2008-09 Precon Championships: Nagle Division
We begin the 2008-09 Season with the Nagle Division. Because of the large number of byes in this season’s diminished field, we’re able to bring you all the exciting divisional coverage in a single post! Unlike the other three divisions, by random chance the Nagle Division gets an entire first round of byes. Here’s the Nagle Division’s quadrant of brackets:
The Teams to Beat
Overall, we see it’s a quick run to the divisional final, with fully half of the division’s decks making it to that final clash that will determine who will represent them all in the Conference Final. In alphabetical order, here are today’s contenders!
Colours: White, Blue, Green
Detail: The middle-set’s upgrade to the first Bant deck, Bant on the March keeps the theme of exalted creatures making titans out of weenies (Reviews: not available)
Set: Duel Decks- Jace vs Chandra
Detail: Coming from the first of the planeswalker-themed Duel Decks, Jace’s deck is all about control. Whether it be through permission and denial or locking down the red zone and beating in through the skies, it’s sure to be one of the divisional frontrunners! (Reviews: deck, play)
Colours: Blue, White
Set: Alara Reborn
Detail: A Bant-Esper partnership, like Jace’s deck Legion Aloft looks to rule the skies. It has a few tricks up its sleeves, and even has a dose of the set’s powerful cascade ability
Colours: Blue, Black
Set: Alara Reborn
Detail: Another Esper hybrid, this deck fuses with the dark side of Grixis. Can etherium artifacts be the missing key the undead hordes of Grixis needs to overtake the competition?
Got your snacks heated up? Great, the games are about to begin!
Unnatural Schemes vs Jace’s Deck
Schemes falters out of the gate, mulling down to 5 before finding an acceptable keep. A couple of Parasitic Strix struggle to see play working around some hefty bounces and countermagic such as Counterspell, Condescend, Repulse, and the mighty Aethersnipe. The best threat Schemes lands is a Nemesis of Reason, but even it gets bounced. Meanwhile, a Waterspout Djinn and a Man-o’-War make quick work of their opponent’s struggling board.
Mulling down to 6, Jace never really gets established as he is pecked to death in the air by a pair of Tidehollow Strixes. The Nemesis of Reason hits twice but for no real damage. Jace is stalled with an unmorphed Brine Elemental, but just can’t mount much of a defense and Unnatural Schemes walks this one.
Schemes gets a lot of its defensive tricks out to stall the board a bit- Deny Reality, Nantuko Shade, Agony Warp, the Strix- but this game is commandingly Jace’s to win. Both the Lich Lord of Unx and the Nemesis of Reason get countered early, then Jace’s card advantages supercharges him past his opponent. Fact or Fiction, Ancestral Vision, and Mulldrifter keep his hand full, and soon he owns the skies as well. A Quicksilver Dragon sacrifices itself to kill the Strix, and is replaced by an Air Elemental with an Errant Ephemeron in the on-deck circle. The MVP is a Spire Golem which got in for a series of hits, being too small to trade the Strix for but too big to ignore.
WINNER: Jace’s Deck
Legion Aloft vs Bant on the March
Legion is in a tough spot early- despite a quick Esper Cormorants followed by a Glassdust Hulk, Bant’s Giltspire Avenger makes it entirely unprofitable to attack. Meanwhile, Bant builds up with a Rhox Meditant attacking every round buoyed by exalted on the Avenger, a Rhox Bodyguard, and an eventual Aven Squire. Legion is not without some fight- it Pacifies a turn-3 Rhox War Monk and solves the Avenger when it cascades off of Stormcaller’s Boon into a Whispersilk Cloak. The Cloak is equipped to the Hulk, which storms in turn after turn. It’s a race, but one that Legion wins when it Pacifies Bant’s only aerial defender and swings for lethal in the skies with an Aven Mimeomancer, Ethercaste Knight, the Hulk and the Cormorants, all flying thanks to the Stormcaller’s Boon.
Legion mulls to 6 with a dreadful keep- 5 lands and a Filigree Angel, but Bant doesn’t press full advantage. A turn-1 Suntail Hawk gets in some quick beats, along with the trailing Rhox Meditant and Aerie Mystics, but Legion erects a Wall of Denial and staunches the damage flow. Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer makes a quick cameo, getting blasted with a Path to Exile after his first bribery. A Glassdust Hulk, Aven Mimeomancer, and Ethercaste Knight appear in short order. The Filigree Angel comes in for 6 life when it is summoned to the battlefield, though it immediately draws a Pacifism. Still, Bant can’t seem to circumvent Legion’s defenses while it keeps summoning artifacts to punch in unblockably with the Hulk. A final backbreaking play is when Legion uses Offering to Asha to counter Asha’s Favor and keep Bant out of the skies.
WINNER: Legion Aloft
Nagle Division Final: Jace’s Deck vs Legion Aloft
Legion stumbles early, mulling down to 5 this time, but at last manages a Wall of Denial. Still, Jace does not stand idly by, instead deploying a morphed Voidmage Apprentice, Mulldrifter, morphed Fathom Seer, and a Spire Golem. With a fistful of countermagic, Legion sees would-be defender after would-be defender go straight to the graveyard as Jace takes on an aggro-control stance. Jace grinds out a simple win and ends with 20 life.
An epic, drawn-out throwdown between two buildup decks! Both get off to solid, ealry starts- Jace with a Spire Golem and Jace Beleren; Legion with twin Ethercaste Knights. The Golem draws two Pacifisms as Legion tries to batter down the planeswalker, but each time Jace is there with a Man-o’-War to spring the Golem out of jail. Guile makes an appearance, but is blown off the board with a Path to Exile. Both sides continue to build up, but no attack is profitable- it’s a stalemate.
Then Legion lands the Stormcaller’s Boon (cascading into an Aven Mimeomancer). The Boon gets popped the next turn and Jace takes a drubbing, down to less than half life. With many of his creatures defensive in nature (two Walls of Deceit being the most obvious example), Jace can’t counterstrike without leaving himself open for defeat, and looks to circle the wagons. The irritating Mimeomancer gets solved with a Fledgling Mawcor clearing the way for the Quicksilver Dragon kept on reserve in Jace’s hand. A pair of Mulldrifters refill his hand, and a Spire Golem lands for more power in the air.
Still, all it would take for Legion to win is to play a single artifact, pumping up its Glassdust Hulk and making it unblockable for the kill. Fortunately, Jace’s counters start to emerge from the library, and artifact after artifact gets Counterspelled and Condescended, and when one finally does get through the Hulk is Repulsed. Jace finally grinds down Legion in the air, and takes the divisional title!