Quarterfinal - Will Dunn vs. Tim Pinder

Posted in Event Coverage on August 21, 2011

By Dan Barrett

Based in London, UK, Dan is responsible Magic’s community across Europe. He loves cats, running, and attacking for 2.

Coming into this quarterfinal matchup, both Tim and Will posted 4-2 records in draft, a consistent 2-1, 2-1 for Tim, and a more variant 1-2, 3-0 pair for Will. Tim's R/B Vampires gave him a 6-1-1 performance through the standard portion, while Will's innovative UG deck featuring new M12 cards Skinshifter and Garruk, Primal Hunter gave him an undefeated 6-0-2 record. The pair had previously met in round 14, although they took an intentional draw to guarantee their slots here in the top 8.

"I'm not looking forward to this," said Will before the games began, not overly confident of his chances.

"I don't know about that," replied Tim, "I've no idea what your deck does, and went straight to sleep after we finished last night!"

Game One

After wishing each other good luck, Tim won the die roll and elected to play first, both players keeping their opening hands. Will led off with a pair of Birds of Paradise, while Tim had Vampire Hexmage, but his Kalastria Highborn met Mana Leak. The follow-up Bloodghast was allowed, but Vampire Lacerator was also denied via Mana Leak.

A kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir led to one of the Birds of Paradise being sacrificed, and Tim was well ahead on life totals, untouched at 20 to Will's 12. This quickly dropped to 10 though, as Will fetched up a pair of Forests before casting Garruk, Primal Hunter and making a beast with the planeswalker.

The beast was killed with Dismember, and an attack from Tim's team saw off Garruk too. Will looked to be in a tight spot, just laying another Misty Rainforest and passing the turn. Inquisition of Kozilek from Tim was countered by Mana Leak, and left Will with just a single card in hand.

Fortunately it was a second Garruk, Primal Hunter, which again summoned a beast token. A kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir saw the second Birds of Paradise sacrificed, before the Vampire Hexmage was sacrificed to dispose of Garruk. Will followed up with Consecrated Sphinx, but when Tim had another Dismember for the beast token, his attack was lethal.

Tim Pinder 1 – 0 Will Dunn

Game Two

"I don't need notes," said Tim as he reached for his sideboard, as Will consulted his notes for the cards to bring in and take out.

Inquisition of Kozilek

After Will chose to play and Tim mulliganed to six, the action began with a first-turn Inquisition of Kozilek from Tim. This took Mana Leak, leaving two Beast Within, Tumble Magnet, Tectonic Edge and Verdant Catacombs in Will's hand.

An un-kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir was the first creature of the game for Tim, but Tumble Magnet from Will tapped it down before it could enter combat, and a second Magnet threatened to keep doing this for the next few turns.

Kalastria Highborn was added to Tim's side of the board, and was allowed to attack. Will cast Beast Within on the spent Tumble Magnet, making a beast to block the Highborn, but this was dealt with by Go for the Throat before the block could be made. Will's follow up play of Obstinate Baloth also met a quick end thanks to a second Go for the Throat, then another Baloth was sacrificed to Gatekeeper of Malakir.

Tim cast Inquisition of Kozilek, and Will responded by using Beast Within on the second empty Tumble Magnet, showing him Thrun, the Last Troll in hand, who could not be discarded. Bloodghast joined the Vampire team, and Doom Blade killed Will's beast token, but Thrun saw off one of the Gatekeeper of Malakir when they attacked.

It was looking rough for Will, who had just added another Birds of Paradise, as Tim added a Vampire Lacerator, and continued to send creatures on a suicide mission into Thrun, the Last Troll, each one that died draining Will for two life thanks to Kalastria Highborn.

This proved too much indeed, and sent Tim into a two game lead with the next attack.

Tim Pinder 2 – 0 Will Dunn

Game Three

Will looked ominously up at the scoreboard behind him, and shuffled up for a third game.

"I drew four land in a row... but I was prepped with the Tectonic Edge for when you drew a red source," he offered.

Birds of Paradise came on the first turn of the game for Will, followed by Sword of War and Peace. The sword went to equip the Birds on his third turn, and Tim had Lightning Bolt to prevent this happening, but Mana Leak from Will kept the Birds alive. Manic Vandal from Tim saw off the sword, however. Garruk, Primal Hunter was Will's next play, bringing with him a beast, which was killed with Doom Blade. Another beast was added the next turn though, along with Thrun, the Last Troll, Will still having two mana open to regenerate him if necessary.

Inquisition of Kozilek took Will's last card in hand, Tumble Magnet, and Tim added Bloodghast. Will finally got in a cautious attack the next turn, sending in the beast before summoning another with Garruk.

Tim added a second Bloodghast, and again a lone beast got in for three before a third came into play for Will, this game looking much more in his favour. Kalastria Highborn from Tim allowed the pair of Bloodghasts to get some value out of attacking into Will's much larger blockers, while a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir saw off one of the Birds of Paradise.

"What does Garruk's ultimate ability do again?" asked Tim, leaning over to read the powerful Mythic rare. "I'm pretty sure it just says 'I lose the game'."

He was right, as the five 6/6 Wurms that came next for Will quickly sent them onto a fourth game.

Tim Pinder 2 – 1 Will Dunn

Game Four

"I sort of wish we hadn't taken that ID now," joked Will, still uneasy. "I'm pretty sure I could have conceded to you and still made it, to avoid this matchup."

Thrun, the Last Troll

Tim took a mulligan on the play, opening with Vampire Lacerator, while Will also had a first-turn play in Preordain. Inquisition of Kozilek from Tim revealed Thrun, the Last Troll, two Spell Pierce, Obstinate Baloth, Preordain, Misty Rainforest, and Birds of Paradise which was discarded. Will drew into another Birds of Paradise and the Forest to cast it. It could have died to Lightning Bolt, but Will was happy to use both Spell Pierce to protect it, before dropping Thrun, the Last Troll. Doom Blade finally saw off the Birds, and Mana Leak denied Tim a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir that would have spelt the end for Thrun. A second Gatekeeper resulted in the sacrifice of a freshly-played Obstinate Baloth, Thrun refusing to leave the table.

Garruk, Primal Hunter and a beast joined Will's side of the board, though the beast was sacrificed to a third Gatekeeper of Malakir.

"My deck is just mocking me now," Tim lamented.

Sword of Feast and Famine was played and equipped to Will's Thrun, the Last Troll, and fortunately caused Tim to discard his Manic Vandal when the attack connected, and the game was Will's.

Tim Pinder 2 – 2 Will Dunn

Game Five

"Third time's the charm..." Muttered Tim to himself, before taking a pep talk with his sideboard cards.

He was happy with his opener, while Will deliberated before taking a mulligan, with his six card hand provoking some careful consideration before it was kept. Inqusition of Kozilek from Tim resolved on turn two, and saw Batterskull, Obstinate Baloth, Tectonic Edge, Sword of War and Peace, Lotus Cobra, and Birds of Paradise which was discarded.

Vampire Hexmage started the beats for Tim, while Will passed without a play or land drop. He did manage to Mana Leak Tim's Kalastria Highborn, but Vampire Lacerator resolved straight after.

The lands and creatures flowed freely for Tim over the next few turns, but Will was still struggling to find a third land. It was looking very tough for him when he was forced to use his Tectonic Edge to destroy an attacking Lavaclaw Reaches, and when he didn't draw the Forest he needed the turn after, it was game over.

Tim Pinder 3 – 2 Will Dunn.

Tim Pinder and his Vampires advance to the semifinals, where he will face Eduardo Sajgalik's Caw-Blade. Will it be 'Twilight, good night'

for the Squadron Hawks? Stay tuned...

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