Chapin Ignites the Crowd (But Not Nassif)

In the last installment of Magic Moment Mondays, we covered Mihara’s miscount, in which the Dragonstorm player made a game-changing error but managed to find a way to eke out the victory regardless.

This time, we’re looking at another Dragonstorm deck, but the narrative is somewhat flipped on its head. Sometimes the gods of luck smile down upon you; sometimes they laugh maniacally whilst ramming their power-hungry paws into an XXL box of popcorn and revelling in the misery they’ve caused. This time, for one player at least, it’s a case of the latter.

For this Monday moment, we head back to a different World Championship Top 8, in 2007, with a different pair of MTG Hall of Famers: Patrick Chapin and Gabriel Nassif. The two titans of MTG were not just Hall of Famers, but also teammates, both playing the exact same 75-card list. Each knew the other’s hidden tech, sideboarding strategies, and mirror-breaking gameplans.

It was game game four of the semi-finals, and Chapin was 2-1 up. A win in this game meant a spot in the final, and when Nassif passed the turn and Chapin started casting spell after spell, that spot looked all but certain.

A Rift Bolt, a Tarfire and a Grapeshot brought Nassif down to a precarious 9 life. Next came Ignite Memories, with a storm count of five. At this point, Nassif had three cards left in his hand.

nassif hand

With an all-spell hand, he couldn’t hope to catch a lucky break and have Chapin hit a bunch of lands. To add to that, if any one of the five copies of Ignite Memories hit Nassif’s copy of Ignite Memories, he was instant toast with no way to stay alive. The only way he could survive the turn was by revealing no copies of Ignite Memories, and no more than three copies of Grapeshot.

Let’s do some maths.

Chances of 5 hits on Rite of Flame: 0.33…5 = 0.0041…

Chances of 4 hits on Rite of Flame; 1 hit on Grapeshot: 5(0.33…4 × 0.33…) = 0.020…

Chances of 3 hits on Rite of Flame; 2 hits on Grapeshot: 10(0.33…3 × 0.33…2) = 0.041…

Chances of 2 hits on Rite of Flame; 3 hits on Grapeshot: 10(0.33…3 × 0.33…2) = 0.041…

Chances of survival = 0.0041… + 0.020… + 0.041… + 0.041… = 0.1065…

= 10.7%

Well, it’s more than nothing.

“We’re drawing live…”

Ignite memories one of five

Hit: Grapeshot

grapeshot 1

Life total: 7
Chances of survival: 13.6%

Ignite memories two of five

Hit: Grapeshot

grapeshots

Life total: 5

Chances of survival: 14.8%

Ignite memories number three of five

Hit: Grapeshot

grapeshots 3

Life total: 3

Chances of survival: 11.1%

Crowd excitement level: 34%

Ignite memories number four of five

“One in nine. One in nine shots.”

grapes n rite

Hit: Rite of Flame

Life total: 2

Chances of survival: 33%

Crowd excitement level: 78%

Ignite memories number five of five

“You gotta flip it though! No Peeking! I gotta see it too!”

“Slam it! Slam it!”

grapes n rites

Hit: Rite of Flame

Life total: 1

Chances of survival: 100%

Crowd excitement level: 1000%

Lifetime of luck used up: not quite

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