Quarterfinals: Mike Pustilnik (USA) vs. Paco Llopis (Spain)
By Ben Ronaldson
This match seemed to be in favour of the little guy (Mike Pustilnik) as his rebel drafting resulted in 2 Lightbringers, a Lawbringer, a Thermal Glider and a Lieutenant - all this against a black/red deck! Paco had some reasonable fat though, so this match was by no means a foregone conclusion.
Mike wins the toss and elects Paco to go first. This game was nothing short of weird: Mike was horrificly screwed and didn't lay a third land until turn 7, while Llopis opts for the flood. A Crossow Infantry and a Steal Strength is all Mike has to offer, but it is enough to hold off a Percher and a Death Charmer. Finally Mike pulls out the land and starts wapping out all the searching engines and a Fen Stalker. A timely snuff out deals with one of Paco's only drawn threats and a Dark Triumph finishes the Spaniard off with Mike still on 14 life! At the end of this game all Llopis had left on the table was a Percher and about 72 land.
Mike 1 - Paco 0
Paco elects to go first - Mike elects to draw every answer possible:
Paco lays a Grunt - Mike makes a Thermal Glider
Paco lays a Kidnappers - Mike casts Vicious Hunger
Paco lays a Highway Ribber - Mike casts Rhystic Syphon
Paco lays a Pit Raptor - Mike makes a Lightbringer
So the game is looking fairly even at this stage, then Mike draws an Intimidator and rips out all his Mercenaries and a Thermal Glider. Just when it looks like he can overwhelm his opponent though, an Outbreak (naming Mercenaries) destroys them all and the balance is struck once more. The Thermal Glider is still coming in for 2 a turn though and a Fen Stalker sits on the floor threatening to attack if both Paco's Lightning Hounds and Deepwood Ghoul attack, so the Spaniard can only serve with the hounds.
The life scores are 7-3, and a Scoria Cat has joined the fray, but it is all to late for Llopis as a Dark Triumph (again!) finishes him off with a 4-1 Thermal Glider.
Mike wins 2-0