Round 6 Feature Match: Revenge of the Saprolings

Posted in Event Coverage on July 29, 2006

By Tim Willoughby

Our round 6 feature match features reigning National Champion Rich Moore, facing off against Graham Ribchester. Rich wins the die roll with a 9 to Graham's 4.

Game 1

Rich - "I don't see how I can keep this hand. Keep!"

Selesnya Guildmage

Richard's opening hand of three Plains, Selesnya Guildmage, Bathe in Light, Silkwing Scout and Electrolyze was apparently just crazy enough.

Rich played first, dropping a Plains, answered by Graham's Forest and Terrarion. Rich dropped the second Plains, then the Selesnya Guildmage.

"I got this guy fifth pick!"
"I know, I passed him to you…"

Graham dropped a second land and passed, to which Rich replied with an attack for two, then an Island for his Silkwing Scout. A Rain of Embers took out the Scout, but nothing was getting in the way of the Guildmage yet, who attacked again before being joined by a Guardian of the Guildpact. Finally Ribchester had found an answer for the marauding Guildmage, cycling Terrarion into white mana and dropping Faith's Fetters, gaining four life back up to 19. Rich sent in the Guardian, dropping a Gruul Signet before speeding the clock up with Freewind Equenaut and a cry of "Mono-white beatdown!".

Sadly for Graham, all he had in reply was a lonely Verdant Eidolon, unable to block either of Rich's creatures. Things got even worse when Rich untapped, cast Bathe In Light, choosing white to remove the Faith's Fetters from the Selesnya Guildmage, then attacked with the team, representing 3W for the Guildmage's ability. Graham took the 6 rather than lose his Eidolon, going down to 11.

His life total now dropping in uncomfortably large chunks, and the Guildmage free to make his life difficult, Graham thought for a while about his next move, finally settling on an attack back for 2 with the Verdant Eidolon, followed by an Aquastrand Spider and Gruul Scrapper. Unfortunately, with the graft trigger on the stack after Gruul Scrapper resolved, it was met with an Electrolyze from Moore, who then untapped and sent in the team. Graham took 6, checked his next draw, and scooped up his cards.

Game 2

Rich sideboarded out Ocular Halo and Elves of Deep Shadow, bringing in Leave No Trace and Withstand.

Richard drew up his opening seven after Graham chose to play, picking up a hand of 3 Forest, Plains, Bathe In Light, Withstand and Condemn. He kept, apparently spurred on by his timely land draws in the last game.

Graham opened up with turn 1 Forest into Terrarion again, Rich dropping a Plains on his turn. Turn 2 for Graham was spent playing a Boros Garrison, bouncing his Plains. Richard drew a Steamcore Weird, laid a Forest, and exclaimed "This is probably going to be quite a short game". Graham's Bloodscale Prowler and Rich's next draw of Izzet Chronarch with a board of Forests and a Plains looked to confirm it, and Rich cycled a Withstand when the Prowler came in. Graham dropped a Gruul Signet post-combat, and passed the turn.

Finally drawing a red source, Rich dropped a Gruul Signet, but it was not to be - Graham attacked for three then dropped the elbow, playing another Signet, this time Izzet, before powering out Indrik Stomphowler to deny Rich his red mana. In the face of 7 power of creatures on the table, Rich could only lay another Plains and pass the turn, Condemning the Stomphowler to put Graham up to 24 and buy himself a little more time. Unfortunately, after combat Graham cycled the Terrarion for a card, then one-upped the cowardly Stomphowler with a Cytospawn Shambler. One attack for 10 later, Rich scooped with a grip of blue cards with not an Island in sight.

Game 3

"This match is turning into a lesson in dodgy hands - keep a dodgy hand Game 1 and win, keep a dodgy hand Game 2 and lose."

Cytospawn Shambler

Rich's hand for the decider was another tough keep - 2 Plains, Selesnya Guildmage, Freewind Equenaut, Guardian of the Guildpact, Belfry Spirit and Supply // Demand. He took the gamble, with any land draws letting him curve out with his evasive white creatures.

The game started well for Rich, with the Selesnya Guildmage turn 2 on the play to Graham's Farseek for a Plains. Things went downhill fast, however, with a turn 3 Gruul Signet not accompanied by a third land. On the other side of the table, Graham was evidently cooking with a little more gas. That turn 2 Farseek turned into a turn 3 matching Gruul Signet and an Aquastrand Spider, before a Boros Garrison came down and bounced a Forest.

Rich laid a land, thought for a moment, then swung in with the Guildmage. A Spider block brought a +1/+1 pump, and Rich passed. Graham, reassured by Rich's willingness to burn mana early on a Guildmage activation, dropped the Stomphowler, taking out Rich's Gruul Signet for the second time. There was no answer to the Stomphowler, and Rich passed his turn without laying a fourth land. Stomphowler came in, and was followed up by his Game 2 tag-team partner Cytospawn Shambler. One attack for 10 and two more creatures from Graham had Rich scooping them up for the second time, his hand full of uncastable gas, including the moderately savage Belfy Spirit/Flickerform combo.

"It's nice to get revenge after you smashed me so badly at the GP last year… I think I stopped counting after about the first 15 Saprolings that match. I'm just happy to finally get some revenge!"

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