Day two is underway, and we're on the home stretch to the Top 8 and ultimately, an Australia National Team. After his Top 8 finish at Pro Tour San Juan a few months ago, Jeremy Neeman is practically a National Hero, and is living up to that title by being completely undefeated so far this weekend. He hasn't lost a match (or a game!) so far, and is looking good to repeat his Top 4 finish here last year. Right behind him in the standings are Alex "Melbourne_Junkie" McCormick, Garry Wong, Justin "Juzza" Cheung and last year's champ, Jamie McKintosh. Keep it locked here at MagicTheGathering.com while we bring you all the updates on this Nationals-Packed weekend!
by Ray “blisterguy” WalkinshawSunday, 2:30 p.m.Round 12: Australia's Largest Ever PTQ
by Pip Hunn & Ray “blisterguy” WalkinshawSunday, 1:57 p.m.Round 12: 3-0 Draft Decks
by Ray "blisterguy" WalkinshawSunday, 1:49 p.m.Round 11: Kenny Nguyen vs Steven Aplin
by Pip HunnSunday, 1:33 p.m.Round 10: Tyler Walsh vs Alex McCormick
by Ray “blisterguy” WalkinshawSunday, 12:59 p.m.Round 10: Magic: The Next Generation
by Pip Hunn & Ray “blisterguy” WalkinshawSunday, 12:02 p.m.Round 10: Quick Questions
by Pip Hunn & Ray “blisterguy” WalkinshawSunday, 11:08 a.m.Round 9: Quick Questions
by Pip HunnSunday, 10:02 a.m.Round 8: Garry Wong vs Jeremy Neeman
by Event Coverage StaffDay 1 BlogCatch up on what happened during Day 1 of the Australia Nationals!
pairings, results, standings
Sunday, 10:02 a.m. – Round 8: Garry Wong vs Jeremy Neeman
Jeremy Neeman has been on fire this weekend. 7-0 in rounds, 14-0 in games, Neeman is looking to repeat the performance that put him in the Top 8 of Pro Tour: San Juan. Garry Wong is a mainstay of Australian Magic, making Top 8 of Nationals last year and Top 64 at Pro Tour: Honolulu. Wong brought an aggressive Black/White deck to try and end Neeman's undefeated streak.
Neeman won the dice roll and elected to draw. Wong summoned an Infantry Veteran. "He has double Pyroclasm in his deck. I passed them to him," Wong observed, suspicious of his opponent's empty board. Regardless of the threat, he played out an Ajani's Pridemate and attacked Neeman with the Veteran. "I shouldn't run into his Pyroclasm, hey?" Wong asked himself, before attacking anyway and pumping his Pridemate with the Veteran. Sure enough, Neeman had the Pyroclasm to wipe the board. Wong followed up with a Howling Banshee, dropping Neeman's life total to 13. Neeman played a Forest, giving him 3 colors of mana but nothing on the board. When Wong attacked, Plummet from Neeman killed his Banshee. Wong shrugged and played a Knight Exemplar. A Foresee from Neeman gave him plenty of options. He left all his cards on top, happy with what was coming up.THE Jeremy Neeman has been on quite a roll this year.
Wong attacked Neeman to 11 with his Exemplar and played out another Infantry Veteran, while Neeman solidified his defence with a Stone Golem. Wong had a second Infantry Veteran but no attacks, unable to get past the metallic monster staring his men down. With Wong's assault halted, Neeman began his offensive and attacked with the Golem. Wong declined to block, and Neeman followed up with an Acidic Slime on a land. Wong swung in with his Exemplar and double-pumped it after no blocks from Neeman. He summoned a Cloud Crusader and passed. Neeman still had a full grip thanks to his Foresee, and with seven mana had plenty of options. He summoned an Awakener Druid and swung with his Golem and an animated Forest. Wong's Cloud Crusader jumped in front of the Golem. It stayed alive thanks to the Exemplar making it indestructible.
Wong attacked back with the Cloud Crusader and the Exemplar. First strike from the Exemplar took down Neeman's defensive Acidic Slime, with Neeman falling to 4. Neeman swung in once more with his animated Forest and Stone Golem, with Wong happy to block with a Veteran and his freshly summoned Barony Vampire. Neeman summoned a Giant Spider post-combat to slow down Wong's flier. At least, that was the plan. Wong cast a Mighty Leap on his Exemplar and attacked with two fliers. Infantry Veteran pumped the unblocked Cloud Crusader for last, lethal point of damage.
"Is that the first game you've lost all day?" "Yes, it is", smiled Neeman, heading for his sideboard. "You didn't know the Cloud Crusader was a Knight?" Apparently Wong's earlier opponent had tried to Plummet it in the same situation. Who knew that indestructible fliers would be so good?
Wong 1 – Neeman 0
Wong led the action with a Child of Night. With no creatures from Neeman, Wong's attacks swung the life totals to 24-16. Wong tried a Cloud Crusader, but Neeman had an end-of-turn Plummet. Neeman cast a Foresee but didn't like any of the cards, scrying them all away and drawing blind. His fifth mana let him play a Spined Wurm, while Wong rebuilt with a Gravedigger to give the Crusader another chance. Neeman's Wurm crashed in. Wong took the hit and fell to 21, still with more life than he started the game with. Neeman followed up with a Sylvan Ranger.
Wong cast a Duress and Neeman Plummeted the Crusader in response, leaving Wong to take a Naturalize. Wong attacked with his Gravedigger, knocking Neeman down to 12 before casting his Knight Exemplar. Neeman swung in again with his Wurm. An Acidic Slime knocked out Wong's only Swamp, leaving cards stranded in his hand. Wong happily attacked with his Gravedigger and Knight Exemplar. This time Neeman's Acidic Slime traded with the Gravedigger, its job done.Garry Wong is the first person to take a game from Neeman this weekend. No elevators were involved.
Wong summoned an Infantry Veteran, who was outclassed by Neeman's Stone Golem and another attack from the Spined Wurm. Wong attacked with his Child of Night and a Knight Exemplar into Neeman's 4/4 Golem. The Golem blocked the Child of night, forcing Wong to show his trick. A Mighty Leap traded the two creatures, bringing Wong's life totals up to 15 and Neeman's to 10. A Pacifism from Wong stopped the bleeding from the Spined Wurm. Neeman's Pyroclasm wiped the board, which cleared the way for an Awakening Druid and its animated friend to start attacking Wong. With no answers on top of Wong's deck, both players shuffled up for the decider.
Neeman – 1 Wong – 1
Neeman led with a Preordain, following with a Runeclaw Bear. Wong's Child of Night looked the better of the two. The Bear attacked and traded with the Child. Neeman's Sylvan Ranger fetched out a Mountain, giving Neeman access to all of his colors on turn 3.
Three swamps from Wong heralded no action, and Neeman simply attacked with his Ranger, happy to move to the late game when his powerful green men would come out to play. Wong cast a Barony Vampire, which was met by a Greater Basilisk from Neeman. A Quag Sickness brought it down to a 0/2. Neeman simply shrugged and cast a Sword of Vengeance, then followed it up with a Spined Wurm. With Wong stuck with three Swamps and a handful of white cards, there was only so long he could chump block.
Jeremy Neeman defeats Garry Wong 2 – 1
Sunday, 11:08 a.m. – Round 9: Quick Questions
What common or uncommon do you most want to open in M11 draft?
|Ian Wood||Jeremy Neeman||Ross Schafer|
|“Mind Control or Crystal Ball.”||“Foresee.”||“Fireball.”|
|Jamie Mackintosh||Alex McCormick||Tyler Walsh|
|“Stormfront Pegasus.”||“Mind Control.”||“Fireball or Mind Control.”|
Sunday, 12:02 p.m. – Round 10: Quick Questions
What was the most important M11 card in your Standard deck this weekend?
|Brandon Lau||Justin Cheung||Alex McCormick|
|“Primeval Titan.”||“Fauna Shaman.”||“Condemn.”|
|John-Paul Kelly||Aaron Nicastri||Tyler Walsh|
|“Mana Leak.”||“Temple Bell.”||“Destructive Force.”|
Sunday, 12:59 p.m. – Round 10: Magic: The Next Generation
Matthew Pohlen and Grace Elizabeth Pohlen from Melbourne. Outfit by Cate Daniels (Head Judge James MacKay's better half, and James is already a particularly lovely half.)
Sunday, 1:33 p.m. – Round 10: Tyler Walsh vs Alex McCormick
Alex McCormick and Tyler Walsh both headed into the tenth round with 7-2 records. McCormick sported a foiled-out Blue/White control deck, designed to overwhelm his opponents with shiny and powerful Planeswalkers. Tyler Walsh ran a home-tested Destructive Force deck that has been piloted by several players at Nationals this year. McCormick, a keen deckbuilder, followed the development of the Force deck with interest. "How long have you been working on your decks for?" "Weeks and weeks. As soon as we saw the spoilers, we knew Destructive Force was a key card", Tyler admitted. McCormick probed for a hint about the win conditions, but Walsh was smilingly tight-lipped. McCormick was deemed to have the prettiest dice, and rolled them well enough to end up on the play. Both players chatted jovially as they considered mulligans. "I admire Tyler because he just gave me a PTQ-winning decklist, five minutes before registration closed", said McCormick. He's headed to Pro Tour: Amsterdam later in the year.
Both players mulliganed, and then McCormick kept going, settling on his hand of five. Walsh started his game with a Halimar Depths, peering at a set of Explores and a land on top of his library. The powerful cantrip let him cycle through the top elements of his deck quickly. McCormick played out a Wall of Omens to try and keep up with Walsh's relentless development. Walsh powered out a Jace while McCormick was still on two lands. He hunted around for his markers. "May I borrow some of your pretty dice?" "Sure, $10 each." "I'll hit you up later." "You can always scoop if you can't afford it", quipped McCormick.Dashing Tasmanian: Tyler Walsh.
Walsh cast a Time Warp, claiming it to be "The World's Best Rampant Growth". His mana started to stack up quickly. An Oracle of Mul Daya revealed a Halimar Depths on the top of Walsh's library, signalling maximum ridiculosity to come. Walsh cast an Explore, drawing a Time Warp off the top of his deck and getting himself further ahead. Jace, the Mind Sculptor fatesealed McCormick. When Walsh was finally finished, McCormick cast Path to Exile on his Wall of Omens, trying to match Walsh's ramping. McCormick cast an Everflowing Chalice for 2, leaving himself tapped out in the face of what looked like the endgame from Walsh. After a flurry of land and drawing, Walsh cast an Avenger of Zendikar for 9 plant tokens and Jace fatesealed McCormick. Luckily for McCormick, he already had the Day of Judgment in hand to clear the board. Walsh tried again with a Time Warp and a Destructive Force. With the board reset, Walsh replaying lands and a Jace threatening his ultimate, McCormick conceded and moved to his sideboard.
Walsh 1 – McCormick 0
Walsh led the action with an Explore. Lands accumulated on both sides of the board, although in a lopsided fashion. The first significant play went to McCormick, who laid down the most sought-after card in standard, a foiled Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Walsh answered with a Jace of his own, effectively Wrath of Goding the powerful Planeswalker away. McCormick summoned an Elspeth, Knight-Errant and made a Soldier. Walsh went deep into the tank, thinking through his outs. He cast a Frost Titan and tapped down his opponent's land. McCormick squeezed through an Oblivion Ring to deal with the Titan, and Walsh couldn't find an answer to Elspeth's growing army.Alex 'Melbourne_Junkie' McCormick attempts to foil Walsh's plans. You know, because his deck is mostly foiled.
McCormick 1 – Walsh 1.
Walsh mulliganed to five, seeing a lonely Halimar Depths as the sole land in his hand of six. McCormick powered out an Everflowing Chalice for 1, taking advantage of Walsh's stuttering start. Walsh played out a Lotus Cobra and played a fetchland, utilizing his fetchland to essentially cast a free Explore series of Explores off the landfall triggers. With a Lotus Cobra in play, each of the green cards was essentially free. McCormick threw a Gideon Jura onto the board and decreed that the Cobra was to attack it next turn. Walsh could only play Destructive Force to reset the board and hope to peel one of his Into the Roils for the Gideon, but he'd run out of luck.
Alex McCormick defeats Tyler Walsh 2 – 1
Sunday, 1:49 p.m. – Round 11: Kenny Nguyen vs Steven Aplin
Steven Aplin was National Champ in 2007, so his name should be familiar, but Kenny Nguyen: not so much. He finished top 64 at GP: Melbourne last year, and competed at Pro Tour: San Diego earlier this year, so "young up-and-comer" would be a fitting title.
Nguyen got started slowly, with a mulligan and a pair of Stirring Wildwoods. Aplin played a Forest and Scalding Tarn. Nguyen summoned a Birds of Paradise and played an Arid Mesa, while Aplin ramped an extra land onto the battlefield with Explore, then Mana Leak'd the Knight of the Reliquary that cascaded off of Nguyen's Bloodbraid Elf. Cultivate and a Rampant Growth continued to push Aplin's mana development well past the expected norms, showing some red mana as well. Nguyen continued to attack, dropping Aplin to 11 before summoning a Baneslayer Angel. Aplin untapped seven lands and summoned a Garruk, Wildspeaker, untapping two lands and playing another so he could summon a Frost Titan, locking down the Angel. Nguyen summoned a second Angel, but Aplin had a second Titan for that, too. When Aplin attacked in with both Titans, Nguyen traded his now outclassed Elf and one of his Stirring Wildwoods for one of them, only to see Aplin summon a Primeval Titan, searching up a pair of Raging Ravines. Nguyen summoned a Fauna Shaman, and braced for impact. Aplin activated both Ravines and sent them in alongside the Titans, and the impact was more than enough to send them to Game 2.2007 National Champ Steven Aplin is making another run at the title.
Aplin 1 – Nguyen 0
Nguyen got off to a better start in Game 2, attacking with a Fauna Shaman and a Bloodbraid Elf on turn three, despite another Mana Leak on a Knight of the Reliquary from Aplin. Garruk and Rampant Growth worked hard to try and get Aplin back in the driver's seat, the Planeswalker lasting mere seconds before Nguyen's men tag-teamed it out of the ring. Aplin's fifth turn play was the underappreciated Frost Titan, tapping down the Elf. With a giant body in the way, Nguyen switched to Library Manipulation Mode, discarding an Admonition Angel to a Fauna Shaman to find and summon a Knight of the Reliquary, and passed the turn back with a second Shaman ready to find something, if need be.Kenny Nguyen is making Aplin work for it.
Aplin summoned Jace, the Mind Sculptor to his side and immediately Brainstorm'd. He played a Tectonic Edge and passed back to Nguyen, who discarded a second Admonition Angel for a Vengevine. Nguyen untapped and discarded his 'Vine to find another, and discarding that to find and summon a Bloodbraid Elf, hitting a Lotus Cobra (revealing a Sun Titan on the way past). The Vengevines sprang into play, and bypassed, heading straight for Aplin's face. Now on 1 life, Aplin untapped and cleared the board with Destructive Force, leaving Nguyen with no permanents to his two lands and Jace. Nguyen could see the writing on the
wall Planeswalker, and offered the handshake.
Steven Aplin defeats Kenny Nguyen 2 – 1
Sunday, 1:57 p.m. – Round 12: 3-0 Draft Decks
The following draft decks (from the top two draft pods) went 3-0 in the second M11 draft.
Sunday, 2:30 p.m. – Round 12: Australia's Largest Ever PTQ
Last year, we had Australia's largest ever PTQ going on down the far end of the room, with 127 players. Naturally, we have another PTQ today – this one for Amsterdam – with a whopping 175 players.