The Frenchman has been on fire all weekend. Starting 10-0, he just coasted into the Top 8 on first seed. The match-up couldn't be any easier for him either. Todorovic's Slide has little, or no, chances against Malherbaud's Reanimator.
Pierre's friends started testing the match-up last night and quickly moved on to his potential semi-finals' opponents after an 11-1 session. The Slovenian's morning did not start well, he got very sick and arrived just in the nick of time (well, with three minutes to spare but we might as well make it a bit more dramatic). Borut only started playing Magic seriously in January, so this is this is all new to him.
Pierre: "So what is your opinion of the match-up?"
Borut: "Actually better than I expected. I played the match-up a lot before."
Pierre's turn one Duress revealed double Slice and Dice, double Renewed Faith and Krosan Tusker. Out went one of the Faith's. On turn three he played Buried Alive for Anger – with a Mountain in play – Arcanis and Phantom Nishoba.
Todorovic didn't know Malherbaud had Zombify in his hand but he probably knew he had to find some help quickly. He cycled his Tusker played his fourth land and passed the turn over.
Unable to find his fourth land Malherbaud fired another Duress, seeing three new cards: Lightning Rift and two lands. The Rift went away. Burning Wish gave the Frenchman Stitch Together with exactly seven cards in the graveyard.
The Slovenian had another "land-go" turn and the Stitch brought in Arcanis. Slice and Dice sent it back, but Pierre Malherbaud had drawn three extra cards and his hand was just flat-out scary at this point.
Entomb got Visara into the graveyard and Zombify returned Nishoba. Borut fell to fifteen and played a morph (again, no prizes for guessing) with mana open to unmorph the Angel.
Another Zombify brought Visara into play. Out went the Angel and in went Nishoba. Todorovic dropped to eight. Still, he had some fight left in him: Wrath of God wiped his problems away.
The French untapped and drew yet another spell. He Stitched Arcanis into play for some extra cards and played Sickening Dreams for the last eight points of damage after checking Borut didn't have any untapped White mana.
Pierre 1-0 Borut.
Out: Symbiotic Wurm.
In: 2 Anurid Brushhopper and 2 Compost.
Out: 2 Krosan Tusker and 2 Teroh's Faithful.
Pierre: "My friends had a lot of trouble sideboarding with your deck."
Borut: "Well, I couldn't get all the cards I really wanted for the deck so I have some random stuff in there as well."
Again the Frenchman had a first turn Duress, this time seeing Wrath of God, Renewed Faith, Slice and Dice, Lightning Rift and two lands. He picked the Lightning Rift.
The next one to blink was Todorovic on turn three. He played Astral Slide. Malherbaud answered with Buried Alive for Arcanis, Phantom Nishoba and Anger, as usual.
The Slovenian didn't seem impressed. He calmly played Lightning Rift and set the turn over. Malherbaud played Last Rites for two, reaching threshold and getting Slice and Dice and Wrath of God.
The path was clear: Doomed Necromancer made a brief appearance to power out Arcanis The three cards just made Pierre's hand more brutal.
Pierre: "I can hear the public commenting my hand. I agree with them, but I really don't think I should be hearing them."
Borut tried to cycle for help but it was really impossible. Another Necromancer brought Nishoba into play.
Borut: "Nothing else?"
Pierre: "I think this might be good enough."
Two cycling lands briefly too Arcanis
out of the table but a glimpse at Pierre's hand showed that wouldn't last long. Another Necro
mancer brought Arcanis
Borut: "I'm going to lose."
Pierre: "Most likely."
Still he wouldn't give up. Wrath of God sent both creatures away and a second Rift gave him a more permanent answer to Arcanis. A THIRD Doomed Necromancer brought Nishoba back once AGAIN.
The Slide took it away but that wasn't the bigger problem. Stitch Together brought Arcanis back once again, as well.
Pierre: "They keep coming back."
Again, Borut used his end-of-turn step to hide Nishoba and shoot Arcanis out of the way. Duress discarded the last card in Todorovic's hand (Lightning Rift) and Burning Wish unleashed a major Haunting Echoes.
Out went Wrath of God, Slice and Dice, Lightning Rift, Forgotten Cave, Tranquil Thicket, Krosan Tusker and Renewed Faith. Malherbaud was so happy he almost started searching through his own deck!
If Borut was in trouble before, it was all purely academic now. He drew his cards and they went through the motions with Malherbaud fumbling a bit until the whole thing came to a close a few turns later.
Pierre 2-0 Borut.
No sideboard changes.
Malherbaud stared at his hand for a few seconds before deciding to keep it. Again he fired a first turn Duress. This time he missed, seeing five lands and Exalted Angel. Borut smiled.
Borut: "It's a great hand."
On turn three a morph made it into play but Malherbaud had Sickening Dreams to stop it (discarding Akroma and another Dreams). The Slovenian sighed and played Astral Slide. Pierre answered with the trademark Buried Alive for Arcanis, Phantom Nishoba and Anger.
Still he was one land short of being able to play Zombify, and since he had no Red mana he couldn't use Burning Wish. That gave Todorovic a glimmer of hope. If only he could find another Angel quick enough...
He cycled like a fiend, but still had to pass the turn back without any play. Malherbaud didn't find the fourth land but he did find Stitch Together. In came Akroma, Angel of Wrath. A second Slide did nothing to help Borut's case.
He needed something permanent. His cycling kept his life total high but provided no threats. Last Rites for two took away his last two spells: Lightning Rift and Wrath of God.
Still, he found another cycling land to keep Akroma's bloodlust in check. Malherbaud found his fourth land but decided not to Zombify yet, perhaps fearing a Wrath.
Borut: "Ok, then."
He tapped seven mana and played Krosan Tusker. With the help of the two Astral Slides the Tusker leveled the life totals at eleven.
Borut: "Eleven? That sounds good."
Akroma flew in the leave him at five and Zombify finally brought in Phantom Nishoba. A cycled Krosan Tusker took them both out for a walk. The Tusker again leveled the score at five.
A visibly nervous Pierre Malherbaud untapped and sent both creatures in. A cycled Eternal Dragon got them out of the way. The Frenchman stared at his hand, stared at his graveyard and Stitch TogetherArcanis.
But it was to no avail. Borut Todorovic had two cycling cards to clear the way for his Krosan Tusker.
Pierre 2-1 Borut.
Pierre: "I needed another land."
Borut: "I actually drew all my basic lands. Every single one of them."
Borut changed his sideboard:
In: Two Dwarven Blastminers two Krosan Tuskers and two Auramancers.
Out: Four Lightning Rifts and two Slide and Dices.
This time there was no first turn Duress. There was a second turn Burning Wish for Buried Alive. Buried Alive got Visara, Phantom Nishoba and Anger. Where was Arcanis, you ask? In Pierre's hand, we answer.
Todorovic started moving with turn three Anurid Brushhopper but the little guy was no match for Phantom Nishoba. Doomed Necromancer made the introductions.
Last Rites got Arcanis into the graveyard and discarded three Renewed Faith, revealing Gilded Light and three lands. At six, Borut needed help, and he needed it very, very fast. He kept his Brushhopper back to chump, and fell to a mere three.
Again Pierre seemed in no mood to simply win the game. He neglected to ZombifyVisara before combat to clear the way for Nishoba. Instead he fetched Arcanis after combat to draw three extra cards.
Todorovic cycled a few cards, stared at his cards and extended his hand.
Final Result: Pierre 3-1 Borut.
Pierre Malherbaud will now play the winner of the Nassif-Eskeland quarterfinals.