Both players have their backs against the wall, needing to win both this round and the next one to lock up a Top 8 slot. They had both drafted Tricksy-Hobbit decks, with efficient U/G creatures and the best pump spells and tempo cards that they could get their hands on. This would turn out to be a brutal match, hanging in contention until literally the last few seconds of the round, with Sim's slightly faster deck racing as fast as possible against Kuptimitr's slightly slower, heavier-punching affair.
Both players slammed a pair of Sedge Scorpions into each other. Sim followed up with a Bronze Sable and a Nessan Courser, aiming to get his early beats on. Kuptimitr had a Nimbus Naiad, while Chapman upped the ante with a Thassa's Emissary.
After thinking things through, Sim attacked with his whole team. Kuptimitr had a Savage Surge for his Naiad to take out the Emissary. Sim rebuilt with a second Bronze Sable, clearly keen on applying maximum damage to his opponent. Kuptimitr summoned another Sedge Scorpion but was stuck on 3 lands, while Chapman could bestow his own Nimbus Naiad on his Nessan Courser.
Griptide on the Courser slowed things down, and an Anthousa, Setessan Hero clogged the board up, but Sim's Naiad took Kuptimitr to a precarious 1 life. He had a Time to Feed to gain some breathing room, and a follow-up Savage Surge to clear out Sim's side of the battlefield.
Still under pressure, Kuptimitr rapidly developed his board with a Nylea, God of the Hunt and then one of her Disciples. With Kuptimitr's life total out of the danger zone, Sim headed for his sideboard.
Krissapas Kuptimitr 1 - Chapman Sim 0
"It's hard to play the mirror when your opponent's cards are all better than yours", smiled Sim as he searched for answers before settling down to what would be an epic Game 2.
Kuptimitr used a Savage Surge early in the game on his Sedge Scorpion to take out Sim's Leafcrown Dryad, then it decided it was Time to Feed on a Nessan Courser, the little arachnid that could doing double duty before biting the dust.
Kuptimitr replaced Eight-Legs with No-Legs in the form of a Nessian Asp, while Sim summoned a Prescient Chimera. The two traded blows, and Kuptimitr had a sudden Horizon Chimera at the end of Sim's turn, threatening a lethal swing if he could find the mana to enmonstrify* his Asp. He didn't, and Sim had a Savage Surge to untap his Chimera and take out the Asp. Kuptimitr, unfazed, summoned a Nylea's Disciple and followed it up with Nylea Herself, making combat math for Sim a daunting prospect for the balance of the game.
Sim, in an increasingly unenviable position, looked to the top of his library for outs. He cast a Time to Feed on the Horizon Chimera, gaining some precious life and knocking Kuptimitr's life-gain engine out of play, then summoned a Sedge Scorpion to keep the ground attacks in check.
Kuptimitr bestowed a Nimbus Naiad on his Nylea's Disciple, obviating the now rather sad-looking Scorpion. Sim attacked with his team and summoned a Vaporkin. Sim declined to block, and when Kuptimitr went to pump his creature with Nylea, Sim showed him a Griptide to again stem the bleeding.
Sim attacked with his team and flashed a Feral Invocation onto his Prescient Chimera to save it from the inevitable Nylea pump. Kuptimitr re-cast his Disciple, then used his own Griptide on Sim's Sedge Scorpion to clear the way for his Disciple to crack in, ably pumped by the Nylea and dropping Sim to a precarious 4 life points.
Sim attacked Kuptimitr down to 6, then re-played his Scorpion and passed. He had enough toughness' worth of creatures on the board to save himself, but needed to draw creatures faster than Kuptimitr to stay in the game. Luckily for Sim, a Centaur Battlemaster and a Nessian Asp gave him enough defense to survive Kuptimitr's Nylea-enhanced attacks just long enough to eke things out to a third game.
Chapman Sim 1 - Krissapas Kuptimitr 1
Once again, both players traded their Sedge Scorpions with each other. Sim built up an army early with a Bronze Sable and a Nessian Courser, while Kuptimitr doubled up with a pair of Nylea's Disciples.
Sim kept pace with a Staunch-Hearted Warrior, then attacked them into Kuptimitr's board, asking that classic question - race, trade or trick? Kuptimitr opted to race, declining to block Sim's incoming attackers before bestowing a Nylea's Emissary on one of his Disciples. Sim spent his mana summoning an Anvilwrought Raptor, then sent it in next turn after a looooooong time in the tank, pondering his options. Both players had a relatively full grip and could expect each other to have tricks, so the mind-games got a little too complex for me to follow at this point.
Kuptimitr decided to force the issue by attacking with both his creatures. Both players are holding Griptides (I'm allowed to peek, I'm coverage!) and had probably read each other on any number of possible combat tricks, making the head games all the more interesting. Sim assigned his Warrior as a blocker for the un-pumped Disciple, and went to pump it, forcing Kuptimitr to use up his Griptide. Chapman took 6 from the unblocked Disciple and fell to a precious 8 life points.
Sim dipped his toe back into the tank once more, having a good ponder before sending his remaining team in. Kuptimitr tried a Savage Surge on his unenhanced Disciple, forcing Sim's hand. Sim let it resolve, then cast his own Savage Surge on his Courser, wiping out both creatures.
Kuptimitr untapped and had no action for the next turn, knocking Sim to 2 life with a straight attack. Even with a Griptide in hand, Sim was stalled on land and out of options, Kuptimitr advancing to the win-and-in round.
Krissapas Kuptimitr 2 - Chapman Sim 1
*Totally a real word.