Round 9: Andre Konstanczer (Germany) vs. Nicolas Labarre (France)
By Alex Shvartsman
Labarre is playing a black control deck designed by the French national champion Yann Hammon. It is somewhat similar to Jon Finkel's US Nationals deck, but is improved with cards such as Phyrexian Processor and Chimeric Idol.
Konstanczer, like most top pros today, is relying on artifacts to win. He is playing a monored Wildfire deck similar to the one his teammate Kai Budde won the World Championships with last year. A major addition to the deck are Tangle Wires.
Labarre started the first game with a perfect draw. He cast three Duresses in the first two turns, taking away a Grim Monolith, Tangle Wire and Mishra's Helix. He went on to Vampiric Tutor for a Stupor and remove the rest of Konstanczer's hand.
Konstanczer did not manage to get any threats into play. He did play a Tangle Wire, but Labarre had enough lands to play around it at that point. Labarre used a Yawgmoth's Will to recast his Vampiric Tutor, find a Phyrexian Processor and win with the Minion tokens.
In the second game Labarre pitched a Yawgmoth's Will to cast a turn 2 Unmask, taking out a Mishra's Helix. He made sure the coast was clear to Ritual out a Phyrexian Negator on turn 2.
Konstanczer kept Negator from attacking for a couple of turns with Tangle Wire, then used Wildfire to remove all permanents on Labarre's side of the table.
Labarre had plenty of lands left in his hand and was able to cast another Negator a turn after Crater Hellion entered play. He was planning to race, and would win this race once Chimeric Idol joined the Negator on his side of the table.
Konstanczer killed all lands with a Tectonic Break and managed to win the race by playing a Tangle Wire via Thran Dynamo. While Andre had enough artifacts to keep attacking with the Hellion, Labarre, who was down to the two creatures as his only permanents, was forced to keep them tapped and lost the race.
In the third game Labarre Duressed Konstanczer's only threat - a Temporal Aperture - and cast a Negator. Andre developed his artifact mana and drew very well. At one point he had a hand of Covetous Dragon, Crater Hellion and Wildfire, and enough mana to cast at least one of them.
The obvious play here would be to cast a Hellion, forcing Labarre to lose all of his permanents. However, Konstanczer would be unable to pay echo - which means having to win the game via Covetous Dragon. He was afraid that Labarre would Eradicate the Dragon, leaving Ghitu Encampments as the only way left for him to win the game. Konstanczer elected to play another Grim Monolith and wait another turn.
This decision cost him dearly. Labarre played his fourth land and cast Persecute, knocking all three of Konstanczer's powerful cards out of his hand. Labarre went on to play Kill Switch, negating most of Konstanczer's mana sources and win several turns later by attacking with Phyrexian Negator.
Labarre 2 - Konstanczer 1