Finals: John Seaton vs. Alex Ball

Posted in GRAND PRIX SYDNEY 2015 on October 11, 2015

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

New Zealand's John Seaton ended Day 1 on top of the standings, and continued in that vein to finish Day 2 the same way, despite the first draft of Day 2 being his first ever draft of Battle for Zendikar. Ireland's Alex Ball finished Day 1 with an 8-1 record on the back of Ob Nixilis Reignited. He struggled through the first draft of Day 2, but blitzed the second to secure his spot in the Top 8. Both players would now face each other in the finals.

Seaton's Blue-Black ingest deck would look to grind the top off of Ball's library, and then turn the leavings into gains to bury his opponent under incremental advantage. Ball's Red-White deck would instead try to hit the ground running, and follow it up immediately after with a series of hits to Seaton's life total.

"I'll play first... but not with those," Seaton announced, shuffling back his opening 7. "They're not doing it, either," he added, going down to 5 cards. Ball kept his 7, and it looked like Game 1 might be mercilessly short.

However, Ball's early game was less aggressive than it could have been, and Seaton looked like he was going to dig out of his mulligans with an Ugin's Insight for 4. Both players developed their boards – Seaton attacking in the air with small fliers while Ball shot back with a pair of Nettle Drones and a Tunneling Geopede.


Alex Ball sends in his team.

Seaton eventually dealt with the Drones, and looked like would manage to outrace Ball's landfall triggers on a paltry 2 life. With his back against the wall, Ball drew and pointed a Rolling Thunder at Seaton's face to steal Game 1.

Ball 1 – Seaton 0

"I didn't have many outs," Ball admitted, "but that was one of them."

"Evolving Wilds for the Geopede would have been funnier," Seaton laughed.

Both players kept their opening 7's in Game 2, but Ball quickly found himself starved of land-drops. He played out several small beaters, but they were unable to get a word in edgewise thanks to Seaton's blockers. He eventually caught up on lands and played out more creatures, but was stuck taking damage from Seaton's fliers.

"All of my attacks are horrible," Ball frowned, looking through the cards in his hand, and a few turns later, they were off to Game 3.

Ball 1 – Seaton 1

Both players wished each other good luck before the final game, and laid out their opening hands. Ball threw his back once, and a second time.

"This might not be my day," Ball admitted, as he scried the top of his library away after keeping his 5.

Ball again looked like he might stall on land, but found enough to summon a Kor Bladewhirl and a pair of Nettle Drones. Sensing weakness, Seaton summoned and attacked with a Cryptic Cruiser, and followed it up with a Kalastria Nightwatch, triggering a Kalastria Healer he already had in play.


John Seaton goes for the kill.

Seaton played an Ugin's Insight for 5, and on the following turn, tried to go over the top by summoning a Nirkana Assassin.

"Uhh, hold on a sec," Ball interrupted, "I'll Outnumber the Healer."

"That's not nearly as fun," laughed Seaton, attacking with the Cruiser and the grounded Nightwatch. Ball traded one Drone for the Cruiser, and the other along with the Bladewhirl for the Nightwatch.

Seaton happily replaced them with an Oracle of Dust and a Hagra Sharpshooter, and on the following turn, really put Ball under the knife with a Blighted Fen, and attacking Ball down to 3 life. Ball drew his card for the turn, and offer his hand in congratulations.

John Seaton defeats Alex Ball 2-1 to become the Grand Prix Sydney 2015 Champion!