Dion won the roll and elected to draw, being kindly reminded not to screw up by his New Zealand counterpart, "This match is covered" he remarked with a smile.
Ox opened with a Leonin Den-Guard and a Slith Ascendent which was matched by a Raise the Alarm and a Slith Ascendent of his own. Dion offers to the trade the fliers but a Razor Barrier protect Graces interests.
Dion rallied with a Goblin War Wagon, but Ox attacked to the unguarded skies with the slith, giving it a counter and the momentum it needs.
A Vulshok Gauntlets on the War Wagon caused some concern for Grace, chumping with the Den-Guard which he replaced with another. The second time the attack came thorough he was able to double block with the second Den-Guard and a Soldier Replica and trade.
Grace's deck of white fliers with black support again took to the sky with a Skyhunter Patrol, bringing Stratford down to 13, but a Loxodon Warhammer scored him 4 life back when he attacked with one of his soldier tokens.
The Skyhunter was equipped with a Mask of Memory enabling Grace to draw into an Icy Manipulator to deal with the Warhammer. A Pewter Golem was also bought into to defend, but Stratford had been gaining 4 life a turn with Grace only dealing 2 damage on the transition.
Needing to clear the board, Grace drew into Barter in Blood but still had the problem of trading on the life scores 17-4. Moving the mask onto a Skyhunter Cub, gave him all the cards he needed.
An Arrest meant that Stratford had no blockers and within 2 turns of the Leonin Sun Standard, the game had swung in favour of Grace whop made no mistake in cleaning up the mess.
Grace 1 - Stratford 0
Stratford elected to play and both players re happy with their opening hands. Stratford jumped out from the blocks with a quick start with a Viridian Longbow, an Iron Myr and then a third turn Skyhunter Patrol, significantly better than Grace's Leonin Den-Guard. Grace follows with a Moriok Scavenger, after attacking for 1 with the Den-Guard.
Trying to keep pace with Stratford, Grace attacked with an unequipped Den-Guard with a Skyhunter, but Dion was ready with a Raise The Alarm, killing the Den Guard.
The fifth turn saw a bigger drop in the Ogre Leadfoot of Stratford compared to the Wizard Replica of Grace. It was all situational of course as the lead foot was promptly Arrested and the Wizard equipped with the Mask of Memory.
The clock is turned back in Dion's favour when the Arrest was removed with an Altar's Light, and with no blockers he attacked all out, leaving Grace on 6 life. Bringing Dion to 13 Grace pushes forward with the wizard to gain card advantage, saving a Terror for the Skyhunter and another Arrest for the repeat offend Leadfoot.
Gaining more cards from the Mask of Memory sadly meant that Grace had no blockers left, and after Stratford had moved the longbow around the turn before, won with 3 more damage from a Stalking Stone.
Startford 1 - Grace 1
"I'll start this one dude" was the call from Grace, as he failed to find a land in the first 7 cards and of course elected to Paris. His next 6 cards were seemingly playable with 2 land, all he needed was a slightly forgiving start from Stratford. That wasn't the case. A second turn Myr gave and a 3rd turn Warhammer. Adding that to the fact that Grace couldn't find a third land, this easily allowed Stratford to drag Grace down to 19, then 15, then to 11. Following with a Leonin Den-Guard (Terrored) and a Soldier Replica, Grace's belated fourth land cleard the board for Grace with a Barter In Blood, but the pressure didn't stop with Stratford pouring on the pressure with a Skyhunter Patrol, attacking the following turn to drop him to 6...
With his removal used and Dion's 2/3 flier being given a set of Vulshok Gauntlets in addition to the "whammer" Grace could do little as the 10/5 flying, trampling menace came in for the win.
Stratford 2 defeats Grace 1
Pod #2, Draft #1
Pod #2, Draft #1