2011 Great Britain National Championship

What makes a champion?

Passion, commitment, confidence, composure, luck, grit, determination and (it turns out) a whole ton of stamina.

The Great British Nationals 2011 were brought to an epic and hard-fought conclusion after a final that lasted a mind-draining THREE AND A HALF HOURS. To put that in context, that's long enough to watch the whole of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and then make a start on the DVD extras. Any way you slice it that's a long time to have to sustain your best possible Magic, under pressure, at the end of three long days of tournament play. It was mammoth. Emerging unscathed from that epic struggle, we crown a new king of Great Britain – handing yet another title to the Grand Prix London champion, Daniel Royde!

Undefeated throughout the whole of the constructed rounds of the tournament, Daniel Royde's Eldrazi Green deck finally ended the dogged and wily resistance of the multi-national pro Eduardo Sajgalik. Finishing as runner-up, Sajgalik becomes a two-time National Team member (having previously been on the Canada National Team). Royde and Sajgalik had begun Sunday as the two big names in the Top 8 and the pairings drew them inexorably together into a final confrontation that Royde eventually won 3-2 – much to his disbelief.

Tim Pinder will join Royde and Sajgalik on Team GB, after recovering from his Semi-final defeat to battle along the long road back from 2-0 down in the 3rd/4th Playoff and have his Vampires defeat the Caw-Blade spells of Jamie Hannah, who was unlucky to see his early dominance turn into an eventual defeat.

It all marked the end of a fantastic Top 8, but also what has been a great Nationals Championship. From the last LCQ spots awarded late on Thursday, to the final arrival of Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn that ended the Final, Great British Nationals 2011 has been a memorable event.

A huge congratulations to everyone in Team GB, and you can be sure that we'll be rooting for them all in San Francisco!

Rule Britannia!



1. Dominic Penton

8. Eduardo Sajgalik

4. William Dunn

5. Tim Pinder

2. Jamie Hannah

7. Daniel Harborne

3. Kevin Blake

6. Daniel Royde


Eduardo Sajgalik 3-0

Tim Pinder 3-2

Jamie Hannah 3-0

Daniel Royde 3-0


Eduardo Sajgalik 3-0

Daniel Royde 3-1


Daniel Royde 3-2


3rd Place Playoff

3rd Place Playoff

Tim Pinder

Jamie Hannah

3rd Place

Tim Pinder, 3-2


  • by Rich Hagon
    Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Daniel Royde
  • by David Sutcliffe
    Jamie Hannah vs. Daniel Royde
  • by Rich Hagon
    Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Tim Pinder
  • by Dan Barrett
    Will Dunn vs. Tim Pinder
  • by David Sutcliffe
    William Blake vs. Daniel Royde
  • by Rich Hagon
    Dominic Penton vs. Eduardo Sajgalik
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Decklists
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Player Profiles
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet


1. Daniel Royde
2. Eduardo Sajgalik
3. Tim Pinder
4. Jamie Hannah
5. Dominic Penton
6. Kevin Blake
7. William Dunn
8. Daniel Harborne

pairings, results, standings


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

William Dunn
Age: 23
Hometown: Canterbury
Occupation: Recent Graduate
Standard Deck: UG Caw Blimey
Record (Standard/Draft): 4-2 Draft, 6-0-2 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: Nothing of note
Best card this weekend: On the play, Turn 2 Beast Within your land.
Best Non-Magic achievement: Befriending Ed Hughes, Sam Stokes, JST and the Gravesend lot so they could playtest against me for this event
Dominic Penton
Age: 16
Hometown: Amersham
Occupation: Student
Standard Deck: RDW
Record (Standard/Draft): 5-1 Draft, 6-1-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: Err...
Best card this weekend: Shrine of Burning Rage (average 12 damage!)
Best Non-Magic achievement: I'm in the top 0.5% in the country at Maths.
Daniel Harborne
Age: 21
Hometown: Chesham
Occupation: Operations Manager for Nintronics in Watford
Standard Deck: Mono-Red
Record (Standard/Draft): 5-1 Draft, 5-2-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: 2 Games Day wins, 1 Games Day Top8. Scrubbing out with 3 Byes at GP Singapore.
Best card this weekend: Reassembling Skeleton
Best Non-Magic achievement: Epic failing at packing for this trip, and the best Cyrus Bales impression!
Tim Pinder
Age: 23
Hometown: Bristol
Occupation: Videogame Programmer
Standard Deck: B/R Vampires
Record (Standard/Draft): 4-2 Draft, 6-1-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: I qualified for UK Nationals twice before... along time ago. That's about it!
Best card this weekend: Nantuko Shade
Best Non-Magic achievement: Convincing everyone I know that I'm not an evil robot.
Jamie Hannah
Age: 18
Hometown: Manchester
Occupation: Student
Standard Deck: UW Caw-Blade
Record (Standard/Draft): 5-1 Draft, 6-0-2 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: Winning prereleases at Fanboy 3
Best card this weekend: Lurking Crocodile
Best Non-Magic achievement: Getting 40 points in my IB Diploma
Daniel 'Royde Rage' Royde
Age: 23
Hometown: London
Occupation: Software Developer
Standard Deck: Pete Dun's Nuts (Eldrazi Green)
Record (Standard/Draft): 3-3 Draft, 7-0-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: Won GP London
Best card this weekend: Emrakul
Best Non-Magic achievement: Knowing what a Chifley is, and working for magicmadhouse.com over the summer. (shameless plug)
Kevin Blake
Age: 42!
Hometown: Leighton Buzzard
Occupation: Self-Employed Adviser
Standard Deck: UB Control
Record (Standard/Draft): 4-2 Draft, 7-0-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: Top 64 in GP London, some PTQ Top 8s... setting up Milton Keynes Magic.
Best card this weekend: Bloodghast – so good in the 4 mirrors I played
Best Non-Magic achievement: Marrying my wife Anna – it's still amazing she agreed to it.
Eduardo Sajgalik
Age: 23
Hometown: Bordeaux/Fontainbleau / Cambridge
Occupation: Community Coordinator
Standard Deck: UW Caw-Blade
Record (Standard/Draft): 4-2 Draft, 6-1-1 Standard
Other Magic Achievements: This is my 4th Nationals Top 8 (3rd time in the UK), 4th in GP Barcelona, Top 32'ed some GPs and PTs.
Best card this weekend: Gideon Jura in standard, Cemetary Reaper and Goblin Arsonist in the drafts.
Best Non-Magic achievement: My chemistry degree in Bristol, and living with someone special. Special hello and thanks to Seb/Ben at Les Gaulois du Magic and Inner Sanctum Collectibles.

Top 8 - Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Dominic Penton

Download Arena Decklist

Jamie Hannah

Download Arena Decklist

William Dunn

Download Arena Decklist

Tim Pinder

Download Arena Decklist

Daniel Royde

Download Arena Decklist

Daniel Harborne

Download Arena Decklist

Kevin Blake

Download Arena Decklist

Eduardo Sajgalik

Download Arena Decklist

Quarterfinal - Dominic Penton vs. Eduardo Sajgalik

by Rich Hagon

He's only 16, but Dominic Penton has quietly been amassing an absurdly good Nationals record. In his third event, his Limited record is 6-0, 6-0, 5-1. For those that can't count, that's 17-1. The top 8, however, is Constructed, and it's mono-red that Dominic will need to fuel the fire of his Worlds ambitions. Across the table sits Eduardo Sajgalik, a man who has already played at Worlds, as a member of the Canadian National Team! Sajgalik also has a top 8 from Great Britain Nationals, making him arguably the favorite coming into the top 8 - although Grand Prix London Champion Daniel Royde might have something to say about that.

Game One

Sajgalik got us under way with Celestial Colonnade and a Squadron Hawk, a nice start against a mulligan to six and no turn one play from Penton. Or turn two, for that matter. A second Squadron Hawk followed, and it was all Sajgalik in the early running. Grim Lavamancer was Penton's first play, but that isn't what you want on turn three. When Sajgalik cast his third Squadron Hawk, we understood just how pernicious the card advantage is, Penton using Lightning Bolt to deal with just one Squadron Hawk, at the price of an entire card. Penton added a second Grim Lavamancer, and then Chandra's Phoenix, which met Into the Roil with kicker.

Life totals - Squadron Hawk-Sword of Feast and Famine: 20. Mono-red: 13. Yeah, really.

Sajgalik cast Emeria Angel, and followed it with the perfect land, Scalding Tarn, netting him a free 1/1 with the promise of another.

Chandra's Phoenix was replayed, but this was all one way traffic. When Penton attempted to combine his Phoenix with a Grim Lavamancer activation, Sajgalik was ready with Into the Roil with kicker to save his Emeria Angel. Shrine of Burning Rage found Mana Leak waiting, and the torture was soon over for Penton, who had been given as comprehensive a beating as it was possible to imagine in the opening game of the top 8.

Dominic Penton 0 - 1 Eduardo Sajgalik

Game Two

There was a substantial delay before the start of game two, with multiple mulligans. Penton stuck at six, while Sajgalik went all the way to four. Grim Lavamancer opened for Penton, not the Goblin Guide which might have brought Sajgalik back into the game. Still, he managed three lands and Timely Reinforcements, forcing Penton to Staggershock himself in repsonse. Arc Trail dealt with the Reinforcement soldiers, and the Grim Lavamancer put Sajgalik to 17.

After Preordain, Sajgalik had Spellskite, which met with four life and Dismember from Penton.

Sword of War and Peace was next for the red mage, which equipped the Grim Lavamancer, which then attacked. Sajgalik, off a mulligan to four remember, laid a sixth land, slammed it down, cast Sun Titan, returned Spellskite, and cast Consecrated Sphinx next turn. Ridiculous. Fast forward two turns, Sajgalik added Gideon Jura to the board, forcing Penton's team to attack the Planeswalker. That team was now the Grim Lavamancer, plus Chandra's Phoenix. Eduardo was down to 7, with Dominic at 13. The Phoenix duly died at the hands/wings of Consecrated Sphinx, Sajgalik activated Gideon Jura as a 6/6, and he had completed a remarkable escape act, and now held a comfortable lead in the best of five match.

Dominic Penton 0 - 2 Eduardo Sajgalik

Game Three

Gideon Jura

Although both players kept their opening hands, Penton was once again without an explosive start, beginning game three with Chandra's Phoenix, playing straight into Timely Reinforcements. Penton cast a second Phoenix, and pushed Sajgalik back down to 20. On the plus side, Penton had drawn into Manabarbs, which could seriously hurt Sajgalik if it resolved.

It didn't. Spell Pierce dealt with that particular threat.

Out came Gideon Jura, who forced Penton's team to attack him. With a Lightning Bolt and a third Chandra's Phoenix, Gideon Jura bit the dust. For four mana Sajgalik cast Day of judgment, and followed it up with Spellskite. That died to Dismember at the cost of four life for Penton, who was now down to 8, while Sajgalik was up at 16. Sajgalik activated his Celestial Colonnade to drop Penton to 4, and repeated the dose one turn later to complete a thoroughly one-sided demolition.

Dominic Penton 0 - 3 Eduardo Sajgalik

Quarterfinal – William Blake vs. Daniel Royde

by David Sutcliffe

If it's decks that win Top 8s, then Kevin Blake is in the box seat at Great British Nationals 2011. He has the UB Control deck – the very deck that saw Ali Aintrazi through the Top 8 of US Nationals a fortnight ago. If it's players that win Top 8s then the edge surely sits with Daniel Royde – the Londoner has already won one major event this year, when he defended British pride at Grand Prix London to take home the big prize. The momentum of the weekend also seems to be with Royde – of all the players in the Top 8 his draft record was the worst (3-3) but that just means that it was his Standard performance that secured him a place in the Top 8, with an undefeated 7-0-1 record. His Eldrazi Green deck has crushed all-comers

Game One

Winning the dice roll, Kevin Blake wasted no time at all in ripping into Daniel Royde's cards – an Inquisition of Kozilek tore a Fauna Shaman from Royde's grip. Blake followed that with Jace Beleren and began to draw cards, although a second Inquisition of Kozilek missed as Royde had only lands and big hitters in hand – Artisan of Kozilek and Primeval Titan among a bunch of lands.

From there things turned into a waiting game – Kevin Blake was happy to suck up extra cards from Jace Beleren, while Royde had little to do but play a few lands, an Overgrown Battlement, and spawn a couple of plants from Khalni's Garden. Turns passed by as the two players waited for the right time to switch things up a gear.

It was Blake who made the move – sucking up a final card from his Planeswalker, and consigning Jace to the graveyard, he tapped out to play a Consecrated Sphinx. That gave Royde the chance to drop his own hefty threat, and the GP London champ replied with a Primeval Titan, finding a pair of Eldrazi Temples in the undergrowth of his library to complete his set of four. That was a bit too much mana for Blake, and he sacrificed a Tectonic Edge to cut down one of Royde's Temples.

The Primeval Titan was immediately sliced in half by a Doom Blade, but that suited Royde all the more – playing his Artisan of Kozilek, Daniel Royde brought the Primeval Titan right back into play, searching out a pair of Tectonic Edges from his deck. The Artisan of Kozilek was countered by a Stoic Rebuttal, but most of the value had come in returning the Primeval Titan anyway. Not quite finished with his turn, Royde dropped a Spellskite to help him protect his Primeval Titan from future unpleasantness.

Daniel Royde tries to reach his Eldrazi

The game appeared to be spiralling out of Kevin Blake's control. He played Jace Beleren and immediately upped him to 5 loyalty drawing three cards to Royde's one, then attacked with his Consecrated Sphinx... but there was nothing he could do about Royde's Primeval Titan. The Titan smashed Jace down on Royde's next turn, filtering out another two lands from the green deck. Worse yet, Royde had his Tectonic Edges in play, and he sacrificed two of them to cut Blake back to just 4 lands. It seemed like Blake was taking two steps backwards for every step forward.

Another attack from the Primeval Titan – a Mystifying Maze and Eye of Ugin were added to Royde's collection as he built towards a finishing blow. Blake's Consecrated Sphinx was drawing extra cards, but he simply couldn't keep up with the flow of powerful cards coming from the Eldrazi deck – Garruk Wildspeaker arrived unopposed, and Royde was all set to bring search up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on his next turn and play the manifestation of pure evil.

"I don't think there's anything you can play that means you don't die now" he offered.

"Nope, I don't think so either", Blake agreed, "about the only thing I can do is Praetor's Grasp your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn"

Blake drew a card, looked around for a last glimmer of hope, and conceded the game.

Kevin Blake 0 – 1 Daniel Royde

Game Two

"We were actually making international phone calls last night, trying to work out how to beat you" Daniel Royde said, smiling as the two players shuffled up.

"Well that's something, at least! It's actually a really interesting matchup. There's lots of things we can both do to change it" Blake agreed, turning to his sideboard notes.

"Yeah we found there's a lot of depth in it, more than we thought at first. We were just about to go to bed last night, and with the last thing my roommate said as we were going to sleep he had an epiphany. On went the lights and we were back to testing something new."

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

The second game began with battles outside of the Battlefield. Daniel Royde summoned forth an Overgrown Battlement with his Green Sun's Zenith, while Kevin Blake replied with a Memoricide, naming 'Primeval Titan' and stripping Royde of his mythic land-grabbing creature. The Memoricide also gave Blake an early view of Royde's hand, which included a second Green Sun's Zenith, Fauna Shaman, and a potentially-lethal Summoning Trap.

The Zenith summoned a second Overgrown Battlement, the Fauna Shaman hit play, and it all meant that when Kevin Blake followed up with an Inquisition of Kozilek, the horse had bolted – there were no cards he could make Royde discard, but in their place was the dangerous Planeswalker: Karn Liberated.

"Gah!" cried Blake, when Karn Liberated was revealed, "I'm trying to think of a card I want you to draw less. I think that's about it.."

Blake had to hurry up against the threat of Karn Liberated shredding his hand, and he dropped a Grave Titan, while Royde responded with a Summoning Trap at the end of Blake's turn, and he started to reveal the top seven cards of his deck...

Green Sun's Zenith, Land, Land, Land, Land, Land... Joraga Treespeaker

"That could have gone better for you" joked Blake, as the fearsome 1/1 joined the Battlefield.

But that wasn't all Royde had in mind – he followed up the Summoning Trap with an activation of his Fauna Shaman, discarded a second Joraga Treespeaker to find... Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Blake started counting up the mana Royde had available, and didn't like the answer he got – the GP Champ was just one land short of playing the big Eldrazi. Would Royde draw the land he needed?

Eldrazi Temple, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Yes he would. The Grave Titan was destroyed when Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre arrived in play, leaving Blake with just the pair of 2/2 tokens to his name. Taking his own turn, Blake flipped the top card of his deck... and picked up his cards, crushed by yet another Eldrazi titan.

Kevin Blake 0 – 2 Daniel Royde

Game Three

Size is relative – Scars of Mirrodin proved to us that a 2/2 can be king in a land of 1/1 creatures – but usually a 6/6 is big enough. Not when Daniel Royde's Eldrazi are around, though, and here in the Top 8 all of Blake's best creatures are being swatted around like flies by the cards Royde can summon. Two games down, it looked as though Blake desperately needed to find a way to change things, because he had seemed helpless to prevent his losses in the first two games.

Disrupting Royde's deck from the outset was perhaps the key – an Inquisition of Kozilek removed a Beast Within, Doom Blade struck down an Overgrown Battlement, and finally Memoricide stripped Garruk Wildspeaker from Royde's hand and library. All that left the GP Champ with was Karn Liberated and a bunch of lands – no acceleration, no search – and the Eldrazi master would have to do things the hard way.

Blake didn't plan on giving Royde the chance to do that, though, and he dropped a Consecrated Sphinx before sucking up two cards at the start of Royde's turn. Royde hit back with Karn Liberated, but instead of removing the Sphinx from play he began draining Blake's hand of cards, forcing him to Exile an Island. On his next turn Blake hit back with his own Planeswalker – Jace Beleren – and Karn Liberated had seen enough, Exiling the Consecrated Sphinx at the second attempt.

Kevin Blake looks for a way out

How to kill Karn Liberated? That was the problem facing Kevin Blake, but he had an elegant answer: play your own Karn Liberated! Faced with a mirror image of himself, the two Karn Liberated's left play.

That seemed to spell real trouble for Daniel Royde. He had lands, but that was all – two cards in hand didn't stack up well against the five cards that Blake had, and Blake still had Jace by his side whispering advice and offering up additional spells. Royde had nothing to lose and played his hand onto the table – an Artisan of Kozilek and a Fauna Shaman, although the Artisan of Kozilek could return nothing more exciting than an Overgrown Battlement from his graveyard.

Consecrated Sphinx was Blake's reply, but that seemed to leave the door open to Royde, and the GP Champ seized the opportunity. Drawing a creature on his turn, he tapped his Fauna Shaman to search up Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre was countered by a Mana Leak, but he destroyed the Consecrated Sphinx even so. That left the Artisan of Kozilek as the only thing in play and Kevin Blake was cut in half – a turn from death and clinging to his pair of Creeping Tar Pits to block the Artisan and buy time!

Royde wasn't done there. Drawing a second creature on his next turn, he just repeated his last turn – finding Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and bringing the evil Eldrazi to the board again. It was too much for Blake, and he offered his hand in congratulations.

Kevin Blake 0 – 3 Daniel Royde

The Grand Prix London champ marched on into the Semi-Finals, extending his undefeated record in the Standard portion of Great British Nationals 2011. The rest of the Top 4 need to watch out, before Royde is bringing what seems to be unstoppable firepower – who would bet against him making it two titles in the year, and adding GB Champion to his GP title?

Quarterfinal - Will Dunn vs. Tim Pinder

by Dan Barrett

Coming into this quarterfinal matchup, both Tim and Will posted 4-2 records in draft, a consistent 2-1, 2-1 for Tim, and a more variant 1-2, 3-0 pair for Will. Tim's R/B Vampires gave him a 6-1-1 performance through the standard portion, while Will's innovative UG deck featuring new M12 cards Skinshifter and Garruk, Primal Hunter gave him an undefeated 6-0-2 record. The pair had previously met in round 14, although they took an intentional draw to guarantee their slots here in the top 8.

"I'm not looking forward to this," said Will before the games began, not overly confident of his chances.

"I don't know about that," replied Tim, "I've no idea what your deck does, and went straight to sleep after we finished last night!"

Game One

After wishing each other good luck, Tim won the die roll and elected to play first, both players keeping their opening hands. Will led off with a pair of Birds of Paradise, while Tim had Vampire Hexmage, but his Kalastria Highborn met Mana Leak. The follow-up Bloodghast was allowed, but Vampire Lacerator was also denied via Mana Leak.

A kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir led to one of the Birds of Paradise being sacrificed, and Tim was well ahead on life totals, untouched at 20 to Will's 12. This quickly dropped to 10 though, as Will fetched up a pair of Forests before casting Garruk, Primal Hunter and making a beast with the planeswalker.

The beast was killed with Dismember, and an attack from Tim's team saw off Garruk, Primal Hunter too. Will looked to be in a tight spot, just laying another Misty Rainforest and passing the turn. Inquisition of Kozilek from Tim was countered by Mana Leak, and left Will with just a single card in hand.

Fortunately it was a second Garruk, Primal Hunter, which again summoned a beast token. A kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir saw the second Birds of Paradise sacrificed, before the Vampire Hexmage was sacrificed to dispose of Garruk, Primal Hunter. Will followed up with Consecrated Sphinx, but when Tim had another Dismember for the beast token, his attack was lethal.

Tim Pinder 1 – 0 Will Dunn

Game Two

"I don't need notes," said Tim as he reached for his sideboard, as Will consulted his notes for the cards to bring in and take out.

Inquisition of Kozilek

After Will chose to play and Tim mulliganed to six, the action began with a first-turn Inquisition of Kozilek from Tim. This took Mana Leak, leaving two Beast Within, Tumble Magnet, Tectonic Edge and Verdant Catacombs in Will's hand.

An un-kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir was the first creature of the game for Tim, but Tumble Magnet from Will tapped it down before it could enter combat, and a second Magnet threatened to keep doing this for the next few turns.

Kalastria Highborn was added to Tim's side of the board, and was allowed to attack. Will cast Beast Within on the spent Tumble Magnet, making a beast to block the Highborn, but this was dealt with by Go for the Throat before the block could be made. Will's follow up play of Obstinate Baloth also met a quick end thanks to a second Go for the Throat, then another Baloth was sacrificed to Gatekeeper of Malakir.

Tim cast Inquisition of Kozilek, and Will responded by using Beast Within on the second empty Tumble Magnet, showing him Thrun, the Last Troll in hand, who could not be discarded. Bloodghast joined the Vampire team, and Doom Blade killed Will's beast token, but Thrun, the Last Troll saw off one of the Gatekeeper of Malakir when they attacked.

It was looking rough for Will, who had just added another Birds of Paradise, as Tim added a Vampire Lacerator, and continued to send creatures on a suicide mission into Thrun, the Last Troll, each one that died draining Will for two life thanks to Kalastria Highborn.

This proved too much indeed, and sent Tim into a two game lead with the next attack.

Tim Pinder 2 – 0 Will Dunn

Game Three

Will looked ominously up at the scoreboard behind him, and shuffled up for a third game.

"I drew four land in a row... but I was prepped with the Tectonic Edge for when you drew a red source," he offered.

Birds of Paradise came on the first turn of the game for Will, followed by Sword of War and Peace. The sword went to equip the Birds on his third turn, and Tim had Lightning Bolt to prevent this happening, but Mana Leak from Will kept the Birds alive. Manic Vandal from Tim saw off the sword, however. Garruk, Primal Hunter was Will's next play, bringing with him a beast, which was killed with Doom Blade. Another beast was added the next turn though, along with Thrun, the Last Troll, Will still having two mana open to regenerate him if necessary.

Inquisition of Kozilek took Will's last card in hand, Tumble Magnet, and Tim added Bloodghast. Will finally got in a cautious attack the next turn, sending in the beast before summoning another with Garruk, Primal Hunter.

Tim added a second Bloodghast, and again a lone beast got in for three before a third came into play for Will, this game looking much more in his favour. Kalastria Highborn from Tim allowed the pair of Bloodghasts to get some value out of attacking into Will's much larger blockers, while a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir saw off one of the Birds of Paradise.

"What does Garruk, Primal Hunter's ultimate ability do again?" asked Tim, leaning over to read the powerful Mythic rare. "I'm pretty sure it just says 'I lose the game'."

He was right, as the five 6/6 Wurms that came next for Will quickly sent them onto a fourth game.

Tim Pinder 2 – 1 Will Dunn

Game Four

"I sort of wish we hadn't taken that ID now," joked Will, still uneasy. "I'm pretty sure I could have conceded to you and still made it, to avoid this matchup."

Thrun, the Last Troll

Tim took a mulligan on the play, opening with Vampire Lacerator, while Will also had a first-turn play in Preordain. Inquisiton of Kozilek, Butcher of Truth from Tim revealed Thrun, the Last Troll, two Spell Pierce, Obstinate Baloth, Preordain, Misty Rainforest, and Birds of Paradise which was discarded. Will drew into another Birds of Paradise and the Forest to cast it. It could have died to Lightning Bolt, but Will was happy to use both Spell Pierce to protect it, before dropping Thrun, the Last Troll. Doom Blade finally saw off the Birds, and Mana Leak denied Tim a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir that would have spelt the end for Thrun, the Last Troll. A second Gatekeeper resulted in the sacrifice of a freshly-played Obstinate Baloth, Thrun, the Last Troll refusing to leave the table.

Garruk, Primal Hunter and a beast joined Will's side of the board, though the beast was sacrificed to a third Gatekeeper of Malakir.

"My deck is just mocking me now," Tim lamented.

Sword of Feast and Famine was played and equipped to Will's Thrun, the Last Troll, and fortunately caused Tim to discard his Manic Vandal when the attack connected, and the game was Will's.

Tim Pinder 2 – 2 Will Dunn

Game Five

"Third time's the charm..." Muttered Tim to himself, before taking a pep talk with his sideboard cards.

He was happy with his opener, while Will deliberated before taking a mulligan, with his six card hand provoking some careful consideration before it was kept. Inqusition of Kozilek, Butcher of Truth from Tim resolved on turn two, and saw Batterskull, Obstinate Baloth, Tectonic Edge, Sword of War and Peace, Lotus Cobra, and Birds of Paradise which was discarded.

Vampire Hexmage started the beats for Tim, while Will passed without a play or land drop. He did manage to Mana Leak Tim's Kalastria Highborn, but Vampire Lacerator resolved straight after.

The lands and creatures flowed freely for Tim over the next few turns, but Will was still struggling to find a third land. It was looking very tough for him when he was forced to use his Tectonic Edge to destroy an attacking Lavaclaw Reaches, and when he didn't draw the Forest he needed the turn after, it was game over.

Tim Pinder 3 – 2 Will Dunn.

Tim Pinder and his Vampires advance to the semifinals, where he will face Eduardo Sajgalik's Squadron Hawk-Sword of Feast and Famine. Will it be 'Twilight, good night'

for the Squadron Hawks? Stay tuned...

Semifinal - Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Tim Pinder

by Rich Hagon

Both these players have two more matches here at Great Britain Nationals 2011. One of them will advance to the final, with a guarantee of a place in the World Championship team for San Francisco, with a chance at the National title, while the loser here faces a 3rd/4th play-off for the final slot on the team. Still, at least a place on the plane to California is already secure.

Game One

The curse of the mulligan struck early, with Pinder holding at six, but Sajgalik starting at just five. Inquisition of Kozilek was countered by Sajgalik's Spell Pierce. Nantuko Shade also got countered, this time by Mana Leak, meaning Bloodghast was the first card into play.

"So, let's see" said Sajgalik. "I basically mulliganed to eight..." as he cast Squadron Hawk, and reloaded.

Tim Pinder

Bloodghast attacked for the first damage of the match, Sajgalik adding a second Squadron Hawk. Pinder added Vampire Lacerator, but Sajgalik had Into the Roil ready with kicker during the next attack.

Blackcleave Cliffs represented red mana for Pinder who had a lot of good cards left in hand. Sajgalik, meanwhile, wiped the board with Day of Judgment.

The second phase of the game began with Sajgalik at 12, Pinder quickly making that 9 with Lightning Bolt, 7 with Bloodghast, and Gatekeeper of Malakir coming down. Timely Reinforcements and Squadron Hawk came down for Sajgalik, who was back up to 13, just when it seemed Pinder was closing in on the opening game. After a brutal attack, the board cleared, Gatekeeper of Malakir taking out Sajgalik's final Reinforcement Soldier. Lightning Bolt put Sajgalik to 10, and Bloodghast returned from the graveyard before joining Gatekeeper of Malakir in the red zone. Sajgalik was back down to 8.

Sajgalik had plans, however. Terramorphic Expanse took out Blackcleave Cliffs, and he banged down the white planeswalker Gideon Jura.

Although Pinder had Dismember for an activated Celestial Colonnade he certainly didn't have any more pressure. The following turn, Sajgalik cast Sun Titan, returning the Colonnade to play. Pinder had been in topdeck mode for several turns, while Sajgalik was sending the Colonnade turn after turn. Into the Roil with kicker kept him comfortable, and the double mulligan had again been defeated.

Tim Pinder 0 - 1 Eduardo Sajgalik

Eduardo Sajgalik contemplates his sideboard plan

Game Two

Pinder opened with Inquisition of Kozilek, seeing Sword of Feast and Famine, Day of Judgment, Emeria Angel, Inkmoth Nexus, Seachrome Coast and Plains - oh, and a Squadron Hawk, which went away. Kalastria Highborn and Vampire Hexmage were down before Sajgalik had a play, his Sword of Feast and Famine on turn three. Although Sajgalik cast Day of Judgment, Pinder had the mana left to make him pay, dropping Sajgalik to 10 via Kalastria Highborn.

Inquisition of Kozilek got Mental Misstep, leaving two land and Emeria Angel in hand for Sajgalik. Pinder used Manic Vandal to kill Sajgalik's Sword of Feast and Famine, who replied with his Emeria Angel. That got the attention of a Pinder Lightning Bolt, and Pinder had Sajgalik down to 8, with Vampire Hexmage and Manic Vandal opposite one lonely token from the Emeria Angel.

Sajgalik found Squadron Hawk, fetching up the other two. Two Squadron Hawks traded for Manic Vandal, but Sajgalik was still down to six, and a freshly-played Kalastria Highborn was going to be an issue.The third Inquisition of Kozilek saw Sajgalik respond with Into the Roil with kicker, sending Vampire Hexmage back to hand. Then the Inquisition of Kozilek resolved, stealing the last Squadron Hawk, leaving Sajgalik with just Terramorphic Expanse.

Sajgalik fell to just one life, and really needed some Timely Reinforcements. Moments later, he had them. From the top. Three Soldiers, back up to seven life. Next turn, he topdecked Sword of Feast and Famine, activated his Inkmoth Nexus, and dealt four poison damage, untapping his lands...

An amazing comeback, with Emeria Angel completing the deal, and leaving Pinder in a 0-2 hole.

Tim Pinder 0 - 2 Eduardo Sajgalik

Game Three

Pinder mulliganed to five, and his turn one Inquisition of Kozilek showed only Day of Judgment and Consecrated Sphinx apart from lands.

Turn two Kalastria Highborn was decent, as was turn three Kalastria Highborn. They were presumably only going to live, however, until Sajgalik laid land number four and cast Day of Judgment. In came the Highborns, Sajgalik fell to 14, cast Day of Judgment, and Pinder had the mana to punish Sajgalik all the way down to 8. Pinder tried to reload with Vampire Hexmage.

Sajgalik had Timely Reinforcements right when he needed them. Now he was back up to 14. He added Emeria Angel and started making tokens.

Consecrated Sphinx lasted almost no time before meeting Doom Blade, but even at 12 life Sajgalik was in total control. He activated Celestial Colonnade, piled in for eight damage, with Pinder now close to elimination. Terramorphic Expanse ensured Pinder would have no red mana, although Blackcleave Cliffs would eventually change that. If, that was, eventually would get to come around.

Who makes the final?

Sajgalik activated Celestial Colonnade and dropped Pinder to just five, with six flying damage available for the following turn. Doom Blade killed the Colonnade, but Pinder was still at three life. Could he escape, with Sajgalik at 12? Vampire Hexmage, Bloodghast, and Kalastria Highborn were in play. Bloodghast and Vampire Hexmage were in hand.

The Bloodghast attacked alone, puting Sajgalik to 10. Another Celestial Colonnade attacked with one Bird token, causing Pinder to respond by sacrificing both Vampire Hexmages. Pinder was at 2, Sajgalik at 6.

One last attack from Pinder, and we were done. This had been almost as one-sided as the quarter final, with Sajgalik seemingly finding exactly what he needed every time he needed it.

Tim Pinder 0 - 3 Eduardo Sajgalik

Semifinal - Jamie Hannah vs. Daniel Royde

by David Sutcliffe

The Semi-Final brought together two unbeaten records – two immovable objects going head-to-head. Daniel Royde's standard record with his stomping Eldrazi Green deck is 8-0-1, while the young student Jamie Hannah has piloted his Squadron Hawk-Sword of Feast and Famine deck to a 6-0-3 record, picking up three draws along the way. Both players had also sailed through their respective Quarter-Final matches 3-0, but something had to give. The GP London Champion looked calm and relaxed, handing around his oversized Elton John sunglasses at the start of the round, but if Jamie Hannah was phased at all by the occasion he didn't show it.

"I haven't seen any Eldrazi Green around for ages", remarked Hannah, as the players chatted while shuffling up, "I haven't really ever played against it. Have you been playtesting this matchup much?"

"Squadron Hawk-Sword of Feast and Famine? Yeah – it's the point of the deck!" smiled Royde, "although your list is a little weird."

Game One

Emeria Angel

With the pre-game show out of the way, the dice was rolled and we were underway, although things went immediately wrong for Jamie Hannah – losing the dice roll and having to mulligan. Daniel Royde began to ramp up his green mana with an Overgrown Battlement, which Hannah immediately spent four life to Dismember. Royde replaced the Battlement with a Joraga Treespeaker, but his Elf was dealt with just as brutally by a second Dismember.

Garruk Wildspeaker was the next play from Royde, but the Planeswalker was denied by a Mana Leak, with Hannah continuing to disrupt Royde's mana – destroying an Eldrazi Temple with Tectonic Edge. Four turns played, and neither player had anything in play other than land, Hannah having managed to fend off Royde's advances so far.

It was time for Hannah to press the advantage, and he summoned an Emeria Angel to the battlefield, and pulling up a Bird token when he played an Arid Mesa, and a second Bird as the Mesa searched up a Plains. Across the table, things seemed to have stalled for the Eldrazi deck, with Royde missing a pair two land drops, although he managed to deploy an Overgrown Battlement.

Having stalled Royde's early game ramping, Hannah needed to end the game before the Eldrazi deck could get to it's big guns the hard way. Equipping one of his Birds with a Sword of Feast and Famine the young student went onto the offensive, cutting Royde down to 13 life as his Angels and Birds swooped into the red zone (presumably with one of the birds desperately clutching a sword on its beak. Or something. It's probably best not to try and think of the logistics of things like equipping birds with swords). A second Tectonic Edge cut Royde back to four mana, and Hannah passed the turn.

Garruk Wildspeaker was countered by Mana Leak, the Overgrown Battlement was thrown back to hand by Into the Roil, and Daniel Royde was left sampling the unfamiliar taste of defeat.

Jamie Hannah 1 – 0 Daniel Royde

Game Two

Joraga Treespeaker

That had been an exemplar lesson in how to beat Royde's green deck – cut of it's mana, and then after you've done that... cut off it's mana some more. Royde never had five mana available at any point in the game, and Hannah had wasted little time in closing things out once the opening was there. Was that a fluke, or did it signal that Hannah had the right ingredients to end Royde's run to the title? The laughter and chat was gone as the two players sideboarded for the return leg, with Daniel Royde lost in concentration as he planned his comeback.

Royde's comeback began with a Green Sun's Zenith to find a Joraga Treespeaker, although as soon as he dared to level his Elf up to produce mana, Hannah returned it to hand with Into the Roil, before following up with a Mirran Crusader. Royde returned his Joraga Treespeaker to play and began to level it up, then added a Fauna Shaman alongside the Joraga Treespeaker. This was more dangerous than the first game – Royde's creatures were sticking around, and even with Protection from Green the Mirran Crusader was nothing like the clock that the Emeria Angel had been in the first game.

Accelerating the clock a little, Hannah put down a Squadron Hawk and a Phantasmal Image that copied the Mirran Crusader. That was fine, but he hadn't been able to disrupt anything that Royde wanted to do in this second game, and was tapped out again... this was moving into the sort of territory where the Eldrazi deck could begin to seize control with it's sheer power. In truth, Royde seemed stunned by the sheer range of options available to him – with Fauna Shaman and seven mana available he could do a lot, but after taking a brief dip in the tank the GP Champ emerged and played a Green Sun's Zenith, searching out a Primeval Titan and two Eldrazi Temples.

Things were heading rapidly downhill for Jamie Hannah, and by his body language it was clear that Hannah knew it – he sent his pair of unblockable Mirran Crusaders across the table, reducing Royde to 8 life, and smashed one of Royde's Temples with a Tectonic Edge, but had to pass the turn and hope things didn't go too badly wrong too quickly - his pair of Double Striking Crusaders would end the game next turn so long as Royde couldn't find a colorless blocker!

The Primeval Titan struck back, searching out the last two Eldrazi Temples. That was a start but it was really a sideshow to the main event. Needing to find a colorless blocker, Daniel Royde pitched a creature to his Fauna Shaman and summoned forth an Artisan of Kozilek! The Artisan would serve as a blocker but was countered by Mana Leak.

Royde was tapped out, with no colorless blockers. But he wasn't done. The Artisan being countered meant that the GP Champ could play his Summoning Trap for free. In fact, he could play BOTH of his Summoning Traps for free! It was a critical moment as Royde flipped through the top fourteen cards of his deck, looking for one of his immense Eldrazi.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

The first trap delivered only an Overgrown Battlement, but the second Trap hit paydirt, and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre entered play.

Things were getting tight. Hannah attacked with his Mirran Crusaders – one fell under the hooves/claws/tentacles/fangs of Ulamog but the other got through, reducing Royde to a flimsy fourth life. Tapped out, Hannah summoned down a pair of Squadron Hawks and braced for the worst.

It was Royde who had the options, and Royde on the brink of victory or defeat – the GP Champ went back to the tank for a long while, working out what he could afford to attack with. After a long period of indecision, the answer was that he could only send over the Primeval Titan. That knocked Hannah down to 6 life, and near death himself, and crucially Royde now had his Mystifying Maze in play, which could ensure Hannah's remaining Mirran Crusader was nullified. Royde passed the turn back to his opponent.

Holding back the Mirran Crusader on defense, Hannah sent his Squadron Hawks across the table, reducing Royde to 2 lie, but that was his last act. Daniel Royde searched up Emrakul, the Aeons's Torn at the end of the Squadron Hawk Sword of Feast and Famine player's turn, and Hannah was crushed.

Jamie Hannah 1 – 1 Daniel Royde

Game Three

"When you only saw the Battlement of the Summoning Trap, I thought I had you", Hannah offered, as the two players shuffled up.

"Yeah, the second Trap was really important", Royde replied, "although to be honest if I'd looked at the top fourteen cards of my deck and not found something good then I'd have been pretty upset!"

A double mulligan for Daniel Royde was a terrible start for the GP Champ in the third game – the Eldrazi deck relies on having acceleration AND cards to accelerate to, but with only five cards in hand the chances of having both those things we a lot more slim. A Joraga Treespeaker suggested that Royde had at least one of these things, and the Elf survived being levelled up while Hannah deployed his lethal Mirran Crusader.

Green Sun's Zenith

A Green Sun's Zenith searched up a second Joraga Treespeaker and Royde continued to ramp up his mana. Hannah sent his Crusader across the table, Scryed into his future with Preordain, but then passed the turn – content to hold countermagic for whatever Royde could serve up. Given Royde's mulligan to five cards, his deck had exploded and now had eight mana available on his fourth turn – just as importantly he also had a Mystifying Maze and was now well-prepared for the threat of Hannah's Mirran Crusader. For his part, Hannah had a full grip of seven cards but with the Mystifying Maze confusing his Crusader, he needed pressure. That meant it was time to summon his flying Monkeys. Sorry, I meant his Squadron Hawks, and the first of the deadly birds entered the battlefield.

On Hannah next attack, Royde allowed the Crusader past his Maze and took 5 damage, dropping to 11 life. That clearly signalled the Eldrazi player's next play – a Summoning Trap with three mana untapped. Hannah aimed a Spell Pierce at the Summoning Trap and that caused Royde to pause and think. Hannah now had two lands untapped – Mana Leak money, in effect – and Royde could pay for the Spell Pierce by tapping a Tectonic Edge, or he could let the Summoning Trap get countered, Edge Hannah's remaining blue land, and play a card from his hand with impunity. Choosing to force Hannah to play his cards, Royde paid the 2 for the Spell Pierce, but Hannah followed up with a second Spell Pierce, countering the Summoning Trap.

That was Hannah tapped out, and it was a question of what Royde could bring to the battlefield now that the way was clear. The answer was 'something pretty great': Karn Liberated. The great Golem Planeswalker exiled Hannah's Mirran Crusader. Hannah moved into beatdown mode as best he could, but his Celestial Colonnade was destroyed by Tectonic Edge and a pair of Squadron Hawks could only dent Karn Liberated's loyalty, dropping him to 1 counter. Hannah had to race the Planeswalker's loyalty and he played an Emeria Angel, summoning a Bird token by leaving himself tapped out yet again.

Royde's turn, and the GP Champ began by ripping a Mana Leak from Hannah's hand with Karn Liberated then playing the final card in his hand – Green Sun's Zenith, searching out a Stingerfling Spider to destroy Hannah's Emeria Angel.

"Spider's pretty cool!" Hannah exclaimed, reaching over to read the unexpected sideboard entry to Royde's deck.

Karn Liberated

Royde was out of cards, but his defences now seemed pretty solid and he could rely on Karn Liberated gradually battling up his Loyalty. Hannah needed pressure, and he emptied his own hand – Jace Beleren and a pair of Squadron Hawks, before sending his flock of birds against Karn Liberated, knocking the Golem back to 4 loyalty.

Both players were all out of cards in hand – everything was in play. Hannah had Jace and four 1/1 Birds, while Royde had Karn Liberated, the Stingerfling Spider, and a pair of Joraga Treespeakers. From a double-mulligan the GP Champ had fought his way back to parity, and was perhaps even slightly ahead!

Royde sent his Joraga Treespeakers across the table, evicting Jace Beleren with their attack, and then summoned down a Primeval Titan, finding the Eye of Ugin and a Tectonic Edge. That had been a powerful turn, and Hannah couldn't match it – his flock of Squadron Hawks could only keep Karn Liberated steady on Loyalty, and he had nothing to match the power of the Primeval Titan. The force was with Royde now, and Hannah took another turn, drew a card, looked at his life total, looked at the board, and picked up his permanents.

Jamie Hannah 1 – 2 Daniel Royde

Game Four

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

The secret to beating Royde's deck was clear. Mana. Don't let him have any. Even from a starting hand of five cards, Royde had been able to power back and dominate the game thanks to a pair of Joraga Treespeakers that Hannah had never been able to kill. A game away from leaving the tournament could Jamie Hannah repeat the first game, or was he doomed to be just another sacrifice to the Eldrazi gods?

It was Hannah's turn to mulligan in what could prove to be the final game, while Royde seemed to have landed in mana heaven, and by the third turn he had a Joraga Treespeaker and THREEOvergrown Battlements in play! This would surely only go one way...

Turn four: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Jamie Hannah 1 – 3 Daniel Royde

Final - Eduardo Sajgalik vs. Daniel Royde

by Rich Hagon

It's rare that the obvious two favorites in the top 8 successfully navigate their way to the final, but that's been the case at Great Britain Nationals 2011. These were the two experienced players, with Sunday action under their belts. Sajgalik has played on the Canadian National team at Worlds, while Royde is a Grand Prix Champion as recently as this year, with a win on home soil at GP London.

Khalni Garden opened the final for Royde, with turn two Fauna Shaman instantly dying to Dismember. Sajgalik had Squadron Hawk turn two - "of course I have" - leaving Royde to cast another Fauna Shaman, which this time stuck around. Green Sun's Zenith for one resolved, netting Royde Joraga Treespeaker, which he quickly levelled once.

Two Squadron Hawks for Sajgalik attacked, joined by Emeria Angel. Six mana brought Primeval titan to the table for Royde, who thought carefully before searching out Eldrazi Temple and a second Terramorphic Expanse. Sajgalik attacked for five through the air, leaving Royde at 12. Gideon Jura was up next, and the planeswalker spent two loyalty to kill Royde's Joraga Treespeaker.

Royde took his time over his next play, eventually sending both Fauna Shaman and Primeval Titan at Sajgalik, ignoring Gideon. Two more Eldrazi Temples landed. Down came Garruk Wildspeaker for Royde, and then Artisan of Kozilek and Fauna Shaman. Garruk went to four loyalty, meaning Royde had access to the Overrun ability.

Sajgalik sent his five power of flying beats into the red zone, and like Royde he elected to ignore an opposing planeswalker. Now the life totals stood at seven apiece. Sajgalik took out Eye of Ugin with Terramorphic Expanse, before Gideon forced all Royde's forces to attack him. Sajgalik now had all four Squadron Hawks on board, together with Emeria Angel and one Bird token.

Royde did the math and saw that Sajgalik had lethal for the following turn. Royde activated his Fauna Shaman, and fetched up Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Then there was a long pause. A long pause. It looked like he was one mana short of the plan he'd formulated. He attacked with Artisan of Kozilek and Primeval Titan. Sajgalik chose a pair of lands to sacrifice, then Royde searched up Mystifying Maze and Eldrazi Temple.

Three blocks from Sajgalik saw Gideon fall to one loyalty, but now Sajgalik had six damage through the air available, rather than the lethal seven. He did, however, also have Gideon with one loyalty.
Royde headed up to ten mana, and cast Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, destroying Gideon.

Sajgalik laid a land, generated a Bird token, and used Tectonic Edge to blow up Mystifying Maze. Royde fell to three, and Sajgalik passed the turn. Surely he couldn't turn this one around? Royde activated Fauna Shaman, searched up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and that was indeed the end.

Eduardo Sajgalik 0 - 1 Daniel Royde

Royde was underway quickly in Game 2, with turn one Joraga Treespeaker. Sajgalik had his now customary turn two Squadron Hawk.
Overgrown Battlement and a level up for the Joraga Treespeaker was Royde's turn two, piling him up the mana ramp. How much further could he get on turn three? Not very far, since Joraga Treespeaker turned sideways to deal an unexpected one damage. Most unexciting. Even more unexciting was the Day of Judgment cast by Sajgalik. At least Royde had a response of Beast Within, turning Sajgalik's Tectonic Edge into a 3/3, which died to the Day of Judgment. Royde reloaded with two more Joraga Treespeakers, levelling one for the first time.

Sajgalik cast one Squadron Hawk, but chose not to cast another that he'd fetched up, leaving Mana Leak / Flashfreeze mana open. Royde levelled his way up to six mana, enough for a Primeval Titan, but he went for Garruk Wildspeaker. The planeswalker went to four loyalty, and Royde continued to level his Joraga Treespeakers. Squadron Hawk returned Garruk to three lovalty, Sajgalik again laying Squadron Hawk with countermagic mana left open.

Daniel Royde

Eleven mana for Royde. Eleven. That meant Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, destroying Celestial Colonnade. Although Sajgalik had Flashfreeze, that was no use against the Eldrazi. Thankfully for Sajgalik, he had an answer ready in Phantasmal Image, copying Ulamog. Both Image and Ulamog went to the graveyard, with Royde shuffling his graveyard back into his library.

Sajgalik was up to three Squadron Hawks, but he was tapped out, giving Royde another window for high-mana entertainment. That didn't occur, Royde attacking for one and putting Garruk to one loyalty, creating a beast. Then it did occur, with Green Sun's Zenith for six finding Primeval Titan, fetching in turn two Tectonic Edge. Currently at four mana, it looked as if Sajgalik might be a while before getting any further.

Sajgalik attacked through the air for two, adding Sword of Feast and Famine. At four mana, though, he couldn't cast and equip on the same turn. Royde turned his team sideways in an old-fashioned green smashing. Primeval Titan fetched Mystifying Maze and another Tectonic Edge, eleven damage piling into Sajgalik, dropping him to five.
Sajgalik equipped a Hawk, and floated a blue mana from Seachrome Coast, enabling him to cast Into the Roil on the Primeval Titan, still with blue mana available for Flashfreeze should he need it.

Royde replayed the Primeval Titan, finding Flashfreeze in the way. No doubt about it, Sajgalik was trying everything to stay in this one.
Into the Roil with kicker drew another card for Sajgalik, while the Hawk equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine held the fort. Gideon Jura was next, and eight loyalty meant Royde's team would have to attack the planeswalker.

"Is it good?" asked Sajgalik, as Royde drew.

"It's pretty good."

"Ulamog? Emrakul?"

"Just let me process this."

Having processed it, Royde used Terastodon to take out Gideon Jura, Sword of Feast and Famine, and one of his own Forests.

"Pretty sure I have a good topdeck of my own" said Sajgalik, finding Gideon Jura, who promptly went to eight loyalty. Beast Within was the next topdeck for Royde, taking out Gideon Jura. Sajgalik nibbled through the air, before Royde came up with Karn Liberated. A 3/3 bit the dust before Terastodon attacked for Royde, alongside his own Beast. Inkmoth Nexus activated for Sajgalik, who reduced the Terastodon to a 'mere' 8/8.

Tectonic Edge took out Mystifying Maze, meaning Sajgalik could get Karn Liberated down to two loyalty with a Squadron Hawk attack. Karn went back up to six, Sajgalik discarding Spell Pierce. The good spells continued to come for Royde, who found Primeval Titan, fetching Eye of Ugin and Tectonic Edge.

Top of the deck for Sajgalik? Day of Judgment. Eye of Ugin fetched Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre soon after, and another looooong game came to a close, with Royde going two up with three to play.

Eduardo Sajgalik 0 - 2 Daniel Royde

Sajgalik opened on Squadron Hawk, Royde on Overgrown Battlement.
Sajgalik had hurled everything at Royde, but he still needed to somehow find three straight wins against a man who had not lost in Constructed all weekend.

Eduardo Sajgalik

"I'm pretty sure this is a new one" Sajgalik said, as he cast Phantasmal Image, copying the Overgorwn Battlement. Royde laid Tectonic Edge, and used his four mana to cast Garruk Wildspeaker. Two Forests untapped, leading to Joraga Treespeaker. Squadron Hawk returned Garruk to three loyalty, and Sajgalik used the extra mana from his Phantasmal Image (Overgrown Battlement) to cast Gideon Jura.
The planeswalker promptly destroyed Royde's Overgrown Battlement. As I said, Sajgalik was really thinking creatively, trying to keep himself in the match.

Primeval Titan arrived for Royde, fetching Eldrazi Temple and Khalni Garden. Planeswalkers were on both sides of the table, Gideon at two loyalty for Sajgalik, Garruk at three for Royde. Sajgalik cast Emeria Angel, with Royde sending his Primeval Titan to attack Gideon. The triggered Titan fetched him Eldrazi Temple and Tectonic Edge, once again threatening to stunt Sajgalik's mana. When Sajgalik asked Royde to order blockers (reply: Emeria Angel first, Bird token second), Sajgalik was ready with Dismember, making the Primeval Titan a 1/1, dying to the Emeria Angel.

Royde cast Green Sun's Zenith for five, getting Stingerfling Spider, killing the Emeria Angel. Sajgalik turned Gideon into a 6/6 and attacked Garruk, finally dealing with the planeswalker, who seemed to have been in play forever. Tectonic Edge from Sajgalik took out Royde's own landkiller, leaving Gideon as the only planeswalker left.

That didn't last long, as Royde had a backup Garruk Wildspeaker ready to go, making a 3/3 Beast. A freshly-drawn Tectonic Edge from Royde destroyed Inkmoth Nexus, taking Sajgalik back down to three mana.
Gideon attacked as a 6/6, so Royde's Beast got in the way. Down came Squadron Hawk, and Sajgalik passed.

Incredibly, life total were still at 16 - 19 in Royde's favor, with almost no impact on the scoreboard, as planeswalkers dominated the gameplay. Royde went for Terastodon, but Sajgalik had Deprive ready.
Gideon went up to four loyalty, forcing Royde to attack. The board now stood at two Squadron Hawk, Gideon Jura and the Phantasmal Image / Overgrown Battlement for Sajgalik, opposite Stingerfling Spider and Garruk Wildspeaker for Royde.

Royde laid Eye of Ugin. Now that was going to shake things up a bit.

Sajgalik drew Oblivion Ring, and used it to remove Garruk Wildspeaker from play. At end of turn, Royde fetched Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.
And then things got messy. Royde had spent an eternity through many of his turns, and received both cautions and a Warning for Slow Play. Now a second Warning occurred, and that would be mean a Game Loss. Royde appealed to the Head Judge, but it was upheld. In truth, this might easily have happened earlier in the match.

Eduardo Sajgalik 1 - 2 Daniel Royde

Could Royde recover from being so close to the finish line? He opened with Khalni Garden, followed by Joraga Treespeaker. Sajgalik cast Preordain, meaning no Squadron Hawk for possibly the first turn two of the entire top 8. The Treespeaker levelled up, Royde using the mana to cast Green Sun's Zenith for one, fetching a second Joraga Treespeaker.
He continued to level them upwards while Sajgalik simply laid land.

Tectonic Edge took out Glacial Fortress, with Royde levelling his first Treespeaker to level 3, heading towards 5, where all his Elves would generate two mana. Eldrazi Temple arrived, and finally Sajgalik had a play, a turn five Squadron Hawk, fetching one more to bring his hand back up to seven. The Tectonic Edge fun continued as Royde looked to pressurize Sajgalik's mana. Beast Within would have taken out Sajgalik's last blue source of mana, but he had Flashfreeze among his full grip of seven cards.

Royde added up his mana, got to nine, and cast Artisan of Kozilek. As a 10/9, that's quite big. Phantasmal Image - that's quite big too, when it's pretending to be an Artisan of Kozilek. Sajgalik fetched up his final Squadron Hawk, waiting to join the three on board. In came the Royde Artisan, Annihilator forcing Sajgalik to ditch two of his Hawks (with land still tight, he felt that was his only option.) Primeval Titan joined the fray, with Khalni Garden and Tectonic Edge the chosen lands.

Artisan of Kozilek
Gideon Jura

Sajgalik cast Gideon Jura, immediately destroying the tapped Artisan of Kozilek. Primeval Titan attacked Gideon, searching up Eldrazi Temple and Tectonic Edge. Gideon headed for the graveyard, before Sajgalik triggered another round of Tectonic Edge-ness, destroying Royde's Mystifying Maze. Sajgalik's Artisan of Kozilek attacked, and Royde took the full ten damage, falling to seven.

In Royde's upkeep, Into the Roil with kicker attempted to return Joraga Treespeaker to his hand. That changed the math, and Royde used his Tectonic Edge, assuming it was end of turn, rather than his upkeep, which it actually was. Primeval Titan attacked Sajgalik to thirteen, two Eldrazi Temples hitting play for Royde. He returned Joraga Treespeaker to play, and began the job of levelling them up.

Artisan of Kozilek attacked. Royde had to sacrifice another two permanents to Annihilate, chump-blocking with his Treespeaker.
Sajgalik got himself back up to four mana. He cast his fourth and final Squadron Hawk, with two mana open. Royde cast Karn Liberated, which Sajgalik countered with Spell Pierce. Extraordinarily, Royde couldn't pay for it. He just didn't have enough.

In came the Artisan again from Sajgalik, more chump-blocking from Royde, who was now at just six life. As we closed in on the three hour mark in the final, we were close to a deciding game. Royde cast Primeval Titan, but Sajgalik had Flashfreeze. That was it, and we were going all the way.

Eduardo Sajgalik 2 - 2 Daniel Royde

"I'm pretty sure that I should have sacrificed Eye of Ugin to the Annihilator" said Royde. "If I do that, you can't Spell Pierce my Karn Liberated, and I'm pretty sure I win."

"Winning's pretty sweet I hear" replied Sajgalik. "I can't believe I went all the way with 'your' Artisan of Kozilek."

Phantasmal Image was a bit tasty, that's for sure.

Double Joraga Treespeaker started the decider for Royde, with Eldrazi Temple ready to pull the trigger on Eldrazi naughtiness later in the game. Both Treespeakers went to level up, with Sajgalik responding with Dismember at the cost of four life. Primeval Titan met Flashfreeze, but Royde had Summoning Trap...

Summoning Trap

Seven cards: Anything good? Overgrown Battlement.


Day of Judgment wiped the board, Royde was down to two cards, and Sajgalik still had five. The Squadron Hawk plan began again. Royde cast Garruk Wildspeaker, who made a 3/3 Beast. Squadron Hawk took his loyalty to one before Sajgalik cast his second Hawk. Royde cast Green Sun's Zenith for six, which found Primeval Titan. Down came two Tectonic Edges. At end of turn, the 3/3 Beast token died to Into the Roil with kicker, netting Sajgalik another card. Garruk died to the two Squadron Hawks, Sajgalik casting Emeria Angel, getting a Bird from landfall, and completing the turn with Azure Mage.

Primeval Titan attacked once more, with Sajgalik at thirteen. Royde fetched two Eldrazi Temple. He had two cards in hand. Sajgalik took six and fell to seven life. Another Primeval Titan joined the battlefield, with Royde this time searching for Eye of Ugin and Mystifying Maze. The end was surely nigh.

"You're at 20, right?" asked Sajgalik. "That's quite a lot."

Azure Mage drew him a card. Oblivion Ring (which he already had in
hand) took out one Primeval Titan. Eight damage came in, sending Royde to twelve. Royde laid a Forest, with just one card left in hand. He attacked with Primeval Titan yet again, finding Tectonic Edge and Khalni Garden. Sajgalik fell to just one life, and was back right on the verge of extinction as he had been hours earlier.

He untapped.

"How much mana can you make next turn? It's like seventeen? Not much, not much..."

Sajgalik looked at his four cards in hand. Landfall brought him a token. Down came Squadron Hawk. He passed.

At end of turn, Royde used his Eye of Ugin to search. We'd been here before, at 2-0, moments before his Game Loss. Now we were at 2-2. He found Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Eye of Ugin
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn



Primeval Titan attacked, finding two Forests. Sajgalik simply had to put six toughness in the way. Three Squadron Hawks and Emeria Angel died.

Royde reached fifteen mana, and cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

He began his extra turn. Emrakul attacked, Annihilator 6 seeing Sajgalik sacrifice Oblivion Ring, Azure Mage, and a bunch of creatures. Primeval Titan returned to play from the Oblivion Ring's clutches. Terastodon came down, destroying all three Celestial Colonnades.

Sajgalik untapped with three 3/3s, and three mana. He dropped a fourth mana. Day of Judgment?


Eduardo Sajgalik 2 - 3 Daniel Royde

Congratulations to Daniel Royde, Great Britain National Champion 2011!