ho can keep track of this stuff anymore? At some point in the past, the New York-New Jersey trio of Josh Ravitz, Osyp Lebedowicz, and John Fiorillo may or may not have been part of well-know teams TOGIT and/or 7 Kings. But in these days of loose loyalties, they've chosen to call themselves "Punting Baxter." That's how they roll, I guess.
Across from them sits a team known as "Go Anan is the Best Player," centered by - you guessed it - Go Anan. Anan, a Japanese import studying in Boston, is flanked by a pair of Fujitas, Osamu and Tsuyoshi, who have four Pro Tour Top 8's between them.
At 7-2, both teams are gunning for Sunday play.
|Punting Baxter||Go Anan is the Best Player|
|Ravitz: White-black-green Roxodon Hierarchy|| Osamu: Red-blue-green control|
|Osyp: Red-white-blue Angel/Meditation|| Anan: Red-black-white aggro|
|Fiorillo: 4-color Control|| Tsuyoshi: Green-white-blue Arbiter aggro|
At the middle table, Anan tried bringing the beats against Osyp with Rakdos Guildmage and Skyknight Legionnaire, but both creatures were quickly enchanted with Faith's Fetters. A single Ends from Osyp took out a pair of Giant Solifuges, Lightning Helix cleared Lyzolda from the board, and Osyp deployed a pair of Skullmead Cauldrons.
Anan had to pick up the artifact to remember what it did, and chuckled to himself. Osyp laughed as well, waving his hand in front of his nose and proclaiming the card to be "so bad." But all jokes aside, Osyp's flurry of removal and life gain put him in a great spot - 21 life - after handling Anan's initial salvo of attackers.
Next door, Fiorillo dealt with Tsuyoshi's Selesnya horde with a Savage Twister and a Simic Sky Swallower. Small creatures need not apply. Game to Fiorillo.
Osamu Fujita studies the board.
Back in the middle, a Hit from Anan took out one Cauldron, and Anan started rebuilding his team with Dark Confidant and Rakdos Guildmage. Osyp's draw steps were giving him nothing but land, so he could only sit and watch as Anan played out Lyzolda and started chucking Fettered creatures, then played Giant Solifuge and Skyknight Legionnaire for a massive 13-point attack. Not even discarding to the Cauldron could keep his once-high life total safe - a fine comeback for Anan.
In the A seat, Ravitz was trying to grind out advantage against Osamu with Bottled Cloister, his Skeletal Vampire staring down a Simic Sky Swallower. Over in C, Fiorillo lost to a Selesnya Guildmage and Grand Arbiter beatdown thanks to back-to-back Twisters being countered by Tsuyoshi's Bathe in Lights.
Ravitz-Osamu 0-0, Osyp-Anan 0-1, Fiorillo-Tsuyoshi 1-1.
For Game 2, Osyp sided out the lifegain package (Fetters, Firemane Angels, Searing Meditations, Cauldrons) for efficient creatures like Skyknight Legionnaire and Azorius First-Wing, partially fearing Rain of Gore and Hide/Seek, and partially to keep Anan off balance.
Osyp struck first with a Skyknight, and was overjoyed when Anan's Dark Confidant flipped up Hit/Run to cause a savage 8-point loss of life.
Ravitz lost to a second SSS and Savage Twister; his Cloister failed to deliver the goods. The pressure was definitely on the Americans now.
Fiorillo earned the first match win when Tsuyoshi kept a questionable one-land hand, and that one land was crushed by Rolling Spoil. Tsuyoshi's board was empty for almost the entirety of the game as Fiorillo bashed him with SSS.
Do you know what this card does?
Back to the middle, Osyp was ahead 9 to 4 when he engaged in a conference with Ravitz over whether or not to play creatures or try to find Char with Compulsive Research. They opted for the latter. He found a Helix, which made the life totals 12-1, and on the next turn, Osyp Researched again, finding Electrolyze. He didn't want to cast it for the win because Anan had a full grip and tons of mana, and if Anan had Lightning Helix then Osyp would have wasted his spell. Soon thereafter, Osyp drew Char, and had enough mana to play it, Electrolyze, and Odds all in the same turn. On Anan's upkeep, he went for it, and won uncontested.
In the A-seat Game 2, Ravitz looked to have a good answer to the SSS that was bashing him, attempting an Hour of Reckoning. Osamu had six mana untapped, and used three of it to Electrolyze Ravitz, drawing into the Voidslime he needed to stop the Wrath. He slammed it emphatically on the table, and Ravitz simply turned towards his teammates and muttered, "I lost."
Ravitz-Osamu 0-2, Osyp-Anan 1-1, Fiorillo-Tsuyoshi 2-1.
Now it was all on Osyp and Anan. Osyp was staring at a table of Crypt Champion, Giant Solifuge, and Bob, when Tibor and Lumia showed up to save the day. Anan picked it up to read it, but the text - like all of Punting Baxter's cards - was in simplified Chinese.
The Japanese team conferred with a judge regarding what the card did, and were dismayed to find out there was no window where they could kill the legend before Osyp could get its "red" ability to trigger by playing a spell. A one-point Demonfire on the Champion swept away all of Osamu's creatures, and a few moments later a second Demonfire - this one an eleven-pointer to the dome - secured the match for Punting Baxter.