Noah Long offered a handshake to Marc Anderson as they sat down to play. "Congratulations on making the team!"
"Same to you."
Both these players were all smiles having locked up their place on the Canadian National team. While they shuffled up they talked about the logistics of the testing they had ahead of them for Worlds. All that was left was to play the one best-of-five match to determine which of them would be National Champion - Anderson playing Twin-Pod, Long with Valakut.
Anderson mulled to six, then led with Copperline Gorge and Birds of Paradise. He played Misty Rainforest on his second turn and passed. Long passed it back to him with mountain and forest in play. During Anderson's upkeep he spent Lightning Bolt killing the Birds. In response Anderson cast Deceiver Exarch, untapping his Copperline Gorge. He played a third land and passed.
Long cast Khalni Heart Expedtion and played a Valakut. Anderson fetched another island, but his fourth land was another Gorge, forcing him to wait a turn on Splinter Twin. He tapped out instead for Birthing Pod. Long untapped and went deep in the tank. Anderson was clearly threatening the kill. He Explored, then passed with mana open.
Anderson 1 - Long 0
Long opened with Raging Ravine, and then stumbled, having to play a Valakut as his second land. Anderson Preordained, then Pondered and played Birds of Paradise. Long Bolted it immediately. He untapped, played Khalni Heart Expedition, and gave it a counter with mountain. Anderson paid two life to get his Birthing Pod into play on turn three.
Long had Verdant Catacombs to cash in his Expedition for a pair of mountains, putting him to the crucial six mana. He Explored, then passed the turn. Anderson Preordained and kept both. Long tapped six and played Inferno Titan with one mana open. Anderson tried Deceiver Exarch, but this time Long had Dismember.
Anderson untapped. He thought briefly, then played out Spellskite, a Phantasmal Image of the Spellskite, and then turned that into a Deceiver Exarch, untapping an island. Long drew his next card and murmurred "That makes things interesting." Yes, but interesting for whom?
He swung with Inferno Titan and hit Anderson with the Titan's damage. Anderson redirected to the Spellskite, and threw it in front of the Titan. Long then tapped seven for Green Sun's Zenith, fetching Primeval Titan, who in turn brought out some mountains to kill the Exarch. Anderson drew, then scooped.
Anderson 1 - Long 1
Anderson sent back his first hand, and groaned at his second, and went to five before keeping. He opened with Preordain, keeping both. Next turn he Pondered, thinking for a while before choosing not to shuffle. Anderson tried a Rampant Growth, but was Spell Pierced. Anderson played a Birds of Paradise and passed, holding just two cards.
Long Explored and played out two lands. His board was forest, mountain and two Valakuts. Anderson cast Solemn [autocard]Simulacrum[/autocard] and got a mountain. Long played a forest and passed the turn back. Anderson cast Birthing Pod and turned the Solemn [autocard]Simulacrum[/autocard] into Acidic Slime, killing Long's forest. He grinned sheepishly. "For a mull to five, it's been pretty good."
Long Explored again and played a mountain, passing the turn back. Anderson quickly untapped, then tapped four for Phyrexian Metamorph. It resolved, copying Acidic Slime and destroying Long's other forest. The Pod then swapped it up for a Frost Titan. Long could do nothing but play a mountain.
Anderson 2 - Long 1
Both players went to six, and kept. Anderson was first on the board with Spellskite. Long Explored on his third turn, then played out forest and mountain, and Explored again, but he had no fifth land.
Anderson passed it back with three mana open, and after Long played Khalni Heart Expedition and Valakut, cast a Deceiver Exarch. He targetted a forest, which Long used to Nature's Claim the Spellskite. Anderson untapped and played Raging Ravine, then summoned Phyrexian Metamorph at a discount to get a second Exarch into play, untapping his island.
Long made no move on his five lands. Anderson went into the tank. He had five mana of his own. He looked at the cards in his hand, then up at Long. Down came the Splinter Twin. Long shook his head, turning over a hand with no removal, then extended his hand to the new Canadian National Champion.
Marc Anderson defeats Noah Long 3-1 and is the 2011 Canadian National Champion!