“Effin’ Angel of Mercy makes me want to vomit!” Chicago Masters semi-finalist Neil Reeves was still complaining about Don “The Governor” Paul’s top deck from last round—The Governor, it should be noted, was still beaming. Neil had managed the game to a point where Don had to top deck two creatures to stay alive another turn. He hadn’t counted on Angel of Mercy serving as a blocker and the three life erasing the need for the other.
Michael Musser is coming off of a very successful trip to Venice where he won $2,500 playing a Veggies deck that was metagamed for the swarm of goblin decks with 4 Wall of Hope and 4 Wall of Mulch. It was only his second Pro Tour after a respectable rookie finish of 4/3/0 at Pro Tour Chicago. He finds himself without the vacation days needed to compete in Yokahama but plans on making himself known at Nationals.
Musser made the first play of the game despite being on the draw—a Pygmy Razorback. Neil answered back with a morph and Michael played one of his own, which was revealed to be a Fallen Cleric when it was bounced along with a land via Neil’s Churning Eddy. Michael got the land back—a Swamp—with a Yavimaya Granger. Neil’s Spitting Spider came down on turn five and Michael decided not to pay his echo on the elf. When he swung his Razorback into the red zone, Neil put his morph in the way and it traded with the face down Primal Whisperer. Mike reinforced with a face-up Fallen Cleric.
Neil was out of land and his Spider attacked and joined by a Bubbling Beebles. Michael swung in with his cleric and played out a Nomadic Elf and a Giant Cockroach, which put an end to Neil’s aggressive ways. Michael was plenty aggrssive though and sent his 4/2 men into the red zone only to find them Tangled. Neil found a seventh land and played it—he was holding a splashed Embershot—passing the turn back to Michael. Nomadic Elf got in for two damage when Neil had no blocks and Michael started dumping his hand on the table with Sybiotic Elf and Gamekeeper. Neil Embershot the cleric EOT and asked how many cards Micael had, “One card, huh?”
After Neil attacked with his Spider he played a Hunted Wumpus—Michael had been representing a ginat growth all game and Neil was confident that was the nature of the remaining card—and was deflated when Michael dropped a Rampaging Elephant onto the table. The score was Neil = 10 and Michael = 6 and Michael had enough green mana to tie up all of Neil’s blockers and swing in for the win. Instead he tapped his mana and cast a Pardic Lancer which was met with Thwart.
Neil took his window of opportunity and sent his Wumpus into the red zone where Michael made his second mistake. He could have blocked with the Symbiotic Elf and had the same 2 points of power to swing with on the next turn but instead he blocked with Gamekeeper—which is fine if he reveals a 2 power creature or better—and flipped over a Kris Mage leaving him one point shy of being able to kill Neil. Unable to allow the Wumpus to get through Michael eventually succumbed to its relentless attack.
Neil - 1 Michael - 0
This game was not much to talk about as Michael found himself having mana troubles—it was a 4-color deck after all! The only ‘offense’ he could muster was to cast Sparkcaster and return it doing a point to Neil each time. A Pardic Lancer was his last line of defense but Neil had the Churning Eddy.
Neil - 2 Michael - 0
After the game, Neil let out a sigh of relief about game one. “I almost packed when he dropped the elephant but then I thought to see what happens.”