by Sideboard Staff
At this stage of the day matches are getting significantly more tense and this one was no exception. Both Dave Humpherys and Bram Snepvangers approached the match in a very businesslike fashion with little or no idle chat before the start of the round. This was a very traditional match pitting Dave's Blue/White control deck against the aggressive nature of Bram's Red/Green deck.
Despite the nature of these decks it was Dave who was the initial aggressor as he opened game one with a Steadfast Guard and a Rishadan Airship. He brought in a Trap Runner to help slow the ground and used a Thermal Glider to block a Wild Jhovall. Normally this combo would slow down Bram significantly but he had played out an early Stampede Driver which, with it's ability to give attacking creatures trample, totally negated the ability of the Trap Runner and also made the Thermal Glider a lot more effective. Despite this due to his early start Dave was still winning the race. On only five life with six power worth of fliers on his opponents side of the board Bram looked in dire straits. There are only around three or four cards in Masques Block that could possibly have helped him but he had the best one of them all - Spitting Spider. Humpherys had no Counterspell in hand and when the Spider hit the board even the normally stoic Bram couldn't help but suppress a grin. By sacrificing a single land he effectively Wrathed Humpherys side of the board and just one turn later he was able to overwhelm Humpherys and take game one.
Game two started very slowly for Humpherys as his first turn play was a turn four Lieutenant. Bram meanwhile was applying significant pressure with a Spur Grappler and used a Shock Troops to take out the Rebel as soon as it appeared. Dave had a Falcon to also attempt to start recruiting Rebels and this time it lived. When it recruited a Thermal Glider to take out Bram's Grappler the following turn Bram had a Tiger Claws ready to make the Grappler a 5/3 which survived the attack. Dave is down to five life at this point and next turn when Bram Attacks Dave again blocks with the Glider. Bram could've sacrificed a Seal of Strength at this point to try and trample over Dave's Glider for the kill but instead elects to play it safe. This decision proved absolutely correct as Dave is forced to use a Cho-Manno's Blessing in his hand to remove the Tiger Claws and kill the Grappler. Had Bram sacrificed the Seal it would've been countered by Dave's Blessing and had no effect. Bram also had a mathematical kill the following turn but this time Humpherys had a Withdraw to prevent some damage and save a key blocker. Again Dave survived another turn. Dave is slowly able to stall the ground with a Trap Runner and a Pious Warrior, but Bram top-decks a Stampede Driver which would give his creatures more than enough of a boost to kill Dave. In a desperate attempt to stay alive Dave was forced to Ensnare during Brams next attack to prevent the attack, leaving him just his next turn to find an answer to the Stampede Driver. His powers were strong however as he ripped a Last Breath from his library to take out the Driver. Still not out of trouble Dave was very much on the ropes. Bram gradually accumulated creatures in an effort to swarm Dave. Dave continued drawing great and pulled a Gush from his library which drew him into a Topple and a Commander that both helped him stabilize his position immensely. The following turn however it was Bram who ripped the win from his deck. He pulled Natures Revolt from his deck and was able to attack with all of his lands in addition to his creatures. After blockers were declared Bram had just one extra land to deal Dave the final two damage to kill him. Although the Gush from Dave during the previous turn had drawn him cards necessary to survive the lack of lands in play cost him the match.