Day 2 Coverage: 2009 Great Britain National Championship

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Welcome back to Day Two of Great Britain Nationals 2009. Of the 167 players who started out yesterday, 105 have brought their second Draft decks to battle, but only for two more rounds. Then it's back to Standard, and rounds 10-12 will lead us to the Top 8. From there, it's the usual ruthless knockout format, but with one monstrous twist. The losing semi-finalists have to dust themselves down and prepare for the match of their lives. The winner of the 3rd/4th place playoff gets to represent the country at the World Championships in Rome later this year. The loser still gets to go, but it really isn't the same experience.

The solution? Win, win, and win again, and be crowned the Great Britain National Champion for 2009. Join Rich Hagon and Steve Sadin for all the action.




EVENT COVERAGE

 

  • Friday, 10:43a.m. - Round Eight Feature Match: Danny Gardner V Chris Rossiter
    by Steve Sadin
  • Chris Rossiter
    Danny and Chris are the last remaining undefeated players, Danny at 7-0 and Chris at 6-0-1.

    Both players were feeling quite confident about their chances, especially Danny who was very happy with his draft deck and his constructed deck.

    Game 1

    Chris won the roll and then thought long and hard before deciding to mulligan. His next hand didn’t seem much better, but rather than go down to 5 cards he chose to keep.

    Chris had an island on turn one while Danny had a Wild Nacatl. On his second turn Chris missed his land drop and Danny furthered his board with a Viashino Slaughtermaster.

    On his third turn Chris again missed his land drop and Danny pulled further ahead by casting a Violent Outburst flipping Elvish Visionary. Chris drew for his turn and conceded without ever playing a second land.

    Danny 1 – Chris 0

    Game 2
    Chris was able to keep his hand for Game 2 and opened on a turn two Sighted-Caste Sorcerer. Danny made a Viashino Slaughtermaster but chose not to block when Chris attacked with his exalted two drop.

    Chris then cast a Metallurgeon which is typically quite good against Jund decks, as it helps you to take over in long games, but might not have been exactly what he was looking for against Danny’s lighting fast cascade heavy deck.

    Danny made a Nacatl Outlander, and then Chris cast a Faerie Mechanist. Danny looked to pull way ahead with a turn four Bloodbraid Elf, but instead he “whiffed” flipping a Veinfire Borderpost.

    Danny then attacked with all three of his creatures prompting Chris to block the Viashino Slaughtermaster with his Faerie Mechanist, falling to 13 in the process.

    Chris played his fifth land, a fourth Island to go with his one Plains, and cast a Talon Trooper. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any white to use his Metallurgeon

    Dan Gardner
    Danny Terminated the Talon Trooper and cast a Sewn-Eye Drake. He then attacked in with all of his creatures to knock Chris to a mere 5.

    Chris finally drew a second white source, cast a Thopter Foundry and passed the turn with mana available to activate his Metallurgeon and/or his Thopter Foundry.

    Danny cast a Valley Rannet, debated whether or not he wanted to attack with his Sewn-Eye Drake, a play that would have force Chris to sacrifice his Thopter Foundry or his Metallurgeon, but ultimately decided that he would rather keep his flier and passed the turn.

    Chris cast an Ethercaste Knight, which Danny more than bested with an Elvish Visionary and a Gorger Wurm. If that turn cycle looked good for Danny, it was nothing compared to the next turn cycle where Chris made a Court Homunculus and Danny made a 6/6 Mycoloth.

    Chris had an Excommunicate, the last card in his hand, to buy himself a little more time before the Mycoloth started taking over.

    However, the top of his deck offered him nothing and a turn later Chris conceded facing a more than lethal board.

    Final Result
    Danny 2 – Chris 0

     

  • Friday, 11.05a.m.: Follow the Card
    by Rich Hagon
  • So you know that the players started out this morning with two more Draft rounds to play? And that this Draft started last night? And that we didn’t put any of that Draft coverage on the website yesterday? Well, we like to keep things fair, and giving out free information about decks that are going to come out of the box the next morning...we avoid it when we can.

    So, without further ado, it’s time to take a look inside the second Draft of Nationals, but this time we’re going to do something a little different. Here’s the top table:

    Seat 1 – Richard T. Smith
    Seat 2 – Laurence Trollope
    Seat 3 – Dan Gardner
    Seat 4 – Gerard Boyd
    Seat 5 – Stefano Gattolin
    Seat 6 – Chris Rossiter
    Seat 7 – Mick Edwards
    Seat 8 – Gihan Bandaranaike

    What we did was to Follow the Card. Starting with Mick Edwards in seat 7, we took a look at his opening booster, and followed it round the table, watching as the power level decreased, seeing the unexpected picks that would make subsequent players happy, and the look of disappointment when cards failed to come back round. This then, is the story, not of one player, or one draft, but of one pack. Here’s what Mick saw when he opened his Shards of Alara booster:

    Kederekt Creeper
    Savage Hunter
    Ridge Rannet
    Bloodpyre Elemental
    Soul’s Grace
    Obelisk of Naya
    Oblivion Ring
    Esper Panorama
    Hindering Light
    Wild Nacatl
    Fatestitcher
    Rockcaster Platoon
    Necrogenesis
    Battlegrace Angel
    Island

    It wasn’t even close. Edwards shuffled his way through, came to the Battlegrace Angel, and slammed it down. In Seat 8, Gihan looked towards Necrogenesis, but quickly settled on a choice between Oblivion Ring and Fatestitcher. For a long time, it looked as if the Oblivion Ring was the pick, but with five seconds called, he switched to the tricksy Blue card.

    In Seat 1, Richard Smith wasn’t interested in the Oblivion Ring. His pick of Necrogenesis was almost instant. Laurence Trollope in seat two looked as if he was going to let the Oblivion Ring stretch to fifth, as he looked at both Bloodpyre Elemental and Wild Nacatl. Eventually, the white removal spell left the booster.

    Dan Gardner in seat 3 spent his entire time flicking between the Bloodpyre Elemental and the Wild Nacatl, before settling on the potential 3/3 over the guaranteed removal. That left the Scottish player Gerard Boyd to take the Bloodpyre virtually the moment he saw the pack. There was a headshake from Stefano Gattolin in seat 5 as he saw nothing exciting, looking at the Kederekt Creeper and Esper Panorama before reluctantly settling for the Ridge Rannet. As Gerry Thompson said, at least it cycles.That left Chris Rossiter, who exhibited a similar lack of interest as he took Hindering Light.

    Back with Mick Edwards, he seemed happy with Rockcaster Platoon at 9. The Kederekt Creeper went to Gihan pick 10, while Richard Smith looked like he might be using the Obelisk of Naya at 11. Laurence took the unloved Esper Panorama, and then Dan Gardner showed a little bit of a Pro approach to the game when he took the Island 13th, presumably hoping that Gerard (Savage Hunger) or Stefano (Soul’s Grace) might actually make the mistake of playing with those cards!

    Into pack two then, and for Conflux Mick Edwards saw:

    Goblin Outlander
    Canyon Minotaur
    Sedraxis Alchemist
    Grixis Illusionist
    Exploding Borders
    Matca Rioters
    Court Homunculus
    Brackwater Elemental
    Yoke of the Damned
    Dark Temper
    Viashino Slaughtermaster
    Paragon of the Amesha
    Controlled Instincts
    Inkwell Leviathan
    Swamp

    Clearly, the way this pack would pan out would be hugely influenced by the archetypes already more or less set from Shards of Alara. Still, this is how the cards went:

    Mick was unexcited by the pack, but took Paragon of the Amesha. Chris Rossiter had manoeuvred his way into solid Blue-White, and took Court Homonculus with little fanfare. Then it was time for the “bridesmaid” part of the draft, as a succession of players toyed with the affections of Viashino Slaughtermaster, only to spurn it at the last moment. First Stefano left it in favor of the removal of Dark Temper, and then Gerard Boyd very nearly took it, before settling for Goblin Outlander.

    With most of the opposition removed, Dan Gardner finally took pity on the Slaughtermaster, taking it over Matca Rioters, which was promptly swooped upon byLaurence. Richard Smith took the Canyon Minotaur, leaving Gihan to end the sequence with Sedraxis Alchemist. Man of War going 8th? Times really have changed.

    Mick finally got the rare Inkwell Leviathan out of the pack at 9, while Chris was pleased to see Brackwater Elemental at 10. Stefano took Yoke of the Damned, with Gerard taking Controlled Instincts 12th. This time, Dan Gardner didn’t try the cute land play, taking Exploding Borders, presumably because that’s a card someone might actually find a use for, leaving Grixis Illusionist to Laurence, and the irrelevant basic land to Richard.

    Into Alara Reborn then, and for the final time Mick had a full range of options:

    Igneous Pouncer
    Arsenal Thresher
    Grixis Grimblade
    Etherium Abomination
    Esper Stormblade
    Veinfire Borderpost
    Sewn-Eye Drake
    Captured Sunlight
    Ethercaste Knight
    Valley Rannet
    Marisi’s Twinclaws
    Double Negative
    Stun Sniper
    Knight of New Alara
    Plains

    With Mick firmly in Naya, you might have thought the rare Knight would have gone instantly, but instead he went for the Marisi’s Twinclaws. To his left, Gihan was basically looking toward Grixis. He considered both of the blades, both Grixis and Esper, before going for the flying Sewn-Eye Drake. Richard Smith was interested in the Veinfire Borderpost, but couldn’t resist the Grixis Grimblade at 3. For Laurence in seat 2, there was no viable choice, as he inst-picked the Knight of New Alara.

    Dan Gardner took the fifth pick to take the Veinfire Borderpost, while Gerard Boyd took the second blade out of the pack at 6. Stefano was hesitant, but took Valley Rannet, looking less than happy as he did so. For Chris Rossiter, whose deck was coming together nicely, Ethercaste Knight was a welcome addition at pick 8.

    For Mick, who had looked at Stun Sniper in the opening pack, it was good times to see it back again at pick 9. After Gihan had taken Etherium Abomination, Richard Smith was also delighted to find Igneous Pouncer coming all the way back to him. With Laurence taking Captured Sunlight and Dan Gardner the Arsenal Thresher, it was left to Gerard Boyd to pull the land trick 14th, leaving Stefano to end the pack with Double Negative, which had indeed received a big thumbs-down from the players.

    In this example, we followed just three of the twenty-four packs in the draft. With every choice microscopically affecting everything else that’s shifting around them, it’s easy to see why Draft is regarded as such a skilful format. And, if you want more thoughts from a top name on the opening Shards booster, why not check out our coverage of Gerry Thompson from yesterday? Suffice to say, he took the Battlegrace Angel too!

     

  • Friday, 11.42am – Chats with the Champions
    by Rich Hagon
  • Craig Stevenson
    As we came in to Day Two, three former Champions still had chances of making it a dual win. We began with the 2006 Champion, Craig Stevenson. Was he happy with his 5-2 overnight score?

    “Fairly, although I felt in hindsight it should have been 6-1. I started with a 5 color Control mirror. My opponent was stalled on land, I’d used Cryptic Command to bounce two lands, I’d cast one Cruel Ultimatum and he was down to one card in hand. When I went for a second Cruel Ultimatum, his one card turned out to be Negate, and from there I drew nothing, and he fought back.”

    His Draft deck for this morning he describes as “powerful, but maybe a little bit slow. It’s heavily RG and has plenty of good stuff, so we’ll see.”

    Craig had set 5-2 as his benchmark score, since that’s where he was in 2006 when he claimed the title. How does that day rate in his Magic career?

    “I suppose making the Top 4 of the Grand Prix in London 2002 was close, because that was the first time I’d done well in a major event, but that Nationals day was incredible.”

    As for Standard, he wouldn’t change his deck. “I’d definitely keep it. For me, playing 5 color Conrol gives me the best chance to outplay my opponents. I am quite tired though, so maybe Black-Red Aggro might have given me some free wins!”

    Next up was the 2005 Champion, Richard Moore. “I’ve played lots of Alara draft online, and I’ve qualified for the last two Online Championship Series. As for Standard, I’m playing Combo Elves. I looked at the coverage of Japan Nationals on magicthegathering.com, and I decided that if it’s good enough for people like Kenji and Shuhei, it’s good enough for me. Plus, it’s the kind of deck I enjoy playing anyway.”

    Richard Moore
    And what does he remember of his 2005 win? Did it change his Magic life?

    “Well, for one thing, I got to go to Japan (Worlds that year was in Yokohama). I can’t realistically think of any other way I would have been sent there, so it was incredible. I had been out of the game for a while, so I turned up at Nationals that year with no cards, and no qualification. Someone spent two minutes explaining Tooth and Nail to me, and I went 4-0 in the Grinder to make it in. Problem was, they needed their deck back to play in the main event. Once everyone had got their cards, I was left with Sam Gomersall’s White Weenie deck.”

    I think we already know how that turned out...

    “I beat Sam in the semi-finals with his own deck, and then got the title.”

    Finally, we got the chance to chat with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Randle. At 4-2-1 overnight, he really needs a faultless display today. “My draw came in the first round. I thought he was playing Time Sieve, and it took me too long to realise he was actualy Turbo-Fog. On the last turn, he drew six cards with all his Howling Mines and such, and ended with exactly no cards in his library. In hindsight, I should have cast Broken Ambitions for none, and tried to win a Clash. Oh well...”

    Last year, he was 6-1 overnight, a much stronger position. “I gave myself a real talking to last night. I like my Standard deck a lot, and I feel that if I can get back there still in contention, then that’s all I can ask. If I lose in Standard because I’m not good enough, or a bad matchup, that’s fair enough, but I’d hate to be done in the Draft.”

    Jonathan Randle
    How much difference did becoming the Champion make to him?

    “It opened a lot of doors. I made Pro Club Level 4, which means I’ve been able to go to multiple Pro Tours and Worlds. I’d stopped playing for about eight years, but when I was growing up in Canada it was my dream to reach the Pro Tour. It was soon after I came back to the game that I made the Top 8 of Grand Prix Birmingham 2008, and Nationals followed soon after that.”

    Randle has been a great ambassador for the game in the past twelve months, and he takes the responsibility seriously.

    “Of the two, Nationals is far more important than the GP. This year, we’re at the end of Nationals season, and when you look at Brazil, and Australia, and Japan, and so on...” He pauses.

    “You realise just how much Nationals means. It’s very special.”

     

  • Friday, 12.53pm - Round Ten Feature Match: Neil Rigby v Greg Squire
    by Rich Hagon
  • Greg Squire
    24th last year, Greg Squire comes back into Standard with a 7-2 record, and hopes of improving on that performance. Standing in his way is three time Worlds competitor Neil Rigby, pleased to get out of Draft after a second pod that saw him go 3-0 with a large slice of good fortune that included a free win when his opponent failed to find his deck! On such things are championships built.

    Greg decided to open the batting, deciding to keep his opening hand, a feat not replicated by Neil. He couldn’t keep the following six either, handing Squire the pre-match edge. Gilt-Leaf Palace tapped got us underway, as Rigby used Llanowar Elves and a Forest to begin the job of recovering from his five card start. Turn Two for Squire was Gaddock Teag, while Rigby had Noble Hierarch and a second Llanowar Elves, before attacking for two.

    Following a Thoughtseize from Greg, which got rid of a Ranger of Eos, he added Treefolk Harbinger, going in search of, as he put it, Your friend and mine, Doran, the Siege Tower. That was enough for Rigby, who conceded the game on the spot.

    Asking Greg about his deck choice, he explained, Doran seems really well-positioned at the moment. It’s the kind of deck that people tend to forget about. Also, it has very few really negative matchups, and I wanted to play a deck where I felt I had the chance to outplay people. I’m much better at Constructed than Limited, so wanted the chance to redeem my Limited record. As it turned out, I went 5-1 anyway.

    To nobody’s surprise, Neil elected to take the first shot at Game 2, this time keeping his opening seven. After a moment’s thought, Squire also kept. Mosswort Bridge opened the game for Neil, with Squire casting Treefolk Harbinger off a Murmuring Bosk, searching out a second Harbinger. Wooded Bastion and Devoted Druid was the sum of Neil’s turn two, while Greg used his second Treefolk Harbinger to search for Doran, the Siege Tower. Once that came down, he was going to do a lot of damage very, very quickly.

    Wooded Bastion was Neil’s third land, and he used all three to cast Elvish Archdruid. Out came Heritage Druid, and with a counter on Devoted Druid he was able to cast Great Sable Stag, leaving him two cards in hand. Squire tapped out, but not for Doran, but rather Maelstrom Pulse, which got rid of the Elvish Archdruid.

    Neil Rigby
    Four mana saw Neil bring out some Planeswalker help with Garruk Wildspeaker. The Planeswalker added a loyalty counter, but Neil had use for the bonus mana. Would this be the turn for Greg to make the Legendary Treefolk? No, instead he cast Zealous Persecution, before cheekily attacking with his 1/4 pair of Treefolk Harbingers. Attacking with a zero power creature is my favorite thing in Magic said Squire.

    Rigby replied with Elvish Archdruid, Devoted Druid, and a fifth Loyalty counter on Garruk Wildspeaker. Still there was no sign of Doran, as Squire consistently had better things to do. Maelstrom Pulse dealt with Garruk, and he added Putrid Leech to the board. Noble Hierarch joined the Rigby team, but they were getting outclassed.

    Finally, Doran entered play, and the two Treefolk Harbingers went into the red zone. Nameless Inversion dealt with Neil’s Elvish Archdruid, and it looked as if Squire was in complete control. In came everything Doran, Putrid Leech, and both Treefolk Harbingers. The Leech pumped, Neil took 10, dropping him to 6, and it was all over bar the shouting. An apparently effortless victory had taken Squire to 8-2, leaving him perhaps only one win away from a first Top 8 appearance.

    Greg Squire 2 Neil Rigby 0.

     

  • Friday, 1:06p.m.: Nothing but the Best
    by Steve Sadin
  • Danny Gardner, a promising young British player who was Andre Coimbra’s primary playtest partner for Pro Tour -- Valencia is currently 9-1 and is a virtual lock to top 8 Great Britain Nationals.

    He’s playing an innovative Blue-White Aggro control deck designed by Marco Orsini-Jones and tuned by Danny and Matteo Orsini-Jones. The deck features what Danny calls
    “The best spell in the format, the best creature in the format and the best land in the format.”


    Why did you choose to play this deck?
    We thought that Baneslayer Angel was the best creature in the format. If you’re able to stick a Baneslayer Angel and protect it, you’re probably going to win.

    We figured that the best way to protect Baneslayer Angel was with Glen Elendra Archmage, Vendilion Clique and other counterspells.

    I think Glen Elendra Archmage is the most underrated card in standard. When Faeries was a big deck it was tough to play Glen Elendra because of Sower of Temptation. Now that Faeries is on the decline it’s a lot better.

    One thing that a lot of people haven’t realized yet is that it’s not actually a Reveillark deck Game 1. We only have one main. We found that Baneslayer was the better five-drop. Since we’re already playing four of her and we didn’t want to run too many five drops we could only afford to start one Reveillark.

    Of course the Reveillarks are still incredibly powerful in some matchups, so we had to keep some more in the board. For example against red decks we board in 2 more Reveillarks, 3 Burrenton Forge Tenders and 2 Celestial Purges and it’s pretty tough for them to win.

    I think the weakest card in the deck is Meddling Mage. We tend to sideboard the Meddling Mages out after every game, but we wanted to play another two drop to supplement the Knight of the White Orchids and it can be quite good with Vendilion Clique, so I think it’s worth keeping.

    What do your matchups look like?
    We felt like we were favored against Five-Color Control, Red Black and Jund. The Combo Elf matchup was a bit iffy and Faeries/Merfolk were kind of tough.

    We have three Ethersworn Canonists in our sideboard to help the Combo Elf matchup and we didn’t expect too many Faerie decks or Merfolk decks so it felt like a pretty good choice.

    We also thought that Time Sieve would be quite popular because of how well Five-Color Control did at US Nationals and that’s one of our easiest matchups thanks to the Glen Elendra Archmages and the Meddling Mages. Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as popular as we had hoped.

    If you were to play in a PTQ this weekend, would you still play the deck?
    I don’t know if the deck is quite as good if people know about it, and the sideboard can definitely be changed depending on your Metagame. For example, the Austere Commands and the Ethersworn Canonists are at their best if you’re expecting a lot of Combo Elves. If you’re not, you might be able to cut them for some more anti-Faerie cards.

    If I have to play in the PTQ on Sunday I would play this exact deck. I think it’s very strong and I know how to play it very well.

    L-to-R: Matteo, Marco, Dan


     

  • Friday, 1.30pm - The M10 Impact on Standard
    by Richard Coates
  • Three weeks ago, the Standard environment was shaken up by the release of M10, with old favourites like Wrath of God and more recent role-players like Glorious Anthem leaving us for the time being, replaced by Great Sable Stag, Honor of the Pure and company. The numbers below speak for themselves, and the fact that just two players in the whole tournament are playing with no M10-only cards (and even they are playing Jace Beleren and Flashfreeze) is a testament to the quality of the design and development of Magic’s newest addition.


    Numbers played:
    MaindeckSideboard
    Lightning Bolt2202
    Great Sable Stag75229
    Elvish Archdruid600
    Baneslayer Angel609
    Honor of the Pure350
    Doom Blade3542
    Essence Scatter293
    Drowned Catacombs280
    Time Warp240
    Howling Mine230
    Open the Vaults200
    Deathmark0140

    While Lightning Bolt and Great Sable Stag were widely expected to play their part in Maindecks and Sideboards alike, one of the more surprising numbers is from the Coldsnap favourite Deathmark, the sideboard card of choice of almost every Faeries player, as well as Jund and Five-Color Control players. UK players seemed to be wary of the threat posied by Kithkin and Elves going into Thursday, and the top tables in Round 10 suggest these predictions were correct.

    In total, 45 unique cards from M10 (not including cards such as Jace or Celestial Purge) were played, with cards such as Magma Phoenix, Master of the Wild Hunt and Mind Control all filling important roles in Sideboards.

    When a new set is first released, one of the first things players look to is the lands. From the numbers below, we can see that the new M10 lands are at home both in Blightning Beatdown decks and more controlling Time Sieve strategies.
    Dragonskull Summit92
    Sunpetal Grove77
    Drowned Catacombs28
    Glacial Fortress20
    Rootbound Crag11

    Expect these numbers to pick up even more in October, when Reflecting Pool shenanigans rotate out.

    Overall, M10 has provided UK Nationals players with both important staples like Doom Blade and Lightning Bolt, as well as ‘Build-Around-Me’ cards like Open the Vaults, and they are already making their mark – or even their Deathmark – on the Standard environment.

     

  • Friday, 1.15pm The Run For Home
    by Rich Hagon
  • Andrew Morrison
    Three rounds of Standard separate us from the Top 8, but there’s the small matter of the Drafts to report. Enquiring minds want to know, apparently. Therefore, it is with great fanfare that we can reveal the two players yes, just two who managed to navigate their way through Shards of Alara, Conflux, and Alara Reborn, not once but twice, without a single blemish to their record.

    Step forward Andy Morrison and Mick Edwards. The Scot Morrison really needed a decent Limited run, as he opened up the tournament with just a single Standard win. Edwards, meanwhile, has built on a 2-1 start to take himself to the brink of the Top 8.

    Here’s what the two players took to a perfect record this morning:

    Mick Edwards
    Meanwhile, sitting alongside Edwards at the top of the standings are Dan Gardner still wearing his lucky hat from Matteo Orsini-Jones and William Logan. Now the Draft decks go away for good at least until the Grand Prix this weekend!

     

  • 2:37p.m. Round 11 Feature Match: Billy Logan V Peter Mottram
    by Steve Sadin
  • Billy Logan
    This round Billy Logan “the handsomest man in Scottish Magic” faces off against Peter Mottram for top 8 at Great Britain Nationals.

    Billy came to the table joking and telling stories about his week so far in Brighton while Peter was all business, showing up to the table completely composed and focused on the match ahead.

    “I have really good tiebreakers so I think I can top 8 even if I lose one of my next two rounds,” said the jovial Billy, “I should really play more Magic. If I did maybe I’d find myself in this position more often.”

    “My tiebreakers aren’t quite as good as yours, I’m pretty sure I need to win this one if I’m going to make it,” said Peter.

    Game 1

    Billy won the die roll but had to mulligan. He deliberated for a bit and then reluctantly kept his six-card hand and opened on a tapped Gilt Leaf palace.

    Peter had a Nettle Sentinel while Billy missed his second land drop. Peter made a Devoted Druid and Billy could only muster a Llanowar Elves.

    When Peter cast Primal Command on his next turn Billy conceded.

    Peter 1 – Billy 0

    Game 2
    Billy had a turn two Putrid Leech to put the pressure on and a Doom Blade for Peter’s Devoted Druid to prevent a lightning fast start from his opponent.

    Peter did not have a third land, but he did have a second Devoted Druid. Billy attacked for 6 on his next turn with a Putrid Leech and a Mutavault, played a second Putrid Leech and passed the turn.

    Peter Mottram
    Peter drew his third land allowing him to cast 3 Heritage Druids and a Primal Command. He thought for a bit and then decided that if Billy had had a relevant spell in his hand (such as a Nameless Inversion) then he would have cast it. With that in mind he chose not to gain 7 life, even though he was on 10 life facing two Putrid Leeches, and used his Primal Command to search for a Regal Force and put Mutavault on top of Billy’s library.

    Billy attacked for 8, putting Peter to a mere two life replayed his Mutavault and passed the turn.

    Peter drew his first white source, a Wooded Bastion, allowing him to cast a Ranger of Eos fetching two Nettle Sentinels. He played out the Nettle Sentinels and cast a Path to Exile on a Putrid Leech, which Billy used to fetch a Swamp, before passing the turn.

    Billy put his newfound Swamp to good use as he now had the second black mana that he needed to cast an Infest. This cleared the way for a lethal attack from Putrid Leech and Mutavault and the players were off to game 3.

    Peter 1 – Billy 1

    Peter had a turn one Llanowar Elves while Billy had a Thoughtseize. The Thoughtseize revealed 2 Wooded Bastions, Nettle Sentinel, Ranger of Eos and Primal Command. Billy took the Ranger of Eos and passed the turn.

    Peter drew for his turn and was greeted with an Elvish Archdruid. Billy could merely shake his head and cast a Putrid Leech.

    Peter added the Nettle Sentinel to his board, and then cast Primal Command to Fetch a Ranger of Eos and put a land back on top of Billy’s deck.

    Billy replayed his land and passed the turn. Peter did some quick mental calculations to determine whether or not he could combo off that turn before deciding to “just” cast a Regal Force that drew him four cards.

    Billy, who was finally allowed to get to 3 mana the turn after Peter cast his first Regal Force, used his turn to cast a Maelstrom Pulse on Peter’s Elvish Archdruid.

    Peter untapped and decided it was time to make something really big happen. He started things off by casting Ranger of Eos fetching another Nettle Sentinel and a Heritage Druid. He then cast both of them and tapped his two Nettle Sentinels and his Heritage Druid to cast another Nettle Sentinel. He then tapped his three Nettle Sentinels to cast an Elvish Archdruid attacked and passed the turn.

    Billy had a one-turn window to cast an Infest, but could only muster a Wilt-Leaf Liege.

    Peter had a Regal Force that was set to draw him a bunch of cards prompting Billy to concede.

    With the win Peter all but locks up his top 8 finish and Billy now finds himself hoping that he can both win his last round and have his tiebreakers hold up so he can sneak into the elimination rounds.

    Final Result
    Peter 2 – Billy 1

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