Live Coverage of 2004 English National Championship

Posted in Event Coverage on June 27, 2004

By Craig Jones

Both players can breathe a sigh of relief. An invitation to World's is in the bag. Now there's a little matter of a title and earning a place on the National team. Paul Willis is running the newer incarnation of the Affinity deck with Cranial Plating. Neil Rigby is running a blue-red control deck that features the awesome power of ...urm ...Darksteel Gargoyle.

'We used to have a reputation for deck constructing,' - Sam Gomersall, from the audience.

Rigby went first and didn't do too much until casting a Thirst for Knowledge and then a Solemn Simulacrum. Willis whipped out a turn one Frogmite with the aid of two Welding Jars but then stuttered along for a bit before bringing in a Ravager and Enforcer. Rigby made a Darksteel Ingot and was quite happy to Discombobulate the Cranial Plating that would have killed him.

Rigby did get smacked for 8. But it wasn't terminal and he blew up the world with Obliterate on the next turn. His Ingot and Citadel survived. Rigby cast another and Willis, having recovered to two land, took the opportunity to fire off a Shrapnel Blast at his head to drop the Northerner to 3 life.

A couple of turns later Rigby tapped out for a Concentrate and Willis saw the opening to end the game with a second Shrapnel Blast.

Willis 1-0 Rigby

Magma Jet

Willis had to mulligan for a second time in the match. He kept his six but didn't have much action until he found a Worker on turn two. A Welding Jar saved it from Magma Jet, but Rigby still got to dig a little through his deck. Unfortunately that digging failed to find him a fourth land. Rigby allowed a Ravager to enter play and then went off to straighten out his mana problems with a Thirst for Knowledge. That found him a fourth land and then both a fifth land and blocker in the form of Solemn Simulacrum.

Arcbound creatures don't exactly die easily. Once the dust settled from combat Willis was down two Workers and up one 5/5 Ravager. A Cranial Plating followed to make the scary Ravager even scarier. Rigby dropped an Oblivian Stone to nip that nonsense in the bud. His life total was a fragile 6 as he cast Thirst for Knowledge.

The Stone blew up the world, a feature of Rigby's deck. Rigby left an Island and Mountain open. A Frogmite and Disciple of the Vault went uncontested. Rigby tapped out to kill the Disciple at the end of turn with a Magma Jet. This spelled a swift end. In response Willis fired a Shrapnel Blast and the artifact hitting the graveyard triggered the Disciple for the final point of damage.

Paul Willis beats Neil Rigby 2-0.

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