Battle of the Sets VII - Division Finals & Final Four Reports
By Legend on November 14th, 2005 · Filed in General Magic · Comments not available just now
Don't have a clue what this is? Then read this. Already well-versed in the ways of the BOTS? Then read on and I'll get right to the action!
DIVISION FINALS AND FINAL FOUR REPORTS
*Feature Match* - - - - - (1) Mirrodin vs. (2) Darksteel
In a dazzling (albeit brief) match that lived up to the hype, Mirrodin and Darksteel collided for a colossal confrontation between block brothers. As expected, this metallic battle played out like a Wild West showdown - lightning fast and brutally unforgiving. Five games - in a shade less than twenty minutes!
The match started out doubly nice for Darksteel: it won the die roll and watched Mirrodin mulligan once. Darksteel opened with Myr Moonvessel, while Mirrodin opened with Glimmervoid, Welding Jar, and Disciple of the Vault. Moonvessel traded with Disciple and Arcbound Stinger hit the table. Mirrodin failed to find a second land and conceded when Darksteel unveiled Arcbound Ravager and Skullclamp on the following turn.
Darksteel 1, Mirrodin 0
Mirrodin had a far better hand this time, and started off with Vault of Whispers, Pyrite Spellbomb, and Ornithopter. Next came a fascinating encounter between old and new.
Mirrodin’s turn two Atog was matched by Darksteel’s turn two Arcbound Ravager. Puzzled by this development, Atog looked across the table at a more modern, superior version of himself. Could it be? Had Wizards of the Coast printed a new Atog-like robot? Atog briefly reflected on days long gone, when he was the one and only Godzilla of artifact-munching, the undisputed scrap metal glutton. Now, though, the original Godzilla of artifact eating was faced with a cold, artificial version of himself - Arcbound Ravager, the Mechagodzilla of artifact eating. Atog walked up to the mysterious newcomer and knocked on its cold outer shell. No response. Just cold, emotionless steel. Realizing the power of this uncaring, metallic killer, Atog recoiled in horror and returned to the Mirrodin side of the table. He knew what needed to be done. He could not allow his Mirrodin team to fall to this emotionless menace - this newfangled artifact eater. The battle lines were drawn - it was Atog vs. Neo-Atog in a battle for artifact-eating supremacy.
Action resumed once more with the Spellbomb shooting down Arcbound Ravager. Mirrodin followed that success up with a Bonesplitter, then sent the newly Bonesplittered Ornithopter and Atog in for three damage. Darksteel prepared for battle with another Arcbound Ravager and a Skullclamp. Another three point attack went through, and Mirrodin added a Myr Enforcer. Darksteel played Arcbound Crusher, but Mirrodin, holding two Shrapnel Blasts, cared not. Mirrodin’s next attack (Ornithoper and Myr Enforcer) reduced Darksteel to 8, at which point the Shrapnel Blasts were revealed.
Darksteel 1, Mirrodin 1
Darksteel’s opening Myr Moonvessel was matched by an Ornithopter and Pyrite Spellbomb. Darksteel had a Skullclamp, though, and immediately began digging into its library with a sacrifice of the Moonvessel (taking one point of mana burn). Mirrodin answered with a turn two Somber Hoverguard, but Darksteel topped that with a Spire Golem on the next turn. Mirrodin summoned an Atog (which would soon turn out to be critical) and another Somber Hoverguard. When Darksteel summoned another Spire Golem and added a second Skullclamp, the illusion of an insurmountable Darksteel advantage permeated the game. Indeed, Darksteel seemed to be in total control with its two Skullclamps and began to go berserk with card-drawing and modular, quickly finding an Arcbound Ravager and Arcbound Crusher. With the game rapidly slipping away, Mirrodin frantically popped its Pyrite Spellbomb in search of a miracle. Things weren’t looking good for Mirrodin - or were they?
As Mirrodin began its turn, Darksteel was at a seemingly untouchable life total - 19 - and prepared to win in a turn or two. But the illusion of certain Darksteel victory was quickly scuttled when Mirrodin found its miracle - Disciple of the Vault waiting on the topdeck! Mirrodin now had the lethal Atog/Disciple combo online! Without any warning, the game came to a sudden and shocking end with a pair of Shrapnel Blasts (-6 each thanks to Disciple) plus the sacrifice of seven artifacts. Seemingly out of nowhere, Mirrodin had randomly won game three and claimed a crucial 2-1 series lead.
Mirrodin 2, Darksteel 1
Darksteel led off with Arcbound Worker + Genesis Chamber, followed by a third turn of Arcbound Slith + Skullclamp. Meanwhile, Mirrodin opened with a rollicking first three turns of Ornithopter, Pyrite Spellbomb, two Frogmites (plus two Myr tokens off Genesis Chamber), a Myr Enforcer (providing a third Myr token), Bonesplitter, and two Thoughtcasts! A strong start indeed. However, thanks to the Skullclamp, Darksteel could capitalize on Genesis Chamber Myr tokens to the tune of endless card drawing. It wasn’t long before this in fact happened, and before Mirrodin knew what hit it, a horde of Myr tokens and modular creatures had arrived to feed growing Arcbound Ravagers and Arcbound Crushers. Eventually it became clear that Mirrodin had no way of forcing through any damage (Atog and Disciple of the Vault were both hiding in Mirrodin's library) and that a really enormous Arcbound Stinger or Arcbound Crusher was going to end the game, thus Mirrodin conceded with Darksteel still at 19 life.
Mirrodin 2, Darksteel 2
Mirrodin led off this tension-filled deciding game with Vault of Whispers + Welding Jar. It was not a good opening hand, and given how important the opening hands are in this matchup, it appeared that Mirrodin was done for, especially when Darksteel’s first two plays were Skullclamp and Genesis Chamber. Mirrodin did nothing on its own turn two other than play a Great Furnace. An amazingly fast turnaround was in store, though. Mirrodin’s third land was a Glimmervoid, used for Thoughtcast, which led to a Frogmite + Myr token. Darksteel was unimpressed and added a Spire Golem + Myr. Then Mirrodin played another Great Furnace and summoned an Atog + Myr, which got Darksteel a little concerned, for now Mirrodin needed only Disciple of the Vault to own this game, especially considering that Genesis Chamber would actually work in Mirrodin’s favor with Atog/Disciple in play.
Darksteel figured it still had some time to make something happen before Disciple showed up, but that was not the case. Immediately after tapping its two Great Furnaces for Atog, Mirrodin tapped its Vault of Whispers and revealed a Disciple of the Vault! Darksteel, still clinging to hope, played an Arcbound Crusher, but the game was over - Mirrodin revealed two Shrapnel Blasts! With eight artifacts in play (Welding Jar, three artifact lands, Frogmite, and three Myr tokens), Mirrodin had enough Atog/Disciple fuel for twenty damage - exactly enough to bring the match to a stunning conclusion! Crestfallen Darksteel could only offer the gracious concession and hope for a different result next time.
Mirrodin 3, Darksteel 2
Mirrodin wins Division 1!
(1) Antiquities d. (3) Champions of Kamigawa, 3-1
The Antiquities buzz-saw sliced through yet another challenger with the only blemish a game three loss. Game one was decided by a crippling Strip Mine on Champions’s only Forest followed by a flurry of artifact creatures. Game two held much promise for Champions after it used a turn three Cranial Extraction to remove a pair of Triskelions from Antiquities’s hand, but the artifact deck shrugged off that setback and rumbled to victory with Tetravus, Primal Clay, and Onulet backed up by another damaging Strip Mine, this time on a Swamp. Champions rallied with a long, drawn-out game three victory on the strength of a recurred Joyous Respite that barely allowed Champions to outrun a Rocket Launcher. Nevertheless, Antiquities closed the match out in game four when a horde of artifact creatures swarmed past a last-ditch Meloku the Clouded Mirror.
Antiquities wins Division 2!
(2) Apocalypse d. (5) Ravnica, 3-2
Just as Odyssey did, Ravnica rallied from an 0-2 deficit only to fall hard to Apocalypse in a fifth game. Apocalypse will not want to make a habit of blowing 2-0 leads, but the fact remains that game five has belonged to Apocalypse this tournament. Apocalype seized control of the deciding game with two crippling Vindicates aimed at Ravnica’s first two Forests and a Gerrard’s Verdict for good measure. After peeling Ravnica’s resources apart, Apocalypse ensured that there would be no comeback and won in the way it knows best: with a Phyrexian Arena followed by Spiritmonger and Desolation Angel.
Apocalypse wins Division 3!
(1) Torment d. (2) Onslaught, 3-0
Torment has done it - an undefeated trip through Division Four! This rare feat of a 9-0 games record en route to the Final Four has been accomplished only by a select few others - Antiquities, Tempest, Visions, and Torment’s victim in this match, Onslaught. This particular match simply came down to too much Laquatus’s Champion - even though Mind Sludge was not a major factor this time (unlike the last two times these two met), Torment’s Champions were unstoppable and won the final two games almost by themselves. On top of that, the first game was decided completely by a triple-Rancid Earth draw.
Torment wins Division 4!
MATCH 1: DIVISION 1 CHAMPION (Mirrodin) vs. DIVISION 2 CHAMPION (Antiquities)
Antiquities v. Mirrodin
Going into the match, Mirrodin was widely perceived as right near the top of the list of challengers who could dethrone Antiquities. However, Antiquities proved once again just how much it will take for a new champion to be crowned. In addition to the fact that Antiquities is just as fast as Mirrodin, it has several excellent cards against Mirrodin. Chief among these is Strip Mine - free land destruction can prove crippling against a deck with only sixteen lands. Another solid card in this matchup, as it is in all matchups, is Triskelion, which figured to give Antiquities two for one advantages against Mirrodin. On top of those cards, the simple fact of the matter is that Antiquities has, overall, larger creatures than Mirrodin, and since Antiquities can power out those creatures just as fast as Mirrodin, Mirrodin ended up at a disadvantage.
All this came to pass when the match actually started. Game one fell apart for Mirrodin after its first two lands (Seat of the Synod and Glimmervoid) were eliminated with Strip Mines. It wasn’t long before Su-Chi and Primal Clay stomped all over helpless Mirrodin (it’s not often that you will read that phrase “helpless Mirrodin” - but such is Antiquities’s power right now). In game two, both decks were off to fast starts - Mirrodin with Ornithopter, a pair of Frogmites, and a Myr Enforcer; Antiquities with Mishra’s Workshop, Onulet and Su-Chi. The situation favored Mirrodin, which Shrapnel Blasted Su-Chi (sacrificing a Frogmite) and sent the remaining Frogmite and the Myr Enforcer on the attack. Myr Enforcer got through, while the Onulet traded with Frogmite. The net result was six damage to Antiquities (four from unblocked Myr Enforcer, four from Su-Chi dying, but plus two from Onulet dying), leaving it at 14 life. The following turn saw Antiquities gain a chokehold on the match, as it played Urza’s Mine to complete the Urza Trinity. The first play after that was a Triskelion, which ended up blocking Myr Enforcer, then with damage on the stack, shooting Ornithopter for two and Mirrodin for one. Mirrodin tried to recover with fresh troops, Somber Hoverguard and Disciple of the Vault, but they too fell to another Triskelion! From there, a Tetravus and a third Triskelion cleaned up for a 2-0 series lead.
Although Antiquities had another fast start (turn one Mishra’s Workshop + Onulet) in game three, it was all Mirrodin, which opened fast with two Frogmites, an Ornithopter, and a Bonesplitter. Shrapnel Blast cleared away an early Su-Chi, and Mirrodin was able to get in just enough damage to ultimately win with a Shrapnel Blast and Pyrite Spellbomb just as Antiquities summoned a few larger creatures. Despite Mirrodin’s valiant comeback efforts, Antiquities drew a comeback killer hand in the fourth game, opening with turn one Onulet, turn two 3/3 Primal Clay, and turn three Triskelion. This considerable force was supplemented by a Mishra’s Factory, and the match came to an abrupt end.
Antiquities was back in the finals after winning, oddly enough, each of its first four matches by the same score - 3-1. Antiquities becomes the third set to return to the finals in defense of a championship. The first two failed to repeat - Tempest, coming off its BOTS II title, lost in the BOTS III finals to Mirrodin, 3-1, and Torment, coming off its BOTS V title, of course lost in the BOTS VI finals to Antiquities. Ironically, Torment will have the chance to do the same thing to Antiquities that Antiquities did to Torment last time - to ruin a bid to become the first ever repeat BOTS champion. How did Torment get this chance? By beating Apocalypse….badly…
MATCH 2: DIVISION 3 CHAMPION (Apocalypse) vs. DIVISION 4 CHAMPION (Torment)
Torment d. Apocalypse, 3-0
The magic number here is four - as in four times that these two have met, and four times that Torment has won. Only once was it close (in the BOTS V finals, which Torment won 3-2). The other meetings, including this one, have not been close at all. Once again, the primary culprit were Torment’s seemingly indestructible Laquatus’s Champions and Torment’s crippling resource denial (Mind Sludge, Mesmeric Fiend, and Rancid Earth). Amazingly, Torment has advanced to the finals with an unblemished 12-0 games record. Only two other contestants have ever accomplished that feat (Tempest in BOTS II, which it won with a 3-1 finals victory over Mercadian Masques, and Onslaught in BOTS I, which it did not win, falling 3-0 to Apocalypse in the finals).
Now comes the chance Torment has dreamed of in its wicked fantasies - the chance for revenge against Antiquities, revenge for the 3-1 defeat Antiquities exacted on Torment in the BOTS VI finals.
Come back on Friday to see the exciting results of the finals for BOTS VII!
By Legend on November 14th, 2005 · Filed in General Magic · Comments not available just now