ound 12 saw Portugal native Paulo Carvalho matched against the American Mark Herberholz. Both entered the round with a high standing. At this stage of the tournament, it was generally accepted that three more wins would be enough to enter the Top 8. Doable, and these players have certainly had a positive record on the weekend. Still, with only five rounds remaining there weren't too many more opportunities to acquire the requisite number. While both would remain in Top 8 contention with a win or a loss, a victory here would take a lot of pressure off for the remaining rounds.
As previously reported, Mark was with blue-black control splashing a touch of white for Temporal Isolation and Pull From Eternity. In a refreshing change of pace, Paulo had eschewed the popular U/B/x decks for red-green styles. Paulo's deck featured Lotus Bloom and Radha, Heir to Keld to accelerate into Bogardan Hellkite, along with the potent Planar Chaos special Harmonize to refresh the hand. A powerful deck that had certainly been doing well for its pilot over the weekend.
Unfortunately for the Portuguese player, he began this game with a trip to mulligan town. The next six were acceptable, and Paulo began with a Radha, Heir to Keld into a quick Harmonize. Mark was happy to Cancel that move, as he tapped out on the following turn for a suspended Aeon Chronicler. With Mark's defenses down, Paulo resolved a second Harmonize. Aside from the incipient blue Maro, Paulo seemed to be in competitive shape. That quickly reversed when, after a big attack from the Chronicler, Mark aimed a Haunting Hymn at Carvalho for 80% of his hand.
Hurt but not out, Paulo was ready to make his move a few turns later. The Radha again attacked and Paulo announced his intention to add double red. Mark held up his hand and said the mana-making trigger was still on the stack. While it hung there, Mark aimed his Extirpate at a Bogardan Hellkite in the grave. Sure enough Paulo revealed a Hellkite from his hand, also stripped away. After that blow Paulo couldn't mount an effective offense and the Chronicler quickly finished the game.
Herberholz 1, Carvalho 0
Paulo sunk in his chair as he was forced to again send back his hand for the next six. With a grimace Paulo kept them and began with a Wall of Roots. There was no further land from the red-green player, although Scryb Ranger allayed things a bit. Meanwhile Herberholz was content to take a minor ping or two while suspending a big Chronicler. His Damnation eventually took down the Wall and Faerie, but that gave Paulo the opportunity to lay a monstrous Spectral Force. Spectral Force did manage to hit Mark once, but Mark merely end stepped searched for a Temporal Isolation. The Chronicler came in large, and the white aura landed on the Spectral Force. Again Paulo was out of gas as the Chronicler rampaged in. A flashed back Teachings fetching Draining Whelk put the nail in the coffin, and Paulo offered his hand in concession.
Herberholz 2, Carvalho 0