usnat10

Utter-Leyton Crowned U.S. Champ

  • Print

And there we go! After three days of play, the United States has a new national champion! Josh Utter-Leyton had a long road to victory, but his Standard play carried him all the way to the finals without dropping a match. Joining him on this year’s US National team are his finals opponent, Anthony Eason, who burned through the field with his monored Standard deck and two red-based Draft decks on the way to his second place finish, and Conrad Kolos, who had to defeat the top-seeded David Ochoa in the third place playoff to earn his spot. All in all, the United States has put together quite the solid team. We’ll have to wait until December to see if they are able to make a splash at Worlds in Chiba!


Follow live streaming video coverage of U.S. Nationals at ggslive.com with Ray Punzalan and Peter Martinez.

Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 David Ochoa   David Ochoa, 3-2        
8 Brad Nelson   Anthony Eason, 3-1
       
4 Tim Sussino   Anthony Eason, 3-1   Josh Utter-Leyton, 3-1
5 Anthony Eason    
       
2 Josh Utter-Leyton   Josh Utter-Leyton, 3-2
7 Gerard Fabiano   Josh Utter-Leyton, 3-0
       
3 Eric Froehlich   John Kolos, 3-1
6 John Kolos    

3rd Place Playoff  
John Kolos John Kolos, 3-1
David Ochoa



EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Nate Price
    Finals: You're Hot then You're Cold
    Anthony Eason vs. Josh Utter-Leyton

  • by Adam Styborski
    3rd Place Playoff: Vengevines, and Eldrazi, and Judges. Oh My!
    John Kolos vs. David Ochoa

  • by Monty Ashley
    Semifinals
    Anthony Eason vs. David Ochoa

  • by Nate Price
    Quarterfinals
    David Ochoa vs. Brad Nelson

  • by Adam Styborski
    Quarterfinals: Land Grab
    John Kolos vs. Eric Froehlich

  • by Dave Guskin
    Quarterfinals: A Mythic Tale
    Gerard Fabiano vs. Josh Utter-Leyton

  • by Monty Ashley
    Quarterfinals: (Flash)freeze, You Bushwhacker!
    Anthony Eason vs. Tim Sussino

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top US Nationals Standard Decks
    6-2 and Better

  • by Adam Styborski
    PTQ Qualifier: Journeying to Somewhere
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2:
    Complete Coverage for Saturday
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1:
    Complete Coverage for Friday
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Josh Utter-Leyton $5,000
 2.  Anthony Eason $2,000
 3.  Conrad Kolos $2,000
 4.  David Ochoa $2,000
 5.  Eric Froehlich $1,000
 6.  Tim Sussino $1,000
 7.  Gerard Fabiano $1,000
 8.  Brad Nelson $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

14
13
12
11
10
9
8
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
14
13
12
11
10
9
8

7
6
5
4
3
2
1
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
7
6
5
4
3
2
1



 
  • Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Name: Conrad Kolos
    Age: 26
    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
    Occupation: Conspicuously blank
    How did you qualify for Nationals: Level rating
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: Also conspicuously blank
    What was your record by format:
    Standard: 5-1
    Booster Draft: 5-1

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic:

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of:

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with: Magic Online. Gabriel Carleton-Barnes

    What Standard deck did you play and why: Monogreen ramp. It was winning online.

    What is the worst matchup for your deck: Monored, maybe. Some deck that can Gather Specimens.

    What is your favorite Magic card: Snow-Covered Island


    Name: Gerard Fabiano
    Age: 27
    Hometown: Belleville, NJ
    Occupation: BFF with Antonino DeRosa
    How did you qualify for Nationals:
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 4 GP/ 1 PT
    What was your record by format:
    Standard: 4-1-2
    Booster Draft: 6-0

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic: Reality’s Edge in New Jersey

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of: Being friends with Jon Sonne, hands down.

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with: Spent all my money on Magic Online in Drafts, Sealed, and Constructed events. Then, Anton Jonsson taught me how to draft and I 6-0’d.

    What Standard deck did you play and why: UW Control

    What is the worst matchup for your deck: Eric Froehlich.

    What is your favorite Magic card: Humpus Wumpus


    Name: Brad Nelson
    Age: 24
    Hometown: Fargo, ND
    Occupation: Top 8 Competitor
    How did you qualify for Nationals: Team
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 3 GP, 1 PT
    What was your record by format:
    Standard: 4-3-1
    Booster Draft: 6-0

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic: Paradox CnC

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of: Winning the Magic Online Championships

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with: Magic Online with Team Channelfireball

    What Standard deck did you play and why: Dredge-uh-Vine. I was not thinking straight.

    What is the worst matchup for your deck: David Ochoa

    What is your favorite Magic card: Noble Hierarch


    Name: Tim Sussino
    Age: 26
    Hometown: Barneght, NJ
    How did you qualify for Nationals: Rating
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0
    What was your record by format:
    Standard: 6-2
    Booster Draft: 5-1

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic: Jiffy Photo and Baseball Cards, Brick, NJ

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of: This, but Top 16 GP DC was Juice! Oh, and 7-0ing day 2 was so sick...

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with: Magic Online drafts, teammates back home

    What Standard deck did you play and why: Pyromancer’s Ascension, because Jacob Van Lunen told me to.

    What is the worst matchup for your deck: I don’t know, me punting?

    What is your favorite Magic card: Mountain Goat


    Name: Eric Froehlich
    Age: 26
    Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
    Occupation: Professional poker player
    How did you qualify for Nationals: pro levels
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 5 GP, 1 PT
    What was your record by format:
    Standard: 5-3
    Booster Draft: 6-0

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic: Magic Online

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of: Top 8 PT San Diego

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with: Looked at Magic Online daily Top 8 decks and brewed.

    What Standard deck did you play and why: Naya Planeswalker Titan homebrew

    What is the worst matchup for your deck: Gerard

    What is your favorite Magic card: Beta Lotus


    Name: Josh Utter-Leyton
    Age: 24
    Hometown: Rohnert Park, CA
    Occupation: Software Engineer
    How did you qualify for Nationals? Pro level, rating
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0/1
    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 7-0-1
    Booster Draft: 4-2

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
    Channel Fireball

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of?

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with?
    Gaming with the Channel Fireball crew plus Chapin, and plenty of MODO drafting

    What Standard deck did you play and why?
    Mythic – I thought it would be solid against the field, and it’s what I tested the most.

    What is the worst matchup for your deck?
    David Ochoa

    What’s your favorite Magic card? Sensei's Divining Top


    Name: Anthony Essen
    Age: 22
    Hometown: St. Louis, MO
    Occupation: None
    How did you qualify for Nationals? Regionals
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0
    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 6-0-2
    Booster Draft: 4-2

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
    New Castle Comics & Yeti Gaming

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of?
    This one I guess

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with?
    Just friends from SH

    What Standard deck did you play and why?
    RDW because I played it all year

    What is the worst matchup for your deck?
    U/W control

    What’s your favorite Magic card? Ajani Vengeant


    Name: David Ochoa
    Age: 29
    Hometown: Hayward, CA
    Occupation: Writer, ChannelFireball.com
    How did you qualify for Nationals? Pro level, rating
    Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1/0
    What was your record by format?
    Standard: 6-1-1
    Booster Draft: 5-1

    Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
    San Jose, CA – Superstars Game Center

    What Magic accomplishment are you most proud of?

    How did you prepare for Nationals? Who did you prepare with?
    Tested online in a few dozen 2-man queues for constructed and about

    What Standard deck did you play and why?
    Dredgevine. I played the deck because most people wouldn’t be prepared for the deck. Also, the deck has the most broken draws in the format.

    What is the worst matchup for your deck?
    Variance

    What’s your favorite Magic card? Black Lotus



     
  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • David Ochoa
    Top 8 - 2010 U.S. National Championships

    Eric Froehlich
    Top 8 - 2010 U.S. National Championships

    Tim Sussino
    Top 8 - 2010 U.S. National Championships

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Halimar Depths
    Island
    Mountain
    Scalding Tarn

    22 lands


    0 creatures

    Burst Lightning
    Call to Mind
    Into the Roil
    Lightning Bolt
    Mana Leak
    Ponder
    Preordain
    Pyromancer Ascension
    See Beyond
    Time Warp
    Treasure Hunt

    38 other spells

    Sideboard
    Echo Mage
    Flashfreeze
    Inferno Titan
    Into the Roil
    Spell Pierce

    15 sideboard cards


    Anthony Eason
    Top 8 - 2010 U.S. National Championships

    Brad Nelson
    Top 8 - 2010 U.S. National Championships


     

  • PTQ Qualifier: Journeying to Somewhere - Decklists
    by Adam Styborski
  • Yesterday's PTQ ran quite a bit longer than I was able to stay at the hall, but thanks to the wonderful judge staff on hand I have some juicy information for you: decklists. Here are 7 of the Top 8 and their Draft Decks:

    Kevin Hunt
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft

    Jason Ford
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft

    Adam Boyd
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft

    Josh Day
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft

    Pat Cox
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft

    And congratulations to Taylor Laehn who locked up a Magic mystery trip in 2011!

    Taylor Laehn
    US Nationals - Magic 2011 Draft



     
  • Quarterfinals: (Flash)freeze, You Bushwhacker! - Anthony Eason vs. Tim Sussino
    by Monty Ashley
  • Here we go! The quarterfinal round of the 2010 United States National Championship! But before we start the action, let's take a moment to get to know the competitors' decks.

    Anthony Eason's deck is one of those "Red Deck Wins" combinations of "burn" and "more burn" that's been popular for years and years. It has 20 slots devoted to direct damage and another 12 slots devoted to creatures with haste, which are a lot like direct damage spells. There are also four Goblin Guides and a some utility lands. It's straightforward and vicious, and it took Eason to an undefeated record in the Standard rounds, winning six and drawing twice.

    Anthony Eason
    2010” cardname=“US National Championship Top 8


    Tim Sussino has a Pyromancer Ascension deck, which attempts to get double duty out of Into the Roil, See Beyond, and Time Warp. And a duplicated Call to Mind can provide the all-important recursion. He has no creatures in his main deck, so Eason will be free to point all of his burn directly at Sussino's face.

    Tim Sussino
    2010” cardname=“US National Championship Top 8

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Halimar Depths
    Island
    Mountain
    Scalding Tarn

    22 lands


    0 creatures

    Burst Lightning
    Call to Mind
    Into the Roil
    Lightning Bolt
    Mana Leak
    Ponder
    Preordain
    Pyromancer Ascension
    See Beyond
    Time Warp
    Treasure Hunt

    38 other spells

    Sideboard
    Echo Mage
    Flashfreeze
    Inferno Titan
    Into the Roil
    Spell Pierce

    15 sideboard cards



    Eason got here by starting strong with a 7-0 record on Day 1. Sussino started 4-3 and needed a 7-0 record on Day 2 to make the Top 8. On Friday night, he didn't think he had a chance, so he spent the evening carousing. On Saturday night, he decided not to mess with a plan that worked and went carousing again.

    Game 1

    Eason's starts can be divided into those with Goblin Guide and those without. This one was without, and Sussino had time to play Ponder on turn one and Pyromancer Ascension on turn two because the other player's deck started to affect him. But at the end of Sussino's second turn, Eason started the onslaught, hitting Sussino with a Lightning Bolt (taking him to 17) and then untapping and playing a Hell's Thunder that brought Sussino to 13.

    Sussino stayed cool and stuck with his plan, playing a second Ponder to put a counter on Pyromancer Ascension. Eason had another Hell's Thunder to bring Sussino to 9. The players swapped face-bound Lightning Bolts, and Eason was now ahead 15-6. However, Sussino had a full hand while Eason was down to two cards and was in danger of running out of gas.

    Eason unearthed a Hell's Thunder to bring Sussino down to 2. Sussino threw a Lightning Bolt at Eason and then used a Scalding Tarn to get an Island, putting himself at a precarious 1 life. But the Lightning Bolt had put a second counter on his Pyromancer Ascension and now he could play a Time Warp that gave him two extra turns. "I think I won most of my matches at one life yesterday. Hopefully I can do the same," commented Sussino as he started his first extra turn.

    First, he played a (doubled) See Beyond and a second Pyromancer Ascension. On his second extra turn, he Time Warped again. The first of those extra turns featured a Burst Lightning, which was kicked and doubled, killing Eason.

    Tim Sussino had survived Eason's direct damage assault. Could he do it again?

    Tim Sussino 1 - Anthony Eason 0

    Between games, Sussino chatted with Eason, suggesting that they tell each other what their sideboard plans were. Eason rejected this proposal and a mock-outraged Sussino protested, "I thought we were playing fairsies!"

    Game 2

    This was one of the "Starts with Goblin Guide" games for Eason. His turns looked like this:

    Turn One: Goblin Guide, attack (Sussino at 18)

    Turn Two: Goblin Bushwhacker, attack (Sussino at 13)

    Turn Three: Goblin Bushwhacker, attack (Sussino at 6)

    At this point, Sussino began to mount a defense. He Lightning Bolted the Goblin Guide, Mana Leaked a Staggershock and Burst Lightninged a Goblin Bushwhacker so that the next attack only took him down to 5. But Eason had another Staggershock, which knocked Sussino to 3, then 1 on the rebound. It almost didn't matter what Eason drew at that point, and some form of lightning proceeded to kill Sussino.

    Tim Sussino 1 - Anthony Eason 1

    Game 3

    Sussino got a turn-two Pyromancer Ascension, but Eason had a turn-two Hellspark Elemental. After it was unearthed, Sussino was down to 14. But Sussino's sideboarded Flashfreeze came in handy for the next Hellspark Elemental. And a Mana Leak came in handy for Eason's Goblin Bushwhacker.

    The Elemental that had been Flashfreezed came back from the dead to hit Sussino to 11, and a Hell's Thunder brought him to 7. Sussino continued to draw, play a land, and pass the turn. A Flashfreeze on an end-step Lightning Bolt gave him one counter on the Pyromancer Ascension.

    Eason pointed a Staggershock at Sussino, and Sussino responded with a Spell Pierce. But it was time for Sussino's sideboard to come in handy, as a Ricochet Trap redirected the counter to itself, leaving the Staggershock free to deal a total of 4 damage. With Sussino at 3, Eason tried to put the game away with Hell's Thunder. But Sussino had a kicked Burst Lightning to kill the creature and put a second counter on Pyromancer Ascension. With his engine fueled up, would Sussino be able to pull out another win with a dangerously low life total?

    No. Eason had a Manabarbs to get in the way of Sussino coming back, and a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker put him in the land of no return.

    Anthony Eason 2 - Tim Sussino 1

    Although his back was against the wall, Sussino was still optimistic. He'd started US Nationals 0-2 and lost the last round of Day 1, but had won seven in a row when he had two. But on looking at his hand, the normally chatty Sussino seemed to shut down. He looked through his hand and decided that he had to mulligan. "It's not looking good, boys," he told the accumulated spectators.

    Game 4

    Sussino started with a Mountain, which let him Lightning Bolt Eason's first-turn Goblin Guide. On turn two, he allowed a Hellspark Elemental to come out and knock him to 17.

    Sussino played Preordain and commented, "I'm not gonna lie to you. If I win this one, I'm gonna pull it out of my expletive deleted." He actually said "expletive deleted" there, which this reporter appreciates.

    Eason's third turn saw a Goblin Guide and the unearther Hellspark Elemental. Sussino sent the elemental Into the Roil (and out of the game, thanks to the rules of unearth) but took the two damage from the goblin. He was at 15.

    Sussino Pondered, both in the sense that he cast the spell by that name and in the sense that he thought about his options. When Eason played Hell's Thunder, Sussino responded with Flashfreeze.

    The Goblin Guide attacked again. Sussino turned a Scalding Tarn into a Mountain, going down to 14 in the process. He threw a Burst Lightning on the Goblin Guide, but Eason responded with a devastating Ricochet Trap, redirecting it to Sussino himself. The two damage from the Burst Lightning and the two from the Goblin Guide meant that Sussino was down to 10.

    Sussino's situation was desperate. Eason unearthed his Hell's Thunder and sent it with the Goblin Guide into the red zone. Sussino was at 4. He used a Call to Mind to bring back his Burst Lightning to kill the Goblin Guide.

    Both players were low on cards and took a few turns to reload. Sussino got a Pyromancer Ascension. Eason tried for a Hell's Thunder, but Sussino had a Flashfreeze. Unfortunately for Sussino, he didn't have anything to deal with the unearth ability, and the reborn Hell's Thunder killed him.

    Anthony Eason 3 - Tim Sussino 1


     

  • Quarterfinals: A Mythic Tale – Gerard Fabiano vs. Josh Utter-Leyton
    by Dave Guskin
  • Josh Utter-Leyton, also known as Wrapter and sometime-columnist with the ChannelFireball crew, had another excellent performance here at U.S. Nationals, hot on the heels of his PT San Juan quarterfinalist finish. His opponent, Gerard Fabiano, master storyteller and smartly dressed for his Top 8 appearance, is back in the spotlight after a number of reasonable but not amazing finishes on the GP circuit. Utter-Leyton brought a CFB weapon of choice, the Mythic Conscription deck, against Fabiano's more traditional UW control deck. The matchup revolved, as so many blue-based matches do, around threats, feints, answers and trumps, including a host of counterMagic on both sides of the table.

    Game 1

    Utter-Leyton began with a Misty Rainforest into Forest and Noble Hierarch – just the kind of start he was looking for against Fabiano's control deck. Fabiano had only a Celestial Colonnade, which meant the next turn's attack met no resistance – he fell to 19.

    Josh laid down a Birds of Paradise, accelerating quickly into his deck's namesake mythic rares – he started the parade with an Elspeth, which met an immediately demise to Fabian's Mana Leak.

    Now at five mana sources to Fabiano's three, Utter-Leyton laid a sixth land and slammed a Sovereigns of Lost Alara onto the battlefield. Fabiano thought for a bit then motioned to let it resolve. He had no Day of Judgment on his turn, merely passing it back to the now active Sovereigns.

    Birds of Paradise crashed into the red zone, and the Sovereigns conscripted it into a monstrous 12/13 flying trample Bird Eldrazi. Fabiano had the answer however, in the form of a Condemn, and the life totals now stood at Utter-Leyton 32, Fabiano 19.

    Fabiano untapped and laid down a Gideon Jura, who mandated that all creatures on Utter-Leyton's side attack him rather than his master. Utter-Leyton was fine with that, tapping his two mana creatures pre-combat so as to maintain exalted, and the Sovereigns crashed in, searching up a second copy of Eldrazi Conscription. Gideon died a painful death.

    When Fabiano attempted another planeswalker, this time Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Utter-Leyton had a Mana Leak. This left Fabiano with only a Spreading Seas to knock one of Utter-Leyton's two Stirring Wildwoods down to Island status.

    Utter-Leyton untapped and attacked with the Eldrazi-Sovereigns and the other Stirring Wildwood. Fabiano sacrificed his Spreading Seas and a Plains to Annihilator, then took 17 in the face down to just 2 life. The UW control player tried a desperation Baneslayer Angel, but Utter-Leyton continued to smash with his monsters and Fabiano quickly fell to trample damage.

    Utter-Leyton 1 – 0 Fabiano

    "Hey Josh," Gerard said, as the two quarterfinalists shuffled up for the next game. "You have to mulligan so that I can tell the Conley Woods story."

    "The Conley Woods story? What is it?"Josh replied.

    "Ah-ah! You have to mulligan," said Fabiano. "It's a small price to pay."

    Game 2

    Fabiano led with Island to Utter-Leyton's tapped Colonnade, which quickly itself became an Island when the Seas began to Spread. The process repeated the next turn, as Utter-Leyton dropped another Colonnade and Fabiano a Spreading Seas for it. The two made a couple more land drops – Forest for Utter-Leyton and Tectonic Edge for Fabiano – but then ran out of lands. Both were forced to discard, a Day of Judgment and an Eldrazi Conscription hitting their respective bins.

    Fabiano finally found some action and attempted a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which ran into Spell Pierce from Utter-Leyton. This opened a window for Utter-Leyton to resolve his own Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Brainstorm, and then prepare a Marsh Flats to shuffle away the chaff. Fabiano had the answer in the form of Oblivion Ring.

    Josh now had white mana and new cards to see from his fetchland. He used it to cast a Knight of the Reliquary and then laid down another white source: Stirring Wildwood. That allowed him to cast Elspeth on the next turn, and he added a Noble Hierarch to his ever-growing army. Still, Fabiano had the answers, with another O-Ring for the Knight and an Elspeth of his own to bin both.

    Utter-Leyton was unconcerned, however, since his board presence now meant that the Sovereigns of Lost Alara in his hand represented an additional 11 damage. An already Exalted Soldier bashed in for 13 total due to its Eldrazification, and Fabiano dropped precipitously to 7. Unsurprisingly, Fabiano continued to have the correct trump, this time in Day of Judgment.

    Josh rebuilt his position with two Knights of the Reliquary, each 6/6 and ready to crunch into their control opponent. Gerard dropped his personal bodyguard, Gideon, who laid down the law and ensured the Knights would attack him. Josh shrugged, laid down a planeswalker of his own – Jace – and smashed Gideon. Gerard had a Condemn for one Knight, but couldn't use Tectonic Edge to stop the attacking Stirring Wildwood because Josh's Spell Pierce to stop Condemn tapped him out. The land and the other Knight made short work of Jura.

    Fabiano had a Mana Leak ready for Elspeth on the next turn, and his Tectonic Edge finally dealt with one Stirring Wildwood, but a newly minted Celestial Colonnade and the remaining Knight were too much to handle and he fell in the combat phase.

    Utter-Leyton 2 – 0 Fabiano

    Game 3

    "Well, this hand is the blade, but I want to hear the Conley Woods story," Utter-Leyton declared. "I'll mulligan."

    "Yesss!" cried Fabiano, jumping up to regale the crowd with his tale. Although the story loses a lot of its charm in print, it is included here for completeness and hilarity.

    "So it's Worlds, and Conley Woods needs two wins in the Extended portion. He decides, alright, I'll play Zoo, that's a solid deck that'll get me the two wins."

    "He goes 1-4 and he's going into the last match, has to win to make top eight. He gets paired against a Burn player, and the Burn player mulligans to three. Conley is focused, he is ready. His opponent lays down a Mountain. He goes [throaty voice] fetchland, crack it, shockland, pay 2 life, Kird Ape. His opponent shrugs and plays another Mountain. [throaty voice] Fetchland, crack it, shockland, pay 2 life, 1/2 Tarmogoyf, attack, go. His opponent sighs and plays a Great Furnace."

    "Conley untaps, goes [throaty voice] fetchland, crack it, shockland, pay 2 life, Molten Rain your Great Furnace. His opponent sits up, responds with Shrapnel Blast, putting down to 6. Opponent untaps and casts double Lightning Bolt."

    The crowd burst into laughter, and the story drew chuckles from Josh just as he finished his shuffle and drew his six. Gerard took his first turn and Preordained into Preordain, and the mana on the board was mirrored – an Island and a Colonnade each. Gerard cast his third Preordain.

    Josh had no plays, stuck on three lands, but Gerard had a Linvala, Keeper of Silence – an excellent foil to the mana creatures in Josh's deck. Josh had the Mana Leak, however. Gerard had more tricks up his sleeve, with an Elspeth and a horde of tokens.

    Utter-Leyton could only watch helpless as Fabiano cast Meddling Mage on Mana Leak and Jace, the Mind Sculptor in quick succession. Fabiano Fatesealed his manascrewed opponent, putting a Forest on top.

    "Oh, I get to see now," said Utter-Leyton, playing and cracking a Verdant Catacombs. Sure enough, Fabiano's Jace had put Forest on bottom. "You don't even have to shuffle!" exclaimed Fabiano.

    Despite the slight increase in mana, Utter-Leyton's first turn Celestial Colonnade became a liability as Fabiano tec-edged it. With an active Elspeth and Jace, Fabiano had a commanding lead and Utter-Leyton quickly scooped it up.

    Utter-Leyton 2 – 1 Fabiano

    "Was your hand actually the stone blade?" Fabiano inquired, curious.

    "Heh, no," replied Utter-Leyton. "It was five land and two Eldrazi Conscription. Go big!"

    Game 4

    Utter-Leyton, now again on the play, had a turn three Knight of the Reliquary, to which Fabiano had no response. Fabiano did, however, have a Jace on his turn, which he ticked up out of killing range from the 3/3 Knight.

    Josh still went ahead and activated his Stirring Wildwood, sending both at the blue 'walker. Jace died, but a Linvala took his place, transforming the subtle knight into just an efficient beatdown machine.

    Resigned to its purpose, the Knight was joined by a Hierarch and the exalted hero flew over to smack Gerard down to 16. Elspeth joined the UW control side, and so did Soldier token, but Josh just continued to grow his army, adding a second and then a third Knight of the Reliquary to his board.

    Still, with only one fetchland in his graveyard, his Knights were more like Trained Armodons. The three plus a Stirring Wildwood all attacked Elspeth, and Linvala, back on defense, chomped on one of the Knights before the Knight-Errant went to the graveyard.

    Fabiano had a Baneslayer to join his Angel armada, and Linvala bashed Utter-Leyton down to 16 with Linvala. Fabiano landed another Jace, and saw an Eldrazi Conscription on top of Utter-Leyton's library. He left it there, and sent Baneslayer, putting life totals at 21-11 in Fabiano's favor. An Exalted Knight attempted to murder Jace, but got Condemned with the exalted trigger on the stack, putting the life totals at 21-14. Utter-Leyton cast Jace's doppelganger, which did what the Knight could not – both Jaces were placed into the graveyard.

    The Angels rumbled over again, putting Fabiano up to 26 and Utter-Leyton down to just 6. Fabiano's Meddling Mage named Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Utter-Leyton appeared out of options. When another Elspeth arrived to send a Soldier to the skies alongside its Angelic brethren, Utter-Leyton packed it in.

    Utter-Leyton 2 – 2 Fabiano

    Game 5

    Utter-Leyton had yet another mulligan to kick off the final game. Fabiano quickly stood, pacing and thinking about his opener. "Do we get another story?" asked a member of the crowd. Everyone laughed.

    Josh led with a Birds of Paradise into Knight of the Reliquary. Gerard, uncharacteristically, had a turn two play, with Meddling Mage naming Jace, the Mind Sculptor. With no lands in his graveyard, Josh sat back with his Knight and passed the turn back to Gerard.

    Fabiano opted to cast another Meddling Mage, but Utter-Leyton had the Mana Leak for that one. On end step, Knight of the Reliquary did some exploring, cashing in a Forest for a Verdant Catacombs for another Forest, growing to 5/5.

    Fabiano had a third copy of the Meddler, which resolved. He named Sovereigns, and then found a fourth land – a Celestial Colonnade – and passed. Utter-Leyton activated the Knight again and found a Stirring Wildwood. He bashed past the two Mages, sacrificing his Marsh Flats for another white source, and put the life totals at 17-14 in his favor.

    Gerard cast an Oblivion Ring to take care of the Knight, but Josh had Mana Leak. Gerard had Negate for the Mana Leak, but off of his last blue source – the initial Birds – Josh cast Spell Pierce. The Knight remained on active duty. Gerard bashed in with both Mages, sending Josh to 13, but the subsequent attack of Knight plus activated Colonnade put Josh up 13-6.

    Utter-Leyton sent in again with the Knight, and Meddling Mage on Jace blocked – Fabiano was hoping that the Jace he'd drawn could dig him out of this mess. However, the Mage's death allowed Utter-Leyton to cast his own Jace post-combat. When Fabiano tried to survive with a Baneslayer Angel, Utter-Leyton merely used Jace's -1 to bounce it and Fabiano scooped them up.

    Utter-Leyton 3 – 2 Fabiano


     

  • Quarterfinal: Land Grab – John Kolos vs. Eric Froehlich
    by Adam Styborski
  • Game 1

    Froehlich placed 37 at Pro Tour San Diego and Kolos hit 20 at last year's Worlds. Both, however, were looking to lock in far higher, and for far more glory, here at Nationals.

    "You're like a top 100 match celebrity." Kolos opened.

    "Yeah, something like that." Froehlich beamed back.

    A best of five match between Froehlich's Destructive Force and Kolos's Eldrazi Ramp was underway, Kolos leading with a pair of Forests into Rampant Growth for yet another Forest. Froehlich's starting Stirring Wildwood was matched with a Forest as well.

    Kolos continued the ramping with a Cultivate for a pair of the green making basic land, both ending up in play. Froehlich took a point from his Arid Mesa, finding a Mountain, and played Knight of the Reliquary – the first nonland permanent of the game. Kolos played only an Everflowing Chalice with two counters before passing back.

    After a cards in hand check, Froehlich tapped his Forest for mana and burned it with the Knight for Verdant Catacombs which then fetched a Forest. He then followed with Ajani Vengeant, which took one of Kolos's five Forests offline, and a Raging Ravine.

    Each side dueled for tempo in their own ways.

    Kolos spent a moment thinking, and chose to deploy a Primeval Titan – a beast currently burlier than the Knight – that dumped two Eldrazi Temples onto the battlefield. Froehlich furrowed his brow as his turn came back. He added a Plains, then Gideon Jura, to his side of things. He then locked down the Everflowing Chalice as well as forced the Titan to come barreling into Gideon.

    Kolos sent the Titan in, now fetching out two Tectonic Edges. Froehlich chose to block with the Knight and cash out his Plains for an Arid Mesa which found a Plains again, and put the Knight up to 7/7. The Titan now gone, Kolos played another Chalice for another two counters and his follow up All is Dust cleared Froehlich's side of things not land.

    Froehlich could only play a Forest and Rampant Growth for a Plains before activating the Wildwood and sending it in. Kolos was now untapped with two active Edges and tons of mana at his disposal. The Edges tore away Froehlich's Wildwood and Ravine before Kolos played Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre which tagged one of Froehlich's Plains.

    Froehlich was dutifully thoughtful about every play.

    Froehlich could only play a land and pass. Kolos sent the Eldrazi into Froehlich's Path to Exile – no surprise with Kolos's choice for Forest – then played his second Primeval Titan. This time his picks were an Eye of Ugin and a third Tectonic Edge.

    Kolos passed as Froehlich checked the text on the Eye. With that, Froehlich decided it was time to move onto to game 2.

    Froehlich 0 – Kolos 1

    Game 2

    It was eerily quiet as both made their sideboarding choices. Both players moved with careful intent and weren't saying anything.

    Both kept their openers and Froehlich led with Raging Ravine. Kolos matched it with a Khalni Garden. An Arid Mesa joined the Ravine, and Eldrazi Temple fell into behind the Plant token. Froehlich used the Mesa to find a Plains, dropped a Mountain and brought out the girl herself: Knight of the Reliquary.

    Kolos's new Forest looked a bit lonely as his play before he passed back. Froehlich added a Stirring Wildwood before sending the Knight into Kolos's Plant. Another Forest was Kolos only play again. Froehlich used the Knight to do the Plains-to-Arid Mesa- to-Plains dance before deploying tectonic Edge and a Realm Razor.

    Kolos could only do as before, play a Forest, and passed back to the dominant Froehlich who wasted no time dropping Kolos to 10. Checking one last draw Kolos decided to move on from the quick game.

    Froehlich 1 – Kolos 1

    Game 3

    Froehlich didn't need any of the planeswalker friends to get back into the match. Yet despite the even score, both players weren't easing their intensity any.

    Kolos was on the play again but had to move down to 6 for an opening hand. Khalni Garden led the way before Froehlich played his land too. Kolos played a tectonic Edge an Joraga Treespeaker. Froehlich just played a Plains and passed back to Kolos who added a counter to the Treespeaker and cast Rampant Growth for a Forest.

    Froehlich added a second Plains and dropped an Oblivion Ring to take the Treespeaker to exile.

    "It doesn't come back with the level counters, does it?" Kolos asked.

    Kolos, too, kept his wits about him every moment of the match.

    "No, but he would tell you anyway." Froehlich clarified, indicating the judge.

    Kolos had a Cultivate for a deuce of Forests, both coming into play. Froehlich meanwhile had a tectonic Edge and Trace of Abundance into Knight of the Reliquary. Kolos had a nature's Abundance for the Trace at the end of Froehlich's turn, then added an Everflowing Chalice for two during his own.

    Froehlich then sent the Knight in and played an Arid Mesa to find a Mountain – Realm Razor mana was now available but none came. Kolos untapped and played a Primeval Titan which netted him another Khalni Garden and Eldrazi Temple. Once the Titan was in play, Froehlich sent it on a Path to Exile – Kolos finding a Forest.

    The turn back to Froehlich, he sent in his Knight to get chumped by a Plant token before passing pack to Kolos. Kolos had an Explore and a Forest, then played another Primeval Titan – dumping Tectonic Edge and Khalni Garden.

    "I'm done if you're going to Path it." Kolos said of the Titan as he shuffled his library.

    "No, that's fine." was Froehlich's cool response.

    Froehlich sat thinking for a bit before playing Ajani Vengeant and locking down Kolos's Chalice. On Kolos's turn he played a Forest then Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.

    Mythic Eldrazi: causing scooping since 2010.

    Froehlich just scooped in response.

    Froehlich 1 – Kolos 2

    Game 4

    Froehlich liked his opener, and Kolos as well, so the land dropping began again. Froehlich: Forest. Kolos: Khalni Garden. Froehlich: Raging Ravine. Kolos: Forest. Froehlich: Mountain.

    Early action in ramp decks isn't often exciting but had far-reaching subtle implications for the game.

    On his third turn, however, Kolos had a Forest for a Cultivate to grab two more. Froehlich matched it on his forth turn with a Tectonic Edge and Garruk Wildspeaker, putting a 3/3 Beast token into play.

    Kolos's Mystifying Maze with the mana up to use it served as his answer. Froehlich paused in the tank for a bit before using his Tectonic Edge on Kolos's Maze. The Beast token dived into the Plant token, and Froehlich upped Garruk's loyalty to play a Knight of the Reliquary before passing.

    Kolos, too, took his time considering things and moved forward with an Everflowing Chalice for two, then used the colorless mana to active his own fresh Tectonic Edge, knocking out Froehlich's Ravine.

    Froehlich played a Forest and used his Knight to transform it into Arid Mesa, then Mountain. Using all of the mana, including from the first Forest, Destructive Force made it appearance, clearing away all but Garruk, the Knight, and Kolos's Chalice and lone Forest.

    Kolos added a Khalni Garden. Froehlich's Knight was chumped and a Beats joined the fray again. Kolos was mustering Forests, but the army at Froehlich's side continued to grow. As soon as Kolos hit six mana he cast Primeval Titan which wasted no time finding two more Khalni Gardens.

    Khalni Gardens were buying Kolos much needed time.

    Froehlich had two Beasts and a massive 10/10 Knight, all of which obviously needed to attack, and Kolos worked the math hard. A Plant token jumped in front of the Knight while the Primeval Titan went up to crush a Beast token, and the result of combat dropped Kolos to just 4 life. Froehlich finished his turn by replacing the lost Beast, adding a Forest and playing an Oblivion Ring which took away Kolos's Chalice.

    Despite losing the Chalice, Kolos still had a healthy six mana and Primeval Titan ready to swing. He sent his Titan in at Garruk, finding Eldrazi Temple and Tectonic Edge and putting Garruk away. Joraga Treespeaker joined the team for Kolos. Froehlich was undaunted as sent his two Beasts and Knight in – Kolos's Plant and Treespeaker serving as speed bumps. Froehlich then added a second Knight before passing.

    Kolos tapped his abundant mana to cast Terastodon, trading in his three Khalni Gardens for 3/3 Elephant tokens. Passing back, Froehlich only added a second Raging Ravine to his board.

    The tables were turning for Kolos favor.

    Kolos arranged his mana to keep Tectonic Edge ready, then sent his Primeval Titan into the red zone. Eye of Ugin and Tectonic Edge jumped into play as Froehlich considered things. A Knight of the Reliquary rolled the Titan to the graveyard. After combat Kolos cast Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and drew four cards.

    The Butcher of Truth didn't award an instant scoop for Kolos.

    Froehlich's eyes rolled back and forth across Kolos's board, his mind working the angles to handle the rapid changes that had occurred. He decided to play Trace of Abundance on his Forest and passed with only one card left in hand.

    Thanks to the Butcher, Kolos had many more in hand to work with. He started with Explore and played Eldrazi Temple as his land for the turn – leaving his with the option of playing another – but hesitated before finally deciding to cast Everflowing Chalice with one counter and passing.

    Froehlich tapped all his lands and played a Realm Razor. Kolos added mana to his pool and the board got a lot less cluttered. With the Razor in play Kolos cast a Summoner's Trap, finding an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. With the massive Eldrazi team up in place, Froehlich extended his hand.

    Froehlich 1 – Kolos 3


     

  • Quarterfinals – David Ochoa vs. Brad Nelson
    by Nate Price
  • This quarterfinals match pitted two of the most recognizable members of the Channelfireball.com crew against one another. To my left sat David Ochoa, known for his "According to Webster" draft walkthrough series. His opponent was none other than the mountain man himself, professional Top 8 competitor Brad Nelson. Both players were sporting the spiffy new Dredge-uh-Vine deck designed and championed by Magicthegathering.com's own Brian David-Marshall. The only difference between the two cards was a pair of cards in the sideboard, with Ochoa running Pithing Needles in place of Nelson's Leyline of Vitality.

    Ochoa was forced to mulligan down to six, but found a reasonable hand to start things off. Both players started with similar draws. First came the Noble Hierarchs, followed soon after by a Fauna Shaman. Ochoa added an extra Birds of Paradise to his side, key because his only lands were two Forests.

    Nelson was the first to hit home, as a hasty Vengevine smashed over for four points of damage on turn three, accompanied by a Fauna Shaman. Ochoa simply attacked back for one with his Noble Hierarch and expanded his mana with another pair of Birds of Paradise. Nelson was the first to start using his Fauna Shaman, discarding an Extractor Demon to fetch out another Vengevine. This Vengevine soon joined the other and smashed over for eight. Sitting on thirteen life, Ochoa had to carefully think about how much damage he could take. Ultimately, he felt comfortable taking it all, dropping to five. At the end of his turn, Ochoa turned a Merfolk Looter into a Vengevine. While shuffling his deck afterwards, he was forced to comment, "How is it possible that we only have two cards in our graveyards combined." Nelson found the situation funny as well.

    Brad Nelson frowns at his tiny, tiny graveyard.

    After untapping, Ochoa went back to work with his Fauna Shaman, bringing the grand total to three cards in the graveyard, though the Vengevine he discarded didn't look fit to sit there for long. The Merfolk Looter he found himself immediately hit play alongside a Sedraxis Alchemist, returning the Vengevine and bouncing Nelson's Fauna Shaman. This put Ochoa down to zero cards in hand. Nelson had four in his, but they were simply three lands and the Shaman that was just returned. He still had the Extractor Demon in his yard, but Ochoa was careful to always keep a Birds of Paradise in the way.

    Despite having his way blocked by the Birds, Nelson went for the Demon. Two copies of Vengevine and an Extractor Demon pounded into Ochoa's board of Alchemist, Vengevine, Looter, and Birds. Two Vengevines traded and the Extractor Demon ate a Birds of Paradise. When the three creatures hit the bin, Nelson aimed all of his Demon's triggered abilities at himself, hitting a couple of Looters, a Renegade Doppelganger, and a Hedron Crab. Interestingly, Nelson didn't replay the Fauna Shaman, despite having the mana.

    Ochoa untapped, drew for his turn, and smiled. Grinning back at him from the top of the deck was an Extractor Demon, which Ochoa was more than happy to cast. On Nelson's turn, it became clear why he hadn't replayed the Shaman at the previous opportunity. After attacking with a 5/4 Vengevine and eating a Sedraxis Alchemist (Ochoa milled nothing of consequence), Nelson tapped three mana to replay the Shaman alongside a new Noble Hierarch. Thanks to the second creature, the Vengevine he had traded on the previous turn made a repeat appearance on his side. His board now stocked, Nelson passed the turn.

    That was a good draw!

    Ochoa thought for a minute after untapping. He peered at his only card in hand for a moment before attacking in with his Demon. Nelson just dropped to ten. Another moment of thought passed and Ochoa passed the turn. Now it was Nelson's turn to think.

    "Declare attackers," he said, before sending his two Vengevines and Fauna Shaman across the table. Ochoa lined up his Fauna Shaman in front of Nelson's, and a mana critter in front of each of the Vengevines. When Nelson passed priority, Ochoa used his Fauna Shaman to fetch a second Extractor Demon from his deck. With a Merfolk Looter and Birds of Paradise in play, he would be able to get it from his hand into his bin and unearth it for lethal damage. Nelson knew this and had no answer, conceding soon thereafter.

    David Ochoa 1 – Brad Nelson 0

    "I think I needed one more creature draw there," Nelson said with a pensive look on his face.

    "Yeah, you were a little light there," Ochoa agreed.

    "I only drew one spell that game, the Hierarch the turn after you bounced the Fauna Shaman," Nelson said with a grimace.

    Nelson started with a Birds of Paradise and a Renegade Doppelganger over the first couple of turns. Ochoa matched this with a Noble Hierarch and Merfolk Looter. Ochoa got the first point of damage in when he attacked on the second turn with his Noble Hierarch, but Nelson followed up with a much bigger swing. Renegade Doppelganger became a Vengevine and the pair rumbled over for eight. Ochoa regained some life with an Obstinate Baloth, but it was forced to trade with the Doppelganger on the following turn when Nelson turned it into a Vengevine yet again. Ochoa dropped to eight and was facing two Vengevines. All he had for defense were two Merfolk Looters and a Noble Hierarch. The Hierarch jumped in front of one of the Vengevines on the ensuing attack, but the other went through, dropping Ochoa to three. Nelson finished his turn with an Obstinate Baloth, putting Ochoa up against the wall.

    Obstinate Nelson.

    Ochoa had four draws to find an answer on his turn. His first loot put an Extractor Demon into his bin. His second sent an Enclave Cryptologist there. His final dropped a Doppelganger down. After drawing all of his cards, he played a Hedron Crab. He followed that up with a Verdant Catacombs, which he immediately sacrificed. With all of the Crab triggers on the stack, Ochoa smiled, "It's time to get big."

    The first trigger revealed a temporarily useless Extractor Demon. His second found him the Vengevine he was looking for. With the Vengevine now safely in the graveyard, Ochoa played a Renegade Doppelganger, his second creature of the turn, and the Vengevine returned. He now had three blockers to deal with Nelson's three attackers, though only one pair of them would trade. Ochoa made sure to trade his Vengevine for Nelson's Obstinate Baloth, the one attacker that doesn't come back, but the two Vengevines were sure to be too much since Ochoa was playing off the top of his deck. After drawing and briefly contemplating activating his Looter, Ochoa conceded.

    "Finally won a game on the play, did you?" Ochoa joked.

    David Ochoa 1 – Brad Nelson 1

    Between games two and three, Nelson went through a few sideboard permutations, most notably considering taking his Renegade Doppelgangers out on the draw, but they ultimately found their way back into the deck.

    "Alright, next game we swap decks and sideboard for each other," Ochoa suggested. Nelson strongly considered it for a moment or two before politely declining.

    Ochoa started the game with a Verdant Catacombs and a Noble Hierarch that hit play before he had finished grabbing his land from his deck.

    "You know, if you get a Swamp, you're going to look kind of stupid," Nelson ribbed.

    Nelson followed with an identical open on his turn prompting Ochoa to say, "I love this format." On his turn, Ochoa made a Merfolk Looter. Nelson broke the mime game with a different blue two drop on his turn: one of the Doppelgangers he had briefly considered taking out.

    With a lot of options, Ochoa took a moment to think. Slowly he turned his Merfolk Looter sideways and inched it forward.

    "Attack?" Nelson asked? Ochoa simply nodded. "I'll take it," Nelson said, dropping to sixteen. After combat, Ochoa found an Obstinate Baloth, the first four-powered creature of the match. Nelson had a decision to make on his turn. He had a Hedron Crab and a Vengevine in his hand, and he needed to decide which engine to get going. He had a Doppelganger in play to double up on whatever he decided. After some thought, he decided to play his land and make a pair of Vengevines. Ochoa thought for a moment before taking the damage, dropping to fourteen.

    Ochoa used his Looter to put a Vengevine into his graveyard on his turn before playing a second Obstinate Baloth. His first swung into the empty space on Nelson's side, dropping him to eleven. On his turn, Nelson got to double up on his options from last turn. He started with a Hedron Crab, copying it with the Doppelganger. He then played and cracked a Verdant Catacombs, milling himself all of the cards. In the muck, he found absolutely nothing useful. He was really looking for one of the last to Vengevines in his deck since his second creature of the turn, a Vengevine, would have brought them back, allowing him to do a ton of damage. Instead, he was forced to simply play the Vengevine and pass the turn.

    On his turn, Ochoa used a nifty trick to return his Vengevine to play. He used Sedraxis Alchemist to return itself twice, providing him the two creature casts necessary to trigger the Vengevine, also leaving him the option to get back any Vengevines that should die at a later time. The near-immortal Vengevine attacked in, taking one of Nelson's along with it. For his turn, Nelson took a different approach. He paid six for an Extractor Demon, allowing his Renegade Doppelganger to attack for five in the air, evening the life totals at ten apiece.

    Ochoa was in a strange spot. He was facing lethal damage on the board, but he had a Sedraxis Alchemist in his hand. He looted an Extractor Demon into his graveyard as the first step. Afterwards, he used the Alchemist to return Nelson's Demon to his hand. His final piece of the puzzle was to play an important Fauna Shaman to trigger and return his Vengevine. After assembling his board, he sent his two Baloths and the Vengevine at Nelson. Nelson traded his Vengevine for a Baloth and dropped to two. Nelson drew for his turn and started thinking. He had drawn another creature when what he really needed was a land to try and find an Extractor Demon. After thinking it through, he shook his head and picked up his cards.

    David Ochoa 2 – Brad Nelson 1

    Nelson was on the play for the fourth game, which had been important up to this point in the match. Unfortunately, matters were not helped by a double Hierarch, five land hand that he was forced to send back. Ochoa was faced with a more difficult decision about his hand, eventually settling on keeping it. Nelson's second hand was considerably better, containing a Hedron Crab, Noble Hierarch, Fauna Shaman, and the lands to cast them all.

    Both players started with Noble Hierarchs on the first turn. Nelson chose to use his to attack on the second turn rather than play the Crab he was holding. Players in this matchup have to be careful about the size of their libraries. At any time, their opponent can turn the mill engine over to them, ending the game quite quickly. Instead, he opted for the one point of damage and a Fauna Shaman. Ochoa's second-turn play was a Renegade Doppelganger, his first of the match. As if making up for lost time, he played a second on the following turn. I'm sure he would have rather done something else, but he had yet to draw a second land. It appeared that the reason he was so hesitant about keeping his original seven was that it was a beautiful, but deadly, one land/Noble Hierarch hand.

    Nelson kept adding to his board, recruiting an Obstinate Baloth before attacking with his Fauna Shaman. The next turn saw him discard a Vengevine to get a Renegade Doppelganger, which immediately hit play. When he followed with a Hedron Crab to bring back his Vengevine, allowing an attack for twelve, Ochoa conceded.

    "Sometimes you roll snake eyes," Ochoa said with a grin.

    David Ochoa 2 - Brad Nelson 2

    "So…can I get the play?" Nelson sheepishly asked while shuffling.

    "I dunno, that's a lot to ask," Ochoa shrugged.

    "Aw, come on. Be reasonable!" Nelson pleaded.

    "I am being reasonable. More so than most," Ochoa reminded him.

    "Yeah, but the winner of this has to play two more matches, and that's a long time to play. I'm trying to be nice so you don't have to go through that," Nelson offered.

    "You're so sweet."

    Both players kept their opening hand, but only one had a first-turn mana critter. Ochoa's first and second-turn Birds of Paradise enabled a third-turn Vengevine, dropping Nelson to sixteen. Nelson worked instead on setting up his hand, going with a Fauna Shaman and Merfolk Looter over the first few turns.

    Ochoa got big on his turn, playing a Hedron Crab before cracking his Verdant Catacombs. When his first three cards revealed a Vengevine, Nelson gave the table a light pound and flashing a frown. Ochoa added his second creature, an Obstinate Baloth, to the board and attacked for eight with his two Vengevines. Nelson fell to seven. At the end of Ochoa's turn, Nelson activated his Fauna Shaman to get a Noble Hierarch, discarding a Vengevine. He had a second Vengevine in hand, thus was able to some close to matching Ochoa's board. He used his Merfolk Looter to get the second Vengevine into his graveyard before playing the two critters to bring both copies back.

    I've always loved a good opportunity to spread a graveyard.

    Ochoa made an Extractor Demon and sent his team. The Baloth and a Vengevine ate Nelson's Vengevines, triggering four Extractor Demon mills. Hidden within was a third Vengevine for Ochoa. Nelson was in trouble. All he could do on his turn was Loot away a land and fetch up a single Obstinate Baloth. He went back up to six, but the Extractor Demon was joined by another and one more in the bin after a Demon trigger, and Nelson conceded in the face of a pack of flying Demons.

    David Ochoa 3 – Brad Nelson 2



     

  • Semifinals – Anthony Eason vs. David Ochoa
    by Monty Ashley
  • by Monty Ashley

    Eason started the game slowly, with nothing other than Mountains on his first two turns. Ochoa, meanwhile had a Birds of Paradise on his first turn and a Renegade Doppelganger on his second, although Eason dealt with the doppelganger with a handy Lightning Bolt. When Eason untapped, it was time to start the action as he launched a Hell's Thunder into the red zone, taking Ochoa to 16.

    On Ochoa's turn, he started out with a Hedron Crab and played a Misty Rainforest. Immediately, he said "Target me, and in response, crack this," which meant that instead of milling himself for three cards, then getting a land, then milling for another three cards, he was able to get an Island, shuffle, then mill all six cards at once. He described the cards he milled as "Extractor Demon and ... stuff." He added a Fauna Shaman to his army.

    Eason Earthquaked for two, killing the Fauna Shaman and the Hedron Crab, but that didn't stop Ochoa from bringing the Extractor Demon out from the Graveyard to attack for five. When the smoke cleared, both players were at 13. Ochoa played a Merfolk Looter and passed the turn.

    Anthony Eason

    Eason sent a Hell's Thunder across at Ochoa, taking him to 9. Ochoa responded by attacking with his Merfolk Looter and casting an Extractor Demon. He was down to one card in hand. When his Merfolk Looter died to Searing Blaze, the Extractor Demon put a Birds of Paradise and Enclave Cryptologist in his graveyard. Almost incidentally, the Searing Blaze also put Ochoa at 8.

    More relevantly, a Burst Lightning on the Birds of Paradise meant that a Vengevine finally milled into Ochoa's graveyard. Combined with the Extractor Demon, it provided a fighting force of such extraordinary magnitude that Eason's Ball Lightning couldn't outrace it.

    David Ochoa 1 - Anthony Eason 0

    Game 2

    Eason started strong, with an Arid Mesa into a Mountain, followed by a Goblin Guide to eat up Ochoa's top two life points. Ochoa also started quickly with a Noble Hierarch, Renegade Doppelganger, and Birds of Paradise by the end of his second turn. But Eason had a Forked Bolt to deal with the Birds of Paradise and the Renegade Doppelganger and his Goblin Guide took Ochoa down to 14 life.

    Ochoa tried to rebuild with a pair of Merfolk Looters (and a Misty Rainforest into an Island, taking himself down to 13), but Eason was now equipped with an Earthquake for 1, killing both Merfolk Looters and the Noble Hierarch. And, conveniently for Eason, it took Ochoa down to 12 and Eason to 18. After Eason's Goblin Guide got through the combat phase, Ochoa was at 10.

    Ochoa was prepared to rebuild, putting out a Birds of Paradise and a Renegade Doppelganger, but both fell victim to a Forked Bolt. Eason's Goblin Guide was joined by Hellspark Elemental to put Ochoa at 5.

    Ochoa had only three cards left, and he played all of them: a Forest, a Renegade Doppelganger, and a Fauna Shaman. But he didn't have high hopes for the game, asking Eason, ""Am I dead?"

    Eason answered, "I got Earthquake." That was all Ochoa needed to hear.

    David Ochoa 1 - Anthony Eason 1

    Game 3

    Ochoa started with a Mulligan. Eason considered taking one as well, and Ochoa assured him that he could shuffle as long as was necessary.

    Ochoa played a Drowned Catacomb on his first turn and nothing at all on his second. Eason commented, "I feel like I'm gettin' played right now," but that didn't stop him from attacking with a Hellspark Elemental and taking Ochoa to 17.

    David Ochoa

    Ochoa had a Hedron Crab for his third turn, followed by a Misty Rainforest, which turned into a Forest, put him at 16, and milled six cards into his graveyard. The only notable milled card was an Extractor Demon. Ochoa added a Noble Hierarch and was done. Eason untapped, unearthed the Hellspark Elemental (Ochoa down to 13), and killed the Hedron Crab with Burst Lightning.

    Ochoa attacked with the Noble Hierarch (putting Eason at 17) and added a Fauna Shaman. Eason played Hell's Thunder, which he powered up with Teetering Peaks before attacking Ochoa down to 7.

    Ochoa added a Merfolk Looter to his Noble Hierarch and Fauna Shaman and did not attack. Eason Earthquaked for four, which was going to kill all the creatures and also put the life totals at 13 for Eason and 3 for Ochoa. Ochoa used the Fauna Shaman to discard an Extractor Demon for a Birds of Paradise, but everything else happened the way Eason wanted it to.

    Ochoa had only two permanents: a Forest and a Drowned Catacomb. He played a Hedron Crab and a Birds of Paradise, and added a Forest, milling an Island, a Forest, and a Misty Rainforest. No help there.

    Eason used Smoldering Spires to keep the Birds of Paradise from blocking and sent a Hell's Thunder into the red zone. That was enough to finish off Ochoa.

    Anthony Eason 2 - David Ochoa 1

    Game 4

    Ochoa chose to go first and immediately fell behind as he took a pair of mulligans. "The theory behind this is, I'm just trying to make it fair," he explained. "I'm going to go down to my minimum hand size."

    With so few cards, Ochoa had his work set out for him. And Eason didn't make it easy on him, starting with a Goblin Guide on turn one, a Hellspark Elemental on turn two, and a Teetering Peaks on turn three (to pump up the Goblin Guide while he unearthed the Hellspark Elemental). Throughout that series, Ochoa had done nothing but crack a Verdant Catacombs, which played right into Eason's hands.

    On turn four, at 5 life, Ochoa played a Vengevine the old-fashioned way (by paying its mana cost) and asked, "Is that gonna be enough?" Eason shrugged and attacked with his Goblin Guide and a Ball Lightning. There was no block that would keep him alive, and Ochoa conceded.

    Anthony Eason 3 - David Ochoa 1

    David Ochoa
    US Nationals 2010 - Semifinals

    Anthony Eason
    US Nationals 2010 - Semifinals


     

  • Semifinals – Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Conrad Kolos
    by Nate Price
  • Game 1

    Utter-Leyton won the die roll and chose to go first. He started his first turn with a Birds of Paradise, followed soon thereafter by a Lotus Cobra. Kolos started his own ramp engine with an Everflowing Chalice for one. Utter-Leyton's draw beyond that was considerably more controlling than aggressive, boasting two Mana Leaks as the only non-land cards in it. He was forced to rely on his Cobra to bring the beats, so he used a Sejiri Steppe to force it past the Plant token from Kolos's Khalni Garden. When Kolos tried to get some more mana with a Cultivate, Utter-Leyton stopped him with the first Leak.

    Utter-Leyton was put into a tough decision on his following turn. He had enough mana to activate and attack with his Celestial Colonnade, but that would leave him unable to cast the second Mana Leak in his hand. After much thought, he decided that was the correct path and sent his land and Cobra in. Kolos used his Plant token to soak up the two damage from the Cobra, dropping to fourteen. For his turn, all he did was replace it with another Khalni Garden and pass the turn with a Tectonic Edge up.

    Utter-Leyton thought again about attacking, but was a little wary of the Edge on Kolos's side. He decided it was worth trading lands since he had nothing else to really do and activated his land to attack. Predictably, Kolos used the Tectonic Edge to kill the Colonnade and blocked the Cobra with his new Plant. Utter-Leyton just passed the turn. As he had done on the previous few turns, Kolos simply played a land and passed it right back.

    All your Utter-Leytons are belong to us.

    It was finally time. Utter-Leyton had been unfortunate enough to draw an Eldrazi Conscription a little earlier in the match, but the moment had arrived when he could afford to put it onto his Lotus Cobra. Lotus Cobra and a Verdant Catacombs combined for an extra two mana, and the five lands plus his Birds of Paradise made up the other six. Utter-Leyton's Lotus Cobra was conscripted into the Eldrazi army. Lumbering over wearing his nifty new pants, the Cobra knocked Kolos to two and ate all but three of his permanents. After a quick read of the Conscription, Kolos conceded.

    Plus what plus what?! Annihiwhat?!

    Josh Utter-Leyton 1 – Conrad Kolos 0

    Game 2

    Kolos started the first game with a Plant token and an Everflowing Chalice. Utter-Leyton looked as if he would just be able to play lands for the first few turns of the game, but he drew a Verdant Catacombs at the perfect time to enable a second-turn Lotus Cobra. This Cobra gave him a couple of options on the following turn. He had a third land drop and a copy of both Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Elspeth, Knight-Errant in his hand. After much consideration, he decided to put Kolos on a four-turn clock with the Elspeth, lifting his Cobra up for five points of damage. The Jace followed on the next turn and went to work sculpting the perfect hand.

    While all of this was going on, Kolos simply continued to accrue lands. After playing his fifth, he tapped out to play a Primeval Titan. Utter-Leyton had no choice but to allow it. With the Titan's ability, Kolos brought a Mystifying Maze and a second Eldrazi Temple under his control. Now with plenty of mana and a way to deal with Utter-Leyton's attacker, it looked like he might be able to stabilize long enough to get something massive down.

    Don't make Conrad Kolos get Primeval on you!

    Utter-Leyton dug some more with Jace. After loading up on Mana Leaks, he lifted his Cobra and dropped Kolos to five. A Knight of the Reliquary came down to play defense, and he passed the turn. Kolos drew his card and sat back to do some math. He picked his Titan up and attacked. With the trigger, he snagged an Eye of Ugin and a Tectonic Edge from his deck. The Titan ate Jace. After combat, Kolos made a Relic of Progenitus, which he popped at end of turn to draw a card. Now untapped with all the mana in the world, Kolos could really get to business. First, he attacked with his Titan, fetching up a pair of Khalni Gardens. The two extra blockers might prove invaluable over the coming turns. Elspeth dropped to two loyalty. Kolos began meticulously arranging his mana, trying to figure out exactly how it was all going to be used over the next turn. He started with an Everflowing Chalice for one before passing the turn.

    Just as in the first game, Utter-Leyton found himself in a position where he had enough mana to hard cast an Eldrazi Conscription on his Birds of Paradise. Combined with a lifted Lotus Cobra, Kolos was facing lethal damage, even through his Mystifying Maze. After some thought Kolos conceded.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 2 – Conrad Kolos 0

    Game 3

    Utter-Leyton seemed to have a knack for winning games in unorthodox fashion, having been reduced to playing his Eldrazi Conscription from his hand in both of the previous games. Kolos, on the other hand, had only seen one game in which he really got to get his mana engine going, but he was so far behind at that point that he didn't have an opportunity to stabilize before Utter-Leyton could take the game. He was thrown a bone in the third game, as Utter-Leyton was forced to throw his starting seven back. His second hand was considerably better, leading with a Noble Hierarch on the first turn.

    Kolos began with a Khalni Garden, Tectonic Edge, and a Relic of Progenitus on his first couple of turns, looking to neuter any Vengevine or Knight of the Reliquaries that might appear. Utter-Leyton's good timing on Lotus Cobra continued, as he drew one on the second turn in time to play it. He chose not to play it, however, choosing to feign Mana Leak instead. Kolos bought the act and passed his third turn with no action. The delay didn't hurt Utter-Leyton at all since a Misty Rainforest combined with his freshly cast Lotus Cobra to power out a Jace, the Mind Sculptor right on time. Kolos took advantage of his new window to resolve some mana acceleration in the form of a Cultivate.

    Jace started picking through Utter-Leyton's deck, finding him the Mana Leaks he was signaling earlier. Now the hollow threat had some teeth. Joining him was the Elspeth, Knight-Errant he had in his opener as well. She lifted his Lotus Cobra and sent him into Kolos for six. Kolos simply drew his card and passed the turn. Utter-Leyton activated Jace and had to be pleased to see the smiling face of Sovereigns of Lost Alara looking back at him. Rather than play them, he simply lifted the Cobra and attacked for six. He preferred to sit on his two Mana Leaks and stop whatever shenanigans Kolos might try to escape from this situation.

    Utter-Leyton has assembled the machine

    For his turn, Kolos simply played an Everflowing Chalice for one, and Eye of Ugin, and passed the turn. He was going to need an All is Dust to get himself back into this game. Utter-Leyton kept playing it safe, choosing to simply lift his Cobra and attack for six rather than go for the kill. When Kolos revealed a Fog, it seemed his instincts were right. For Kolos, the Fog was amazing. He got the turn he needed to untap and cast his All is Dust, which would dig him out of his hole. Unfortunately, Utter-Leyton had two Mana Leaks, which was more than Kolos could pay.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 3 – Conrad Kolos 0


     

  • 3rd Place Playoff:Vengevines, and Eldrazi, and Judges. Oh My! – John Kolos vs. David Ochoa
    by Adam Styborski
  • Game 1

    Like in previous games, both competitors maintain their quiet, but forceful, focus. Could the titanic Eldrazi ride up to put Kolos as the third member for the 2010 US National team? Or would the little Hedron Crab that could (with some help from Vengevines and Fauna Shamans too) let Ochoa finish his epic run heading to Chiba, Japan?

    With a handshake and "Good luck." exchanged, Ochoa lead with a Misty Rainforest for an Island, making a Hedron Crab. Kolos had just a Forest.

    Ochoa did too, milling nothing exciting away and put a Fauna Shaman down. Kolos cast an Everflowing Chalice for one counter before passing again. Ochoa paused for a minute before adding another Crab then played a Drowned Catacomb, this time milling into Extractor Demon.

    Kolos had his third Forest and made another Chalice for one counter, moving into a Cultivate for a pair of Forests. Mana was accumulating rapidly. At the end of Kolos's turn, Ochoa used his Fauna Shaman to exchange an Enclave Cryptologist for a Vengevine.

    Ochoa added a Swamp and milled out another 6, this time seeing a Vengevine. His graveyard was getting quite full of juicy things. His Extractor Demon unearthed, coming across to Kolos who fell to 15. Kolos untapped and added a Forest, passing back.

    Ochoa considered things and chose to Fauna Shaman again, this time dumping the Vengevine in his hand and adding one to replace it. For his turn, Scalding Tarn was played and cracked for another Island, and Ochoa saw two Extractor Demons, and lots of other things, pile into the grave.

    Ochoa's graveyard was constantly filling up.

    Unearthing one Ochoa sent it across but Kolos had a hard-casted Summoning Trap and found an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre that couldn't block the flying Demon. Ochoa could only pass after taking Kolos down to 10.

    Kolos untapped with the Eldrazi staring Ochoa down but could he swing with it? The answer was yes, and Ochoa responded to the annihilator trigger by using Fauna Shaman to find a Renegade Doppelganger. Ochoa threw away all of his creatures and a Drowned Catacomb before dipping down to 8 life.

    Before passing the turn back Kolos checked with a judge: does a Renegade Doppelganger get haste if it copies an unearthed Extractor Demon? The answer is no since haste is an ability granted by the unearth ability and is not a copy-able characteristic.

    "Really?" Ochoa asked. He didn't seem to like how that worked.

    Kolos continued his turn by casting a Terastodon, taking out Ochoa's Swamp but trading up some of his own lands to add some Elephants to his side. Ochoa cast both Renegade Doppelganger and Noble Hierarch to bring back three Vengevines. Ochoa then moved to swing with all three, plus the Doppelganger and Elephant token.

    All your Vengevine may not belong to cards named Vengevine.

    Except that Kolos stopped the attack, stating that the trigger on Doppelganger is a may, not must, and Ochoa didn't state the Shapeshifter had now become a Vengevine. After some discussion, the judges ruled that the time between Vengevines came into play then attacking with every made it clear that Renegade did become a Vengevine – ruling by intent of Ochoa.

    Kolos wasn't happy about the ruling but agreed and did not appeal. After some discussion the judge encouraged both players to communicate a little clearer and things moved forward again with combat picking right back up: Terastodon eating the Doppelganger, and Beasts trading with a Beast and Vengevine.

    Kolos untapped with 2 life and attacked with Ulamog, saying "Annihilator trigger." as he then reached across to the Terastodon as well. It was unclear exactly when Terastodon was declared to be attacking with respect to the trigger. Ochoa stopped the attack and asked the table judge for his ruling, which was that there was a significant pause between the announcement of the trigger and the Terastodon being set as an attacker. Kolos did appeal this ruling, however, and the players were pulled apart for discussions.

    Ultimately, the head judge ruled that there was a significant hesitation between the trigger and setting Terastodon as an attacker, meaning that only Ulamog was attacking. Ochoa conceded the game with the result.

    Ochoa 0 – Kolos 1

    Game 2

    Despite talking the judges, both Kolos and Ochoa were quiet at the table. The sound of shuffling and the murmur of the growing crowd (Josh Utter-Leyton had earned the US Nationals championship already) did little to diminish the atmosphere of challenge between these two.

    They did eased a bit for a moment and discussed presenting and counting decks.

    "You're the first to count my deck." Ochoa admitted.

    "It's something I do." Kolos shared. "Sometimes cards get dropped or fall beneath the table. It's not like I don't have to riffle anyway. Do you ever count decks?"

    "No. I don't mind." Ochoa explained.

    Ochoa opened with a Forest into a Noble Hierarch. Kolos was very similar with Forest into Joraga Treespeaker. Ochoa sent the Hierarch across for one damage and added and Island and Renegade Doppelganger to his side.

    Adding a counter to the Treespeaker, Kolos played an Explore for a Khalni Garden and Mystifying Maze. Ochoa had a Vengevine and swung in with the Shapeshifter and Vengevine, Kolos's Plant token taking a chump block. Kolos then added a Khalni Garden and a Primeval Titan, which found him two Eldrazi Temples.

    Ochoa played a Fauna Shaman which let him use the Doppelganger to ditch an Extractor Demon for another Doppelganger. A Verdant Catacombs added a Swamp for him as well. Kolos drew for his turn and carefully surveyed the battlefield and arranged his lands, new with another Eldrazi Temple.

    Primeval Titan came across, plopping a pair of Khalni Gardens for Plant tokens. No blocks from Ochoa dropped him to 13. Passing back, Ochoa unearthed the Extractor Demon, and the Doppelgangers became Flying Demons. Kolos used his Mystifying Maze away which, thanks for the Demon's triggers, let Ochoa mill himself for four – landing a Vengevine and Extractor Demon.

    Kolos dipped to 5 with any blockers for Flying. The exiled Demon have Ochoa two more to the graveyard – revealing a sideboarded Pithing Needle. Kolos began his turn by counting mana and cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

    Emrakul, the Gamestate Sundered.

    The Eldrazi drew another scoop from Ochoa.

    Ochoa 0 – Kolos 2

    Game 3

    Ochoa was now in the hole two games. He had seen a lot of success in Standard throughout the previous two days but it appeared that matchups had finally caught up to him: Kolos's speed in ramping was driving Eldrazi into play at a blinding pace.

    Ochoa chose to play first again, but had to wait for Kolos's mulligan to 6. Hands settled, Ochoa again started off with a Forest for Noble Hierarch, as did Kolos with Forest for Joraga Treespeaker. A Merfolk Looter, but missing land drop, was Ochoa's follow up. Kolos, too, missed his land drop but had his own sideboard tech a Relic of Progenitus – promising an emptied graveyard for Ochoa.

    Ochoa had other plans however and played a Nature's Claim to remove the obstacle. Using his Looter, he then three away a Vengevine and played a Hedron Crab but still missed his land drop.

    Kolos did have a second, a Mystifying maze, chose to level up his Treespeaker and used the Elf Druid to get an Everflowing Chalice for one counter. Ochoa drew and tapped his Looter again, sending another Vengevine to the graveyard. A Forest came down and Ochoa milled himself, sending an Extractor Demon, among others, in.

    Kolos played a Forest and used his six mana to try set another Everflowing Chalice into play, this time for three counters. Ochoa responded with a Unified Will to stop the aggressive ramp. Untapping, Ochoa played a Misty Rainforest for an Island, milling himself more; Vengevine was the highlight of the flop.

    A very healthy graveyard for Ochoa.

    Using the Looter again, ditching a Hedron Crab, he went on to play Renegade Doppelganger twice over, getting back three Vengevines, and swinging in to bring Kolos down to 7. Kolos's had a sideboarded Pelakka Wurm which lifted him back to 14.

    Ochoa hardcast the fourth Vengevine and put a team of six total across.

    Welcome to beautiful Vengevine City. Current Population: 6.

    Kolos decided to move on to next game.

    Ochoa 1 – Kolos 2

    Game 4

    Ochoa took some time considering and reconsidering his sideboarding, but seemed satisfied with what he had done. Kolos finally had his chance to go first after Ochoa shipped his first hand back.

    Eldrazi Temple for Kolos. A tapped Drowned Catacomb from Ochoa. The Forest from Kolos led to an Everflowing Chalice for one counter. Verdant Catacombs joined the drowned variety for Ochoa.

    Ramping fast, Kolos had another Eldrazi Temple and another Everflowing Chalice for one counter. Ochoa merely doubled up on his Verdant Catacombs. The next turn, however, drew a second Forest and Primeval Titan from Kolos, who dug through his deck to put an Eye of Ugin and Mystifying Maze onto the battlefield.

    Ochoa then cracked his Catacombs, bringing out two Forests. A Swamp followed by a Vengevine, held back, was Ochoa's fourth turn. Kolos added a third Eldrazi Temple to his board before sending the Titan in. The trigger let Kolos set the fourth Eldrazi Temple and a Khalni Garden.

    Now at 12 life Ochoa sent the Vengevine in, but the Plant token took the hit instead. A Misty Rainforest was Ochoa's only play before passing. At the end of the turn Kolos used the Eye to seek out Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

    We see what the Eye saw for Kolos.

    This time, with the most powerful Eldrazi looming and the mana to cast it Ochoa packed it in. John Kolos would be heading to Worlds as the third member of the team.

    Before stepping away, Kolos shared that through the help of Andy Talaga and Tim Timlin he was able to bring his third place deck; teammates and friends can make all the difference.

    Ochoa 1 – Kolos 3


     

  • Finals: You're Hot then You're Cold - Anthony Eason vs. Josh Utter-Leyton
    by Dave Guskin
  • Anthony Eason, qualified to this Nationals tournament via Regionals, has launched fire at nearly all of his opponents, and hoped to use that fire to burn through his final opponent, Josh Utter-Leyton, piloting a Mythic Conscription deck. Utter-Leyton needed to use his counterMagic and removal over the course of the match to cool Eason's jets and take down the championship.

    Game 1

    Utter-Leyton led things off with a Noble Hierarch, which paled in comparative offensive power to the Goblin Guide from Eason, putting Utter-Leyton to a quick 18. Utter-Leyton had a turn two Lotus Cobra to temporarily stop the beats, stalling for time and accelerating to his "one card combo" of Sovereigns and single attacker.

    However, Eason's Earthquake for 1 took out Hierarch and Lotus Cobra, leaving the Goblin Guide free to attack Utter-Leyton down to 14 after fetchland damage.

    Eason dropped a Smoldering Spires to make sure the newly cast Knight couldn't block, then cast Lightning Bolt on the remaining Lotus Cobra. He laid down a second Goblin Guide to join the first and smashed in, netting Utter-Leyton a Celestial Colonnade and 4 damage down to 10.

    Utter-Leyton just untapped and cast another Knight of the Reliquary, preventing the Goblins from smashing him further. Eason could do nothing but lay a land and pass the turn. Lotus Cobra again joined the team on Utter-Leyton's side of the board.

    Eason cast a 6/1 Ball Lightning, then pumped it to 8/1 and zoomed in. Utter-Leyton blocked with the active Knight and tossed a Forest in the bin to search up a Sejiri Steppe. Protection from red saved the Knight, but 3 damage still trampled over, bringing the Mythic player down to 7 life.

    Josh had only a Birds of Paradise to join its twin on the battlefield, but at least Anthony had nothing to add to his side. That was good news for Josh, who used the two Birds in addition to his four lands to drop Sovereigns of Lost Alara. The 5/5 Knight attacked, became Exalted and then joined the Eldrazi to jump to 16/16 proportions. A single Goblin Guide blocked for Eason, but he dropped to 2 life. Another draw step held no miracle for the RDW pilot and he scooped them up.

    Eason 0 – 1 Utter-Leyton

    Interestingly, Utter-Leyton sided out his Conscription combo for the sideboarded games, along with three Jace, the Mind Sculptor, for Celestial Purge, Obstinate Baloth, Spell Pierce and a Bojuka Bog. With so much instant-speed burn in his deck, Eason actually had a rougher time with the mid-range monsters than with the exalted combination. For his part, Eason exchanged clunky Staggershock and Burst Lightning for "elf-killer" Forked Bolt and "counter counter" Ricochet Trap.

    Game 2

    Eason had his best start – Mountain into turn one Goblin Guide – and after revealing Spell Pierce from the top of his deck, Utter-Leyton was down to 18. Birds of Paradise came down for Utter-Leyton, but his accelerant met a quick demise to Burst Lightning and the Teetering Peaks-enhanced Guide took him down to 14.

    The Explore and Celestial Purge revealed from the top of Josh's deck were welcome sights – one giving Josh more options, the other preventing Anthony from taking all his options from him – but Anthony was too fast, Ball Lightning joining the attackers into the red zone. Although the Purge stopped the rampaging Guide, the 6/1 took him to two and the next turn's Forked Bolt directly to the dome was too much fire for Josh's hand of threats and Spell Pierce against too much untapped land.

    Eason 1 – 1 Utter-Leyton

    Eason boarded in 2 Forked Bolts and 3 Ricochet Traps. 4 Staggershock, 1 Burst Lightning

    Game 3

    Josh led with a turn one Birds of Paradise, to which Anthony had the perfect response: turn one Goblin Guide. Josh took two down to 18, but then cast Lotus Cobra into Explore into Noble Hierarch. The Cobra then took one for the team, blocking the Goblin Guide after it revealed the powerful Celestial Purge.

    Eason passed the turn after his attack, and Utter-Leyton did the same, merely adding to his lands on the table. The Mythic player knew he was favored if he could just survive long enough. Eason cracked a fetch down to 19, but his Ball Lightning was met with a Mana Leak. Utter-Leyton went on the tiniest offensive, bashing with Noble Hierarch and taking Eason down to 18. Eason had nothing – excellent news for Utter-Leyton – and passed it back.

    Josh stepped up his offense, activating and attacking with Celestial Colonnade, putting Anthony down to 14. Another swing through the air with the Elemental land put Eason at 10. The RDW player cracked his on-board fetch down to 9, but his hasty Goblin Guide was blocked by Birds of Paradise.

    The land continued to bash, and with only lands on his side of the board, Eason packed it in.

    Eason 1 – 2 Utter-Leyton

    Game 4

    Josh began exactly the opposite of how he would have liked – down two cards from mulligans. Unfortunately for Anthony, he couldn't capitalize on that fact, with only a tapped Teetering Peaks for his first turn. Josh laid down a fetch into Forest and a Birds of Paradise.

    Eason did have a Searing Blaze to handle the accelerant, taking Utter-Leyton down to 16. The process repeated the next turn – especially problematic because in addition to going down 13, he still had only the single Forest.

    Utter-Leyton did use his land to good effect, summoning first a Noble Hierarch and then another and a third Birds. However, Eason had an Earthquake for 4, taking the life totals to 14-9 in his favor. Utter-Leyton didn't have any plays off of his two mana, and Smoldering Spires made sure the untapped Birds of Paradise couldn't block. Although the Mythic player did have a Celestial Purge for the incoming Hellspark Elemental, the also-incoming Goblin Guide took him to 7.

    Josh needed to stop the burning, and soon. He had a Lotus Cobra off the top to trade with the Guide, which gave him some breathing room. When Anthony had no additional pressure, Josh was able to land an Elspeth, and suddenly Anthony's life total didn't seem so far off.

    One turn later, with no answer to Elspeth's +1 Angelic Blessing, Eason extended the hand and Josh Utter-Leyton became the 2010 U.S. National Champion!

    Eason 1 – 3 Utter-Leyton


    Josh Utter-Leyton

    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator