Stephan Valkyser and his "The Thorben Deck - also known as Thornscape Familiar and his friends" was the big favorite to win the quarterfinals against Mario Zemke's Fires deck. After Stephan beat five Fires decks in the swiss, Mario was quite unhappy to meet him in the first match of the playoff.
In spite of facing an anti-Fires deck, Mario managed to take home the first game. "I don't' remember the games too well," Stephan Valkyser says. "I think he had just the perfect Fires draw, forest, Bird, Fires, Blastoderm. He just overwhelmed me if I remember correctly."
Valkyser 0 - Zemke 1
Stephan chose to sideboard out four Tangle Wires, two Serra Angels and two Urza's Rages for a fourth Flametongue Kavu, a fourth Armadillo Cloak, three Reprisal, two Aura Mutations and a second Shivan Wurm. However, he was very short on mana. "I started with a Brushland, a Birds of Paradise and a Thornscape Familiar and kept it. I managed to get the Familiar into play, but I failed to draw another land for a couple of turns., so he killed both my creatures. The I drew another land, but my start was just too slow to catch up to his build-up," Stephan says.
Valkyser 0 - Zemke 2
"In the third game I think I had a Charging Troll that dominated the board for a while. I had a double Port and tapped down his mana, and I used Flametongue Kavus and Battlemages to kill his mana creatures," Stephan remembers.
Valkyser 1 - Zemke 2
The fourth game started with a lot of creature killings. In the end, Stephan had a Birds of Paradise on the table while Mario had nothing. "I made a mistake though. He played Fires of Yavimaya, and I chose to Aura Mutation it at the end of his turn," Stephan says, realizing that he should have done it in his own main phase to force Mario to pump the Bird as that was the only creature in play. "I'd never been in that situation before, I didn't playtest a lot. But I killed him with the Bird anyway, I Cloaked it, then I waxed it. If I hadn't drawn the Wax, I would have waited until he used one of his painlands and then used the Cloak.
Valkyser 2 - Zemke 2
In the fifth game, Stephan got a really good starting hand that included a Reprisal, an Armadillo Cloak and some good creatures. He only had three lands, though, so he just needed a few more for things to be perfect. Stephan had a Reprisal for Rith, the Awakener, and he also had another Reprisal ready in case a new, big creature would come up.
Stephan won with a Shivan Wurm and a Birds of Paradise on the table. "I could cast Shivan Wurm, but I guessed that he had a removal card so I cast the Thornscape Battlemage first and then the Shivan Wurm," he explains. So while Mario was slightly mana flooded, Stephan could take home the victory and advance to the quarterfinals.
Final Result: Valkyser 3 - Zemke 2