Finals: Aaron Nicoll vs. Jiann Hua Chin

Posted in Event Coverage on July 24, 2011

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Nicoll won the roll, and gave his hand plenty of consideration before keeping. "Ship it," Chin announced, checking the top two cards of his deck, "a good ship!" he confirmed. Nicoll played a Raging Ravine, while Chin summoned Ornithopter, Memnite, and Glint Hawk. Nicoll summoned an Overgrown Battlement, ramping him into a Solemn Simulacrum, while Chin summoned a Steel Overseer.

An Inkmoth Nexus took to the air with the rest of Chin's team, taking a sizable chunk out of Nicoll. Nicoll cast a Birthing Pod, and upgraded his Simulacrum to an Acidic Slime, killing the Overseer. Chin attacked in again, dropping Nicoll to 8 life and 4 poison. The Slime became a Frost Titan, tapping down the Nexus. A Deceiver Exarch untapped the Pod. Nicoll then upgraded a Birds of Paradise to a Phantasmal Image, which mimicked the Frost Titan, tapping down the Glint Hawk. Chin had nothing, but didn't flinch. Nicoll cast a Splinter Twin on his Exarch, and Chin finally scooped.

Nicoll 1 – Chin 0

"I have to mull!" Chin advised.

"You have to mull? Well I have to keep!" Nicoll replied with a smile, clearly in a cheery mood. "It's always nice to win the first one."

Chin again had first turn Glint Hawk and Ornithopter, while Nicoll Pondered, choosing not to shuffle. "All in," Chin declared, summoning Vault Skirge and Signal Pest. Nicoll just sighed, played a Copperline Gorge, and made sweeping motions with a Pyroclasm. A follow-up Porcelain Legionnaire was killed by a Sylvok Replica, and a Solemn Simulacrum helped pull Nicoll's end-game into sight. Chin could only summon a Spellskite and pass.

Nicoll cast Birthing Pod, and once again swapped his Simulacrum for an Acidic Slime. Chin summoned another Legionnaire, but Nicoll just Pod'd away a Battlement for a Deceiver Exarch, untapping the Pod, and then turning the Slime into a Frost Titan.

Nicoll 2 – Chin 0

Chin mulliganed for the third time in game three, and this time Nicoll joined him, throwing away a one land hand and finding a no lander for his efforts.

 

Jiann Hua Chin looks for an opening, and finds it.

 

From five cards, Nicoll missed his second land drop, but found it a turn later, while a lone Vault Skirge began nibbling at his life total. Refraction Trap effectively trumped a Pyroclasm, and the Tempered Steel that followed was crippling. Sylvok Replica bought Nicoll a turn, but it wasn't enough.

Nicoll 2 – Chin 1

Nicoll shuffled away the top of his library with a Ponder in game four, and failed to find a second land. Chin's draw wasn't the fastest, but it was enough to make Nicoll pay for the loose keep.

Nicoll 2 – Chin 2

Both players began cautiously in the deciding game – Chin's first play a Spellskite, followed by a Porcelain Legionnaire and a second Spellskite. Nicoll summoned a Sylvok Replica, and copied it with a Phantasmal Image. The Replica and the replica Replica took out the Spellskites, but a Refraction Trap reduced the effectiveness of a Pyroclasm. Nicoll cast a Birthing Pod, and a second Pyroclasm. He then threw away an Overgrown Battlement in favor of Tuktuk the Explorer, who ran across the board and stole Chin's Contested War Zone. "What a Tuk'ing!" Nicoll cackled.

 

Aaron Nicoll is quietly confident he might have this one. I'm lying about the 'quiet' part.

 

Chin attacked back with an Inkmoth Nexus, but Nicoll summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, and promptly Pod'd it away for an Acidic Slime, destroying Chin's Plains and only remaining active White source. "I'm liking my situation," Nicoll admitted.

Chin found another Plains, but an Oxidda Scrapmelter destroyed Chin's inactive Mox Opal, and the Slime became a Frost Titan, tapping down the Plains. With next to nothing left in play, Chin could only take the beats with a stoic smile and a handshake.

Aaron Nicoll defeats Jiann Hua Chin 3-2 to become the 2011 National Champion!

Australia Nationals Team

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