Friday, November 23, 2007

Daytona Beach Matches

Alex Lieberman vs. Seth Manfield

Seth had an army of Cloudcrown Oaks against a pesky team of Harassers, Skeletal Changelings, and Dreamspoiler Witches. Alex looked like he was going to come out on top but Seth had just enough mana to finish off the Minneapolis Champ with Profane Command.

Had he included that card as the best rare on his profile form?

"Nope. I know everyone else did though."

Alex evened up the series but after a long battle of attrition in Game 3 the last card standing was Oakgnarl Warrior on Seth's side of the table.

Final result: Seth Manfield defeated Alex Lieberman in three games.

Kyle Miller vs. Tannon Grace

There seemed to be a lot of green running around in this Top 8 and Tannon grace had some of the choicest rares of the bunch with Wren's Run Packmaster, Timber Protector, and Imperious Perfect. Kyle Miller had a pretty exciting merfolk deck that had many of the prime Mefolk up to and including Sygg, River Guide.

In the final game Tannon made a turn three Packmaster and also played and Imperious Perfect against Sygg, Judge, and Mystic. Neck Snap took care of the Packmaster and a Merfolk Sniper showed up to keep the Perfect from getting completely out of control. Moonglove Extract took out the Sygg and the Perfect threatened to take over the game.

Trey – from the van feature on Day One – offered to let Tannon use Wolf and Elf tokens in place of the coins and buttons that were being used.

"Thank you I would like to borrow them for the rest of the Top 8 – if needed."

Final result: Tannon Grace would need the tokens for at least one more match and Kyle ended up as the highest finishing Amateur in the event winning an extra $1,500 for his status.

Tillman Bragg vs. Steven Wolansky

Game 1 was a bloodbath on both sides. Steven came blazing out of the gates with a green-red giant/changeling deck. He did ten more damage than it appeared he could do on the table with a pair of Blades of Velis Vel and Elvish Handservant but he could only get Tillman to one. Tillman cracked back and had his own Blades for the win. In Game 2 Tillman had a super aggressive Kithkin draw that Steven could not possibly deal with starting with Goldmeadow Stalwart, a pair of Goldmeadow Harriers, and Wizened Cenn.

"Nice deck," said one watcher, "your worst card was Isamaru."

Gabe Walls vs. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

"Paulo is the first person in fifteen rounds who can level up if I concede to him," said Gabe Walls by way of explaining his concession to Paulo Damo da Rosa, looking to hit Level 4 for next season. Paulo didn't even ask Gabe for the concession, he just walked up to the Feature Match area and said, "I scoop."

Sunday, November 18: 8:03 p.m. – Semifinal - Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa vs. Tillman Bragg
by Brian David-Marshall

Game 1

Paulo mulliganed into a handful of burn and played Skeletal Changeling on turn two while Tillman had an uncharacteristically slow draw for his deck playing Dolman Gate without any creatures in sight. His Avian Changeling was shot down with Lash Out which cleared the airspace for Paulo's Marsh Flitter.

Goldmeadow Harrier picked up a Runed Stalactite but it was also killed with Lash Out. PV revealed Colfener's Plans – winning the Clash Out for the second time -- and kept the card on top of his deck. Tillman shrugged and paid full price for Stalwart. He fell to three on Paulo's next attack and the Brazillian laid the Plans and looked for some burn in his next seven cards.

He found it and played Tarfire for the kill.

Game 2

Tillman came out fast with Harrier and Kithkin Greathear but stalled on lands. Mudbutton Torchrunner stalled him on the ground as well. He could tap it and attack but Tillman was stuck on two lands. There were no such difficulties on the other side of the table as Paulo played Marsh Flitter

Tillman sighed at his third land and hoped to slow things down with Avian Changeling.

Paulo obliged and played Boggart Sprite Chaser and Tillman thought things were turning around when he added Harpoon Sniper but the game was actually a huge blowout when Paulo sacrificed the Mudbutton to the Flitter – doing three to Tillman -- and clearing the other side of the red zone with Final Revels.

The game wobbled along on its rims for a couple more turns but Paulo was going through to the finals.

While they waited for a quarterfinal and semifinal bracket to catch up to him, Paulo chatted with his opponent who was unsure if he would be attending Kuala Lumpur or not yet due to the price of the plane ticket.

Paulo agreed that they were expensive but was not anticipating having to pay for his own if he could win one more round.

"I am a win away from getting the plane ticket paid for," said Paulo who came into the tournament on 30 Pro Points for the season. A win here and two points from Worlds would guarantee him Level 5 for all next season and free flights to all the Pro Tours.

Final result: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa wins two games to none over Tillman Bragg.

Sunday, November 18: 8:32 p.m. – Semifinal - Seth Manfield vs Tannon Grace
by André Coimbra

In this semi-finals match, we get to see two Americans playing for the chance to fight the Brazilian Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa in the finals and keep the trophy in their country. Seth Manfield comes from Philadelphia and is just 17 years old, while Tannon Grace comes from Baton Rouge, LA and is 21 years old. Both have Pro Tour experience, so it will be an interesting match for sure!

Tannon won the die roll and started with Leaf Guilder on his second turn and third turn Imperious Perfect: swinging for 3. His opponent, played Fertile Ground on his second turn and Imperious Perfect on his third turn, which was quite similar! On his fourth turn the Baton Rouge player chosed to play a Timber Protector, instead of getting a token from his Imperious Perfect. That was followed by a Kithkin Daggerdare, while the younger player setted a Mossworth Bridge to play later with two Elvish Branchbender in play. The hidden creature was Changeling Titan and it appeared when Tannon decided to attack on his next turn to get the place of one of the Elvish Branchbender. While both players were getting elf tokens every turn, they couldn't attack, as their were too many creatures in each side. Finnaly Seth played Sentry Oak, getting to clash and finding Cloud crown Oak on the top of his deck and Oona's Prowler on Tannon's deck, keeping both cards on the top. However, Seth had a different agenda, playing in that same turn an Elvish Harbringer and his target was Nath's Elite in order to try to break the simmetry of the game. After playing his elf, Tannon realized he couldn't win and conceded to the younger player.

Being one game behind, Tannon Grace decided to draw first, as he thinks that the game will be quite long and one extra card might make the difference between going home or facing the Brazilian player in the finals. Unfortunnaly for him, his seven cards were not good enough to play, so he chosed to take a Mulligan. Another one... and he kept his next 5 cards. Seth got a swamp from Wanderer's Twig and played Imperious Perfect on his third turn, passing the turn with 4 mana open on his fourth turn, but leaving the swamp in his hand. Tannon speeds his mana with Fertile Ground and plays Cloudcrown Oak on his third turn, yep folks, this is a top4 match! His next play is Nath's Elite, but losing the clash to a Elvish Branchbender, which Seth happily keeps in the top. Nath's Elite trades with Elvish Branchbender and Bog-Strider Ash comes from Mr Grace's hand to smile with a Swamp on the other side of the table. Follows Changeling Titan from Mr Manfield and a Warren Pilferers that returns Nath's Elite back to his owners hand. However, before Tannon gets the chance to play his Elite, Seth plays his own, but losing the clash. Warren Pilferers gets sacrificed in the Titan's way and Changeling Hero comes to fight in the same side has the previous Changeling creature, but gives two life to the other player, that uses Bog-Strider Ash trigger ability. Things getting hot? Tannon plays his own champion, Wren's Run Packmaster, but Nath's Elite won the game once again.

Seth Manfield 2 Tannon Grace 0

Sunday, November 18: 9:10 p.m. – Final - Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Seth Manfield
by Brian David-Marshall

Game 1

As the players looked through each others decks Seth noted all of Paulo's removal, "Hmmmm... I doubt Imperious Perfect is going to stick against you."

Paulo looked at his opening hand and decided he could do better. He was able to play Skeletal Changeling off of his two Swamps and he was holding Final Revels but the remaining four cards were early red creatures and if he stumbled at all he would need to draw both lands and removal spells to fight through it.

Skeletal Changeling came down and nibbled for a point. Elvish Branchbender and Marsh Flitter landed on each side of the table but Seth stymied the goblin munching faerie with Cloudcrown Oak. The match-up looked pretty bad for Paulo actually despite the ease with which he could kill Seth's Perfect. Maindeck Bog-Strider Ash was another example of the cards that Paulo had no easy answers for. Seth also added Moonglove extract to the board in case of an emergency.

Paulo's Axegrinder Giant threatened to make things interesting but he could not see over the Changeling Titan that championed a Forest while the Bog-Strider took a swampwalk.

Seth searched for a black source with his Wanderer's Twig and showed where the Doran, the Siege Tower that had drifted around the draft table ended up. He attacked for four with Bog-Strider. Paulo was quickly at six with no reasonable counterattacks. He played out his hand including Nightshade Stinger and Dreamspoiler Witches in the hopes of pulling something off with Colfener's Plans but Seth had Profane Command.

Game 2

Paulo shook his head as he had to ship back two straight hands and go to five cards to start the game. As difficult as it was to believe for Paulo, Seth's friends watching along the rail were even more stunned that Seth was on the verge of winning a Grand Prix.

"This is unbelievable," exclaimed Brad Taulbee. "Every prerelease he opens the best foils, the best rares...and now this?"

Someone else added: "Did you know he is also a Bridge master?"

"You play Bridge?" asked Paulo.

"I mean...yeah...a little," answered the 17-year old Seth who seemed uncomfortable talking about what many people perceive to be an old person's card game.

"I play Bridge," shrugged Paulo. Sadly he was not playing much Magic from his five card hand. He led off with Fire-Belly and followed up with Boggart Loggers but that was all he had for the time being. Seth held the Changeling at bay with Warren-Scourge Elf and could race the Loggers with Bog-Strider Ash. He also planted a Cloudcrown Oak.

Paulo had sputtered and was just playing lands. Seth swung with everyone and played Imperious Perfect in his second mainphase -- "Oops" -- and Moonglove Extract. Paulo attacked with both guys and Seth blocked the Changeling with the Perfect. When Paulo pumped it, Seth used the Extract.

Loggers killed the Bog-Strider. Final revels killed everything else and Paulo hoped to keep the Oak at bay with Skeletal Changeling but Seth had more gas in the tank with Changeling Hero and Nath's Elite to ensure the killing stroke.

Final result: Seth Manfield is the Grand Prix Daytona Champion!