Semifinal - Bernd Brendemühl vs. Helge Nelson

Posted in Event Coverage on August 15, 2011

By Tobi Henke

"Burning" Bernd Brendemühl is known throughout Germany as one of the very best mono red mages. Sitting across from him this round, however, was Helge Nelson who had already dispatched Michael Diezel in another mono red mirror match in the quarterfinals.

Game One

"My start's rather harmless, I'm afraid," said Brendemühl, playing Teetering Peaks and passing the turn. Nelson had Goblin Guide and attacked. On his turn, Brendemühl got rid of the Goblin via Searing Blaze. Next, his Burst Lightning killed Plated Geopede. Then, Nelson summoned Chandra's Phoenix which received a Burst Lightning as well.

Bernd Brendemühl

Brendemühl made the first creature of his own: Ember Hauler. Nelson had yet more creatures: Another Plated Geopede, and two Grim Lavamancers. Brendemühl killed all of them, losing his Ember Hauler in the process. And it was just as well because Nelson had cast Sword of War and Peace. With the equipment at the ready and Brendemühl tapped out, Nelson looked at the top of his deck. "Goblin Guide?"

He got Koth of the Hammer instead and attacked for 4. Brendemühl who was stuck on three lands made Grim Lavamancer and Kargan Dragonlord and passed the turn with two cards left in his hand, resigning to the fate of being hit by Sword of War and Peace. Nelson drew Chandra's Phoenix, cast and equipped it, with the fifth mana courtesy of Koth, then attacked for, all in all, 6 damage to put Brendemühl at 6.

"I don't even have the mana to get rid of enough cards in my hand to survive one more turn," Brendemühl complained.

Bernd Brendemühl 0 – 1 Helge Nelson

Nelson's sideboarding

-4 Goblin Guide
-2 Hero of Oxid Ridge
+2 Manic Vandal
+2 Arc Trail
+1 Vulshok Refugee
+1 Dismember

Brendemühl's sideboarding

-4 Goblin Guide
-4 Kargan Dragonlord
-1 Hero of Oxid Ridge
+3 Shrine of Burning Rage
+2 Vulshok Refugee
+2 Manic Vandal
+1 Searing Blaze
+1 Koth of the Hammer

Game Two

Both decks apparently turned a lot more control-oriented after sideboarding. The action started with Shrine of Burning Rage for Nelson, Ember Hauler for Brendemühl. Nelson had another Shrine, then hit Ember Hauler with Arc Trail.

Over the next couple of turns, the players traded numerous burn spells for just as many creatures. The board was empty except for lands on both sides and the two Shrines on Nelson's side. He controlled one Shrine with seven counters and one with eight as well as six lands. Brendemühl was on 17, Nelson himself on 10. Nelson drew the only card that would allow him to win this turn: Koth of the Hammer. If he played Koth, the Shrines would both get another counter. Then he could use Koth's second ability to generate six mana, and deal lethal damage with the Shrines. But Nelson didn't see it!

Helge Nelson produces an Arc Trail to deal with Brendemühl's Ember Hauler

He used Koth's first ability instead and attacked for 4. Brendemühl pointed out the mistake and also that he himself did indeed have 7 points of burn damage (kicked Burst Lightning, which he played at end of turn, and Lightning Bolt) in his hand. If he drew another Lightning Bolt or Incinerate now, Nelson's mistake really would cost him the game. The crowd watched expectantly as Brendemühl slowly drew his card: It was Koth of the Hammer, now completely useless because of Nelson's own Koth.

Bernd Brendemühl 0 – 2 Helge Nelson

Game Three

After mulligans, Brendemühl was a little short on mana, which delayed his Vulshok Refugee. Meanwhile his opponent's Chandra's Phoenix was busy attacking since turn three.

Still, the Refugee wasn't exactly bad at playing catch up. After all, it did have more power, and Chandra's Phoenix died a couple of times. Just in time, though, Nelson found Shrine of Burning Rage to get rid of the Refugee.

Nevertheless, Vulshok Refugee and Chandra's Phoenix had managed to put their respective victims in the single-digit life total range. The game was going to be decided on direct damage. In the end, it came down to a situation when Nelson's Staggershock rebound put Brendemühl at exactly 1 life, so he couldn't use Arid Mesa to get landfall for his Searing Blaze.

Bernd Brendemühl 0 – 3 Helge Nelson

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