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Day 2 Blog

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EVENT COVERAGE

  • Feature Match: Round 15 – I just got dredged
    Sebastian Thaler vs. Selim Creiche
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 14 – Rasmus Sibast vs Jakob Schnider
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Podcast: 11:55 a.m. – X-10 Dead
    by Rich Hagon
  • Blog: 11:48 a.m. – Judge!
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Feature Match: Round 13 – Fairie Enough
    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Jan Doise
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 12 – Which level of blue is best?
    Ricardo Neri vs Remi Fortier
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Feature Match: Round 11 – Zombies! They're Everywhere
    Nikolaus Eigner vs. Tomoharu Saitou
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 10 - Breaking Perfect Records
    Adam Koska vs András Nagy
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Podcast: 9:15 a.m. – 128 / 6 = 8
    by Rich Hagon
  • Blog: 9:12 a.m. – Metagame Breakdown – Dredgearoo
    By Tobias Henke
  • Blog: 8:52 a.m. – The Most Powerful Deck in the Format
    By Tim Willoughby

BLOG

 
  • March 16th, 8:52 a.m. – The Most Powerful Deck in the Format
    By Tim Willoughby
  • I wish that this article was about a crazy new deck that was sweeping the top tables. It is not. Dredge was a hugely powerful mechanic when Ravnica block first got played in Extended, where it powered up colossal Psychotogs at impressive speed. Somewhere along the line it got even better.

    I blame John Rizzo.

    The Dredge deck we have now boasts the ability to win game 1 in Extended more than virtually any other in Magic history. Shuhei Nakamura said of the deck that it was the only one he would have considered banning cards for in the March announcement, had he wielded the ban hammer.

    "For me, this deck is the second most powerful deck of all time, behind Academy."

    The only reason that we haven't seen some sort of action against Dredge is that all the tools are there in the format to fight it, available in sideboards to everyone if they want it, or can find room. Between Leyline of the Void, Extripate, Tormod's Crypt, Offalsnout and various creatures that can sacrifice themselves to remove Bridge From Below, there are answers out there, and if you run sufficient of them, you can turn that Game 1 frown upside down.

    The rub comes with the amount of space in sideboards, and level of variety in the field that needs to be prepared for. Bram Snepvangers summed it up pretty well.

    "I have zero percent against Dredge in game 1, and a Wish sideboard. Even if I could find space for the hate in my sideboard (which I can't), I would be making my deck terrible and then need to get lucky in the next two to win."

    There are plenty of players that have run the 'cross fingers and hope' plan, and in the back door the dredgers have come. It is the most represented deck here on day two, particularly on the higher tables. Robert van Medevoort, who was playing the deck, but just missed day 2 cited over-confidence in the hate as one of the reasons that the deck remains a good choice. Even with 8 cards in the sideboard to fight it, most decks cannot afford to mulligan to the hate, and the Dredge decks often have a plan for each way of fighting them, such that they can devote their sideboard to second guessing the resistance they will face. If they go into sideboarded games needing one of two, a combination of a little luck and some careful play can often fight through for the win.

    Dredge players get more practice playing against sideboard problem cards than most players get playing with them. With various players swearing off some of the hate in the hope of dodging a bullet, all of a sudden we find a field where Dredge is doing very well, including an (at time of writing) undefeated Nikolaus Eigner, looking to win GP Vienna for a second time.

     
  • March 16th, 9:12 a.m. – Metagame Breakdown – Dredgearoo
    By Tobias Henke
  • Archetype Players
    Dredge 20
    Enduring Ideal 13
    Next Level Blue 12
    Death Cloud 10
    TEPS 9
    U/G Tron 8
    Doran 8
    R(g) Aggro 6
    Zoo 6
    Mono Red Burn 6
    Aggro Loam 6
    Goblin Bidding 6
    Affinity 4
    Faeries! 4
    Cephalid Breakfast 2
    Pesterjiki 2
    B/W Hand 1
    Scepter Keeper 1
    Boros 1
    SpiceStorm 1
    BlueTrinket Mage 1
    Red Rock 1
    Here is the breakdown of all the 128 day-2 decklists. Apparently, at the top 32 tables of today's first round, there were 14 Dredge decks – no other deck is piloted by as many day-2 competitors or finding itself sitting that high on the leaderboard, although some Dorans are putting up good results again as well. Interestingly enough, this is like a complete reversal of the metagame we've seen at GP Vancouver.

    If Dredge will come out on top in the very end... we will see. Right now it seems, Dredge is mainly beating in itself in a series of mirror matches.


     
  • March 16th, 9:15 a.m. – 128 / 6 = 8
    by Rich Hagon
  • Last time I checked, 128 / 6 = 21.66. Approximately. Thanks to the wonders of the Swiss format, 6 rounds will delightfully reduce 128 hopefuls into 8 genuine contenders, just in time for a Top 8 to savor. Join us through Rounds 10-12, as the competition moves through the gears towards those final must-win matchups. Oodles of player interviews plus all the key updates make this the way to start your Sunday in Magical fashion.

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  • Featured Match Round 10 - Breaking Perfect Records
    Adam Koska vs András Nagy
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Nagy attempts the Saito Staredown
    People often come over to the writers booth asking if they can get themselves a feature match. Asking isn't necessarily the way to get there. One way that is pretty much guaranteed is to go undefeated on day one of a Grand Prix. Both Adam Koska of the Czech Republic, and András Nagy of Hungary succeeded in this, and now found themselves up early on Sunday morning fighting to retain an unblemished record.

    Adam won the roll and started with Forest and Birds of Paradise. Nagy, meanwhile, Shrapnel Blasted himself to use a fetchland for Overgrown Tomb to set up a Thoughtseize. It took Koska's Tarmogoyf, and revealed a Profane Command, Cabal Therapy and two Smothers.

    Koska was short on land, but did use that Birds to cast Cabal Therapy hitting Smother. Those Birds were extra important to keep around. He saw a Dark Confidant, who was hit by Smother, before Doran, the Siege Tower sucked up the other.

    Between Ravnica duals and Thoughtseize, Nagy was soon on 12 life, but well up in the matchup as he had another Doran, while Nagy was still without land. Yet another Smother came in response to Cabal Therapy, and all that remained (after Profane Command had been taken) was Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf and Vindicate.

    Cabal Therapy got flashed back, sacrificing Treetop Village after attacks to take Dark Confidant, but Nagy had nothing to stop Tarmogoyf hitting play from Koska. Could Adam pull it back off his incredible lack off mana?

    Tarmogoyf knocked Nagy down to 7, and a Treetop Village joined Koska's team. Nagy had Treefolk Harbinger to find Doran, the Siege Tower, but dropped to 4 on attacks. The Tarmogoyf was big enough to trade with Doran, but Koska had a better plan, in Eternal Witness to get back Smother, setting up lethal attacks the following turn.

    Somehow, Koska's 2 land game, leaning heavily on Birds of Paradise to cast most of his spells, had worked out. Nagy scooped up his cards.

    Adam Koska 1 – 0 András Nagy

    Both players kept for game 2, and Nagy led off with another painful start, using a fetchland to set up turn one Treefolk Harbinger. The Harbinger found Temple Garden for Nagy. While he had seen Doran win with just two land, both tapping for just green, he didn't like that plan.

    A turn one Thoughtseize from Koska took Doran, the Siege Tower, but left such fatties as Tarmogoyf and Brooding Saurian. That Tarmogoyf got into play pretty sharply, and was followed up by another Treefolk Harbinger, for a replacement Doran.

    Koska played Dark Confidant, but was slightly on the back foot in the face of so many creatures from Nagy – something that life loss from Bob didn't help. Cabal Therapy from him took Brooding Saurian, and Koska dropped a Tarmogoyf of his own.

    Attacks from Nagy took Koska to 7, and cost him his Dark Confidant. Tarmogoyf was staring down Doran, Treefolk Harbinger and another Tarmogoyf. Koska dug deep, and played a second Tarmogoyf. He had a Smother for Doran, and a double block on his opponent's Tarmogoyf to put him up on the board, if not on life.

    Koska with the two land special
    Backup Dorans from Nagy met a concerned "Hmmmmmm" from Koska, who had rallied a defence, but was still not in a position to attack Nagy's 15 life. The game had reached impasse, and each player set about refueling. Nagy was short on land, but had a Dark Confidant to address the problem with. Koska's turns were quieter. One of his Tarmogoyfs was taken down by Vindicate, and a blind Cabal Therapy missed for him, showing Loxodon Hierarch and a pair of Chrome Moxes to be Nagy's only cards.

    Koska used the legend rule to off Doran, and attacked to kill Treefolk Harbinger. He looked at Dark Confidant and Nagy's 11 life hopefully. Two comebacks in one match would be impressive. Nagy got up to 4 land, and played his Loxodon Hierarch – there would not be an easy win for Koska, who continued to amass lands. A Cabal Therapy from Nagy revealed he had drawn little else, while Nagy had a second Loxodon Hierarch.

    The game was not over yet. Doran, the Siege Tower from Koska left him with enough big blockers for all those elephants, forcing Nagy to play another beater in the form of Tarmogoyf. Finally, Nagy got there with a big Profane Command. It was on to game 3.

    Adam Koska 1 – 1 András Nagy

    Koska had a mulligan on the play, and started off with a fetchland into Godless Shrine for a Thoughtseize. He saw two Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize and Cabal Therapy.

    "Well..."

    He took the Thoughtseize, wary of having his hand decimated, only for one to come right off the top of Nagy's deck. This left Koska with just Doran and the lands to cast them, as Smother hit the bin. Doran was taken by Cabal Therapy the following turn, revealing Loxodon Hierarch to be Nagy's new card.

    Yet another Cabal Therapy took the elephant, to which Koska ripped Tarmogoyf. Smother took down that one with Nagy seeming to have all the answers. A revealed Umezawa's Jitte off Dark Confidant met a sigh from Koska, who seemed well out of the game. Bob plus sword looked like a big game, even in the face of a Doran from Koska. When Eternal Witness got back Smother for Nagy, that was pretty much the ball game. Nagy cracked fetchlands to thin his deck, but really didn't need to. His draw was decimating his opponent, who was handless, and creatureless but for a pair of Treetop Villages. While the Villages put up a token resistance, it was not long before Koska was forced to extend his hand

    András Nagy wins 2-1


     
  • Featured Match Round 11 – Zombies! They're Everywhere
    Nikolaus Eigner vs. Tomoharu Saitou
    by Tobias Henke
  • Eigner works it out
    Nikolaus Eigner won the last Grand Prix Vienna back in 2004. Apparently, he is back for more, sitting currently undefeated (one draw) at the top of the standings. Eigner is playing the amazingly popular Dredge deck, as is Saitou.

    Eigner won the die-roll, but was off to a flawed start, when his Careful Study didn't come up with any dredge cards. Saitou just spent his first turn playing Putrid Imp. Eigner made Cephalid Coliseum and a second Study, this time more careful – but still only having a measly Darkblast to discard. He had a Cabal Therapy though, naming Breakthrough, but missing. Instead Saitou revealed a hand of Stinkweed Imp and two Cephalid Coliseums.

    He replaced his draw with Stinkweed Imp, then re-discarded it through the other Imp, and activated Cephalid Coliseum. More cards entered his graveyard, but among them only one Narcomoeba and two Bridge from Below.

    Eigner dredged his Darkblast, getting a Golgari Grave-Troll into his natural habitat, and played a Putrid Imp as well as activating his own Cephalid Coliseum. Still, although he got more cards out of his Coliseum than Saitou had, Eigner was missing out on a second Narcomoeba to go along with his Dread Return.

    When Saitou activated yet another Cephalid Coliseum, Eigner looked at the Cephalid Sage sitting in Saitou's graveyard, quickly counted the cards in his opponent's deck, and conceded. Both players agreed that there was absolutely no chance of Saitou failing to win this turn.

    Eigner 0 –1 Saitou

    It took Eigner some time to decide on keeping his (again) risky hand, while Saitou was forced to mulligan a hand without any land at all. His next hand included a Leyline of the Void, so Eigner's first turn Careful Study was rather unimpressive. He didn't find an answer to his opponent's Leyline, but sitting there right on top of his deck was his own Leyline. As he was never going to cast it, he just discarded it.

    But Saitou was into deep trouble as well. While Eigner laid a couple of lands and started attacking with a lowly Putrid Imp, the Japanese couldn't find any dredge cards. Neither his Breakthrough nor his Cephalid Coliseum turned up any, and with his next draw he only could add a Narcomoeba to the board to at least stop those vicious Putrid Imp attacks, that together with assorted Flooded Strands and Watery Graves had gotten him down to eleven already.

    A third Careful Study by Eigner finally found a Chain of Vapor. The Austrian's Breakthrough dredged the full 24 cards in classic quadruple Grave-Troll fashion and soon after his Coliseum was activated, the players were shuffling for game 3.

    Eigner 1 –1 Saitou

    Don't blink or the Player of the Year will get you.
    Saitou chose to play first, but had to mulligan his first seven, while this time Eigner had Leyline of the Void – two of those, that is. With Chain of Vapor being the first and only line of defense against this particular wrecking ball (apparently, neither of the players is packing Echoing Truth), things weren't looking good for Saitou, who went for Narcomoeba beatdown instead.

    When on turn three Eigner first played Breakthrough (X = 1), discarding two of both Stinkweed Imp and Golgari Grave-Troll, and then revealed his last card to be indeed another Breakthrough, the game was basically over, and some dredging later...

    ...Nikolaus Eigner defeated Tomoharu Saitou 2 – 1.


     
  • Featured Match Round 12 – Which level of blue is best?
    Ricardo Neri vs Remi Fortier
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Remi Fortier is, it is pretty safe to say, in his element. The winner of Pro Tour Valencia first shot to prominence playing control in Extended, and he hasn't seen any reason to deviate from that plan for this weekend in Vienna. This was the plan too for Italy's Riccardo Neri, as the two faced off in round 11, each in good shot to top eight if they continued their strong performance from Saturday.

    Fortunate Fortier Thinks
    Fortier won the roll and led with a Breeding Pool and Ancestral Visions, one of the signature cards of 'Previous Level Blue'. Each player was happy to play draw-go in this matchup. The first counter fight was a Remand on Thirst For Knowledge, as Neri made tried to get ahead on cards prior to Ancestral Visions making his life difficult.

    Neri's body language suggested that he had the worst of it in the early game, as the Remand forced him to replay the Thirst in his own turn, letting Fortier's card drawing spell resolve. Remi had Tolaria West to transmute, and used Academy Ruins as a Wasteland on his opponent's legendary land to press his advantage. Fortier played Tormod's Crypt and passed.

    For Neri's turn, there was a Trinket Mage for Tree of Tales and a Sensei's Divining Top, which hit play unopposed. Gaddock Teeg the following turn was not so lucky, with a Mana Leak stopping the legend. Neri was now almost tapped out, meaning that Fortier felt it high time to put a Vedalken Shackles on the board. While Trinket Mage wasn't a huge threat, stealing it would be better than taking beats, and there would be more targets to come.

    An Engineered Explosives from Neri was stopped by Mana Leak from Fortier, who was slowly but surely being beaten down by Trinket Mage, unwilling to use his Shackles on it if it left him without counters. It was not until the young Frenchman was at 11 that he finally took command of Trinket Mage. Neri tried another Explosives for 3, only for Remand to slow it down. It eventually resolved, but once it was in Fortier had a new threat to fight over. Tarmogoyf from Fortier forced a Spell Snare, which was in turn responded to by Remand on the Tarmogoyf itself. The second time around, Tarmogoyf got in just fine.

    Neri struck back by blowing up his Engineered Explosives, then playing Counterbalance. A Negate protected the enchantment from Spell Snare, giving Neri the full Counterbalance + Sensei's Divining Top combo. This wouldn't help against the Tarmogoyf on board, but when Neri resolved a Tarmogoyf of his own, it seemed that he might have swung the game.

    Fortier paid 6 mana for Engineered Explosives, using only 2 colours to do so. This handily got around Counterbalance, but he had no answer to a Negate from his Italian opponent. He suspended Ancestral Visions and passed.

    Counterbalance had set things up such that Neri was now resolving spells for fun. He had a Trinket Mage for a second Sensei's Divining Top, while Remi had nothing while he was waiting for Ancestral Visions to tick down.

    An end of turn Cryptic Command from Fortier was all set to bounce Counterbalance and tap down Neri's team. Neri had Counterspell. Fortier had one right back. Neri used Top, to which Fortier activated Ghost Quarter on one of Neri's lands. The Italian chose not to search so he would not have to shuffle. Counterbalance kept itself safe, with a little help from the Top. In turn, it stopped Ancestral Visions, leaving Fortier again in a rough spot.

    Fortier was not out of tricks though. He cast Rude Awakening with entwine. Counterbalance would be no good here, so Neri dug with Thirst for Knowledge. He found a Counterspell, and a Spell Snare for his opponent's Counterspell.

    Fortier was tapped out with no cards in hand. Another Trinket Mage for Neri helped him eke things out, and a Vedalken Shackles almost assured it. Remi looked hopefully to his deck as he drew his card, peeked at it, and scooped up his cards.

    Riccardo Neri 1 – 0 Remi Fortier

    Ricardo Neri is unafraid in the face of a Pro Tour winner
    By this point 43 minutes had expired in the match, giving Fortier an uphill struggle for the win which must have been a concern in his sideboarding. Among others, he brought in Molder Slug, the solid beater that can fight get through Counterbalance, and handily eat awkward Shackles, Tops and Explosives.

    Game 2 started much as Game 1 had, with a suspended Ancestral Visions from Fortier. This time though, there was a turn one Sensei's Divining Top from Neri. Knowing that he had to be aggressive, Fortier had a second turn Tarmogoyf, having to risk Neri being able to make the most of his tapping out. Another Ancestral Visions was soon suspended by Fortier, who was all action with so little time at his disposal.

    In spite of various Toppery from Neri, he seemed unsatisified with his hand, while Fortier's grew from his first Ancestral Visions. Neri tried for a Counterbalance, which met Counterspell. Neri had the Spell Snare, but there was another Counterspell from Fortier. This drew a Counterspell from Neri, forcing the enchantment down.

    Ancient Grudge from Fortier successfully blew up Chrome Mox, and showed it was safe to play Engineered Explosives for two. The Explosives had to be blown when Neri played a Tarmogoyf, and without threats, it seemed that Fortier would be unlikely to be able to close out the game within the remaining time.

    A very fast game of draw go commenced. When Neri sacrificed a fetchland, Fortier responded with a flashed back Ancient Grudge on Sensei's Divining Top. Unable to decline to search, one way or another, he would have to deal with the Grudge, or lose his top. Neri played Spell Snare. Counterspell came back. A Counterspell from Neri. Fortier had Mana Leak. Top was gone, and Neri was down to very few cards in hand, though one was a Counterbalance that he resolved.

    Time was called.

    On turn one of five, Fortier played Molder Slug. Neri had a Sensei's Divining Top, but was hampered in his ability to use it by the Slug, who got to beat in, taking Neri to 6. Fortier was 2 points off the kill. He needed something more. In his opponent's end step, Remi tried to start a fight over some Repeals, first on Counterbalance, then on Top. In his own turn, he cast Rude Awakening, without entwine, just to animate his 3 remaining lands. Neri showed Venser. A Remand from Fortier was just enough. With his one extra 2/2, on the last turn of extra turns, Fortier swung for the game to a roar from the crowd in what was a very tight match.

    Riccardo Neri and Remi Fortier drew at 1 - 1


     
  • Featured Match Round 13 – Fairie Enough
    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Jan Doise
    by Tobias Henke
  • Constructed master-mind Guillaume Wafo-Tapa is running a version of Faeries, while Jan Doise is looking to add a third GP top 8 to his resume with TEPS.

    Wafo-Tapa won the die-roll and kept his opening hand, while Doise had a hard time deciding on whether or not to mulligan. He did in the end and up next the decision to go down to five was not nearly as difficult. He finally kept that hand.

    Wafo-Tapa suspended Ancestral Vision on turn one, whereas Doise suspended Lotus Bloom. He followed this up with Sulfur Vent and Geothermal Crevice, but Wafo-Tapa had a Vendilion Clique to save him from the impending Mind's Desire. Also, it was not yet time for Lotuses to bloom, as Spellstutter Sprite took care of the artifact. The two faeries started to nibble at Doise's lifetotal, while Cryptic Command returned Sulfur Vent to the Belgian's hand. At five life Doise found himself on the receiving end of a timely Mistbind Clique and that was one very quick game.

    Wafo-Tapa 1 – 0 Doise

    Both players kept their seven for game 2, and had their trademark suspend spell on turn one again. Wafo-Tapa even had another Ancestral Vision for his second turn, while Doise was trying to further get ahead on mana by laying three of Invasion's multicolor saclands.

    Lotus Bloom was the first spell to come down on his fourth turn (with certainly more to follow) and it went uncontested. Before anything else, Doise hit Wafo-Tapa with a Duress, getting to see Force Spike, Cryptic Command, Vendilion Clique, Island , Mistbind Clique, and Counterspell, which he took away. With limited options, Wafo-Tapa then responded to Seething Song with Vendilion Clique, revealing that, while having lots of mana, Doise really only had one Plunge into Darkness to try and find Mind's Desire. That of course was put on the bottom of his library thanks to the Clique, and with nothing coming out of his one topdeck, Doise had to pass the turn, in the process of which he got five mana burn.

    Wafo-Tapa's next turn saw him bounce the Lotus Bloom, tapping out for Cryptic Command. Doise could only resuspend it, lay a land and a Chromatic Star. Meanwhile those Ancestral Visions had both been cast and Wafo-Tapa was buried in cards. Yet another Cryptic Command bounced Sulfur Vent, and a second Mutavaults came down to threaten a lethal attack in the very next round (thanks to the mana burn). Doise frowned, passed his turn, when he was dutifully and lethally attacked.

    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa wins 2 – 0


     
  • March 26th, 11:48 a.m. – Judge!
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Vienna's Flock of Zebras
    Yesterday's Grand Prix performance was nothing short of miraculous from a judging and tournament organization standpoint. With so many players, to be able to be done with the final round of day 1 by 9pm set a whole new standard of excellence in tournament organization. It wasn't as if there weren't interesting rules questions over the course of the day either.

    Did you know that if you activate Mindslaver, and cast, for example, Burning Wish, you are not allowed to look at your opponent's sideboard. Sideboards are governed by the tournament floor rules, rather than the comprehensive rules. If Mindslaver let players get involved with the floor rules, then they could go a little further than looking at sideboards – they could concede for their opponents! Even crazier, if a player casts Death Wish for an opponent during a Mindslaver turn, when they don't have any cards removed from the game otherwise, they can get a sideboard card, but it must be at random. Yet another reason that Death Wish, along with Humility and Licids before it, will not be getting anywhere near my deck.

    One rules point that came up is that the penalty escalation for game play errors has now been tweaked slightly. A second warning for the same game play error does not now bring a game loss with it. Any more of the same and you are in trouble, but there is now a small amount more lassitude for people being silly billys.

    One such player with a sheepish smile on his face following the change is Jelger Wiegersma. Early in day one, the Greatest Jelgargadon picked up a second warning for forgetting to draw for his turn after having already drawn 3 from Ancestral Visions. This isn't an error with a specific penalty attached (like drawing extra cards), so he simply took his second warning for forgetting to draw. At the time of writing, he had not made that mistake again.


     
  • March 16th, 11:55 a.m. – X-10 Dead
    by Rich Hagon
  • To be honest, nobody finished X-10 here in Vienna, but even X-3 wasn't enough to guarantee a spot in the Top 8. With just one round to go, it looked as if 13 players were battling for those coveted knock-out berths. Seems like X-2-1 was the correct formula this time around.

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  • Feature Match Round 14 – Rasmus Sibast vs Jakob Schnider
    by Tim Willoughby
  • With just two rounds left in the Swiss portion of this Austrian tournament, now is the time that players are really fighting to lock up spots in top 8, and amongst them are German player Jakob Schnider, and Rasmus "Big Oots" Sibast of Denmark.

    Jakob Schnider
    This is a classic aggro against control matchup, where Schnider's red men face off against blue green Tron from the biggest of the Oots.

    On the plaz, Schnider began with Grim Lavamancer, and quickly followed up with Countryside Crusher before Sibast could get any counterspell action going. While there was a Mogg Fanatic on the top of Schnider's deck, a fetchland pumped the Giant to 4/4, to attack Sibast down to 14. An Incinerate made it 11 before Sibast had played his fourth land.

    With Grim Lavamancer active, things looked very tough on Sibast, who sat calmly building up his Urzatron and saying go. He cast Moment's Peace to hold off Countryside Crusher (who was soon joined by Tarmogoyf), before continuing his draw go game. Denied of two attack steps, Schnider instead found himself going to the dome with burn to finish things off. A Lava Dart plinked Sibast down to 6 before moments were again made peaceful. Grim Lavamancer and a pair of Mogg Fanatics put Sibast at very nearly dead on the board.

    Sibast went for Gifts Ungiven at the end of turn. He picked out Academy Ruins, Repeal, Moment's Peace and Moonglove Extract, being given the Ruins and Repeal. Following a main phase Thirst for Knowledge, having surveyed the difficult board for him, Sibast scooped it up.

    Rasmus Sibast 0 – 1 Jakob Schnider

    Both players kept their opening seven, and the first action of the game was from Schnider, who, on the draw, had a turn one Grim Lavamancer. It was followed by Mogg Fanatic on turn two. Seal of Fire and Incinerate followed, while all Sibast had was a Repeal on Grim Lavamancer at end of turn.

    A Thirst for Knowledge from Sibast met another Incinerate from Schnider, who was careful not to throw his burn in the way of countermagic if he didn't have to. Sibast had Moonglove Extract to deal with Grim Lavamancer before he became too troublesome, but still dropped to 7 on attacks from Schnider, who continued to dictate the tempo of the game, playing a Tarmogoyf.

    Big Oots had a Goyf of his own, and deployed it in what seemed likely to be a defensive position. Seal of Fire meant that Schnider's Tarmogoyf looked like it would win in a fight, but this was rendered irrelevant by Moment's Peace, which not only worked as a Fog, it also caused Schnider to throw away his Seal of Fire.

    With just 7 more damage to do Schnider was all out on the attack plan, casting Countryside Crusher, then doing so once more when Venser, Shaper Savant came down to bounce the Giant.

    Rasmus Sibast
    By now Sibast had built his full Urzatron, and was in relative control. A Triskelion killed Countryside Crusher before it could get too big. Condescend stopped a Molten Rain to break up the Tron. It also found a Gifts Ungiven, providing Schnider with the tough choice between Life From the Loam, Academy Ruins, Mindslaver and Urza's Tower. Ultimately Sibast would have access to whichever he wanted, it was just that he had to jump through some Life From the Loamish tricks to get that Ruins going.

    Schnider played Sufluric Vortex, looking to race. On 15 to his opponent's 6, following a Mogg Fanatic activation, this seemed reasonable. As it turns out though, Sibast had enough action with Mindslaver that he could win that race though. Ensuring he could get hits in with Tarmogoyf, backed up bz Schnider's own burn, he was able to finish the German off.

    Rasmus Sibast 1 – 1 Jakob Schnider

    For the decider, Schnider was on the play – a big deal with a deck as fast as his. He had a turn one Kird Ape off Barbarian Ring, and followed up with a Mutavault, Mogg Fanatic turn 2. Schnider was all about the red zone, and was playing fast to ensure that the round finished in time (and in his favour). Venser and Moonglove Extract were both stumbling blocks in this plan, with the former doing some bouncing and blocking action, and the latter sitting around to be problematic later.

    On Sibast's side of the board, the start was pretty scary, dropping him to 10, but he soon assembled his Tron, and had Triskelion to join the team also. A Condscend kept this new addition safe from Ancient Grudge. Oots attacked Schnider to 8, which became 5 when Triskelion unloaded on the German. Sibast got in to take Schnider to 2, and while his opponent had a Tarmogoyf, there was a Mindslaver waiting from Sibast to finish it.

    Rasmus Sibast wins 2 – 1


     
  • Feature Match Round 15 – I just got dredged
    Sebastian Thaler vs. Selim Creiche
    by Tobias Henke
  • Thaler has a big turn - Creiche has an island
    Sebastian Thaler is running Dredge, while Selim Creiche is here with a Next Level Blue variant. Both players are currently at 36 points and need one more win to make top 8.

    Thaler won the die-roll and went off to one of those bad starts his deck has to offer, playing Careful Study on turn one, but not finding any dredge cards. He followed it up with Narcomoeba on turn two and two Putrid Imps on the next... pretty impressive 1/1 beatdown.

    Even more amazing – those three creatures really seemed to be enough to put Creiche out of the top 8, as he was horribly short on mana. In fact, after mulliganing down to six, he drew his first land on turn seven, although he did draw a second Chrome Mox to summon Tarmogoyf two turns before that. Just when Creiche was able to play Thirst for Knowledge, Thaler finally found Golgari Thug, allowing him to get threshold for his imps as well as setting up one Ichorid for the next turn. When Thaler moved everyone into the red zone, that proved enough to force a concession.

    Thaler 1 – 0 Creiche

    Creiche sits and watches as Dredge does its thing
    Creiche boarded Tormod's Crypt, Gaddock Teeg and also some copies of Ancient Grudge, on the one hand to combat possible and even likely Pithing Needles from Thaler's side and on the other hand, because just about anything'd be better than Vedalken Shackles...

    Creiche started with Island, Sensei's Divining Top and Tormod's Crypt, with Chrome Mox, Academy Ruins and Thirst for Knowledge still in his hand. Then he got Engineered Explosives from the top, which he played for one mana, not going after the zombies, but rather after Thaler's Pithing Needle, in case that one ever made an appearance.

    After some desperate attempt from Thaler to see if maybe his opponent might not realize the Academy Ruins Tormod's Crypt interaction (no, he didn't miss it), Thaler simply conceded.

    Tahler 1 – 1 Creiche

    Thaler kept his seven cards, while Creiche mulliganed a hand with one Tormod's Crypt, but, apart from that, nothing but land. His six only included one Island, one Spell Snare and one never to be cast Gaddock Teeg. He went down to five – four lands and a Counterspell.

    Meanwhile Thaler was off to a good start, with Putrid Imp on turn one, discarding Golgari Grave-Troll on his second upkeep. He dredged into and flashbacked Cabal Therapy with the imp to make sure no Force Spike might interfere with his... perfect turn two kill, as he went on to hit all of his trolls and all of his Narcomoebas with the game-ending Breakthrough.

    Sebastian Thaler wins 2 – 1

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