Day 2 Coverage of Australia National Championship

Posted in Event Coverage on July 17, 2009


Sunday, July 19: 8:25a.m. – Quick Questions

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

When the fire alarm sounded at 11:10pm on Friday night, what did you grab to take downstairs?

Scott Hunstad, of Good Games Rob Teirney, Tournament Organizer Russell Alphey, Score Keeper

Nothing, I mean, what do you do? People thought I’d have crammed by pockets with Power Nine, but I grabbed nothing. Imagine, coming to Canberra and randomly losing everything in a fire.

I was still down here setting up!

The laptop with the tournament on it.” ‹- a true score keeping champion.

I was halfway down the stairs before I thought that maybe the coverage would be somewhat lacking without my laptop and camera. Good thing there was no fire!

Sunday, July 19: 9:10a.m. – Round 8: Hugh Glanville vs Ian Wood

by Pip Hunn

Hugh Glanville hails from Canberra, the nation’s capital, qualifying for Nationals on rating. Ian Wood was the sole undefeated player left in the tournament, his first major event.
“So, I get to be the dream crusher?” hoped Glanville out loud.
“Well, I’ve exceeded all expectations so far”, Wood agreed as they shuffled up.

Wood opened with an Ethercaste Knight, answered by a Goblin Deathraiders. The Knight attacked and was backed up by a Wall of Denial, which shut down the aggressive Goblin. Glanville dropped a Jund Battlemage. Wood followed another attack with a Scornful Æther-Lich. The 2/4’s fear ability could sneak it past it any Saproling tokens Glanville chose to create. Scarland Thrinax was the only action Glanville mustered. The Æther-Lich attacked, dropping Glanville to 15, followed by a Tower Gargoyle.

Glanville unleashed a Slave of Bolas on the Gargoyle. The team attacked, Wood blocking the Thrinax and Battlemage. Granville fed the Gargoyle to his Thrinax and passed. Woods’ offensive had been slowed a little, but he came in with the Æther-Lich once again, bringing Glanville to ten. Glanville cast a Dragonsoul Knight, which was met by an Offering to Asha from Wood. He then cracked a Bant Panorama, leading Glanville to muse aloud what the Green splash might be for. “You’ll find out in about twenty seconds”, Wood assured him.

“There it is,” Glanville nodded, as Wood dropped a Behemoth Sledge onto the board. The Æther -Lich suited up and swung into battle. Glanville calmly created a Saproling with his Battlemage and fed it to the Thrinax, making it a 4/4. The Thrinax and Deathraiders intercepted the Aether-Lich, trading but leaving Wood ahead on life. Glanville dropped a Pestilent Kathari, making attacks into the first-striking deathtoucher unattractive. Wood summoned a Vedalken Outlander and equipped the Sledge. Sewn-Eye Drake from Glanville entered the battlefield but the haster was held back by the Wall of Denial.

No action from either player for a few turns slowly grew the Saproling army. Wood ventured in with his Outlander, which was blocked by the Kathari. Wood had an Ethersworn Shieldmage to prevent the damage to his creature, leaving Glanville’s defense looking thin. Ridge Rannet from Glanville shored up the ground, which was answered by a Sighted-Caste Sorcerer from Wood. The Outlander’s protection from red meant that the only effective blockers Glanville had were his Saproling tokens. Glanville couldn’t find anything, his army of solid men defied by Wood’s solid defense and impenetrable life total.

Glanville – 0 Wood – 1

Ian Wood takes Game 1.

The players chatted about the signals sent in the draft. Glanville was sitting two players to Wood’s left, but the intervening player had forced Bant, leaving Wood with some idea of the Jund cards his opponent might be running.

Glanville led off the action with a Grixis Grimblade, answered by a Vedalken Outlander. Glanville’s offense was effectively shut off, and Wood played a Kaleidostone before attacking with his Outlander. Scarland Thrinax pumped up the Grimblade, which attacked. Wood landcycled a Traumatic Visions to fix his mana. “A forest?” asked Glanville. “I know what that means.” Wood only shrugged and passed. Glanville laid down a Gorger Wurm with no further action, his men stalled by the Outlander.

Esperzoa from Wood was Dark Tempered, giving Glanville an opportunity to swing with his entire team. Wood blocked the Thrinax. Before damage, the Thrinax munched the Grimblade, leaving Wood taking 5 from the unopposed Wurm. Wood sacrificed his Kaleidostone to cast a Deny Reality, flipping in an Ethercaste Knight and passing. Dregscape Zombie came down alongside the Wurm for Glanville.

“That’s not Red!” Wood complained. Luckily, he had his Sledge, which pumped up the Outlander and swung in. Glanville attacked back with his Thrinax and Wurm. The Knight stood in front of the Wurm, the Thrinax getting in for a nibble. Glanville dropped a Cavern Minotaur and Putrid Leech, leaving the sole Outlander on the board on Wood’s side. Sighted-Caste sorcerer pumped up the Outlander who attacked, trading with the Zombie and Leech.

Glanville deployed a Sewn-Eye Drake and swung with his entire team. Wood blocked the Dregscape Zombie, which was consumed by the attacking Thrinax. Wood scooped. “I hadn’t counted on the Drake”, Wood admitted.

Glanville – 1 Wood – 1

Hugh Glanville prepares to attack.

A Putrid Leech from Glanville was met with land-stall from Wood, putting him squarely on the defensive. Wood eventually found a Swamp to Wretched Banquet the Leech, but Glanville just laid an imposing Gorger Wurm onto the board. Wood found a Plains and dropped an Akrasan Squire. Glanville looked a little relieved it wasn’t an Outlander, then swung in with his Wurm. He followed up with a Dreg Reaver. Faerie Machinist from Wood dug and found an Esper Stormblade before passing the action back to Glanville. Jund Charm Pyroclasmed the board, and the Reaver and Wurm crashed in for 9, leaving Wood’s position grim. Wood left all his mana up and passed confidently. When Granville attacked, he flashed in his Ethersworn Shieldmage, leaving Agony Warp mana open. Glanville had a Terminate, earning the concession.

Glanville – 2 Wood - 1

Sunday, July 19: 10:13a.m. – Round 9: Craig Chapman vs Aaron Nicastri

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Both Aaron Nicastri and Craig Chapman have gone 2-0 in their second draft pod, and are facing off for right to be 3-0. Chapman scattered three dice on the table. “That’s not very high,” Nicastri remarked. “It’s high enough,” Chapman replied, “but you got me,” he admitted as Nicastri rolled one higher.

“Can you sign my Nicastri’s?” Chapman asked with a grin, “I can sign your Wild Nicastri’s” Aaron answered with a laugh. Sure enough, Chapman’s first turn was Forest, Wild Nacatl. “Pen please!” Chapman cried. He got past a Naya Hushblade with a Might of Alara, and then a Court Archers practically bounced from the table to the graveyard as Chapman’s Branching Bolt took it out and a nearby Pestilent Kathari. A Leonin Armorguard helped the Nacatl get through for more damage, dropping Nicastri to 10, before his Enlisted Wurm phoned a friend, hitting Wild Leotau. Chapman’s assault was well and truly dead in its tracks.

Craig Chapman getting in there with his Wild Nicastri’s.

Chapman settled in for the long game, dropping a Necrogenesis, no doubt the one Nicastri had passed in the draft in favor of his Spearbreaker Behemoth. End of turn Drag down killed the Leotau, and Necrogenesis swarmed out across the table. Chapman untapped and summoned a Madrush Cyclops. “Attack phase?” He asked, before turning his team sideways. Nicastri had a Resounding Thunder to take out one attacker, but Soul’s Fire finished him off.

Chapman 1 – Nicastri 0

“What’s it say?” asked Chapman, peering at his Nacatl. “It’s my signature, and then ‘nats’,” Nicastri chuckled. As the players presented their decks for Game 2, a judge swooped in for a mid-round deck check. While they waited, Chapman pointed to my camera. “Take a picture of my pizza socks!”

“I don’t wanna get beaten by a pizza boy,” Nicastri replied, jokingly. “I’m a pizza manager! I’m well practiced in the art of eating pizza,” Chapman rebuked proudly, earning a light-hearted “clearly!” from a bystander.

*Does the signed Nacatl count as marked?* Judge Chris Worrell joked while checking the decks.

Nicastri again opted to play, and this time Chapman was slow coming out of the gates, with his first play being a Sacellum Archers facing off against Nicastri’s third turn Behemoth Sledge. Chapman caught up dramatically on his fourth turn, with Bloodbraid Elf hitting Ember Weaver and attacking in for 5. Nicastri passed again on his fifth turn, before attempting to wipe the board with a Lavalanche on his sixth. Chapman saved his Ember Weaver with a Colossal Might, and attacked back to drop Nicastri to 4 life.

It was Nicastri’s turn to spill out on to the table, with Enlisted Wurm enlisting the help of a Scarland Thrinax. Chapman had no play, and could only take 8 from the Wurm the following turn, as it powered up with the Sledge and a freshly summoned Court Archers. “Not even my sighed ‘you’ can save me,” Chapman laughed, revealing the signed Wild Nacatl off the top of his deck and scooping up his cards.

Chapman 1 – Nicastri 1

Aaron Nicastri fending off Chapman’s attackers.

“Ding!” Chapman exclaimed, hitting turn one Nacatl again in Game 3. “It’s always that one,” said Nicastri, spying his signature on the card. “Yeah, not one of the other three,” Chapman teased, following it up with an Ember Weaver. Nicastri summoned a Vithian Renegades, powering down the Weaver by taking out Chapman’s Wildfire Borderpost, and getting in the way of Chapman’s attack. Nicastri continued to fill out his defense with a Rhox Charger, but that died to Branching Bolt when a Scarland Thrinax made to join it. A Leonin Armorguard brought combat back into the picture, with Nicastri trading his Thrinax for the Weaver in a double block, before clearing out Chapman’s team with his Lavalanche.

The Renegades got started on phase two of Nicastri’s plan, applying cardboard to face, and were soon joined by a Naya Hushblade. A Drag Down missed the Renegades, as Nicastri devoured them with his Gluttonous Slime, bringing Chapman’s life total down to 8 to his 9. A couple of turns later, Nicastri put lethal damage on the stack, and looked Chapman in the eye searchingly, to see if he had an answer. “...Go to negative 2,” Chapman finally answered with a smile and a handshake.

Aaron Nicastri defeats Craig Chapman 2 – 1

Sunday, July 19: 11:53a.m. – Round 10: Quick Questions

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

When did you first get in to Magic?

Levi Hinz “Mirage, but my first tournament was the Urza’s Saga prerelease.” Justin Cheung “Revised.” Garry Wong “When I first moved to Sydney, five years ago. Champions (of Kamigawa) Block!:

Sunday, July 19: 11:21a.m. – Round 10: Aaron Nicastri vs Ian Wood

by Pip Hunn

Aaron Nicastri is reigning National Champion and current Rookie of the Year. Ian Wood is currently Rookie of Nationals, unknown before the event. He swept through the Swiss with an impressive 7-1 record. Nicastri is running a Mannequin deck developed by Sydney players, and Wood is running 5C Blood, a list from fellow Adelaidian Jarrod Scriven.

Nicastri won the roll, but Wood led the first play, summoning a Putrid Leech. Nicastri evoked a Mulldrifter and passed. The Leech swung in for 4 and was joined by a friend. Nicastri summoned a Stillmoon Cavalier, an effective blocker against the Leeches, but Wood Lightning Bolted it and attacked with both his pumped Leeches. Nicastri dropped a Baneslayer Angel, but Wood had a Maelstrom Pulse, the Leeches coming in to finish the job.

Nicastri - 0 Wood – 1

Aaron Nicastri has a playset of Baneslayer Angels.

Wood took some time considering his options, and then sideboarded extensively. Determined to race, he removed his top end and brought in more aggressive removal for Nicastri’s efficient creatures.

+ 3 Stillmoon Cavalier
+ 3 Deathmark
+ 2 Puppeteer Clique
+ 2 Path to Exile
+3 Anathemancer

- 2 Broodmate Dragon
- 4 Maelstrom Pulse
- 4 Kitchen Finks
- 1 Chameleon Colossus
- 2 Volcanic Fallouts

Nicastri cast a Duress on the second turn, seeing a hand of double Bloodbraid Elf, Putrid Leech, Jund Charm, Lightning Bolts and two lands. He took the Charm, and a follow-up Thoughtseize left Wood with a Bolt, two lands and two Elves. Wood could only pass and then Bolt Nicastri’s Cavalier. Both players dropped lands, with Nicastri once again summoning a turn 5 Baneslayer. Wood had a Deathmark waiting in hand, but stalled briefly on lands.

Nicastri continued to lay lands and passing, holding a Swamp and a Sower of Temptation in hand. Wood found his land but passed. Nicastri drew and played a Stillmoon Cavalier. Wood took the opportunity to cast Bloodbraid Elf, which cascaded into a Path to Exile, useless against the Cavalier. Nicastri Sowered the Elf and passed the turn with 4 mana open. Wood cast his second Elf, cascading into a Stillmoon Cavalier. Both resolved. Wood was still unable to attack effectively into the Nicastri’s Stillmoon Cavalier.

Ian Wood is not concerned, because he has any number of removal spells.

On his turn, Nicastri attacked with the team and Wood chose not to block. Nicastri pumped his Cavalier once and hit for 8, then played a Finks, leaving the life totals 20-12 in his favor. Wood untapped and cast a Bituminous Blast on the Sower, which flipped in an Anathemancer, hitting Aaron for 6, taking the National Champion to 14. Wood then attacked with his Cavalier, carving a further two life points away from Nicastri’s total.

Nicastri evoked a Mulldrifter on his turn, drawing into a finks and a Thoughtseize. He attacked with his Cavalier and chose to pump it once, taking Wood to 9. He then cast his Thoughtseize, seeing a hand of Jund Charm, two Anathemancers, Deathmark, and Stillmoon Cavalier. Wood had 5 lands in play, and Anathemancers would be dealing 6 damage with each resolution. Nicastri took an Anathemancer and then played his Kitchen Finks, hovering on 12 life.

Wood found his sixth land, and swung with the Cavalier for 3, knocking Nicastri to 9. He then played out his second Anathemancer. Nicastri surveyed the board and scooped.

Nicastri shrugged off his loss. The Soul Manipulations hiding on the top of his deck were key to the match up, and he was always going to struggle without seeing them. Aaron congratulated Wood on making Top 8 in his first Nationals, Wood’s 8-1 record letting him ID in from here.

Nicastri – 0 Wood - 2

Sunday, July 19: 12:42p.m. – Round 11: Quick Questions

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Have the Magic 2010 rules changes had much impact on your matches this weekend?

Aaron Nicastri “I took a Gluttonous Slime (in draft) when I shouldn’t have, forgetting that I couldn’t stack damage any more, otherwise not really.” Jeremy Neeman “No, practically none. Except no mana burn, I had X mana laying around a lot in Standard (playing Combo Elves) so that was good.” Ian Wood “Not much, no. I didn’t take mana burn from my Kaleidostone (playing a Tower Gargoyle) yesterday.”

Sunday, July 19: 12:06p.m. – Round 11: First lock for the top 8

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw and Pip Hunn

After finishing day one undefeated, it’s no surprise that Adelaide’s Ian Wood is the first player “locked in” for the top 8 going into the eleventh round, baring extenuating circumstances, of course. We figured you’d appreciate a look at the decks he’s played this weekend. He’s 4-0 so far in standard, 3-0’d his first draft and 2-1’d his second.

Ian Wood

Download Arena Decklist

Ian Wood

Download Arena Decklist

Ian Wood

Download Arena Decklist

Sunday, July 19: 1:02p.m. – Round 11: Photo Montage

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw and Heidi Cornwall

As usual, there are often pictures that fall through the cracks, for whatever reason, so this entry is to collect those together and get them out there.

On Friday night, players not trying to qualify for the main event could be seen playing 7-Point Highlander, a very popular casual/competitive format in Canberra and Melbourne. Players build 60 card decks with 15 card sideboards, with no more than one of each card, excepting basic lands, of course. The main difference being that there is a points list for certain cards, so that people can’t fill their deck with too many abusive cards. For instance, Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall are worth 4 points, so you can’t play both, and Skullclamp and Merchant Scroll are worth 1 point each, along with various other cards worth between 1 and 4 points.

Tasmanian Pip Hunn volunteered to help me with the coverage this weekend, and can be seen here working his way through the Last Chance Qualifier decklists.

Leaving me more time to twitter! Okay, so I had to my fair share of the LCQ decklists too, but I did them later on.

Our impeccable judge team, lead by James Mackay, level 3 from Melbourne. The rest are Ryan Dare L3, Nathan Brewer L2, Angus Foster L2, Fabian Peck L2, Gareth Pye L2, Chris Evans L1, Simon Hall L1, Anatoli Lightfoot L1, Julian Rzechowicz L1, John Tong L1, Ephraim Tsun L1, Chris Worrell L1, Steven Clarke L0, Isaac Egan L0, Morgan Meehan-Lam L0, Sean Roffey L0 and Russell Alphey as the scorekeeper and Rob Teirney as the Tournament Organizer.

Meanwhile, in the Public Events, Australia’s largest ever PTQ is underway, with 127 competitors battling for a spot at Pro Tour Austin later this year.

Sunday, July 19: 1:52p.m. – Round 12: Levi Hinz vs Garry Wong

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

It’s coming down to the wire in the last round, with one player on 28 points, Jamie Mackintosh, and four others on 27, including my called “lock” Ian Wood, who was paired down and has to play for it in the last round. Down on 24 points, both Garry Wong and Levi Hinz have to win and pray that their tie-breakers can carry them into the remaining three spots for 27 pointers in the top 8. Wong won the roll and lead with a Vivid Marsh into a second turn Putrid Leech. Hinz calmly replied with a Wren’s Run Vanquisher, revealing another, which was enough to get the Leech to stay at home on the following turn, and greet Wong’s next play, Sygg, River Cutthroat. Hinz summoned the second Vanquisher, only see them both dashed by a Maelstrom Pulse, the Leech and Sygg crashing in for 5, drawing Wong a card. Hinz, still stuck on two land, could only watch as Wong summoned a Bloodbraid Elf, whiffing into a Maelstrom Pulse. Hinz had a pair of Lightning Bolts, one of which killed the Leech in response to it pumping. When Hinz finally hit his third land and summed the Elvish Archdruid, Wong had the Bituminous Blast to send it packing, hitting a Boggart Ram-Gang that Wong forgot to send in along with the rest of his men. “Need him to block, yeah?” Hinz asked, as he drew his card for the turn before scooping them up. Wong 1 – Hinz 0

Elevator warrior, Garry Wong.

“Is that an Elf?” Wong asked, peering at Hinz’s turn two Great Sable Stag off of a Llanowar Elf. Oh, and ELK. One letter different.” Wong’s turn two Putrid Leech couldn’t block the Stag as it rumbled in on the following turn, after a Bloodbraid Elf dug up a Wren’s Run Vanquisher, revealing an Elvish Perfect. Wong tried to stabilize with a Kitchen Finks, blocking with both his men as Hinz’s Bloodbraid and Vanquisher attacked on the following turn. Missing a fourth land, Wong could only pass the turn back without play. Hinz activated his Mutavault and attacked in, dropping Wong to 14 life. At the end of Hinz’s turn, Wong pointed a Path to Exile at the Perfect, but still couldn’t find a fourth land. Hinz summoned a replacement Perfect and attacked Wong down to 7. When his draw step didn’t reveal anything of use, it was Wong’s turn to pick ‘em up. Wong 1 – Hinz 1

Levi Hinz evens the score.

Yet again, Wong had the turn two Putrid Leech, while Hinz was much slower out of the gate, having to lead with a Rootbound Crag into a turn two Llanowar Elves. Wong attacked in for 4 and then summoned Sygg River Cutthroat to draw himself an extra card. Hinz, lacking a third land, summoned an Elvish Archdruid, only to lose it to a Maelstrom Pulse. Hinz finally drew his third land, a Mutavault, and Cascaded into a Lightning Bolt with Bloodbraid Elf to kill Sygg. Wong was still swinging back with his Leech, and filled out his back end with a Kitchen Finks. When Hinz summoned a Wren’s Run Vanquisher, Wong simply tapped Hinz’s team with a Cryptic Command and swung in for the win. Garry Wong defeats Levi Hinz 2 – 1 Meanwhile, Ian Wood solidified his position at the top of the swiss, knocking out Aaron Yue 2-1. Aaron Nicastri drew with Jamie Mackintosh, and Jeremy Neeman drew with Hugh Glanville, leaving 3 spots for people on 27 points, so it looks pretty good for Garry Wong!

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