Feature Match Round 11: Antonino de Rosa vs. Sam Gomersall

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Round 11 and both of these players are still in contention for the Top 8, the loser can still win out but the winner is looking to have a much easier ride. De Rosa confessed that he had no idea what he was doing in this matchup, the RW mirror.

Antonio won the dice roll, not as important in the mirror as in some other matchups but vital nonetheless. A flurry of land enter play on both sides, Antonio was the first to act with a turn two Lightning Rift, Sam matched it with one of his own.

Turn four saw Antonio make a Morph, almost certainly an Exalted Angel. Sam wasted no time in Rifting it, taking two in the process from Antonio’s. Both players were light on land, mainphase cycling so as not to miss a land drop.

Gomersall made a Silver Knight the following turn, and an end of turn cycler from Antonio hit both players for two. Antonion passed his turn with no play, Sam continued to end step cycle, again both Rifts were activated. The Knight beat. The life totals were 10 – 8 in De Rosa’s favour.

Gomersall dropped the bomb - Akroma, Angel of Wrath but it was nothing more than an expensive Ball Lightning as Antonio cast Akroma’s Vengeance immediately. The Legend had taken a large enough bite out of De Rosa’s life, leaving him at a shaky two. With a cleared board, Sam did nothing except regrow his Eternal Dragon. Antonio slapped down an Exalted Angel that loomed over the empty board. Gomersall passed his turn after reshuffling his mana so that three land stood significantly to one side, threatening a Wing Shards.

He never needed it. A top-decked Lightning Rift and a cycled Dragon saw Antonio turning towards his sideboard.

Gomersall 1 – De Rosa 0

After sideboarding Decree of Anihilation and Astral Slide become the key cards of the match up. The latter enabling a player to remove one of his creatures from the game, setting the board up for a cast or cycled Decree which leaves the Slided out creature in play all by itself.

De Rosa made a turn three Morph on the play, which gave him the ability to take the second game very quickly if Gomersall could not find a Wing Shards or an Astral Slide. He made a Slide.

Antonio backed up his Angel with a Knight but his next two attack phases were fogged by cyclers. Both players had found a Dragon; another very important card as it would allow the players to reach the ten mana needed to cast Red Decree.

A Vengeance from De Rosa caught Gomersall’s Slide whilst the creatures had been removed from play; they returned at the end of the turn. The Englishman made his returned Eternal Dragon. Antonio ignored the huge blocker and swung his two men forward. The Angel fell to the Dragon but the Knight got through, leaving the life at 28-14 in the Italian’s favour. De Rosa upped the ante with a Rift that killed the already damaged Dragon, an end of turn Wipe Clean from Sam took the troublesome enchantment out.

Gomersall made another of his Slides, but Antonio simply shrugged and Vengeanced it, before he dropped a Knight onto the now empty board. Gomersall just regrew his Dragon, leaving the De Rosa to molest the Red Zone uncontested.

Both players had reached the all-important ten mana, so Decree of Anihilation threatened. To answer the Knight, Gomersall cast an Eternal Dragon; Antonio matched it. It seemed the Dragon wars had commenced, with two floating around on each side of the board.

Sam returned his second Dragon to his hand and made a recently drawn Rift. De Rosa’s Dragon swung to attack. It was Oblationed. With the two additional cards that Sam had just given him, De Rosa’s hand was full of gas. He had a bunch of cyclers, multiple Wing Shards to stave off the Dragons for the forseeable future and the mighty Decree of Anihilation.

Gomersall was unfazed, he swung into the Red Zone before calmly tapping ten mana for a Decree of his own; it left his Rift standing alone. The life totals read 21-10 to the Italian.

Both players ripped lands like fiendish demons, neither of them missed a land drop until they each had five mana. De Rosa evened the Rift war with one of his own, Gomersall drew and doubled up. Suddenly, cyclers were flying across the table, Rift activations clouded the stack; 13-6.

Gomersall had reached seven mana and had found himself a Dragon but it was to no avail as Antonio cycled three cards in the Englishman’s upkeep. Thanks to some stack priority trickery, due to Gomersall being the active player, his Rift triggers went on the stack first which meant that De Rosa could kill him without fear of retribution.

De Rosa 1 – Gomersall 1

Six minutes minutes were left on the clock, so this game was only going to be finished by an early Angel, Rift or Knight that might manage to survive long enough to deal twenty.

Gomersall muliganned going first but his hand of six was full of some powerful stuff – two Knights, an Angel and three land. De Rosa also had a Knight and the first two traded.

Sam flopped his other two creatures onto the board, the Angel morphed. Antonio ripped a Mountain to cast a Starstorm for two that blew the Angel up. Gomersall’s stuff was not running out either, a Slide from threatened to protect the Knight from anything the Italian might be able to do.

However, De Rosa had drawn a second Knight of his own and combined with a Vengeance the board was cleared once more.

Gomersall peeled two consecutive Rifts, then a Knight, but Antonio had found an Angel and a Dragon of his own. Gomersall looked in trouble and a cycled Decree of Anihilation sealed his fate. The game was played so fast it was finished before time was called.

De Rosa 2 – Gomersall 1

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