Round fourteen: Brian Lyons vs. Don Paul

Posted in Event Coverage on June 7, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

The object of this format was to take the Onslaught Block and add any third set from Alliances forward to complete the Block and build a constructed deck. Don is running Apocalypse in a Veggies deck to exploit Vindicate and Death Grasp. Bryan is playing with Exodus and is running Survival of the Fittest—which seems unfair to me…

Game one

Bryan frowned as he shipped his opening hand back for a fresh six, “That’s the first time I did that today.” The Governor kept his hand and played Windswept Heaths on the first two turns and cracked them for a Forest and Plains to play a Wirewood Elf. Bryna meanwhile had no plays for the first four turns but to cycle Thickets and Tuskers until he played a fifth turn Baloth after Don Vindicated his lone Swamp. Don followed up with the big guy—Spiritmonger.

Bryan played another Swamp and cast Survival of the Fittest but Don Vindicated that Swamp as well. and played a Silklash Spider. Bryan used the Survival three times EOT discarding Kamahl, Silvos, and Jareth to get a Weaver and two Tuskers. He main phase cycled a Tusker and played another Swamp, which met with a THIRD Vindicate. Don was swinging in for nine a turn and was able to finish him off with a rather large Death Grasp.

Bryan - 0 Don - 1

Game two

With only one round remaining after this one, Don was sitting in third place with a shot at second and the finals. He would need every win and despite being up a game his concentration during sideboarding was intense. The tiebreakers among similar match records were game losses and every game was a precious comodity especially this close tot the top. Once again, the job that Tim Weissman and Don James did putting this tournament together is evident in the intensity of the competitors while somehow maintaining an exciting an enjoyable atmosphere.

Bryan spent a few turns stuck on three mana while Don was casting Explosive Vegetation. Once Bryan found the fourth land it was a cycling land and came into play tapped. Predictably it was Vindicated as was his Thicket on the next turn. A third Vegetation later the land count stood at 11 for Don and only 3 for Bryan.

Vindicate kept Bryan away from black mana for a second straight game and a hard cast Krosan Tusker and a Death grasp for 9 were enough to seep the penultimate round of the Invitational. “That’s the plan,” laughed the man they call The Governor. “Draw multiple Vindicates!”

Bryan - 0 Don - 2

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