Coverage of the second Dracoti FNM for 2015 – 9 January 2015:
By Amoret Van Rooyen
With everyone seemingly recovering from their holidays, Dracoti’s second FNM of the year had a modest turn-out again
Round 1: Daniel Morrison vs. Darren Ma
This first round was our introduction to Darren’s stompy G/W Midrange deck. He faced off against Daniel’s deck which was an attempt at tweaking the Khans of Tarkir Event Deck to add some late-game threats and turn it into more of a proto-Mardu Warriors deck.
Darren started to ramp from the first turn with cheap mana dorks, while Daniel tried to establish board presence with Seeker of the Way and Chief of the Edge. A Banishing Light on the Chief was exiled by another Banishing Light from Daniel and he started to apply pressure with the Seeker. Darren then dropped the always devastating Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and used her first ability to create three soldier tokens. Daniel tried to increase pressure by playing a Mardu Hateblade but his Chief was killed by a gang-block from the soldier tokens. Darren increased his board presence heavily by making three more tokens and playing a Polukranos. His monstrous ability removed Daniel’s Hateblade. While Daniel tried to cling on and exiled the Elspeth, the combination of a monstrous Polukranos, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes and another Elspeth was just too much to deal with and he conceded.
For game two, Darren brought in enchantment removal in the form of Erase to deal with Banishing Light. Daniel decided to side in Glare of Heresy to exile Darren’s planeswalkers.
Without a turn one play, and with Darren having his mana dorks at the ready, Daniel fell rapidly behind in the beginning of this game. Daniel managed to apply some pressure with Master of Pearls and a Mardu Skullhunter (including a successful bluff). It was all for nought, however, when Darren played a third turn Polukranos. Daniel answered with a Banishing Light on the hydra and attacked with his creatures but Darren had an Erase handy, allowing him to bring the Polukranos back into play. Daniel continued to apply pressure but the monstrous trigger as well as an Elspeth proved to be his undoing. The combination of a steady stream of blockers and large threats rapidly diminished any hope of a third game. Even with the aid of a mighty Zurgo Helmsmasher, Daniel was essentially help in the face of Darren’s board presence and conceded.
Round 2: David Reineke vs. Darren Ma
Next up to face Darren’s W/G ramp was last week’s surreptitious champion David Reineke. David was piloting the same Jeskai deck that he won with last week.
David started slow with two scry lands turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid and a turn 3 Polukranos put Darren firmly in the lead. David fought back with a Goblin Rabblemaster but Polukranos’ monstrous trigger swiftly took care of that problem (David: “Polly wants a cracker”). David attempted to rally with a Seeker of the Way but in the next turn Darren’s Elspeth made an appearance and brought some friends, forcing David to concede.
With David siding in Disdainful Strokes, Suspension Fields, End Hostilities and Narset, Enlightened Master (a total of 9 cards) and Darren bringing in Erase again, the sideboarding for game 2 took longer than the entirety of game 1.
In this game Darren’s ramp was slightly delayed by the lack of a turn one mana dork. David capitalised on this delay by applying early pressure with Seeker of the Way. Darren shored up his defences with a Sylvan Caryatid but a third turn Mantis Rider from David streaked over the head of the Caryatid’s usually reliable defensive capabilities. Darren responded with an Arbor Colossus that hoped to swat the Mantis out of the air but this was quickly neutralised with a Suspension Field. This and a Banishing Light on the second Arbor Colossus allowed David and his Mantis to close out the game.
The deciding game of the penultimate match saw a slow start, with the first creatures only being played on turn 3. Things escalated rapidly from that point as Darren played a Courser of Kruphix and David played Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The Brimaz was taken care of with a Banishing Light but David wasted no time in replacing him with the less noble but equally powerful Goblin Rabblemaster. Darren attempted to stabilise with a Polukranos but things weren’t looking good after it received a Suspension Field and his Courser was removed with a pair of Magma Jets. David attacked with the Rabblemaster and its lackeys only to have Darren play an Erase on the Suspension Field before blockers were declared, leaving the Polukranos and its monstrous trigger to wreak havoc on the goblins. Although his board was cleared, David rallied with Mantis Rider and Ashcloud Phoenix. He also played another Banishing Light on the Polukranos which would have been a problem had Darren not had a Soul of Theros, an Arbor Colossus and a well-timed Erase on his side. David eventually ran out of answers and conceded.
Round 3: Darren Ma vs. Andrew Wright
The deciding match of the tournament saw Andrew’s Temur Aggro step up to take on the challenge of the G/W ramp deck.
This game was more evenly matched than the previous rounds, with both players ramping quickly into big threats. Andrew played Xenagos, the Reveler which was quickly bested in combat by Darren’s Polukranos. Andrew countered with his own Polukranos, but Darren was quicker in activating his monstrous trigger which he used to remove some of Andrew’s mana dorks. This also allowed Darren to attack into Andrew’s Polukranos as his was stronger for the time being. Andrew upped the aggression with a Savage Knuckleblade, paying to give it haste. The game became a race until Darren played Elspeth and an Arbor Colossus. Andrew was on 1 life at this point and thought it best just to scoop.
The beginning of game 2 saw Andrew employing a more aggressive strategy with Savage Knuckleblade and Darren ramping with his trusty mana dorks. The big guns came out on turn 3, with yet another Polukranos coming down on Darren’s side and Thassa, God of the Sea showing up on Andrew’s side. Darren solidified his board state with a Courser and a Sylcan Caryatid, as well as using a Banishing Light on Andrew’s Knuckleblade. After much mental calculation and with the help of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, on turn 5 Darren made Polukranos monstrous for a ridiculous amount and Andrew was forced to concede.
3rd: David Reineke
2nd: Andrew Wright
1st: Darren Ma