Round 9 Feature Match - Eric Taylor vs. Chris Benafel

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Chris Benafel is one of the top five moneywinners in the game of Magic. His past exploits as a key member of the former AlphaBetaUnlimited team are well known, but in recent months he's been lacking in high-profile finishes. With his legions of fans on #mtgwacky cheering him on, Michigan's Eric Taylor was undefeated in games on Day 1 up until the final round. The winner of this match would almost certainly make top 8.

Attrition would be the focus of the day, as both players were playing the red, white, and blue Goblin Trenches decks. The unexpected deck was tearing up the tables the previous day. Both players knew that this battle of control would not be an easy one.

Taylor won the roll and forced Benafel to play first. After countering a Fact or Fiction by Taylor, Benafel saw opportunity. Taylor only had two untapped islands while Benafel, at 5 lands, could play Goblin Trenches with Memory Lapse backup. Seizing the chance, Benafel dropped the Trenches. All Taylor could do was Ice Benafel's untapped Island.

Conventional wisdom states that the player who drops the kill mechanism in a control vs. control matchup first will usually get the win. But in this case, the smart money was on Taylor. Over the next few turns he would Prophetic Bolt Benafel and play multiple Fact or Fictions, snagging enough land to keep ahead in the mana race while building up his counter base. If Benafel had committed all of his mana to build up a huge army, he might have swarmed Taylor for the kill before Taylor could produce a threat. But Benafel hedged his resources, fearing Wrath of God. With nine land to Benafel's seven, Taylor managed to dig a Goblin Trenches of his own, while sitting at 16 life.

Taylor's earlier spree of card drawing slowly took Benafel down. Benafel couldn't draw enough land to keep up with Taylor, and when he sacrificed down to two land, Taylor used a Fire to clear away more of Benafel's men. Benafel conceded with 29 minutes on the clock.

Taylor: "I have to give away the fact that I drew WAY more Fact or Fictions than Benafel."

Eric Taylor - Chris Benafel 1-0

"I've got a little something for you. Is it Aura Blast, or Disenchant?" cackled Taylor malevolently as he sideboarded in Gainsays, Aura Blasts, and Lightning Angels. Benafel slipped his own Gainsays in as well as a set of Flametongue Kavus and Millstones.

Benafel chose to play. The two took turns dropping lands until Benafel missed his sixth land drop. He used two Fact or Fictions to bait out an Absorb and Gainsay before playing his Millstone.

Taylor: "Niiiiiiice."

A Memory Lapse kept the Millstone off the board, but merely for a turn. Taylor urgently sought for a threat to outrace being decked, and used two Fact or Fictions to search for a Trenches or Lightning Angel. Topdecking an Angel, he was able to beat Benafel down a little, but Benafel's Flametongue Kavu was able to send "Miss America" packing.

But the Millstone kept grinding away at Taylor's library, and there was nothing he could do about it. A last-ditch Lightning Angel was Memory Lapsed with eight cards in his library, and Taylor couldn't pull out the win. He conceded to give himself as much time as possible in game 3.

Eric Taylor - Chris Benafel 1-1

With seven minutes on the clock, both players shuffled fast in search of a match win. Taylor forced Benafel to play first. Both players played only lands until both players had eight in play. Taylor shot a Prophetic Bolt at Benafel, snagging a critical Lightning Angel. With a Goblin Trenches in his hand and only two minutes on the clock, Taylor had a shot at winning, and he ran with that chance as hard as he could.

A draw appeared inevitable as Taylor's Lightning Angel was subjected to not one, not two, but three counters and was forced to retire to the graveyard. But he did manage to drop the Goblin Trenches on the turn after time was called. Benafel held back and and disenchanted the Trenches after Taylor tapped out to produce six tokens. With his opponent at 11 life Taylor needed to topdeck another Trenches or Lightning Angel to get the win. He rapped the top of his deck, and hoped.

Fortune smiled upon the elder player, as Taylor drew the Lightning Angel. He threw it down and was able to win a short counterwar over Benafel's Prophetic Bolt targetting it. Taylor eked out the win on the fifth extra turn.

Eric Taylor over Chris Benafel 2-1

GP Milwaukee Top 64: Trenches
Eric Taylor

Download Download Magic Online .dec file

GP Milwaukee Top 64: Trenches
Chris Benafel

Download Download Magic Online .dec file

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