Battle of the Sets VII - FINALS REPORT
By Legend on November 17th, 2005 · Filed in General Magic · Comments not available just now
BATTLE OF THE SETS VII - THE FINALS
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!
ANTIQUITIES VS. TORMENT
In the greatest battle ever waged, the mighty Antiquities doom machine clashed with the unspeakable evil of Torment's nefarious nightmare squad in an epic confrontation between the two most successful sets in BOTS history. Much was on the line.
Antiquities was seeking to become the first set to win back-to-back BOTS titles, as well as the first set to win three out of four tournaments (no other set has more than one championship). Oddly, if Antiquities won in non-sweep fashion, it would also become the first champion to not sweep a single match, having won each of its first four matches by identical 3-1 scores.
On the other side, Torment was out for revenge, which the black-hearted entity of evil had been wickedly fantasizing about ever since it lost to Antiquities 3-1 in last tournament’s finals (Note: for a detailed history of both decks, check out the preview and recap of the BOTS VI finals, available here).
LET'S MEET THE COMBATANTS:
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Antiquities (3-1 Nemesis, 3-1 Scourge, 3-1 Champions of Kamigawa, 3-1 Mirrodin)
Torment (3-0 Prophecy, 3-0 Judgment, 3-0 Onslaught, 3-0 Apocalypse)
Not only did Antiquities arrive in the finals having defeated all four of its opponent by identical scores, so did Torment, which did it in even more dominant fashion - all sweeps. This marked only the third time that a set had swept four consecutive matches on the way to the finals, and the first time that both finalists had won each of their matches by identical scores. Torment had the perfect string of wins going - but that didn’t matter now, because the level of competition was about to take a step way up. Antiquities had not swept any of its opponents - nor had it been pushed to a deciding game five. Thus, despite the lack of sweeps, each of Antiquities’s matches had resulted in decisive wins. Both combatants, then, were buzz-saws that had sliced through the field with but one purpose in mind - to win the most coveted prize in all of sport - the BOTS championship.
Antiquities won the die roll 10-3 and looked at its opening hand - and ideal starting seven containing not one, but two copies of the all-important Mishra’s Workshop. This charmed opening hand led to the filthy start of turn one Onulet, turn two Tetravus. Torment could only manage a turn two Chainer’s Edict to kill the Onulet, everyone’s favorite walking, talking luxury toilet. Meanwhile, Antiquities, conscious of Torment’s Faceless Butchers, wished to avoid taking a bath on its investment in the Tetravus. Consequently, during Antiquities’s third-turn upkeep, three Tetravites broke off to form a four-way air armada (along with the original Tetravus). The Tet Offensive was underway.
Antiquities poured on the pressure, summoning a Su-Chi and adding an Urza’s Tower before passing the turn back to Torment. Rancid Earth demolished a Workshop, but the game was out of hand. Su-Chi and Team Tet reduced Torment to 9 life and another Onulet joined the gang, along with an Urza’s Power Plant. Although a Faceless Butcher arrived to steal Su-Chi, Torment conceded one turn later in the face of the unblockable Tet Offensive and a freshly cast Tawnos’s Coffin.
Antiquities 1, Torment 0[/font][/size]
Antiquities Strip Mined Torment’s first Swamp and then followed once more with Mishra’s Workshop + Onulet. Torment’s first creature was Nantuko Shade, while Antiquities replied with Mishra’s Factory, Candelabra of Tawnos, and a Clockwork Avian (using Workshop to cast Candelabra - leaving two mana floating - then using Factory + Candelabra to untap Workshop for three more mana to cast the Avian). Onulet attacked and went unblocked, as did the Nantuko Shade. Torment added another Shade and a Cabal Coffers before passing. Clearly, the Strip Mine was a major annoyance, since at the moment, Torment did not have a third Swamp. Antiquities got the turn back, and could have really put the screws to Torment with a Triskelion to wipe out both Shades - but Antiquities did not have a back-breaking Triskelion to windmill onto the table. As a result, Torment still had a chance. The Clockwork Avian and Onulet went in for an attack, which obliged a Nantuko Shade to trade with Onulet, gaining two life for Antiquities. The life totals stood at 22-14 after this exchange (Torment had taken one Onulet hit earlier). Antiquities seemed to be on the precipice of a 2-0 series lead when it summoned a Tetravus.
The match would quickly fall apart for Torment if it could not find a third Swamp immediately - fortunately for the king of evil, though, a Swamp was waiting on the topdeck. This led to a Shambling Swarm that created a tough choice for Antiquities. With Shambling Swarm in play, breaking Tetravus down into Tetravites might not be the wisest choice, since Swarm’s death can wipe out three Tetravites. But not breaking Tetravus down into Tetravites would expose the Tetravus to Faceless Butcher. Ultimately, it made more sense to break the Tetravus down into Tetravites, even with the Shambling Swarm in play - at least if the Swarm died, Torment would lose at least the Swarm, and perhaps a Chainer’s Edict (if Torment chose to intentionally kill the Swarm), whereas in the Faceless Butcher scenario, Torment would pay no price for eliminating an unbroken Tetravus. With this cost-benefit analysis in mind, Antiquities made three Tetravites during its upkeep. At least if the Shambling Swarm died, Antiquities would still have one 1/1 flyer. The Clockwork Avian (3/4) and the original Tetravus inflicted 4 damage, reducing Torment to 10. Antiquities added a 2/2 flying Primal Clay.
Torment attacked with the Shambling Swarm and the Nantuko Shade, dropping Antiquities to 13. Next, the fearsome Laquatus’s Champion made its first appearance of the match, suddenly reducing Antiquities to 7. Antiquities played a Tawnos’s Coffin, but critically, did not have enough mana to also use it. This meant that Antiquities had to utilize a conservative plan of attack, since it couldn’t afford to take another point of damage (which would put it within range of another Champion). All of Team Tet (original Tetravus + three Tetravites) hit through the skies, reducing Torment to 6. Even though Antiquities had gained a momentary life total advantage, Torment was on the verge of tying the series due to its huge edge in board position. A triple attack from Shambling Swarm, Nantuko Shade, and Laquatus’s Champion obliged Antiquities to block all three. The 2/4 Clockwork Avian blocked Shambling Swarm, Primal Clay blocked Nantuko Shade, and Mishra’s Factory (pumped to 3/3) blocked Laquatus’s Champion. Torment saved its Shade (killing Primal Clay), regenerated the Champion (killing the Factory), and the Avian and Swarm bounced off each other. Torment then wisely used a Chainer’s Edict on itself, sacrificing Shambling Swarm. The three -1/-1 Swarm counters were used to finish off the Avian and to wipe out Tetravus and one of the Tetravites. Antiquities was in a bad position and could only add a new Tetravus before passing the turn back.
Torment, by now with five Swamps and the Cabal Coffers in play, flashbacked the Chainer’s Edict from the graveyard to eliminate one of the two remaining Tetravites, then sent Laquatus’s Champion and Nantuko Shade in for an attack, obliging Antiquities to block each with a Tetravite. And if there was any doubt that Torment was going to win this game, it added a Shambling Swarm for good measure. Now breaking the new Tetravus into Tetravites was not a viable option, since Torment had a Chainer’s Edict in the graveyard and could kill all of the Tetravites using the Edict/Swarm tactic. As it was, Tetravus versus Laquatus’s Champion and Nantuko Shade was hardly a fair fight. Antiquities had only one out: keep its Tetravus intact as a 4/4 and hope to draw either a Triskelion or a third non-Workshop land with which to use Tawnos’s Coffin (Antiquities had only Urza’s Mine and Urza’s Tower as non-Workshop lands by this point). When the draw did not provide a Triskelion or a land, Antiquities conceded.
Antiquities 1, Torment 1
Antiquities kept a marginal two-land hand and was punished for it, stalling on Mishra’s Factory and Urza’s Mine, with nothing else in play besides a Candelabra. Torment capitalized immediately, stealing two Triskelions with Mesmeric Fiends and putting Antiquities on the clock with a Nantuko Shade. When a five-point Mind Sludge liquidated Antiquities’s hand shortly thereafter, it was time to move on to game four.
Torment 2, Antiquities 1
After the disaster of game three, Antiquities was suddenly left with no margin for error if it hoped to become the first back-to-back BOTS champion, and in the process, the first BOTS dynasty. The dreams of a repeat were flickering - Antiquities now needed to win two games in a row against a Torment deck that had lost just one game in the entire tournament thus far while winning fourteen - a daunting task indeed.
Game four began with Mishra’s Workshop + two Candelabras of Tawnos (with a point of mana burn to Antiquities). Urza’s Tower resulted in turn two Su-Chi, but Chi died to Chainer’s Edict (Antiquities avoided Chi mana burn by dumping the mana into Candelabra). Antiquities did not have another land, but fired back with a Tetravus off Workshop + Candelabra. Torment played a third Swamp and Nantuko Shade. As expected, Antiquities prepared for another Tet Offensive, getting three Tetravites during upkeep, before adding a Mishra’s Factory, Su-Chi, and Tawnos’s Coffin, taking another mana burn in the process. The original Tetravus attacked, and the life totals stood at 19-18 in favor of Torment, but it appeared that Antiquities had an overwhelming advantage in board position.
However, Torment knew that Antiquities needed a third non-Workshop land to operate the Coffin, a land which Antiquities obviously did not have. So as long as Antiquities could not use the Coffin, Torment could still dictate some of the action to Antiquities with Nantuko Shade. In came the Shade for an attack (with four untapped Swamps backing it up). Antiquities blocked with Su-Chi and a Tetravite. Shade swelled to 6/5, and all three combatants died. The Su-Chi mana went into Mishra’s Factory.
Antiquities did not find another land, but did draw and summon a welcome Triskelion. The remaining Tetravites and the Tetravus reduced Torment to 16. At this point, it seemed inconceivable that Torment could turn a game like this around - it had nothing in play besides Swamps, while Antiquities had three 1/1 flyers, a Mishra’s Factory, Triskelion, and of course the Tawnos’s Coffin. That possibility seemed all the more remote when Torment played Cabal Coffers, Rancid Earthed the Mishra’s Factory, and passed. Although Torment had added no blockers and was going to take at least seven damage next turn, it had accomplished a subtle yet important objective with the Rancid Earth - Antiquities now needed to draw two non-Workshop lands in order to use the Tawnos’s Coffin, and on top of that, Antiquities had one less attacker with the loss of Mishra’s Factory. As it turned out, this simple play would soon put Antiquities in a desperate situation.
Antiquities topdecked a land - but it was a surprisingly unhelpful Mishra’s Workshop. The three 1/1 flyers and Triskelion knocked Torment down to 9, but Antiquities had nothing further. Torment played its fifth Swamp and Faceless Butchered the Triskelion. In response, Antiquities elected to shoot Torment three times rather than kill the Butcher. This left open the possibility that Antiquities could shoot for three more damage if it later removed the Butcher and got Triskelion back (Triskelion would return with three fresh counters if it escaped the Butcher's grasp due to being removed from the game). Torment fell to a somewhat precarious 6 life from the Triskelion shooting, then (with four mana floating from Cabal Coffers) summoned a Shambling Swarm.
Antiquities struck once more with its Tet Team to drop Torment to 3, but could do little else aside from casting a useless Rocket Launcher. Torment attacked with both the Faceless Butcher and the Shambling Swarm to drop Antiquities to 13, then flashbacked Chainer’s Edict to kill Swarm, thereby wiping out Antiquities Tet Team. Torment was now in charge of the game and on the verge of capturing its second championship.
Barring another Triskelion, Antiquities needed to draw two lands in a hurry so it could get the Butchered Triskelion back to win the game. Otherwise, Antiquities’s dreams of a repeat would be over. The door remained slightly ajar when the draw provided an Urza’s Mine to go along with the Urza’s Tower in play, and the turn was back to Torment.
Antiquities’s worst fears were realized: Torment attacked with the Butcher, then summoned Laquatus’s Champion and Shambling Swarm! Antiquities, reduced to 5 life, needed to draw another land (besides Workshop) on the very next draw phase, or else the finals would be over, with Torment crowned as champion. No land on the draw and the dynasty dream would come to a bitter end.
The suspense was unbearable. Antiquities went to the draw phase, and slowly reached for its next card. Then, it happened …
URZA’S TOWER ON THE DRAW!!!
Antiquities was saved! Urza’s Tower hit the table, allowing Antiquities to liberate the Triskelion from its nightmarish imprisonment underneath Faceless Butcher. In an ironic turn of events, the Butcher, usually the one doing the imprisoning, got a taste of its own medicine and was imprisoned in Tawnos’s Coffin. In one moment of unbelievable reversal, Antiquities had gone from the depths of despair to the heights of euphoria. The liberated Triskelion returned triumphantly to play, shooting Torment for the final three points of damage! Miraculously, improbably, the finals were headed to a deciding game five.
Torment 2, Antiquities 2
Having escaped almost certain death thanks to a legendary topdeck that will undoubtedly echo through the halls of eternity, Antiquities was imbued with the unique ecstasy of one who had just escaped the grim reaper’s cold touch. However, just as Torment needed to regroup and forget about the cruel reversal of fortunes, Antiquities also needed to quickly shift focus to the serious business at hand - the miraculous reprieve had provided Antiquities with new life, but Torment was still alive and well. Indeed, although Torment had watched all-but certain victory slip away in agonizing fashion, the mono-Black menace now enjoyed the crucial advantage of playing first and still possessed the confidence that evil would carry the day. Both combatants believed it their destiny to capture the BOTS VII title - and now one tension-packed game would decide the matter.
With a Mishra’s Workshop in hand, Antiquities held the all-important land back until turn three (having nothing to cast until then) in order to avoid a possible Rancid Earth. Torment opened with three Swamps and nothing else, while Antiquities started off with a pair of Urza’s Towers. Then, on turn three, the avalanche of artifact creatures began. Down came the Mishra’s Workshop, and out popped a Clockwork Avian. The Avian fell to a Chainer’s Edict, but Antiquities played a Strip Mine and summoned a Tetravus.
Torment, with four Swamps and a Cabal Coffers in play, now had a window of opportunity to steal the match even after the stunning turn of events in game four. If only Torment had a Mind Sludge, it could have punished Antiquities and capitalized on the opening. But Torment didn’t have a Mind Sludge and was forced to settle for a Faceless Butcher on the Tetravus.
The window of opportunity was all too brief and started to close. Antiquities played Urza’s Mine + Triskelion, then Strip Mined a Swamp. Torment came right back with another Swamp and a Shambling Swarm, but Triskelion shot Faceless Butcher down EOT, and Antiquities once more controlled Tetravus. Antiquities declined to break off Tetravites and kept its 4/4 Tetravus intact. Things then went from bad to worse for Torment when another Mishra’s Workshop appeared. Torment’s window of opportunity was officially slammed shut. A fresh Tawnos’s Coffin took care of the Shambling Swarm, and Tetravus dropped Torment to 15 life (it had taken one point of mana burn earlier). Laquatus’s Champion showed up, but Antiquities was equipped to handle the problem thanks to the Tawnos’s Coffin. Antiquities allowed the Shambling Swarm to escape from its prison, and into the Coffin went the Champion, allowing Antiquities to surge back up to 18 (two mana burn when Coffin was cast so as to be able to use it on the same turn). Tetravus came through the skies to leave Torment with just 11 life points. Antiquities started to go nuts, summoning another Triskelion and Strip Mining Cabal Coffers.
Evil doesn’t die without a fight, though. Torment replaced the Coffers with a new one and summoned its top assassin, another Laquatus’s Champion. Swarm was allowed through to leave the life totals momentarily in Torment’s favor at 11-9. That advantage proved illusory, of course, as Antiquities added to its board advantage with a rare but appropriate 1/6 Primal Clay. Tetravus relentlessly struck again, and it was 9-7 in favor of Antiquities, which was rapidly closing in on the title. The moment was almost at hand. Just minutes earlier, Torment had been in a similar position, just one agonizing draw step away from victory before Antiquities pulled a rabbit out of its hat at the last possible moment to force this deciding fifth game. Seemingly certain victory had now gone horribly wrong for the mono-Black menace, and Antiquities was not about to let the same thing happen to it.
Incredibly, almost implausibly, Antiquities was about to capture the BOTS VII championship. Nothing could save Torment now, but it took another turn anyway. The draw mockingly provided a Mind Sludge to join Torment's other equally useless card in hand, Rancid Earth. A last-ditch flashbacked Chainer’s Edict accomplished nothing, as Antiquities simply sacrificed the 1/1 Triskelion. Torment had nowhere to go. Even if the Shambling Swarm and Laquatus’s Champion both attacked, it would not be enough because the 1/6 Primal Clay could block either attacker, or the remaining 4/4 Triskelion could simply block the Champion and shoot Torment down to 4 - just low enough for Tetravus to fly in for the win.
No matter how you looked at it, Antiquities had the championship bought and paid for. With the matter decided, Torment conceded, and a dynasty was born! The dream had come true - Antiquities had won back-to-back titles, and three out of four overall.
Antiquities 3, Torment 2
CONGRATULATIONS TO ANTIQUITIES - Battle of the Sets IV, VI, and VII champion!
BOTS CHAMPIONS & FINALISTS
BOTS I: Apocalypse d. Onslaught, 3-0
BOTS II: Tempest d. Mercadian Masques, 3-1
BOTS III: Mirrodin d. Tempest, 3-1
BOTS IV: Antiquities d. Onslaught, 3-1
BOTS V: Torment d. Apocalypse, 3-2
BOTS VI: Antiquities d. Torment, 3-1
BOTS VII: Antiquities d. Torment, 3-2
BOTS CHAMPIONS: WON/LOSS RECORDS
BOTS I: Apocalypse, 12-3 (played one fewer match due to first-round bye)
BOTS II: Tempest, 15-1
BOTS III: Mirrodin, 15-7
BOTS IV: Antiquities, 15-6
BOTS V: Torment, 15-4
BOTS VI: Antiquities, 15-2
BOTS VII: Antiquities, 15-6
It's been a wild ride, and here we are at the end. I hope you enjoyed it!
By Legend on November 17th, 2005 · Filed in General Magic · Comments not available just now