Semifinal - Tobias Dreger vs. Martin Zimmermann

Posted in Event Coverage on August 15, 2011

By Tobi Henke

Game One

Zimmermann kicked off the information war with Inquisition of Kozilek, taking away Gitaxian Probe from Dreger while also seeing Mana Leak, Red Sun's Zenith and Lightning Bolt. Clearly Zimmermann didn't want his hand given away. But Dreger had another Gitaxian Probe, and Mana Leak for Zimmermann's second Inquisition. Zimmermann was happy to see no Pyromancer Ascension in Dregers hand, but two turns later, Dreger simply drew one and put it on the battlefield to the crowd's amusement.

As in his quarterfinal match, Dreger burned through cards like only the Ascension deck can. That gave him Mana Leak to counter Zimmermann's Jace Beleren – an important spell, as that one gave Dreger the second counter on his Pyromancer Ascension. Dreger then played a second Ascension and Pondered and Foresaw and Saw Beyond to quickly put a second counter on that one, too. A bunch of draw and search spells later, Zimmermann conceded game one.

Tobias Dreger 1 – 0 Martin Zimmermann

Tobias Dreger

Both players went to their sideboards and changed their decks. Tobias Dreger simply took out 4 Into the Roil and added 3 Mental Misstep and 1 Consecrated Sphinx from his sideboard.

Martin Zimmermann's plan was a little more intricate. His changes looked like this:

IN

+ 4 Flashfreeze
+ 2 Memoricide
+ 2 Duress

OUT

- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Black Sun's Zenith
- 1 Go for the Throat
- 2 Doom Blade
- 1 Consume the Meek
- 1 Despise
- 1 Dismember

Game Two

Once more, Zimmermann decided to put an Inquisition of Kozilek out as a first feeler. He saw 2 See Beyond, Ponder, Preordain, Burst Lightning and 2 fetchlands in Dreger's opening hand and made him discard the Ponder. Dreger had drawn a Gitaxian Probe, though, and returned the favor of probing for information. He saw 2 Jace Beleren, Creeping Tar Pit and two more lands.

The two players essentially replayed their first couple of turns without much difference – once again, Zimmermann took a Ponder from Dreger's hand. But Dreger simply saw more cards from his deck overall, and one of them was Pyromancer Ascension that immediately received two counters through the usual small spells.

Zimmermann's main problem was that his deck had no way to deal with Pyromancer Ascension on the battlefield other than one Karn Liberated and one Into the Roil. Though Zimmermann played Liliana Vess to help him find a solution, his biggest hope were his counterspells. But even those would never be enough to stop all copies.

'...When he put a third Pyromancer Ascension on the battlefield and pumped it up to two counters, Zimmermann slumped...'

A case in point was the Red Sun's Zenith that Dreger played to kill Liliana Vess. Zimmermann tried Flashfreeze to counter at least one copy, to keep Liliana alive. But Dreger not only had a copy of Zenith, but also Mana Leak to stop the Flashfreeze entirely. And of course, Dreger simply drew more cards. When he put a third Pyromancer Ascension on the battlefield and pumped it up to two counters, Zimmermann slumped.

However, Dreger was already down to 8 life, mostly damaging himself through fetchlands. Zimmermann attacked with Creeping Tar Pit. But against three loaded Ascensions, that plan seemed much too slow – and it was, as it turned out, especially since Dreger still had Burst Lightning to just kill it.

Tobias Dreger 2 – 0 Martin Zimmermann

Game Three

Zimmermann decided to play first and immediately mulliganed to six cards in hand. Neither player had Inquisition of Kozilek or Gitaxian Probe, so for the first few turns the fog of war engulfed their hands. Until Dreger had Gitaxian Probe. Zimmermann sat on a hand of Flashfreeze, Solemn Simulacrum, Jace Beleren, Grave Titan and Go for the Throat – but he was missing land drops.

Four mana was just enough to play Memoricide, though. Dreger had to let it resolve, with a hand of Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, See Beyond, Ponder – and Pyromancer Ascension. Of course, that was what Zimmermann had in mind to name anyway! Without his Ascensions, Dreger had to try and win this game the hard way, with Bolts, Bursts, Red Sun's Zenith and Consecrated Sphinx.

A reinvigorated Zimmermann was happy to summon Solemn Simulacrum to the battlefield and to let Dreger dig through his deck with Ponder and See Beyond. Jace Beleren followed from Zimmermann, but did nothing: Lightning Bolt from Dreger drew out Mana Leak from Zimmermann, but after an untap a second Bolt killed Jace for good and Dreger used Red Sun's Zenith to remove Solemn Simulacrum.

Zimmermann was unfazed. Small wonder, as he tapped all his lands to put Grave Titan on the battlefield! Dreger was holding Consecrated Sphinx which he played, knowing full well that Zimmermann was still holding Go for the Throat, but the feeble resistance was futile and Martin took the game.

Tobias Dreger 2 – 1 Martin Zimmermann

Tobias Dreger's double ascensions overwhelm Zimmerman's U/B control.

Game Four

Dreger pondered long over his initial hand and decided to ship it back for lack of land. Inquisition of Kozilek from Zimmermann revealed that his second set had enough land, but only Gitaxian Probe and Mana Leak as spells, and the Probe quickly went away. A turn later, Zimmermann played a second Inquisition, which Dreger countered with his Mana Leak. A third Inquisition was met by Mental Misstep. With that, Dreger had successfully protected the Pyromancer Ascension he had just drawn to put it on the battlefield.

Gitaxian Probe showed Dreger that Zimmermann held Jace Beleren, Flashfreeze, Liliana Vess, Preordain and Consecrated Sphinx. But all of that wasn't much help as Dreger exploded in a flurry of copied cantrips.

A second Pyromancer Ascension immediately gained two counters as well. Zimmermann slouched in his chair after he had pressed F6 to cede priority to Dreger for the turn. There was nothing he could do, and after Dreger countered Liliana Vess, Martin extended the hand and Tobias Dreger advanced to the finals!

Tobias Dreger 3 – 1 Martin Zimmermann

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