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Nicoll Nails It!

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Armed with trusty TwinPod deck, Aaron Nicoll has taken down the 2011 Australian National Championships. Joining him in San Francisco this year will be Jiann Hua Chin from Melbourne, and Tasmania's Maitland Cameron. After making the top 8 here in Canberra back in 2009, Nicoll has been quietly honing his skills, recently relocating from Brisbane to Melbourne, where Australian deck builder extraordinaire Dan Unwin resides. It was Unwin that designed the deck Nicoll piloted to victory; Unwin himself finishing a heartbreaking 9th place. Rounding out the team as the alternate is Sydney's Andrew Bennett.





Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Wilfy Horig   Maitland Cameron, 3-0        
8 Maitland Cameron   John Jiann Hua Chin,
3-1
       
4 Luke Mulcahy   John Jiann Hua Chin,
3-2
  Aaron Nicoll, 3-2
5 John Jiann Hua Chin    
       
2 Aaron Nicoll   Aaron Nicoll, 3-1
7 Andrew Jacobs   Aaron Nicoll, 3-1
       
3 Andrew Bennett   Andrew Bennett, 3-2
6 Matthew Anderson    

3rd Place Playoff  
Maitland Cameron Maitland Cameron, 3-1
Andrew Bennett



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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Feature:
    Top 5 Magic 2012 Cards of the Event

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Finals:
    Aaron Nicoll vs. Jiann Hua Chin

  • by Pip Hunn
    Third-Place Playoff:
    Maitland Cameron vs. Andrew Bennett

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Semifinals: Feature Match
    Aaron Nicoll vs. Andrew Bennett

  • by Pip Hunn
    Semifinals: Feature Match
    Jiann Hua Chin vs. Maitland Cameron

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Quarterfinals:
    Wilfy Horig vs. Maitland Cameron

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists

  • by Pip Hunn
    Sunday, July 24: 9:51p.m.:
    PTQ Philadelphia Top 8 Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog: Catch up on Day two's event coverage!

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog: Catch up on Day one's event coverage!

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
  1.   Aaron Nicoll $2,400
  2.   John Jiann Hua Chin $1,800
  3.   Maitland Cameron $1,500
  4.   Andrew Bennett $1,500
  5.   Wilfy Horig $700
  6.   Matthew Anderson $700
  7.   Luke Mulcahy $700
  8.   Andrew Jacobs $700
Pairings Results Standings
Final Standings

12
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8
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12
11
10
9
8
12
11
10
9
8

7
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5
4
3
2
1
7
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3
2
1
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1

 

  • Sunday, July 24: 9:51p.m. – PTQ Philadelphia Top 8 Decklists

    by Pip Hunn

  • Justin Cheung - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011



    Lawrence Boikov - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011



    James Zhang - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011



    Chester Swords - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011



    Levi Hinz - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011



    Matthew Tyrrell - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011





    Ross Schafer - PTQ Qualifier Top 8
    Australian National Championships 2011

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Inkmoth Nexus
    10  Plains
    Seachrome Coast

    18 lands

    Blade Splicer
    Glint Hawk
    Memnite
    Ornithopter
    Signal Pest
    Spellskite
    Steel Overseer
    Vault Skirge

    27 creatures

    Dispatch
    Glint Hawk Idol
    Mox Opal
    Tempered Steel

    15 other spells

    Sideboard
    Hero of Bladehold
    Kor Firewalker
    Revoke Existence
    Shrine of Loyal Legions
    Spellskite

    15 sideboard cards



     

  • Top 8 - Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Wilfy Horig
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


    Matthew Anderson
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships



    John Jiann Hua Chin
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


    Luke Mulcahy
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


    Andrew Jacobs
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


    Andrew Bennett
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


    Maitland Cameron
    Top 8 – Australian National Championships


     

  • Top 8 - Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Name: Wilfy Horig
    Hometown: Melbourne
    Age: 16
    Occupation: Pro Baller (has deferred school to play Magic, no seriously)
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Vampires, ship it holla!
    Constructed Record: 4-1-1. 4-0 vs Tempered Steel, 0-1 vs the field.
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 3-0 Red/White super aggro.
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Red/Blue super aggro.
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? Top 32 GP Singapore.
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Being Ian Chin obv, obv, obv, obv...



    Name: Matthew Anderson
    Hometown: Sydney
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Student
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Mono Red Aggro Goblins with Pyretic Ritual. I felt like using Goblin Grenade.
    Constructed Record: 5-0-1
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Blue/Black
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Blue/Green
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? Qualified for PT Amsterdam
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Being a circus performer.



    Name: Aaron Nicoll
    Hometown: Melbourne now, used to be Brisbane
    Age: 19
    Occupation: Baller
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? RUG Twin, because I think it's the best in the format.
    Constructed Record: 4-1-1
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 3-0 Blue/White
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Green/Black splash Red
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? Top 8 Nats two years ago.
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Taking off my beanie (only happens while drafting)



    Name: Jiann Hua Chin
    Hometown: Melbourne
    Age: 23
    Occupation: Student
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Tempered Steel! Good nut draws.
    Constructed Record:
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 3-0 BR
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 UW
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? This one!
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Slapping the bass mann!



    Name: Luke Mulcahy
    Hometown: Melbourne
    Age: 24
    Occupation: Engineering Student
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Mono-Red. I'm comfortable with it, and it feeeeeels good!
    Constructed Record: 6-0
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Green/Red
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 1-2 Red/White
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? 15th PT San Diego
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Winning our final year uni lego robot wars comp.



    Name: Andrew Jacobs
    Hometown: Sydney
    Age: 19
    Occupation: Student
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Twinpod, most interesting deck in the format.
    Constructed Record: 5-1
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Red/Blue
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 White/Red
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? This.
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? Bi-winning.



    Name: Andrew Bennett
    Hometown: Sydney
    Age: 29
    Occupation: I.T. Products Specialist
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Tempered Steel. It is very fast, and has good game vs the field.
    Constructed Record: 4-2
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 3-0 Black/White
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Red/White
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? Top 16 GP Sydney and Top 48 the Two-Headed Giant Pro Tour in San Diego
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? I won a Kotei playing L5R.



    Name: Maitland Cameron
    Hometown: Devonport
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Dream Crusher
    What standard deck did you play this weekend and why? Chihoi-Hawks. Couldn't afford any others.
    Constructed Record: 5-1
    Draft One Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Blue/Green/White
    Draft Two Record, and the colors you drafted: 2-1 Black/Blue/White
    What's your best Magic finish and where/when? 3rd place at an FNM this one time when all the good players were sick.
    What is your greatest/proudest non-Magic achievement? I got my pen license in grade 3.



     

  • Quarterfinals – Wilfy Horig vs. Maitland Cameron

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Both Wilfy Horig and Maitland Cameron were convinced that they were favored coming into this match, but with all of the smiling and jovial cajoling, it has hard to tell if either of them were serious.

    Cameron won the die roll, and stemmed the flow of Horig's Vampires with an Oblivion Ring a flock of Squadron Hawks. Eventually, Gideon Jura and Elspeth Tirel came to Cameron's aid, and he slowly began clawing his way back into the game. With nothing on top of Horig's library to help finish Cameron off, they headed to game two.

    Cameron 1 – Horig 0

    While the players sideboarded, Cameron told me to tell you all that he's @matonus on twitter, because he didn't yet have any followers. Cameron then excused himself to go to the bathroom (probably to see if this earned him any more).


    An early Inquisition of Kozilek denied Cameron a Squadron Hawk, but revealed a Day of Judgment waiting in the wings. Horig furrowed his brow and charged into the fray, hoping to deal enough damage before the board would be swept clean. Unfortunately, Cameron received some Timely Reinforcements, so by the time the Day of Judgment arrived; Cameron was still on a healthy life total. Horig tried again with an Inquisition, but saw land, Day of Judgment, and a Gideon. "Yes, yes, very good," he nodded, scooping.

    Cameron 2 – Horig 0

    Horig opened with a Vampire Lacerator and a Duress in game three, snagging one of a pair of Day of Judgments. An Inquisition of Kozilek took Jace Beleren, but revealed a Gideon Jura in reserve. Horig mounted a respectable offence, but it was not enough, as turn after turn, Gideon forced the opposing team into Cameron's Celestial Colonnade. Horig finally pounded Gideon into the ground with a Lightning Bolt, but was out of steam for the Elspeth that followed.

    Maitland Cameron defeats Wilfy Horig 3-0


     

  • Semifinals – Jiann Hua Chin vs. Maitland Cameron

    by Pip Hunn
  • Chin led off with a Memnite and a Steel Overseer. Cameron had no action for the first few turns, then summoned a Squadron Hawk. Chin had a Dispatch to tap down the Hawk, and pumped his men for a lethal swing.

    Chin led with an impressive turn one: two Memnites, Mox Opal, Glint Hawk, Mox Opal again, Plains and Shrine of Loyal Legions. Cameron could only raise an eyebrow and Condemn the Glint Hawk. An Oblivion Ring dealt with the Shrine, while Chin cast a Glint Hawk Idol and another Glint Hawk. Cameron dug for a fourth land with a Preordain. Chin attacked again with his team, knocking Cameron to eight. Cameron cast a Day of Judgment to clear the board, but the Glint Hawk Idol survived Cameron's Judgment.

    Jiann Hua Chin: Steely Deck, Iron Gaze.

    Cameron summoned a Gideon Jura and tried to mount a defense. Chin was having none of it, and his creatures wiped out Gideon one turn and Cameron the next.

    Jiann Chin 2 – Maitland Cameron 0

    Chin started off slower this time around, with a Signal Pest and a Shrine of Loyal Legions. Cameron summoned a Squadron Hawks to provide some defense. Cameron once again had an Oblivion Ring for the Shrine. Chin summoned and attacked with a Porcelain Legionnaire. Chin then grew his army with a Steel Overseer and a Glint Hawk, effectively a free card off the Mox Opal.

    Cameron's Day of Judgment cleaned up the board, and the control player stabilised his game on a comfortable 20 life. Cameron cast a Sun Titan and returned his Squadron Hawks to play. Chin had a Glint Hawk Idol and a second Steel Overseer, threatening to grow his army to unmanageable sizes.

    Maitland Cameron in Complete Control.

    Cameron mounted an offensive with a Colonnade and his Titan. Chin took blows for several turns, then activated and double-pumped two Inkmoth Nexus with his Overseers. He attacked for lethal, but Cameron had a Condemn to stay alive and swing back for the win.

    Maitland Cameron 1 – Jiann Chin 2

    Chin started with a Vault Skirge and a Steel Overseer. Cameron had a Condemn and an Oblivion Ring to keep things contained, but Chin merely moved to his lands. Two copies of Inkmoth Nexus teamed up, and Cameron could not fend them off fast enough.

    Jiann Chin defeats Maitland Cameron 3 – 1


     

  • Semifinals – Aaron Nicoll vs. Andrew Bennett

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • After chatting about which Australian state they were representing in the top 4 – Andrew Bennett was New South Wales, while Aaron Nicoll had recently relocated from Queensland to Victoria – Nicoll won the die roll and unsurprisingly, elected to play.

    Bennett shuffled away his opening hand with a "not today. I've mulliganed more times in the top 8 than I have all day!"

    "Well, you are playing a very high variance deck," Nicoll quipped.

    "That's true," admitted Bennett, keeping his six.

    Nicoll summoned a Birds of Paradise, while Bennett paid two life to summon a Vault Skirge. Nicoll Pondered twice, shuffling after the first, and summoned a second Birds of Paradise, while Bennett summoned a Steel Overseer. An Acidic Slime took out the Overseer, so Bennett replaced it with another Vault Skirge and a Signal Pest. A Preordain found Nicoll a Splinter Twin for his Acidic Slime, but Bennett continued to attack with his Skirges. Nicoll made another Slime copy, but could only pass the turn back with a shrug. Bennett attacked again, but scooped when Nicoll flashed him another Twin, a Deceiver Exarch, and a "kill you?"

    Nicoll 1 – Bennett 0

    Signal Pest and Memnite on turn one from Bennett signaled a better start to the game, with Nicoll's first play being an Overgrown Battlement. Tempered Steel for Bennett forced his point, while Nicoll copied his Battlement with a Phantasmal Image, and dropped to 6. Bennett summoned a Vault Skirge and a Glint Hawk Idol and passed the turn back. Nicoll drew for the turn, pursed his lips, Pondered, shuffled, and scooped.

    Nicoll 1 – Bennett 1

    Andrew Bennett has Tempered Steel

    On the draw for game three, Bennett's opening turn was still no less threatening, with Memnite, Memnite, and Signal Pest. This time, Nicoll had the Pyroclasm for a sweet three for one. "You either had it or you didn't," Bennett sighed, as Nicoll summoned a Battlement. The downside to Bennett's hand became swiftly apparent as he missed his second land drop. Nicoll summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, while Bennett summoned a pair of Vault Skirges. Phantasmal Image copied the Simulacrum, putting Nicoll's land count at seven to Bennett's one. Another Pyroclasm wiped Bennett's team, and refilled Nicoll's hand. Bennett found a second land and summoned a Steel Overseer, but Nicoll Preordained into a Frost Titan. A third Pyroclasm sealed the deal.

    Nicoll 2 – Bennett 1

    Both players kept. Nicoll immediately, but Bennett after some thought. "Someone looks happy," Bennett ventured, summoning a pair of Memnites and an Origin Spellbomb. "I was just happy you tanked for so long," Nicoll laughed, summoning a Birds of Paradise. A Dispatch took out the Birds, and the Memnites were joined by a third, but Bennett once again lacked a second land. "Come on, you know you want to," Bennett coaxed Nicoll. "I'd totally Pyroclasm if I had one," Nicoll replied, instead summoning a Spellskite.

    Aaron Nicoll tempers his steely gaze

    Bennett thumped the top of deck, but still came up short. He sent in his team. Nicoll flashed in a Deceiver Exarch, killing one of the Memnites. "Mountain, kill me?" Bennett asked, but Nicoll shook his head, summoning a Solemn Simulacrum. "Ooh, fetch a Mountain and kill me next turn," Bennett clarified, which was exactly what happened.

    Aaron Nicoll defeats Andrew Bennett 3-1


     

  • Third-Place Playoff: Andrew Bennett vs Maitland Cameron

    by Pip Hunn
  • Bennett led play with a pair of Vault Skirges and a Memnite. When Bennett tried a Steel Overseer, Cameron declared he'd had enough, and cast Day of Judgment. Bennett rebuilt with another Steel Overseer and a Porcelain Legionnaire. Cameron cast a second Day of Judgment, and Bennett summoned a third Overseer. "One day, I'll get that dude", Cameron muttered, summoning a Gideon Jura.

    Bennett cast a Glint Hawk Idol and a Memnite, then activated his Seer, leaving Gideon unattacked. Cameron Assassinated the Overseer and used an Oblivion Ring to remove the Idol. Bennett had a Spellskite but no further action.

    Cameron cast a Jace Beleren, and Gideon Jura began to dominate the board. Without a third land or an answer to the imposing pair of Planeswalkers, Bennett conceded.

    Cameron 1 – Bennett 0

    Bennett played a land and passed, then immediately cursed. "I may or may not have had a one-drop," he said, shaking his head. Cameron cast a Spreading Seas on Bennett's Inkmoth Nexus as a Spellskite watched on. Bennett cast an Origin Spellbomb and a Steel Overseer.

    Spellskite and another Nexus got their beats on, with the Overseer making the Spellskite more aggressive than normal. A Day of Judgment from Cameron helped stem the bleeding, but there was still a Nexus and a Glint Hawk Idol to contend with. Cameron's contention arrived in the form of a Pair of Planeswalkers. Elspeth Tirel and Jace Beleren were enough to power him to victory.

    Cameron 2 – Bennett 0

    Maitland Cameron and Andrew Bennett duke it out for third place.

    Bennett powered out the gates with Memnite, Spellskite, Steel Overseer and Glint Hawk Idol, while Cameron stuttered on lands. His Oblivion Ring slowed the beating down momentarily, but it was to no avail. Bennett's robotic army rumbled in, and Cameron scooped up his cards.

    Andrew Bennett 1 – Maitland Cameron 2

    "Mother, may I?" asked Bennett, casting a Shrine of Loyal Legions.

    "Oh, no, no, no," replied Cameron, showing a Mana Leak. Unfortunately for Cameron, he missed his next land drop, letting Bennett's summoned Steel Overseer resolve unmolested. It went on a Journey to Nowhere, while Bennett cast a Tempered Steel, making his pair of infectious lands look far more intimidating.

    Cameron dealt with one with a Tectonic Edge, then summoned a Jace Beleren before Condemning the other Nexus. Bennett had a Shrine of Loyal Legions which was growing threatening, especially after he cast a second Tempered Steel. Bennett eventually activated the Shrine to summon a host of 5/5's, which stared down a Gideon Jura.

    "Gideon dies?"

    "Gideon dies."

    Cameron cast a Day of Judgment, then summoned an Elspeth Tirel to join his Jace Beleren. Out of aggressors and empty-handed, Bennett extended his hand in congratulations.

    Maitland Cameron wins the Australian Nationals 3rd Place Playoff and will represent Australia at Worlds in San Francisco.

    Maitland Cameron 3 – Andrew Bennett 1


     

  • Finals: Aaron Nicoll vs. Jiann Hua Chin

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Nicoll won the roll, and gave his hand plenty of consideration before keeping. "Ship it," Chin announced, checking the top two cards of his deck, "a good ship!" he confirmed. Nicoll played a Raging Ravine, while Chin summoned Ornithopter, Memnite, and Glint Hawk. Nicoll summoned an Overgrown Battlement, ramping him into a Solemn Simulacrum, while Chin summoned a Steel Overseer.

    An Inkmoth Nexus took to the air with the rest of Chin's team, taking a sizable chunk out of Nicoll. Nicoll cast a Birthing Pod, and upgraded his Simulacrum to an Acidic Slime, killing the Overseer. Chin attacked in again, dropping Nicoll to 8 life and 4 poison. The Slime became a Frost Titan, tapping down the Nexus. A Deceiver Exarch untapped the Pod. Nicoll then upgraded a Birds of Paradise to a Phantasmal Image, which mimicked the Frost Titan, tapping down the Glint Hawk. Chin had nothing, but didn't flinch. Nicoll cast a Splinter Twin on his Exarch, and Chin finally scooped.

    Nicoll 1 – Chin 0

    "I have to mull!" Chin advised.

    "You have to mull? Well I have to keep!" Nicoll replied with a smile, clearly in a cheery mood. "It's always nice to win the first one."

    Chin again had first turn Glint Hawk and Ornithopter, while Nicoll Pondered, choosing not to shuffle. "All in," Chin declared, summoning Vault Skirge and Signal Pest. Nicoll just sighed, played a Copperline Gorge, and made sweeping motions with a Pyroclasm. A follow-up Porcelain Legionnaire was killed by a Sylvok Replica, and a Solemn Simulacrum helped pull Nicoll's end-game into sight. Chin could only summon a Spellskite and pass.

    Nicoll cast Birthing Pod, and once again swapped his Simulacrum for an Acidic Slime. Chin summoned another Legionnaire, but Nicoll just Pod'd away a Battlement for a Deceiver Exarch, untapping the Pod, and then turning the Slime into a Frost Titan.

    Nicoll 2 – Chin 0

    Chin mulliganed for the third time in game three, and this time Nicoll joined him, throwing away a one land hand and finding a no lander for his efforts.

    Jiann Hua Chin looks for an opening, and finds it.

    From five cards, Nicoll missed his second land drop, but found it a turn later, while a lone Vault Skirge began nibbling at his life total. Refraction Trap effectively trumped a Pyroclasm, and the Tempered Steel that followed was crippling. Sylvok Replica bought Nicoll a turn, but it wasn't enough.

    Nicoll 2 – Chin 1

    Nicoll shuffled away the top of his library with a Ponder in game four, and failed to find a second land. Chin's draw wasn't the fastest, but it was enough to make Nicoll pay for the loose keep.

    Nicoll 2 – Chin 2

    Both players began cautiously in the deciding game – Chin's first play a Spellskite, followed by a Porcelain Legionnaire and a second Spellskite. Nicoll summoned a Sylvok Replica, and copied it with a Phantasmal Image. The Replica and the replica Replica took out the Spellskites, but a Refraction Trap reduced the effectiveness of a Pyroclasm. Nicoll cast a Birthing Pod, and a second Pyroclasm. He then threw away an Overgrown Battlement in favor of Tuktuk the Explorer, who ran across the board and stole Chin's Contested War Zone. "What a Tuk'ing!" Nicoll cackled.

    Aaron Nicoll is quietly confident he might have this one. I'm lying about the 'quiet' part.

    Chin attacked back with an Inkmoth Nexus, but Nicoll summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, and promptly Pod'd it away for an Acidic Slime, destroying Chin's Plains and only remaining active White source. "I'm liking my situation," Nicoll admitted.

    Chin found another Plains, but an Oxidda Scrapmelter destroyed Chin's inactive Mox Opal, and the Slime became a Frost Titan, tapping down the Plains. With next to nothing left in play, Chin could only take the beats with a stoic smile and a handshake.

    Aaron Nicoll defeats Jiann Hua Chin 3-2 to become the 2011 National Champion!

    Australia Nationals Team


     

  • Top 5 Magic 2012 Cards from the Australian National Championships

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • It's been an exciting weekend here in Canberra, where the brand new Core Set: Magic 2012 has helped shape the new Standard of constructed Magic. Here are our picks for the top 5 Magic 2011 cards from this weekend:


    Grim Lavamancer

    This fiery little Red one-drop has seen plenty of play in its day, and again this weekend, helping power up the Mono Red decks that have been leaving haphazard scorch marks all about the place. Grim Lavamancer played an integral part in both Wilfy Horig's and Luke Mulcahy's top 8 decks.



    Oblivion Ring

    This reprint may have arrived just a moment too late to keep Jace, the Mind Sculptor in check, but it was seen all over the show here, exiling anything and everything, from Planeswalkers, to Shrines of either Loyal Legions or Burning Rage, and even stooping to "just" eliminating any creatures they don't like the look of. Oblivion Ring helped Maitland Cameron crush Wilfy Horig in the top 8 by exiling Horig's tenacious Bloodghasts.



    Solemn Simulacrum

    The invitational card originally designed by Jens Thorén has had a renewed lease on life here this weekend. Helping ramp up those powerful Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle decks, and filling a very important spot in the Twin Pod list Aaron Nicoll used to win the main event. The affectionately named "Sad Robot" will no doubt see widespread play until it eventually rotates back out of Standard.



    Phantasmal Image

    Now here's a fun card. This new gem has been seen doing all manner of unexpected and tricky things this weekend. It may have been only a one-of in Nicoll's winning list, but it was a very key part of the powerful, and frankly over the top plays the deck seemed capable of. The drawback was especially minimal, given that if someone was going to try and kill a creature in this format, it would have been dead regardless. Yeah, two mana seems fair for a Clone.



    Timely Reinforcements

    And last, but most definitely not least, we have Timely Reinforcements. This is our number one card because not only was it seeing play in Standard, but players were singing its praise in Draft as well. National Champion Aaron Nicoll went as far as drafting one over a Merfolk Looter in his 3-0 Blue/White draft deck, and vowing he would do the same again every time, if given the chance.

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