Round 6 Feature Match: Dave Williams vs. Trevor Blackwell

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Randy Buehler

The Matchup

Dave Williams is a regular Pro Tour player with a handful of Grand Prix Top 8s to his name. He has widely considered the second-best Magic player in Texas, and is perhaps now first since George W. Bush moved out. He drafted a smashmouth red-black deck with three Soul Burns leading a heavy batch of removal. His two previous wins from this draft pod came in ten and five minutes apiece.

Trevor Williams won PT: Los Angeles last year. He drafted a deck diametrically opposed to Dave's: a green-white-blue slow grinder with plenty of pacing and combat tricks, including Repulse, Exclude, Tangle, Benalish Trappers, and everything else that just makes you want to stand up and shout "let the game happen!"

This amazing match more than made up for a short delay with a trio of tight, well-played games with plenty of momentum changes.

The Match

Both players kept all three opening hands.

Game 1

Trevor played first, laying down a Sunscape Apprentice and starting the twenty-turn clock with an assault on turn two. Dave put down a Rogue Kavu just in time, and the two traded in a future combat as far more interesting creatures came out. An unkicked Benalish Lancer soon found a mission with an Armadillo Cloak on its back and two Benalish Trappers by its side. On the other side of the board, a Kavu Runner was joined by a Pouncing Kavu. Mutual beats ensued.

By turn seven, Trevor appeared to have momentum on his side, even with only three lands in play. Standing at 16 life to 8, he swung with all three of his creatures . . . and lost his Knight to a Tsabo's Decree. Whatever carried out the Decree brought back intelligence on Trevor's hand, and informed Dave that there was a Tangle waiting for him. As a result, Dave paced himself carefully through the next few turns, avoiding a disastrous combat overextension.

A Razorfoot Griffin came out, with a response of Phyrexian Slayer and Hooded Kavu. Dave kept swinging and closed the life gap, six to his opponent's ten. Then Trevor played a Wings of Hope on one of his Trappers and threatened a double beatdown in the air. Dave let the assault pass, and went down to two life.

Dave attacked with only two Kavu, remembering the Tangle. Trevor still cast the super-Fog, perhaps anticipating Dave's next spell. Tapping seven mana and thinking carefully, Dave cast a Soul Burn on the Razorfoot Griffin (the Trapper was just a little too fat, and one of the creatures had to die for Dave to survive next turn), bringing his life up to four.

Another swing with the hopeful Trapper, and Dave was back at two again. Trevor put out a Serpentine Kavu and waited . . .

. . .for Dave's second Soul Burn, which gained him four life and left a carcass very much resembling a large, dead snake on the battlefield. Dave felt spunky enough to attack with his only flyer, the Slayer, and now Trevor was at eight life.

An Exotic Curse did away with the second Trapper that was slowing down Dave's ground assault. Despite an eleventh turn Glimmering Angel, Trevor conceded as Dave prepared his final assault with a Pouncing Kavu, Phyrexian Slayer, Hooded Kavu, and Kavu Runner.

Game 2

Trevor started off in more fearsome fashion this game, with a turn two Llanowar Knight, a swing on turn three, a protective Explosive Growth to protect it against Dave's Assault on the opponent's turn, and then an Armadillo Cloak to swing more completely on turn four. Dave put out an Urborg Shambler and muttered good-naturedly about "trading four life for zero." They did exactly that for a turn or two, and as a Razorfoot Griffin, unkicked Lancer, and Stormscape Apprentice joined Trevor's team, things looked awfully bleak for Mr. Williams.

An Exotic Curse on the Apprentice, and a block on the Lancer with a Rage Weaver, looked pretty good over two turns. A Tsabo's Decree on Knights the turn after that looked even better. Once again, Trevor's hand revealed a Tangle waiting alongside an Repulse. Dave forced the Repulse with a Tribal Flames on the Griffin, and later put out a Pouncing Kavu in an effort to retain momentum.

Perhaps with more time, it would have happened. But with the Griffin recast, a Benalish Trapper next to it, and a Sunscape Apprentice arriving shortly afterward, Dave at four life had very limited options. He burned away the Griffin after going to two life, swung into a Tangle with his Shambler, put out a Hooded Kavu to keep the ground war stable - and then watched Wings of Hope attached to the Sunscape Apprentice, which flew over for the last two points of damage.

Game 3

Unlike the games one and two, the first creature did not arrive here until turn three, when Dave's Urborg Phantom came out (and remained the entire game). While Dave was able to Soul Burn a Glimmering Angel the following turn and beat down with the Phantom, Trevor played out a succession of excellent tempo cards. A Sunscape Master came out to dominate the field, a Sparring Golem was Excluded, a Kavu Runner was Repulsed, and then a Benalish Trapper, Benalish Lancer (kicked), and Stormscape Apprentice all came out. Dave applied enough pressure with his Phantom and a Phyrexian Reaper to merit a Tangle; a Kavu Runner and a Rage Weaver kept the Master busy. Finally, on turn nine, Dave found his ace for a third time: Tsabo's Decree, this time on wizards (which took out the Sunscape Master and the Stormscape Apprentice). Wings of Hope and Worldly Counsel were in Trevor's hand; he cast the Counsel the following turn and sent his Lancer over to bring Dave back below 20.

Trevor sought a new momentum change, using his Trapper to keep Dave's ground force frustrated and Wings of Hope, and then Armadillo Cloak, on his Sunscape Apprentice to bring him back from nine life.

But unfortunately for Trevor, Dave's ground force was too large and effective to be held back completely. The sheer combined size of the Phantom, Reaper, Runner, and Weaver were enough to simply outrace the Cloaked Apprentice. On his fourteenth turn, Trevor looked at his draw and conceded.

Final Result: Williams wins, 2-0

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