2010-11 Precon Championships: Lauer Division (Part 2 of 2)
Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the 2010-11 Precon Championships! We’re heading down the home stretch now with today’s event, the second-to-last in the season. Today we crown the last of the four divisional champions who will then square off next week to determine the winner. Today’s matches promise to be some of the most explosive thus far, as the Lauer Division is packed with power! We have an Event Deck (Mirrodin Besieged’s Infect & Defile), a Duel Deck (Elspeth), a Premium Deck Series deck (Fire & Lightning), and amongst these titans a mere moral will struggle to stay alive- Mirrodin Besieged’s Mirromancy Intro Pack deck.
Whoever wins today will go on to the Final Four, ready to face down Bring About the Undead Apocalypse for the change to make it to the Championship Match! Let’s head down now to the arena, where the first match is about to begin.
Infect & Defile (MBS-e) vs Mirromancy (MBS)
Both decks need a few turns to get started, but once they do there’s seldom a quiet moment. I&D gets off a Plague Myr and Necropede, which draw an Arc Trail after some early damage. Both sides Foresee and Preordain some draw fixing, while Mirromancy Calls to Mind the Arc Trail. Hand of the Praetors draws out a second use of it, but the Hand recurs thanks to a Corpse Cur and has to be put down again with a Lightning Bolt.
Mirromancy manages to deploy the Fire Servant, giving it some hope for victory, but it gets stolen with a Corrupted Conscience forcing Mirromancy to expend a Quicksilver Geyser to get it back. It’s recast, and Mirromancy is rewarded with a 10-point Lava Axe to I&D’s face.
From there the race is on for each side- seriously injured- to finish off the other. Few creatures live long. A Koth’s Courier is Smothered. A Neurok Commando gets Mana Leaked. A Blisterstick Shaman Deprived. Mirromancy gets a breakthrough attack when a second Blisterstick Shaman, an Iron Myr, and an Ogre Resister stick, but a Doom Blade blunts the assault. I&D reclaims and plays the Hand of the Praetors with another Corpse Cur, and at 9 poison counters Mirromancy needs to draw burn to win. It doesn’t, and next turn another infect creature deals that fatal 10th counter thanks to the Hand.
Both sides lead with Preordains here, then a flurry of activity follows. I&D begins with a Plague Myr, which gets killed by a Blisterstick Shaman, which gets picked off by a Contagion Clasp, which then gets Crushed. A Corpse Cur recurs the Plague Myr, but falls to a Burn the Impure. The Burn the Impure gets recalled with a Call to Mind to kill off a Hand of the Praetors. A Neurok Commando sticks and gets in a couple of hits before falling to a Consuming Vapors, and Mirromancy’s bigger creatures like the Lumengrid Gargoyle and Peace Strider are counterspelled.
Still, Mirromancy has brought I&D within burn range, and just needs some fire to back it up. It plays a second Lumengrid Gargoyle, but this one gets stolen with Corrupted Conscience. When it’s joined by a Phyrexian Vatmother next turn, I&D seals its advancement with a lethal attack. All Mirromancy can do is look at the Lightning Bolt in its hand and the Lava Axe one turn away in the library and wonder what might have been.
WINNER: Infect & Defile
Elspeth (DD) vs Fire & Lightning (PDS)
F&L summons up a ton of burn to clear out Elspeth’s early plays. Goldmeadow Harrier? Lightning Bolt. Her pal, the Burrenton Bombardier? Reverberate the Lightning Bolt. The Elite Vanguard? Snipe with the Grim Lavamancer. A Boggart Ram-Gang is offered up as a sacrifice to chew through a Loyal Sentry, and Elspeth is wide open for a pair of Mogg Flunkies even after the offending Lavamancer draws a Saltblast. Add in a Spark Elemental and F&L hammers in for 9, putting Elspeth close to burn range with 8 life. Next turn it swings for lethal with the pair of Flunkies.
But Elspeth isn’t done that easily. She taps out to play Raise the Alarm and Celestial Crusader. The two 2/2 Soldiers gang-block one Flunky, letting the other through for 3. Next turn F&L tries to burn out Elsepth with a 5-point Fireball, but Elsepth negates it with a surprise Angel of Salvation. Reinforcing the Angel with the Swell of Courage, Elspeth claims victory with the very next swing.
With a game in hand, Elspeth takes a gamble on a strong but 1-landed hand. Its Infantry Veteran trades with a Mogg Fanatic. A Raise the Alarm takes out a second Fanatic when it attacks alongside a Hellspark Elemental. Its Loyal Sentry draws a Lightning Bolt, but in return it Sunlances a Grim Lavamancer. The land comes, and soon Elspeth, Knight-Errant touches down to take command personally, and it’s suddenly a whole new game.
Elspeth (the player) eats 5 from a Browbeat to keep F&L off of extra cards. Elspeth (the planeswalker) makes a 1/1 Soldier, adds a Kor Skyfisher and Seasoned Marshal for protection, and F&L can’t find answers. A second Bolt keeps her from going ultimate, but a steady aerial attack grinds F&L down. Finally, Elspeth goes all in behind a Swell of Courage and crushes its opposition.
Lauer Division Final: Infect & Defile (MBS-e) vs Elspeth (DD)
Elspeth struggles a bit on land early on, but still manages a Glory Seeker and Kor Aeronaut. These get traded for a Necropede and Corpse Cur, but the Necropede comes back (thanks to the Cur). A Plague Myr joins in, and Elspeth buys a turn with an entwined Blinding Beam after a second Corpse Cur hits the table. Elspeth, Knight-Errant gets Mana Leaked, while the Aeronaut is targeted when a Contagion Clasp is deployed. I&D then proliferates most every turn, while Elspeth starts playing expendable chumps that don’t live long enough to be useful- Goldmeadow Harrier, Temple Acolyte, Seasoned Marshal… in the end, the board is creatureless, but the Clasp keeps the steady steam of poison counters piling up on Elspeth for the win.
This time it’s I&D’s turn to struggle with land, halting at three with a Plague Myr out. Still plenty for the deck to be dangerous, though, as it gets a Necropede and Contagion Clasp to go with it. Elspeth is silent until turn 3, flashing out Solider tokens via Raise the Alarm at the end of I&D’s turn. Next it plays a Kor Hookmaster followed by a Celestial Crusader before going on the offensive.
The Clasp- having weakened the Hookmaster- proliferates, so when the Crusader draws a Doom Blade both creatures head for the scrapheap. But when a Conclave Equenaut lands, I&D has no answer and falls to its first swing.
Both decks with everything to win or lose bring their “A-game” to this last tilt. Elspeth keeps a 1-lander, emboldened by the success in the previous round when having done so. She spits out an Infantry Veteran, Goldmeadow Harrier, Loyal Sentry, and Crusade in short order. I&D, meanwhile, has Necropedes, a Plague Myr, and best of all- Hand of the Praetors.
But it is Elsepth who has the tricks, blunting I&D’s development with a Kor Hookmaster and Seasoned Marshal so that I&D can’t mount a successful attack or defense. A Raise the Alarm adds a pair of 2/2’s thanks to the Crusade, and after some trading back and forth a Swell of Courage again carries Elsepth’s forces past I&D’s freshly-summoned Phyrexian Vatmother and through for the victory!
And there you have it! All four Divisions have anointed their champions, ready to do battle next week for the ultimate prize. Elspeth took some risks with questionable keeps, and the lower cost of her forces paid off for her. She’ll be back next week ready to face down Bring About the Undead Apocalypse for the right to contest the Finals. The other three decks- despite having given their all- will now only watch as spectators.