QUARTERFINALS - Eric Centauri (Azorius Control) vs. (1) Ben Stark (Mostly White Orzhov Aggro)

Posted in Event Coverage on December 8, 2013

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Eric Centauri has had a great run this weekend with Blue-White Control, the powerful Sphinx's Revelation control deck that trades the power of Esper's cards for consistency in its mana.

His opponent, however was No. 1 Ranked Player Ben Stark, a newly minted Hall of Fame member. He is playing the White Weenie variant that touches into black that he and his Team ChannelFireball compatriots brought to combat the field this weekend.

The Games

The match began with a plethora of mulligans, with Stark going to six and Centauri going for a devastating four cards. Stark had a speedy start with Soldier of the Pantheon and Daring Skyjek, while Centauri's first play was Last Breath, which exiled Stark's Mutavault when it was animated on the third turn.

However, recovering from a mulligan to four for a mana-hungry control deck is difficult, and for Centauri, it proved to be insurmountable when he had no Supreme Verdict when Stark flooded the battlefield after his attacks on the third and fourth turn.

No. 1 Ranked Player Ben Stark

In the second game, Stark led with Dryad Militant, which was hit with Azorius Charm on the next turn. Stark replaced the temporarily disposed one mana creature with Daring Skyjek, and then the Hall of Famer pulled the trigger on Thoughtseize the next turn, revealing three lands (including a Mutavault), Azorius Charm, and Jace, Architect of Thought on the next turn. He discarded the Azorius Charm, then attacked for 3 before casting Soldier of the Pantheon.

Wary of a Spear of Heliod (which Stark had waiting in hand), Centauri passed the turn with four open rather than playing Jace, only to see Xathrid Necromancer resolve from Stark on the next turn. “That was pretty good there,” Centauri said, taking 3 from Stark's creatures after Celestial Flare bought Centauri some life. The sacrificed Soldier of the Pantheon, which was sacrificed to Celestial Flare, was replaced with a zombie token, and Stark passed back. Centauri again passed with five open, and was helpless to Stark's Spear of Heliod on the next turn.

Eric Centauri

A misstep of allowing the Spear of Heliod to resolve before having responses left Centauri unable to deal with the Xathrid Necromancer while he had a chance to before it became three power. The Last Breath that Centauri drew now no longer had a god target. The mistake cost Centauri the chance to come back, as Stark's creatures pummeled in and left him without options during his next turn.

Centauri 0 – Stark 2

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