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October 27, 2012

21

2011-2012 Precon Championships: Tinsman Division (Part 2 of 2)

by Dredd77

It’s hard to believe that we’re a month into the competition and nearly at the halfway mark already, but after today’s matches we’ll have the two finalists for the Rosewater Conference decided. The lethal Hold the Line waits in the wings having bested the field of the Nagle Division, eager to see which deck it will have to face up against for the right to represent the Conference in the Finals.

Four decks remain in the Tinsman, and in just a few moments we’ll head down to the arena to begin the culling process that will see three of them wiped off the board. GravebornBlood and FireSpectral LegionsDeathfed one of these will rise above the rest and claim Tinsman Division glory. That deck will sit beside past Tinsman winners Fate Blaster, Esper Artifice, Eldrazi Arisen, and Doom Inevitable in the ranks of honour.

And now… to the pit!

Game 19: Graveborn (PDS) vs Blood and Fire (M12)

Round One

Blood and Fire gets the beats rolling quickly, thanks to a Goblin Tunneler, Blood Ogre, and bloodthirsted Stormblood Berserker, letting it roll through for 5 each turn with a Volcanic Dragon on the way. It’s exactly the kind of fast, aggressive start that the deck needs to blitzkrieg its opponent, especially a stronger deck like Graveborn.

It doesn’t matter a jot.

An opening Cabal Therapy sees the Sphinx of the Steel Wind to the graveyard, where it gets yanked right back out next turn with an Exhume. For all intents and purposes, Graveborn wins on turn 2.

Round Two

Blood and Fire decides to be on the play this time, to deny Graveborn the ability to forego playing a land and force itself to discard. Unfazed, Graveborn simply plays Entomb to fetch the Sphinx of the Steel Wind, and pulls it out next turn with an Animate Dead. That’s more or less game.

For the curious, Blood and Fire did manage a Goblin Arsonist, Duskhunter Bat, and Gorehorn Minotaur. Oh, and Swiftfoot Boots.

WINNER: Graveborn (PDS)

Game 20: Spectral Leigons (INN) vs Deathfed (INN)

Round One

Spectral Legions has the answers to solve the surprisingly-strong Deathfed- though not without a bit of luck. After assembling a fat graveyard through use of spells like Mulch and a trio of Armored Skaabs, Deathfed is in pole position to start working down Spectral’s life total. Spectral has an early Mausoleum Guard and Doomed Traveler, but little else.

Still, the 1/1 Spirit tokens it generates become potent blockers once Spectral finds a Gallows Warden, and a Spectral Rider is an unstoppable force. Deathfed’s ace in the hole is Spider Spawning, and both times it tries to flash them back Spectral is ready with the counter (first a Negate, then a Lost in the Mist letting it bounce back its own Divine Favor, which had settled on a Moon Heron). Twice Deathfed tops off the tank with a massive Gnaw to the Bone, but in the end its only potent threat-  gargantuan Boneyard Wurms– are immediately Rebuked or Pacified and it never recovers.

Round Two

Spectral has a promising keep, but stalls on the two lands it opens with. The Angel of Flight Alabaster and a Moment of Heroism never have a chance as they are discarded right into the yard. Still, the deck recovers somewhat when it hits a third land, adding a Chapel Geist to its Doomed Traveler. A raft of auras follow- Divine Favor, Lifelink, even at the end a Curiosity– and the lifegain keeps Spectral in the game.

Still, Deathfed has little such trouble, blasting through its library with a pair of Armored Skaabs and a Forbidden Alchemy. A rapid succession of graveyard-dependent beaters touch down, first with a Bonehoard then with a pair of Boneyard Wurms, and Spectral just runs out of time- its most potent threats still in hand.

Round Three

With everything to play for, Spectral digs deep-a Chapel Geist, Moon Heron, and Angel of Flight Alabaster curve out nicely, with a Lifelink for the Angel and a Battleground Geist for the pump.

Deathfed does everything it can- an Armored Skaab, Boneyard Wurm, even a Green Sun’s Zenith for the Splinterfright, but after two Mulches only a paltry number of creatures have managed to find themselves in the ‘yard. With no Black mana to fuel a flashback Spider Spawning to buy it some time and shore up the gaping defensive vulnerability in the air, Deathfed succumbs to a steady stream of evasive damage.

WINNER: Spectral Legions (INN)

Tinsman Division Championship: Graveborn (PDS) vs Spectral Legions (INN)

Round One

Graveborn surely is feeling a high degree of confidence on the heels of its romp through the Tinsman- perhaps a bit too much. A two-land keep is fine, but pitching four fatties to a Sickening Dreams to await reanimation before Spectral’s landed a single Spirit is cocky in the extreme.

Unfortunately for Graveborn, Spectral gets off to a blistering start, with a Spectral Rider (given Curiosity), a second one, then a pair of Moon Herons in rapid succession.

Graveborn never recovers in time, and the Spirits roll to a surprise upset!

Round Two

Once again Spectral finds itself one game away from glory, but Graveborn is taking nothing for granted this time. Graveborn is able to bring out a discard outlet with an opening Putrid Imp, giving it the ability to throw cards right into the graveyard from hand. Spectral, meanwhile, is taking the aggro/swarm route once again. It leads with a Spectral Rider, and begins applying immediate pressure with a Moon Heron and Battleground Geist. An Angel of Flight Alabaster touches down, and a Sphinx of the Steel Wind is brought back with an Animate Dead. It draws a Rebuke when it attempts to attack, however. A Buried Alive pulls a Negate, and a Hidden Horror is killed off thank to a timely Moment of Heroism.  It looks as it victory is actually within grasp!

Until, that is, Graveborn fishes a Blazing Archon out of the graveyard with an Exhume. Thanks to the heavy aerial presence of Spectral Legions, Graveborn can’t push the pedal to the floor and destroy its opponent, but it has plenty of time to build itself up. Spectral does the exact same thing, casting creature after creature- Chapel Geist, Mausoleum Guard, Lantern Spirit, Voiceless Spirits, and even a massive Geist-Honored Monk. Graveborn couldn’t care less, and exiles the Angel with a Faceless Butcher.

Graveborn then shreds Spectral’s army with a brutally-timed Sickening Dreams, sending almost everything to the graveyard except a few Spirit tokens and the Angel of Flight Alabaster, freshly returned from vacation thanks to the departure of the Butcher. The Angel lets it slowly rebuild, returning Spirit after Spirit to hand, though it does little good.

The Sphinx of the Steel Wind comes back with an Animate Dead, but immediately draws a Ghostly Possession to neutralise it. A Hidden Horror can’t profitably attack- nor can a 9/9 Terastodon thanks to the endless chumpability of a Lantern Spirit. Although powerless to attack, Spectral has hunkered down in the bunker and surrounded itself with defenders.

Of course, there’s little that it can do against an Inkwell Leviathan, and Graveborn brings it back with a Dread Return. Spectral knows it has one out in its deck, and one out only- and it’s on a very fast clock.

The next turn, Graveborn slams in for 7 with the unblockable Leviathan, and it looks like it’s going to three… until Spectral topdecks its one answer- Unsummon– and sends the Blazing Archon back to hand! With its overwhelming creature presence now free to attack, Spectral alpha strikes for the upset!

And we have a winner! Against all odds or expectations, Innistrad’s Intro Pack Spectral Legions has clinched the Division with an upset over the highly-favoured Graveborn. Graveborn now can quietly fade into obscurity as the last of its Premium Deck Series kind, an end hastened by ignominious defeat. Meanwhile, Spectral Legions is wasting little time hitting the showers, then on to review game footage of Hold the Line in action. Can it manage a second consecutive colossal upset?

For the now, however, our coverage of the day’s action comes to an end. We move over to the Forsythe Conference next week, before the Finals which will see both Conference winners crowned before meeting for the penultimate conclusion. In the meantime, congratulations to…

Your 2011-12 Tinsman Divisional Winner!

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21 Comments Post a comment
  1. originalflavorgobias
    Oct 27 2012

    “It’s cut, it’s cut, the PDS’ cut and it’s a bad cut, and now it’s Spectral Legions coming after Graveborn!” (changing that quote to be relevant kind of butchered it. Oh, well.)

    I am very much looking forward to Spectral against HTL.

    Reply
  2. Icehawk7
    Oct 27 2012

    Wow. There were some really great matches after that first game. Glad Graveborn went out with a bang!

    And people said intro packs couldn’t win. Anything can and will happen. That’s what makes this tournament so exciting.

    Reply
  3. Jay Chong
    Oct 27 2012

    O_o

    Reply
  4. Oct 27 2012

    Awesome! I
    dont care that I lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Oct 27 2012

    Holy ………! WOW.

    Reply
  6. outhouseinferno
    Oct 27 2012

    Welp, guess we all lost a point. It is funny though, whoever piloted Graveborn must have been on the hype train like all of us.

    This is Hold The Line’s tournament to lose now.

    Reply
  7. tenthtechpriest
    Oct 27 2012

    Spectral Legions? holy blowout batman

    Reply
  8. mcc1701
    Oct 27 2012

    I was shocked it beat deathfed, but spectral legions beating Graveborn? Just wow.

    However I have noticed for a few matches that it seems like luck really skewed the results. Vampire onslaught previously didn’t pull a single blade of the blood chief or get it’s sac engine up, and Graveborn lost with a unusually bad hand and a very unlucky unsummon top-deck.

    I mean I know part of magic is the luck of the draw, but I kinda feel if it was best 3 put of 5 or something we might have a different score right now. Ah well, I’ve noticed that black decks often get poorly played here in reviews(carnival of blood, slaughter house, solitary fiends, vampire onslaught, etc) which is not too surprising given black requires a different mindset usually. Ah well, at least I’m still having fun 😉

    Reply
  9. Oct 28 2012

    Two out of three with ten total points now!

    Reply
    • Oct 28 2012

      Interesting statistic, after crunching the numbers: among the people who voted for the Spectral Legions upset, four of the seven were tied for first at 8 points.

      Tight race, very tight indeed…

      Reply
      • Oct 28 2012

        Looking ahead, I think it is the Lauer division that is going to be the one that scatters the top seeds.

        Reply
  10. stric9
    Oct 28 2012

    I want to say this is one of the main reasons that this tournament is so popular. Just like any major sport there are underdogs and there are also major upsets. I noticed quite a few detractors who insisted that the results were essentially confirmed with a Premium deck. Ertai adressed the point thoroughly in discussing why he loves his rugby team. But has anyone checked to see the results of the previous tournaments? An Eldrazi intro deck won! How could that have happened? It’s a game of combined skill and chance which means anything can happen. That’s why it’s so entertaining to see a host of spirits go up against some of Magic’s biggest bad boys and walk away the victor. We would never be able to enjoy that type of experience if it wasn’t allowed. I say keep up the tradition of bringing all players to the field. (BTW, this is coming from someone who is willing to take an Intro deck to FNM just to write about it.)

    Reply
    • errtu
      Oct 28 2012

      Couldn’t have said it better. Even though I lost 2 from 3 (as did most of the people), I enjoy these matches a lot!

      Reply
    • Icehawk7
      Oct 28 2012

      Couldn’t agree more!

      Reply
    • Oct 28 2012

      I like what you’re saying, but Rise was also before Event Decks, Commander, Archenemy, Premium Deck Series, and fun.

      Reply
      • Oct 28 2012

        Let’s not take too much away from poor Eldrazi Arisen. To get to the top it indeed did have to go through some quality opposition. First it contended with Liliana’s deck from the Duel Deck release, which tend to be stronger than Intro Packs. Next was even harder, with Strike Force from the original Planechase. Only in the Divisional Final did it get to meet opposition on equal footing, as it dispatched Zendikar’s Rise of the Vampires before having to go to the mat with ‘Eyes of Shadow’ from the Duels of the Planeswalkers release.

        In fairness, this was very much pre-Event Decks era, which is a whole new level.

        Reply
  11. Limbonic_art
    Oct 28 2012

    Wow, I’m truly impressed by spectral legions. Those counterspells, while conditional were quite useful. I’m surprised it beat deathfed who had many spiders and huge beatsticks like Boneyard wurm. And then surviving against Graveborn twice? Just wow. Who will be the champion? Anything can happen when there is enough luck I guess.

    Reply
  12. Diennea
    Oct 29 2012

    Well, at least I got one point. Too bad for blood and fire. I’m glad my point was proven right anyway, go intro decks!
    And now, back to the middle of the chart 😄

    Reply
  13. Jon S
    Oct 29 2012

    didn’t figure on spectral legions, so ended up dropping 2, but that’s the breaks in the finals fo a division. On ward and upwards! Well Played Spectral Legions!

    Reply
  14. signofzeta
    Oct 31 2012

    So uh, don’t the guys who bet on spectral legions get more points? I mean, in sports, you do get more money if you bet on the underdog, I think it would make more sense. That is, unless graveborn is actually an inferior deck to spectral legions.

    I hope for the next year, make it so that people will get more points if they bet on the deck with the higher chance of losing, because right now, everybody is betting on the same thing, and not taking chances.

    Reply

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  1. 2011-12 Precon Championships: Round 5 and the Leaderboard | Ertai's Lament

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