Round 12 Feature Match - William Jensen vs. Frank Skarren

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2013

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

2013 Hall of Famer William Jensen and Grand Prix Charlotte Champion Frank Skarren both had brutally powerful decks that propelled them through the first two rounds of the first draft with two wins each. While Skarren had a traditional blue-black deck with plenty of anti-aggro options and some potentially powerful curves involving Disciple of Phenax and Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Jensen had a less traditional multi-color deck that is capable of hitting its necessary colors with multiple copies of Nylea's Presence.

Would blue-black take down their first pod, or would Nylea's Presence guide the Hall of Fame member to victory instead?

The Games

Nylea's Presence was Jensen's first play, giving him some mana fixing, while Skarren led with Baleful Eidolon, starting the game with only six cards. Jensen had a second Presence on the third turn, and revealed three colors when he played an Island to go with his Forests and Swamp when he cast Agent of Horizons on the fourth turn.

Disciple of Phenax revealed what was going on when Jensen revealed three of his five cards: Pharika's Cure, Griptide, and Thoughtseize. "Nothing much," Jensen said.

William Jensen

"Five-Color Green?" Skarren asked. "I was five-color green fourteen years ago," Jensen retorted with a smile. Thoughtseize hit the bin and play passed back to Jensen, who used Pharika's Cure on the Baleful Eidolon. The Agent of Horizons attacked in and a Reverent Hunter came after that, entering as a 5/5 creature. Gray Merchant of Asphodel gave Skarren a life swing, but Keepsake Gorgon from Jensen put the Grand Prix Charlotte Champion on the back pedal. Sip of Hemlock from Skarren cleared away the Gorgon and bought some time against Jensen's powerful deck.

A second Disciple of Phenax nabbed a Griptide a turn later, but Jensen was racing. His Reverent Hunter and Agent of Horizons gave him a serious clock that Skarren had to contend with. The race tipped into Jensen's favor when he had a second Griptide for the Horizon Scholar. A bestowed Nylea's Emissary on the Agent of Horizons a turn later was enough for Skarren to pack it in.

Skarren had the first action of the second game with a second-turn Returned Phalanx and third-turn Opaline Unicorn. This accelerated a fourth turn Gray Merchant of Asphodel into play, which drained Jensen for 3 when it came in. Jensen had some action of his own on the third turn however with Boon Satyr. A Mountain revealed that Jensen had four colors in his deck, and he passed back.

Disciple of Phenax revealed all but one card from Jensen's hand: Forest, Swamp, Swamp, Sip of Hemlock, and Lash of the Whip. He discarded the Lash, then sent in his team, losing Returned Phalanx to the Boon Satyr. However, Jensen's unrevealed card was Pharika's Mender, bringing back his dead Boon Satyr.

Frank Skarren

The Mender halted attacks from Skarren, who deployed Blood-Toll Harpy. Jensen now had the turn to go on the offensive, attacking for 4 before casting Nessian Asp. Skarren, however, was finding himself on the receiving end of some mana flood, as he was out of any spells to cast. Suddenly, the game reversed into Jensen's favor.

Jensen sent his big green creatures in after playing his seventh land. Skarren chump blocked the Asp with Opaline Unicorn, falling to 14. That quickly became 12 when Sip of Hemlock disposed of the Gray Merchant.

Skarren drew into Sip of Hemlock, and he quickly used it to dispose of the Asp after attacking with his remaining creatures. He passed back to Jensen, having knocked the Hall of Famer down to 9. Jensen dug with Nylea's Presence, then bestowed Boon Satyr onto Pharika's Mender, dropping Skarren to 4.

Skarren continued his attacks, dropping Jensen to 6. He added Felhide Minotaur to his board, then passed with one in hand. Jensen drew, then thought for a minute. He decided to go for lethal, bestowing Nylea's Emissary onto Pharika's Mender. That was enough to earn the handshake from Skarren.

Jensen 2 – Skarren 0

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