Quarterfinals – Ari Lax vs. Josh Utter-Leyton

Posted in Event Coverage on November 20, 2010

By Bill Stark

A young up and comer, Ari Lax found himself sitting once again on the Grand Prix Sunday stage. Across the table from him in the Quarterfinals? The seasoned veteran Josh "Wrapter" Utter-Leyton of ChannelFireball.com. A testing partner of big names like Brad Nelson, Conley Woods, and Luis Scott-Vargas, Josh was definitely one of the fiercest competitors in the Top 8.

Ari Lax

Utter-Leyton wasted no time casting an Iron Myr while his opponent had Lifesmith for his two-mana play to start the match off. A Trigon of Mending for Josh helped keep his life total up while Ari cast a Gold Myr and began attacking with his 'Smith. The young pro soon had a Viridian Revels on his side of the table, and used Gold Myr to accelerate out Alpha Tyrannax. When a Galvanic Blast took out his opponent's Iron Myr, it looked like the veteran pro, Josh, was going to have a tough time keeping his head about water.

But it was not Josh's first time at the rodeo. He used Revoke Existence to deal with the Revel, but a Molder Beast meant he was going to be struggling still against the plethora of fatties headed his way. He had two Turn to Slags in his hand, but after doing some math he realized he was dead whether he used them or not. Rather than reveal the tricks remaining in his hand, he opted to pass. When Ari attacked for lethal he conceded, Lax unawares of the removal his opponent had in his deck.

Ari Lax 1, Josh Utter-Leyton 0

The second game started out a bit better for Josh who opened on a second-turn Glint Hawk Idol. A Strider Harness and Chrome Steed gave him metalcraft and a 4/4, but Ari was right behind. He used Gold Myr to accelerate out a Molder Beast, casting Vulshok Replica and Panic Spellbomb in the meanwhile.

Josh Utter-Leyton

Pushing ahead, Josh cast Auriok Edgewright, equipped it with Strider Harness, and attacked. Ari traded his Molder Beast for Chrome Steed, soaking up the hit from Edgewright and the Glint Hawk Idol. He fired back with a powerful counter, however: Steel Hellkite. Josh had both of his Turn to Slags in his hand once again, but he lacked any sources of red, meaning he'd need to draw back-to-back Mountains to have time to kill the powerful 5/5 flyer.

Josh had managed to work Ari's life down to 8 and had Glint Hawk Idol to potentially chump-block the Dragon. When he tried to make that play, however, Ari pulled the trigger on Panic Spellbomb. The Hellkite then blew up both the Edgewright and Glint Hawk Idol after connecting, and Josh was back to the top of his deck, praying for red mana. He didn't get it, but did come up with an Auriok Sunchaser. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have three artifacts on the battlefield to give it flying. Instead he cast Rusted Relic, using a Harness to give it haste and attacking. Ari chumped with a Myr, but when he cast Viridian Revel he was able to start drawing cards for blowing up his opponent's artifacts.

The Dragon crashed in, taking out two Strider Harnesses, knocking Josh off metalcraft, and netting Lax two free cards. The advantage was too much for Josh, and when his deck once more failed to give him the red sources he needed to cast his removal in hand, Josh found his tournament prematurely over in a match that had lasted all of ten minutes.

Ari Lax 2, Josh Utter-Leyton 0

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