2009-10 Precon Championships: Tinsman Division (Part 2 of 2)
We’re marching towards a Rosewater Conference conclusion today, ready to crown the winner of the Tinsman Disivion. When last we left the arena, we’d cut the field of contenders in half. Upset or simply unable to overcome their opponent, Liliana’s Deck from the Duel Decks series, Zendikar’s Pumped Up, Magic 2010’s We Are Legion, and Wordwake’s Fangs of the Bloodchief were all sent to the showers, their shot at glory now decisively over.
That left a quartet of decks with one win beneath their belts, but they can hardly rest on their laurels! Today, three of them will be retired, leaving one deck and one deck alone to face off against Duels of the Planeswalker’s Eyes of Shadow for the right to represent the mighty and storied Rosewater Conference in the finals.
For those keeping score at home, here is today’s bracket:
And now, without further ado, here are today’s matchups!
Eldrazi Arisen vs Strike Force
The contest begins with a chancy keep for Arisen, holding firm to an Ulamog’s Crusher, Conquering Manticore, and Akoum Boulderfoot, but are rewarded when Strike Force seems to hit an equally slow start. A Sporecap Spider followed by a Kozilek’s Predator manages to thicken up the middle a bit against the attacks of a Boros Swiftblade, Cerodon Yearling, and Boros Guildmage. A Balefire Liege ramps up the Force, giving all red spells a bit of extra reach. Still, an attacking Rapacious One with the Conquering Manticore (borrowing the Liege for a turn) yield six Spawn tokens- Ulamog’s Crusher is but a turn away! But one the Liege is back with the Force, the last 6 points are dealt by an Arc Lightning to Arisen’s face.
This win was all heart, as Eldrazi Arisen had to dig deep to hold off Strike Force after a backbreaking play. Arisen was scrapping its way to a Crusher, land by land, with only an early Nest Invader and Sporecap Spider giving it some aid. Then- hallelujah!- it draws into an Awakening Zone. Squeezeing out every last resource it manages to land the Crusher only to have it hit with Prison Term. Absolutely gutted, it looks at what it has left in hand- an Akoum Boulderfoot- and begins to rebuild while holding off Strike Force’s relentless assault. With a Flametongue Kavu, Boros Swiftblade, and Hearthfire Hobgoblin pounding at the doors, it finds a way to overcome on the back of a Conquering Manticore, but even then Strike Force stubbornly Congregates and buys itself a ton more time. Finally, Arisen lands Hand of Emrakul, and beats through for a frighteningly close win.
An epic game for the ages! Pushed to a game three, Arisen starts slowly with a Crusher in hand. Drawing land after land is short-term painful, but the goal is in sight. Strike Force, for its part, is unusually creature-shy, though the Boros Swiftblade, Keldon Champion, Duergar Hedge-Mage, and Cerodon Yearling stream grind down hard over successive turns. Finally, thanks to a Spawn token sprung from the back of a Nest Invader, Arisen gets a turn-7 Ulamog’s Crusher, and it’s a titanic struggle from there. The Crusher gets in two swings (each annihiliating for 2), getting chumped but eroding Strike Force’s mana base. It’s dealt with by Order, which exiles it, but is followed by the Hand of Emrakul two turns later. The Hand gets tri-blocked for a very expensive trade, but the board is wide-open country now, inhabited only by a Sporecap Spider.
Strike Force wasts little time in rebuilding, adding a Hearthfire Hobgoblin and Boros Swiftblade, but its attept to gain a lethal edge with Rorix Bladewing is shot down by a timely Windstorm. Arisen does some rebuilding of its own with an Akoum Boulderfoot, followed closely by a Runed Servitor, another Sporecap Spider (the first has been hit by a Lightning Helix after blocking)… and a Pathrazer of Ulamog. Down to 3 mana, Strike Force takes out its third Eldrazi of the game (Prison Terming it), but the Boulderfoot is joined by a Rapacious One and grinds out an upset.
The full extent of the heartbreak is revealed when Strike Force shows its hand: Akroma’s Vengeance, Razia Boros Archangel, Balefire Liege, and Captain’s Maneuver. None of which can be cast (usefully here) on three land.
WINNER: Eldrazi Arisen
Leveler’s Scorn vs Rise of the Vampires
A slightly slower start than usual for the Vampires (their speed down to “normal” rather than “aggro”) gives Scorn the chance it needs to establish a foothold. An early Skywatcher Adept (set at L1 to gain evasion), Wall of Bone, and Echo Mage aren’t enough to hold off the mounting threats. Doom Blade is a dead draw for Scorn, but that’s more than made up for when the Sphinx of Magosi hits the table. Even the Malakir Bloodwitch is powerless to stop the assault, and Vampires is handed the loss.
A moderate start for Vampires, but Scorn is stuck on two land for most of the game and that’s like blood in the water. Only able to play critters in single file with so few resources, it painfully watches as each is dealt with in turn: Feast of Blood… Hideous End… Gatekeeper of Malakir… Scorn never lands so much as a scratch, and the turn 1 Piranha Marsh Vampires played ends up being rather symbolic.
Everything appears to be on Scorn’s side from the get-go. A turn 1 Skywatcher Adept, a turn 2 See Beyond, turn 3 leveling of the Adept… then into Snapping Drake and crowning the air force with the Sphinx of Magosi. Then when Vampires kills the Sphinx and use Rise from the Grave to reanimate him, everything changes. Scorn spends a ton of mana trying to level its remaining critters, but in the end it matters naught. A Vampire’s Bite on the Sphinx seals their victory.
WINNER: Rise of the Vampires
Eldrazi Arisen vs Rise of the Vampires
This is it, the battle for supremacy of the Tinsman Division! Eldrazi Arisen has given its all just to be here, but will it be able to hold off the rapid aggression of the Vampires? For their part, Rise of the Vampires has chewed through Fangs of the Bloodchief and Leveler’s Scorn, bolstered by solid Black removal. Can it get the job done now?
The Ondu Giant is an all-star here, putting down a substantial body and ramping on turn 4 after Arisen has taken some early damage. An Awakening Zone and Dreamstone Hedron help bring a Pathrazer of Ulamog on-line, a turn after Vampires hit a Rapacious One with a Hideous End. Unable to find any more removal, Vampires is dispatched on the third swing. A feeble Blood Tribute, a Gatekeeper of Malakir (killing an Eldrazi Spawn), and Child of Night were about as much as Vampires could muster.
A small mana stumble for Rise of the Vampires out of the gate, and Arisen takes full advantage. Another early Awakening Zone and a Kozilek’s Predator help accelerate an Ulamog’s Crusher, who wreaks havoc on the Vampires’ board (including a very lonely Acolyte of Xathrid). Vampires falls with three lands in play, the last being played on its final turn (a Piranha Marsh, which came into play tapped).
WINNER: Eldrazi Arisen
What a remarkable run! The fear for Eldrazi Arisen was that it might be too slow for this mixed environment, but it managed to put paid to all the critics after it triumphed over both Liliana’s Deck and Strike Force and never looked back! Truly this will be one of the Championship’s great stories in years to come, regardless of what happens next. A veritable Cinderella story, we are proud to present:
That’s all for now. Next we move over to the Forsythe Conference, for some exciting action starting with the Turian Division. See you then!
Wow. Just wow. I don’t know what else to say. Force vs Arisen looks like it was one hell of a match.
Strike Force is out, I can’t believe it …
I guess, I’ll have to re-evaluate my considerations …
Exciting first round. =D