Jacob Wilson is a Platinum Pro from Canada with a Pro Tour Top 8 and four Grand Prix Top 8s already garnered in his short career. Wilson hopes to add another Pro Tour Top 8 to his resume this weekend. Wilson only suffered a single loss yesterday, and enters competition near the top of the standings here on Day Two.
His opponent, Jessie Hampton comes and goes from competitive Magic, but he makes his presence known when he shows up. Hampton already has a Pro Tour Top 8 under his belt and he's on track to add another notch this weekend.
These two aren't strangers. In fact, Hampton qualified for this Pro Tour by winning Grand Prix Nashville, a Team Limited event, with Wilson by his side, leading the squad. The two are close friends that have nothing but respect for one another.
Hampton had a smirk as they were shuffling before the match, "This is my second draft. The first one was yesterday."
Wilson looked at me with assurance. "He seriously doesn't know what the cards do. He's probably gonna get blown out."
The two friends and Grand Prix Nashville champions got their first match of the day started.
Hampton isn't just some guy off the street, though. We're talking about one of the greatest examples of raw talent in the game. Hampton could be drafting blindfolded and still make it work. He has incredible instincts and exploits card advantage angles in every Limited format.
Wilson had the first play of the game with a morph while Hampton used his mana to start sculpting a game-plan with Scout the Borders.
Before long, Hampton was facing down Summit Prowler and a freshly unmorphed Canyon Lurker while he still lacked any non-land board presence.
Hampton was able to trade Sultai Scavenger for Canyon Lurkers and Sultai Soothsayer gave Hampton another blocker to catch up. Things looked good for Hampton, who had been setting up a perfect hand and now looked to be stabilizing.
Wilson kept the hits coming. Witness of the Ages came down and Reach of Shadows dealt with the Meandering Towershell that Hampton tried to turtle up with. Hampton was doing a good job of playing defense, but Ojutai, Soul of Winter soon followed for Wilson and Hampton found himself without an answer to the legendary dragon.
Wilson's primarily Mardu deck had a very powerful off-color dragon as his ally.
It wasn't long before Ojutai, Soul of Winter flew over for victory.
Wilson exhaled. "That's probably the best thing that could have happened."
Hampton nodded in agreement. It's all about perspective.
Neither player had a play for the first few turns of the game.
Hampton may be unfamiliar with the draft format, but his fundamentals in Magic were still strong.
Wilson tried to stabilize with Herald of Anafenza when he drew it, but Hampton already had Hooting Mandrils alongside other attacking bodies and the game was too far out of reach. Armament Corps sped up the clock by pumping up Hooting Mandrils and Wilson would be forced to play a third game.
When Hampton's Morph attacked, Wilson used Mardu Charm to make a pair of 1/1 first strikers for blocking duty. Hampton had Harsh Sustenance to ping a token and take the other down with regular old combat damage.
Hampton ended up trading Ruthless Ripper for Wilson's manifest.
From here, Hampton continued playing relevant threats while Wilson could only cast Witness of Ages to try to hold on. Wilson desperately needed a seventh land to cast Ojutai, Soul of Winter, but card after card off the top of the deck revealed a mediocre spell instead of the super important land.
Before long, Hampton had Wilson on the ropes. Wilson had one final turn where he could find a seventh land, but it wasn't meant to be.
Hampton 2 – Wilson 1