Draft 5 Feature: Your Move Games vs. Hampton Court Palace
by Sideboard Staff
The final round of the day features two teams who are still in contention for the top four, although only by the skin of their teeth. If other matches taking place don't go their way then the best they can hope for is fifth, but mathematically it is still possible for the winner of this match to make it into the finals tomorrow. On paper, Your Move Games are significant favorites as they last years Team Pro Tour and are well known as one of the premier teams in this tournament. Hampton Court Palace contains three of England's best players but their abilities to function as a unit are still untested as this is the first time they've played in a significant team event together.
HCP kick off the draft and immediately set John Ormerod up in green with a first pick Hunted Wumpus over other notable cards. Ben Ronaldson starts with a Vendetta and YMG look to put Kastle into White, Dougherty into Black and Humpherys into Blue. Ben Ronaldson picks a Lunge from his Masques booster which is a strange maneuver as Red is often played on the right not the left where Ronaldson is sitting. Indeed Marsh shows his obvious disapproval with a shake of his head. The first few packs see HCP getting very confused over Warren Marsh's second color. He's heavy White but the team seem unsure as to which color he should be playing alongside it and Warren gets a couple of questionable picks. After Humpherys looks like he's committed to blue Ronaldson who will be playing against him also switches into blue for a Hatchling. In Prophecy Ben is able to pick up two Rootwater Commandos which will be effectively unblockable vs Humpherys. In a possibly crucial mistake John Ormerod misses a Flowstone Slide and an Arc Mage in his Nemesis Booster and picks a Seal of Fire ahead of them. Marsh takes the Slide to prevent YMG from playing it, but Humpherys still gets the Arc Mage. As the teams gradually settle into their colors Your Move Games take a slight advantage in Prophecy with the packs they open. Kastle gets and Avatar of Hope and Humpherys a Troublesome Spirit. Ronaldson also lucks out with a couple of late Pit Raptors however so he may be able to contain Humphery's Spirit.
Rob Dougherty and John Ormerod face each other in this round. Both are playing green although John is playing red for removal and creatures, while Rob is pairing his gree with black. The creatures each player has are fairly similar apart from the fliers on Dougherty's side. He has one Battlefield Percher and two Belbe's Perchers which are bound to have an impact in the match. Ormerod has one sole flier of his own however which trumps all of these - a Two-Headed Dragon. Ormerod also had several other advantages. He has two Treetop Bracers and two Panic Attacks he if choses to play them all, and all of these will make blocking very difficult for Dougherty.
Ben Ronaldson's Blue/Black deck looks very powerful on paper. He has drafted a couple of good removal spells, some solid ground creatures and excellent fliers. He managed to pick up two Rootwater Commandos which are unblockable against Humpherys, and he also had a pair of Pit Raptors which are absolutely devastating against Humpherys Blue/Red deck. Humpherys has answers however as he has two Dehydrations, some red removal and his own bomb in Rupture. Ronaldson has very few high toughness guys in his deck and even a small Rupture from Humpherys could easily sweep him. In addition Humpherys has a Bribery which he will probably use to turn Ronaldson's own Commandos against him.
The final match will be between Darwin Kastle and Warren Marsh. After Marshes early indecision he picked up a Rathi Assasin in Nemesis which settled him in White/Black. Although lacking any decent removal Warren has a selection of very threatening creatures including Ballista Squad, Rathi Assain and a selection or Mercenary's. He also has a Voice of Truth and it's protection from White will come in useful against Kastle's Blue/White deck. Kastle has plenty ofthreats in his deck too however with a small Rebel chain including two Gliders and a Dominate which he can use to steal Marhs's Ballista Squad if he draws it. In addition Kastle has a Stronghold Zeppelin and also an Avatar of Hope which are both amazing versus Marsh.