Final Feature Match: Chris Allen vs Andrew Varga

Posted in Event Coverage on May 29, 2003

By Liam Coltman

The good news for Allen is he’s made it this far, unfortunately the bad news for him is this is one matchup that he can’t easily win. The large monsters of Varga combined with the life gain that’s possible thanks to Ravenous Baloth mean that the burn in his deck can’t easily clear a path through to his opponents life total. But this is Magic, a game where certainties go out the window, and there is an Australian title on the line, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

Game 1

Allen starts off proceedings but had no turn one play. Varga on the other hand is more than happy to summon the first spell, Birds of Paradise which it is bolted by Allen. Living Wish for Ravenous Baloth simply brings a shake of the head from Allen who responds by casting a Call of the Herd. Varga brings down the Baloth on turn 4 and Allen plays down a Centaur on his own turn 4. A Centaur on turn 5 from Varga just highlights exactly how hard this matchup is going to be for Allen.

The two creatures of Allen come into the red zone, with the Centaurs butting heads and the Baloth blocking the Call token. Allen searches through his library with a sac land to grab out another red source and then casts Violent Eruption dealing one to the Baloth, One to the Phantom and 2 to Varga. The Baloth is sacrificed in response and is instantly replaced by a second, bringing a sigh from Allen. Volcanic Hammer removes the last counter from Varga’s Centaur and an Elephant guide on his own Centaur means that he will have a creature that cannot die to damage. Varga hard casts an Exalted Angel and then passes the turn back. Allen rips a second piece of removal to join the last card in his hand and casts Volcanic Hammer and Firebolt, knocking the Angel out of the sky, and the Centaur goes charging in, still too large to be blocked by the Baloth alone.

Allen sends in his Guided Centaur again on his next turn but it is met by Beast Attack during the attack phase, allowing Varga to remove a counter and also sacrifice the Beast for 4 life thanks to the Baloth. Allen slaps down a Grim Lavamancer and flashes back Firebolt dealing 2 to the dome of Varga. Baloth charges in, dropping Allen to a measly 4 life points. Allen sends in the Centaur again and it’s once again blocked by the Beast Attack, gaining Varga 4 more life. After combat Allen brings out a Llanowar Elves and flashes back his call of the Herd token. Varga sends in his Ravenous Baloth and its double blocked by the call and the Elf, gaining Varga yet another 4 life points.

Varga drops a Ravenous Baloth to replace the one that he just lost and brings down an Anurid Brushhopper to add to Allen’s woes. Allen flashes back a firebolt to hit the Baloth and then activates his Lavamancer, gaining Varga more life. Living Wish nets Varga a Nantuko Vigilante, and when its summoned as a morph and flipped over it kills off the Elephant Guide and the Phantom. Allen tries to hold tough dropping a Wild Mongrel but the game is gone, those Baloths were too much for his burn.

Varga leads 1-0

Allen Sideboards: -4 Basking Rootwalla, -2 Call of the Herd, + 4 Ensnaring Bridge, +1 Threaten, +1 Volcanic Erruption

Varga Sideboards: -3 Glory, -1 Living Wish, -1 Hurricane, -1 Nantuko Monestary, -1 Akromas Vengence, +2 Reprisal, +2 Naturalise, +1 Ray of Revelation, +1 Contested Cliffs, +1 Ravenous Baloth

Game 2

Allen starts off with a turn two Llanowar Elves but Vargas turn two play of Wild Mongrel seems much, much better. Allen casts Volcanic Hammer on the Mongrel and Varga decides to let it die, with Allen sending his Llanowar Elf into the Red Zone. When Varga has no turn 3 play the elf comes smashing in again and is backed up now by a Call of the Herd. Ravenous Baloth is the turn four response by Varga and it looks like trouble again for Allen. A Violent Erruption takes out the Baloth and the attack phase is effectively fogged thanks to the life gain ability of the Baloth. Varga continues to draw the cards that dominate this matchup casting a Phantom Centaur and on the next turn an Exalted Angel.

Allen has the answers but it’s taking him everything hes got in his hand, using Violent Erruption backed up with a Firebolt to take the Angel out of the skies. Varga is unphased by the loss of his angel and when he simply summons another one to take its place the reason is clear for all to see. Allens two Elephants and the Elf come in for an attack with the Centaur blocking a call and killing it off. Firebolt is flashed back knocking the last token off the centaur. Exalted Angel flies over the top for four damage and then Ravenous Baloth joins the team. Allen plays out a Phantom Centaur but the life gain that Varga is getting from the angel is wrecking his chances to even up the game score at one apiece. The crowd can do nothing but laugh as Varga summons two Brushhoppers to go with his Baloth.

Allen refuses to give up though, using a combination of Volcanic Hammer and Firebolt to once again kill off an Angel. Varga sends in the two Brushhoppers and one is double blocked by the elf and the elephant while another is blocked by the centaur. Once damage is on the stack one phases out and the other is sacrificed for life. Varga plays call and flashes it back, and Allen drops Elephant Guide pants on the Phantom. All Varga’s creatures enter the red zone and drop Allen down to one life. Allen simply draws and then extends his hand to Varga, the 2003 National Champion of Australia

Varga defeated Allen 2-0

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