by Mark Wraith
Both of these teams were still in contention for the top four going into this round, with Your Move Games having the unusual record of six wins, and three draws, and Car Acrobatic Team were just ahead of them on seven wins, one draw and one loss. All of Car Acrobatic Team are from Pittsburgh, where they playtest at Carnegie Mellon University, and Your Move Games hail from the Boston area. They are a well-known group both individually and as a team, winning the previous Team Pro Tour
Andrew Cuneo took on Dave Humpherys in one of these matches. This was not one of the most exciting games of Magic ever, with Andrew Cuneo stook on two mana, while Humpherys played a Rootwater Commando, a Cateran Brute which fetched a Spineless Thug, a Stormwatch Eagle, and a Seal of Removal. Andrew Cuneo could not even keep a creature on the board before he died, with his one creature being bounced by the Seal.
His start in game two was superior to his last. They traded blows in the first few turns, with various creatures going to their respective graveyards. This all changed on Andrew's turn five, when he summoned Alexi, Zephyr Mage. This is certainly one of the most powerful cards in the Mercadian Masques Limited format, single-handedly enabling a player to dominate his opponent's side of the board. Nevertheless, Dave Humpherys still tried to put up a good fight, dropping first a Drake Hatchling, a Cateran Brute, a Battlefield Percher, and a Spineless Thug. Low on cards, Andrew was forced to take a few hits, as Alexi's ability required him to discard two cards to activate it. Andrew didn't just have a Zephyr Mage though, as he also immediately cast Dominate, on the Drake Hatchling, and cast a Rhystic Syphon to bring Humpherys down to five. He could then throw away his cards in hand during Daves End Step, and attacked with the Alexi and the Drake for game two.
Dave Humpherys was forced to take a mulligan in game three, and his second draw contained now Islands. Luckily for him he had drawn mainly black cards, summoning Alley Grifters and Cateran Brute, and using them to fetch a Spineless Thug. Andrew had cast only a Ribbon Snake and a Rootwater Commando, and despite the fact that the Commando could now islandwalk, he looked to be falling behind when Dave finally drew an Island, and summoned a Stormwatch Eagle. The momentum swung again, though, when Andrew drew land number five, and brought out Alexi, Zephyr Mage again. With a Saprazzan Outrigger, Waterfront Bouncer, Ribbon Snake, and Rootwater Commando in play, this looked like the match, and indeed two turns later, it is, as Dave draws nothing.
Andrew Cuneo beats Dave Humpherys 2 - 1
The second match saw Aaron Forsythe of Car Acrobatic Team taking on Rob Dougherty. Aaron did nothing at all in game one except cast a Stone Rain and a Venomous Dragonfly, which was quickly removed by a Lunge. He did have a Two-Headed Dragon in his hand, but didn't have enough time to cast it, as Rob brought out quick attackers in the form of Keldon Berserker and Living Terrain, accelerated by a Vine Trellis. Aaron would have died the turn after he cast the Dragon, so decided not to bother casting it, and moves on to game two.
Amazingly, Aaron had EXACTLY the same opening draw in game two as in game one, four land, a Stone Rain, a Two-Headed Dragon, and a Treetop Bracers. This time Rob's draw is not so good, and his lack of pressure allowed Forsythe to play enough ground stall creatures - such as Rib Cage Spider, until he casts the Two-Headed Dragon. The game then finished with two short, sharp ten point attacks from the dragon.
So far in this match Forsythe hadn't shown off any 'Tech', but he made a good effort to improve this in game two. With the game stalled by small ground creatures, Aaron first played Coiling Woodworm, and then enchanted it with Treetop Bracers. Without any flying creatures, Rob was unable to block, and since he had Forests of his own, the Woodworm was a gigantic 7/2. Rob had a Mountain in play also, so he had a chance to draw some damage-based removal, but he proved unable to do so, and the unblockable worm ends the match.
Aaron Forsythe beats Rob Dougherty 2 - 1
The final pairing in this match-up was Andrew Johnson against Darwin Kastle. The first game rapidly reached a stall, as Andrew fetched four (!) Lightbringers with his Defiant Falcon, while Darwins large green creatures looked helplessly at the horde facing them. As there were soon no rebels, remaining in his deck, Andrew opted to begin attacking with the Defiant Falcon as Darwin had no flyers, and amazingly Darwin was reduced to twelve over the course of the next eight turns. The Falcon wasn't exactly ending the game quickly, though, so Andrew was relieved when he drew a Volcanic Winds, and while he pondered how best to divide up the thirteen damage, Darwin Kastle swept up his cards.
Game two was more than something of an anti-climax. As both of Andrew's teammates had won by this point, this game was no longer relevant to the overall match result. The game developed into a much bigger stall than the first, with both players on around ten life. When Andrew Johnson drew a Volcanic Winds, he removed four of Darwins creatures, and attacked with all of his creatures. If there was more on the line, Andrew certainly would have held back with a few creatures, particularly the Mine Bearer and Kris Mage. Darwin illustrated the error of this play, by casting a Fog Patch which he sideboarded in, and then attacking next turn for the game.
The match stood at one each, but with almost no time left in the round, and the remaining game not making a difference to the result, they opted not to start game three.
Car Acrobatic Team 2 - 1 Your Move Games.
Car Acrobatic Team are now almost certain to make the top four, whereas Your Move games are practically eliminated.