Round 8: John Stevens vs. Lin Rice
By Omeed Dariani
6-1 competitors John Stevens and Lin Rice sat down for a decisive match. One of them would lose the chance to get into the top 8, while the other would continue a string of successes towards the grand prize, Magic for Life. Stevens, a Cookeville, Tennessee resident chose to play Angry Hermit, one of the most powerful decks in the format. His opponent, Rice, of Woodsfield, West Virginia chose to play a very diverse version of the popular Rebel deck, including cards such as Defiant Vanguard, Ramosian Sky Marshal and Reveille Squad.
John came out quickly, putting Lin in several unfavorable positions first with Rishadan Port, then with Masticore (which Lin destroyed with Seal of Cleansing), Plow Under and Tangle Wire. Each time it looked as though Stevens threat was about to abate, he played another one. In the meantime, Rice was able to do very little, casting a Steadfast Guard and a Ramosian Sergeant. Slowly, as Stevens ran out of disruptors without having cast a finisher, the tide turned on him. Rice amassed creatures with his searchers and eventually cast a Sky Marshal, with a Mother of Runes backing it up. Stevens, beaten, conceded.
Stevens 0, Rice 1
In game two, John had to Paris a poor hand into a workable one. His first turn Birds of Paradise, second turn Yavimaya Elder granted him tempo against Lin's Sergeant. The Elder was amazing this game, dealing twelve damage over the next six turns, while John removed Lin's only two creatures with an Arc Lightning and an Avalanche Rider. John, with a significant life advantage, cast an Earthquake to win.
Stevens 1, Rice 1
Both players have a strong opening, Stevens with his Forest, Bird, Forest, Elder, while Rice came out with a Sergeant. They traded Elder/Sergeant (both activating their abilities), and John cast a Tangle Wire. Lin pitched a Plains and cast Abolish. John continued his proactive stance with a Masticore. Lin again had the answer, this time in Parallax Wave. Stevens hit him with Plow Under, slowing him significantly as the Wave wore down. Rice got out a Lin Sivvi and searched for a Sergeant in a pinch. Rice set the Wave up to leave play on a turn when Stevens was lacking the mana to regenerate Masticore, which he then destroyed with Seal of Cleansing. John played a Blastoderm, which attacked next turn, running headlong into a Defiant Vanguard. John then Earthquaked Sivvi and cast another Masticore. This second Masticore was unstoppable as it smashed through Lin's defenses, ending the game.
Stevens defeated Rice, 2-1