Feature: The Game of the Year

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The crowd gathers for the Game of the Year, pitting Magic inventor Richard Garfield and Sandra Gerhardt and Chris Rogers against Hall of Fame inductee Darwin Kastle with Noah Swartz and Victor Tejada. The four fans were drawn at random from the crowd.


Head Judge Sheldon Menery informs Kastle and Garfield of the ground rules. "All right, I want no hitting below the belt..."


Shuffling can be a bit of a challenge when your cards are two feet by three feet. The 30-card decks were designed by Hall of Fame inductee Alan Comer.


Darwin, Noah and Victor look over their opening hand. The teams didn't know what was in each deck, picking them at random before the match started.


Randy Buehler and Mike Flores announce the action to the gathered crowd.


Darwin, Victor and Noah scope out the action.


Richard, Chris and Sandra look at their opening hand, revealing an white artifact deck.


Darwin's team searches for a land after sacrificing a Sakura-Tribe Elder. The added benefit was they got to see what was in their deck -- and there were some absolute bombs.


Supporters of Darwin's squad, who were given red flags to wave, cheer as their team rips off a nice topdeck.


The first bomb hits play in the form of Keiga, the Tide Star...which Richard needs a closer look at.


The big dragon forces its way toward the red zone as Darwin's squad assembles a nice ground force as well.


But the mighty dragon is Arrested!


However, Darwin's team might have an answer in Reweave.


Darwin checks in with one of his many supporters for a quick consultation.


And the Reweave is played, targeting Keiga.


And what does Darwin's team Reweave for? Could it be another might Dragon?


No, merely an Orochi Sustainer.


Richard's team was packing some gas in its hand, but finding land was proving tricky.


But they found enough to equip their Razor Golem with the Sword of Kaldra, making an imposing 8/9 with a nasty effect.


Darwin checks with Sheldon about the timing of the Sword's effect pertaining to his Zubera squad.


Happy with his answer, Darwin tosses a Floating-Dream up for a chump block.


Richard ponders what to do after a Myojin of Life's Web hits the board for Darwin and his crew.


And the crowd goes wild for Triskelion!


But Darwin keeps summoning Dragons to keep the pressure on Richard.


Is it time for a Juggernaut?


Loading a Triskelion...but what will it shoot?


Uh-oh. Chris finds the nastiest combination available, throwing the Sword onto the Trike...


Spotting a few absolute wreckers across the red zone, Richard's squad begins planning what to target with the Triskelion's powerful pings Thanks to the Sword, anything targeted for even a single point will be removed from the game.


And two head to the bin!


Quickly followed by the second dragon summoned by Darwin's squad. Three Trike hits, three huge kills.


Richard's team sends the whole bunch in the Red Zone: a Myr Enforcer, a Razor Golem, Bottle Gnomes and the equipped Triskelion.


Noah, Victor and Darwin try to figure out what to block.


Aha! Darwin's squad isn't out yet, dropping a Kodama's Might on a Skyhunter Cub they lifted from the other team earlier in the game.


But the repeated beatings from creatures wielding the Sword of Kaldra had taken their toll, dropping Darwin's Red team to a single life point. Richard's blue squad wasn't much better, sitting at five.


After finally drawing their seventh land, Richard and his crew excitedly tap all their mana for the bomb the blue team had been waiting to reveal...


A mighty Platinum Angel!!!


Not even their third Dragon Spirit of the game would be enough for Darwin and his team to take out the Platinum Angel. With a congratulatory handshake, Darwin conceded to Richard.


Chris, Richard, and Sandra pose after the match with their big gun, the Platinum Angel..


For winning the Game of the Year, Sandra picks Platinum Angel as her prize -- and an autograph from Richard.


Every member of the Blue team's cheering section got a free booster, enjoying the spoils as winners of The Game of the Year.

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