Posted in Event Coverage on November 23, 2014

By Josh Bennett

One match for all the marbles. Both players have been here before and emerged victorious. Who will be the Champion? Neal Oliver, Team USA member and winner of the largest Grand Prix ever? Or will it be Seth Manfield, giving him a third GP title and the need to invest in a larger display case?

The Games

Manfield passed on his first hand, but stuck with his six. Oliver didn't have his Secret Plans on turn two, so the first action of the game was his morph the following turn. Manfield made Bloodfire Expert. Olvier hit for two, then froze the Expert with Crippling Chill on Manfield's upkeep. Manfield played Hordeling Outburst and passed.

Seth Manfield

Oliver swung in again, then tapped out for Mystic of the Hidden Way. Utter End sent it to the wayside and the goblins crashed in for three. Oliver continued to upsize, this time with Tusked Colossodon. Now that he was facing a more serious clock, Manfield had to reconsider things. He played out Leaping Master and a sixth land tapped. Oliver moved cautiously, not wanting to leave himself too vulnerable, getting more onto the table. When he tapped low, Manfield pulled the trigger on Barrage of Boulders. It resolved, ferocious thanks to Bloodfire Expert's prowess, and the whole team hit the red zone. Then he flipped up Trumpet Blast for a combo kill finish.

Manfield 1 - Oliver 0

Oliver led out with Embodiment of Spring and a morph. Surprisingly, Manfield didn't have a two-drop. He played Watcher of the Roost. Oliver played another morph, and turned up Monastery Flock when Manfield swung in. The shields were up.

Manfield played Hordleing Outburst. Oliver hit for two with his morph, then played Longshot Squad. Manfield sent his goblins in, and after a moment's reflection Oliver blocked all three with his creatures. As expected, Manfield had the Trumpet Blast to send the Embodiment and Squad to the bin, then added a Leaping Master to his side of the board. Oliver hit back for two with his morph, played a tapped land and passed.

Neal Oliver

Manfield sent the whole team again. Monastery Flock stopped the Watcher of the Roost. Manfield aimed Arrow Storm at the morph, but Become Immense saved the day. Oliver untapped, hit for two, and summoned Tusked Colossodon. It was getting more and more difficult for Manfield to punch through damage. He sent his Leaping Master to the air and hit with his fliers. He played Ainok Bond-Kin and passed.

Oliver's seventh land was a herald of bad tidings. He flipped up Thousand Winds to further stunt Manfield's board, and crashed in with his two giant monsters. Manfield threw a goblin in the way of the 6/5 and took five from the Winds. He started to rebuild with a second Hordeling Outburst and replayed his Leaping Master. Oliver bashed again, taking five life and a goblin for his trouble. Crippling Chill on the Bloodfire Master further slowed Manfield.

Manfield went over his situation, furrowing his brow. It was pretty grim. He thought, went to make a move, hesitated, then thought some more. He sent just two goblins, dealing one damage, then grew his Bond-Kin and played a morph. Now it was Oliver's turn to go over scenarios. After twenty or so seconds in the tank, he swung out again with Colossodon and Thousand Winds. Another goblin dove in the way of the Colossodon, and Manfield unmorphed Watcher of the Roost, gaining two and surviving the attack at just one life.

All this time, Oliver had been drawing blanks. He played out a Secret Plans and passed. Manfield snuck in somre more damage, then paid full price for Ainok Tracker. Oliver drew a second Secret Plans. The Watcher chumped the Winds, keeping Manfield alive for yet another turn. It was all he needed. He tapped three and played Barrage of Boulders. His creatured totaled exactly lethal damage. Oliver extended the hand.

Seth Manfield defeats Neal Oliver 2-0

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