Quarterfinals - Dan Clegg vs. Tim McKenna

Posted in Event Coverage

By Alex Anderson

On paper, this match-up looks pretty one-sided. Clegg has been on the pro-circuit for a long time, and broke out this year with a Top 4 at PT: Barcelona a Victory at GP: Turin and capped it off with a runners-up spot at the Invitational. McKenna, on the other hand, has never made top eight at a premier level event. But that's not the whole story. In three meetings, Clegg has never beaten McKenna. Most recently they met at US Nationals where Clegg piloted Saproling Burt against McKenna's Fires deck - normally a good match-up. That day, Clegg was unable to draw spell cards and his Forests and Islands just weren't enough to stop McKenna's Blastoderms and Saproling Bursts. Clegg is hoping to turn this trend around.

Clegg is running a G-U deck with fliers, bounce and greens standard nastiness, while McKenna is with R-G speed.

Game One

Both players keep their hands, and McKenna jumps out with a Mad Dog and a Diligent Farmhand. The game turns on turn four however when McKenna, who won the toss and elected to play, attempts to cast Zoologist, only to be surprised by Clegg's Rites of Refusal. Clegg then drops Aven Windreader, a 3/3 flier, to stall out the weenie ground-pounders. The Windreader is joined by Krosan Avenger and McKenna adds Spellbane Centaur and and Lithatog but still can't find a way through. The game ends when Clegg drops a Rabid Elephant and McKenna top decks a Mad Dog.

Clegg 1 - McKenna 0

Game Two

McKenna elects to play. Both players keep their opening hands and open with Forests. McKenna repeats his first game opening with Mad Dog and follows this with the Spellbane Centaur and a Barbarian Lunatic. Clegg, desperate for a blocker, summons a Krosan Avenger, but loses it immediately to Acceptable Losses. Then the Red Zone is full of McKenna's angry red and green dorks as McKenna swings. The match ends when McKenna launches a Scorching Missile with the targetting system locked on Clegg's dome.

Clegg 1 - McKenna 1

Game Three

Clegg opts to play and mulligans to six cards. For the third game in a row the start is quick, with McKenna's Squirrel token chattering it's way across the table and running headlong into Clegg's Cephalid Scout. McKenna follows up with Mad Dog, Werebear, Twigwalker and a flashbacked Squirrel. These enter the Red Zone and are met by Beast Attack. The beast eats the Twigwalker who, in turn, makes the ultimate sacrifice to pump up his friends. After Clegg attacks with his Beast, McKenna sits back and ponders the situation. With the lifetotals 16-10 in his favor and Clegg's Beast Attack looking back at him from the graveyard, he knows he can win it if the Overrun he has been holding since the draw resolves. McKenna sends the troops as they are, losing the Mad Dog to the Flashbacked Attack and plays Lithatog. Clegg, now at eight, holds his boys back the following turn and McKenna adds a Barbarian Lunatic to his growing army. With Clegg at eight, McKenna wants to resolve the Overrun, and attack, then sacrifice land to the Lithatog to pump it up and attain threshold in the process making the Werebear a 4/4. He is afraid of Rites of Refusal though, and so plays it cool though playing Scorching Missile again to bring Clegg to four. The following turn Clegg blinks. He taps his Islands and plays Thought Devourer, a 4/4 flier. McKenna is astounded and, as Clegg says "so are you going to Overrun me?" he looks for the trap. Clegg has only two forest untapped, not enough to cast A Moment's Peace. After looking for the trap and not seeing one, McKenna finally casts the Overrun and swings. Clegg assigns blockers and McKenna sacrifices all his land to the Lithatog. Clegg has no surprises and extends his hand.

Clegg 1 - McKenna 2

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