With the 2011 M:tG Worlds concluding, I have to say the Interesting Play of the Week goes to Game 5 of Conley Woods vs. Craig Wescoe. Due to the holidays, I wasn't able to play very many Magic games this week, and none of which of my personal games were a true back and forth that this match played. I would normally talk about the finals match with Richard Bland vs. Jun'Ya Iyanaga and his quadruple Galvanic Blast, but those games for a finals match were especially disappointing. Richard Bland's deck had absolutely no answer in both his deck and sideboard to Iyanaga's titans, (specifically Inferno Titan in games 2 and 3) and seemed to be fighting his mana more than Iyanaga's threats on the board. Don't get me wrong, Iyanaga had some really good plays--and not just against Richard Bland--it's just that their decks were so vastly different and Richard Bland's deck was ill-equipped to take on a ramp deck with 8 titans. And not having a second white source to basically ever cast Hero of Bladehold really hurt him.
Anyways, I believe the closest match at 2011 Worlds was Conley Woods vs. Craig Wescoe in the top 8 quarter-finals. Conley Woods (and everybody else from Channel Fireball) was playing his Tempered Steel deck and Craig Wescoe was playing Geist of Saint Traft, which oddly enough was not relevant until the fifth game.
Luckily in the fifth game, neither opponent had to mulligan.* The game started off fairly slow:
Woods: Inkmoth Nexus
Wescoe: Seachrome Coast
Woods: Plains, Glint Hawk Idol
Wescoe: Plains, Honor of the Pure
Woods: Plains, activate Inkmoth Nexus and Glint Hawk Idol, swing with both.
Wescoe: Glacial Fortress, Geist of Saint Traft
Woods: Plains, Etched Champion, swing with Glint Hawk
At this point Wescoe takes his draw, and pulls his two-of Oblivion Ring from his deck. He is holding a Timely Reinforcements, Fiend Hunter, Moorland Haunt**, Plains, Island, and Oblivion Ring. He could consider Oblivion Ringing the Etched Champion, but Woods has a Plains open and could activate his tapped Inkmoth for metalcraft, countering Oblivion Ring's effect. The same for Fiend Hunter. And with Glinthawk Idol deactivated, Timely Reinforcements won't give the soldier tokens at the moment. Wescoe decides to Oblivion Ring the Glint Hawk Idol, and swings with Geist, who is a 3/3 now because of Honor of the Pure, which brings in a 4/4 Angel token who is now a 5/5 with Honor of the Pure. Woods can no longer activate metalcraft with his Inkmoth with Glinthawk exiled, so Woods takes 8 unblocked combat damage.
Woods draws, swings with Etched Champion, plays an Inkmoth Nexus, Signal Pest, and taps out for Hero of Bladehold. The life totals are 12-14 with Wescoe having 1 poison counter. Wescoe top-draws a second Honor of the Pure. He taps his three mana and plays Fiend Hunter, exiling Hero of Bladehold when it enters. Wescoe then casts his second Honor of the Pure. He then swings with his now 4/4 Geist which brings in a 6/6 Angel token. Woods decides to save his Signal Pest and drops to 2 life.
Woods top-draws a Glint Hawk, not the idol but the creature. Woods holds in his hand, Dispatch, a second dispatch, and his newly drawn Glint Hawk. Woods thinks long and hard about his next move. He finally settles on activating his Inkmoth Nexus, and Dispatching the Fiend Hunter, returning his Hero of Bladehold to the battlefield. He swings with Etched Champion and Signal Pest, bringing his Wescoe down to 11 life. In his second main phase, he plays Glint Hawk, bouncing his activated Inkmoth back to hand, which he replays.
Wescoe is determined to get the last two points of life off of Woods, but he has an untapped Glint Hawk for the Angel block, and a Hero of Blade hold. Woods could also activate his Inkmoth for a blocker. Wescoe takes his draw and it is another Geist of Saint Traft, it is not very much use to him because it is a legendary creature, it would kill his other Geist as a state-based action if he let it enter the battlefield. Wescoe swings with his Geist which brings in the 6/6 flying Angel token. Woods blocks the Geist with his Inkmoth and blocks the Angel with his Glint Hawk. Woods realizes he made a mistake and using the last card in his hand, Dispatch's the Angel, saving his Glint Hawk before combat damage. In Wescoe's second main phase he casts Timely Reinforcements, not giving him the life but the three 1/1 soldier tokens. Woods says "sure" nervously, looking at his life total, which is still at 2.
Woods draws, and thinks hard about his next move and finally decides to swing with the board. His Hero of Bladehold brings in two more 1/1 soldier tokens, but with Signal Pest and Hero of Bladehold, all attacking creature get +2/+0 from Battle Cry. Wescoe spreads out Woods' cards and carefully calculates how much damage he will take. He has three 1/1 soldiers that are 3/3's thanks to two Honor of the Pure. Etched Champion doesn't have metalcraft because Woods hasn't activated his Inkmoth. Wescoe decides to block his two tokens and Etched champion. Combat damage resolves taking Wescoe down to 2 life. In Woods' second main phase he casts a Glint Hawk, returning his tapped Signal Pest to his hand, which he replays untapped, ready for Wescoe's next assault.
Wescoe takes his next draw and severely disappointed when he sees a Plains. He enters his attack step and before he can put his token into play, Woods arranges his cards to show his block. Woods loses both his Signal Pest and Glint Hawk. Wescoe stands around for a few seconds in his second main phase, and finally reveals he has no answer to Woods' Hero of Bladehold, and shakes his hand.
Thanks for tuning in to the Interesting Play of the Week #2! Don't forget to tell your friends about us where we talk about random cards and how good (or how bad) they are! A comic should be coming soon thanks to the courtesy of Lolzor's friend!
* - in one of their previous games Woods had to mulligan down to 5 cards, but ended up winning through good play.
** - it should be known that Moorland Haunt was never relevant because Woods never killed a creature, he only exiled them.
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