2011-2012 Precon Championships: Turian Division (Part 1 of 2)
Season after season in accordance with tradition, the Rosewater Conference opens the Preconstructed Championships while the Forsythe Conference watches and waits. With the contest now halfway through, it must wait no longer. Today we begin the painful, contentious task of whittling down the field of sixteen down to a single deck to represent the Conference in the Finals.
We begin, of course, with the Turian. This season sees the Turian packed with power, including several Event Decks and a Duel Decks. At the end of today’s action, the field will be cut in half, with the final four ready to venture to the pit a second time until only one deck stands above them all. And now, time to begin!
Game 9: Death’s Encroach (AVR) vs Illusionary Might (M12)
Illusionary Might begins with a Phantasmal Bear and early Spined Thopter, while Encroach– having mulled to six- opens with a Highborn Ghoul. The Ghoul gets bounced by an Æther Adept, then trades with the Adept when its recast. Encroach’s plans to pull it back with a Highborn Ghoul gets Mana Leaked, and it’s downhill from there.
A Preordain pulls out a Phantasmal Dragon, which draws an answering Go for the Throat. But from there, Illusionary is too far ahead to catch up. Death comes in the form of a Mind Control, stealing Highborn Ghoul leaving nothing behind but a Gravecrawler.
Encroach starts off with a Highborn Ghoul, and finds lands easily enough until it hits the magic four mana. Might, on the other hand, gets lands with benefits as it drops a pair of Glimmerposts as well as Islands. The midgame is a creaturefest, back and forth as Might relentlessly deploys Spined Thopters. Encroach manages to kill one of them with a Skinrender, uses another to dismiss a Phantasmal Dragon, and blasts a Grand Architect with Go for the Throat, but it can’t solve all of the Blue deck’s air force.
It goes fishing with an Altar’s Reap and comes up empty. Illusionary Might still has two Thopters up, and rides them to victory.
WINNER: Illusionary Might (M12)
Game 10: Heavenly Inferno (COM) vs Monstrous Surprise (DKA)
Monstrous Surprise opens with a Goblin Arsonist for a few early nicks, while Heavenly Inferno ramps through a Boros Signet to get a turn-3 Voice of All, giving it protection from Red. The Commander deck next adds a Furnace Whelp which gets enchanted with Vow of Duty, but that gets picked off with a Naturalize. After deploying a Gutter Grime, Surprise then uses Prey Upon to have the Goblin fight the Whelp, seeing both creatures die as a result and giving Surprise a Slime token. A Pitchburn Devils follows, while Inferno keeps carving in for 2 with the Voice.
Surprise pulls ahead in the race when it Overruns, sending both creatures in for 10, but it’s an act of desperation and both know it. Inferno has things under control when it summons Oros, the Avenger. Surprise has run out of options, and concedes.
Surprise gambles on a one-land keep and it pays off, running a Young Wolf into a land drop and Rampant Growth to catch up. It then follows with a stream of creatures- twin Pyreheart Wolves, a Strangleroot Geist, and finally some Russet Wolves.
Inferno, however, deftly shuts down Surprise’s offense with a single card: Righteous Cause. Though Surprise gets in a few shots, it’s largely thwarted. Inferno then goes for the kill, playing Death by Dragons to get a nice, fat 5/5 token which it then enchants with Vow of Lightning. Two swings later, it follows with an Earthquake for the sweep.
WINNER: Heavenly Inferno (COM)
Game 11: Koth (DD:VvK) vs Eldritch Onslaught (INN)
Eldritch Onslaught is delighted to find a Ghoulcaller’s Bell in its opening grip, though with only two lands in hand it needs to rely on its card-drawing to hit its land drops. A Think Twice fails in the task, then so does a Desperate Ravings. Still, it recovers through natural draw in time to land a Burning Vengeance and Cellar Door.
Koth, meanwhile, has a field day churning up Mountains. A Wayfarer’s Bauble is followed by a Journeyer’s Kite, and quickly Anger hits the table followed by Koth of the Hammer himself. Koth is quickly dispatched by flashing back the card-drawing spells and throwing Burning Vengeance damage at him, but Anger gets girded by Vulshok Battlegear and swings every turn.
Onslaught buys time with a suite of defensive options like the Fortress Crab and pair of Armored Skaabs, but for all its milling its finding precious few flashback options. It manages to pick off a Torchling when it uses Grasp of Phantoms to shove it back atop the library then uses the Bell to mill, but the next-turn creature- a Bloodfire Colossus– sticks. After it attacks next turn, it’s popped for a massive explosion wiping the board. Koth’s Volley of Boulders finishes off Onslaught, which never seemed to hit its stride.
Onslaught has better luck of this go around, leading with a Merfolk Mesmerist and Armored Skaab while Koth makes do with a pair of Pilgrim’s Eyes and a Stone Giant. Although Onslaught has choked up the ground a bit, the air is where the action is as the Eyes carve in for damage until a Sturmgeist arrives. While Onslaught digs for cards with Think Twices and Desperate Ravings, Koth solves the Sturmgeist in short order with a Seismic Strike.
Onslaught puts up the good fight, blasting the Giant with a Harvest Pyre, but in the end it’s just no match for Koth’s firepower. After a Cosi’s Ravager gets in a ping from landfall, Koth simply follows with a Searing Blaze before finishing off Onslaught with a Spire Barrage.
WINNER: Koth (DD:VvK)
Game 12: Spiraling Doom (DKA) vs Grab for Power (M12)
If there’s one play that tells you all you need to know about how things went for Grab for Power in this opening clash, it’s this one: Diabolic Tutor to fetch an Island. Things started about as well as could have been hoped, with a Reassembling Skeleton and Warpath Ghoul coming out in short order. Once the Island’s uncovered, a Belltower Sphinx gives some defensive cover and a Divination grabs some extra cards.
Meanwhile, Doom is doing the Birthing Pod thing. It walks up a series of ladders one rung at a time, from Young Wolf to Strangleroot Geist to Wakedancer to Skinrender, while hardcasting a Bloodgift Demon. With Grab’s feeble defenses pried back one creature at a time, Doom dismantles its opponent with methodical efficiency.
Grab pulls off a much better performance for the rematch, leading with a Merfolk Looter to get things started followed by an Azure Mage and Drifting Shade. It begins to look like it has a shot at the upset when it finds itself with a number of Swamps in play and Spiraling without air defense, and gets off a couple of aerial attacks.
Spiraling isn’t idle, of course, and claws some advantage back on the ground with Young Wolves and a Solemn Simulacrum. It then fills the gap in the air with a Bloodgift Demon, and once the Birthing Pod hits it’s all Grab can do to prevent itself from getting buried. It manages to summon the Rune-Scarred Demon, but Strangleroot Geists, a Skinrender, and a Morkrut Banshee keep the pressure up. Once again, the outcome is never in doubt as Spiraling clinches it in two.
WINNER: Spiraling Doom (DKA)
And there you have it! The pit minders are in to haul off the bodies, and four decks have advanced to the Divisional Finals! We’lle be back later this week with a roundup and look at the Prediction League. See you then!