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U.S. Nationals 1999 Reports
Quarterfinals Feature Match

Stephen McArthur vs. Christopher Tobler

Texas resident Stephen McArthur is on a winning streak. He finished in the top 4 of the Junior Super Series just a month ago and cruised into the Top 8 with solid draft and constructed performances. Chris Tobler only managed a 3-2-1 record during the first day, but had a stellar performance in type 2, going undefeated through six rounds of play. Tobler is playing a mono-blue control deck that uses a lot of Destiny cards - Treachery, Thieving Magpie, Masticore and Powder Keg.

McArthur won the die roll and opened with a Soul Warden followed up with Soltari Priest and Soltari Monk. Tobler took a lot of early damage but set up his own game - he played a Sapphire Medallion and a turn three Thieving Magpie. Powder Keg was next and it blew up the two casting cost permanents a few turns later.

At a low life total, Tobler was forced to use his countermagic to stop just about anything McArthur would wish to cast. He countered a Scroll, a Waylay and even a Soul Warden. Tobler did not have just one more counterspell to stop McArthur's last Waylay.

Under Sixth Edition rules Waylay becomes "White Lightning". You can cast it at the end of turn phase during your opponent's turn and the tokens will stay alive and able to attack until the end of your own turn. McArthur used the new ruling to drop a triplet of Gray Ogres and win the game.

Tobler played first in the second game and was able to successfully neutralize most of McArthur's early threats before taking too much damage. He then played a turn four Masticore but McArthur drew one of his four Disenchants as his next card and cast it while his opponent was tapped out and unable to regenerate.

A lengthy battle of countermagic, Capsizes, Humilities and creatures followed. At one point Tobler cast a Masticore and it was looking like he was about to win the game shortly. However, he forgot to pay upkeep by discarding a card and Masticore ended up in the graveyard. Despite that mistake, Tobler was gradually winning. He was attacking with a pair of Thieving Magpies soon joined by a Morphling.

When McArthur was down to six life, Tobler attacked for the kill. McArthur sacrificed his Resistance Fighter to prevent Morphling damage and Tobler did not realize he could spend a blue mana and make Morphling untargetable in response. This mistake did not help McArthur's game plan too much as he was too far behind already and Tobler won on the following turn.

In a quick third game Tobler played a turn four Masticore which was sufficient to remove whatever threats McArthur played, countered the Humility and won by attacking with the amazing 4/4 artifact.

Tobler was forced to double-mulligan in the fourth game, but he did draw a decent hand of three Islands and two counterspells. McArthur's hand was not too amazing either, he played three 1/1 creatures and had nothing else to do - he drew no two casting cost weenies and only two Plains.

Tobler had plenty of time to establish control but his deck betrayed him. He drew more and more mana and counterspells, but no way whatsoever to deal with the three creatures already on the table. Eventually Soul Warden and Resistance Fighter went all the way, while Mother of Runes was watching their back against nasty cards like Capsize and Treachery.

In the final game McArthur got some creature damage in before Tobler shut down the offense with Masticore and Hammerhead Shark. Not a problem was McArthur this time around - he had two Cursed Scrolls on the table and the mana to use them.

In addition to being an excellent card, Masticore is apparently also a psychological advantage. Tobler was at eight life and McArthur had six mana, two Scrolls and a single card in hand, able to win on his upkeep. Tobler attacked with the Masticore (McArthur was at 12) only to have it... double scrolled! McArthur realized his mistake almost immediately and won the match the following turn - he was fortunate enough to draw a land so that he was able to Scroll with only one card in hand.

McArthur 3 - Tobler 2



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