2007-2008 Precon Championships: Turian Division (Part 2 of 2)
Bit by bit, week by week we draw ever closer to crowning a champion of the 2007-08 Season! We’ve come a fair ways already, crowning a winner of two of the four divisional champions- and today we’ll be crowning a third.
There are no byes in the second round, which means that the deck that advances today will need to win both of its matches. Only one of the four decks will be able to make this claim, and therefore earn the right to represent the Turian Division. Let’s head down to the arena, the decks are ready for battle!
Game 21: Cho-Manno’s Resolve (10E) vs Life Drain (EVE)
It’s an odd match-up, this, which sees Resolve forced to adapt between control and agro in response to Drain’s machninations. Drain leads with a Nip Gwyllion, followed by an impotent Kithkin Zealot. Resolve, meanwhile, opens up with a Skyhunter Patrol, but it gets Unmaked– as does the replacement Loxodon Mystic.
In control of the board, Life Drain goes down the lifegain rabbit hole hard once a Resplendent Mentor shows up. With a Suture Spirit on board and plenty of mana, Resolve is in a tight spot. An Angel of Mercy enchanted with Serra’s Embrace only manages to break even, and it soon draws the attention of a Recumbent Bliss. From there, it’s a slow spiral downward even as it floods the board with threats. A couple of Benalish Knights surprise Drain’s attack, but the Suture Spirit sees them harmlessly off. An Ancestor’s Chosen, Cho-Manno, Revolutionary, and Icy Manipulator keep the game going longer than it has much of a right to, but when Drain find a pair of Voracious Hatchlings and Syphon Life, it’s close to over. Although the Hatchlings aren’t much of a threat- even less so after a Pacifism lands on one- they’re perfect fodder for a game-winning Rite of Consumption.
Knowing it can’t let Drain entrench, Resolve keeps a much more aggressive hand and leads with a Youthful Knight, Ghost Warden, and Angel of Mercy. It sets about working over Drain’s life total immediately in the undefended skies. Meanwhile, Drain does all it can to return the favour through distance effects, retracing Syphon Life almost every chance it gets.
Still, it doesn’t manage to get much else to stick. A Goldenglow Moth does its fated duty for a nice bump, the Smolder Initiate drains from a distance even as the Apothecary Initiate restores some life. A Restless Apparition is neutered when Cho-Manno himself arrives, and the Divinity of Pride is an immediate recipient of a Pacifism.
Resolve doubles down in the skies with a Skyhunter Patrol, and an Angel’s Feather gives Drain a taste of its own medicine. Though it takes a few turns to get there, Resolve grinds out a win in the air.
It’s going to three! Resolve again tries the aerial blitzkrieg, and piles on a ton of pressure. Though an early Benalish Knight (flashed in to kill a Safehold Sentry the turn before) enchanted with Serra’s Embrace hits hard, a Recumbent Bliss eventually sorts it out. It’s replaced by a Wild Griffin and Skyhunter Patrol, which then do most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the game.
Drain, meanwhile, puts up a fight of its own. After leading with a Nip Gwyllion and the ill-fated Sentry, it goes forward with a Suture Spirit and Gwyllion Hedge-Mage, killing a freshly-summoned Youthful Knight. A Voracious Hatchling arrives, and is cultivated to full size. Indeed, Drain is poised to make a 12-point, game-winning alpha strike.
That is, until the Hatchling gets Condemned. Thanks to a Loxodon Mystic and Ancestor’s Chosen alongside the Icy Manipulator, Resolve is able to frustrate the rest of Drain’s red-zone ambitions while it whittles it way to a second straight victory in the air!
WINNER: Cho-Manno’s Resolve
Game 22: Superabundance (EVE) vs Kamahl’s Temper (10E)
Although you’d expect the Red deck to come screaming out of the gate, it’s the Blue/Green one that floods the field. It opens with a Groundling Pouncer, then follows with a Wistful Selkie and Shorecrasher Mimic. Temper, meanwhile, has found a Phyrexian Vault and Thundering Giant. Though that’s a nice set-up with a Threaten in hand, a Sturdy Hatchling grows the Mimic as Superabundance keeps the pressure up alongside a Nettle Sentinel.
It’s just too much too fast, and though Temper finds Kamahl himself, it’s too late to stop the defeat.
This time, Superabundance draws too much of its durdly stuff and not enough muscle. A lone Wistful Selkie augmented with Favor of the Overbeing is good, but not against a Lightning Elemental and Bogardan Firefiend. While Superabundance dreams of a Fable of Wolf and Owl, it is compelled to double down on Favors to keep the Selkie out of burn range and make it a useful blocker.
That only helps Temper, though, as victory comes one Threaten later to even the odds in decisive fashion!
With it down to the last, both decks need to dig deep to come up with a winning strategy if they hope to advance. Superabundance looks to find theirs first, starting with a Drowner Initiate and Viridescent Wisps for early damage and an extra card. It follows with a Grazing Kelpie, but Temper has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Temper’s first play is a Bogardan Firefiend, followed by a Lightning Elemental and Raging Goblin. Superabundance blocks the Firefiend with the Kelpie for the trade, and when the Kelpie’s persist returns it to play it tries to bait Temper into a trap. The weaker Kelpie steps in front of the onrushing Lightning Elemental, and a Snakeform looks to even the odds. Instead, Temper Shocks away the Kelpie and the Elemental reverts to form at the end of the turn.
A Wickerbough Elder draws an answering Incinerate, and when Temper fields both Prodigal Pyromancer and Kamahl, Pit Fighter, the game is all but wrapped up. Superabundance plays Fable of Wolf and Owl, but it’s a silent observer to the deck’s defeat.
WINNER: Kamahl’s Temper
TURIAN DIVISIONAL FINALS: Cho-Manno’s Resolve (10E) vs Kamahl’s Temper (10E)
Both decks lead with their respective “lucky charms,” a Dragon’s Claw for Kamahl and an Angel’s Feather for Cho-Manno. Kamahl then drops a surprise Lightning Elemental– which is immediately Condemned. Resolve then pulls ahead in the creature race with a Venerable Monk, Youthful Knight, and Ghost Warden, followed by a Skyhunter Patrol.
The pump action of the Warden is a real thorn in the side of Kamahl, allowing the first strikers to punch above their weight against threats like a pair of Thundering Giants, keeping them at bay. Slowly, though, the burn of Kamahl shines through as it Spitting Earths the Patrol, nicks the Warden with a Prodigal Pyromancer, and blasts the Youthful Knight with the damage from a Bogardan Firefiend. A Phyrexian Vault allows for value to be extracted from a Pacified Giant as well as Resolve’s own replacement Skyhunter Patrol when it’s Threatened.
Kamahl mulls to six, and never manages to break even. Resolve leads with an Angel’s Feather, while Kamahl opens with a turn-3 Bloodrock Cyclops. But when Cho-Manno flashes in a Benalish Knight, then next turn equips it with Serra’s Embrace, the Cyclops’ fate is sealed- as is Kamahl’s. Temper manages a Phyrexian Vault and desperation Lightning Elemental, but it doesn’t have the burn it needs to kill the Knight in the air and falls very quickly.
An absolute classic! With everything to play for, both decks steady their resolve Resolve finds the game’s first creature in a Youthful Knight, which Temper trumps with a Bloodrock Cyclops. Resolve then trumps in turn with a second Youthful Knight, claiming the Cyclops as the game’s first casualty when it obligingly comes in on the attack.
By now, though, Resolve has both Cho-Manno, Revolutionary and Pariah in hand, the brutal combo almost unbeatable for the burn deck. After the Revolutionary touches down, Temper ominously fields a Phyrexian Vault. Wary of a Threaten– Kamahl’s only out- Resolve plays it safe and sticks a Serra’s Embrace on one of the Youthful Knights instead, carving out a solid chunk of Kamahl’s life.
Having played a Bogardan Firefiend and Prodigal Pyromancer, Kamahl then sacs the former to the Portal for a free card, blasting the enchanted Knight from the sky with a concerted effort of the two. When Threaten comes out and steals away Cho-Manno, sacrificing him for a card, things look a lot bleaker for the mono-White deck. But a Skyhunter Patrol has gotten Temper down to 2 life, looking poised for a next-turn victory. Then Kamahl, Pit Fighter arrives, and incinerates the Patrol. Temper is on the verge of a clawback, since nothing in Resolve can survive the attentions of both Kamahl and the Pyromancer.
Resolve’s got a Benalish Knight ready to strike, though, even if it’s got a limited shelf life. Unfortunately, there’s an untapped Prodigal Pyromancer back to block. Going for broke, Resolve flashes it in at end of turn- then finds a Pacifism! That’s the Pyromancer sorted, and Kamahl’s defneses are down. The Knight swings in for lethal, and Cho-Manno’s Resolve is victorious!
That’s all for today! While Cho-Manno’s Resolve rests and tends to its wounds, we’ll we moving to the final division next weekend. Don’t forget to check out the Prediction League update post on Wednesday as well, for a look at the updated leaderboard and next round of predictions. See you then!