It’s finally on. The pro players and the winners of the various trials have joined the massed players who have already fought through three rounds.
Both players are starting their days here in the fourth round. Neil received his three byes from his rating and pro points. Brad earned his three byes last night at the final trial for Kansas City. Brad was here until 4:30am playing for those three byes.
Neil spent the last three hours watching people who had good decks play and practice for three rounds. Brad went out to eat, “Figured I could make up for last night’s lack of dinner.”
“That’s hurts my chances,” Neil complained after Brad kept his starting seven cards. Neil decided his opening seven weren’t that bad though, and he decided to keep as well.
A Gold Myr from Brad and a Silver Myr from Neil started off the festivities. Brad added a Skyhunter Cub to his side of the table, a move that Neil described as “tough but fair.”
“Spikeshot Goblin, Goblin,” Neil sang as he dropped the dominating creature on the table. Brad countered the goblin by playing a Myr Prototype. Neil could only comment on how quickly that would get out of hand as he played his Cathodion.
Neil found a way to control the Myr Prototype, playing Domineer on it when he finally was able to dig up the land for it. Brad hadn’t bothered to add many counters to it though, so Neil only had a 3/3 Myr on his side.
The Myr got bigger on Neil’s side though, and he was more then happy to pay the mana to send the 4/4 beastie into the red zone. Brad’s life total dropped to ten when the Myrs of Neil and his Spikeshot Goblin came hurtling through the red zone.
Brad on the other hand had problems. His only creature since the Myr’s defection was an Ogre Leadfoot, and Neil felt comfortable enough with his board position that he just wasn’t’ blocking the 3/3.
Brad finally found something that could potentially make his Ogre dangerous though, as he placed the Loxodon Warhammer on the table to Neil’s less then happy looks.
Neil drew his card and contemplated his dilemma. Brad’s life total sat at 10, and the Warhammer meant that next turn he would be gaining life. He swung with everything, putting Neil down to 1, but was unable to deal enough damage to end the game.
Brad turned a Shrapnel Blast toward Neil to show it to him and Neil scooped up for game two.
Brad Taulbee 1 – Neil Reeves 0
Brad opened game two with Bonesplitter. “Oh, you got one of those too,” Neil said. Neil could only play a Talisman of Progress on turn two, then follow it up with Spikeshot Goblin.
Brad placed an Icy Manipulator on the table, an idea which Neil strongly opposed. He blew it off the table almost immediately with Detonate, dealing four damage to Brad in the process.
With the Detonate out of the way though, Brad felt comfortable playing the Myr Prototype. The Myr didn’t last long either, as Neil quickly used Electrostatic Bolt to remove him from the table, then added a Cobalt Golem to his attacking forces.
“Jesus man,” Neil exclaimed when Brad played Lightning Greaves. The Greaves didn’t do Brad any good at that point in time, just sitting off to the side with his Bonesplitter. Brad hadn’t really found any creatures to play since Neil killed the Prototype.
Neil dropped a Titanium Golem on the table and muttered something about Wrath of God under his breath. Brad didn’t appear too confident at the time though, so it seemed unlikely that Wrath was in his hand.
Brad did finally decide to play the Duplicant he was holding, using it to remove Titanium Golem from Neil’s side of the table. The Duplicant didn’t last long either though as Neil was able to use Pyrite Spellbomb and Spikeshot Goblin to eliminate the threat quickly. Neil had been slowed down yet again with the loss of the Golem, but Brad still didn’t have a threat on the table.
A Shrapnel Blast from Brad killed Spikeshot Goblin, overkilled him really. The death of the Spikeshot allowed Brad to play his Iron Myr and equip him with the Bonesplitter.
Neil next played a Nim Replica, describing him as a “bomb in my red/blue deck!” The Nim would keep the Myr off of him long enough that he could send his Golem into the red zone a few times as a flyer and end game two.
Neil Reeves 1 – Brad Taulbee 1
Brad decided to play first for game three, and after taking a mulligan to six cards seemed happy with his hand. Neil kept all seven of his cards, but didn’t seem too happy about it.
Brad led with the Auriok Transfixer, the first time Neil had seen this guy during the match. He added a Bonesplitter to him on the following turn, then started sending him into the red zone. Neil played a Silver Myr and looked on in disgust as the Transfixer pounded his way back into the red zone.
Brad seemed to be frozen on three lands, and Neil continued to keep one of Brad’s artifact lands out of play by tapping it with the Blinkmoth Well. It didn’t matter though as the Transfixer continued to swing into the red zone and do three damage a turn.
Neil looked to slow down Brad a little further when he cast Regress on his Mountain. It didn’t matter to Brad as he sent the Transfixer into the red zone yet again, this time bringing Neil down to eight life.
Neil added a Cobalt Golem to his side of the table, then used all of those artifacts on the table to play Thoughtcast for the bargain basement price of one blue mana, almost Ancestral Recall like. The benefits of the Thoughtcast were not immediately known as Neil was unable to play anything else.
Neil may not have had anything to play right away, but Brad did. He added a Slith Ascendant to his board, further increasing his advantage. The Slith didn’t stay long though as Neil played and then used a Pyrite Spellbomb to clean the table up a little.
Neil played a Nim Replica and Brad played an Ogre Leadfoot. Neither player appeared to be in a hurry to attack though, as what appeared to be a creature stall continued.
Neil sent his Nim Replica and Cobalt Golem into the red zone and Brad didn’t block. He went down to 12 life before Neil added Cathodion to the table. The creature stall looked to be on the verge of ending simply through sheer numerical superiority on the part of Neil. Brad had finally found some land though, and appeared to have other ideas.
Idea number one was playing a Somber Hoverguard he had drawn. He followed that up with a host of other ideas, moving his Leonin Scimitar, Bonesplitter and Lightning Greaves onto the flyer. It went into the red zone with the Ogre Leadfoot, bringing Neil’s life total down to four.
Neil was unable to do anything about the flyer and scooped up his cards, ending the match.
Brad Taulbee 2 – Neil Reeves 1
Neil Reeves was the pro with card pool number two, and as he predicted the card pool just isn’t very effective. Forced to play with off-color men like the Nim Replica and the Malachite Golem, as well as sub-par cards like Pearl Shard, Neil’s build appeared to be the best possible from a suboptimum card pool.
For a complete list of Neil’s cards see our earlier feature. Would you have built this card pool differently? Visit our message boards and discuss!