Photo Essay: The Play's the Thing

Posted in Event Coverage on March 4, 2006

By Aaron Forsythe and Craig Gibson

Over the past day and a half we've shown you the places and faces of Pro Tour-Honolulu, so I thought I'd take some time to show off why we're all really here: the Magical cards. Here are some snapshots from various games that took place during Rounds 9 and 10 of this event - the real nuts and bolts of Pro Magic.

"If you want to sacrifice that Dragon, may I suggest Miren, the Moaning Well?"

All that stands between this Izzetron player and certain doom is one fragile Pithing Needle set to Greater Good. The Meloku (top) has made at least five Illusions, so the race is on.

 

Bob Maher joins the Gruul Clans.

Why not combine the formats most sizable one-drop (Kird Ape) with its most defining two-drop (Dark Confidant)? Between the painlands and the Bobs, this deck can really sting its controller - but it dishes out damage to the opponent (like this fellow trying to assemble a Heartbeat combo) even better.

 

"Turn three tutor, then tutor again."

Following a Tallowisp with Plagued Rusalka and Kami of Ancient Law is a pretty sick card advantage engine. Pillory of the Sleepless is a key piece to this wacky deck - which we're calling "Ghost Dad" - because it can be pitched to any of the eight Shoals in the deck in addition to shutting off enemy monsters.

 

Witness the power of SHIZO, Death's Storehouse!

There is plenty of death stored up in Shizo's ghastly halls, and who better to capitalize on it than Ink-Eyes, the legendary Rat Ninja? The black legendary land lets the 5/4 slip past enemies to steal their fallen brethren… and it even helps enable bloodthirst. Unfair.

 

"On your turn, I'll untap and Shortfang you AGAIN."

This is a sick little board that J. Evan Dean has assembled with his Chord of Calling deck. Not only can he use the Shortfang essentially twice per turn thanks to Seedborn Muse, but should he find another land he'll get double use from the Guildmage as well. Of course, his opponent has his own complex plan as well, using Gifts Ungiven to find Goryo's Vengeance, Reclaim, and who knows what else.

 

What creature costs three mana, doesn't die to Wildfire, and offsets Phyrexian Arena?

Descendant of Kiyomaro is a breakout card this weekend - over half of the Orzhov decks packing this little fellow advanced to Day 2. Here a Boros mage experiences first-hand how difficult it is to get through a 3/5 that gains its controller life.

 

"Get over here!"

Gaze up the beauty that is foil Russian Ninth Edition. Confiscate is another card that has been showing up a lot lately, even in decks that have no access to Wildfire. It solves so many problems that blue usually has trouble with, including undercosted 3/4s.

 

He who has the biggest monster wins.

What to do when your giant elephant isn't quite big enough? Throw a Cloak on it. Moldervine Cloak has supplanted Jitte as the enhancer of choice in many green-based aggro decks here. Not only does it make most creatures in the deck Wildfire-proof, but it deals more damage more quickly than the Jitte and lets you creatures win every fight they get in to.

 

"That looks dangerous. Whatever."

A Kird Ape with a two-counter Jitte AND a Rumbling Slum?! Yikes! Actually, the reaction the greater good player had was more along the lines of "So?" as he sacrificed his Yosei to the green enchantment. What, you thought the Slum was tapped from attacking?

 

Winning with style.

This player's lovely collection of signed and customized cards has given him the magical powers necessary to summon some of the most fearsome beasts the world has ever seen. What do a pair of 5/5 fliers think about Night of Souls' Betrayal? Probably nothing at all.

 

It's like Ninth Edition limited, only golder.

Amidst this see of complicated Gifts decks, over-the-top Owl decks, and tricky Tallowisp decks, it's refreshing to see vanilla creatures bashing into one another. Why get fancy when attacking for two gets the job done?

 

And when the dust settled, only Antonino remained.

We've seen Kai Budde as an Illusion, Osyp Lebedowicz as a Spirit, and here Antonino De Rosa does his best impression of a (very silly) Saproling. Player cards have been the tokens of choice here at the Pro Tour. Funny that.

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