Round seven: David Williams vs. Jeff Taylor

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.

Jeff Taylor is a film student and is the Louisiana State Champion. He finished as high as 15th at Grand Prix: Houston and has qualified for numerous Pro Tours including Osaka, Nice, New Orleans and Rome. He is also one of Ben Bleiweiss’s notorious Louisiana Irregulars that took down many a name team in money drafts at high level events.

Dave Williams needs little introduction. He was one of Magic’s rising young superstars when he spent a year away from the game when he received a ban from the DCI. Despite many predictions that he would walk away form the game he loved, Williams has been on the comeback trail this year. He is beloved by the players at this event and was being teased about one of the weirder questions on the MQ test. “I heard you were the most picked player to be everyone’s girlfriend!” Jeff Zandi could not resist chiming in, “I would have picked him but who want to go back to an ex!”

On Friday before the event started each player took a grueling test to determine their ‘MQ’ a Magic IQ test of sorts. In addition to be tested on card knowledge, rules knowledge, and game theory the players were tested on how lucky they were and in one section even encouraged to cheat. A card was taped down in front of them and they were asked to identify it but if they were caught looking at it they would be penalized. Dave chose to skip that question.

Based on how high they scored on each section they would be seeded for Rochester draft picks over 24 packs from a variety of blocks. If you scored high you would be consistently getting first and second picks. If you scored low you could expect the dregs on the wheel.

Game one

“Since you watched me win that die roll, I’ve lost every one since!” Dave complained. He won this roll though and kept his hand on the play. Jeff chose to mulligan but was satisfied with his next six cards.”

Dave leapt out to the early advantage with a Goblin Grappler and some extra damage with Reckless Charge. Jeff’s first creature was an Ember Beast that was unable to block until joined by a moprh. By that time Dave had deployed a Nantuko Disciple and flashed the Charge back and provoked the morph. Rather than lose his morph to the little goblin, Jeff put both guys in the way and the Disciple finished them both off. He played a Sage Aven and set up his next four cards including a Lavamancer’s Skills for the next turn.

Dave whittled Jeff’s life down to 6 with his morph, which was killed with Lavamancer’s Skill on the next turn—and not the Nantuko Disciple. Dave played another on the next turn and there was an endless series of turns where Dave had to keep his Disciples alive until he found an answer for the sniping Sage Aven. The green pumpers eventually fell to the powerful creature enchantment when Dave tried to get the last few point of damage in with an attacking Disciple.

Enough turns had passed that Jeff was able to get set up behind a Time Stretch—a Ben Bleiweiss card if I ever saw one! Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor hit play a few (extra) turns later and Jeff was up a game.

Dave - 0 Jeff - 1

Game two

Dave opened with a turn one Goblin Grappler and a turn two Stonewood Invoker into an Aquamoeba. He provoked the blue beast and used Muscle Burst to finish it off. Jeff put a halt to attacking for the time being with a Mistform Wall and Dave feared the enchantment and frowned as he had not turn four play, “Go ahead, Skillboy!”

Jeff played out a morph and it turned out that Dave had a turn four play after all—Elephant Ambush. Jeff double blocked the token on the next turn and his face down Unstable Hulk went to the bin. Dave played a Bearscape and Jeff followed up with a Cephalid Inkshrouder. Dave played a Nantuko Disciple but was trumped when Jeff went right to six mana and Aboshan.

Jeff was able to tap three lands a turn—Aboshan, the Inkshrouder, and Mistform Wall—and keep all of Dave’s creatures tapped with three islands. Dave was crestfallen, “Can’t win! I threw away game one to do two extra points of damage.”

Dave - 0 Jeff - 2

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