Round 11 Feature Match: Raphael Levy vs. Steve O'Mahoney-Schwartz

Posted in Event Coverage

By Ben Ronaldson

Raphael decided to play black/red three days before the tournament and this would have almost been a mirror match, save that Steve was playing a few different cards and splashing green for the kicker on his red Battlemages. The enchantment removal ability of the Battlemage was deemed worthy by a large percentage of the red/black field as there were a fair number of nasty enchantments in the format: Collective Restraint, Fires of Yavimaya (not that common, but a nasty card against black/red) Agenda and Overabundance, not to mention the lesser ones.

Game 1

The red/black mirror match is commonly won by card advantage cards such as Bog Down, Thunderscape Battlemage, Pyre Zombie, Crypt Angel, Blazing Specter (if no removal is found for a while) and Yawgmoth's Agenda. Another essential factor is the land drops, as most of these spells require a heavy amount of land to use. This is something Raphael encountered much to his distaste in both games one and two against OMS.

Levy won the toss and elected to play first, laying an Urborg Volcano. Steve laid a Shivan Oasis and they commented on the fact that had they each not known what they were playing against the Frenchman might have named green if he had had an Addle. His turn two Nightscape Familiar was Ghitu Fired immediately (the regeneration ability is very relevant in these games), but he rallied by laying a Pyre Zombie on turn 3 - probably the best card in this match up. This was the high point of the game for him though, as from that point he did not lay another land 'till turn 9, and the only spells he could cast up to that point were two Terminates and a Shivan Zombie. Meanwhile Steve was creating card advantage like no one's business as he made a Battlemage with kicker, a Crypt Angel, then another Battlemage with kicker, followed by a Bog Down.

Having made a tough decision to recur the Zombie one turn, Levy then drew a Flametongue which might have saved him somewhat, but due to his lack of mana was unable to stop the onslaught of the two Battlemages and a second Crypt Angel, and two turns later (even after the Flametongue wiped out the Angel) Steve Ghitu Fired to the head to claim game 1.

Steve O sideboarded out 2 Voids and a Ravenous Rat for 3 Yawgmoth's Agendas. Raph brought in three Cremates.

Game 2

If Raph thought he had mana problems game one then he had another thing coming. Once again his Nightscape Familiar was Ghitu Fired on turn 2, but this time his third land took an extra turn to reach the top of his deck, so Steve tried to take advantage of this by playing a turn 3 Battlemage without kicker. The Frenchman recovered quickly though and managed to make a Pyre Zombie and a Blazing Specter, forcing Steve to discard an Agenda. They were effectively racing at this stage as they were both on 14 and serving with everything they had. Steve then made a Battlemage with kicker and Terminated the Blazing Specter, but Raphael drew another one and the race was on again.

Quite happy about racing though, OMS then made a Skizzik with kicker and served with 2 Battlemages and the Skizzik, forcing the Zombie to block one of the Mages and taking Levy down to 7. I guess Raphael might have had a chance in this game had he drawn a fifth land, but he died with just the four on the table as Steve made an Agenda, attacked with the Battlemage (the Skizzik was Terminated) and drew a sixth land to Ghitu Fire for the win.

Final Result: Steve O wins 2 - 0

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