2011-2012 Precon Championships: Nagle Division (Part 2 of 2)
Last week we kicked off the exciting action of the 2011-12 Preconstructed Championships with the Nagle Divsion, and by the end of the day the field was cut in half. Today, the arithmetic will be even more drastic, as a full seventy-five percent of the competitors will be carried off the pitch in stretchers. In the end, only one deck will remain- the Divisional champion!
The Nagle Division has had a few surprises along the way. Few expected Ajani’s deck to fail to advance, particularly to a humble Intro Pack from Innistrad. By the same token, we’ve seldom seen so overwhelming a favourite as Innistrad’s Hold the Line Event Deck. As the old cliche goes, anything can happen, so let’s get to the matches!
As a reminder, remember again that the “Game #” refers to how the game is numbered on the bracket chart, not to how many games we’ve played so far!
Game 17: Hold the Line (INN) vs Political Puppets (COM)
Political Puppets desperately needs to stall, and a third-turn Darksteel Ingot promises some help. An early Elite Inquisitor gets bounced to the top of the library with a Whirlpool Whelm and winning clash, but comes right back with a Silver-Inlaid Dagger alongside a Mirran Crusader. Puppet’s Guard Gomazoa gets Bonds of Faithed, a Wall of Omens dies to the Crusader after an Honor of the Pure hits the table, and even a Ghostly Prison can’t save it.
Puppets is dismayed to find a slow start on its end met by a characteristically fast one on the other side of the table as Hold the Line roars into life. It begins with a Doomed Traveler and Silver-Inlaid Dagger, and again moves on to a Mirran Crusader. When both get enchanted with Bonds of Faith, Puppets exiles one attacker with a Soul Snare and bounces the Crusader with Repulse. Again, it can’t stop the relentless stream of beats, as its sole creature- a Spurnmage Advocate– is no match, and gets exiled from a Fiend Hunter besides. In desperation, Puppets Oblations a Swiftfoot Boots, but dies right on schedule.
WINNER: Hold the Line (INN)
Game 18: Carnival of Blood (INN) vs Repel the Dark (INN)
It’s a fast start for the Vampires in this fratricidal match with an early Bloodcrazed Neonate backed up by a Rakish Heir, forcing Repel to trade its opening Hamlet Captain for the Neonate to keep things in check. Repel continues apace with a Jade Mage followed by a an Unruly Mob.
Unfortunately, a Cobbled Wings gives the Heir the power to fly right past the opposing defenses, and its next joined with a Sengir Vampire. Though Repel eventually Bramblecrushes the Wings to ground the Hier, it’s already upsized with a few +1/+1 counters. Repel’s last hope- an Overrun– is exiled with a Night Terrors, and its dreams of a rally go with it.
For a short time, it looks like Repel could take the game. With several creatures on the board- a Jade Mage, Selfless Cathar, Elder Cathar, Unruly Mob, and Elder of Laurels on the board, its one Forest away from a game-taking Overrun.
Unfortunately, with victory in the air the Vampires don’t disappoint. Carnival curves nicely with a Traveler’s Amulet, Blood Seeker, Crossway Vampire, and Falkenrath Noble. A second Crossway and Rakish Heir make an appearance, and with a Curse of Stalked Prey out the Noble begins growing very quickly.
Repel is hemmed in with successive life losses thanks to the Seeker and Noble, and its options quickly dwindle in the absence of any removal. The Humans put up a brave face, but everyone knows they don’t win until Avacyn Restored.
WINNER: Carnival of Blood (INN)
Divisional Final: Hold the Line (INN) vs Carnival of Blood (INN)
The opener goes unsurprisingly fast. Hold leads with a Champion of the Parish and a Mirran Crusader, while Carnival stalls with a Tribute to Hunger to claim the Champion. A pair of opening-turn Cobbled Wings sit idle as the Crusader gets boosted with Bonds of Faith, a Fiend Hunter banishes a Rakish Heir, and an Elite Inquisitor appears. Carnival’s Falkenrath Noble can do little but spectate.
The Vampires just cant keep up with the Humans’ speed. An Elite Vanguard kicks things off, followed by a Doomed Traveler, Silver-Inlaid Dagger, and Honor of the Pure. A Markov Patrician draws an Oblivion Ring, while a Diabolic Tutor’ed Sengir Vampire is immediately solved by a Fiend Hunter. A Tribute to Hunger is the only real play the Vampires make, outside of Cobbled Wings and a Mask of Avacyn. Hold the Line romps to victory!
And we have a winner! There can be few surprised by the outcome today, as Hold the Line has stormed through its division to stake its claim. Such a commanding performance is surely a clarion call to the other three divisions that they will be facing a very real threat out of the Nagle this season. Will they be up to that challenge? We’ll find out soon enough. But this moment belongs to today’s winner, and so congratulations to…