by Mason Peatross
Adrian Sayers is arguably one of the three best Magic players to have ever come out of Texas. His last huge performance was spoiled by the Sideboard's own Randy Buehler, who beat Adrian in the Top 8 of Chicago '97, on his way to winning his first Pro Tour. He hasn't improved on that performance, but then again, his interest has waxed and waned. He has really prepared for Invasion Rochester though, and that preparation shows in his current standing as one of five undefeated players entering round 7. His opponent hasn't been as fortunate, but just by a little. Benedikt Klauser came to the Feature Match table sporting a 5-1 record, and wants a win to send himself to the top table Saturday morning. Austrian born Klauser recently won Grand Prix Florence with NecroDonate, and is probably the top player out of Austria.
Adrian won the die roll, beating Klauser's roll of 1(on a 20 sided die) with his own 2. His second turn Vodalian Zombie quickly entered the "red zone" which filled Adrian with glee. For a player who knows how solid he can play, it's been frustrating for Adrian to have consistently underperformed since his Chicago glory. Finding himself in the "red zone" of the Feature Match area is perhaps the beginning of a resurgent career. His Zombie was soon joined by a twin set of Metathran Zombies. The Zombies were doing a pretty good job of whittling down Benedikt's life total, as the only creatures he had drawn were those with a one toughness - a Viashino Grappler and an Urborg Phantom. On Adrian's fifth turn he tapped out to Probe with kicker, forcing a discard of Mountain and Backlash from Benedikt, while he discarded two excess land. Benedikt took this opportunity to send in his troops. He used Exotic Curse to kill a Zombie, and then sent his guys into the Red Zone. The Grappler traded with Adrian's Vodalian Zombie, and the Phantom got in some much needed damage.
Adrian finally got to the part of his deck where it began to look like a 3-0 deck. He played his sixth land and dropped a Goham Djinn. The Djinn was only 3/3, but a regenerating Black 3/3 is no slouch. Benedikt couldn't give Adrian the chance to take control of the game with the Djinn, so he quickly Soul Burned the Djinn for 3, killing it before Adrian could untap and regenerate. Adrian's next turn wasn't as stellar, as he used Worldly Counsel to give himself half an Impulse, and then all he could manage to do was play a Tidal Visionary. It's not like Benedikt was doing much on his side of the table. A survey of Klauser's hand revealed nothing but land after land. Adrian's game kept improving with each draw phase though as he laid a topdecked Slinking Serpent, then the Goham Djinn's brother. Benedikt attacked with the Urborg Phantom, in an attempt to force an awkward trade with Adrian or punch through some damage. Instead, Adrian showed that he didn't need his Tidal Visionary to perform any tricks, and sent it in front of the Visionary to "take one for the team". Benedikt finally drew some non-land cards, and was able to get a Phyrexian Reaper on to the table. Adrian Excluded Klauser's attempt to play a Nightscape Apprentice. This may seem odd, but the Apprentice's ability to give the Phyrexian Reaper First Strike would have completely shut down the beating that the second Goham Djinn was delivering. The card that Adrian drew off the Exclude sealed the game, though. On his turn he cast Tsabo's Decree, killing Benedikt's Reaper, and forcing a concession before his hand could be revealed. Both players drew a lot of land this game, but Adrian's creatures, with their ability to regenerate, won the game.
Game 1 to Sayers.
Klauser spent a lot of time in between game 1 and 2 sideboarding in some blue cards, including a Recoil and Vodalian Serpent, both of which were in his opening draw. Adrian played a second turn Vodalian Zombie to mirror game 1, and Klauser simply laid his third land and passed the turn. He had an upkeep effect, though. He Recoiled Adrian's Island, forcing a discard of an Island. Adrian couldn't do anything but lay a land and pass the turn. Benedikt played a Phyrexian Slayer, which Adrian answered with his third land and an Exotic Curse. Benedikt played a Viashino Grappler which he traded with Adrian's Zombie. Adrian wasn't out of gas yet, though.
Adrian laid his fourth land and dropped another of his rare bombs - a Nightscape Master. Klauser wasn't having any of that, and laid and immediately used a Smoldering Tar to kill the Wizard. Adrian then appeared to have no play, and simply laid a land and said go. Benedikt didn't buy into a bluffed Exclude, and laid a Serpent with kicker. Adrian didn't have an immediate answer, so he Hypnotic Clouded Klauser, paying the kicker to force the Austrian to ditch his entire hand. He only discarded land, though. The Serpent began to swing, quickly decimating Adrian's life total.
Adrian had answers coming though. He played a Goham Djinn which Klauser Soul Burned. Adrian, unfazed, laid a second Djinn, and this one survived. An Addle for blue cards took nothing out of Adrian's hand, and on his next turn he used Agonizing Demise to remove the Serpent. On his next turn, he Recovered the Nightscape Master, and drew his card. Klauser was way behind at this point, and could only cast a Duskwalker and Shivan Emissary without their respective kickers. Adrian had drawn an Exclude though, and he countered the Emissary, countering Benedikt's hopes of survival.
Final Result: Game 2 and match to Sayers.