Round 10: Feature Match - Shaun Mclaren vs. Will Bax

Posted in Event Coverage on August 20, 2011

By Josh Bennett

Sitting at 7-2, these players are within striking distance of the Top 8. Will Bax, who just 6-0'd the limited portion, hails from London and plays mostly at his local shop, Worlds Away. This weekend he's playing Vampires. His opponent, Shaun Mclaren has been to handful of Pro Tours, and came second at Nationals in 2007. He'd like to give a shout out to his local store, Warp 2 in Edmonton. He's playing the weekend's most popular deck - Caw-Blade.

Bax opened with Vampire Lacerator and then Lavaclaw Reaches with no play. Mclaren started with island, Seachrome Coast, and the ubiquitous Squadron Hawk. Bax hit for two and played Bloodghast, but had no third land. Mclaren made a second Hawk and laid Celestial Colonnade.

Will Bax

Bax tapped two and Arc Trailed the blockers away, his attack bringing Mclaren down to twelve. Mclaren untapped and played the last two Hawks. Another Arc Trail from Bax, and Mclaren was down to eight.

Gideon Jura jumped to Mclaren's aid, killing the Lacerator. Bax dropped him to six and killed Gideon with Vampire Hexmage. Mclaren dug with a pair of Preordains, eventually finding two he liked, and cast Timely Reinforcements, turning the tide of the game. Bax swung in, trading his Bloodghast for a soldier token, but still had no third land.

Mclaren held back and spent six mana on Hero of Bladehold and a Phantasmal Image thereof. Bax was ready with Dismember and Lightning Bolt to kill them both, but without any land he couldn't develop his board. He attacked with his Highborn, trading it for the soldier tokens.

Mclaren turned on both Celestial Colonnade and Inkmoth Nexus and attacked. Bax pulled a swamp off the top, getting to hit for two with Bloodghast thanks to Lightning Bolt. Suddenly, Mclaren was down to seven. Mclaren paid it no heed. He turned on his Colonnade again and swung in. Bax tried to Go for the Throat, but Mclaren was ready with Mana Leak. He passed it back to Bax with Tectonic Edge and Inkmoth Nexus up. Bax drew his card, and scooped.

Mclaren 1 - Bax 0

Mclaren went down to six for Game 2. Bax led with Vampire Lacerator, and Mclaren went to sixteen to Dismember it. Bax replaced it with Kalastria Highborn. Mclaren Preordained and played a tapped land. Bax hit for two and cast another Highborn. Mclaren summoned Squadron Hawk, loading up on 1/1s, and cast another Preordain.

Bax rumbed in and Mclaren chumped, falling to twelve. Bax passed with four mana open. Timely Reinforcements for Mclaren jumped him back up to 18. Bax swung in again, and after Mclaren triple-blocked, he spent two Dismembers to save his Highborn.

Mclaren played Hero of Bladehold. Bax attacked, and after Mclaren blocked, drained him for two with the dying Highborn and Bolted the Hero to finish it off. He played Lavaclaw Reaches and passed. Timely Reinforcements lived up to its name, sending Mclaren back up to sixteen.

Bax animated his Reaches and attacked with both. Mclaren traded two tokens for the Highborn, and Bax declined to drain. He spent his last two mana on Bloodghast. Mclaren had a full hand, but was stuck on four lands. He played out two Squadron Hawks. Bax animated and attacked again. Mclaren went for the double-block on the Reaches, and it succeeded. Bloodghast knocked him to twelve. Bax had no further play.

Shaun Mclaren

Mclaren passed on his four mana and caught the incoming Bloodghast Into the Roil, finally drawing a fifth land, Seachrome Coast. It would still set him back a turn, but luckily Bax was doing nothing but replaying Bloodghast. Mclaren made another Hawk. Bax tried Kalastria Highborn with three open and it resolved. He swung in with his Bloodghast. Mclaren thought for a moment, then paid four life to Dismember the Highborn. The drain left him at six, and he traded a Hawk for Bloodghast.

It was clear that Bax was on air. Mclaren untapped and fearlessly played and equipped Sword of Feast and Famine to his Hawk. He stole a swamp from Bax and untapped, then dropped Gideon. Bax could only shake his head. Another Sword hit left him emptyhanded and Mclaren played another Timely Reinforcements just for the life. That was more than enough to put it away.

"Man, all my losses this weekend have been to Timely Reinforcements," lamented Bax

MClaren nodded. "Well, hopefully you won't run into any more. Good luck."

Shaun Mclaren defeats Will Bax 2-0

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