Posted in NEWS on June 29, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

His record still unblemished, Wing Chun Yam looked to maintain his standing and battle it out in the penultimate round of Swiss. His Red-Green deck was packed with fatties and burn, and already ensured he'd find no more than two losses in the tournament. Top 8 looked nigh certain for him.

Pro Tour Hall of Fame member and 21st-ranked William Jensen had risen through the ranks on Day 2, working hard find his way to the Top 8. With seven Grand Prix Top 8 appearances already to his name this professional year, winning this match would likely secure an eight. With a win in Oakland, a runner-up in Dallas, Top 4 in both Toronto and Atlanta, and Top 8s at Louisville, Barcelona, and Philadelphia, this year illustrates the skill of those in the Pro Tour Hall of Fame.

"Is this is record for Grand Prix Top 8s in a Pro Tour season?" Jensen asked. It looked that way by all the numbers we could find (breaking the record of seven set by teammate Owen Turtenwald in his run to Player of the Year several years ago). Moreover with so many Grand Prix finishes already, what beyond glory was Jensen after? Platinum standing in the Pro Players Club. "If I get second I'll be Platinum for the Pro Tour." Jensen pointed out. While Top 4 would increment his point total in the Top 25 rankings, the boost in prize and earnings the prestigious level carries.

Of course, Magic is still played one game at a time. Jensen wasn't about to get ahead of himself.

The Games

Jensen's double Pharika's Chosen looked to put the brakes on Yam's aggressive start, but the King of the Hill just forced the Snakes to trade away as he piled the creatures on. Jensen picked a Snake of the Golden Grove out of Yam's hand with Disciple of Phenax, but the Pheres-Band Thunderhoof and Nessian Asp made it to the battlefield anyway.

Wing Chun yam fearless threw his army at Jensen. It wasn't enough.

While Jensen used Hubris to avoid losing all his creatures in blocks, it was bestowing Nyxborn Eidolon to use Feast of Dreams that finally cleared the largest threat against him. Finally bringing the beating to a halt, Jensen carefully held Yam back, letting Fate Unraveler do the work of whittling the opposing life total for several turns.

Erebos's Emissary off the top of his library for Wavecrash Triton was the break the Hall of Famer needed to punch through Yam's depleted offense, finishing the King off in one fell swoop.

Yam 0 – Jensen 1

The second game revealed the aggressive potential of Jensen's deck: Turn 1 Gnarled Scarhide into turn 3 Riptide Chimera. Yam's timely Shredding Winds stopped it before it could get carried away, so Jensen settled into the longer game: Disciple of Phenax sent Nessian Asp away, and Pharika's Chosen standing firm against Yam's 4/4 Snake of the Golden Grove.

(21) William Jensen took control of the game early and never looked back.

Archetype of Finality shifted the balance in Jensen's favor, letting him begin attacking with his small fries and pick away at Yam. As more creatures arrived for Jensen his attacks grew. With another timely Hubris to disrupt Yam's first strike trick, and Feast of Dreams for Yam's Raised by Wolves boost to Bladetusk Boar, Jensen pulled too far ahead for Yam to catch up.

Jensen looked likely to break through with a record eighth Grand Prix Top 8 in a Pro Tour season.

Yam 0 – Jensen 2

William Jensen, Blue-Black

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Wing Chun Yam, Red-Green

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