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National Championship Coverage

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The letter T! his weekend features three prominent Magic countries battling in their National Championships, with invitations to the 2010 World Championships in the balance. The action begins in Australia, with Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw bringing you all the inside stories. It continues in France with Emilien Wild reporting on one of the true powers of European Magic. Finally, the attention turns to Canada, where Josh Bennett is on site.

These events mark the debut of Magic 2011 in premier-event play. What will be the new set's impact on Standard? What draft archetypes are tops in M11 Booster Draft? Tune in all weekend for 24-hour coverage across three time zones!

Australia National Championship

The Australian National Championship 2010 has come to a triumphant finish! The largest Australian Nationals ever, 134 players battled over the weekend, narrowing down to an exemplary Top 8. There were some familiar faces in the finals: Jeremy Neeman, hot off a Top 8 at Pro Tour: San Juan, last year's Finalist Ian Wood, and previous Champion Steven Aplin. Rounding off the Top 8 were Ben Fleming, Edwin Jones, Alex McCormick, Adam Witton and Geoff Zhao.

When it came to the matches, there was clearly one dominant force. Adam Witton's Red/Green Ramp deck was explosively powerful, combining the best accelerants Standard has to offer with the fiery power of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. He swept the final match in three straight games, at one point dealing 18 points of damage in a single turn thanks to the land-fetching power of Primeval Titan. The new Standard scene has been well and truly set, with long-time mainstay Jund all but dropping from the metagame and new decks rising to prominence. M11 cards have surfaced in nearly every deck, with Fauna Shaman, Destructive Force and various Titans showing up in winning decklists.

Joining the new National Champion at Worlds this year in Chiba, Japan will be Jeremy Neeman and Ian Wood, with Edwin Jones as alternate.

Congratulations to Adam Witton, the 2010 Australian National Champion!

France National Championship

Quel week-end ! Après deux jours continus de jeu dans deux formats, les 194 meilleurs joueurs de France ont cédé devant l’astuce, l’obstination et le talent de 8 joueurs dont les noms n’auraient fait honte à aucun Grand Prix ou même Pro Tour. Mieux encore : les 8 decks joués , une semaine après la sortie de Magic 2011, montrent une créativité et une adaptabilité qui fait honneur à la réputation de la France dans le domaine de Magic. C’est au final Julien Parez qui l’emporte, confirmant que son classement au Grand Prix Lyon n’était pas un accident, et avec ce titre de Champion de France 2010, marque définitivement son nom dans l’histoire du jeu !

Canada National Championship

Being National Champ was so nice that Jay Elarar decided to do it twice. The longtime Canadian pro was the 2009 National Champion, and after a gruelling weekend in Montreal he's picked up a second title. He fought through a field of 111 players from across Canada, needing to win his last round in the Swiss for a berth in the Top 8. His weapon of choice in Standard Constructed? Blue-White Control.

Joining him at Worlds in Japan is finalist Vincent Thibeault, who led the pack at a perfect 7-0 at the end of Day 2. Thibeault was piloting the darling of m11 Standard, Titan/Valakut. Elarar got up to a quick two-game lead in the final match, thanks in part to two unlucky Summoning Traps from Thibeault. Elarar faltered in the third due to mana trouble, and it looked like he would suffer the same fate in the fourth. Starved for a second blue mana, Elarar was on the back foot constantly, but a shortness of threats from Thibeault allowed him back into the game, where his card draw from Little Jace and Big Jace took over.

Rounding out the team is Pascal Maynard, who edged out Kyle Duncan in a tight five-game playoff. It came down to the fifth game, Maynard's Red-Green-Blue Destructive Force deck on the play against Duncan's Monument Jund. Life gain from Obstinate Baloth and Pelakka Wurm forced the two into a standoff, and Maynard's deck was kinder: Garruk Wildspeaker, setting up a lethal Overrun.

Congratulations to the 2010 Canadian National Team, and to Jay Elarar, 2010 Canadian National Champion!

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