by Josh Bennett
Round 7: Feature Match
Dan Lanthier vs. Jeremie Ross-Latour
by Josh Bennett
by Josh Bennett
"How do you rate Phantasmal Dragon?"
by Josh Bennett
Round 6: Feature Match
Nassim Ketita vs Alexandre Savoie
by Josh Bennett
Round 5: Feature Match
Samuel Tharmaratnam vs Ronald Be
by Josh Bennett
Round 4: Feature Match
Jon Boutin vs Jay Elarar
by Josh Bennett
"Is there a card in M12 draft that is undervalued, but has come up big for you?"
by Josh Bennett
Round 3: Feature Match
Guillaume Daoust vs. Marcel Zafra
by Josh Bennett
Round 2: Feature Match
Dan Lanthier vs. David Rood
by Josh Bennett
Round 1: Feature Match
Brandon Chreptyk vs. Phil Samms
by Event Coverage Staff
Info: Fact Sheet
Round 1: Feature Match - Brandon Chreptyk vs. Phil Samms
by Josh Bennett
"What's one mulligan?"
So said Canadian Magic fixture and part-time Zen monk Phil "psamms" Samms as he reshuffled and drew six. His opponent, BC's Brandon Chreptyk, was playing Hero-Blade and had quickly kept his opening seven. Samms decided one mulligan was enough, and they were off.
Chreptyk led off with Preordain, then set Samms's Lotus Cobra back with Into the Roil. Chreptyk untapped, played a Sword of Feast and Famine (with Inkmoth Nexus at the ready), then passed it back. Samms replayed his Cobra, then used the bonus mana to Rampant Growth.
Chreptyk animated his Nexus, suited it up and hit, knocking Raging Ravine out of Samms's hand. Samms played a Verdant Catacombs, hit for two, and passed. Chreptyk again animated and equipped, and once the Nexus was in the Red Zone, Samms went for a Summoning Trap off his Catacombs. Chreptyk was ready with Spell Pierce. Samms's frown deepened.
Samms untapped and tried an Inferno Titan, but Chreptyk had Mana Leak to keep it off the board. Another attack from Chreptyk put him Samms to nine poison, and Gideon Jura all but sealed the deal. Samms drew, then scooped.
Chreptyk 1 - Samms 0
Chreptyk smiled. "My first poison kill. Though to be fair, it was the first game I've played with this deck."
Samms couldn't help but laugh. "Such daggers for no reason." He shook his head. "I played so bad that game. This is nothing new, of course. In Atlanta I \missed multiple Valakut triggers against LSV."
"LSV is a powerful wizard."
This game started at a more sedate pace. The two traded land drops for the first three turns. Samms broke the silence on turn four with Oracle of Mul Daya. Chreptyk considered his options and his two untapped lands. He allowed it to resolve. Samms found a Verdant Catacombs on top, then Summoning Trap.
Chreptyk played Hero of Bladehold and passed it back. Samms drew his Trap, saw Lotus Cobra on top, and shuffled it away with the Catacombs. That revealed another Oracle. Luckily for Samms he had another shuffle ready: Primeval Titan. He fetched a pair of Valakuts, got a bonus mountain off his deck, and passed with Green Sun's Zenith on top.
Chreptyk Preordained, then chose to kill off the the Valakuts with two Tectonic Edges. Samms Zenith'd up a second Titan, and that was good enough for the scoop.
Chreptyk 1 - Samms 1
Chreptyk opened with Preordain and sent both to the bottom. Samms got out a quick pair of Cobras, and after Chreptyk summoned Hero of Bladehold, Samms busted out the turn-four Titan. Chreptyk was ready with Oblivion Ring, and bashed in with his Hero. Samms was happy to throw his Cobras in front to get rid of it. Chreptyk played a fifth land and passed with one mana open.
Samms wasted no time tapping six for Inferno Titan, clearing out the soldier tokens. Chreptyk Preordained and kept one, an Into the Roil during Samms's turn. Samms replayed the Titan, forcing Flashfreeze from Chreptyk, but had Summoning Trap for the follow-up. It hit another Inferno Titan, knocking Chreptyk to fourteen.
Chreptyk cast another Hero of Bladehold and passed. Samms tapped six for Primeval Titan, and Chreptyk extended the hand.
Phil Samms defeats Brandon Chreptyk 2-1
Round 2: Feature Match - Dan Lanthier vs. David Rood
by Josh Bennett
David Rood hasn't been spending too much time on serious Magic in the last couple of years, but with Nationals close to home, he couldn't resist coming out. He even tried to rope in his co-champion from Pro Tour Atlanta 2005, Gab Tsang, but it was not to be.
"Gab is set on being Magic's Jon Elway: Win a Pro Tour and then never play again."
Rood is the first to admit he's behind the curve this weekend, playing mostly for the fun of it and seeing some old friends. Contrast that with his opponent this round, Dan Lanthier, the 2008 Canadian National Champ. Lanthier's been keeping his oar in the water and has done a lot of work leading up to this weekend, looking for another title to add to his resume.
Lanthier started with the format's ubiquitous Island, Preordain opening. Rood kicked off with mountain and Goblin Guide for a quick two. Lanthier showed mountain and Spellskie, revealing his deck to be Splinter Twin. The Spellskite blocked the Guide (which showed Dispel), and Searing Blaze finished it off. Lanthier Pondered and passed with two lands open.
Rood fetched up a third mountain and considered his options. He tapped three for Chandra's Phoenix and served for four, knocking Lanthier down to 11. The Guide revealed a Ponder waiting on top of Lanthier's deck. He untapped and played it, then a second mountain, and passed. Rood played Arid Mesa and hit for another four.
Lanthier made no play on five mana. Rood Staggershocked him at end of turn, and then rebounded it, bring him down to just three life. He moved to attack, and Lanthier locked down his Phoenix with Deceiver Exarch. It blocked the incoming Guide. Rood tried Burst Lightning to finish it off, drawing out the Dispel from earlier. He tapped two more for Searing Blaze and took the first game.
Rood 1 - Lanthier 0
Rood frowned as he consulted his sideboard. "I wish I knew what to do..."
They shuffled up. Rood mulliganed to six and they began.
Lanthier Preordained, and had Mental Misstep for Rood's Goblin Guide. He untapped and Preordained again, keeping both on top. He followed up with Island and Gitaxian Probe. Rood fanned out a hand of Hero of Oxid Ridge, Burst Lightning, Staggershock, Goblin Guide, and Grim Lavamancer.
Rood untapped and tried a second Guide, still with just a single mountain. It stuck, and showed Lanthier a Splinter Twin waiting for him. Lanthier played Arid Mesa and passed. The Guide hit for another two, and Rood followed up with Grim Lavamancer. Lanthier played another land and passed,and after Rood tapped out for a second Lavamancer he flashed him the combo in his hand, prompting a quick concession.
Rood 1 - Lanthier 1
Rood opened the deciding game with an inauspicious Teetering Peeks. Lanthier Pondered and passed. Rood fetched a mountain and played Plated Geopede. Lanthier Pondered again, choosing to shuffle, then Pondered a third time, choosing to keep them.
Rood played Arid Mesa and hit for three, then played a second Geopede, setting up a big attack. Lanthier played his third land and put his head in his hands. He fretted over his options, then passed. Luckily for him, Rood had no fourth land, so his Geopedes only got in for two damage, knocking him to fourteen. Lanthier made an Exarch at end of turn, tapping down the Arid Mesa, forcing Rood to search up a mountain.
Lanthier untapped, then tapped out for Splinter Twin. Rood tapped his one mana for Dismember, but Lanthier had Mutagenic to protect it, and his infinite Exarchs gave him the game.
Dan Lanthier defeats David Rood 2-1
Round 3: Feature Match - Guillaume Daoust vs. Marcel Zafra
by Josh Bennett
It was grinder versus grinder here in round three. Representing the old school, Guillaume Daoust, a fixture at the top tables of Canadian Tournaments since 2000. Representing the new, Marcel Zafra, a player that others point to as one to beat. Two years ago he justified that belief with a 17th place finish at Pro Tour Austin, and is looking to add to his resume. This weekend Zafra is playing the boogeyman, Caw-Blade. Daoust is with mono-red.
Zafra won the roll and mulled to six. Daoust was first on the board with a Grim Lavamancer. It hit for three thanks to Teetering Peaks, but Daoust had no follow-up. Zafra took care of it with Oblivion Ring. Daoust passed on his third turn, then fetched a mountain and played a Goblin Guide on his fourth. It hit Zafra for two and showed him that he would draw Mana Leak. Zafra played Emeria Angel, made a bird, and passed it back.
Now Daoust was ready to bring out the big guns. He tapped four for Koth, which resolved, and he untapped a mountain to hit for six, knocking Zafra to nine. Zafra couldn't afford to let that stick around. He summoned a Phantasmal Image of Goblin Guide, activated an Inkmoth Nexus and attacked all-out, knocking Koth off the board. Daoust swung in again with the Guide, and Zafra chumped with Inkmoth Nexus.
Unfortunately for Zafra, Daoust's next play was Kargan Dragonlord, levelled quickly to four. Zafra summoned a pair of Squadron Hawks and passed the turn back. Daoust fully levelled his Dragonlord and attacked. Zafra animated his Nexus and put as much toughness in front of the Dragonlord as he could, but the Bolt in Daoust's hand sealed the deal.
Daoust 1 - Zafra 0
Daoust was light on pressure to start the second game, just a pair of Grim Lavamancers to start. Zafra's development was hampered by lands coming into play tapped, and his turn-three Squadron Hawk fell to Searing Blaze. Daoust hit with his 1/1s and passed back. Zafra was quick to tap three for Timely Reinforcements, undoing the damage.
Daoust took to the air with Chandra's Phoenix. Zafra caught it in an Oblivion Ring, then answered a Shrine of Burning rage with Gideon Jura, forcing Daoust's Lavamancers to fight. Daoust rescued the one that didn't get double-blocked with Searing Blaze, but Gideon was happy to finish it off on Zafra's turn. Next came Emeria Angel, and though Daoust had Combust for it, the game was slipping away from him. His shrine ticked up to five, but that wasn't nearly enough against Zafra's forces. Another turn, and he conceded.
Daoust 1 - Zafra 1
Zafra had to mulligan again in Game 3. Daoust stayed on seven. Zafra sent back his six with a frown. He stayed on five.
Daoust started with Teetering Peaks while Zafra Preordained and kept both. Daoust's second-turn Goblin Guide fell to Mental Misstep. Zafra Preordained again, still liking what he saw. Daoust tapped two for Kargan Dragonlord, but had no third land. An Oblivion Ring from Zafra stopped it immediately.
Daoust drew, but got no help from his deck. He passed back with just two mana open. Zafra was quick to cast Timely Reinforcements. Searing Blaze took care of one Soldier, but again Daoust's deck betrayed him. Zafra swung in for two and summoned Squadron Hawk. Daoust plucked his top card and just shook his head.
Zafra tapped four for Elspeth Tirel and went to gain life. A pair of Lightning Bolts took care of a Hawk and Soldier, but left Elspeth hanging around. Daoust missed on land for the umpteenth time, and Zafra summoned the rest of his Hawks, gaining four life from Elspeth. From there it was a short road to victory.
Marcel Zafra defeats Guillaume Daoust 2-1
by Josh Bennett
Is there a card in M12 draft that is undervalued, but has come up big for you?
Jonathan Smithers GP Toronto 2010 Champ
Richard Hoaen, T8 PT Yokohama
Jay Elarar, 2009 and 2010 Canadian National Champ
|"It's not undervalued, but I take Unsummon even higher than most. I'll take it over Wring Flesh."
||"The Auramancer. Especially in White-Green Auramancy."
||"Blood Seeker, especially when my opponent has Pentavus."
Marcel Zafra, 17th PT Austin
Pascal Maynard, 3rd 2010 Canadian Nationals
Dan Lanthier, 2008 Canadian National Champion
|"Hideous Visage, it's like the smallest Overrun."
||"Phantasmal Bear. That card is the NUTS."
||"Griffin Rider. It usually tables and is a huge beating."
Round 4 - Jon Boutin vs Jay Elarar
by Josh Bennett
It was deja vu all over again as these two sat down to battle. It was an encore of their Brawl for It All at Canadian Nationals 2009. That time, it was Elarar who emerged victorious, the first of his back-to-back Canadian Championships.
Boutin won the roll and chose to play, quickly keeping his opener. Elarar looked at his seven for a full minute for deciding to keep them. Both started out with four lands, a mix of islands and swamps for each.
"This format's really fast, Jay," said Boutin.
"That's what I've heard."
Elarar tapped his four for Amphin Cutthroat. Boutin bounced it with Aether Adept and passed. Elarar replayed his Cutthroat. Boutin passed on six mana. Elarar looked at him. "Is this real?"
Elarar hit for two with Amphin Cutthroat, bloodthirsting up a Duskhunter Bat. Boutin swung in with Aether Adept, Elarar ambushed it with Wring Flesh and his Bat. Boutin upgraded to Sengir Vampire. Elarar turned the card around for a better look.
Boutin was incredulous. "Really? You have to read SENGIR VAMPIRE??"
"I didn't recognise the picture!!"
Onyx Mage for Elarar let his Bat and Cutthroat attack through the Vampire. He tapped the rest of his mana after combat for Zombie Goliath. Boutin hit for four in the air, enabling a 4/2 Bloodrage Vampire. He passed back.
Elarar swung in with the whole team. The Bloodrage Vampire traded with Zombie Goliath, and Boutin fell to 8. He Cancelled a Devouring Swarm from Elarar, but had to let in Child of Night. Boutin untapped, hit for four in the air, then got back Aether Adept with Gravedigger. He bounced the Cutthroat and passed it back.
Elarar drew, and paused. The Bat went overhead to leave Boutin at six. Elarar played his last two cards: The bounced Cutthroat and a drawn Blood Seeker.
The ball was in Boutin's court. Sengir brought Elarar down to just eight life. Chasm Drake and Coral Merfolk shored up Boutin's defences, but left him at four.
"Go on, rip your Frost Breath. Or your Consume Spirit."
Actually, the card on top for Elarar was Doom Blade, binning the Chasm Drake. Elarar turned all his guys sideways. Boutin made the only blocks he could, losing Coral Merfolk, Gravedigger and Aether Adept to stay alive at one. Elarar was left with the Bat, Blood Seeker, and Cutthroat. It was more than enough.
Elarar 1 - Boutin 0
It was another blistering start in Game 2. This time, Boutin started things off with an unthirsted Duskhunter Bat on turn two. It plinked away for two turns. Elarar made a Coral Merfolk on turn four, and Boutin made one of his own on turn five. Elarar forced his through with the help of Frost Breath to bloodthirst his Duskhunter Bat, but Boutin had Sorin's Thirst. Then both players played Amphin Cutthroats. It was riveting.
Boutin swung for one in the air, then passed the turn. Elarar punished his use of Sorin's Thirst by playing an Azure Mage, threatening to run away with the glacially paced game. Boutin thought he had the trump with Mind Control, but Elarar had Mana Leak ready.
Elarar played his eighth land, drew an extra card, and passed. Boutin gamely tried to summon Sengir Vampire in the face of Elarar's untapped mana, and was surprised when it succeeded. Elarar loaded up on cards, but couldn't find an answer. He fell to nine, then to four.
Shaking his head he kept peeling cards with Azure Mage, coming up blank. He Doom Bladed Boutin's Amphin Cutthroat to push through an attack, aiming to gain life off Child of Night, but Boutin had the Unsummon to take the game.
Elarar 1 - Boutin 1
Finally, a game with some opening action. Elarar got on the board quickly with Onyx Mage, killed Boutin's Duskhunter Bat with Wring Flesh, then Mana Leaked Aether Adept. He attacked again and added Warpath Ghoul to his squad. Boutin played a Manalith and passed the turn.
Elarar's attack took him to eleven, then Elarar summoned Amphin Cutthroat. All Boutin could manage was an unimproved Bloodrage Vampire. Elarar tapped three for Adaptive Automaton (choosing "Salamander") and swung in. The Vampire traded for Warpath Ghoul, and Sorin's Thirst took out Onyx Mage. Elarar bluffed a Mana Leak in hand, pausing before letting it resolve.
Now Boutin started to swing haymakers. First was Sengir Vampire, heedless of Elarar's bluff. With Elarar unable to profitably attack, the next piece of the puzzle was Jace, Memory Adept. "Wow," was all Elarar could manage.
"Better lucky than good, they say," said Boutin
"They do say that."
Boutin milled Elarar for ten and passed the turn. Elarar cast a Skywinder Drake and passed. Boutin wasn't done with his ridiculous yet. He milled another ten (including Elarar's Mind Control) then tapped six for Grave Titan.
"Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus," exclaimed Elarar. He quickly packed up his cards.
Jon Boutin defeats Jay Elarar 2-1
Round 5 - Samuel Tharmaratnam vs Ronald Be
by Josh Bennett
Sam Tharmaratnam is a Toronto PTQ fixture. He placed 50th at PT Paris this year, and then couldn't bring himself to foot the bill for Nagoya. San Francisco seems a lot more manageable. Both he and his opponent, Montreal's Ronald Be, have started off 4-0. Only one would remain undefeated.
Be won the die roll and chose to play. Tharmaratnam was first on the board with Phantasmal Bear. Be summoned a turn-two Garruk's Companion. Tharmaratnam hit for two and played Stormfront Pegasus. Be returned fire and Tharmaratnam declined the trade. Be cast Sacred Wolf.
Tharmaratnam hit for four and played Gideon's Lawkeeper, stuck on just two lands. When Be swung in with his two creatures, Tharmaratnam was happy to trade the Lawkeepr for the Sacred Wolf. Be simply played another. Tharmaratnam Unsummoned the Companion at end of turn, untapped, and hit for four. He still had no play.
Be suited up his Wolf with Spirit Mantle and attacked, bringing the life totals even at ten apiece. He replayed Garruk's Companion and passed. Finally Tharmaratnam hit a third land. He dropped Pacifism on Garruks' Companion and attacked, leaving Be at six. Be evened things up and put out Giant Spider to block. Tharmaratnam found land number four for Assault Griffin, but that was just lunch for Be's next play of Stingerfling Spider. Two hits from the Wolf and the game was Be's.
Be 1 - Tharmaratnam 0
Tharmaratnam's turn-one Phantasmal Bear was even better on the play, but he had no turn-two play to follow. Be played his Garruk's Companion, but Tharmaratnam sent it home with Aether Adept, hitting for another two. Be killed the Bear with Divine Favor. Tharmaratnam hit for two more with the Adept and played a Coral Merfolk.
Be put the breaks on things with Giant Spider. Tharmaratnam played his fifth land and passed. The Companion hit play again. Tharmaratnam Pacified the Spider and attacked. The Companion traded with the Aether Adept. Be summoned Auramancer, getting back his Divine Favor. It quickly traded with Coral Merfolk.
Tharmaratnam looked like he was out of gas. He could only summon a Griffin Sentinel to his side. Be one-upped him with Stampeding Rhino. Tharmaratnam bought time with Stonehorn Dignitary. Be simply boosted his offence with Sacred Wolf enchanted with the dreaded Spirit Mantle.
The Sentinel flew overhead for one, and Tharmaratnam passed the turn. Be gave his Wolf Divine Favor and swung in with it and the Rhino. Tharmaratnam double-blocked and played Mighty Leap, but mistakenly put it on his Dignitary, which was ordered second. It turned out not to matter, however. Be's Wolf continued to hit, and between Stingerfling Spider and Arachnus Web, there was no way for Tharmaratnam to outrace it.
Ronald Be defeats Sam Tharmaratnam 2-0
Round 6 - Nassim Ketita vs Alexandre Savoie
by Josh Bennett
London Mage and Southern Ontario mainstay Nassim Ketita is finally getting seeing his hard work pay off. His recent trip to Pro Tour Nagoya concluded with a 31st place finish, and by some accounts, a whimsical jig. with a qualification to Philadelphia in his pocket, he's set his sights on San Francisco.
His opponent is Montreal's Alexandre Savoie. A card store owner, Savoie has only just started playing competitively this year. Both are sitting at 4-1, and one win away from sweeping their draft.
Ketita had no lands in his opener and had to send it back. He kept his six, and they were off. Ketita started off with Runeclaw Bears, and then Stormfront Pegasus, immediately Doom Bladed by Savoie. Savoie untapped and lowered the boom with Smallpox. Nassim pitched Stave Off, and Savoie lost a Devouring Swarm. Ketita played a land and passed.
Savoie had a second Swarm at the ready. Ketita answered with Assault Griffin. Savoie attacked in and Ketita declined to block, instead returning fire and playing Throne of Empires. Unfortunately for him Savoie wasn't done yet. Mind Control snatched the Griffin from him.
While Ketita played Garruk's Companion, Savoie was going overhead for five damage. Without air defence, it was soon over.
Savoie 1 - Ketita 0
For Game 2, Ketita chose to put Savoie on the play. He opened with Crown of Empires, then Stormfront Pegasus, again promptly Doom Bladed. Meanwhile, Savoie was stuck on two land. After Ketita played Assault Griffin, Savoie decided he'd be better off on one, and played Smallpox.
Ketita had land in reserve, and played a second Assault Griffin. Savoie plucked an island and used it to Ponder. Ketita continued to pour on the pressure with Stampeding Rhino. A third land for Savoie enabled Devouring Swarm. Ketita tapped it with his Crown and dropped Savoie to nine. Savoie decided to keep his Swarm home, and summoned a 2/2 Vampire Outcasts.
Ketita untapped and took a moment. Eventually he chose to tap the Outcasts and attack all out. Savoie traded his Swarm for the Griffin and fell to two. Ketita played his last card: Lurking Crocodile. Savoie untapped, and scooped.
Savoie 1 - Ketita 1
Savoie chose to draw for the decisive game. Again, Ketita had to mulligan. His six were acceptable.
Savoie led off with Ponder, choosing not to shuffle. Ketita summoned Runeclaw Bears, then tried a bloodthirsted Lurking Crocodile, but Savoie had Mana Leak. Savoie untapped, played a swamp, and Smallpoxed.
Ketita was unfazed. He summoned Garruk's Companion. Savoie answered with Devouring Swarm. Ketita declined to attack, instead playing Honor of the Pure. Savoie sent his Swarm overhead and played a second one. Again Ketita refused to attack with his Companion. He played Assault Griffin and passed.
Savoie swung in for four and passed with his mana open. Ketita was happy to return fire for seven. Savoie thought better of attacking on his next turn and held back. Again, Ketita played it conservatively, attacking with just Garruk's Companion, trading for a Swarm and trampling Savoie down to 8. Five mana gave him a Peregrine Griffin and a big lead on the board.
Savoie got his Swarm back with Gravedigger and put it into play. He was unable to defend against the 3/5 first striker, however, and soon Ketita was turning his whole squad sideways. It was over shortly thereafter.
Nassim Ketita defeats Alexandre Savoie 2-1
by Josh Bennett
How do you rate Phantasmal Dragon?
Rich Hoaen, 3-0 Draft 1
Jon Boutin, 3-0 Draft 1
Pascal Maynard, 2-1 Draft 1
|"It's fine. Worse than Mana Leak but better than Divination."
||"I don't care for it. I'll play it if I have the Lord of the Unreal, but that's about it."
||"Phantasmal Dragon is certainly no Phantasmal Bear."
Jonathan Smithers, 2-1 Draft 1
Nassim Ketita, 3-0 Draft 1
Jeremie Ross-Latour, 3-0 Draft 1
|"It's bad. I would take Coral Merfolk over it."
||"I like it. You just have to be prepared to draft a deck that can support it, one that exhausts the opponent's resources. It should be the last card you cast."
||"I think it's excellent. Pick 1 of Pack 1 I take it over all the commons."
Photo Essay - Day One
by Josh Bennett
Canadian Nationals is in full swing, and apparently one man has been marked for greatness.
In addition to the expected WELCOME TO NATIONALS signage, competitors were greeted with this!
Incredibly, it was NOT a practical joke. Here, the camera crew improvises a dolly shot.
Real people attempting to keep Reality TV as real as possible, given the circumstances.
That's just how Mike Gills rolls.
Some sweet, sweet alters.
Grave Titan with Swiftfoot Boots, yes, but sometimes you need even more zombies than that provides.
Win or lose, Nats is a good time. Here, Nassim Ketita shows off the best sleeves in the tournament.
Round 7 - Dan Lanthier vs Jeremie Ross-Latour
by Josh Bennett
It was a battle for the sole undefeated here in the last round of Day 1. Both players were going aggressive, Dan Lanthier with red-white, and Jeremie Ross-Latour with black-red.
Lanthier's opening Elite Vanguard quickly fell to Deathmark from Ross-Latour. He replaced it with Goblin Piker, and Ross-Latour went one better with Crimson Mage. Lanthier played a land and passed. Ross-Latour had Sorin's Thirst to clear a path for his Crimson Mage. Four mana for Lanthier, but still he had no play.
Ross-Latour decided to see what was up with Distress. Lanthier Incinerated the Mage in response, and dropped a handful of lands onto the table. He drew an Alabaster Mage and put it into play. Now it was Ross-Latour's turn to pass without action. Lanthier drained him for two with his Mage.
Ross-Latour put a stop to that with Blood Ogre. Lanthier drew another blank, and an Incinerate from Ross-Latour let him get in for two damage. Goblin Chieftain came off the top for Lanthier and hit. Ross-Latour Disentombed Crimson Mage for some hasty action of his own. Now Lanthier was forced to sit back. Ross-Latour started to hit with just the Blood Ogre, slowly whittling away Lanthier's life.
It brought him to 12 before Lanthier got rid of it with Incinerate, but he still had nothing to contribute to the board. Ross-Latour tried to clear out the Chieftain with Chandra's Outrage, but the results were mixed: Lanthier used Fling to get rid of Crimson Mage and save himself some damage. That meant that Ross-Latour's Duskhunter Bat came down as a lowly 1/1.
Lanthier found Goblin Fireslinger and played it. Ross-Latour hit in the air and played a second, larger Duskhunter Bat, as well as Bonebreaker Giant. Lanthier passed with no play. Ross-Latour rumbled in with his squad. Lanthier pushed his Fireslinger in front of the Giant and tapped three for Slaughter Cry, catching Ross-Latour off-guard.
Lanthier's second Goblin Chieftain came off the top, and he was able to swing in for four. The two traded hits. An Incinerate from Lanthier took down the bigger Bat, and though he was at four, it looked like he was pulling away. Ross-Latour brought down a Goblin Piker, and Lanthier tried to force through more damage with Tectonic Rift. Unfortunately for him Ross-Latour had been holding back Doom Blade, cutting down the Goblin Chieftain. That tilted things back in Ross-Latour's favour, and soon the game was his.
Ross-Latour 1 - Lanthier 0
Lanthier kicked off with Goblin Fireslinger into Goblin Piker. Child of Night from Ross-Latour forced his squad to stay home. He added another Fireslinger and passed. Ross-Latour decided to go on the offensive with his Child, and was promptly punished by a Goblin Chieftain from Lanthier, powering up his team for a whoppign nine damage, leaving Ross-Latour at twelve.
Ross-Latour kept his Child at home and passed. Lanthier, too, was content to bide his time. Next came a hasty Crimson Mage for Ross-Latour and he got in for four. Lanthier was happy with this turn of events and swung back, but Ross-Latour had Doom Blade for the Chieftain. Ross-Latour returned fire.
It was a close contest, with Ross-Latour out in front. Lanthier summoned Goblin Bangchuckers. Ross-Latour hit with his Mage and Child. The Piker took down the Child, but the Mage got through to charge up Ross-Latour's newly-summoned Duskhunter Bat. He tapped four more for Rusted Sentinel. Lanthier was in trouble.
Ross-Latour went for the kill. Lanthier put his Bangchuckers in front of Crimson Mage and flipped to kill the Bat, leaving Rusted Sentinel unblocked. He won the flip, clearing the first hurdle, but was still short on killing Ross-Latour, who added Blood Ogre to his squad. Luck smiled on Lanthier, however, and served up an Incinerate to go with the one he already had in hand, stealing the game.
Ross-Latour 1 - Lanthier 1
The good news for Lanthier was that he would start the deciding game with double Fireslinger. The bad news was that he would only have a single mountain in play after his second turn. Ross-Latour had meantime summoned Child of Night and swung in. Lanthier declined to block, and Duskhunter Bat hit the table as a 2/2.
Lanthier drew and found Plains waiting for him, enabling Elite Vanguard. He was happy to trade it for Child of Night when Ross-Latour swung in. Ross-Latour replaced it with Drifting Shade. Lanthier's Fireslingers worked his life total. He untapped and thought hard before Incinerating the Drifting Shade.
Ross-Latour had Disentomb in hand and gamely replayed it. Lanthier spent a second Incinerate on it. The Duskhunter Bat had meanwhile brought him down to just twelve, but Ross-Latour had no play on six mana. Lanthier summoned Gideon's Lawkeeper, whose arrival could not have been more timely, for waiting in the wings was Flameblast Dragon for Ross-Latour.
The lockdown continued for two turns, the Fireslingers working hard to bring Ross-Latour into Lava Axe range. It was not to be. Ross-Latour peeled removal and caught the Lawkeeper. With six land in play, the Flameblast could swing in for exactly lethal.
Jeremy Ross-Latour defeats Dan Lanthier 2-1