swing for the win with two Zubera on the board, casting Devouring Rage on the unblocked one and sacrificing the other, but Lightfoot answered with Consuming Vortex, stunting the attack. A Mystic Restraints on a blocker later and Lightfoot was up a game.

    Lightfoot 1 - Grain 0

    Game 2 began well for Lightfoot witha turn 2 Eye of Nowhere and some early flying beats, but Grain quickly caught up by stacking damage with a blocking Mothrider Samurai and then using Otherworldly Journey to turn it into a more formidable flying beastie. Grain then took command with Ronin Houndmaster entering the fray, but Soilshaper again paid dividends for Lightfoot, allowing him to bounce a fresh Kami of the Painted Road with a Vortex and turn a land into a 3/3, trading the land with the Houndmaster and setting Grain's tempo back. Kami of Twisted Reflection let Lightfoot go on the offensive again with his Rainshaper, Soilshaper, and a land, dropping Grain to five. Two turns later, Grain again went for the win, attacking with a Zubera, the Samurai, and his Kami. Lightfoot blocked the Kami, letting the Zubera and Samurai through. Grain cast what looked to be a winning Devouring Rage, but Lightfoot again had a Reweave in hand, causing Grain to extend the hand as he congratulated Lightfoot on making the finals,

    Lightfoot 2 - Grain 0


     
  • Sunday, November 14: 7:39 pm - Finals: Anatoli Lightfoot vs. Will Copeman
  • This is it, the culmination of two days, thirteen rounds of swiss, and two rounds of single elimination. The winner of this match will get $2400, a big fake check, and a handy beer stein (also known as a trophy), plus the accolades of the Australian audience that has very vocally stated they are happy to keep this GP title in country. Will Copeman fought through teammate Bryce Trevilyan in the quarters before smashing Masami Ibamoto in the semis, en route to his first major finals appearance. On the other side of the table, Anatoli Lightfoot and special helper Meloku the Clouded Mirror managed to overcome a zero-land, five-card hand to stifle former Australian National Champion Andrew Vargas's hopes of a finals appearance. Lightfoot then bashed Andrew Grain in two quick games when Grain simply couldn't deal with Anatoli's bounce. thus sending the twenty-two year old recent university graduate through to the finals.

    Anatoli Lightfoot

    Both decks here are pretty strong, with Copeman running a three-color special that features a lot of fat, solid acceleration, and a smidge of burn. Lightfoot's deck has the aforementioned Meloku, a bunch of bounce, and some excellent splice/arcane tricks. If I had to handicap this one, I'd say that Lightfoot's deck has a slight advantage in the consistency department, but this will probably be a close one.

    Copeman won the die roll, but was forced to ship his first seven back, and search for a better six cards. A second turn Sakura-Tribe Elder from Lightfoot kicked off the action, and was instrumental in accelerating him to a turn 4 Meloku, earning a groan from Copeman. The awesome legend was forced to immediately contend with Moss Kami and Kami of the Hunt though, blunting his effectiveness a bit. As he had done so many times already in the Top 8, Lightfoot again demonstrated the power of Reweave by casting Consuming Vortex on the Hunt and splicing Reweave onto it, turning the Moss Kami into a Matsu-Tribe Decoy, leaving Copeman shaking his head and making snarky, unprintable remarks. Soilshaper also made a welcome appearance for Lightfoot, giving him a second and slightly more impressive outlet to turn his lands into beaters. Copeland fought valiantly, playing a Rootrunner and Orochi Sustainer to try and staunch the bleeding, but it proved impossible in the end, as the splicing, bounce, and abuse of lands proved too much for him.

    Lightfoot 1 - Copeman 0

    The crowd was really getting into things here, sending barbs back and forth amongst each other and the finalists while they were shuffling up for game 2. Lightfoot kept a one-land hand in game 2 and did not mise a second one, thus paying the price for counting on Sakura-Tribe Elder to pull things through, and earning a series of jeers from the throng of onlookers. He finally started to catch up on turn 3, but it was just not happening. The appearance of Jugan, the Rising Star may have had something to do with that, and the game count was suddenly equal at one apiece

    Lightfoot 1 - Copeman 1

    Lightfoot grimaced again when he looked at his first seven cards, before tossing them back in the pile, and fetching a new six.

    "Just Mulligan to five cards," was the cry from the crowd, as Varga had just related the tale of Lightfoot's stunning victory over him earlier in the Top 8.

    "Actually, every time someone has mulliganned to five in my matches today, they've won," commented Copeman.

    The two finalists

    Portentously, Lightfoot did mulligan down to five, earning a round of laughter from the crowd, but he had to mulligan again to four, basically conceding the match on the spot, since there was no way he was going to stand up to Copeman's deck with only that many cards, particularly on the play.

    "I'll keep," was the final word from Lightfoot, just before he said "your go" without playing a land.

    He did manage to find an Island around turn 5 or so, but that was the only permanent he played before extending the hand and congratulating the new 2004 Grand Prix--Brisbane champion, Will Copeman!

    Copeman 2 - Lightfoot 1


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