here was more than a little pressure on the players in this match. They were sporting identical 12-4 records, with the winner earning the right to draw into the coveted Top 8. Ryo Ogura was handling a typical green-red deck, while Bevand got creative and brought a white-blue-red cog deck with a spicy win condition: Pristine Angel
He could only sigh and rest his head in his hands as he mulliganed down to five cards. Ryo then picked up his hand slowly, one card at a time. He thumbed back through it, swallowing. Eventually he nodded. "I'll keep."
Despite the mulligans, Bevand made his first three land drops and caught an Eternal Witness (aiming for a Magma Jet) with Condescend. He cycled a Spellbomb, not finding a fourth land, and passed the turn. Eternal Witness brought back its sister.
Bevand dropped AEther Spellbomb and nailed a key Arc-Slogger with another Condescend. It drew him into Thirst for Knowledge, but even that couldn't find a land. Ogura had the third Witness, recovering the Arc-Slogger, and an Oxidize for the Spellbomb while Bevand was tapped out.
A fourth land showed up for the Frenchman and he summoned Trinket Mage plus a new AEther Spellbomb. Arc-Slogger promptly dispatched it and the Witnesses attacked again, dropping Bevand to 10. His fifth land, a Mountain, hit play, but no spells were forthcoming. Arc-Slogger responded to being bounced by vomiting three miniature fireballs at Bevand's face, depleting Ogura's library almost completely but lowering Bevand's life total to 4. When the two Witnesses attacked, he showed Pulse of the Fields to stay alive.
Bevand knocked on his deck, jokingly calling for "Vision Charm." It was a land, and despite Pulsing, an attack plus a recycled Magma Jet did him in.
Ryo Ogura 1, Manuel Bevand 0
It was Ryo's turn for a mulligan, but he had no problems making up the card disadvantage as he resolved a turn three Damping Matrix, nullifying many cards in his opponent's deck.
"Matrix…pretty good. Yep," Bevand said, trying his best to look happy about the situation.
He played a fifth land and shipped the turn, sitting on two Condescends. While Ryo sat and thought, he tried to convince him to summon Viridian Shaman. Ryo wasn't convinced and passed the turn with six lands.
The game slowed down as Ryo demonstrated a constant willingness to play around Condescend. Bevand stopped a Troll Ascetic with Last Word, then played a 2/4 vanilla creature in the form of Auriok Salvagers. It met Duplicant. Between that 2/4 and a couple Eternal Witnesses, Bevand was now losing life points in large chunks.
Finally, at 8 life, he found the sixth land for Pristine Angel, but it was too late. An all-out attack plus a massive Fireball ended the match. Bevand dropped two more Angels on the table in disgust. If he had found his sixth land in any of the preceding three or four turns, he could easily have taken the game.
Ryo Ogura 2, Manuel Bevand 0
Ryo advanced to 13-4, putting himself in great shape to make his first Worlds Top 8.