2011-2012 Precon Championships: Lauer Division (Part 2 of 2)
Just as much of the modern Battlestar Galactica television series focuses on the drama of the “hidden” Cylons and their revealing, today the final deck which will be competing next week for the Championship will be revealed. Thus far, three of the four decks have emerged from the stramash of their respective divisions, rising above adversity and defeating their rivals’ every challenge. They eagerly await the arrival of the fourth, as it means the contest will come to its conclusion.
In the Rosewater Conference, we see the Nagle Division winner Hold the Line preparing for battle, an Event Deck filled with aggressive creatures. Standing against it will be the improbable Spectral Legions, the Little Intro Pack That Could. Having dusted Graveborn in the Turian Division final, it hopes to repeat the magic to earn a place in the championship. Meanwhile, another Event Deck, Spiraling Doom, waits in the wings, having already triumphed over another Event Deck and a Duel Deck. What will it be facing next? Let’s find out.
Game 23: Angelic Might (AVR) vs Dark Sacrifice (DKA)
The Angels open with a solid defense consisting of a Gideon’s Lawkeeper and an Angelic Wall, while Dark Sacrifice puts its mechanisms in place thanks to a Gather the Townsfolk and Falkenrath Torturer. Thanks to a bit of mana stall, Angelic Might has little to do, but a Borderland Ranger and Rampant Growth soon normalize its development.
A Disciple of Griselbrand is next for Sacrifice, which starts sending in the Torturer in the air every chance it can get. The Torturer eats nearly everything- the Human tokens, an Elder Cathar (gaining two +1/+1 tokens), and even the Cathar again through an Unburial Rites, but thanks to a timely Angel’s Tomb the Angels are able to whittle back. The Angels then play a Cathedral Sanctifier, then summon it back with an Emancipation Angel, just to recast it next turn for more life and another attack. Bladed Bracers help keep the Angel in business, until it falls defending against a 6/5 Torturer.
Despite the massive Vampire, the Angels turn the corner through overall aggression in the air, with a Seraph of Dawn and Serra Angel touching down. Sacrifice is forced to feed the Torturer to the Disciple for the life, and it’s all but a surrender. Sacrifice never recovers, and Angelic Might wins the opener.
Sometimes no matter how good your game plan, things just don’t go your way. After mulling down to 6 with a two-land keep, Dark Sacrifice never finds another land the rest of the game. Sure, it does its best- a Gather the Townsfolk, an Unruly Mob– but the Angels come out soaring, and they get nearly every tool in their arsenal. First they lead with an Angelic Wall off a Seraph Sanctuary, then a Triumph of Ferocity. A Scroll of Avacyn and Angel’s Tomb follow, and when the Herald of War comes down- picking up a Bladed Bracers for good measure- Dark Sacrifice’s doom is sealed. A Serra Angel follows, and Sacrifice folds after casting Gather the Townsfolk with fateful hour, just for the uncommon experience of taking advantage of that keyword before scooping.
WINNER: Angelic Might
Game 24: Humanity’s Vengeance (AVR) vs Mystical Might (M12)
Might is the clear underdog here, and it gives everything it’s got. It begins with a Phantasmal Bear and Coral Merfolk, while Vengeance finds a Nephalia Smuggler and Nearheath Pilgrim. The Pilgrim soulbonds to a 3/3 Golem token thanks to a Blade Splicer, while a Wingcrafter/Tandem Lookout combo are right behind.
Everything looks like a walk for Vengeance, especially when a Skywinder Drake is offered up in exchange for the Wingcrafter. The Golem hits in as well, keeping Vengeance flush with life. But then things take a turn for the worse. Might finds Vengeance tapped out when it Oblivion Rings the Blade Splicer, then it adds a Phantasmal Dragon. Vengeance has little aerial defense, so when it finds a Phyrexian Metamorph the answer is clear- make a 5/5 Dragon of its own!
What it doesn’t take into account is that Might is holding a Mind Control to kill it, and it shores up its defense with a Rusted Sentinel and Serra Angel. An Elixir of Immortality is never needed as the Dragon chunks away at Vengeance’s life total, and Mystical Might pulls off an opening upset!
Vengeance reckons its time to show the upstart what it’s made of, and after mulliganing keeps a hand with creatures and some removal. Might, however, draws the stone hand- at least for it- when it finds four land (two of each colour), a Phantasmal Bear, a Stormfront Pegasus, and a Skywinder Drake. Can it steal another victory in the air?
At first, Vegeance tries to race with a Wingrafter/Porcelain Legionnaire soulbonded pair, and Might takes some hits. Vengeance tosses off a Righteous Blow to kill the nettlesome Drake, only to find it parried by a Negate. Next turn Vengeance slams the door on Might’s aerial aggression when it holds back on defense, and picks off the attacking Drake with the Legionnaire and happily trades the Wingcrafter for the Pegasus. Job done, right?
Well, not quite. Might’s found a replacement Drake and another Bear, and hammers in at every chance. A Righteous Blow kills a Bear, and a Divine Deflection smokes the Drake. A Gideon’s Lawkeeper rushes in to help- but then Might draws the one card Vengeance can’t stop: of all things, an Aven Fleetwing.
Might manages to stall out the development of Vengeance’s creature army as it hangs back with a ground defense, circling its wagons and buying time for the Fleetwing in the air. Vengeance, meanwhile, looks at the Dismember and Righteous Blow in hand and shake its head in frustration. In the end, the mighty Event Deck falls in an unlikely sweep to Mystical Might– pecked to death by little creatures in the sky. An upset!
WINNER: Mystical Might
Lauer Division Finals: Angelic Might (AVR) vs Mystical Might (M12)
It’s the “Battle of the Mights” as Mystical leads off with a Phantasmal Bear, but Angelic Might finds its silver bullet against its Illusion-heavy opponent in a Gideon’s Lawkeeper. This forces Mystical to expend an Oblivion Ring on the humble 1/1, but with one on the battlefield the deck’s ability to retain its best creatures is compromised.
Neither deck stops there. Mystical Might adds a Rusted Sentinel, but begins to struggle after fielding a Stormfront Pegasus. Angelic Might has few such problems. It plays the usual supporting suite of Seraph Sanctuary and Angel’s Tomb, then a succession of creatures begin triumphantly parading from its hand. First a Borderland Ranger, then a Timberland Guide to give the Ranger a +1/+1 counter, followed by an Emancipation Angel to replay the Guide and give the Ranger yet another counter. The 4/4 Ranger is a threat, but Mystical Might topdecks an Æther Adept to solve the problem- though at the expense of giving the mana-hungry Angels another land.
From there, the game enters a state of détente after Mystical Might converts seven straight land drops into a Sphinx of Uthuun. The flip gives Mystical another Oblivion Ring, but nothing else, and when Angelic Might Defangs the Sphinx it’s forced to expend the removal on the Defang. The Sphinx is joined by a Phantasmal Dragon, but the Angels are relentless. Angel of Glory’s Rise, Voice of the Provinces, Seraph of Dawn, a Serra Angel, and then an Angel of Glory’s Rise all appear in quick succession. Ever one the defensive, Mystical Might folds beneath the aerial onslaught.
Humiliated at the poor showing, Mystical Might comes out blazing in the rematch. A Phantasmal Bear opens, then is followed quickly by a Skywinder Drake. After playing an Angel’s Tomb, Angelic Might drops a Seraph of Dawn, but an Æther Adept clears the way for Mystical’s creatures, now including a second Bear and Coral Merfolk. Angelic replays the Seraph, but then it gets Unsummoned. A Rampant Growth and Righteous Blow (on the Drake) are all that Angelic Might is able to play before it’s overrun by the speed and tempo of its opponent.
With Divisional glory on the line, both decks need to dig deep and find their inner iron if they want to progress. Mystical Might keeps a shaky seven, but opts to hold it because it has the silver bullet to Angelic Might’s silver bullet. A first-turn Phantasmal Bear is no surprise, nor is the answering next-turn Gideon’s Lawkeeper. Mystical finds that second Island, though, and down comes the Lord of the Unreal! The Bear starts carving in for 3, and on turn 4 it doubles down with a Phantasmal Dragon. The Angels, having thus far played only a Rampant Growth, Angel’s Tomb, and Seraph of Dawn, struggle to find an answer.
The Dragon is relentless, hammering in for 6 each turn protected by the Lord’s hexproof. A second Angel’s Tomb draws a Negate, and with two Unsummons and a Mind Control in hand Mystical Might is feeling every bit the confident victor. Angelic Might drops a Cathedral Sanctifier and Emancipation Angel, the latter returning the Ranger for more of that precious land. Having just played an Aven Fleetwing, Mystical goes for the kill, Mind Controlling the Emancipation Angel to free up the air lanes and swing in for lethal. It’s done what its Event Deck cousin Illusionary Might couldn’t do, as Mystical Might claims its division!
Thanks as always for watching, we’ll be back midweek with more Prediction League coverage. With only three matches to go, it’s going to be right down to the wire!