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Coverage of the CF 5k Top 32!

List of top 32 and bracket located lower:
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Top 32: Matt “Nasssty” Nass vs. Jimmy Dela Cruz

G1: The game started off with a Raging Ravine after Jimmy mulled to six. Matt started off with a Glacial Fortress, soon joined by a Plains and an Everflowing Chalice @ 1. Jimmy continued his course of non-action until turn four where he played a Bloodbraid Elf and hit a Sprouting Thrinax. The Thrinax ate a Cancel and Nass took a hit for three, sending him to 17. A Halimar Depths and an Oblivion Ring later, Bloodbraid was eliminated as a threat and Nass looked to of established himself mana-wise.

After tanking Cruz ended up casting a Maelstrom Pulse to get back his Bloodbraid and smack Matt for another three, putting him to 14. Another Oblivion Ring was quick in coming from Nass, leaving Jimmy with no board to speak of, but he did have enough to active his manland if he chose. Instead he dropped a Rampant Growth for a Swamp and a Sprouting Thrinax which was promptly Canceled. A Jace, the Mind Sculptor from Nass meant it was time for some Brainstorming which resulted in his 6th land drop (7th mana) and Jace on a clear board.

Siege-Gang Commander came down which got axed by the 3rd Cancel of the game, but allowed a Lightning Bolt to sneak in and kill Jace while Matt tapped down. Cruz had no cards left after this series of plays though and Matt took full advantage, casting a Mind Spring for 5 and then laying down his own manland. Lavaclaw Reaches snuck in for two damage and Jimmy’s 3rd Sprouting Thrinax finally made it into play. A pair of Treasure Hunt nabbed a pair of lands (Colonnade and Tectonic Edge) along with Oblivion Ring and Day of Judgment. As quickly as it came, the Thrinax was removed from the field and the Edge took down the Lavaclaw Reaches when it attempted to attack again.

Powering up for Martial Coup, Nass laid a Everflowing Chalice for 3, bringing his total mana count up to 12. A Ravine attack later, that count was reduced to 11 as a Tectonic Edge from turn three came into use. A Ponder shuffled away the top cards of his library and he used a 3rd Tectonic Edge to reduce Cruz’s mana-base to a Swamp, Forest, Mountain and Savage Lands. Celestial Colonnade came in for 4 damage and sent Jimmy to 16. Jimmy topdecked a Swamp to play a Siege-Gang Command from hand, which Nass allowed Cruz to resolve at which point a Martial Coup for 7 took down the gang of Goblins and locked the game up for Nass. A few attacks later with his Soldier army and Colonnade.

Matt Nass 1-0

G2: Cruz started off with the classic Jund turns of Lavaclaw Reaches and Forest, followed by a… Pithing Needle? Pithing Needle indeed came down naming Jace, the Mind Sculptor fooling Matt Nass who was expecting a Duress to the groin the entire time. A 3rd turn Thrinax from Jimmy met Flashfreeze and a Halimar Depths set-up his next few turns. An Everflowing Chalice at 1 hit the table and Nass shipped the turn. Cruz laid a Putrid Leech and shipped the turn back where Nass trumped that ever-so-slightly with Baneslayer Angel. Cruz slew her with a Deathmark and followed up by cracking for 4 with Putrid Leech, making the life totals 16-17 in Cruz’s favor. A Great Sable Stag hit the board, giving him up to 11 power on the table with the Lavaclaw Reaches as well.

Matt quickly drew and shipped the turn back, causing the all-out stike from Jund to occur with Putrid Leech, Lavaclaw Reaches and Great Sable Stag crashing in. Nass cracked a Scalding Tarn and activated Colonnade to trade off with Leech. Lavaclaw Reaches got pumped for two along with the Leech and when the dust had settled, Leech and Colonnade had died, Nass was at 8 and he was looking down a lethal attack next turn. Nass cast Ponder and passed the turn back with four mana open. When Cruz swung in with the now 5/5 Reaches and Stag, Nass simply scooped.

Match tied 1-1

G3:
Matt Nass came out swinging on the play with turn 2 Chalice @ 1 and turn 3 Chalice @ 2, looking to power up into Baneslayer or Jace with counter protection on turn four. This plan had a critical flaw though and Jimmy fully exploited it. A Maelstrom Pulse acted as the greatest Stone Rain ever printed in blowing up both Chalices and setting Nass back signifcantly.

Nass roared back though with a Treasure Hunt for Tectonic Edge, Arid Mesa and Treasure Hunt to get him back on track for his land drops. A Garruk Wildspeaker came down and hit 4 Loyalty counters, allowing a Putrid Leech to hit the board. Nass had a good answer though; Oblivion Ring took out the Garruk Wildspeaker and a Tectonic Edge took out Jimmy’s only black mana source (Lavaclaw Reaches). Matt tanked for a while and finally decided to play his Arid Mesa for a 2nd Plains (15 life) and throw down a Baneslayer Angel. A Deathmark took down the Angel and left Nass high and try as Putrid Leech took him down to 11 life. Between the Putrid Leech and Raging Ravine being one land off powering up; Nass needed to figure out a plan and execute it quickly.

A Treasure Hunt nabbed him a Tectonic Edge and Flashfreeze, while a sixth land meant it was time for Ponder while being able to hold open Flashfreeze mana. Cruz untapped and immediately activated his Raging Ravine and sent it in with Putrid Leech; after the Leech pump it was exiled by Path and the Tectonic Edge he had nabbed earlier suddenly became the best card in his hand, Nass activated Colonnade and Cruz down to 10 life, while keeping a mana open to use his Edge with.

Matt Nass: 7 life Jimmy Dela Cruz: 11 life

Board:
Matt Nass: 2 Halimar Depths, Celestial Colonnade, Tectonic Edge, 2 Plains and Island with Oblivion Ring removing Garruk

Jimmy Cruz: 2 Swamp, Forest, Mountain, Savage Lands, Rootbound Crag and Raging Ravine

Jimmy went for a Bloodbraid Elf while Nass was only had two mana and whiffed on a now dead removal spell, Matt took the opportunity to counter the Bloodbraid with Flashfreeze. A Blightning shocked Nass to 4 and stole away a Marital Coup and Island. Nass did his best draw-go impression, laid a land and passed. The Cancel he kept from the first Blightning came in handy countering the second one and Tectonic Edge took down the Raging Ravine. Unfortunately Sprouting Thrinax was the follow-up to the discard spell.

Matt ended up using his Colonnade to take down the Thrinax, but his tokens were the real worries, without a Day, Coup or Baneslayer he would be dead shortly.Nass topdecked some goodness of his own in Baneslayer Angel, but his happiness was shortlived. Cruz had the Maelstrom Pulse and effectively ended the game, Nass dropped to 1 from token beats and a desperation Treasure Hunt revealed nothing of use.

Jimmy Dela Cruz defeats Matt Nass 2-1!

UPDATES

The bracket so far
The bracket so far

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Top 16: Alexander Shearer vs. Shaun Gregson

G1: Shearer began with turn one Plains, then greeted by a turn one Noble Hierarch from Shaun. A Quasali Pridemage took Sharer’s side for all of a moment before being struck by Lightning Bolt. A turn three Knight of the Reliquary from Alexander is destroyed in much the same way; as Bloodbraid Elf from Shaun cascades into a Path to Exile. A swing for four (exalted) takes Shearer to 13. Another Knight quickly takes the original’s place, but unfazed a Ranger of Eos hits play nabbing a Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. The Bird hit play and Bloodbraid swung for another four damage, taking Shearer to nine life.

A Quasali Pridemage came along with Borderland Ranger which fetched up a 2nd Plains, bringing Alexander’s land total to 5. A Noble Hierarch also joined Shearer’s side, but no attacking commenced. Meanwhile Gregson laid his 3rd Noble Hierarch onto the table and cracked with Birds for three damage; taking Alexander to 6 life. An Emeria Angel dropped down to play goalie in conjunction with Knight of the Reliquary. When the Birds attacked, Shearer moved to crack a Forest for a land to activate Emeria Angel with, with the trigger on the stack Gregson cast Lightning Bolt, killing the Angel before having a chance to make any tokens and successfully dealing three, taking Alexander to 3 life. Tectonic Edge took out Stirring Wildwood as a potential blocker and things looked bleak for Shearer.

When Gregson went in to finish the job though, Birds of Paradise was taken out by a Path to Exile; while a Wild Nacatl followed on the board. A turn later a Bloodbraid Elf netted Shaun another Wild Nacatl and with a Raging Ravine activation, Gregson swung in with Ranger, both Bloodbraid Elves, Wild Nacatl and Raging Ravine. After some tanking, Alexander figured out a way to block without getting crushed only losing half his board in the process.

In the end, both boards were devestated with the only creatures remaining:
Shearer: Knight of the Reliquary, Noble Hierarch and Stirring Wildwood
Gregson: Wild Nacatl x2, Noble Hierarch 3x

A Wolfbriar Elemental and a Wolf token being created seemingly evened up the playing field but Shaun had something else in mind. He simply untapped, drew, played Ajani Vengeant and Helixed Shearer to death.

Shaun Gregson leads 1-0

G2: Shearer began the game with Stirring Wildwood while Greson had his quick start of Forest, WIld Nacatl. Alexander brought out his ever trusy Quasali Pridemage. Gregson came in with Wild Nacatl and asked for the block, which obviously didn’t come; Terramorphic Expanse was cracked for a Mountain and Alexander dropped to 17 life. A Basilisk Collar hit play and was attached to pridemage; beating in for 3 and reversing the life-totals. A quick attack back with a fully powered Wild Nacatl evened the life totals at 17 and a Knight of the Reliquary hit play for Shaun.

A Maelstrom Pulse removed the Knight from the picture and another Pridemage strike made the totals 19-14 in favor of Shearer. A Bloodbraid Elf managed to nab a Birds of Paradise and Nacatl knocked Alexander back to 16, while Elf stayed back on blocking duty. Shearer chose not to attack, but did nothing except lay a land.

With Gregson’s next turn, he Lightning Bolted away the Pirdemage and attacked for six, nailing Stirring Wildwood with a Path to Exile when it tried to get in the way like Inspector Gadget. Shearer dropped to 10 and Shaun’s second act was to play a Ranger of Eos fetching two Wild Nacatl.

Alexander still had the Basilisk Collar around, but needed a body to put it on before the beats overwhelemed him. A Day of Judgment cleared the board and Gregson put both his Nacatl’s onto the board, while Raging Ravine ate a Tectonic Edge on end-step. Gregson swung in with both cats, one was busy getting exiled from the game while the other took Shearer to 7 life.

A Stoneforge Mystic from Alexander fetched a Behemoth Sledge and equipped the Collar to the Mystic before ending his turn.

“Times like these are when I’d really like to draw one of my sideboard cards…
No please.”

Stoneforge traded with Nacatl, making the totals 8 – 14; while a Baneslayer Angel threatened a quick victory. A Knight of the Reliquary on Shearer’s side of the board with lifelink equipment essentially said ‘Build your own Baneslayer”, but Gregson had his own Knight to keep things in his favor. A swing with Baneslayer took Alexander down to 3 life and his next decision would be crucial to his continual survival.

A 7/7 Knight of the Reliquary hit Shaun taking him to 12 and Shearer to 10, however the back swing proved lethal to Shearer.

Shaun Gregson defeats Alexander Shearer 2-0!

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Top Eight: Shaun Gregson v. Kamui Kaye
By guest writer Eric Levine! Way better than Silvestri! (HEY!)

Both players were backed by their adoring fans at the start of the game, with Shaun’s friends making very silly jokes while Kamui’s pals stared on soundlessly. While Shaun sent his opener back, Kamui quickly kept his opener. Some friendly (and altogether bizarre) banter continued between the two players as Shaun chose to keep his six.

Shaun led with a sweet Sejiri Steppe, and Kamui countered with Raging Ravine. After Shaun dropped a Terramorphic Expanse, Kamui played and cracked a Verdant Catacombs. While he was searching, Shaun began to predict the future as Kamui brought out a Forest and began shuffling.

“Putrid Leech. Pass the turn. These are your options.”

It turned out to be a Rampant Growth for a Swamp, but Shaun responded by sacrificing his Terramorphic Expanse for a Forest. The resulting confusion about who should search first spawned an amusing discussion about the olden days, when simply dropping a spell like Rampant Growth into your graveyard would cause you to fail to find. “Mountain, go” from Shaun elicited a turn 3 Blightning from Kamui, which caused Shaun to pitch Baneslayer and a Plains. Shaun cast Ajani Vengeant turn 4 to keep Kamui’s Raging Ravine from ravaging his life total any time soon. Kamui replied on his own turn with a Putrid Leech.

Shaun was the first to cast a Bloodbraid Elf, but he only managed to hit a Basilisk Collar, making the broken four-drop look almost fair. The next turn saw Kamui going deep into the think tank. With Gregson only posessing one card, Kamui played a Bloodbraid and prayed for something good. It was a Lightning Bolt, which didn’t seem to satisfy Kamui as he bolted Shaun’s Bloodbraid and attacked Ajani for 5.

Shaun was not to be outdone in the slowrolling department and sacrificed his Arid Mesa for a Plains before allowing his Ajani to die. A Stoneforge Mystic showed up on Shaun’s turn bearing a Behemoth Sledge, which stayed in hand as Shaun put the Collar on his Mystic and passed the turn. Kamui Terminated the Mystic on his turn and began chipping away at Shaun’s life total, knocking him to 9 with a Bloodbraid Elf and a Putrid Leech. A Sprouting Thrinax was the final nail in Shaun’s coffin, and after drawing his card for the turn, he chose to scoop.

Kaye 1 – 0 Gregson

Of course, when I asked them to show me how they were sideboarding, Kamui promptly shuffled his entire sideboard into his deck, much to everyone’s amusement but mine. Ah, Magic players. Shaun, however, was kind enough to make things clear for me. Thanks, Shaun!

Gregson +4 Cunning Sparkmage +1 Stoneforge Mystic +1 Basilisk Collar
-2 Baneslayer Angel -2 Ranger of Eos -2 Noble Hierarch

Kaye +2 Deathmark +1 Pulse
-1 Garruk -1 Rampant Growth -1 Broodmate

“I’ve been ready to go home for like… eight hours at least.” Shaun also started to ask his friends why they were still here, insisting “I want to go home and cry alone.” After some USA/Canada Olympic hockey related trash-talk, the players actually started playing again. Shaun chose to play, and both players kept their hands. A Stirring Wildwood hit the table for Shaun, followed by a Savage Lands for Kamui. Shaun’s Misty Rainforest brought up a Forest to let him cast Stoneforge Mystic, which came with a Basilisk Collar.

“One of the most butt-ugly dogs in all of Magic.”

While the other players mocked my coverage style, Kamui cracked a Catacombs for a Forest. This time, Shaun correctly predicted Kamui’s Putrid Leech, and he chose to play a Wild Nacatl and his Collar. He dropped a Sejiri Steppe, gave his Mystic Pro-Black, and bashed for 1, making it about as sweet as a Piranha Marsh. Kamui cracked back with his Leech, and Shaun chose not to block. Kamui pumped, putting the life totals at 16-15 in Kamui’s favor. Kamui dropped a Thrinax and passed the turn. Proclaiming, “This is not the best card I’ve ever drawn,” Shaun equipped the Collar to the Mystic and passed.

“How many cards?”
“FOUR, STILL.”
“Fine, you don’t have to yell! … Blightning you.”
“Son of a mother…” Shaun discarded a Ranger and an Elf to the dreaded discard spell and soon found himself under attack by all three of Kamui’s creatures. Shaun searched up a Mountain and traded Mystic and Nacatl for Leech and Bloodbraid. Shaun dropped an Ajani Vengeant to keep Kamui’s Thrinax tapped, but it didn’t save his two remaining cards from Kamui’s Blightning. Kamui chose to hit the Vengeant, and Shaun discarded a (very emphatically Pro Tour stamped) Cunning Sparkmage and Knight of the Reliquary.

Shaun got in for three with Wildwood, kept Thrinax tapped to bring Ajani back to 2 and passed. Kamui played Siege-Gang and produced an army of Goblins, but his Thrinax stayed tapped and Shaun bolted the Commander. Shaun then informed his waiitng girlfriend that he would lose soon, as he was pretty sure she wanted to go home. Kamui tried to prove him right as he Pulsed Ajani and bashed with three tokens, losing one to Wildwood, which he then Lightning Bolted. Shaun said that he needed a Bloodbraid off the top, just like the Jund decks always do, and Kamui claimed (erroneously) that he had only been hitting Rampant Growth all day with his own Bloodbraids. Kamui attacked Shaun with all of his remaining creatures, and Shaun got hit for two with the two Siege-Gang tokens as he bolted Kamui’s Thrinax, giving Kamui three more tokens to smash with in the future. Kamui played another Thrinax and when Shaun didn’t have an answer off the top, he scooped it up.

Kaye 2 – 0 Gregson

Top 4 – Kamui Kaye vs Michael Hetrick

Michael Hetrick won the die roll … with a 1! It turns out the players were going by the nontraditional even/odd standard. Hetrick and Kaye both kept, and Hetrick led with a Celestial Colonnade. Worldwake manlands abounded as Kamui played a Raging Ravine. Hetrick brought out another Worldwake card in Tectonic Edge, while Kamui had a lonely M10 Dragonskull Summit. After some more exciting land-go action from both players, Hetrick Treasure Hunted up an Essence Scatter, which wasn’t exciting as it was the only card he got.

The players continued to bore me to tears with little action other than lands, which isn’t exactly what I would have liked at 1 AM on a Saturday, but we take what we can get. One of Hetrick’s friends showed up to “make him hella nervous,” which was not as interesting as the first attack of the game by one of Kamui’s Raging Ravines.

“Um… lemme think.”
“You write down that he’s thinking!”

Hetrick did think for a short while (and I wrote about it!) before casting Path to Exile on Kamui’s Ravine, allowing Kamui to replace it with a Forest. Hetrick was clearly in it for the long game, as he should be with his U/W control deck, and he cast a Mind Spring for 4 to juice up his hand. He pitched a Treasure Hunt, having too many cards, and passed the turn. Kamui cast a Blightning on his own turn, but didn’t look too ecstatic about it as Hetrick binned a Day of Judgment and a Plains. Kamui got his value, though, as he cast the second Blightning of the turn, forcing Hetrick to discard a Martial Coup and an Essence Scatter!

Hetrick’s first non-land permanent came in the form of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which he predictably used for its Brainstorm effect. He played his second Colonnade and passed to Kamui, who was quick to Bolt the itinerant planeswalker and drop a Broodmate Dragon. The Dragon, however, met an Essence Scatter, and Kamui shipped the turn. Hetrick went hunting for more treasure, revealing a Halimar Depths and a Cancel. He played the Depths, made some minor adjustments to the top of his library, and passed the turn.

Kamui dropped his first Bloodbraid of the game and cascaded into a useless Terminate, which got sent to the bottom. Hetrick pursed his lips and thought hard about Canceling the Bloodbraid, but he decided to Path it instead. After some more land-go action from the pair of seasoned players, Kamui activated his seond Ravine and attacked, only to have it destroyed by Tectonic Edge. Hetrick went on a third Treasure Hunt, finding Tectonic Edge, Halimar Depths (which got played immediately) and a Negate. With all the fetching and Blightninging (an awkward word) going on, the life totals sat at 18-13 in Kamui’s favor.

Kamui essayed a Putrid Leech after minutes of relative inaction, but it too got Essence Scattered. Hetrick cracked a Scalding Tarn to put himself to 12, and the glacial progression of the game continued, which is presumably just what Michael wanted in his control role. I’m just too tired to make a Glacial Fortress joke here, but I’m sure you can figure it out.

Kamui tried another Bloodbraid and cascaded into his third Blightning, eliciting a Cancel from the taciturn Hetrick. The Elf Berserker resolved, and Kamui showed us some beatdown… or tried, as his Bloodbraid died to a Collonade. The land was struck down by a Lightning Bolt from Kamui, and hetrick began his turn.

It began with a bang, as Hetrick dropped a Baneslayer, but it ended with a whimper as he passed without anything else. Kamui tried to Pulse the Angel, but it was Negated. Kamui then tried Broodmate Dragon, but Hetrick had all the answers as he Canceled the dragon as well! He bashed for 9 on his turn with the Angel and the Colonnade, bringing things to 17-9 in Hetricks Favor. With only two cards, Hetrick couldn’t find a counterspell for Kamui’s Terminate… or at least that’s what I thought until that too was Cancelled, saving the Angel yet again.

The Angel swung yet again, bringing the score to 22-4, and after drawing his card for the turn, Kamui picked up his cards.

Hetrick 1 – 0 Kaye

Kaye +2 Deathmark +1 Pulse +2 Mind Rot +3 Ruinblaster +2 Thought Hemorrhage
-3 Putrid Leech -2 Broodmate Dragon -2 Rampant Growth -3 Lightning Bolt

Hetrick +1 Baneslayer +1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle +2 Flashfreeze +1 Perimeter Captain +1 Celestial Purge +2 Kor Firewalker
-1 Negate -1 Day of Judgment -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor -1 Martial Coup -1 Essence Scatter -2 Oblivion Ring

I’d like you all to know that, while I’m writing this coverage with a migraine headache. Josh Silvestri is playing Super Princess Peach on his Nintendo DS. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore. He’s even making fun of me for having to watch that incredibly slow game. Geez, Josh.

Kamui elected to play first, and he led with a Savage Lands. Hetrick predictably led with a Colonnade, and the land-go bonanza began. hetrick actually played a creature on turn 2, laying a Kor Firewalker right before getting Blightninged. Oddly, he forgot the Firewalker trigger and discarded a Day of Judgment and a Glacial Fortress. A Halimar Depths fixed up Hetrick’s library as he bashed Kamui for 2 with his Firewalker and passed. Kamui cast a Bloodbraid, and Hetrick allowed the Cascade to resolve after gaining 1 life. The Terminate Kamui found got sent to the bottom, and Hetrick went to 15 off the resulting attack.

Hetrick played an Everflowing Chalice for 1 and passed, leaving Kamui unsure about whether or not he was walking into a Cancel. He tried to Deathmark the Firewalker anyway, and Hetrick did indeed have the oft-maligned three mana counterspell in hand. Unable to sneak his 3/2 past the pro-red bear, Kamui passed. On his next turn, he tried to Mind Rot away two of Michael’s three remaining cards, and it resolved, getting rid of a Plains and an Essence Scatter. On his own turn, Hetrick attacked for four iwht a Colonnade, but it got Terminated, gaining 1 for Hetrick but losing him the land.

Kamui cast Thought Hemorrhage, and with one card remaining in Hetrick’s hand, named Baneslayer Angel. Kamui’s wild guess – or was it a great intuitive move? I’m a judge, I don’t know – paid off as Hetrick’s card did indeed turn out to be the infamous M10 mythic. Kamui made various comments about Hetrick’s sideboarding while searching through the pile of blue and white control cards for more Angels to find the second and final copy, with Michael chuckling all the while.

Hetrick ripped a sseemingly miraculous Jace, the Mind Sculptor, prompting a “That’s amazing” from Kamui. hettrick chose to Fateseal his opponent, leaving a Thrinax ont top of the Jund player’s library. Kamui tapped three mana on his turn…

“Thrinax?”
“How did you know?”

At this point, I had to solve a life total discrepancy, so I might as well tell you the life totals stood at 18-14 in Kamui’s favor. On his turn, Hetrick Brainstormed with Jace, dropped a Tectonic Edge, and passed. Kamui thinned his deck with another Catacombs, putting himself to 17, and passed, unwilling to lose his Bloodbraid to the Firewalker even if he could kill Jace with the Thrinax. Hetrick Brainstormed again and passed, and when Kamui cast a leech, he even allowed it. How nice of him! Searching up a Plains with his Marsh Flats brought Michael to 13 at the end of Kamui’s turn.

Hetrick Brainstormed with Jace again in an effort to dig deeper before casting a Treasure Hunt, cascading into two unsurprising lands and a Day of Judgment. “It’s like a combo!” remarked judge/onlooker Brian McKay as Hetrick considered his next move. Hetrick went forthe Day of Judgment, leaving the board only momentarily creatureless as Kamui got three Saprolings which proceeded to knock Jace down to 2. A Blightning resolved, killing Jace and forcing Hetrick to discard Everflowing Chalice and Tectonic Edge.

With Jace dead, Hetrick’s options were much more limited… at least until he cast yet another Jace. He fatesealed Kamui again and shipped a Garruk Wildspeaker to the bottom of his opponent’s library before passing the turn. Kamui continued the discard onslaught by Mind Rotting away Hetrick’s Cancel (which he had not enough Blue mana for) and Day of Judgment.

Michael desperately dug deeper into his library with yet another Brainstorm activation of Jace, and he found an unexciting Celestial Purge with his followup Treasure Hunt. The Jace succumbed to the Saprolings just as his predecessor did, and Kamui resolved a Thought Hemorrhage naming Sphinx of Jwar Isle. This did not affect Hetrick’s Island, Purge, or Essence Scatter, but Kamui ripped out the only Sphinx in his search of Hetrick’s library. He also found a Baneslayer he missed in the first search. Oops!

“I’m just hoping he doesn’t rip that Baneslayer,” remarked a chagrined Kamui. Hetrick, however, seemed to have no action and became the new target of the Saprolings’ aggression. A Raging Ravine came down for Kamui, and Hetrick continued his trend of passing the turn back to Kamui as fast as possible. The Raging Ravine met a Tectonic Edge, but Hetrick dropped to 7 from the Thrinax’s ugly green children. Hetrick paid 6 mana for a Chalice on 3 and passed.

Kamui started his turn off with a kick by trying a kicked Ruinblaster, but Hetrick Essence Scattered it before dropping to 4 from the Saprolings. He still seemed to have no outs to the three 1/1’s, however, and he dropped to 1 on the following turn. Michael dropped a Perimeter Captain, but that met a Deathmark, and Hetrick admitted defeat.

Hetrick 1 – 1 Kaye

Hetrick +2 Negate +1 Kor Firewalker +1 Jace
-2 Path -1 Perimeter Captain -1 Day of Judgment

Michael kept his opener, but Kaye shipped his hand back. At this point, the players noticed the video camera and started making shadow puppet animals with their hands, which I’ll admit was more exciting than most of the gameplay. Kamui quickly kept hits hand, and the Colonnade/Savage Lands duo of cards quickly saw play. Hetrick played yet another turn 2 Firewalker, and he lamented his forgotten trigger from the last game. Kamui couldn’t produce a turn 2 play, and Hetrick bashed for two with the Firewalker. He played a Chalice for one and ccast Treasure Hunt, calling “Eleven!” Instead of eleven, however, it got him a single Baneslayer Angel, which didn’t seem to please him. Kamui spent his turn Pulsing the Kor Firewalker, and Hetrick decided to chance tapping out for a turn four Baneslayer. This proved to be fruidtless as Kamui spent a Terminate on it. Kamui couldn’t Terminate Hetrick’s followup Sphinx of Jwar Isle, however, and his anemic next turn of Bloodbraid into Thrinax didn’t seem to affect things much.

Hetrick bashed Kamui for 5 with the enigmatic Sphinx (but not Enigma Sphinx) before playing yet another Firewalker and passing. With the life totals at 19-13 in Michael’s favor, Kamui kicked a Ruinblaster. Hetrick gained a life, putting him back to 20, and then went into the think tank before Flashfreezing the Avalanche Riders wannabe. His spirits sagging, Kamui passed, and Michael attacked for another five with the always problematic Sphinx.

Another Treasure Hunt got Hetrick a single Negate, and Kamui replied on his own turn with another Bloodbraid, which cascaded into a Deathmark. He tried to kill the Firewalker, but Hetrick simply used the Negate we all knew about. Kamui passed, and Hetrick animated a Colonnade and bashed for a very final nine damage, securing himself a spot in the finals.

Hetrick 2 – Kaye 1

Final: Jimmy dela Cruz vs. Michael Hetrick

The length of a best 3 of 5 match was discussed at length, and local player Shahar Shenhar sleepily suggested a “best 3 out of 2” match. We laughed.

Game 1 started out slow, with Hetrick playing first, but Jimmy played the first spell of the game in a Putrid Leech, which resolved. It met an Oblivion Ring on Hetrick’s next turn, however, and Jimmy played a Lavaclaw Reaches to go with his Raging Ravine. Jimmy then tried a Bloodbraid Elf and cascaded into another Leech, both of which resolved. Jimmy brought Hetrick to 16 with the Bloodbraid, and Hetrick jokingly tried to goad Jimmy into pumping his still-sick Leech. Hetrick cast Day of Judgment on his turn, but Jimmy followed up with a miniature army in his Siege-Gang Commander. They, too, were struck down by Hetrick’s second Day of Judgment. Jimmy continued to repeat the past with another Siege-Gang, but that one met a second Oblivion Ring.

Jimmy attacked with three tokens, putting Hetrick to 13, and Jimmy managed to stick a Thrinax. His Blightning, however, got Canceled by the wily Michael Hetrick, who knew the Thrinax to be nothing more than counter bait. Well, it’s still a 3/3 that makes three 1/1s when it dies, but probably counter bait. A Baneslayer Angel came down to hold down the fort for Michael, and Jimmy tried a Bloodbraid Elf, likely hoping for an answer to the Angel. The Lightning Bolt he flipped was not the answer he wanted, and he bolted Hetrick down to 10.

Hetrick went Hunting for Treasure, finding a Colonnade and an Essence Scatter. He then played a Jace the Mind Sculptor, fatesealing Jimmy but leaving the top card where it was. It turned out to be a Dragonskull Summit, which didn’t seem to help the local Jund player. Jimmy tried another Elf, which cascaded into a Pulse. His Pulse resolved on the Baneslayer, and Hetrick conceded, elicing a “Why can’t I cascade like that??” from Top 4 finisher Kamui Kaye.

dela Cruz 1 – 0 Hetrick

Game 2 started with a mulligan from Jimmy. “I’m awesome. No lands.” Hetrick seemed to have a similar problem with a one-lander, saying “If it was a Depths, I might’ve kept.” The mulligan here seemed to favor the Jund player, as Jimmy’s discard spells, if they resolved, would punish Hetrick for his deck’s stumblings. This became even more likely as Hetrick mulliganed a second time.

Hetrick led with a Colonnade as usual, and after Jimmy played Savage Lands, Hetrick played a second U/W manland. Jimmy slammed down a Pithing Needle and said “Jace, the Mind Sculptor,” to which Michael replied smarmily, “That’s actually a Pithing Needle.” The land-go plan seemed popular yet again, but Jimmy’s manlands cost less to activate, putting him in a seemingly stronger position. Things got even better for him after he cast and obviously resolved a Great Sable Stag, and Hetrick spent some time on his own turn looking for answers with a Halimar Depths.

Jimmy knocked Hetrick to 17 with the Stag before playing a Siege-Gang Commander and passing. Hetrick cracked a Tarn to erase his top three cards, untapped, drew, and punished Jimmy’s greed with a Day of Judgment. Unfazed, Jimmy struck back with a Blightning, cutting Hetrick’s hand in half as Jace and Path got discarded.

Jimmy’s Lavaclaw Reaches traipsed mightily across the battlefield, and Hetrick thought momentarily before taking the hit and going to 9. Hetrick brought action back to the table by dropping a Baneslayer on his turn and passing with two untapped Colonnades, allowing him to represent both Negate and Flashfreeze.

Jimmy cast a Siege-Gang Commander, baiting out Michael’s Flashfreeze so that he could successfully Pulse the Baneslayer. Michael’s turn was a simple draw-go affair, and Jimmy activated a Lavaclaw Reaches and attacked. Michael blocked with a Colonnade, and Jimmy pumped up the Reaches to Trade.

Michael went on a Treasure Hunt, finding a Plains as well as the lovely pair of Halimar Depths and yet another Treasure Hunt. Michael cast the second Treasure Hunt and got an Essence Scatter for his trouble, but he did so before setting up his library with Halimar Depths for some reason.

Jimmy got in for four with his Raging Ravine to put Michael to 5, and on Michael’s turn, Treasure Hunt found a pair of land and a not-so-useful Cancel. Jimmy activated Ravine again on his turn, and there was nothing Michael could do but scoop.

dela Cruz 2 – 0 Hetrick

“Three manlands is good… mine are hella expensive,” remarked Hetrick.
“The Jund lands are savage,” punned an onlooker in reply.

Michael elected to play first yet again, but he kept his opener this time. Jimmy was unable to keep his no-land opener. “This is ridiculous,” remarked Jimmy as he sent his six back in exchange for five.

I missed the first few turns of the game when a spectator stepped on a ketchup packet, but luckily nothing actually happened aside from Hetrick playing a Halimar Depths followed by a Treasure Hunt into two lands and a second Treasure Hunt. He discarded a Mind Spring and passed to a nonplussed Jimmy, who seemed to be full of land and not much else. The “not much else” turned out to be a Sprouting Thrinax, which resolved, but Hetrick laid down a roadblock in the form of Kor Firewalker. The Firewalker was saved from a Maelstrom Pulse by Hetrick’s Flashfreeze, and the U/W control player played his signature card- Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He used the +2 ability on himself, tossing his top card to the bottom of his library and mumbling about wishing he had bounced the Thrinax. Jimmy activated his Ravine and attacked Jace with that and the Thrinax. The Firewalker blocked the Ravine, and Jace dropped to 2. Michael chose to Brainstorm but shrugged, seeming unhappy with his draws. Jimmy went with the same plan again, but this time Michael blocked the Thrinax and Celestial Purged the Ravine.

More Brainstorming action from Hetrick, as well as a Halimar Depths trigger, led up to an Oblivion Ring removing the Thrinax. Jimmy’s position looked grim as he tried a Blightning, but he managed to kill Michael’s Jace with it in addition to causing Essence Scatter and Treasure Hunt to be discarded. Michael’s Kor Firewalker got some sweet revenge, and the turn went back to Jimmy after another Firewalker hit the table.

A Deathmark on the untapped Firewalker resolved, allowing Jimmy to deal four to Hetrick with a Lavaclaw Reaches. Jimmy’s followup, a Siege-Gang Commander on his next turn, got Cancelled faster than a FOX sitcom (according to Brian McKay), and a Putrid Leech met the same fate. Hetrick continued to decline to attack all the while, fearing retribution from the Reaches.

Michael finally stuck a Sphinx of Jwar Isle, which nearly always spells doom for Jund. A Pithing Needle resolved on Jimmy’s side naming Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but it didn’t stop the Sphinx beatdown. Hetrick activated a Colonnade and swung with 11 power of creatures, sending Jimmy to exactly 0.

dela Cruz 2 – 1 Hetrick

Jimmy kept his opener, and Hetrick went down to 6 while Brian McKay described his “fun destruction” deck to me which he used to Top 8 some Mirrodin/Kami event- “LD spells, mountains, and Howling Mines. It won faster than this deck,” he said, referring to Hetrick’s deck’s anemic early game.

A turn two Leech from dela Cruz didn’t meet with much opposition from Hetrick, and a life payment put the life totals at 17-15 in Jimmy’s favor after the two players participated in what I called a “fetchstravaganza.” Jimmy also cast a Great Sable Stag on his next turn, and Hetrick replied with an Everflowing Chalice for 1. Jimmy got greedy, Bloodbraiding into a Thrinax, and Hetrick chose to Scatter the Elf’s Essence. Hetrick paid dearly for his choice, as he got knocked down to 8 by the attack anyway, and his drawn card – a Day of Judgment, which he couldn’t cast, having only one white source – proved no more helpful. Michael Hetrick scooped up his cards, and that was it.

Jimmy dela Cruz is the ChannelFireball 5K champion!

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