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Day 1 Blog Archive

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Blog - 10:15 p.m.: Round Eight: Eric "EDT" Taylor vs. Rob "YMG" Dougherty
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 9:42 p.m.: Round Seven: Gerard Fabiano vs. Benjamin Peebles-Mundy
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 8:01 p.m.: Round Six: Jamie Parke vs. Jon Sonne
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:20 p.m.: Count'em
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:01 p.m.: Round Four: Rob Dougherty vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 5:43 p.m.: Five Years From Fighting
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 4:04 p.m.: Time Warriors - 1 Robots from Future - 0
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 3:00 p.m.: Signed, Sealed, and Delighted
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 2:30 p.m.: Kids These Days
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 1:51 p.m.: Bennie Smith vs. the World
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 1:01 p.m.: Building to a Conclusion
    by Brian David-Marshall

  • BLOG



     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 1:01 p.m. - Building to a Conclusion


  • Frank Karsten demonstrates the lap technique while deckbuilding

    Prior to Round One I wandered around during the deck construction period and spoke with people about the impact that Guildpact had on approaching a Sealed deck card pool. The introduction of three new guild color combinations, the loss of two packs worth of mana-fixing, and trying to find a balance between good mana and powerful cards were popular topics of conversation.

    "In the ten years I have been playing Magic I have never had a Sealed Deck format as tough as this one," declared Limited Information author Matt Vienneau. "I am very good at Sealed. I always do well at Limited Grand Prix - the Sealed portion not the draft portion. The conflict between going with your powerful cards in four colors and stretching your mana versus being consistent and having to play more mediocre cards makes it really difficult to build. It is a lot of fun. I ended up going with the three color consistent build because I had just enough power cards to pull it together."

    "I have a tempting card pool but I don't know what I am going to do with it," grumbled Pro Tour on-air personality Jonathan Becker. "I have good cards in every color but I don't have enough good cards in any three colors. If I want to play black-blue I really want to play my Izzet Guildmage so I can double up this Glimpse the Unthinkable but I don't have enough stuff in those three colors and I don't have the fixers for four colors. So I have no idea what I am going to do here."

    "I either have to purposely build an underpowered deck so that my mana works," he continued, encapsulating the decision making process that most players seemed to be grappling with. "No matter what colors that deck is I am going to have to leave either Evangel or Glimpse or Galvanic Arc - some heavy hitting card - in the sideboard and that is going to kill me. You should be able to build four colors most of the time I just happened to get a weird pool where all my two-colored lands are basically the same colors and there are not enough cards in those colors to generate a deck out of. I am going to have to go into complimentary colors to round the deck out and I just don't have the mana fixing."

    At a Sealed Deck event kibitzing about how players built their decks is almost as much fun as playing in the event itself and few events have been anticipated in that regard as much as this tournament. Jon was dreaded the prospect of having to justify the bombs that would undoubtedly be riding the pine.

    "I am probably going to have to leave some really good cards in my sideboard and have everyone look at my deck and tell me I should have used the cards in my sideboard until I build it that way and then everyone is going to tell me I should use those cards that are now in my sideboard in the main deck."

    When I came over to Frank Karsten's table he had run out of table space to lay out the color combinations. He had pushed back from the table and had groups of cards lain out on each leg. "I make twelve piles," laughed Karsten. "I have a system I can show you later."

    "It looks average I guess and as usual really hard to build. There are so many color combinations you have to consider. I usually look for the cards that stand out - the bombs and rares," Frank explained as his hand swept over the decidedly better than average Niz-Mizzet, the Firemind, Hunted Dragon, and Stratozeppelid. "I like to go three colors if possible unless you have a lot of mana-fixers."

    Despite falling on the three-color/good mana side of the fence, Frank was tempted to squeeze Savage Twister into his red-blue-black build. "It is really difficult to build these decks right. I actually might play the Twister because of my double-mana lands."

    Frank played in Grand Prix Hasselt last weekend and felt that building last weekend's Sealed Deck and this weekend's deck were about as far about as the two cities the events were held in. "I think this was at least four times as hard as that one. I really like it -- it will definitely reward the better players - there is a lot of skill involved. There is still sealed luck involved but it is minimized because Guildpact makes things so hard to build. There should be a lot of good players on Day Two."

    Patrick Sullivan was an advocate for three solid colors but agreed that it was hard to determine the best permutation. "This format is really complicated. You always end up leaving really good cards in your sideboard because the mana just doesn't work out. I actually tried four or five different color combinations before deciding to leave Firemane Angel and Skyknight Legionnaire in the sideboard and just play a white-green splash back deck."

    By 'splash black' Patrick meant he was running a handful of Swamps for his Hex. "As a splash it is a little tough but definitely worth it," grinned Sullivan. "It's just a real good three-color deck. I could have built a black-blue-red deck, a red-white-green deck, a red-white-black deck, and this. I finally settled on this version."

    Patrick felt that many players would be tempted into making bad decisions. "A lot of card pools are not conducive to having 23 playables in three colors. So you start to go down this road and at a certain point you just go, 'Eh…I'll just play all my power cards and all my mana fixing'. I don't necessarily agree with that strategy and I think that a lot of players are going to fall into that trap."

    "I played all my power cards and all my mana-fixers," laughed Mark Herberholz who walked up during the tail end of my conversation with Pat. "I fell into the trap. I am not going to lie. My card pool didn't really seem that powerful. I figured I would just play all the good cards and hope to get lucky with my mana draws. My best card is Dream Leash and I am splashing blue. I didn't really have that many decisions. I just took all the best cards and it came out to 23."

    Mark Herberholz, left, fell into a trap.

    Limited pundit Ken Krouner also chose to try and build a more consistent deck with some tempting cards banished in the sideboard. "My deck has a lot of powerful cards but it also has a lot of powerful cards in the sideboard so I have no idea if I built it correctly. If you just look at my sideboard you would have to assume I built my deck wrong because of the cards in it. I have two Steamcore Weird, an Ogre Savant, Glavanic Arc - a lot of good blue and red cards but the mana wasn't as good as it is in this build. There were also a lot of good cards in this build so went with this one. I have two Blind Hunters, Droning Bureaucrats, Wildsize, the +6/+6 enchantment."

    Pro Tour Los Angeles finalist Billy Moreno chose the scientific approach to building his deck. "I did some research and determined that all of the undefeated decks from last weekend's European Grand Prix had Selesnya Guildmage so I went ahead and opened one. I also have Twilight Drover - call it Meloku back-up. I am splashing black for removal and Plague Boiler and feel pretty good about it. I have the whole convoke engine going - it's all there."

    Billy did choose to splash a fourth color but not for a spell. With some double-mana lands giving him red mana he opted to splash Skarrg, the Rage Pits as a potential finisher for his deck.


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 1:51 p.m. - Bennie Smith vs. the World


  • I'mma Bennie, I'mma gonna win!

    Magic: The Gathering Into the Aether columnist and Virginia native Bennie Smith is going to be gunslinging all weekend in a variety of formats that includes Limited. He has built a Ravnica-Guildpact sealed deck card pool and is taking on all comers. Perhaps he should have waited until after the bored 3-byes crowd had to get down to the business of playing in the tournament. He could end up giving away a lot of packs between round one and three. Let's take a look at what he had to work with and what he built.

    Since I can't really bring you Sealed Deck lists from players in the tournament until after Day One this is a chance to see a Sealed Deck representative of what people had to work with today. You can see that he certainly had a number of different options for building the deck with Moroii, double Ogre Savant, and double Izzet Chronarch in his board. How might you have built this deck differently?


    I will check back with Bennie later on today and see how he fared with the deck - and what he would or would not have done differently.


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 2:30 p.m. - Kids These Days


  • I don't understand it. Back when I started playing Magic - and when many of the players returning to the Magic scene this weekend were in their prime - the kids knew how to talk some trash. But the kids these days…

    Julian Levin is perhaps too nice

    Julian Levin is the New York State Champion and a regular at Neutral Ground. He is also a really nice kid - perhaps too nice. When your opponent trots out a turn three Bottled Cloister and you get to raise the alarm and Seed Spark it on your turn three I feel a little trash talking, chest thumping, and room lapping is justified.

    The fact that the entire room did not know that Julian did that seconds after it happened seems preposterous to me. At the very least you have to scoop up the Bottled Cloister and all the cards under it with your Seed Spark and dump them out of play.

    Seriously, I thought it was a cool play followed by a very mature reaction - both deserving of some notice in the coverage. Maybe Le Pine or Opalka can give the kid some pointers.


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 3:00 p.m. - Signed, Sealed, and Delighted


  • Jameson Helfrich and his precious

    There are way more people in the room than the 561 players who signed up this morning. There are plenty of other reasons to be here besides the 16 invites, $25,000, and seemingly infinite permutations of color combinations to build your deck around. Players came to clash with Bennie Smith; others are here for Two-Headed Giant and 8-person booster drafts.

    For Andy Hurst and Jameson Helfrich there were only two reasons to be here; Rob Alexander and Ron Spears. The two artists were special guests at the Grand Prix and will be signing cards, prints, and proofs all weekend. Andy and Jameson proudly displayed signed prints and playsets of their favorite cards.

    "I have fourteen Dark Confidants now," grinned Jameson before heading to the back of the line to get more stuff signed.


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 4:04 p.m. - Time Warriors - 1 Robots from Future - 0


  • In my weekly column I kidded about a time jalopy of American Pros traveling from Origins 97 to this event to stem the tide of the futuristic Japanese robots that have been tearing up the tournament scene for the past few years.

    When I got to the site last night I saw that Kenji Tsumura, Katsuhiro Mori, Shuhei Nakamura, and Tomohiro Kaji were sitting down for a 4-on-4 draft. Their opponents? Mike Long, Dave Williams, Ben Farkas, and Gabe Walls. I predicted that the World Champion, Player of the Year, and two players with multiple Top 8s in the past season would win in a bloodbath. I even went so far as to learn how to say it in Japanese.

    English would have sufficed. The ghosts of Pro Tours past stomped the competition with brutal efficiency. Kenji could scarcely believe they had lost so quickly and became engaged in a one-on-one rematch with Dave Williams using the decks they drafted. Dave won that match as well.

    Bloodbath in English is pronounced bloodbath.


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 5:43 p.m. - Five Years From Fighting


  • A classic sheepish grin as displayed by Ben Farkas

    Ben Farkas has not played Magic is five years. He came to this event expecting to have two byes based on his over 1950 Limited rating that goes back to his Grand Prix winning turn at Washington DC 1999. Things have changed some in five years. Players who do not actively play in sanctioned tournaments have their rating deactivated - meaning Ben was not eligible to receive those byes.



     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 6:01 p.m. - Round Four: Rob Dougherty vs. Kenji Tsumura


  • Mark Le Pine, left, plays against Shuhei Nakamura

    The feature match area was a little confusing as Player of the Year Kenji Tsumura and (almost) triple PT Top 8 competitor Shuhei Nakamura tried to figure out who they were playing against. Kenji was seated across from three-time PT Top 8 competitor Mark Le Pine but he was actually supposed to be playing Rob Dougherty.

    "Sorry Le Pine," I teased. "You don't get to play the Player of the Year. You have to play the guy who almost had three Pro Tour Top 8s."

    Le Pine shrugged and assessed Shuhei. "We're evenly matched then."

    "Those were all this year Le Pine."

    "Oh."

    Kenji moved over to the next table and sat down from YMG frontman Rob Dougherty. Rob has more Top 8s than any of the other players at the table with five and is eligible for the Hall of Fame. Despite his past success, running a business and raising a fledling family have taken their toll on Rob's byes. He had been playing since round two. Kenji was just entering the water this round.

    Game 1

    Kenji led with a turn two Lurking Informant. Rob had the mana but not the targets for an enhanced Tin Street Hooligan. When Kenji passed turn three with no play, Rob crashed the Hooligan into the red zone - did I mention that it was enchanted with Moldervine Cloak? If Kenji had any chicanery in hand it was no longer applicable. He took four and Lurked the top of his own deck - ditching Netherborn Phalanx.

    Clinging Darkness took the Hooligan to one power. Rob sent it to the red zone and Kenji blocked. Rob had Sundering Vitae for the Darkness but Kenji had Last Gasp at the ready. Rob regrouped a turn later with a Snapping Drake that threatened to loom large with the Cloak in his bin.

    Kenji culled the top of his deck with the informant and got in for a little damage with his Centaur Safeguard. Rob elected not to dredge the cloak. Instead he got in for the three in the air and played a bloodthirsty Burning-Tree Bloodscale. Rob was tight on mana - he had only four - and seemed reluctant to bring back the cloak. He continued to get in for three with his flier and followed up with Elvish Skysweeper and Bloodscale Prowler.

    Kenji kept working the top of his deck and quickly untapped to play an eighth mana and cast Living Inferno. It was time to dredge back the Cloak. Rob got in for six in the air and Kenji fell to three. He had no choice but to trade the Living Inferno for the flier, Prowler, and Skysweeper. He followed up with Screeching Griffin.

    It was Rob's turn to sweep the board as he put the Moldervine Cloak on his hill giant. Kenji triple blocked and they traded. Rob had Nullmage Shepherd for his second main phase. Kenji fell to one from the subsequent cloaked attack.

    Revenant Patriarch held Rob at bay for the crucial kill turn and all he could do was play Viashino Fangtail. Kenji was not out of gas yet. He killed the Fangtail with Angel of Despair and crashed in with the Revenant. Rob chose not block and took the damage. Kenji had Bathe in Light to kill the cloak on the attack back. Rob's advantage was starting to crumble. He played Torch Drake.

    Kenji got in for four more with his Revenant and Rob could only play Root-Kin Ally and hope for the best. Kenji did not have a second blocker - the Revenant is contractually obligated not do so - and that was enough for Rob to escape Game 1 with the win.

    Rob - 1 Kenji - 0

    Game 2

    Rob made a turn two Transluminant. Kenji had dropped a double land on turn two had to take a point of mana burn in order to make a Golgari Guildmage. Rob got in for two. When Kenji passed the turn with no play he decided he had to burn a Last Gasp on the grizzly bear. Ron made a Snapping Drake but had to keep it docked for a turn because of Revenant Patriarch. Rob shrugged and played Nullmage Shepherd.

    Galvanic Arc on the Revenant shot down the flier and made for a formidable four-power, first-striking attacker. Rob had a formidable four-power guy of his own - Statozeppelid - but it could not stop the Revenant from taking another 20% of Rob's starting life total. It could do even less once it was enchanted with Clinging Darkness. Rob put out Elvish Skysweeper and a blank Izzet Chronarch.

    The vanilla 2/2 stepped in the path of the Revenant and Nullmage Shepherd took care of the Clinging Darkness. Moldervine Cloak on the flier took a 7-point chunk of Kenji's life total. The score was 10 to 9 in Kenji's favor. Rob continued to chump block but fell to five from the unblocked Guldmage. He fell further to 3 from Blind Hunter.

    Rob had Fiery Conclusion to live another turn but Kenji just showed him the Bathe in Light that he was holding and they went on to Game 3.

    Rob - 1 Kenji - 1

    Game 3

    With Frank Karsten studying his every move and World Champion Mori sitting in the next seat, Kenji got off to a slow start in Game 3. He had nothing on the board while Rob had come out with Silhana Starfletcher and a bloodthirsted Burning-Tree Bloodscale. Kenji cast Cling Darkness on the hill giant and Last Gasped the mana smoother. Rob summoned a Fangtail and looked happily at the Last Gasp in Kenji's yard. Golgari Guildmage appeared for the PoY.

    Kenji Tsumura, left, vs. Rob Dougherty

    Rob attacked with his pinger and convoked out Root-kin Ally. Strands of Undeath took two-third of Rob's hand - uncastable blue cards - and left Kenji with a regenerating bear. Rob summoned Nullmage Shepherd and bade his time with no attack. All Kenji had was Lurking Informant - his Strands was destroyed EOT.

    Rob passed the next turn with no play. A Mountain for Kenji meant that he could cast Galvanic Arc that had been sitting in his hand. Rob let the Viashino Fangtail it targeted and enchanted go but took out the Clinging Darkness along the way. Time was called in the middle of that turn. Kenji played the last card in his hand - Restless Dead - and the game threatened to get drawn out.

    Rob used his Bloodscale to make sure that only the Guilmage could block it and got in for three. Rob had two more turns to win the game and had twevel points of life to cover. He did the same thing on the next turn, dropping Kenji to nine. Kenji's Castigate on the next to last turn revealed nothing but land in Rob's hand. He drew one more and the match was a draw.

    Final result: Rob Dougherty -1 Kenji Tsumura - 1


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 6:20 p.m. - Count'em


  • Frank Karsten, left rear, uses his eagle-eyes to peek at Kenji's play

    During the feature match I was keenly aware of Frank Karsten looming over Kenji's shoulder boring a hole into Kenji's cards with his eyes as he studied the PoY's every move. I asked him what that was about after the match. Was he trying to get some kind of read on Kenji?

    "I just try to put myself in Kenji's shoes and see what plays I would make."

    And?

    "I would have made a different play every time."

    Apparently so would Kenji who has made no secret of his desire to improve his Limited game this season. Kenji was talking with one of his friends and held up five fingers covered by two and shook his head.

    "I made seven bad plays."


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 8:01 p.m. - Round Six: Jamie Parke vs. Jon Sonne


  • Jon Sonne, left, vs. Jamie Parke

    Jamie Parke is an old school Pro who was once a member of Team Sped along with Joe Weber and Ben Farkas. The highlight of his career came at the 1999 World Championships when he finished 6th. He has remained an occasional Magic player showing up at assorted PTQs over the years. He recently took a job at the same firm as Chris Pikula, Chris Manning, and a number of other NYC Magic players. He has been drawn into the after hours world of drafting at Jon Finkel's. He had reeled off three straight wins after coming into the tournament with a pair of byes.

    I asked him when was the last time he was feature matched and the best he could recall was, "It might have been when I played as Magic Stick with Eric Philipps and Mike Lucarello at some team thing." Which sounds a lot like GP Washington DC from a couple years back?

    Jon Sonne is no stranger to the feature match area. He recently won Grand Prix Philadelphia where he defeated Jamie's co-worker Chris Pikula in the finals. Sonne actually won multiple GPs last season including his Austin title in the opening weeks of Amiga limited.

    Game 1

    Jamie mulligan and had to keep a one land hand on the play rather than go down to five. He did not draw land for three turns and had to pitch Oathsworn Giant before finding land number two for Tin Street Hooligan but he was too far behind at that point for his aggressive weenie based deck to make up the shortfall.

    Game 2

    Jamie seemed disgusted with the mana-heavy-hand that he kept in this game. Jon got out ahead early with Dimir Guildmage but if there was one thing Jamie's hand could do it was deliver a turn three Greater Mossdog.

    The Mossdog got in for three on the next turn but Jamie did not have any of his three Scab-Clan Maulers to get his bloodthirst on. He sighed and announced "One to you," as he played Sparkmage Apprentice.

    Jon had Moroii. Jamie attacked into with both guys. Jon shrugged and put Moroii in the way of the hill giant. Jamie put his Mossdog in the bin and finished the flier off with Trophy Hunter. Jon Disenboweled the Trophy Hunter and swung in for two.

    Jamie dredged back the Mossdog and whiffed past two Scab-Clan Maulers and Gruul Guildmage. Jamie replayed the dog and Jon played a Tidewater Minion. Jamie wiped Jon's board clear with Dogpile on the Guildmage and Fiery Conclusion for the Minion.

    Jon still had guys in hand and put out Ghost Warden and Euthanist. Jamie suddenly looked like he had turned a corner. He attacked with the dog and dropped Jon to eight. With Predatory Focus in hand and a bloodthirsty Ghor-Clan Savage it looked good.

    Sonne quickly stepped out of the line of fire with a Blind Hunter to ten. Jamie cast Boros Guildmage and attacked with his 5/6 Jon had Peel from Reality.

    Sonne played Sunforger and equipped it to the Blind Hunter. With a little boost from the Ghost Warden he attacked for seven. "You're at seven after that right?"

    Jamie was able to crack back for five on the next turn and replay the Savage. He left red and one up and passed the turn. Jon attacked for six in the air but was willing to put damage on the stack without using Ghost Warden. Jamie was at one. Jon played Dimir House Guard and sacrificed the Blind Hunter and then the creature it haunted to deal the final point.

    He was worried about removal and decided that if Jamie had removal for either his Blind Hunter or Sunforger he would be better off with an untapped Ghost Warden.

    Final result: Jon Sonne - 2 Jamie Parke - 0


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 9:42 p.m. - Round Seven: Gerard Fabiano vs. Benjamin Peebles-Mundy


  • Gerard Fabiano loves Magic!

    "Gerard Fabiano has the best mana," rhapsodized Jon Becker. "He has three dual lands in his colors, five signets. Plus he has Sunforger and Vulturous Zombie." Becker was on the tail end of a frustrating day that included being defeated by a player mulliganing to four on the play and was seeing greener grass over every fence.

    There was no such wistfulness on either side of the feature match table. Gerard Fabiano was 6-0 and his opponent Benjamin Peebles-Mundy was 5-0-1. Gerard wanted to make sure that he had the chance to say "Hi to Laura," who is following the coverage at home.

    "Is that cheesy?" asked Gerard with a laugh.

    Game 1

    Both players started the game with signet mana and double lands. Gerard's first non-mana play was the dreaded Sunforger. Benjamin's was Teysa, Orzov Scion. Gerard followed up with Blind Hunter, when he attempted to equip and attack with the flier next turn Benjamin raised the alarm with Seed Spark. Peebles-Mundy was able to crack back for four and added a Transluminant.

    Benjamin tried to Douse in Gloom the Blind Hunter but Gerard saved it with Wildsize. Mundy was undaunted and kept up his offense. He traded Transluminant for Blind Hunter - kind of - Benjamin added Sandsower.

    Devouring Light took down the Sandsower on the next turn. Screeching Griffin joined the team. Gerard who was drowning in his much-admired mana was able to play Civic Wayfinder and Drift of Phantasms but he could not stop the rush of creatures and removal from Peebles-Mundy. A Faith's Fetters and a Brainspoil later had Gerard at dead.

    Game 2

    Gerard looked up at the increasingly-buff Alex Lieberman who was looking on from the sidelines, "You win Twin?"

    Alex just shook his head. Gerard was saddened, "Aw c'mon twin, I'm gonna lose too."

    He turned to me and explained the nickname twin, "People say we look alike. Do you think we look like each other?"

    I could see a passing resemblance. Gerard pumped the fist.

    Gerard was eager to play but Benjamin was not ready, "Hold on…I'm mulliganing."

    "That's why I never mulligan. It just wastes time."

    Peebles-Mundy ended up going down to four while Gerard talked in surfer voice about a recent trip to Atlantic City. He decided to stay in character for the remainder of the match. "Dude," announced Gerard as he played Golgari Rotwurm - he already had Veteran Armorer in play.

    Mundy's draw was pretty solid for a triple mulligan. Orzhov Basilica allowed him to play turn three Teysa and turn four Blind Hunter. He had to take a point of burn in order to play his Selesnya Guildmage but he seemed to be in better shape than could be expected. Meanwhile on the other side of the table, Gerard was once again treading mana as his deck delivered lands and signets but not much to do with them.

    Benjamin Peebles-Mundy

    Gerard attacked with both his guys and Ben nudged his Guildmage in the way of the Veteran Armorer. Gerard shot it at his opponent with the Rotwurm and Mundy used the ability of Teysa to remove the wurm from the game.

    "Wipeout," sighed Gerard, still inhabiting the dude persona but with not quite as much verve as he displayed during Benjamin's sequence of mulligans.

    Peebles-Mundy had a token from Teysa and Gerard had all of his glorious mana - along with Sunforger. Finally he drew a Civic Wayfinder. He shrugged at Benjamin, "Bummer dude." and equipped it to the elf.

    Sundering Vitae killed the Sunforger and Benjamin attacked in the air.

    "Block," declared Gerard.

    "You can't…it has flying."

    "Why does it have flying?"

    "Cause it is a flying token"

    The two players traded sporadic removal and even less frequent creatures while Benjamin's token took its toll on Gerard's life tally. Despite mulliganing to four Benjamin didn't even need the Brainspoil or the Savage Twister still in his hand at the end of the game.

    Final result: Gerard Fabiano - 0 Benjamin Peebles-Mundy - 2


     
  • Saturday, Feb. 4: 10:15 p.m. - Round Eight: Eric "EDT" Taylor vs. Rob "YMG" Dougherty


  • Eric EDT Taylor

    Eric came out of the gates blindingly fast… Okay, maybe it just seemed that way in contrast to Rob's rather off-curve draw that saw him go Elvish Skysweeper followed by Gruul Nudurog. A tandem of Mossdog and Trophy Hunter did all the early work. Faith's Fetters on the 4/4 was the clincher.

    Game 2

    Rob chose to draw in Game 2 and Eric got some early beats in with Veteran Armorer while Rob took a turn off to Farseek. EDT's Orzhov Euthanist made like a Gray Ogre on turn three while Rob sighed at his hand. Rob played a Starfletcher and bounced a land with his Basiliica.

    Eric Putrefied the mana-smoother and got in for four points. Everyone gathered around Rob's side of the table to read the Spelltithe Enforcer. EDT could not attack into it nor did he have any spells to play. Gruul Nodurog joined the fat squad. Absolver Thrull for EDT.

    Eric's team full of two-power guys could not muster a good block against the Nudurog once Rob committed Benevolent Ancestor to the board. He clung to life for a couple more turns but he was so far behind and he finally threw in the towel.

    "I should have mulliganed that hand," sighed Eric. "If I read my own articles I would definitely have mulliganed."

    Game 3

    "What am I doing?" asked Dougherty.

    "You are playing first because you haven't done that."

    Rob YMG Dougherty

    The game started with Signets all around. Rob used his to ramp into a turn three Blind Hunter. On EDT's side of the table he was trying to figure out the most efficient way to use his double land and still make a play. He ended up playing Mourning Thrull with mana open for Gather Courage and Rob ran his Blind Hunter right into it. Spelltithe Enforcer came down on Rob's side of the board. The turn would have played out much differently had Rob played the Enforcer before attacking.

    Eric paid an extra mana to resolve Civic Wayfinder. He worked his way around it to resolve another Signet - he once again had abundant mana but this time had something to do with it. With his mana in place he finally Putrefied the 3/3 and played his Blazing Archon.

    You could see the wind go out of Rob's sails and it was clear that he had no answer to the 5/6 monstrosity. Eric had to laugh after the match, ""I played fifteen lands - I have fifteen land and I played a nine-mana spell."

    Final result: EDT - 2 YMG - 1


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