|Bath Magic Nemesis Pre-release - by Paul Dale|
The Nemesis pre-release in Bath saw 62 people sat down and waiting for the new product. There were a fair number of name players and teams present. Iain MacDonald (yes, the 14 rounds of single elimination English Champ.) was over from his Bristol shop, Area 51. Team Spike were present in force with Alice Coggins, Gordon Benson and Phil Mattingley (judging). Kurt Bath and Styfen Batten had come over from Cardiff and the arch-punster Tony Boydell had made a West Country appearance.
After the product was handed out and the obligatory 'Who hasn't got any product ?' was met with Gordon's raised hand (hiding the product he did have), the wrappers came off. Team PhatBeats (Tarik Browne, Jim Grimmett, Paul Dale) were sat with Gordon as he opened a foil Predator Flagship to cries of "Judge !". T8 for Gordy then.
With the Nemesis spoiler out for so long and having done our homework, Team PhatBeats had high hopes for at least one T8. In the end Jim came 9th, one ahead of Alice and one behind Iain MacDonald (tied on 10 pts).
Apologies to the other T8 players but I only followed Kurt and Styfen through the T8 draft rounds. Kurt and Styfen had obviously both worked hard and drafted heavily on the net in preparation. Kurt drafted RG and Styfen UW. Both went for fast decks.
Kurt faced Tony Boydell in his quarter final. Tony was also with RG so it was going to be tight. Kurt had a better draw when it mattered and his deck went off sweatly to take the match. Treetop Bracers on green fat is pretty good. Tony's deck was good but his luck with land was not.
Meanwhile Gordy was being rolled by Styfen in short order as fast blue fliers and fish action took the match despite Gordon's Rebel defense.
Kurt's semi was against Iain MacDonald. It looked like no-one had drafted black as heavily as Iain who was playing BU with lots of removal, tricks and black fat Volrath. Iain's tricks turned out to be too much and he made the final. Meanhile Styfen met Iain's partner from Area 51 who had lost his voice, and soon the match, as once more Styfen came flying (literally) out of the blocks.
Styfen and Iain decided to split the prizes and play for honour. It was clear with Iain playing U that Styfen was going to need his speedy fliers and fetch Merfolk to get his island walkers before Iain's evil black cards came in to play.
As it was, Iain came through 2-1 thanks to the help of a Massacre that swept the board, and gained him back lost card advantage after he had mulliganed to 5. Jolting Merfolk and Rathi Assassin were unfair, as well as Waterfront Bouncer and Undertaker for spell shapers. In the end, Iain's 3 excellent black rares and blue trickery (Dominate after a Massacre) was tough to beat.
So Iain takes another tournament. Life in the (getting) old dog yet.
Thanks should go to Chris Bagnall (Lvl III judge) for running the show with the help of Andy Smith and Phil Mattingley.