by Adrian Sullivan
One of the Pro Tour's favorite players, Rich Frangiosa would be fighting for his first major Top 8 versus former U.S. National Champion Justin Gary. Both players were coming into Nationals with high hopes for the tournament. Justin wanted to regain his crown and become the first two-time U.S. National Champion, while Rich was quoted as wanting to make it "the first really sexy National Team." Frangiosa was playing a Rebel deck using Black to increase the variety of cards he could fetch with Enlightened Tutor, as well as to give him Perish versus Trinity Green. Gary was playing a finely tuned Replenish deck with Masticore in the main. With both players considered to be at the top of their game, it would be a good match.
Frangiosa opens aggressively with a Mother of Runes, Steadfast Guard and Fresh Volunteer. Justin lays his third turn Attunement, and Frangiosa comes in yet another turn, bringing Justin to 11.
But, sometimes Replenish gets draws that can only be called "the nuts".
Using the Attunement, and then Frantic Searching, Justin fills his Graveyard with two Opalesence, two Parralax Wave, a Parralax Tide, and an Attunement. After Justin casts Replenish, Frangiosa concedes.
Gary 1 - Frangiosa 0
Frangiosa starts conservatively with a second turn Ramosian Sergeant, with Justin bringing in a second turn Marble Diamond. Frangiosa searches for Rebel after Rebel, while Justin makes a Parralax Wave to disrupt Frangiosa's creatures, but Frangiosa has the Erase to answer the Wave. On his next turn, Frangiosa seals it with a kind of kiss. Armageddon.
Gary 1 - Frangiosa 1
With two exciting and fast games, game 3 was somewhat anticlimactic.
Frangiosa starts out with a Mother of Runes and a Crusade, while Justin is forced to Frantic Search for a fourth land. He finds it, and starts slow casting Parralax cards. First with a Parralax Tide, then a Parralax Wave, then an Opalesence to send the enchantments in. Frangiosa Tutors at the end of Justin's turn, looking for a Seal of Removal to get rid of the Opalesence. Justin uses all of his Tide counters to remove the remainder of Frangiosa's land.
Showing a firm grasp for the finer points in the Replenish game, Justin shows us just how well he knows the deck. Using a Wave counter, he removes the Parralax Tide from the game. Then, after attacking, he casts another Parralax Wave, removes the original Parralax Wave from the game to return his Parralax Tide into play, again removes all of Frangiosa's land, and with the new Wave all of his creatures.
Frangiosa concedes after taking his next turn and not finding an Erase.
Gary 2 - Frangiosa 1