by Josh Bennett
Dave Williams is considered Texas' finest player. That says a lot considering how the Lone Star State has taken this Tour by storm. He has a number of top eights, and is currently following the Grand Prix circuit. His Red/Black deck is ridiculous, with Soul Burns to spare. Ryan Fuller is one of Canada's best, last year's National Champion. He has drafted a U/W/b deck with numerous tappers.
The two traded early damage. Fuller cast an unspectacular Fact or Fiction that netted him a Stormscape Master and a land. His Dream Thrush kept Williams away from his black mana. Fuller held land and not much else, and so couldn't capitalize on his advantage. He struggled to find a way to maximize his low threat count.
"Why have we played five turns in nine minutes?" - Dave Williams
Once settled on a plan of attack, Fuller's pace quickened. He played the Master, but Williams topdecked Scorching Lava. He killed the Master after Fuller used it to block and protect, saving himself damage from Shivan Zombie.
Fuller hit nine mana before Williams found a second Swamp, escaping the vicious Thrush-lock. The Benalish Trapper was no defense for the Zombie. Fuller made Benalish Heralds and went looking for answers. Finally, his deck delivered non-land cards. The Zombie had been very busy, though, leaving Fuller at eight. Williams untapped, Soul Burned for four, and flashed the two others in his hand.
"You know when I randomly burn you in my main phase, another one's comin'." - Dave Williams
In the opening turns of game two, Williams traded his high power creatures for Fuller's Tidal Visionary and Dream Thrush. Williams made a Nightscape Master and used it to get Galina's Knight out of the way of his Kavu Aggressor.
Fuller again had lots of mana, but this time had the expensive cards to go with it. He summoned a kicked Faerie Squadron and a Goham Djinn. The NY Mets (my favorite squadron) hit a pair of times before Williams solved the problem with Soul Burn. The game stalled. Williams' Phyrexian Slayer was excluded.
Fuller seemed to take control, Recoiling the Nightscape Master (catching a Mountain) and casting Rainbow Crow, making the Djinn a powerhouse. Williams must be living right, because Mourning was waiting at the very top of his deck and neutered the Djinn. He replayed the Master.
With no removal, Fuller was forced to spill creatures onto the board and hope to keep the Master occupied. Obscenities under one's breath do not lend an air of confidence. After four monsters died at the Master's hands, Fuller surveyed the board and extended the hand.