Semifinal Feature Match: Christian Lührs vs. Stephan Valkyser

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2015

By Kim Eikefet

Game 1

The two teammates wished each other good luck before starting the match. Christian won the die roll and chose to play. His opening hand contained three islands, a Rishadan Port, a Spiketail Hatchling, a Thwart and an Opposition. Stephan, on the other hand, failed to draw enough lands, and so he chose to mulligan. His second hand contained two lands, a Familiar, a Llanowar Elves, a Wax/Wane and a Flametongue Kavu, and he kept.

Christian played an island. Then Stephan got out his first turn Llanowar Elves. A Spiketail Hatchling came into play on the other side of the table, but with three mana available it couldn't counter Stephan's Thornscape Familiar.

Not wanting to block, Christian attacked with his Hatchling. He also played a Merfolk Looter. "It cycles," Stephan said after looking carefully at the card. He chose to attack for three, bringing Christian down to 16. Then he played a Birds of Paradise and a Thornscape Familiar, tapping out - and so Christian had to decide whether to sacrifice his Hatchling or not. He chose to play an Opt first, and pointing out that the stack is important, Stephan put the Opt on top of the Familiar to get everything correct. Then, the Familiar was allowed to live.

During his own turn, Christian played Opposition. Stephan wasn't happy, and he untapped his creatures only to get his Bird tapped down during his upkeep. He drew white mana from it though, casting Wane, targeting the Opposition. Christian had to Thwart it, and so he returned all his three islands to his hand. Stephan then attacked with a Familiar and the Llanowar Elves.

Christian tapped down the Bird during Stephan's next upkeep as well, In response, Stephan tapped it for red - and thanks to the two Thornscape Familiars, he could Urza's Rage the Looter for one red mana. Stephan then attacked with his Familiars and the Elf, brining Christian down to eight life.

Christian spent his turn playing another creature, a Temporal Adept. Then he let Stephan untap and play a Rishadan Port before slapping down a Flametongue Kavu for only two mana. It went through, killing the Temporal Adept. Christian tapped a Port in response though. He also tapped down a Thornscape Familiar, but Stephan still attacked and played a Noble Panther. At five life, Christian scooped.

Lührs 0 - Valkyser 1

Game 2

Christian chose to play first again. His hand contained three lands, two Counterspells, a Thieving Magpie and a Temporal Adept, and he chose to keep it. Stephan had to mulligan again, drawing a no-land hand. He kept his second hand though, and got out a first turn Birds of Paradise. He also had more lands, a Noble Panther, an Aura Mutation and an Urza's Rage.

Christian chose to use his second turn to play a Merfolk Looter while Stephan got out a bigger creature - a Noble Panther. The Panther attacked for three during the following turn while Christian started looking for answers to the cat on the other side of the table. He tapped out to cast a Thieving Magpie - and Stephan used the opportunity to cast his one lucky Boil! Not wanting to lose all his lands, Christian Thwarted it.

Stephan played a Thornscape Familiar, and then he Urza's Raged the Magpie before attacking with his cat. The following turn, Stephan attacked with his Noble Panther and the Familiar. In order not to take too much damage, Christian blocked the Familiar with his Looter, looting one last time before losing his creatures. Then, a Glacial Wall hit the table. "Oh no," Stephan sighed. He sighed even more when a Stinging Barrier hit the table the following turn - but a Serra Angel felt like hitting the table and providing him with an airborne attacker as well. Unfortunately, Christian Thwarted it, and so the Serra went to the graveyard.

With an active Stinging Barrier, Christian pinged down the Familiar and then the Birds of Paradise. Then, it started pinging Stephan, too, and a Spiketail Hatchling wanted to come out and play. Stephan cast a Charging Troll, but still he was unable to get through Christian's walls. "Gott," he whispered when his teammate played a Temporal Adept as well, and his attempt to play Flametongue Kavu was Counterspelled.

Christian kept attacking with his Spiketail Hatchling and pinging with his Barrier, and then he cast a Thieving Magpie as well and started drawing cards. He played another Magpie. He played another Stinging Barrier. Stephan's Charging Troll tried to attack from all directions, but the Glacial Wall kept following it, preventing it from reaching Christian, who was in total control.

Lührs 1 - Valkyser 1

Game 3

Stephan chose to play first in the third game. His opening hand was pretty good, but as a Rishadan Port was his only land, he chose to mulligan yet again. The second draw gave him two Rishadan Ports, a forest, a Flametongue Kavu, an Urza's Rage and a Charging Troll. Meanwhile, Lührs had drawn two islands, two Opts, an Opposition, a Thieving Magpie and a Temporal Adept.

Stephan started with a Karplusan Forest and a Rishadan Port, and he tapped down Christian's land during his upkeep. But that didn't prevent Christian from Opting, and he also got out a turn three Spiketail Hatchling. Stephan played a City of Brass, summoning a Charging Troll, forcing Christian to sacrifice his Hatchling. Then, Christian cast a Thieving Magpie.

Stephan didn't like the Magpie, and so he tried to Flametongue Kavu. Unfortunately, Christian had a Thwart, and the Magpie stayed in play. It only gave him one card though as Stephan played yet another Flametongue Kavu. "What? Not countered?" he exclaimed when the Magpie went to the graveyard, and then he waited for a Glacial Wall - that never came. Instead, Christian cast a Merfolk Looter.

The Flametongue Kavu felt like attacking, knocking Christian down to 15. With two Ports, Stephan was able to tap down two of Christian's lands during his upkeep. He attacked again, tapped down another land, and then he played Serra Angel. "Impressive," Christian said, lacking a Thwart. But Stephan complained loudly when Christian played an Opposition and tapped down the Angel. At least he got to attack with his Kavu.

Playing a Thornscape Battlemage, he was able to get rid of Christian's only creature, the Looter. Christian needed another creature, and so he played a Stinging Barrier. But during Christian's end of turn step, Stephan cast Wane targeting the Opposition, and unable to counter it, Christian scooped.

Lührs 1 - Valkyser 2

Game 4

Before the fourth game, Christian mentioned that he rarely had to mulligan with his deck. Then, he had to mulligan. "His deck caught him red-handed," Stephan grinned while Christian shuffled. His second hand held three lands, a Glacial Wall, a Temporal Adept and an Opposition, and he kept it.

Stephan went Brushland, Llanowar Elves, but since his land was tapped down, he was unable to play the second turn Noble Panther. Instead, he played a Rishadan Port of his own and Ported Christian's Port. Then the Noble Panther hit the table. But Christian played his Glacial Wall, effectively stopping the cat.

As Christian only had one mana untapped, Stephan attempted to play Serra Angel - and she came into play. Christian couldn't do anything but playing a Temporal Adept that could provide him with a way of dealing with Serra. But Stephan Urza's Raged it.

Serra flew over and hit Christian down to 15. Stephan also cast another Llanowar Elf before ending his turn. Christian chose to cast a Stinging Barrier. Then he let Stephan play again, and as he was tapped out, Stephan cast the lucky Boil, destroying all of Christian's islands.

Still drawing extremely well, Stephan cast a Flametongue Kavu and killed the Stinging Barrier. The Barrier took out an Elf, but there was no way Christian could come back - and so Stephan Valkyser won the match and advanced to the finals of the 2001 German Nationals. "Now I have to go to Toronto," Stephan concluded. "I'm on the team now."

Final Result: Christian Lührs 1 - Stephan Valkyser 3

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