Quarterfinal Feature Match – Brad Nelson vs. Pat Cox

Posted in Event Coverage on October 24, 2010

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Brad looked happy to be sitting in the Top 8 Feature Match area for Grand Prix Toronto. And why not? He was further solidifying his lead in the Player of the Year race, had a clear grasp of the Scars of Mirrodin Limited format, and he did not have the same feelings of anxiety he experienced at his last event.

"In GP Portland I felt so alone and scared," said Brad as he sat down to play.

"What happened there?" asked his opponent.

"I didn't Top 8," said Brad with a sly grin.

"Was that like the first in ten events?"

"In six," said Brad who had made the Top 8 of multiple Grand Prix, a Pro Tour, Nationals, and the Magic Online Championship Series before missing the cut in Portland. "When they were getting everything together for the Top 8 I went to the judge and asked where they wanted me, if they needed me to fill anything out. I did not know what to do."

Pat Cox has been having a nice season himself although not on the scale that Brad is enjoying. He previously made the Top 8 of GP Oakland this season and is guaranteed to reach Level 3 which will qualify him to play in Worlds in Chiba. It will also let him string multiple events together since he will be qualified for Paris as a result of his Top 16 finish.

Game one

Patrick led off with two Mountains into Silver Myr and Brad mirrored him card for card. Patrick missed his third land but played an Iron Myr. Brad did not miss his land drop and played Gold and Leaden Myr. Patrick had to wait a turn to make his third mana creature. Brad used his extra mana to play Golem Artisan and Sunspear Shikari only to have Patrick Galvanic Blast the Golem at the end of the turn.

Pat Cox

Patrick was still working with only two lands but was able to play Spikeshot Elder and kill a Silver Myr. Brad just untapped and attacked with his dwinding squad. Pat metalcrafted out Blade-tribe Berserkers and took a chunk out of Brad's life total. Brad managed to play Barrage Ogre but Pat flashed out Darksteel Sentinel and untapped to Volition Reins the Ogre. That was enough for Brad to reach for the sideboard.

Game two

Pat mulliganed to start things out but played Perilous Myr after Brad's leadoff Silver Myr. They traded in combat and Brad took two before playing a Gold Myr. Pat had no play on turn three and Brad was able to parlay his Myr into a fourth turn Golem Artisan with no fear of metalcrafted fire from the sky.

Pat played a Lumengrid Drake with no artifacts in sight. Brad attacked for three and played Razor Hippogriff to get back his Silver Myr and gain two. Barrage Ogre landed on Pat's side of the board a turn later. Brad attacked with both his three power guys. When Pat double blocked Brad was more than happy to pump the Artisan and trade two cards for his one. Pat was not doing anything with the lands he played and Brad was able to Glimmerpoint Stag his Hippogriff to get back the Artisan. Pat was able to kill the Myr to keep Brad off of five mana for the time being but he had no answers to what was already on the table.

Game three

Pat mulliganed again to start the rubber game and Brad was still agonizing over his seven while Pat had his cards shuffling into piles. He finally decided to keep and they were off. Brad kicked off the action in the bottom of the second turn with Myrsmith. He followed up with Sunspear Shikari but no artifacts to be found. Pat played Blade-Tribe Berserkers and said go with his Hill Giant on guard duty. Brad played a fourth turn Trigon of Corruption.

Barrage Ogre drew a look of disgust from Brad who calmly attacked his Shikari into the Ogre. Pat was willing to accept the trade but Brad had something bigger in mind. He used Trigon to shrink the tapped Blade-Tribe and then finished off both red creatures with a well-placed Arc Trail.

Brad Nelson

Necropede gave Brad a token creature and Pat flashed the Sentinel into play at the end of the turn. He untapped to play Grand Architect and passed the turn. Brad used the Trigon EOT to shrink the indestructible creature. Auriok Replica gave him another Myr token but he did not have an attack.

Pat reluctantly traded his Sentinel with the pesky Necropede -- although he kept it alive by making it blue to cast another one. Brad used his last Trigon counter at the end of the turn -- or did he? Glint Hawk let him reset the Trigon and add to his Myr army. Pat was able to sneak in for three damage, while Brad was tapped out, by making the Sentinel blue. The score was 14 to 18 in Pat's favor and he added Saberclaw Golem to the board.

Brad's Glint Hawk attacked and Razor Hippogriff brought back the Necropede. Brad was firing on all cylinders now. Pat slumped over his side of the board and nudged his Sentinel into the red zone to peck away while it could. Pat also used Turn to Slag on the Hippogrif but the Gliint Hawk kept nibbling away, the Sentinel was eroded down to sand, and the Necropede came back from beyond. Brad put a Corruption counter on the Golem, played Glimmerpoint Stag to restock the Trigon and finished it off at the end of his own turn.

Brad sent everyone sideways -- metaphorically speaking anyway since the Glimmerpoint Stag is vigilant -- and Pat looked for a block that would let the top of his deck get him back in the game. He had only the Grand Architect and Perilous Myr to work with. He ended up taking 8 while killing the Myrsmith and Glint Hawk. Pat was able to Volition Reins the Glimmerpoint Stag but it did nothing to stem the tide.

Final result: Brad Nelson won two games to one over Pat Cox and would advance to play Ben Stark in the semifinals.

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