Round 12: Feature Match - Ben Scoones vs. Dominic Penton

Posted in Event Coverage on August 20, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Dominic hails from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, and this is his third Nationals, despite only being 16. To date he's never had much success in Standard, but has a brilliant 6-0, 6-0, 5-1 record in Draft. Core set clearly agrees with him. Across the table, Ben Scoones comes from Cambridge, and the winner here will be in great shape for the top 8, although Ben has a draw to his name, meaning he's playing catchup at 8-2-1. This would be a classic mono-red vs Caw-Blade matchup.

Dominic Penton

Penton began with Goblin Guide. When it attacked for two, Scoones revealed Day of Judgment on top of his library. On turn two, Celestial Colonnade went into Scoones' hand, with turn two Squadron Hawk not searching out any other copies. Jace Beleren was on top turn three, the Goblin Guide looking to take a third chunk out of Scoones' life total. The Squadron Hawk took one for the team, and we were back to Scoones, who laid his Celestial Colonnade, a Squadron Hawk, and found one more. At end of turn, Penton had Staggershock for the Hawk, with Rebound dealing three to the face in his upkeep.

Now came Koth of the Hammer, untapping a Mountain. The wrong Mountain.
With a judge on hand to enforce the rules, that Mountain couldn't attack. Goblin Guide attacked for two, but that was a big, big deal.

Scoones had Emeria Angel, which soon met Lightning Bolt, clearing the way for another Goblin Guideand Mountain attack. Scoones was down to six, but seemed unruffled as he laid Squadron Hawk and found another.
Into the Roil sent Koth of the Hammer back to Penton's hand. At end of turn Penton had another Staggershock ready to kill off the Squadron Hawk, meeting Spell Pierce. Penton had two cards plus Koth of the Hammer, which he replayed. He added Teetering Peaks, ensuring that Scoones would take at least four. When the top of Scoones' library was revealed to be Mana Leak, the man from Cambridge packed it in and headed for Game 2.

Dominic Penton 1 - 0 Ben Scoones

Celestial Colonnade got us underway in Game 2, with Scoones ready for the turn one Goblin Guide with Mental Misstep. Penton laid Grim Lavamancer and passed, and already this second game had a very different tone to the first. Two mana from Penton meant Arc Trail for a pair of Squadron Hawks on turn three, but again the game felt very different as Scoones had Timely Reinforcements. Penton ran out Goblin Guide, seeing Flashfreeze on top of Scoones' library. Scoones triple-blocked, but  Lightning Boltplus Grim Lavamancer activation meant all three Soldiers died, while Goblin Guide would live to fight another day (turn.)

Already this game had been going longer than the first, with Scoones still at nineteen life. Penton aimed Staggershock at a Squadron Hawk, forcing the Flashfreeze from Scoones. Goblin Guide saw Timely Reinforcements on top, and it was becoming very hard work for Penton.
When Scoones cast the Timely Reinforcements, Penton used Grim Lavamancer to kill his own Goblin Guide, making the Reinforcements not quite so Timely, since both players now had just one creature each.

Ben Scoones

Scoones was still in the driving seat, with Gideon Jura entering the fray. Two Lightning Bolts and a Grim Lavamancer activation took down the white Planeswalker, but repeating the feat would surely be impossible for Penton. Scoones cast Preordain, looking for something to seal the game. Penton cast Koth of the Hammer, which resolved, and Scoones took five. Celestial Colonnade activated for Scoones, and killed the red Planeswalker. Still, Scoones was improbably down to single figures at nine life.

Celestial Colonnade activated and attacked, putting Penton to thirteen. Timely Reinforcements this time really was Timely, and once again it looked as if Scoones was well and truly out of danger at fifteen. Penton fell to eight, and it wasn't clear what he could do against Celestial Colonnade. The flying 4/4 dropped Penton to four, and soon afterwards to precisely zero.

Dominic Penton 1 - 1 Ben Scoones

Shootout time, with Penton on the play. Goblin Guide met Mental Misstep. First bullet dodged for Scoones. Turn two for Penton saw Shrine of Burning Rage, while Scoones started his Squadron Hawk action. Searing Blaze dealt three to the Hawk, three to Scoones, and put a counter on Shrine of Burning Rage. Triple threat indeed. Grim Lavamancer was next for Penton, who already had his Shrine of Burning Rage up to four counters. Teetering Peaks added two attack to his Grim Lavamancer, and Scoones was in trouble.

He laid the second Squadron Hawk of the game, leaving Mana Leak mana open. Penton aimedLightning Bolt at the Hawk, then attacked for one.
Scoones was down to eleven, with the Shrine of Burning Rage up to six.
He cast another Squadron Hawk, watching as Penton upped the counters to seven. Arc Trail dealt one to the Hawk and two to Scoones - at least, that was the plan, and it forced Flashfreeze from Scoones.
Counter to eight.

Scoones surveyed the battlefield, and knew he was done.

Dominic Penton 2 - 1 Ben Scoones

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