Round 14: (3) Lee Shi Tian (Red Aggro) vs. Max McVety (Green-White Constellation)

Posted in Event Coverage on August 2, 2015

By Corbin Hosler

As Pro Tour Magic Origins winded down on Saturday, the Player of the Year race was only heating up. With pre-event leader Eric Froehlich starting the event 0-3 before storming back to enter Round 14 at 9-4, Sam Black falling to 9-4 after a hot Day One, and Lee Shi Tian staying strong to also enter the round 9-4, the top three players in the race were all in place to make a late run at the title in Vancouver.

Not that the pressure was getting to Lee, the world's third-ranked player entering the weekend.

"It's fun," he said as he shuffled for another critical match in a day full of them. "It's been exciting to go back and forth all day."

It's fun for you, Lee, but maybe more fun for all of us watching.

Then again, it's maybe not very fun for Lee's opponent in Round 14, Max McVety. A Magic Online PTQ winner, McVety was playing in the second Pro Tour of this career, and he was visibly nervous as the match began.

"I didn't sleep very well last night, and I had a lot of nerves," McVety admitted to Lee as they prepared for the match. "Today has been tough."

Lee Shi Tian was playing the Red Aggro deck that many found success with at the Pro Tour, though his also came with a not-so-small wrinkle that had been key for him all weekend: Thunderbreak Regent. The Dragons of Tarkir 4/4 gave him a resilient creature that punishes opponents for targeting it, and allowed him to go over the top of many of the defensive decks.

Max McVety has performed well in his second Pro Tour. However, he had the misfortune to face off against Player of the Year contender Lee Shi Tian.

One of those decks was McVety's, who along with Kyle Boggemes entered the tournament with what turned out to be a brilliant metagame call: Green-White Constellation, complete with Nyx-Fleece Ram in the main deck to battle the red decks. The quirky deck had served both players well in Day One and had McVety battling for a high finish on Saturday.

The Games

The tough decisions started early for McVety, who eventually opted to keep a five-land hand that was risky but powerful if it drew well.

That's exactly what the American did, scrying a card to the bottom with Temple of Plenty and then finding Silkwrap to remove Lee's first attacker. But that didn't stop Lee from damaging McVety, as the burn spells to the dome began in earnest. A pair of Lightning Strikes and then a Searing Blood on Eidolon of Blossoms kept the burn coming, and Thunderbreak Regent followed up after that.

McVety has made his second Pro Tour a deep one.

The animals came in pairs for McVety, and two Nyx-Fleece Ram promised to take his life total quickly out of burn range if he could survive a few more turns. Unfortunately for him, dragons have never been scared of sheep, and one more attack and a final burn spell roasted McVety.

Game 2 looked like it may be a drawn-out affair after both players went down to five cards, but no one informed Lee of that. He had creatures on each of the first two turns, and when McVety missed his third land drop the beats dropped him down to 12 life.

Lee locks in on his end-of-season goals.

He found a Forest on the next turn to play a Courser of Kruphix, but it was immediately met by Exquisite Firecraft. Nyx-Fleece Ram was a good follow-up, but Lee's Roast was even better, and one more attack step ended things in a blur. With everything on the line, Lee's deck had delivered him exactly what he needed in the final game, and he advanced to the next round still live for Player of the Year.

Lee Shi Tian 2, Max McVety 0

Lee Shi Tian's Red Aggro—Pro Tour Magic Origins

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Max McVety's Green-White Constellation—Pro Tour Magic Origins

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