Round 10 Feature Match - (7) Samuel Black vs. Gerard Fabiano

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 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.

Both No. 7 Ranked Player Samuel Black and Gerard Fabiano were coming into Day Two in good shape. Both players had 8-1 records and both had decks that were full of powerful cards. While Fabiano was looking for a fast start with his aggressive white-red deck, Black had a number of powerful blue and green cards, including some blue disruption and some massive creatures like Nessian Asp.

Who would continue on with only a single loss?

The Games

Black was first to act with Leafcrown Dryad. "How have you not played anything yet?" he asked Fabiano, who sat with an untapped Plains and Mountain. Fabiano obliged him with a hasty Minotaur Skullcleaver on the third turn, which promptly traded with the Dryad when Black blocked. Dissolve stopped Purphoros's Emissary in its tracks on the next turn, and Black fired back with Vaporkin and Ordeal of Nylea on the flying creature.

No. 7 Ranked Player Samuel Black

Fabiano did not have removal for the Vaporkin, but he did have Ray of Dissolution to take out the Ordeal. Black pressed on by attacking with his Vaporkin before adding Nessian Asp to the board. Fabiano, however, was stuck with a load of combat tricks in hand but no creatures with which to cast, a Borderland Minotaur stranded in his hand due to lacking the necessary second Mountain to cast it. Black continued to improve his board with Nylea's Disciple.

He finally found a creature he could cast, Spearpoint Oread, and Gods Willing stopped Black's Fade Into Antiquity before his Vaporkin attacked in. When Fabiano added Leonin Snarecaster to his board and passed with mana up and creatures untapped, Black just sent in his Vaporkin and Nylea's Disciple, losing the latter creature to a mid-combat Coordinated Assault. Black cast a post-combat Horizon Scholar, then passed back to Fabiano, who had two more Gods Willings, a Lightning Strike, and the stranded Borderland Minotaur in his hand.

Attacks dropped Fabiano to 6 after he blocked the Nessian Asp and used Gods Willing to save his creature, but Black had another behemoth in Volpine Goliath. While Fabiano now had a window to take out Nessian Asp with Lightning Strike, he was dead in the air on the next turn.

The second game started out a lot better for Fabiano, who had a second-turn Akroan Crusader, and was met with no resistance when he cast Ordeal of Purphoros on it during the next turn, dropping Black to 17 between the token and the now 2/2 red creature. Nessian Courser came down and blocked the 1/1 token on the next turn, meeting its fate to Lightning Strike before Black fell to 14. This signaled Griptide on the Akroan Crusader which Black immediately cast when he untapped, a play that stranded Fabiano on drawing any lands the next turn. He simply re-cast his one mana creature as he sputtered on a Mountain and Plains, and was met with a huge wall in the form of Nessian Asp.

Gerard Fabiano

Magma Jet on upkeep at Black found Fabiano no lands, and Black had his own upkeep spell with Horizon Chimera before the Asp attacked in. Another Magmet Jet on upkeep disposed of the Chimera, but again Fabiano did not find the Plains he was looking for to enable his Phalanx Leader and Wingsteed Rider to be cast. Meanwhile, Black continued playing monsters with Horizon Scholar.

Fabiano cast Minotaur Skullcleaver sent in his team, and Black blocked the Akroan Crusader, falling to 7. However, Black's board proved to be insurmountable, and he conceded on the next turn.

Black 2 – Fabiano 0

"I just needed him to not have Griptide," Fabiano said after the match. His hand was powerful, but the Griptide ensured that his first plan would not only sputter, but it also denied him the double white he needed to cast his grip of powerful white creatures.

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