Gateway Feature Draft: Tony Dobson (England) and Gab Tsang (Canada)

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Randy Buehler

You know what's even better than opening a Dragon of your three colors? Being passed one! That's what happened to Tony Dobson in the Masters Gateway booster draft. After 3 rounds of Invasion Sealed Deck, the field of 110 had been whittled down to 16 competitors. Those 16 players were randomly divided into two tables for the last three rounds of the single elimination qualifier for this weekend's Masters event. The winners of those two tables will advance to the prestigious field of 32 where everyone receives at least $2,000 and first place is worth $25,000 and an appearance on ESPN 2.

Englishman Tony Dobson appears to be a Masters Gateway specialist. Previously known mostly for his Top 8 performance the last time the Pro Tour came to Chicago, Dobson (along with Franck Canu) survived the first Masters Gateway in New York and won $4,000 before bowing out to eventual runner-up Jason Zila. Canu also advanced to the draft portion of this Chicago Gateway.

Dobson sat down to draft next to Gab Tsang. Tsang is known affectionately as "The Juggernaut" and he's legendary for his many wins on the "money-draft" circuit. He's also the only person in Pro Tour history to be #1 after the Swiss in back to back Pro Tours (PT New York 2 and Worlds '97). Tsang decided to take Serpentine Kavu out of his first pack (over Probe) and then forced green hard. Dobson first picked a Charging Troll, followed up with that Probe, and then took Harrow third. He didn't see any additional green cards better than Quirion Sentinel, so he drafted mostly blue and white. Tsang added Kavu Runner and a pair of Kavu Climbers to his deck during the first pack and seemed set on forcing green/red the whole time. Dobson had blue as his best color after the first pack thanks to some late Excludes and Galina's Knights and green/white/blue seemed his most likely colors.

When Dobson started out with the green tapper and then got the blue tapper third, his colors were pretty much set. Tsang picked up more removal and more large red and green creatures. His deck was a bit top-heavy going into the third pack, but the third pack hit perfect for him with Quirion Elves and a pair of Yavimaya Barbarians falling to him late. Well, the third pack wasn't completely perfect. When Tsang opened Treva, the Renewer he seemed tempted, but he was only planning to play one of Treva's three colors and there was also a Halam Djinn that could go straight into his red/green deck. So he passed Treva... and then Dobson's eyes nearly bugged out of his head when he saw the green/white/blue Dragon. Having already first picked a Zanam Djinn, Dobson's deck went from mediocre to quite good in a hurry.

I talked to Tsang after the draft and he seemed pretty happy, saying, "I think my deck is really good. I passed a few good cards but ... (sees his first round pairing - against Tony Dobson)... Oh s%$t!"

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