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2004 United States National Championship Feature Match

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Alex Shvartsman The letter S!hvartsman should be the only undefeated player, but he got a match loss for improper deck registration. He was quick to point out with a laugh that it's happened to him about twice per season throughout the years. Apparently, it's not something that will keep him up tonight, as everyone at his pod is envious of the deck he ended up with. It contains two Trinket Mages with Leonin Bola and Skullclamp, in addition to plenty of efficient fliers and Blinding Beam.

Bill Stead- "Alex's deck is the best one I've ever passed. Seriously, the best deck I've ever passed."

Gabe- "Actually, Alex is 8-1 and I'm 7-2, because he's going to smash me."

Game 1

Walls had two Talismans out on turn three, and played Empyrial Plate. It was nullified by Stasis Cocoon, and Walls played a 3/3 Skyreach Manta. Shvartsman summoned an Auriok Windwalker, Walls put a Healer's Headdress on his Manta, and got through for three damage. The Windwalker swung back for two, and Shvartsman added Spire Golem to the air. Walls had his own Stasis Cocoon to deal with the threat, allowing his Manta to get through for three once more. The Windwalker dealt two more, and Shvartsman played Arachnoid. Walls continued to have the right answers for Shvartsman's defense, using Deconstruct to remove the blocker, followed by Myr Quadropod. Shvartsman played a Thunderstaff, and played Altar's Light to finally deal with the Manta. The Quadropod donned the Headdress and still got through for damage, but it seemed as if Shvartsman would finally be able to stabilize the board. Loxodon Stalwart provided him with more defense, and the Windwalker stepped in front of the Quadropod, losing the battle due to the Headdress. Shvartsman played a Skyhunter Cub, and Walls drew and ended his consequent turns, unable to mount an effective offense any longer.

When Shvartsman played Quicksilver Behemoth, it not only appeared that he had the defensive side of things taken care of, but that he'd soon be able to go on offense as well. Echoing Truth bounced the Quadropod, and in response Walls cast Altar's Light to remove the Thunderstaff. Shvartman's creatures were able to attack right into Walls, bringing him down to two. On the next attack, he dealt lethal damage.

Shvartsman- 1 Walls- 0

Walls pointed out that this was his first game loss in Limited this weekend.

Walls- "It's all downhill from here."

Game 2

Walls mulliganed down to six. He opened with a Chromatic Sphere, and had three different land types to play Suntouched Myr as a 3/3 and still keep his Sphere around for later. Stasis Cocoon nullified the threat but Vulshok War Boar came out, sacrificing the now useless Myr. Shvartsman played Hoverguard Observer, and took five from the Boar. Walls cycled through the Sphere, playing a less than impressive Krark-Clan Grunt. He missed his fifth land drop, and it appeared that he was holding Skyreach Manta and was somewhat frustrated.

Bill Stead (in another feature match)-"Thanks for the Sword of Light and Shadow."
Shvartsman- "Sorry, I had to take a Skullclamp." (plays it)
Walls- "I knew that was coming as soon as he said that!"

Gabe Walls

It went on a Leonin Den-Guard, but Walls had the right answer in Engineered Explosives. The Boar still got through for five, but Alex counterattacked for four before playing Silver Myr and a Windwalker. Walls played a Headdress, and the Myr blocked the Boar. Shvartsman played a Looming Hoverguard, and Walls responded by sacrificing the Headdress, the only artifact on the table. Shvartsman's flying team attacked for five, giving him a lethal attack on the following turn. Walls drew and conceded, and Shvartsman showed the Blinding Beam in his hand that would have been pure overkill.

Shvartsman- 2 Walls- 0

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