Live Coverage of the 2007 Great Britain National Championships
July 26-29, 2007
M-Fest is at an end!
We have had a marvellous festival of Magic this weekend, capped off by a Great British Nationals with a top eight of incredibly high quality. While no Scottish players made it through to Sunday's play, Both England and Wales were well represented, with top names like Nick Lovett, Stuart Wright, Dave Grant and Craig Jones all forming part of a star studded ensemble.
The story was predominantly about the beatdown, with 3 Rakdos decks, a Green/Black Rack deck, Red Deck Wins 2007 all represented. A Dredge deck, Perilous Storm and an Aethermage's Touch deck made it eight.
All weekend Craig had declared Red Spells to be the best. Prof's deck, prophetically named Red Deck Wins 2007 in spite of the Tarmogoyfs and Troll Ascetics was dedicated to the master, Dan Paskins, and burned all it's foes to a crisp. Leading one of the strongest National teams in years, Craig Jones' plan is now to take on New York at Worlds.
Congratulations to Craig Jones, the Great Britain National Champion, and to Stuart Wright, Marco Orsini-Jones and Dan Godfrey the GB National Team!
top 8 bracket
Daniel Godfery, 3-1
Stuart Wright, 3-1
Marco Orsini-Jones, 3-1
Craig Jones, 3-2
Stuart Wright, 3-2
Craig Jones, 3-1
Craig Jones, 3-1
- Podcast - 7:43 p.m.: The Winner Takes It All
by Richard Hagon
- Podcast - 5:50 p.m.: Eight Become Four Become Two
by Richard Hagon
- Podcast - 5:22 p.m.: The State of The Union
by Richard Hagon
- Blog - 5:00 p.m.: Vintage Nationals Finals
by Tim Willoughby
- Blog - 3:47 p.m.: Finals: Craig Jones vs. Stuart Wright
by Tim Willoughby
- Blog - 2:33 p.m.: Semifinals: Stuart Wright vs. Daniel Godfrey
- Blog - 1:21 p.m.: Quarterfinals: Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Craig Jones
by Tim Willoughby
- Blog - 11:43 a.m.: Quarterfinals: Dave Grant vs. Stu Wright
by Keith Spragg
- Blog - 10:55 a.m.: Quarterfinals: Simon O'Keeffe vs. Marco Orsini Jones
by Richard Moore
- Blog - 10:20 a.m.: The Top 8 Player Profiles
- Blog - 10:10 a.m.: Decklists: The Top 8 Decks
- Day 3 Blog Archive: All the Stories from Saturday!
- Day 2 Blog Archive: All the Stories from Friday!
- Day 1 Blog Archive: All the Stories from Thursday!
- Info: Fact Sheet
by Event Coverage Staff
|1. Craig Jones||$4,000|
|2. Stuart Wright||$2,000|
|3. Marco Orsini-Jones||$1,000|
|4. Daniel Godfery||$1,000|
|5. Nick Lovett||$500|
|6. Simon O'Keeffe||$500|
|7. David Grant||$500|
|8. Eduardo Sajgalik||$500|
pairings, results, standings
Top 8 Player profiles
Occupation: Magic Player
From: Frimley, England
Previous Magic Achievements: Top 16 PT New Orleans Top 16 Worlds Top 8 English Nats 2006
Record in Standard: 5-1-1
Record in Draft: 5-2
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Dredge, because it seemed like the best deck
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I think it's quite interesting, but it might be hard for some players to get the cards for legacy decks. There are a lot of obscure expensive cards that you might theoretically need.
From: Coventry, England
Previous Magic Achievements: I qualified for Valencia with a deck I picked up at the last minute. I didn't test much for this either. My recommendation to people… don't test!
Record in Standard: 5-1-1
Record in Draft: 5-2
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Black/Green Rack, because Stuart Walker, who built the deck, and tested it with Max Carey, told me it was good.
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I've never played it before. I'll probably get a deck at the last minute and see how it goes.
Occupation: Chemistry Student
From: Paris, France originally, but now Bristol, England
Previous Magic Achievements: This is my first Nationals. I played at Pro Tour Geneva this year too.
Record in Standard: 5-1-1
Record in Draft: 5-2
What deck did you play in Standard and why? I played the Blink/Touch deck, with a modified sideboard, taking out some bad cards, and replacing them with better ones. It seemed to be the deck of the moment, without any awful matchups, and plenty of opportunity to outplay your opponent. I would rather have a deck that supports play skill.
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I already play Legacy a bit, but I'm worried a bit about card availability. Legacy also seems like a format more based on matchups than most at the moment, so it should be pretty interesting.
Age: Not telling… I'm the oldest one in the top eight. Look at my Pro Player card if you want to work it out
Occupation: PhD Student
From: Manchester, England
Previous Magic Achievements: Winner GP Birmingham 1998, Runner Up PT Honolulu 2006, 1 PT top 16, 2 PT top 32. National team twice. I've also beaten Kai on a Sunday.
Record in Standard: 5-1-1
Record in Draft: 5-2
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Red Deck Wins with green spells. It's probably the best deck in an open field and I know it the best.
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I can see why it's probably the only format they can run because PT Valencia is Extended just before New York. It's going to be pretty tough to do last minute deck changes, and it seems like it could be a little unfair on countries where there aren't a lot of dual lands around. I've already got mine though (cackles maniacally).
Dave 'The Great White Hype' Grant
Occupation: Systems Consultant
From: Guilford, England
Previous Magic Achievements: Top 4 GP Birmingham in Mirrodin block, English National Team once
Record in Standard: 4-2-1
Record in Draft: 6-1 (I should have 7-0'd)
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Rakdos, because it meant that I didn't have to think
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? Legacy? What is Legacy again…?
Occupation: Data Analyst
From: Dublin originally, currently residing in London, England
Previous Magic Achievements: I played at PT Prague and PT Charleston and won the Keith Loveys Memorial Trophy
Record in Standard: 5-0-2 - I only lost 2 games all weekend
Record in Draft: 5-2
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Rakdos. Originally we tested Gruul a lot, and we thought it was really good. Then we saw that Rakdos was just better. Also, this deck has Dark Confidant, who is bloody nuts.
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I would love it. I play more Legacy than any other format, and I think I only have three losses lifetime in sanctioned Legacy. It's great fun. I hope the seasoned Pros don't ruin it.
From: Cardiff, Wales (living in Nottingham)
Previous Magic Achievements: I made day 2 at PT Yokohama this year, and top 8 Welsh Nats.
Record in Standard: 4-2-1
Record in Draft: 6-1
What deck did you play in Standard and why? Perilous Storm because it has no terrible matchups, and nobody is playing any dedicated hate against storm any more. I was hoping for a lot of Angelfire and Solar Flare to be around, and I have a great matchup against control. The aggro matchups are a lot closer, but if I get a good draw I can't lose.
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I liked the old Extended format, so in that respect I'm a little disappointed, but I've never played Legacy, so I guess I'll have to see.
From: Newport, Wales
Previous Magic Achievements: Semi-finals of Worlds 2006. Top eight of every multi-format event I've ever played in
Record in Standard: 4-1-2
Record in Draft: 6-1
What deck did you play and why? Rakdos because I was too chicken to play the Walk the Aeons combo deck
What are your thoughts on playing Legacy at Worlds? I have never even looked at a Legacy list. I guess I'll need to do that…
Sunday, 10:55 a.m. - Quarterfinals: Simon O'Keeffe vs. Marco Orsini Jones
Marco Orsini Jones
As Simon and Marco sat down, Rakdos vs. The Rack deck, the last thing I expected the conversation to open with was questions about whether the rounds were timed or untimed??
"I don't think so but we all have trains to catch" - Simon
Game 1 - Marco on the play
A brief pause while the judge attempted to correct the shaky feature match table and the players were set to go. Both kept their opening hands.
The first play of the game was Dark Confidant by Marco, followed by a Withered Wretch for Simon who passed the turn back. Confidant found a Rack and Marco sent a Putrefy to the head of the Withered Wretch swinging for 2. Simon returned the favour with a Hit on the Confidant and we were back to an empty board, Marco 2 life down courtesy of one of his lands.
Marco began the discard game with a Ravenous Rats and a Rack, Simon discarding his Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - no free black mana for Marco. Simon took a 2 point hit from his own land and swung in with a Giant Solifuge, trading with the Rat with 3 points of trample for Marco.
Marco apparently decided that he had played enough spells and got in for 3 with his Treetop Village before adding another, Simon just laid a Keldon Megaliths, which he probably didn't want to get to hellbent given the double Rack.
Simon had managed to gather 4 cards in his hand but was in some difficulty as the Treetop Village continued to attack every turn. But Marco seemed unable to find any land to activate the other one. Simon played an unimpressive Seal of Fire but looked fairly safe from the Racks with his 5 cards in hand.
The Treetop Village continued to attack and Simon dropped to 2, then passed the turn straight back. Another activation of the village was met with a Hit from Simon, but Marco shrewdly elected to sacrifice a Rack rather than his lethal creature. Simon revealed his 5 card hand of all land.
Game 2 - Simon on the playSimon O'Keeffe
This time, Simon had the turn one play, the mighty Mogg Fanatic, but it seemed like he only had red mana sources as he laid a second Mountain on turn 2. Marco made a Ravenous Rats, removing a third Mountain from Simon's hand.
Simon elected not to attack with the Fanatic and played a Rakdos Carnarium, some black mana would be available next turn. Marco added an Augur of Skulls to his rats, which also stayed home on defence.
Simon dropped a Giant Solifuge into play which joined the Mogg Fanatic in the red zone. The rats blocked the solifuge and after damage, the Fanatic got rid of the Augur. Once again, the board was empty.
The game began to develop into a bit of a stare down as both players passed back and forth with only a single Incinerate cast targeting Marco. Marco finally broke it by playing a Treetop Village, a Bottle Gnomes and a Rack all in the same turn. Hit took care of the Rack and Cruel Edict made Marco gain 3 life from the gnomes.
Treetop Village started the relentless attacks and was shortly joined by a Tarmogoyf, a huge 5/6, missing only enchantments from being at his maximum for this matchup (no tribal cards here!). Double Rift Bolt was needed to take the Tarmogoyf down but since one had to be suspended, Simon was forced to take a hit from it and the Village, putting him down to 6.
Game 3 - Simon on the play
Both players dived back into their sideboard. The players had been given each others lists the night before and both players had tested their decks against what they expected the other to sideboard. Of course, this leads to all sorts of mind games and bluffs; are the cards that one player sideboards going to be the ones that they normally would or will they anticipate their opponent's sideboard strategy and adjust their deck to beat that? Who knows?
Through the relative silence, the banter from another quarterfinal, Stuart Wright vs Dave Grant, could be clearly heard.
An aggressive start for Simon in this game, Mogg Fanatic followed by Dark Confidant. Marco summoned a Ravenous Rats, which got promptly removed by the goblin. Confidant revealed another Confidant and Simon dropped the second one on to the board.
Putrify removed one of the Confidants but the second one revealed a third Dark Confidant!! A second Putrify kept the Bob Maher invitational card population down. Simon passed the turn back and Marco tried to slow the pace a bit with an Augur of Skulls. Simon thought it was a Ravenous Rats and started to discard Hit/Run. Marco looked a bit confused and pointed out it was an Augur.
"Oh, err, I thought it was a rat…I mean, I was just getting ahead of the game and I'm going to discard it to the Cry of Contrition you are about to play" Simon stated unconvincingly.
Marco smiled, tapped his remaining black mana and did indeed cast Cry of Contrition ("See!" - Simon) but when he tried to haunt the Augur, Simon had the Incinerate ready. Finally Confidant hit a land, much to the relief of Simon who had managed to get himself down to 10 from his own lands and Confidants, and Solifuge joined him in the red zone. Marco tried another Stupor and a Cry of Contrition but when Char was revealed during Simon's next upkeep, he simply scooped up his cards.
"Too many confidants"
2-1 to Marco
Game 4 - Marco on the play
Simon started the game suspending a Rift Bolt after Marco had laid an Overgrown Tomb tapped. Augur of Skulls was the first creature to the party who was the target of Demonfire before he ever got to see an upkeep, the Rift Bolt having been aimed directly at Marco.
Turn 3, Call of the Herd made its first appearance in the match, its first elephant removed by Cruel Edict and its second by Incinerate. Treetop Village was activated but Simon had the Hit/Run ready for it. Marco had a Tarmogoyf which was a 3/4 but chose to block Simon's Giant Solifuge.
"How big is he?" asked Marco
Marco untapped looked at the board, looked at his hand and cast Smallpox. He elected to sacrifice a swamp, his Ravenous Rats and discarded down to 1 card, leaving him with a Tarmogoyf in play. Simon was not so lucky. He said goodbye to his last card in hand, one of his lands and his one lone Mortivore despite his joking attempts to regenerate. So Simon looked like he was going to have to topdeck to beat the Tarmogoyf but he had a while to do it. But then Marco decided to play the last remaining card in his hand, The Rack!
So Simon had the choice of keeping the cards he drew and taking less from The Rack but damage from the 4/5 Tarmogoyf or playing them to try and stop the creature but dying faster to The Rack. He struggled on for a couple more turns but realised that it was a bit of a lose-lose situation and scooped up his cards.
Marco Orsini Jones wins the game and the match beating Simon O'Keeffe 3-1
Sunday, 11:43 a.m. - Quarterfinals: Dave Grant vs. Stu Wright
Dave Grant arrived at the table looking like he's carrying two suitcases with him - only these ones were under his eyes. He had somewhat of a late night last night apparently, and I think it might not have just been testing. But, with all the good will in the world, we're talking about Dave "The Great White Hype" Grant here - Granty is a man full of quips, and he talks to his cards like they were his friends.Dave Grant
His opponent in the meantime is somewhat more composed, wearing his bright green Magic Online clan t-shirt, but still full of smiles. Stuart Wright is a deckbuilder of world-renown, and is cool calm and collected, for now.
Stuart kicks things off by revealing that he had a plan: "Hey Dave, I think I need those cards I borrowed from you back…."
Dave retorts: "You can't! The Hype must continue!"
Stu asked the judge which zone of the playmat he should use when the Graveyard spills out of control thanks to all the cards he's hoping to put there from Dredge.
Dave was on the play and kept his 7, and Stuart likewise kept his 7 and reached out to put something in play. Dave was incredulous, after all he was supposed to be playing first, but Stuart revealed it to be a Gemstone Caverns - The Luckyman's Paradise out in force! Stuart put a Flamekin Zealot in the removed from Game Zone.
Stuart couldn't make best use of the Cavern however, as he laid a land and played a Llanowar Mentor - the discard outlet that doesn't take long to assemble an army if he's left to his own devices. Incinerate was deployed by Dave to take down the troublesome man.
Another Man, another burn as Bonded Fetch was introduced to the Graveyard by a Hit/Run. Bonded Fetch did however manage to put a Stinkweed Imp in to the Graveyard first, which dredges on the next turn, finding Narcomeba and a Bridge on the way.
Stu introduced Magus of the Bazaar and Drowned Rusalka to the board, and Dave's plan of burning each and every monster the second they arrive looked like it was under fire.
Seal of Fire and a Rift Bolt join Dave's side of the board however, and Drowned Rusalka was burnt at the stake, giving Stuart a 2/2 from Bridge from Below.
On turn three, and Stuart managed to accumulate a sum of 14 cards in his Graveyard already. Grave-Troll had been dredged to reveal another Grave-Troll which was summarily Dread Returned. A 9/9 Grave-Troll spelled bad times for the Hype, and after the Rift Bolt unsuspended to take a smiling Stuart to 12, which is all too much for Dave to finish off.
Stuart 1-0Stuart Wright
"Your plan of burning all my men away looked good, until I got to keep one of them after all, and that's baaaaaad for you!"
Seeing Stu do the Happy Dance is quite a sight.
"I'll play, Stu" - "Are you Sure? I'll just Gemstone Caverns again…."
Amazingly, a Bee decides to fly in the window, and lands directly on Dave's orange sleeves: "It's a SIGN!" Proclaimed the Hype…
Dave kept, while Stu had to mulligan.
It was just a land for Dave on Turn one, while Stuart counjured up a Lannowar Mentor. It was burnt, of course, and Stuart tried a Magus of the Bazaar. This met a Mogg Fanatic, while Stu followed this up with ANOTHER Magus. This was turning out to be quite a spicy Mulligan, all things considered.
The second Magus is met by a Demonfire, reaveled by a Bob that Dave sneaked down the turn before, and Dave's trump card of Withered Wretch hit the table. Dave's new plan was to keep the important cards out of the graveyard, putting Stuart under pressure all the while.
Dave was sat forward at the table this game, he was in the ascendancy having the ability to burn all the monsters and remove all the cards from the graveyard. Stuart knew it - and folded on the spot when Bob reveals a Fanatic and not the Hit/Run that Stu was hoping for.
Total Number of Happy Dances this game - Zero.
Wall of Roots and a SECOND Narcomoebea hit the table, while the Great One showed up to the table for an elated Dave.
Merfolk Looter also joined the table for Stuart - "They're all gonna die, Stu. They're ALL gonna die."
"Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit!!" Chants Stu, hoping to see 8 points of damage from Bob. It was a land.
Martyr of Ashes made Dave look like he was no longer the Hype - he quite probably was going to kill all the monsters!
The Pair of Narcomoebeas are actually doing damage though - Dave was at 10 - and Grave-Troll joined the board as a 4/4: "How Much?!" quips Dave amazed at the size of the Troll - "You HAVE killed four of my men, after all!". It was all irrelevant, though, Incinerate and Mogg Fanatic took down the Grave-Troll, and Weathered Wretch also hit the board…
"Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit" Chants Stu, again - it was another land.
Brownscale showed up on Stu's side, and the fact was beginning to sink in to the Great White Hype's sleep deprived brain that he could lose this to a pair of 1/1s. Dave was at 6, and worried about being killed by his own Bob, so sends it on a lone suicide mission - the Brownscale takes it down, but Dave can't follow up with any burn to take the pesky wall equivalent away - This meant that Stu was on the attack! The Brownscale joined the two Narcomebas in the red Zone.
"Joy! You're going to die to the 'moebas!" proclaimed Stu, and maybe Merfolk looter is going to attack....
The Judge leaned in - was there a problem? Sulfurous Springs had been tapped to produce a second black for Withered Wretch, and that put Dave on one less life - Dave couldn't win from here, and entered the scoop phase.
2-1 to Stuart
Dave gave himself a good talking to at this point, and repeatedly told himself to wake up.
"Is the Hype dying?" asked a member of the audience - "Never!"
The next monster from Dave was a Mogg Fanatic, which was met by the dredged Darkblast, and Stu dropped a Pithing Needle on the table, naming his nemesis, Withered Wretch. A Narcomoeba hit the table from dredging the Darkblast again, and Dave felt like it was time to drop his hand on the table - Bob, Mogg and Martyr hit the table, but things were looking grim in the face of Darkblast, as all three of these monsters are afflicted by only having one toughness. Indeed, Bob hit the bin, and dredging this back showed Llanowar Mentor, Stinkweed Imp and a second Darkblast, much to the chagrin of Dave.
"Stinky!" exclaimed a dejected Dave, as Stu dredged the perpetual monster back. The Graveyard looked huge, with 18 cards in it, including hits such as Grave-Troll, Life from the Loam, and Golgari Brownscale.
"You're up buddy!" said Dave, and slumped in the Chair - the Crowd are expectant of another Happy Dance here, and Stuart was sat up lively in his chair, ready to give the crowd what they wanted.
Brownscale came back to Stu's hand, and Stu practically jumped in the seat as Dave slumped back in the chair again.
One quick dredge later and Troll hit the table as an ENOURMOUS 13/13, but is Terrored end of turn, allowing Dave to use his Megaliths. 15 life each, but this time, the Troll came back as a 16/16 this time.
The hand extended from Granty - Stu's prediction that he was going to go down in a hail of flame is proved wrong - "What Bracket am I in again?" asked Stu.
3-1 to Stuart Wright, and the Hype can come back next year…
Sunday, 1:21 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Craig Jones
For our top eight here at the Great British Nationals, there is not a lot in the way of counter Magic. Between all 8 decks there are 8 Remands, 3 Vensers and 2 Draining Whelks. Most of those are in this matchup, while burn is everywhere.
Flying the flag for England is Craig Jones, whose carefully reasoned plan for his matchup against Eduardo Sajgalik was to burn his opponent's face off. Eduardo, the Frenchman who is over here as a student, and qualified on rating, will be looking to do tricksy coming into play plans with his Momentary Blink deck.
Craig won the roll, and after a mulligan, he suspended a turn one Greater Gargadon, followed by a Mogg War-Marshal for turn 2. While all Eduardo was doing was casting a Signet, Craig was starting to bash. He paid echo and swung for two. First blood!
On the next attack, Eduardo had a Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce Craig's Treetop Village, but before it could block it was burned away. Craig then played a Seal of Fire and passed. The Frenchman played a land, signet and passed. Craig just left his goblins in the red zone, and passed. Sajgalik had an Aethermage's Touch, and hit a Riftwing Cloudskate, who tried to bounce a Goblin token (ably represented by a Craig Jones Pro Player card). The Goblin got eaten by Greater Gargadon, and the Cloudskate ate a Seal of Fire, before Craig suspended a Rift Bolt and passed. Sajgalik was now on 15, which Craig deemed to be far too much for his liking.
While Sajgalik was playing draw-go, Craig continued to shoot for the damage. His Rift Bolt put Eduardo to 12, before Treetop Village and Mogg War Marshall came in. Venser, Shaper Savant jumped in, and Craig thought long and hard after his Treetop Village had been bounced, about if he had effects before blocks. He did not, and Mogg War Marshal turned into another Craig Jones token.
Sajgalik played a Skeletal Vampire and passed. It got into play with it's Bats unimpeded, but they couldn't save it from Incinerate at the end of turn. Craig played an old school Legends Pendelhaven, and sacrificed sufficient land to get Greater Gargadon into play. It got to beat up a bat before Angel of Despair killed it off. Suddenly Craig was on a clock. Char from Craig got hit by Remand, then Momentary Blink allowed Sajgalik to kill off a Treetop Village with his angel.
Eduardo tried to finish things off with an Aethermage's Touch after the end of turn trigger. He hit a Riftwing Cloudskate, and bounced one of Craig's lands. Attacks took Jones to 3. Blink on the Angel destroyed Craig's Mountain, at which point it was all academic.
Eduardo Sajgalik wins game 1.
For game 2, each player dived to their sideboards. Craig took out Greater Gargadons and War Marshal's to bring in 3 Magus of the Moon and 3 Tin Street Hooligan. Eduardo took out Remands, Grand Arbiters, an Angel, and a Dimir Aqueduct to bring in 4 Aven Riftwatcher, 3 Wrath of God and 2 Pithing Needle.
In game 2, it was Eduardo who had the mulligans, two of them in total. Having tested the matchup the previous evening, Craig had thought that the Aethermage's Touch deck could stumble with slow hands, and these were where the red deck shines.
Jones led with Mogg Fanatic, and had a 0/1 Tarmogoyf for turn two. Eduardo suspended a Riftwing Cloudskate for his turn, while Craig played and cycled a Horizon Canopy such that he could attack for 2, before suspending a Rift Bolt.
The Frenchman was on the back foot. He played Court Hussar, without any white mana up, leaving himself as the only target for the bolt, and meaning that Tarmogoyf was even bigger. With a Pendelhaven for his turn, Craig got to swing for 5 in total. Sajgalik was pulling back though. He had a Hallowed Fountain and an Aven Riftwatcher the following turn. It was all over anyway though as Craig had a Char to pump his Tarmogoyf and knock down Sajgalik, then enough combat damage to end things
Craig Jones wins game 2, making it 1-1 in the series
"So… do you want the extra card Mr Control Deck?"
Eduardo was not biting. On the play he kept his hand, while again Craig was on the mulligans.
Each player had a land that came into play tapped, but Pithing Needle stopped Craig's Treetop Village from doing anything more than tapping for green. Craig didn't seem to mind too much though, as he had a Keldon Marauders that her rather wanted to turn into a Lava Axe. Eduardo played a Godless Shrine untapped and cast Aven Riftwatcher. The Marauders successfully bashed, and Craig continued to play creatures that make life awkward, with Troll Ascetic entering play.
When Aven Riftwatcher attacked, the life totals went to 16 each, until Keldon Marauders lived their dream, dying to become a 2 mana Lava Axe. Troll Ascetic went into the red zone, to which Sajgalik played Aethermage's Touch. He found another Aven Riftwatcher and a Riftwing Cloudskate. After a little thought, he put the Vanishing flyer into play, going back up to 17 before taking some Troll beats. Craig suspended a Rift Bolt and passed. The life totals went to 12 each when Sajgalik played an untapped Ravnica dual land, before casting Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. Craig had to pay one extra for his Rift Bolt on upkeep, and was nearly thwarted by Momentary Blink, but for another Incinerate in hand. Troll Ascetic continued his good work in the red zone.
Sajgalik had another Blink for his Riftwatcher, followed by another Riftwatcher for his turn, jumping up to 17 before passing. With 2 Momentary Blinks in the graveyard, and a pair of Aven Riftwatchers to use them on, Sajgalik was functionally on a great deal of life, making life pretty tough for Jones. He had a Tin-Street Hooligan to destroy Pithing Needle, and a Seal of Fire.
Each player was down to low cards in hand , and on 7 from a lot of Riftwatcher swings, Craig had to get aggressive fast. He activated a Treetop Village, and attacked with his team, commanding his opponent to take 8. At this point, Craig had dealt 30 damage in the game, but his opponent was still on 6. Seal of Fire functionally made it four, but the various Blinks made it quite a bit more, and Craig was on a 2 turn clock himself.
Sajgalik tried to blink a Riftwatcher, but Craig had the Incinerate ready to kill it in response. Wrath of God dealt with Tin-Street Hooligan and Troll Ascetic and took Sajgalik to 10. Sajgalik had just one card left, to Craig's two, with some effective damage sources on the board in the form of Seal of Fire and a pair of Treetop Villages, though he was one mana short of being able to make both. Craig had another Troll Ascetic, and a Horizon Canopy to animate one of his Villages with, allowing him to attack Eduardo to 7. In spite of all that life-gain, the Frenchman's tricks had not been enough to stop the red spells.
"Red spells are the most powerful spells in the world!!!" laughed Craig, living up to his evil Genius persona.
"This isn't best of three is it?"
There were no mulligans on either side, and while Eduarodo had no early gas, Craig had a turn one Mogg Fanatic, and a turn two Keldon Marauders. Sajgalik tried to offer some blue vanishing counters for the 3/3 Warriors, but Craig sneered and reached for his red beads. It was the classic Red vs. Blue battle, and Prof wanted to make it clear which side of the fence he was on.
Eduardo had a Court Hussar, which blocked Mogg Fanatic, and then died to a Seal of Fire. Another Keldon Marauders came down, dropping Sajgalik to 13. He played another Court Hussar, still on just 3 land, and passed. Marauder #1 died, taking Sajgalik to 12, while Marauder #2 beat up Court Hussar. Craig played a 2/3 Tarmogoyf and passed.
Sajgalik had no plays for his turn, and at the end of turn, Craig used his Horizon Canopy to draw a card. Tarmogoyf came in, but was bounced back to Craig's hand by Venser, Shaper Savant. The lhurgoyf came back, and Craig passed after playing a Treetop Village.
Eduardo played Grand Arbiter Augustin IV and passed with 2 mana up. With it's cost reduction abilities, Aethermage's Touch , but missed , forcing Sajgalik to block with Venser. As Sajgalik was tapped out, Craig took the opportunity to do the same to cast Char and kill the Azorius legend.
Aven Riftwatcher was the next creature for Sajgalik, going back up to 11. Treetop Village and Tarmogoyf came in, prompting another Aethermage's Touch from Eduardo. A Riftwing Cloudskate popped out, bouncing Tarmogoyf and joining Aven Riftwatcher in the double block on Treetop Village. Craig killed off Aven Riftwatcher, then post combat Tarmogoyf came back.
Another Aven Riftwatcher took Sajgalik to 15. This was going to be a tough race for Craig. He was down to 2 cards in hand, and when he attacked with Tarmogoyf, he faced a block before a Venser to bounce Aven Riftwatcher. Craig had another Tarmogoyf, but the life totals were going in the wrong direction for Craig's liking.
The second Tarmogoyf was bounced by Riftwing Cloudskate, and Eduardo snuck in for 2. A Tin-Street Hooligan destroyed a signet for Craig, and Rift Bolt to the Cloudskate removed the last blocker, allowing Tarmogoyf to swing for 6. Sajgalik untapped into a Skeletal Vampire. The life totals were 11 to 10 in Sajgalik's favour, and he now had bats to block with. After killing off a bat in just this fashion, Craig replayed his second Tarmogoyf and passed.
Eduardo swung Craig down to six in the air, and played an Aven Riftwatcher, to go up to 13. Craig went into the red zone, and found an Angel appearing thanks to Aethermage's Touch. Angel of Despair killed a Tarmogoyf, and Craig scooped in the face of a lethal attack.
For game 5, Eduardo cut down on Grand Arbiters, and brought back a Skeletal Vampire. He also traded a Dimir Aqueduct for a Wrather of God. After 4 tense games, it would all come down to one deciding game.
Both players kept, and Craig led with a suspended Rift Bolt. He followed up with Tarmogoyf on turn two, to which Eduardo suspended a Riftwing Cloudskate. Craig got in for a cheeky point, before playing a Seal of Fire and passing.
Both players were playing with just 2 lands, which seemed to favour Craig, even though there were soon 2 Riftwing Cloudskates suspended. Craig played an Incinerate and the Seal of Fire targeting his opponent, and cracked in with the now 3 power Tarmogoyf. Only 8 points left to do.
A Pithing Needle came down naming Horizon Canopy, but Craig seemed unphased. He attacked his opponent down to 5, and faced the first Riftwing Cloudskate, who bounced Tarmogoyf. A Godless Shrine allowed an Aven Riftwatcher, and in his Craig's upkeep Rift Bolt took Eduardo to 2. A land off the top allowed Craig to cast Char for the win.
Craig Jones wins 3-2, and takes the final slot on the Great Britain National Team!
Sunday, 2:33 p.m. - Semifinals: Stuart Wright vs. Daniel Godfrey
As both players took their seats, Stuart seemed quite upbeat about the match.
"It could be worse, I could be playing against the other Rakdos deck. I think I would be pushing my luck to win that match up again."
So Dredge (Stuart) vs. Perilous Storm (Daniel), game plans as different as they could be. Daniel hoping to cast as many spells as possible to power out his powerful storm spells, Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens or Ignite Memories. Stuart, on the other hand, wants to fill up his graveyard, playing minimal spells and then hope to either win with a single huge creature, like a Golgari Gravetroll or a bunch of Bridge from Below zombie tokens.
The topic of the pregame conversation was Legacy replacing Extended at worlds. We now know that there will be a whole day of Legacy play, and neither had really played it a great deal up to that point. With a deckbuilder like Stuart on the team though, it had to mean that the GB team would be in good stead.
Game 1 - Stuart on the Play
Stuart chose to keep his hand, Daniel was not so happy and quickly mulliganed. Stuart began to wonder aloud whether his opponents looking at their hands with unhappy looks on their faces was a bluff and they actually had a good hand but Daniel proved that theory wrong as he mulliganed a second time down to 5 cards.
"Ah well, I think I lose the first game anyway"
Stuart opened the plays with a turn 2 Magus of the Bazaar which received a Grapeshot from Daniel. As Daniel reached for his pen to write down the loss of life incurred from his Shivan Reef for the red mana, he accidentally flipped over the top card of his deck, revealing a Grapeshot. Judge was called over and the deck was randomized with Daniel receiving a caution.
"I wanted to draw that one too…"
Stuart, not deterred by the death of the first, untapped and made another Magus. This time Daniel had the Repeal. For the third turn in a row, Stuart made a Magus and this time it survived. Daniel cast Hatching Plans for his turn and passed.
At last Stuart was able to get some cards into the graveyard. The Magus put a Stinkweed Imp and a Bridge from Below there, then the dredge added another Bridge and a Grave-Troll. Bonded Fetch joined the Magus and Stuart's graveyard threatened to fall off the play mat. He now had 2 Bridges and the Flame-Kin Zealot but no third creature to win that turn.
Daniel seemed to have the answer, at least temporarily, with Claws of Gix and Empty the Warrens for 4 goblins. He could now sacrifice a token and remove the 2 Bridges if Stuart tried to flashback Dread Return meaning that he would get no zombies.
As Stuart dredged and hit the third Bridge, it started to look like he was going to have to go with the non-Bridge strategy for victory. Further dredging meant that Stuart had 25 cards in his graveyard and still hadn't hit a single Narcomoeba but had now collected all 4 Bridge from Below. Almost certainly having to abandon the Bridge plan, Stuart cast Life from the Loam to get some lands back gathering his land for the big creatures. He made a third creature in the form of a Drowned Rusalka and flashed back Dread Return for a Golgari Grave-Troll. Daniel responded by killing a token and removing the 4 copies of Bridge from Below and Stuart put a 14/14 Grave-Troll into play.
Daniel untapped, sacrificed the Hatching Plans to get some more cards and passed the turn. Stuart began the long process of attacking his Grave-Troll into Daniels board of 3 remaining goblin tokens so that he could start picking away his life total. He then made a Merfolk Looter and a Llanowar Mentor, the Looter receiving a Remand.
Daniel seemed to be doing little but making lands. He suspended a Lotus Bloom and passed the turn back to Stuart. However, Stuart now had the mana to activate Svogthos, the Restless Tomb and Daniel had only 1 goblin. Stuart attacked with both, one getting through. Daniel drew one more card and gave it up.
Game 2 - Daniel on the playStuart Wright's Happy Dance
As they sideboarded, the 2 players spoke about how the previous game had played out.
"Aren't you only playing, like, 18 land or something?" asked Stuart
"Yeah, I drew most of them"
"I didn't think I would win game 1 with Grave-Troll, I'm not supposed to beat you with the Troll"
Stuart tried to talk Daniel into going second, stating that all going first would do was make his Gemstone Cavern better. However, Daniel didn't bite and kept his hand going first. Stuart glanced at his and shuffled it back in.
"I had a Gemstone Mine, I guess I could have tried and sneaked that into play but I don't think I would have got away with it.
Stuart's second hand did have a Gemstone Caverns but it seemed that that was all it had going for it and he threw that one away too, mulliganing to 5 which he kept.
The first play of the game was Daniel's turn 2 Hatching Plans, Stuart made a Magus of Bazaar and passed the turn back. Daniel laid a third land and allowed the Magus to untap and start doing its thing. Stuart used it during his upkeep and discarded 2 lands and a Narcomoeba, no dredge cards yet it seemed. He added a second Magus to the board At the end of turn, Daniel executed the Perilous Research / Hatching Plans and drew 5 cards. He then cast a Martyr of Ashes and revealed a Rite of Flame to kill the Magus team.
"Right then, beatdown time" announced Stuart as he put a Narcomoeba into play. Daniel smiled and played a Hatching Plans and a Claws of Gix, passing the turn back. Daniel then cycled a Remand on Stuart's Drowned Rusalka and drew yet more cards by sacrificing the Hatching Plans to the Claws. Stuart looked on with a mere 1 card in his hand as Daniel's hand began to resemble Stuart's graveyard from the first game.
On Daniel's turn, he laid a land, took a while looking at his hand, and cast Rite of Flame announcing "Storm count of 1". This was followed by Claws of Gix, Repeal, Claws of Gix, Hatching Plans, Pyromancer's Swath and Grapeshot stormed 6 times, each copy dealing 3 due to the Swath and every copy aimed at Stuart.
Game 3 - Stuart on the play
Stuart looked at his opening hand and mulliganed once again. Then he did so a second time. Would there be a game where each player started with 7 cards in their hand? Certainly not this one as Stuart mulliganed for a third time and unhappily kept his 4 card hand. He looked a little happier as Daniel decided to mulligan his 7 as well but not much.
"It would be handy if you mulliganed to 4"
But Daniel decided to keep his 6. Stuart's 4 card hand managed to make a Magus of the Bazaar on turn 3, after sacrificing a Horizon Canopy on turn 2 but Daniel had the Repeal for it. However, he had nothing for when Stuart replayed it on turn 4 and Stuart started to get some cards into the graveyard, dredging a Stinkweed Imp and putting a Narcomoeba into play. He added a Pithing Needle naming Martyr of Ashes to secure his team but his second Magus was met with a Remand.
Daniel in the meantime had managed to store 2 charge counters on a Fungal Reaches and in his turn removed the counters and began announcing a storm count. Rite of Flame, then another Rite of Flame, then a third one! He now had 8 red mana in pool and a storm count of 3, he cast a Pyromancer's Swath and an Empty the Warrens stormed 5 times followed by a Grapeshot stormed 6 times targeting Stuart 4 times, one of his goblins in an attempt to remove the 3 copies of Bridge from Below in the graveyard and 1 copy targeting Magus of the Bazaar. However, he had done the last 2 copies in the wrong order so the Magus died, giving 3 zombie tokens, then the goblin died removing the Bridge from Below.
Stuart was perched at a precarious 7 life and played a replacement Magus. Daniel's attack took him down to 1 life and left 6 goblins facing 3 zombies and 1 Magus, giving Stuart one more turn but with only colourless mana available as his Yavimaya Coast was no longer so handy. Stuart untapped and went to work, growing his graveyard, desperately looking for the last Bridge from Below so that he could create enough blockers. Magus activated and dredged, draw step was replaced with a dredge and Stuart even flashed back a Bonded Fetch and dredged again but all he could find were 2 measly Narcomoebas.
2-1 to Daniel
Game 4 - Stuart on the play
Finally! Both players kept their 7 card hands.Stuart's graveyard - dredge much?
Stuart opened up with a Pithing Needle naming Martyr of Ashes and a Magus of the Bazaar. Daniel had to be content with a Hatching Plans. The Magus activated, putting no dredge cards into the graveyard but placing a Dread Return there and Stuart added a Merfolk Looter and a Drowned Rusalka to the board, certainly not short of discard outlets here but no dredge cards.
Daniel suspended a Lotus Bloom and charged his Fungal Reaches and after Stuart found no dredge cards on his turn and added another Looter, he played Claws of Gix, sacrificed his Hatching Plans and made a second one. Stuart started drawing and discarding as quickly as he could and eventually found a Golgari Grave-Troll and a Stinkweed Imp in one Magus activation. Typical, just like buses, you spend ages looking for your dredge card then 2 turn up at once.
Once he had the dredge card, Stuart began to fill up his graveyard, finding a Bridge from Below, then a second. Stuart sacrificed his team of discarders to flash back Dread Return and return Flame-Kin Zealot to play but Daniel had the Remand for it. Stuart still got the Zombies however and ditched 2 of his newly earned tokens and his last remaining non-zombie creature, Drowned Rusalka, to play another Dread Return on the Zealot, gaining 3 new zombies giving a total of 7 3/3 haste zombies and a Zealot to attack for the win.
Game 5 - Daniel on the play
So, down to the final game. Daniel quickly kept his 7 but Stuart wasn't so lucky, sending his first hand back. He drew his 6 card hand and looked at it for a long time. Finally he decided to keep and played a Gemstone Cavern before the first turn.
On the actual first turn, Daniel suspended a Lotus Bloom. Stuart made the best use of his Gemstone Cavern to fire out a Magus of the Bazaar on his first turn but Daniel had the Grapeshot for it. Stuart made a Bonded Fetch on his second turn though and Daniel seemed to have no answer, as he passed the turn back. At the end of turn, Stuart drew and discarded a Golgari Grave-Troll and started to dredge. 2 Narcomoebas jumped into play and Stuart attempted to cast a Merfolk Looter which received a Remand.
On Daniel's fourth turn, the Lotus Bloom arrived. He sacrificed it for red mana and cast a Rite of Flame, then a Perilous Research, losing a land, then a Claws of Gix and finally an Empty the Warrens for 10 goblins. Claws of Gix and the tokens now gave Stuart the problem that his Bridge from Below was not going to hang around in his graveyard for long if he dredged one but Daniel had used most of his cards to get to this position and now only had 2 left.
After dredging a bunch more cards to the graveyard and another Narcomoeba into play, Stuart played a Merfolk Looter and passed. Daniel attacked Stuart for 10, down to 6, and passed the turn back, 3 land untapped and giving Stuart Remand to think about.
Stuart untapped and by the end of his draw phase, his graveyard occupied about 50% of the width of his side of the play mat, laid out in 4 columns. His fourth Narcomoeba had also made its way into play. Stuart shrugged his shoulders and declared "well, if you have a Remand…" He sacrificed 3 of his 6 creatures in play flashing back Dread Return targeting Golgari Grave-Troll, provoking Daniel to sacrifice a goblin token to Claws of Gix to remove the 3 copies of Bridge from Below from the game and taking Daniel back up to 18 life. The Grave-Troll hit play as a 16/16 and Stuart ditched his other 3 non-troll creature and attempted to flashback another Dread Return targeting Flame-Kin Zealot. He looked up at Daniel but he simply nodded his assent for it to resolve.
Stuart now had a 17/17 Golgari Grave-Troll and a 3/3 Flame-Kin Zealot, both with haste and both entered the red zone. Daniel looked down at his life total and then down at his lands. 20 points of attacking power, 18 life and only 2 lands untapped for the Claws of Gix. Shaking his head regretfully, he extended his hand.
Stuart Wright wins game 5 and the match beating Daniel Godfrey 3-2
Sunday, 3:47 p.m. - Finals: Craig Jones vs. Stuart Wright
"You might think that you have a good matchup here… but so did the other two"
Stuart Wright had a pretty tempestuous top eight, facing the nightmare matchup of Rakdos in the quarter-finals, and prevailing against the odds, then squeaking through in the semis, where he found that Claws of Gix plus Empty the Warrens is pretty frustrating. This finals of GB Nationals might be one of the most impressive seen in the UK in recent memory. Both players are members of the Mox Radio team, and have tested together, but are also known as regulars on the Pro Tour, and will prove formidable foes in the team portion of Worlds in New York.
For the finals, he won the die roll, and it was Dredge going first against Red Deck Wins 2007. We won't Dan Paskins about the green cards. The last time that Craig Jones hoisted a trophy
As Stuart was forced to mulligan, Craig remarked that he had found that happened a lot when he tested it too.
"I kept doing it last match. It didn't seem to matter…"
For turn two, Stuart hard cast a Narcomoeba off a Horizon Canopy, and Craig chuckled a while. He had a Seal of Fire, and a Treetop Village. A Gemstone Mine into Drowned Rusalka for Stuart met a response of Seal of Fire on Narcomoeba - Craig did not want to let the dredge engine ever get started.
The next turn, he attacked with Mogg Fanatic, to which Stuart blocked and, after Mogg Fanatic had gone to the dome, he sacrificed Drowned Rusalka, dredging a Golgari Grave-Troll. A dredge in his draw step meant that Stuart had a Bridge from Below, a few dredgers, and a Dread Return in his graveyard.
Bridge from Below did not stay in Stuart's graveyard for long, as it was removed by a Mogg War Marshal not having echo paid, and Stuart playd a Stinkweed Imp, seemingly ready to ignore the Bridge plan. Life from the Loam built up Stuart's land base, and he had a Merfolk Looter to potentially fill his graveyard further. Tarmogoyf on the other side of the board came down as a massive threat, but was effectively turned off by Stinkweed Imp, at least initially.
Craig only had 2 lands still. He attacked with a pair of Craig Jones goblin tokens, taking Stuart to 12. In his upkeep, Merfolk Looter dredged back a Stinkweed Imp, making the graveyard larger, but not particularly more scary. The dredged Golgari Grave-Troll in the draw step did put another Bridge there though, and a Svogthos, the Restless Tomb, that could at some point be brought back with Life From the Loam.
Stuart cast a 12/12 Golgari Grave-Troll.
"Here's where you start Incinerating me…"
The first Incinerate took Stuart to 10, while Craig was on 16. A pair of Craig Jones tokens ran in, and Stuart gave up his Bridge from Belows by blocking and killing each. Jones finally had a third land, but it was a Treetop Village, which was both a little slow, and meant he didn't have a non-painful source of red. What Craig did have was a Mogg War Marshal, to provide some much needed blockers.
"This game's easy… I haven't drawn any lands and have basically done nothing" declared Craig, who was tapped out and facing down a potent force.
Meanwhile, Stuart was doing some math and trying to work out if he could go for it this turn. In the end he just went in with his Stinkweed Imp, and cast another Golgari Grave-Troll, who was a 17/17.
"My Troll is bigger than you!" taunted Stu, pretty happy with his position.
"Yeah, my Tarmogoyf is feeling a little puny."
For his turn, Craig dropped Stomping Grounds, and played another Tarmogoyf before suspending two Rift Bolts. Craig was now on 11. Stuart was looking to get a Bridge From Below into his graveyard on his dredges, such that he could swarm around Craig's creatures. The regular dredge didn't get there. He had to sacrifice Horizon Canopy, to dredge a Stinkweed Imp, finding that Bridge From Below was the last card in his deck. Once it was there though, he flashed back multiple Dread Returns on Flame-Kin Zealot, and easily got there.
Stuart Wright wins game 1
For game 2, Stuart was running scared of Magus of the Moon. Without any basic land, or red spells, he had no answer to it. Craig had a turn one suspend on Greater Gargadon, Craig followed up with a pair of Seal of Fire.
"No enablers here…"
Stuart did have one dredger though, in the form of Life From the Loam, without targets. Now Stuart would have to dredge the old fashioned way, as his Mountains would not do the trick. That first dredge didn't get him to another dredger, and he proceeded to take his first points of beats from Craig's team. The game was not going to take long, with Mogg War Marshal fueling the Gargadon, and more burn spells coming from Prof, who had turned Stuart into a red mage, albeit one without any red spells.
Craig Jones wins game 2
"It's all good… I lost the second game both other rounds too"
The entirety of game 3 can be covered in a single haiku.
Stuart kept on six cards
Craig's draw was a turn 3 win
Magus of the Moon
Craig Jones wins game 3.
Game 4Stuart Wright finishes in 2nd Place
Craig led with a Seal of Fire on turn 1, while Stuart had a Wall of Roots, into Llanowar Mentor. The Elf Spellshaper died to Seal on Craig's turn, in order that the Tarmogoyf that Craig cast could attack for more.
Stuart had a Bonded Fetch, the little enabler that could, but Craig had a Magus of the Moon. Having Wall of Roots meant that this time Stuart wasn't immediately dead, and play continued. Bonded Fetch dredged a Stinkweed Imp, and then discarded it again. In the draw step it again jumped into Stuart's hand, revealing a Bridge From Below to keep Stuart in the fight. Stuart cast another Wall of Roots, and cast Life From the Loam to fetch back 3 lands. Stuart would potentially be able to cast Golgari Grave-Trolls, and flash back Dread Returns in spite of none of his lands being able to tap for useful coloured mana.
One of Stuart's two copies of Wall of Roots got hit by Incinerate, and replaced by a Zombie token thanks to Bridge from Below. He then went to 11 from a Tarmogoyf attack, and found that his Bonded Fetch would be made impotent by virtue of a Pithing Needle. Stuart got in with his Zombie, confident that Magus of the Moon would not be a blocker, but was in huge trouble the very next turn, when Mogg War Marshal and Greater Gargadon did a number on Bridge from Below.
It was only a turn later that Stuart scooped it up.
Craig Jones won the game and the match.
Congratulations to Craig Jones, the Great British National Champion!
Sunday, 5:00 p.m. - Vintage Nationals Finals
After some frantic play with decks that take longer to type up than a Mirari's Wake mirror takes to play, it all comes down to two players from the Hemel games club battling for the title of Great Britain Vintage National Champion.
Lee MJB Wood Esq. III piloted Fish, while Jim Underwood had 7/10 split.
On the play, Jim had a mulligan, but a turn one Trinisphere off a Mishra's Workshop. This kept Lee from playing a great deal before turn three, while Jim tapped his Workshop for a Mox Emerald, but by the time he had Goblin Welder out, Lee had enough mana to tap 3 for a Swords to Plowshares.
Lee played a True Believer with a smile, but it turned into a frown when Karn, Silver Golem came out the following turn. A Mana Vault and a Bazaar of Baghdad joined his side of the board soon after. The Bazaar got hit by Wasteland before ever being activated, and each player sat across from each other inactive for some time, until Jim tried for Memnarch, only for it to get hit by Force of Will.
Lee had an Isamaru, Hound of Konda, while Jim built up his mana further with a Gilded Lotus. His Mishra's Workshop got hit by Wasteland, but Jim won a small victory back, killing True Beliver when it attacked by animating his Gilded Lotus with Karn, making a hefty blocker. Lee summoned Jotun Grunt, but was still a little stuck under the weight of Trinisphere. Each player had a number of Brainstorms, but with more mana, it was Underwood who could best profit from the cards.Jim Underwood
Meddling Mage from Lee turned off Tinker, but Lee was soon in trouble in a whole new way, when Triskelion reared its metallic head. Mana Vault was very slowly killing Jim, but he looked in prime position to start killing Lee, with Jotun Grunt's cumulative upkeep finishing it off, and only a pair of 2/2 creature left to block with.
A Chalice of the Void set at 2 resolved, and it seemed that Lee was virtually locked. Only at this point did Jim look to attack. His first attempt at animating Gilded Lotus was Stifled, and again the turn was passed. It wasn't until his next attack step that Lee finally took some damage, when Triskelion got through unblocked. A Panoptic Mirror after combat threatened both getting into the red zone, and perhaps something awkward like lots and lots of Time Walks.
Overwhelmingly behind, and with enough big artifacts on the board to kill him, Lee scooped it up.
Lee kept what looked to be a pretty solid hand including both Kataki, War's Wage and Null Rod. He then faced down a turn one Tinker for Triskelion. The Rod turned Triskelion into 'just a 4/4', but that still put Lee on a 5 turn clock. Jim had a Chalice of the Void for one, but Lee brought down Kataki, forcing Jim to use most of his mana on just staying where he was. Wasteland from Lee took down Tolarian Academy, and each players creatures took some time to do a little bashing.
Disenchant from Lee killed of Triskelion, and suddenly it looked that Lee might win the race. Jim let his Chalice go, and then played a Goblin Welder. Lee had Old Man of the Sea to steal it. Jim put a Mox Jet down, but it got hit by Force of Will, from Lee who was wary of the one turn window where the Welder was active. The Welder attacked and was beaten up by the Old Man.
Old Man beats came straight for Jim the turn after, and Lee's team was joined by a Jotun Grunt. Attacks from Lee the following turn left Jim hoping for a good draw. It didn't come though, and the match went to 1-1.
Game 3 began with a turn one Trinisphere from Jim, and an exclamation of despair from Lee. With a Mana Vault, Jim soon had a Triskelion in play, but was trumped again by a Null Rod from Lee. Kataki, War's Wage was stopped by Force of Will, but Jim was now taking fair amounts of damage, from Ancient Tomb and Mana Vault, while not dishing out too much in return. Jotun Grunts stalled the ground, as Jim dropped to 8 from his Mana Vault. Jim had Words of War, while Lee just had Old Man of the Sea. The Old Man attacked Jim to 3, and when he drew the next turn it was all over.
Congratulations to Lee MJB Wood Esquire Ford Escort III Bsc Ssc Gsc - Great Britain's Vintage National Champion!
Sunday, 5:22 p.m. - The State of The Union
Join us for a thoroughly GB-centric look at Magic in the company of Organised Play head honcho Mr. Lee Singleton. Plus a full preview of the Top 8 matches to come, as four berths at Worlds will be decided.
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Sunday, 5:50 p.m. - Eight Become Four Become Two
You would hardly guess from the title, but in this show we bring you commentary on the quarter and semi-finals. Then we lie down in a darkened room and gear up for the final, where two outstanding mages will determine the destiny of the fabulous trophy, $4,000, and the title GB National Champion 2007.
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Sunday, 7:43 p.m. - The Winner Takes It All
60 cards in the maindeck. 15 cards in the sideboard. Sometimes it's the sideboard that really counts. Join us for the devastating play-by-play in the final, as two giants of these Sceptred Isles go head to head for the final time at M-fest. Plus an exclusive interview with the winner as four days of gaming greatness comes to a close.
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