In the very last swiss round of the German Nationals, Marco Blume from Hamburg faced 36-year-old Michael Neumaier from Bayern. The two of them both had 24 points and needed that last victory to make the final eight. While Marco have played in a couple of Pro Tours in addition to representing Germany in 1999 Worlds, Michael's best accomplishment so far was qualifying for nationals this year.
The two players got deckchecked, and they chatted a little while waiting to get their decks back. Marco revealed that he didn't even know what deck Michael was playing. The National Champion from 1999 didn't want to predict the outcome of the match. "It's Magic," he smiled. Michael, on the other hand, felt confident.
Marco won the die roll and chose to play first. He chose to keep his opening hand, and then he played a first turn Sleight of Hand. Michael went for a traditional Fires-start, forest, Llanowar Elves. Marco got out a second turn Merfolk Looter though, and he chose not to block the Elves when they came attacking. Michael then played a Kavu Titan without the kicker.
Marco needed a third land, and used the looter to try and find one. He didn't though, and had to discard a Static Orb. The Kavu Titan then hit him, and Michael tried to play a Blastoderm - but it was countered. Finally, another Sleight of Hand gave Marco a third land, and he played a Spiketail Hatchling.
Michael attacked with his Kavu Titan. Then, after thinking for a little while, he played another Titan, without the kicker because of the Spiketail Hatchling. Marco drew a fourth land and decided to tap out for an Opposition.
Suddenly, Michael's two Kavu Titans felt like lying down instead of attacking. But as Marco was tapped out, Michael took the opportunity and tried to cast Thunderscape Battlemage with kicker in order to destroy the Opposition. But Marco couldn't allow that, and so he Thwarted by returning three islands to his hand.
With only one land in play, there wasn't much Marco could do during his turn. Michael then did something rather unexpected, he tapped his Sulfurous Springs for black mana to play Duress. Marco Looted in response. Then he showed his hand: Static Orb, Sleight of Hand, two Magpies and an island. Michael put the Static Orb in the graveyard. Then he attacked with the one Titan that didn't get tapped down and played a Birds of Paradise.
A Glacial Wall came to help Marco, and suddenly, things looked much worse for Michael. He couldn't do much else than playing a Shivan Wurm. His two Kavu Titans were tapped down, so they couldn't attack. Then, Marco played a Thieving Magpie, getting yet another creature into play. And when Michael wanted to attack, Marco tapped down four of his creatures. Michael played another Shivan Wurm and ended his turn.
Marco wanted more than the three cards he had in his hand, so he attacked with his Magpie. Michael thought for a while before deciding to let it through. Marco cast another Magpie. Needing a little miracle to win, Michael Raged a Magpie to try and win some time. But Marco continued to play creatures. Another Thieving Magpie entered the table, and it joined the attack while Michael's creatures continued the bad habit of lying down instead of attacking.
Marco just played more and more creatures as he failed to find a Static Orb. A third Magpie came to help, but Marco still couldn't find the Orb. But eventually, he didn't need it - Michael got down to six life, and then he was finished off by all the weenies.
Blume 1 - Neumaier 0
Michael chose to play first in the second game, but he was far from satisfied with his draw, so he decided to mulligan. His second hand was better, and he played a turn one forest, Llanowar Elves. The Elves attacked, and during Marco's upkeep, Michael used his Rishadan Port to tap down an island. Michael then played a third turn Blastoderm.
Marco looked far from pleased. He tapped two mana to play a Rootwater Thief, and then he let Michael take his turn. Michael decided that the Thief was evil, and he Scorching Lavaed it and attacked for six to bring Marco down to 13. Marco then tapped out to play a Thieving Magpie. The Magpie was Urza's Raged, and suddenly, Marco find himself at seven life after the Blastoderm assault. He had to do something, and so he dropped a Rootwater Thief and a Static Orb onto the table. Michael chose to untap the Blastoderm and a land. He then attacked with the Blastoderm, and Marco blocked with his Thief. Michael also played a Seal of Fire, but Marco Thwarted it.
With a Static Orb in play, Michael had to think about what to untap. He chose to untap a land and the Elves, but Marco used his Port to tap down the land again. So Michael simply attacked with his Elves. Marco played a Temporal Adept, and the Adept blocked the Elves' following attack. Now it was Michael's turn to tap down a land during Marco's upkeep. But Marco still had enough mana to play a Glacial Wall. Michael needed a threat before Marco could gain control. So after Marco played a Rootwater Thief, Michael Ghitu Fired for six, trying to finish his opponent off. Unfortunately, Marco had a Thwart, and so he returned three islands to his hand to counter the lethal spell.
After this, the two players had a standoff. Marco played some small creatures and attacked with his Rootwater Thief to remove some dangerous threats from Michael's deck, but other than that, no one did anything dangerous.
Eventually, Michael cast a Duress. Marco thought for a while, then he put a Rishadan Port, a Glacial Wall, a Static Orb and a Thwart on the table. Michael chose the Thwart, and so after a few more rounds, when he drew a Ghitu Fire, Marco failed to counter it and lost the game.
Blume 1 - Neumaier 1
Marco chose to play in the deciding game. He played a first turn Sleight of Hand and passed priority. Michael went first turn Karplusan Forest, Birds of Paradise. Then, during his second turn, he played Duress, and Marco revealed an island, two Thwarts, an Orb, an Opposition and a Temporal Adept. Michael chose a Static Orb. Then he cast a Seal of Fire.
Marco drew and played a third turn Merfolk Looter that died to the Seal. Then Michael summoned a Blastoderm. The Temporal Adept that came into play on the other side of the table looked rather small in comparison. So Marco took five from the Blastoderm before Michael played a Llanowar Elves and during Marco's upkeep, Michael tapped down the Port and an island.
Marco had had a pretty poor draw, and he also stalled on three lands. Meanwhile, Michael played another Llanowar Elves and continued attacking, and in order to stall the attack, Marco used his Adept to return one of the Elves to Michael's hand. The Blastoderm's last attack took Marco down to three, and Michael then tried to replay the Llanowar Elves, but Marco had to Thwart it.
The board situation was quite unfair. Marco had three lands only in addition to his Adept, while Michael had five lands and a Llanowar Elves that started attacking again when a Scorching Lava killed the creature on the other side of the table. The little Elves brought Marco back to one, and when Marco had to Thwart another Llanowar Elves, he considered his situation for a short moment before deciding to concede the game.
Final Result: Marco Blume 1 - Michael Neumaier 2