Pro Tour - Washington D.C.
Game Empire vs. THL Draft
In this match-up pitting a team of experienced veterans against relative Pro Tour newcomers, Game Empire left the draft portion of the round exuding confidence.
The draft began with THL's Marc Aquino making a questionable choice, taking Victimize, a card which, as Burgner put it, "doesn't usually make the cut." Selden described his reaction to the choice as jubilation, while Comer's reaction was one of shock more than anything else.
As the draft progressed, it quickly became apparent that Aquino was majoring in blue, while teammates Richard Jones and Drew McLean, both playing in their first Pro Tour, would be playing Red-Green and Black-White respectively. Selden, meanwhile, opened a Wildfire in the fourth pack of the draft, solidifying his Red/Green deck, while Comer drafted an anti-Red Blue/White deck and Burgner forced heavy black.
Throughout the draft, it became apparent that Game Empire were more familiar with one another than their opponents. More than, once, THC found themselves miscommunicating, often resulting in errant picks, the most obvious of which was McLean's decision to take a Keldon Champion which would have gone to teammate Jones.
In talking to the players after the draft, it seemed apparent that Selden held the advantage in his match-up, which was countered by McLean's advantage over Burgner. With both Kurt and Drew playing slow Black decks, it seemed apparent that Drew's power cards, Phyrexian Plaguelord and Diabolic Servitude, would likely win out.
If these two predictions come to fruition, the match will come down to Comer vs. Jones, with Jones actually outmaneuvering the more experienced Comer to a certain extent by not playing some of his strong red creatures in order to combat Comer's Absolute Law, Disciple of Law and 3 Masks of law and Grace.
Having started the tourney 8-0, Games Empire has reason to be confident. They are certainly the more established team of the two, and the did a lot more practicing of the format than THL. Time will tell if their hard work and experience will win out over the underdogs.