2007-2008 Precon Championships: Tinsman Division (Part 1 of 2)
Welcome to the glorious Tinsman Division! We’ve all but settled the Nagle, and now it’s time to look at the other half of the Rosewater Conference. Thanks to a shortage of decks in the ’07-’08 season, there are two byes in the division. That means we have an abbreviated first round of action, with only two games to show for our weekend action. Still, that’s the end of the road for two of the decks- but which two will it be?
Goblins and Overkill might get to sit this one out, but they’ll be keen to see the results. In our first match we’ve got a Morningtide showdown, as the Rogues and Shaman battle it out. Then Eventide’s Battle Blitz will take on Lorwyn’s Boggart Feast. Battle Blitz is an aggressive Red/White deck that makes use of the “untap ability,” while Boggart Feast is old-fashioned tribal goodness. Meanwhile, the members of the Prediction League await with bated breath to see how their guesses play out.
Four decks enter, two decks leave- let’s head down to the arena and find out which ones!
Game 5: Shamanism (MOR) vs Going Rogue (MOR)
Both decks start strong, with the Rogues opening their account with a Oona’s Blackguard, and the Treefolk hitting a Bosk Banneret. Both early investments pay off, as the Blackguard bolsters a next-turn Auntie’s Snitch and the Banneret enables a Leaf-Crowned Elder.
It’s the Saman that pull ahead, however, when they use a Wanderer’s Twig to snare a Plains, allowing them to Oblivion Ring the Blackguard before it can do any more harm. The Rogues don’t take the insult lying down, though, and stick a Protective Bubble around the Snitch. A Bog-Strider Ash, keeps the Shaman topped up on life as a Frogtosser Banneret follows a Morsel Theft, with the Rogues taking full advantage of prowl to then play Thieves’ Fortune.
Sadly for them, the synergy engine of the Treefolk is too overwhelming. Though it takes a couple turns for the Elder to hit kinship, it soon grabs a free Wolf-Skull Shaman and Squeaking Pie Grubfellows. A Thorntooth Witch is hardcast, and next turn a Woodland Changeling allows for all sorts of shenanigans- 2 more life off the Ash, and a pick-off of the freshly-summoned Frogtosser Banneret. Though the Rogues buy some time with surprise blockers like the Dewdrop Spy and Pestermite, they can’t stop the Treefolk’s momentum and fall in the opener.
Bad break for the Rogues, as they go down to six cards at the outset- and it doesn’t get much better as they get stuck on three land. Still, they make a heroic showing of themselves, opening with Cloak and Dagger, sticking it onto a Paperfin Rascal– even winning the clash. Things promise to get even more sinister as they then play an Oona’s Blackguard, giving it the full protection of the Cloak and Dagger’s shroud as well as a nice, evasive combat bump.
The problem, though, is that the Treefolk again develop exceptionally well. A second-turn Bosk Banneret brings out a next-turn Bog-Strider Ash, though there’s a minor setback when Squeaking Pie Grubfellows are assigned to trade out with the Rascal and a Peppersmoke makes it one-sided. Still, the Treefolk then Nameless Inversion the Rascal once the Cloak and Dagger is moved to the Blackguard, add a second Bog-Strider Ash, and generally keep their life total up while eroding the Rogues’ thanks to swampwalk. Next comes a Prickly Boggart for the Rogues, but the Treefolk simply Lignify away the treat that it presents.
Still stuck on three land, the Rogues can only look on in frustration as the Treefolk then land a Leaf-Crowned Elder, grabbing a free Wolf-Skull Shaman next turn and hitting kinship for another Bosk Banneret. An Auntie’s Snitch is essentially stuck in pale as it can’t block, and though the Rogues drop them to single-digit life, insurance is just a Woodland Changeling away as the Treefolk grab 4 more life off it and complete the sweep!
Game 6: Battle Blitz (EVE) vs Boggart Feast (LRW)
Blitz opens with a Safehold Sentry, while the Boggarts kick things off with an Adder-Staff Boggart, winning the clash to get a +1/+1 counter. Next it adds a Mudbutton Torchrunner, then lowers the boom with a Boggart Mob championing the Adder-Staff.
Unfortunately for the Boggarts, though, Blitz isn’t sitting idly by. A Hatchet Bully enter the fray, then a Balefire Liege. Things begin to thicken up in the red zone, so the Boggarts decide instead to go over the top with a Lowland Oaf. After an initial successful ground attack by the Mob, it’s then launched to rocket through the sky for another 6, then fetched back by a Boggart Birth Rite to do it all over again. This time, though, Blitz taps down the Mob with a Niveous Wisps after the Lowland Oaf gives it flying. It’s the kiss of death, and the turning point of the match.
Thanks to the Liege, Blitz claws back some life with a succession of spells, adding a Duergar Mine Captain and Outrage Shaman to the board. In the end, it’s just too much for the Boggarts to withstand, and even reinforcements in the form of a Hornet Harasser and Marsh Flitter only delay the inevitable.
Things go better for the Goblins on the rematch. They open with an Exiled Boggart, curving into a Boggart Harbinger and a Boggart Mob (courtesy of the Harbinger). The Mob champions the Harbinger for insurance, then gets to work backed up by a pair of Marsh Flitters.
Blitz, meanwhile, falls far behind. It plays a few weenies, starting with a Patrol Signaler and Duergar Mine-Captains, but it struggles to find a profitable attack to enable their untaps. A Revelsong Horn comes too late, as does an Outrage Shaman. Sure its chroma is enough to kill the Boggart Mob, but that just lets the Goblins go find a lethal, game-ending Fodder Launch.
Sometimes the game comes down to whose creatures are better. Other times it’s who manages to get their best spells out when they need them. Sadly for our final match, this one is all about who can shake off a dreadful manabase the fastest. Battle Blitz plays four straight Plains before missing its land drop, having little to show but a Duergar Mine-Captain and Battlegate Mimic. The Boggarts, meanwhile, find a Mountain and Plains- and nothing else. Still, they manage to parlay that crude start into a pair of Exiled Boggarts, which they surprise-trade to clear out the board when Blitz next attacks. Sure it costs them two cards in hand, but they aren’t ones it could hope to cast anyway- what it needs is time.
Blitz pulls ahead, though, after finding a Mountain on turn 6, and never looks back. A Patrol Signaler and Safehold Sentry appear, then the game-ending Balefire Liege. The best the Boggarts can manage is a Squeaking Pie Sneak.
WINNER: Battle Blitz
That’s all for this week, action fans! We’ll be back this Tuesday with an updated leaderboard and call for the next round of predictions, as the final four of the Tinsman comepete to see who will win the right to carry the divisional banner into the conference playoffs. Thanks for tuning in!