Live Coverage of 2004 English National Championship

Posted in Event Coverage on June 27, 2004

By Craig Jones

The names might not be familiar but both Paul Willis and Steve Easton have played on the Pro Tour and had money finishes. Willis made money in PT Kobe while Easton finished 28th at a Pro Tour a long time ago. Both players have been playing a long time. Easton was even buying boosters back when Unlimited was around!

Willis is running Affinity while Easton is proof that rumours of Tooth and Nail's demise are unfounded.

Willis won the die roll and shot off with a Disciple of the Vault and Frogmite. Easton had to mulligan and dropped a Vine Trellis to slow things down. Undeterred, Willis nipped through for one and accelerated out a Myr Enforcer.

Easton started fetching out the Urzatron (with real Antiquities Urza's lands) with two Sylvan Scrying. With two bits on the table and the third in hand he was setting up for a monster of a turn.

Cranial Plating

Of course this was only if he survived. A Cranial Plating boosted an Enforcer to ridiculous levels and after the attack Easton was hanging on with a fragile 3 life. His turn 4 was indeed the expected maonster as an entwined Tooth and Nail fetched two Platinum Angels out of his deck 'to calm things down.'

A Reap and Sow knocked out Willis' Seat of the Synod and put Easton to 0 life. No problems, all Willis needed to do was kill 2 Platinum Angels in the next three turns. Urm.

A Fireball didn't even give him a third turn.

Easton 1-0 Willis

Game 2 saw Willis have a less than optimal start as he had to resort to bashing face with a Cranial Plating equipped Blinkmoth Nexus. Unfortunately, while Easton had the Urzatron, he didn't have anything interesting to cast with it.

The Nexus smacked in on three occasions and that was pretty much it.

Easton 1-1 Willis

Now one more game to see who goes to Worlds.

Easton looked at his hand before tossing it back with an emphatic 'No'. He thought long and hard about the next six cards, obviously not happy. Another emphatic 'No'. He kept 5 cards and reluctantly kept them.

To add to the drama, Willis also had to take a mulligan. He stopped at 6 though, but it was a bit of a chancer with only a Darksteel Citadel. He found a Great Furnace and bust out a couple of Workers.

On the other side of the table Easton dropped Mine, Power Plant and then Tower.

'If you make Platinum Angel I'm going to be very unimpressed,' Willis said.

Easton didn't and had only a Shivan Oasis. Willis bashed him with a Myr Enforcer, 2 Worker and a Frogmite. Easton's next turn would need to be impressive as Willis also had Disciple, threatening a lethal attack next turn.

'If only for a Forest,' Easton said.

He had the Tooth and Nail in hand, but needed to fetch a forest with Reap and Sow. It was too slow, as even though Easton had an Oxidise for the Enforcer, Willis had a Shrapnel Blast to ensure Easton wouldn't get the next turn he needed to cast Tooth and Nail.

Paul Willis beats Steve Easton 2-1 and qualifies for the World Championships.

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