Round 6 Feature Match:

Posted in Event Coverage on March 27, 2004

By Duncan McGregor

Matt has been a regular on the Pro Tour circuit since his victory at US Nationals in 1999, where he piloted his white weenie deck to the top, and repeated his win at PT Boston 2003, where Brock Parker and William Jensen joined him on the podium. Tim Aten has a less impressive resume, but is as recognizable due to his writings for StarCity -Games. Both were 5-0.

Neither player had any dice with them, so Tim held out two cards, saying, "Find the Chimney Imp." Matt picked the left hand, and uttered "Yes!" as the Imp was revealed. He chose to play first, and both players kept their opening hands.

Matt started with two Mountains and an Iron Myr, while Tim had a Plains and a
Mountain. On Matt's third turn, he played a Chromatic Sphere and immediately cycled it for a blue mana before playing a Swamp. The blue enabled a Neurok Familiar, which sent a Somber Hoverguard to Matt's graveyard. He also played a Pyrite Spellbomb and passed the turn. Tim's turn was rather sedate by comparison, with a Plains and a Soldier Replica.

Matt played an Empyreal Plate, equipped the Familiar, and swung in for four. Tim played a Seat of the Synod and thought for a while before attacking for one and playing Heartseeker. Matt answered back with an Oxidda Golem, and his attack dropped Tim to nine.

Tim drew for his turn, but the lack of a fifth land meant that the Heartseeker was not an option yet. A Talisman of Indulgence powered out a Myr Enforcer, though, while the Soldier Replica attacked for another one.

Matt attacked with all of his creatures. The Myr Enforcer took down the Golem, but Tim was down to three. Matt played an Arcbound Stinger, prompting a "That's rough," from Tim. Tim drew and then conceded, facing lethal damage from the fliers and the Spellbomb.

Between games, Matt separated one card from his deck and stared at it for a while, trying to decide if he would side it out.

"Taking out the Stinger?" asked Tim, which Matt laughed at.

"No way," he replied, but continued to stare at the card. "I don't like this card," he said, but in the end he returned it to his deck and shuffled up without sideboarding.

Both players kept again for game 2, and Tim led off with a Plains and a Leonin Bola. Matt had an Island and a Chromatic Sphere, and Tim played another Plains and passed the turn back.

Matt played a Mountain and cycled the Sphere for a card, then played the Neurok Familiar. He had better luck with it this game, getting an Aether Spellbomb with it. Tim also had some good luck, playing his third Plains and a Razor Golem.

"That's so unfair!" Matt said, looking at the Golem, but Tim replied that it wouldn't mean anything if he killed it. No kill was forthcoming from Matt, though, as he just attacked for one and played a Wizard Replica. Tim attacked with the Golem on his turn and played a Skyhunter Patrol. Matt trumped the flier by playing his Empyrial Plate, equipping the Familiar and swinging Tim down to thirteen.

Tim didn't seem worried, though. His return attack with the Golem took Matt to fourteen, and he played a Clockwork Condor and equipped his Patrol with the Bola.

Matt tried declaring an attack on his turn, but the Familiar was predictably tapped before it could attack. Matt played an Island and thought for a while, then played the Aether Spellbomb and said go.

Tim tried to equip the Bola onto the Razor Golem, but after much thought Matt used the Spellbomb to bounce it in response. A Plains from Tim let him replay the Golem for two, and he attacked with the Condor and equipped the Patrol with the Bola. Matt had an end-of-turn Barbed Lightning for the Patrol, though, and suddenly Tim had no tapper and no flying blockers.

Matt's attack dropped Tim to seven, and after combat he played his sixth land and a Looming Hoverguard, sending the Razor Golem back to Tim's deck. Tim replayed it and equipped the Condor with the Bola, but after tapping the familiar, he still took four from Matt's next attack. Matt also played a Neurok Spy to try and seal the deal.

Tim's next draw turned up only land, and he thought for a while before attacking with both of his creatures. Matt let them through, and Tim tapped all of his mana for an entwined Stir the Pride, as without entwine he couldn't gain enough life to survive Matt's next attack. Matt remembered about his Wizard Replica, though, and when he sacrificed it Tim scooped up his cards.

Matt spent a moment discussing the card he had considered sideboarding out with Matt - a Heartseeker of his own. Both players agreed that, though powerful when it got going, it was very slow, and Matt said that he had only left it in because Tim's deck seemed very slow.

Final result: Matt Linde - 2 Tim Aten - 0

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