Round 14: Feature Match - Tobias Dreger vs. Christof Kovacs

Posted in Event Coverage on August 14, 2011

By Hanno Terbuyken

This was an interesting match. Christof Kovacs had 30 points and stood on ninth place after round 13. That meant if he drew this match, he was very likely out of the Top 8 on tiebreakers. For him, this match was a win and in affair. Dreger, on the other hand, came in with 28 points and could still make Top 8, like he did in 2010 – but only with a win and only if at least one of the other top tables had not drawn their match.

Dreger played Pyromancer Ascension, Kovacs had brought a Splinter Twin deck.

Game One

Dreger had the better set-up from the get-go, opening with two Pyromancer Ascension. Kovacs had Shrine of Piercing Vision. Deceiver Exarch from Kovacs tapped one of Dreger's Islands in response to a See Beyond. Later that turn, Dreger used Into the Roil to return the Exarch to Kovacs hand. Kovacs replayed the Exarch, untapping one of his Islands.

Tobias Dreger

A second See Beyond resolved and gave Dreger the first counter on each of his two Ascensions. Kovacs had Gitaxian Probe targeting Dreger, who played Lightning Bolt in response on Kovacs Deceiver Exarch, and a second one to boot. That set up his two Ascensions, while Kovacs used Into the Roil to save his Exarch from death.

Both players decided to play draw-go for a turn until Dreger played Gitaxian Probe targeting Kovacs, copying it twice. The Probe and its brethren saw Dispel, Dispel, Spell Pierce and Pyroclasm. Dreger drew his cards, played and copied Ponder and passed the turn.

Kovacs cracked his Shrine of Piercing Vision with 11 counters on it. With the activation on the stack, Dreger responded with Lightning Bolt and two copies taking Kovacs to 6. Another Bolt followed, and Kovacs used one Dispel to stave off one copy and the second one to stave off the actual Lightning Bolt. However, Dreger had Mana Leak for the second Dispel (also copied twice), and Kovacs could not stop the lethal damage.

Tobias Dreger 1 – 0 Christof Kovacs

Game Two

Both players opened with Hallimar Depths. Dreger immediately went into filter mode to shape his hand with See Beyond and Ponder. Gitaxian Probe gave Kovacs the insight that Dreger held 3 Lightning Bolt, Into the Roil, and Gitaxian Probe of his own. That Probe revealed that Kovacs held Deceiver Exarch, Spell Pierce, Dispel and a couple of lands. Both players mostly played lands and shuffled their libraries through fetchlands. The difference: Dregers Ponder resolved, Kovacs did not, thanks to Mental Misstep.

When Dreger had another Probe, he saw Spell Pierce, Dispel, Deceiver Exarch, Into the Roil and two Splinter Twin. Kovacs was ready to assemble and protect his combo. His end-of-turn Deceiver Exarch resolved, though Kovacs let it go back to his hand when Dreger played Into the Roil. It didn't matter that much at this point, as Kovacs was missing a crucial piece: a second Mountain.

Christof Kovacs

Kovacs had his pieces ready but how would he get them on the board? Ponder helped him find the land he needed. He had to let Dreger play and resolve Into the Roil once more and answered with an Into the Roil of his own to bounce Dregers Pyromancer Ascension.

The tension was palpable. Dreger could put a single counter in his Ascension via Ponder, and a second one through See Beyond. Gitaxian Probe showed him that Kovacs now also had Negate in addition to Spell Pierce and Dispel, as well as Deceiver Exarch, two Splinter Twin and a Mountain.

Dreger held a full grip. Fetchlands and Lightning Bolts had already taken Kovacs to 11, then Dregers copied Lightning Bolt took him to 5. Dreger continued to burn, with Burst Lighning and a copy. Kovacs had Spell Pierce for the original spell and went to a measly one. Dreger had another Burst Lightning. Kovacs tried Negate, Dreger answered with Mana Leak and a copy, and now Kovacs could not fend off the Burst Lightning that ultimately killed him.

Tobias Dreger 2 – 0 Christof Kovacs

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