s we enter the first round of Mirrodin
Block Constructed our first feature article pits two of the format's biggest heavyweights against each other. Last year's Invitational Champion Jens Thoren is piloting everyone's favorite bad boy, Ravager Affinity. On the other side of the table Jin Okamoto is running what may well be that deck's nemesis, the Big Red archetype that took the honors at PT Kobe, sporting heavy hitters like Arc Slogger and Furnace Dragon
. (As a quick note, we won't be posting decklists for constructed formats until the competitors have finished those formats.)
Jin won the roll, chose to go first, but had to mulligan to 6 before he found a starting hand he was satisfied with. The missing card didn't phase him much though, as by his second turn he had two land, Arcbound Worker, Chromatic Sphere, Frogmite, and Skullclamp all in play. A few card draws later and Jin was dropping out a fleet of three Somber Hoverguards. Like almost every other game I've watched today, just when you think someone is getting demolished they come back from seemingly nowhere to pull things out. In Jens' case it was a combination of early removal to take out just enough of the attackers to stay around and keep playing, combined with a Pulse of the Forge each time the life allowed him to get it back. That Pulse hit once at five mana, then was followed up by an Arc Slogger at 6 mana, leaving one mana for an extra shot to the dome when the time came. Jin untapped and sent his fleet in and Jens used Slogger to shoot down one of the incoming Hoverguards. Jens was dropped to a very precarious one life and Jin started doing the Skullclamp thing to find his much needed last point of damage. He drew into two Ravagers and then a Shrapnel Blast but didn't have the mana to put it away. Jens untapped and sent an impressive 12 damage straight to his opponent's face, pointing the same Pulse of the Forge at his opponent three times in one turn to do exactly enough to send it to game 2.
Game 1 it seemed like almost everything went right for Jin and he still lost. That boded poorly for this game, when he'd be facing the same deck plus a withering storm of extra artifact destruction. Jin opened with an Arcbound Worker, but Jens put him in a world of hurt by playing his own first land and then aiming a Detonate at Jin's Great Furnace. Jin dropped a new artifact land plus a Skullclamp but this land met an early demise at the hands of Shatter. A third artifact land came down (the last land in his hand) allowing Jin to clamp his Worker in a desperate search for more mana, netting him a Glimmervoid. But Jin's third land met Jens' third artifact destruction spell (Shatter #2) and he was seriously falling behind while Jens continued to develop his side of the table. The Glimmervoid came down, but that would be Jin's only land for a couple turns. In the meantime Jens continued developing his side of the board, dropping a pair of Darksteel Citadels and a pair of Solemn Simulacrums (the card he got to design for winning last year's event, appropriately enough). A third Simulacrum soon joined the party, allowing Jens to enjoy an 8 to 2 land advantage over his nearly helpless opponent. Jin did what he could but it wasn't enough, and a few turns later the dreaded Furnace Dragon showed up to the party and sent all of Jin's cards packing.
Jens Thoren wins 2-0