DAY 2 OF KING OF THE HILL

Posted in PRO TOUR MAGIC 2015 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 3, 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.

The path to a Pro Tour Top 8 is paved with good intentions, shuffled decks, and winning matches. Being King of the Hill means rising to the top of the standings, holding one of the best set of tiebreakers in the room, and an eventual spot in the Top 8 of the event. Those that can claim and hold the crown of King of the Hill will always find themselves in range of the coveted eight Sunday seats.

Round 9: Zachary Jesse loses to (20) William Jensen

Hall of Fame player and current 20th-ranked William Jensen had a monstrous season this year. Setting the record with eight Grand Prix Top 8s this season, Jensen had one mission in mind for the weekend: claim a spot at the upcoming 2014 World Championship. To do it, he went undefeated on Day 1 and in a set of particularly not close games he knocked the other out to claim last man standing and, by default, the crown of King of the Hill.

Round 10: (20) William Jensen defeats (5) Owen Turtenwald

Typically, cards like Witch's Familiar and Aeronaut Tinkerer serve a blue-black deck well in Magic 2015 Draft. For 5th-ranked former Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald they did little to stop the advance of Jensen's army backed by not one but two copies of Sanctified Charge.

Jensen's undefeated march carried on through the battle between Peach Garden Oath brothers.

Round 11: (20) William Jensen defeats Matt Sperling

Facing another blue-black deck, though perhaps better given Matt Sperling's 2-0 lead in to the match with it, didn't slow Jensen down. Going late in the deciding game, Jensen forced Sperling to commit plenty to the battlefield before unleashing Mass Calcify, wiping away Sperling's chances in a one-sided Supreme Verdict.

Jensen hit 11-0 and rested comfortably on the throne in the switch to Constructed.

Round 12: (20) William Jensen (White-Black Midrange) loses to Ben Friedman (White-Black Midrange)

But, like so many rulers before his this weekend, Jensen finally fell defending the crown. In a mirror match, Friedman's sideboard choice of Liliana Vess helped turn the tide his way.

Round 13: Ben Friedman (White-Black Midrange) defeats Matt Sperling (White-Red Burn)

White-Black Midrange is susceptible to faster decks, but Friedman pull the right cards together to fend off Matt Sperling's Standard heat. While you might expect the later things go the harder it would become to hold on to King of the Hill, but Day 2 had proved to be a stable platform for player to ride on.

Perhaps it was the strongest talent that rising to the top.

Round 14: Ben Friedman (White-Black Midrange) loses to Gregory Orange (White-Blue Control)

On the back of Elixir of Immortality, Gregory Orange returned to fight for the crown, and was successful in wresting it from Friedman. With more answers than Friedman could generate in threats, Orange ground the games out until he took firm control.

Round 15: Gregory Orange (White-Blue Control) loses to Jackson Cunningham (White-Green Aggro)

One of the running points of the weekend was how both Midrange and Control decks were slow, leaving an opportunity for aggressive decks to take victories in haste. Jackson Cunningham's White-Green Aggro deck was one of several different flavors to find success at that all weekend. Attacking early and often let Cunningham overcome Orange to rise as King of the Hill and one of the few players playing for Top 8 in the following round.

Round 16: Jackson Cunningham (White-Green Aggro) loses to Patrick Cox (Naya Aggro)

In an epic three game showdown between aggressive decks, Patrick Cox chose to play for the right to enter Top 8 as the top seed and put himself on the play in doing so. Cunningham, offering twice to draw, fought hard to avoid taking a loss. While he wasn't successful in defending the King of the Hill spot, he still earned what he was looking for in a seat at the Sunday Top 8 of Pro Tour Magic 2015.

What would Cox do as reigning King of the Hill and top seed? That's another story for Sunday.

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