It was grinder versus grinder here in round three. Representing the old school, Guillaume Daoust, a fixture at the top tables of Canadian Tournaments since 2000. Representing the new, Marcel Zafra, a player that others point to as one to beat. Two years ago he justified that belief with a 17th place finish at Pro Tour Austin, and is looking to add to his resume. This weekend Zafra is playing the boogeyman, Caw-Blade. Daoust is with mono-red.
Zafra won the roll and mulled to six. Daoust was first on the board with a Grim Lavamancer. It hit for three thanks to Teetering Peaks, but Daoust had no follow-up. Zafra took care of it with Oblivion Ring. Daoust passed on his third turn, then fetched a mountain and played a Goblin Guide on his fourth. It hit Zafra for two and showed him that he would draw Mana Leak. Zafra played Emeria Angel, made a bird, and passed it back.
Now Daoust was ready to bring out the big guns. He tapped four for Koth, which resolved, and he untapped a mountain to hit for six, knocking Zafra to nine. Zafra couldn't afford to let that stick around. He summoned a Phantasmal Image of Goblin Guide, activated an Inkmoth Nexus and attacked all-out, knocking Koth off the board. Daoust swung in again with the Guide, and Zafra chumped with Inkmoth Nexus.
Unfortunately for Zafra, Daoust's next play was Kargan Dragonlord, levelled quickly to four. Zafra summoned a pair of Squadron Hawks and passed the turn back. Daoust fully levelled his Dragonlord and attacked. Zafra animated his Nexus and put as much toughness in front of the Dragonlord as he could, but the Bolt in Daoust's hand sealed the deal.
Daoust 1 - Zafra 0
Daoust was light on pressure to start the second game, just a pair of Grim Lavamancers to start. Zafra's development was hampered by lands coming into play tapped, and his turn-three Squadron Hawk fell to Searing Blaze. Daoust hit with his 1/1s and passed back. Zafra was quick to tap three for Timely Reinforcements, undoing the damage.
Daoust took to the air with Chandra's Phoenix. Zafra caught it in an Oblivion Ring, then answered a Shrine of Burning rage with Gideon Jura, forcing Daoust's Lavamancers to fight. Daoust rescued the one that didn't get double-blocked with Searing Blaze, but Gideon was happy to finish it off on Zafra's turn. Next came Emeria Angel, and though Daoust had Combust for it, the game was slipping away from him. His shrine ticked up to five, but that wasn't nearly enough against Zafra's forces. Another turn, and he conceded.
Daoust 1 - Zafra 1
Zafra had to mulligan again in Game 3. Daoust stayed on seven. Zafra sent back his six with a frown. He stayed on five.
Daoust started with Teetering Peaks while Zafra Preordained and kept both. Daoust's second-turn Goblin Guide fell to Mental Misstep. Zafra Preordained again, still liking what he saw. Daoust tapped two for Kargan Dragonlord, but had no third land. An Oblivion Ring from Zafra stopped it immediately.
Daoust drew, but got no help from his deck. He passed back with just two mana open. Zafra was quick to cast Timely Reinforcements. Searing Blaze took care of one Soldier, but again Daoust's deck betrayed him. Zafra swung in for two and summoned Squadron Hawk. Daoust plucked his top card and just shook his head.
Zafra tapped four for Elspeth Tirel and went to gain life. A pair of Lightning Bolts took care of a Hawk and Soldier, but left Elspeth hanging around. Daoust missed on land for the umpteenth time, and Zafra summoned the rest of his Hawks, gaining four life from Elspeth. From there it was a short road to victory.
Marcel Zafra defeats Guillaume Daoust 2-1