First Blood Struck in Scars of Mirrodin Draft

Posted in Event Coverage on June 15, 2011

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

One thing that I have really enjoyed seeing at the Community Cup is how much people enjoy watching it, even here within the halls of Wizards of the Coast. Members of the Wizards staff from all departments always seem to make an appearance during the various rounds, dropping in to watch the draft, bird a game of Standard or two, and often simply to meet (and heckle) the players who showed up to represent the Community team. Due to the team nature of the event, both teams do an insane amount of communication during the draft, often leaving their computers to comment on picks by their teammates. When you factor in that some of the players on each team ended up directly passing to teammates, there was a definite bustle going throughout the room.

Feeding the railbirds.

As the draft ended, both teams felt pretty solid about their decks. Both Aaron Forsythe and Chris Kuehl looked to have absolute monsters. Forsythe had a blue/red control deck featuring Treasure Mage, Slagstorm, and a slew of other good cards. ChrisKool's deck was on the other side of the spectrum. His red/white aggro deck featured a number of fast, aggressive creatures with a reasonable amount of removal to back them up.

With the first round under way, things went bad for the Wizards team off the bat. Virtually around the board, the Wizards team dropped their first game. Aaron Forsythe proved to be their bastion, winning his first game and the entire match soon thereafter. Elsewhere, the Community team clamped down and started winning left and right.

LSV and Enigma take down the first two matches.

One match of particular note was between Marshall Sutcliffe and Ryan Spain. The duo behind the LimitedResources podcast, this matchup became possible thanks to Spain's recent hiring by a little entity known as Wizards of the Coast. Now playing for the "enemy," it seemed only fitting that these two Limited minds would face off not only the same draft pod, but the first round of the tournament. Their match was a marathon, completely living up to the hype surrounding it. Their match was easily the first to hit the viewer cap, and those lucky enough to make it in were treated to a show. The second game of their match came down to a great series of plays for Spain. Sutcliffe had a pair of 2/2 fliers and a Barbed Battlegear, ready to smash Spain to smithereens. When he equipped on the first one, Spain had a Leeching Bite to save a ton of damage. When he tried to equip again, Spain was able to block a 3/3 attacker with his Treasure Mage and use a second Leeching Bite to absolutely swing the game. After that, his deck took over and he took the game to a third game. In that final game, the endgame came down to haymaker after haymaker, with Sutcliffe finally landing the knockout punch with a Mortis Dogs carrying a Barbed Battlegear.

The second round gave us the marquee match we were looking for after checking decks. Aaron Forsythe and his red/blue monstrosity squared off with Chris Kuehl's red/white aggro deck. Ultimately, despite all of the power between both decks, the match came down squarely to one card. I think Forsythe put it best on Twitter. "True Conviction +39 other cards defeated me :(" Thanks to the power of True Conviction, ChrisKool was able to win despite Forsythe's ability to kill virtually every creature he added to the table. All it took was a couple survivors to put Forsythe down. Another highlight of the second round was Mike Turian's utter trouncing of Marshall Sutcliffe. As Turian Tweeted, "When infect works, it works quickly!"

Which one's the real Soliton?

The final round had some truly memorable moments. Luis Scott-Vargas and Aaron Forsythe were paired up in an epic battle which went all the way to a third game. Ultimately, LSV proved to be a bit overmatched, and Forsythe took home his match for the WotC team. At one point in the second game, Forsythe had a trio of Solitons, one a Cryptoplasm pretending to be a Soliton and the other a Phyrexian Metamorph pretending to be a Cryptoplasm pretending to be a Soliton. Bing Luke had an awesome turn of events in which he had gotten his opponent, Gordon Culp, to eight poison counters until he appeared to take the advantage with a Precursor Golem...until Luke used a Spread the Sickness on one of them to just flat out win the game on the spot. Proliferate three times? Thank you! In Turian's match against Graham Stark, both players traded Whispering Specter stories. Stark used his and a Strata Scythe to finish Turian off in two swings. Turian didn't use his to actually kill Stark, but when he sacrificed it to strip him of his whole hand, it effectively ended the game.

Things don't look good for the home team.

After the dust settled and all of the intricate "math" was done, it was the Community team that had struck the first blow. Winning 14 out of 24 matches, the Community team ended the day with a 20-point lead. The lead would be important going into the Unified Constructed events, where it has felt like the Wizards team has held an advantage. Two players—one from each squad—managed to go undefeated. Gordon Culp and Chris Kuehl both managed perfect 3-0 records with their red/white decks. Check out the draft viewers out to see how they did it!

Congratulations to Chris Kuehl and Gordon Culp on their undefeated performances!

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