This matchup saw top Czech pro Martin Juza facing down against German local Sok-Yong Lee. Each had had a pretty reasonable draft, with some explosive potential from their decks.
Juza had a quick start in turn one Darksteel Axe, followed by turn two Ichorclaw Myr. This threatened a terrifying amount of poison on the third turn, and there was little that Lee could do about it. He had a Silver Myr and a Lumengrid Drake by the time that Juza attacked, but none of his team fancied blocking, meaning that he was at 3 poison in no time at all. Even Plated Seastrider, normally an all-star against infect decks, did not look good enough.
Juza had just two lands, but a dominating board, which only got scarier when Plague Stinger joined the party. Seastrider had to chump block, which was great for Juza. Lee cast a Flight Spellbomb, and was forced to crack it straight away for the card rather than waiting on using it to make something fly for real value. He did find a Plains, finally showing his second colour. A good start. He used it to cast Revoke Existence on Ichorclaw Myr, choosing the creature over the Axe which would otherwise be hard to remove.
Juza simply cast a Contagius Nim and passed. To this Lee had a Soliton and a Glint Hawk, returning his Myr. The Soliton could be potentially very dangerous if Lee could get to one of his two copies of Heavy Arbalest. This combo on its own, if it happened, would dominate Juza's board in next to no time.
"You're waiting for that land huh?" asked Lee.
The look on Juza's face as he thought through his turn showed that he was more than a little irked at not being able to play his big spells in the game. He cast an Infiltration Lens. At least if he attached that and attacked, even if he lost a creature in the process, he'd get some cards.
That Lee was aware Juza was looking for lands meant that there was even less reason to block. He took another poison, putting him at four in total. After combat, it seemed that Juza had been playing with everyone's heads, as he laid his fourth land and used it to cast Contagion Clasp, killing Lee's Silver Myr. Lee just had a Necrogen Censer for his turn. No Arbalest yet...
Plague Stinger got an axe in addition to its Infiltration Lens. It swung in along with both Contagious Nim. With Contagion Clasp on the board, and enough mana to use it, Juza was now in a place where he could start to threaten to proliferate for the win. Lee thought long and hard about his blocks. He put his drake in front of Plague Stinger, and Soliton in front of Contagious Nim.
After combat, Juza played a Throne of Geth.
"It's good!" was the only response from Lee.
"Now it is good" retorted Juza, casting a Fume Spitter.
It seemed that it wasn't just Juza who had a proliferate plan. Lee cast a Contagion Engine, which did off many of Juza's creatures, but in response he sacrificed his spitter to get a counter on Glint Hawk, then used his own proliferate, with Throne of Geth, to wreak havoc on Lee's board and his poison total. Subsequent proliferation from Juza, along with a small attack from a 1/1 Contagious Nim was enough to take us to game 2.
Sok-Yong Lee 0 - 1 Martin Juza
For game two, on the play, Lee took a mulligan, while Juza seemed calm in his keep, gazing at his hand as if he could not wait to burst into action.
As Lee drew his six card hand, he winced a little, but kept. There was no second land there, and he missed one drop, before seeing Juza cast Plague Stinger. A land came the following turn, allowing Myrsmith, but with Juza following up with Ichor Rats, it seemed that there was every reason for Lee to worry. He cast an Ichorclaw Myr of his own and used his Myrsmith.
Lee started mumbling to himself that he needed to top deck well.
"I don't think you have any card that deals with this" declared Juza as he cast a second Hand of the Praetors, before attacking with Plague Stinger and Ichor Rats. The rats got chump blocked, and Lee went to 8 poison.
"This is bad. This is really really bad."
Yes it was. Lee drew, and conceded. He just couldn't fight the sickness.
Martin Juza wins 2-0!