Greetings fellow planeswalkers and welcome to the 2015 March Madness tournament! This year’s tournament features 31 of the most famous and infamous planeswalkers from across the multiverse facing off in eight different arenas. Our dedicated staff of analysts and reporters are on-hand to bring you all of the exciting action as these powerful beings face off in one of the deadliest, intense, and time-honored competitions known across the ‘verse: basketball. Today we’re proud to bring you our Sweet Sixteen recaps and previews of the Elite Eight.

March Madness 2015 Schedule

Regional Preview

Regional Recap/Sweet Sixteen Preview

Sweet Sixteen Recap/Elite Eight Preview

Elite Eight Recap/Final Four Preview

Final Four Recap/Championship Preview

Championship Recap

Sweet Sixteen Recaps

Stadium of the Boros Legion – Ravnica

Jace v Vraska

(1) Jace Beleren vs (3) Vraska

The 2015 March Madness sweet sixteen began with the highly anticipated match between Jace Beleren, currently serving as Ravnica’s human embodiment of the Guildpact, and Vraska, a gorgon from the Golgari guild intent on causing mayhem. The first quarter featured a lot of quick action as Jace struggled to move the ball up the court while avoiding the gaze of Vraska’s snakes. The snakes provide Vraska with 360-degree vision helping her pick up enough rebounds to put Jace in the hole early. After an astonishing 22-2 run, Vraska was up 46-20 at halftime.

In the second half though Jace came out blindfolded like in the old fables and tapped into the collective psyche of the 120,000 fans packed in the stadium. It was difficult to avoid turning them all to stone but he managed to piece together enough of a mental image of the court to tie the game at 74 at the final buzzer, sending the first game to overtime. Unfortunately for the Living Guildpact by the time overtime began, all of the patrons had turned to stone and he was forced to play the final period blind giving Vraska a decisive 86-76 victory.

This is Lavinia of the Tenth, signing off from the Boros Stadium.

Gavony Township Civic Center – Innistrad

(1) Liliana Vess vs. (2) Garruk Wildspeaker

(1) Liliana Vess vs. (2) Garruk Wildspeaker

Hello, hello, HELLO from Nephalia’s greatest (and only-est) arena. I am, of course, hehehe, Geralf – GREATEST OF ALL STITCHERS. IF YOU SEE MY SISTER, SHE’S A RULE-BREAKING, UNTALENTED LIAR. Her ghouls are gross and never have any extra limbs. Also, she smells like a drownyard. What was I talking about… oh! Baskets and balls! Yes!

Sometimes, humans gather to compete in contests of physical prowess. I don’t much care for the rules or to watch—I prefer to collect the parts left behind. However, for these combatants, I’ll make an exception.
One is an enormously powerful mage, one who makes Gisa SO JEALOUS and totally owes me for siccing Grimgrin on Thraben. The other is a large, er, bum (who seems to have just dismembered my Skaab Goliath with his bare hands) who likely needs a gangrenous limb or two amputated. Will Cruelty or Ferocity Triumph? We shall decide with a sack of stuffed pig flesh, as is the way of the uncivilized who fear good, old-fashioned zombie warfare.
Hrm… what is…? I don’t understand at all. Apparently Head Referee Thalia has already stopped the game a minute in. Apparently the preponderance of wolves shredding zombies on the edge of the court is making an unacceptable mess. My gracious offer to scavenge for parts, er, clear, is being ignored. THEY SHALL SUFFER MY VENGEANCE!
The large man-bear has used the timeout to attempt to kill Liliana with an axe. While this is undoubtedly the most interesting thing to have happened—I do so love a good revenge plot—it has apparently led to him being ejected from the game. Liliana throws the meat-ball into the metal hoop and wins 2-0. The big man grumbles something about “hunting bigger game” and sulks off with a large strawberry meat-pie in each hand.
The game is over. I return home, to do far more important, humane work than physical exercise.

Temple of Triumph – Theros

(1) Elspeth v (3) Kiora

(1) Elspeth Tirel vs. (3) Kiora

Here in the Temple of Triumph two planeswalkers took the court but only one would be leaving to move on to the Elite Eight. Okay, they would both be leaving, this isn’t barbarism, but in this single-elimination tournament every match could be your last.

The recently-deceased Elspeth had some trouble handling the ball early on. Unlike her previous opponent, Xenagos, who was also recently deceased, Kiora was very much alive and ready to play ball. Like a wave crashing against Elspeth, the water-walking planeswalker came out to a commanding lead early on. Elspeth looked a little lost and didn’t start to get it together until late in the first half, but by then she was already down by double digit points.

In the second half Elspeth wasn’t messing around anymore and managed to catch Kiora off-guard and start the half on a 12-0 run. It didn’t hurt that the referees seemed to turn a blind eye to all the physical contact Elspeth was throwing around. Kiora attempted to fight back but her razor-sharp fins quickly drew blood allowing Elspeth to gain the lead from the free throw line. Kiora was unable to claw her way back and fell 54-49. Elspeth moves on to take on the winner from Tarkir.

The Atarka Hunting Fields – Tarkir

(1) Ugin vs. (2) Sarkhan Vol

(1) Ugin vs. (2) Sarkhan Vol

This match had a lot of potential but I’m sad to say that Sarkhan Vol remains unable to bring himself to fight with Ugin. A lot of fans brought their sunscreen expecting to see the Spirit Dragon face off against the Dragon Master but instead what they got was 40-minute snore-fest in which both players committed exactly zero fouls, a tournament first in the history of March Madness.

The final score ended up being 45-44 with Ugin inadvertently shooting a three-pointer at the buzzer by accident, or so he says…

Yawgmoth Memorial Arena – New Phyrexia

(1) Karn vs. (2) Tezzeret

(1) Karn vs. (2) Tezzeret

Mel here. Welcome back to Yawgmoth Memorial Arena, where we had an exciting (but not colorful) battle. Karn and Tezzeret have a fondness for artifacts. Personally, I could do with a little bit less colorless mana in my life, but to each their own.

Karn came in the overwhelming favorite, although that’s mostly because everyone listens to LSV. Tezzeret proved a fierce opponent. His tenacity reminded me of my former colleague Kitchen Finks. Karn visibly slumped his shoulders multiple times during the second half, as he kept pulling and ahead only to see Tezzeret pop back up with another counterattack. But Karn was fueled by deep desire. A late barrage of post-up dunks sealed the 53-48 victory.

Karn is headed to the elite eight! And I’m headed to the shower. This place is gross.

Emeria Sky Stadium – Zendikar

(1) Chandra vs. (4) Nahiri

(1) Chandra vs. (4) Nahiri

Our game from Sky Stadium was one for the ages with an everlasting flame colliding with a sword that could never be tempered as Chandra the Pyromaster faced off against Nahiri the Lithomancer. Right off the opening tip-off Chandra tried to turn up the heat on the Kor Planeswalker but Nahiri’s hands are used to the blazing temperatures of molten rock. A fiery rubber ball was not going to deter her and she jumped out to an early lead catching Chandra off-guard.

Nahiri may have gotten too smug with her early lead though and Chandra really caught fire, NBA Jam style, in the second half to the tune of back-to-back-to-back-to-back three pointers from the back-court. Just when Nahiri thought she’d figured out a way to cool Chandra off, the red mage switched things up and broke out some spectacular dunks. Nahiri was no match for Chandra’s burning passion for victory and the Lithomancer fell by a final score of 67-42.

Paliano Coliseum – Fiora

(1) Ashiok vs. (2) Daretti

(1) Ashiok vs. (2) Daretti

This game was a nightmare, literally. Ashiok conjured scores of nightmarish creatures to invade the coliseum in Paliano City causing riots between dream-creatures and goblin-kind to break out all over the stands. If this was an attempt to throw Daretti off his game it failed to succeed. From the onset the goblin scrap-master was at the top of his game. Ashiok has a strong game from the field but Daretti was able to use his physical advantage to continually send Ashiok to the foul line where they struggled greatly in the first half. When the buzzer rang Daretti led by a score of 35-27.

By the time both players returned to the court for the second half, the stands were completely empty. Unlike the previous ruse, this one got to the goblin Planeswalker and he quickly lost his composure. Ashiok was able to sink several three point shots and had jumped out to a lead. By the time Daretti regained his composure, by summoning a horde of constructs to cheer him on, Ashiok had a commanding lead and never looked back. Final score: 66-59 Ashiok.

Tolarian Academy Gymnasium – Dominaria

(1) Nicol Bolas vs. (3) Freyalise

(1) Nicol Bolas vs. (3) Freyalise

Nicol Bolas was the odds-on favorite to win this match, so much so that even the Viashino refused to take any bets on the match. The eldest dragon did not disappoint as he came out guns blazing hitting jump shot after jump shot and nimbly controlling the rebounds on any shot that didn’t find the net. Freyalise was flabbergasted trying to find a way to keep up with the her winged opponent. Bolas went to the locker room with a commanding 36-12 lead at half-time.

The story in the second half was more muted as Bolas seemed to lose interest in the game at times, allowing Freyalise to pull within single digits, but it was too little too late as Bolas’s ability to block out Freyalise like he was Dikembe Mutombo prevented her from ever really getting back into the game. Final score 62-50 Bolas.

Elite Eight Previews


The tables are now set as members of the Elite Eight make their way to the four venues which will host the next stage of March Madness. At the Boros Stadium on Ravnica, the native gorgon Vraska pulled off a stunning upset to earn a match against Liliana Vess, who was the favorite to emerge from Innistrad. At the Temple of Triumph, home of the god Iroas on Theros, Elspeth, the once-dead champion of the sun-god Heliod, will face off against the ancient Spirit Dragon Ugin, champion of the dragon-tempest plane of Tarkir. Across the bracket and across the blind eternities in Zendikar we’ll see Karn, the legendary silver golem, take on Chandra Nalaar, the infamous pyromancer. Last but not least, from the ravaged wastes of Dominaria, once the center of the multiverse, the notorious Nicol Bolas will go toe-to-toe with the nightmare weaver Ashiok. It’s going to be an action packed weekend and you won’t want to miss it. Come back Monday for full recaps of all the excitement.

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