by Liam Coltman & Luke Hancock
Dane Coltman (better known as Buffsta) is a returning National Team member and placed 22nd at last years World Championships while Stephen Campbell was the first person to qualify through this year's meatgrinders. They were seated next to each other at seats 1 and 8 at the top table during Pod 2. Other 'name' players on the table included Jonathan Chan, Lenny Collins and Justin Muir.
Dane opened Kyren Negotiations in his first pick while Stephen chose Arrest from his pack, which also contained a Cho-Manno's Blessing. Stephen's second pick saw a Bargaining Table being taken, while Dane took an Arms Dealer over Shock Troops. Third pick for Stephen take the Shock Troops that Dane had passed up and Dane took a Shock Troops as well, ignoring the Lunge in the same pack. During the 4th pick Stephen began to set up a massive rebel chain with a Thermal Glider while Dane decided to take some green fat in a Silverglade Elemental. Subsequent picks saw Dane take a Wild Jhovall, a Silverglade Pathfinder and a number of late picks in white such as Disenchant and Wishmonger. Late picks saw Stephen take Crossbow Infantry, Deepwood Ghoul and a 8th pick Cho-Manno's Blessing.
Early picks saw Dane solidify his main color in red with two Seal of Fire and a number of Flowstone Crushers. Stephen began by taking Lin Sivvi and continued taking white for basically the entirety of his picks. Choices for Stephen were pretty straightforward, with him taking as many rebels as possible to take advantage of Lin Sivvi. Drafted was 1 Falcon and 2 Lightbringers, and for control Stephen managed to draft 2 Angelic Favors and a Defender en-Vec.
With no good red early, Dane began by drafting a Silt Crawler and a Troubled Healer but began receiving the red burn that he wanted in multiple Rhystic Lightning and a number of solid red creatures. Stephen began splashing into black after his few picks in Masques with a 3rd turn Avatar of Woe and a number of solid late black picks. Notable white picks included a 5th pick Avatar of Hope and a Diving Griffin.
Dane Coltman Arms Dealer Kyren Negotiations Shock Troops Wild Jhovall Silverglade Elemental Silverglade Pathfinder Tiger Claws Troubled Healer Fault Riders 2 Rhystic Lightning Spur Grappler Whip Sergeant Zerapa Minotaur Flowstone Thopter 2 Flowstone Crusher Flowstone Strike Laccolith Grunt 2 Seal of Fire 5 Forest 10 Mountain 2 Plains Stephen Campbell Arrest Cho-Manno's Blessing Crossbow Infantry Ramosian Lieutenant Thermal Glider Deepwood Ghoul Skulking Fugitive Bargaining Table Avatar of Hope Diving Griffin 2 Mine Bearer Soul Charmer Avatar of Woe Soul Strings 2 Angelic Favor Defender en-Vec Defiant Falcon 2 Lightbringer Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero 12 Plains 6 Swamp
Due to some random particle of fate, Stephen and Dane were paired together for round 4 of the Australian National Championships 2000.
After a wait for some table changes, Stephen was unhappy with his opening hand and mulliganed. His second hand only had one land but Stephen was unwilling to mulligan further. Even through drawing land on turns 2 and 3, Dane had a massive advantage which he did not give up through the match, playing Spur Grappler turn 3 and following those up with Zerapa Minotaur, Flowstone Crusher and Shock Troops. Dane quickly had Stephen at 3 and played double Rhystic Lightning for the win.
This game proved to somewhat slower that the first but unfortunately for Stephen, Dane controlled the game for the distance. An early Silverglade Pathfinder allowed Dane to quickly establish a mana advantage and ride a 4th turn Silverglade Elemental home for the win, with some help from a splashed Wishmonger and a Shock Troops clearing the way.
Dane Coltman wins 2-0.
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