Round 11: Everybody Loves Dimir

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2005

By Paul Sottosanti

Dimir met Dimir late on Day Two.

Carlos Romão and Frank Karsten are currently second and fourth in the standings, respectively, and drafted next to each other at table one before Round 10. In fact, they both ended up drafting the Dimir Guild, a fact that should favor Romão since he was passing to Karsten in packs 1 and 3. Karsten is splashing red for Viashino Fangtail and Galvanic Arc, while Romão has only blue and black.

Karsten is a solid player with a recent top 8 in Nagoya, while Romão is a former World Champion who would undoubtedly love to grab another shot at the title. They played each other two rounds previous and ended up with a draw.

Game 1

(Romão white, Karsten blue)

# Attacks Blocks Results RL KL
3 Golgari Thug None Romão gets in for an early point. 20 19
4 Golgari Thug None Another point. 20 18
5 Halcyon Glaze None The Glaze comes online and swings for four. 20 14
6 Halcyon Glaze and Stinkweed Imp None Karsten absorbs another five. 20 9
6 Snapping Drake None Romão declines a trade and takes the three. 17 9
7 Halcyon Glaze and Stinkweed Imp Snapping Drake on Stinkweed Clutch of the Undercity sends the Glaze back to Karsten's hand and Snapping Drake trades with Stinky. 17 9
8 Cerulean Sphinx None Romão takes five damage from the Sphinx. 12 9
9 Dark Confidant None Karsten could block with Nullstone Gargoyle but chooses to leave Romão with the Confidant. 12 7
9 Cerulean Sphinx and Nullstone Gargoyle Stinkweed Imp on Nullstone Gargoyle The creatures trade. 7 7
10 Snapping Drake Snapping Drake The two Drakes trade. 7 7
12 Cerulean Sphinx and Tidewater Minion (both unblockable from Ethereal Usher) None Disembowel on the Minion keeps Romão alive. 2 7
12 Belltower Sphinx, two Stinkweed Imps, Golgari Thug, Tattered Drake and Vedalken Entrancer None Romão clears out the only blocker with a Darkblast and sends in a ragtag Dimir team for the win. 2 0

Romão applied some early pressure with a Halcyon Glaze (cast through a Terrarion, since he only had one Island) but Karsten put a stop to that with Clutch of the Undercity. The Dutch player then took control of the skies with Cerulean Sphinx. Romão summoned Dark Confidant, which surprised Karsten, who commented, "Risky business…uh, yep." He attacked Romão to 12 and then used Tidewater Minion to power out a turn-eight Nullstone Gargoyle.

Romao, the 2002 World Champ, was moving up the leaderboard.

Romão revealed an Island with the Confidant and dredged a Stinkweed Imp that traded with the Gargoyle. This allowed him to Peel from Reality Karsten's Sphinx and his own Confidant, a fine play since he was at a precarious 7. When Romão added Belltower Sphinx and a new Stinkweed Imp, it looked like he had the game locked up, as he also had a Vedalken Entrancer that was slowly grinding away at Karsten's library.

That is, until Karsten summoned an Ethereal Usher. With two cards left in his deck, he activated it on Tidewater Minion and re-activated on Cerulean Sphinx, then attacked with both for the potential win. Romão had the Disembowel though, and was able to take down the Minion to stay at 2, then untap and dig with card drawing for his Darkblast. He took down Karsten's only blocker and killed him with damage.

Frank Karsten 1, Carlos Romão 0

Game 2

(Romão white, Karsten blue)

# Attacks Blocks Results RL KL
3 Roofstalker Wight (with flying) None Two damage to Romão. 18 20
3 Golgari Thug None One back to Karsten. 18 19
4 Roofstalker Wight Stinkweed Imp on the Wight The creatures trade. 18 19
5 Snapping Drake Snapping Drake blocks The two Drakes trade. 18 19
7 Stinkweed Imp None Stinky sneaks in for a point. 18 18
7 Mausoleum Turnkey (unblockable) None Karsten uses Ethereal Usher to send in Turnkey for 3. 15 18
8 Two Stinkweed Imps None Romão hits back for two. 15 16
8 Mausoleum Turnkey (unblockable) None After combat Karsten played Galvanic Arc on a Roofstalker Wight and targeted Romão. 9 16
9 Mausoleum Turnkey (unblockable) None Another three to Romão. 6 16
10 Mausoleum Turnkey (unblockable) None The Ethereal Usher has been quite the all-star this game. 3 16
11 None None Clutch of the Undercity on a Stinkweed Imp finishes Romão off. 0 16

The early turns consisted of trading creatures, but when Karsten followed up with Mausoleum Turnkey and Ethereal Usher, Romão struggled to keep up. The Usher was huge this game, as was as a key play where Karsten transmuted for Consult the Necrosages and knocked a Disembowel out of Romão's hand. Mausoleum Turnkey returned a Roofstalker Wight and also just kept coming across for three a turn, with Romão unable to stop the damage. Clutch of the Undercity finished things off.

Carlos Romão 1, Frank Karsten 1

Game 3

(Romão white, Karsten blue)

# Attacks Blocks Results RL KL
3 Golgari Thug None The traditional early Thug damage. 20 19
4 Stinkweed Imp None And some Imp damage for good measure. 20 18
6 Stinkweed Imp None Romão is getting nowhere fast… 20 17
6 Snapping Drake Surveilling Sprites blocks The Sprites are happy to jump in front and exchange themselves for a card. 20 17
7 Viashino Fangtail and Surveilling Sprites None Having cleared Romão's board, Karsten begins the assault on Romão's life total. 16 17
8 None None Romão takes a point from a Tidewater Minion, untapping the Fangtail. 15 17
8 None None Clutch of the Undercity targets Romão's Stinkweed Imp and he promptly concedes the game. * 17

What the attacks don't show you is that Karsten had a turn-three Viashino Fangtail followed by a turn-four Tidewater Minion. Romão's hand wasn't helped by the fact that his Golgari Thug jumped back on top of his library when it died, and whatever semblance of board position he had crumbled quickly thereafter. The final straw came when Romão cast Compulsive Research and chose to dredge Darkblast, then watched the Disembowel that he would have drawn fall right into the graveyard. He conceded on Frank's next turn.

Final Score
Frank Karsten 2, Carlos Romão 1

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