We are calling it the "Battle of the Fjords". Tomi is a very quiet Finnish player with a much more moderate fashion choice than the extremely flashy Nitter. While the judge went through the boring motions of a sideboard they discussed their match chances.
Eivind: "How do you like your chances?"
Tomi: "I like them a lot."
Eivind: "I like mine too."
Tomi: "So we are both happy."
They went on about their decks, the environment, the preparation for Worlds (and how little sleep they would get in Toronto) and their match up until they got the "OK" from the judging staff.
Walamies won the dice roll but had to take a mulligan. His second was much better and they settled in for the "drop land say go" procession. Which actually didn't last long because Nitter played a first turn Sergeant followed by a Defiant Falcon.
Tomi tried to kick things up by playing an unkicked Probe drawing two Nether Spirits and a Dromar's Charm. He discarded one of the Spirits and a Dismantling Blow. The came into play but Walamies was still in mana problems: he had no second White mana for his Wrath or Black mana for the Probe kicker or Dromar's Charm.
A Brainstorm gave Eivind plenty to think about but it was Tomi that blinked first. He found a Dromar's Cavern and fired a kicked Probe that Nitter let through. Walamies discarded two Coastal Towers and Nitter agonized over his hand before losing two Plains.
He took the opportunity to recruit another Rebel and drop a Parallax Wave while Walamies was tapped out. The Wave ate up the Spirit and the Rebels paraded into the Red Zone dropping the silent Fin to thirteen. However Walamies had a trick on the following combat phase by Recoiling the Wave.
Nitter: "Random Recoil?"
With the Spirit back on defensive duties and counters in hand Walamies saw Lin Sivvi creep out of Nitter's deck to wreck havoc. He really need to fire of that Wrath of God but he was still at six mana. Right now the best he could do was cast Wrath and protect it with a Memory Lapse
Eivind would not let go: he played a Meddling Mage and Tomi responded with a Fact or Fiction revealing Counterspell, Absorb, Adarkar Wastes, Underground River and Salt Marsh. Again Nitter went into agonizing mode and came out with the following piles:
Pile one: Counterspell
Pile two: three lands and Absorb
Clearly he thought Walamies had no counter for two blue. Tomi used the Memory Lapse but Eivind had a Counterspell. Pikula stayed in the table loudly complaining about Wrath of God and announcing his intention to keep them away.
That spelled a world of trouble for the Fin. His Spirit was holding back the ground pounders but Nitter had enough flyers to fly in for the win eventually. What he could do was look for an opening so he could kill the Mage with the Dromar's Charm and blow up the Rebel crowd with Wrath of God.
That is exactly what he did at the end of turn, followed by a Fact or Fiction. Nitter let the Mage go bracing for bigger threats. He also let the Fact or Fiction resolve and made the following piles:
Pile one: Dromar's Charm, Salt Marsh, Probe, Tsabo's Web
Pile two: Wrath of God
Again his hunch was wrong. Walamies did have the Wrath of God and was not about to lose four cards to get another copy. He untapped, forgot to get his Spirit back but it made no difference. He threw a Wrath into the Red Zone and the fight began: "Absorb your Wrath", "Absorb your Absorb" and after long deliberation Nitter let it resolve.
He had just let three consecutive dangerous spells resolve so he seemed clearly out of counters. After a mutual consultation of graveyards and a long deliberation period Nitter proved he could still do something by playing Meddling Mage, naming Dromar's Charm, followed by Lin Sivvi while Walamies was tapped out.
At nine the Fin was forced to find quick answers. He played a kicked Probe discarding two lands while Nitter lost his two remaining cards: Parallax Wave and another Meddling Mage.
Even with an empty hand Nitter was still dangerous: he searched out a Sky Marshall during his upkeep. Again Tomi threw a vicious kicked Probe, dropping two lands, but he still couldn't find another Wrath.
He kicked a Dismantling Blow on his second Web and played another Web . . .
I don't know how desperate he was but he drew a Dromar, the Banisher off that Web. Nitter was now extremely nervous making a lot of jokes and smiling to his friends in the crowd. He immediately shut up when Tomi dropped the Dromar. He was time for some serious thinking. He had a big life advantage (eighteen to six) but a dragon is still a dragon.
His battle plan soon became clear. Swarm the table. Now that he had two creatures in play Walamies could no longer cast a Wrath and get his Spirit back. Since the Fin had dug deep to find an answer Eivind also had library advantage. So the best plan was to fill the table with creatures for a massive alpha strike or to simply force Walamies to concede when he ran out of win conditions.
Slowly Eivind crawled through the turns reviewing graveyards constantly until he decided an all-out attack would be an interesting idea. Tomi stared at it before conceding.
Eivind 1-0 Tomi
Eivind: "It was a very tough game."
Eivind Nitter's changes: lost one Defiant Vanguard, two Reverent Mantra and two Disenchants to dig three Disrupts, two Gainsay out of his sideboard.
Tomi Walamies' changes: took out two Dismantling Blows, one Nether Spirit, one Memory Lapse and two Absorbs to bring in two Recoils, two Gainsay, two Last Breaths and two Duress.
The shuffling went on for quite a bit but we still had to wait a few more minutes for the water to arrive. Playing under the spotlights, especially with all the tension of control battles can sure dry your mouth. Again Walamies had to take a mulligan and kept a very, very risky hand with only one Plains and Blue spells.
When Tomi missed his second land drop Eivind eyes widen in disbelieve. He quickly played two Meddling Mages, naming Last Breath and Wrath of God, and a Ramosian Sergeant. All this before Walamies could even find his second land!
The Norwegian had the table all to himself but still took a long time to think his turn through. As Eivind went into active recruiting Tomi started discarding which spelled a quick and ugly end to the game.
One draw phase later Tomi knew he had no chance so he conceded.
Eivind 2-0 Tomi.
Eivind (smiling): "I'm getting closer. Sorry about the mana problems."
They started the shuffling with some stories about mana screw and insanely difficult games in the last round of the Swiss.
Tomi: "Calm down, you are up 2-0."
Eivind: "I know but it makes me so nervous. I will look like a fool if I lose now."
They both kept their hands and Nitter played a first turn Ramosian Sergeant. This time Walamies would have none of that nonsense: he Last Breathed the little troublemaker out of the game.
Eivind thought for a very long time before tapping both his painlands to play a Meddling Mage locking out Wrath of God. Walamies peeled his third land and used a Probe, without kicker to find more land and discard a Nether Spirit.
A second Pikula came into play negating any further Dromar's Charm. Still Walamies had the way out that mess right in his hand: Last Breath and Wrath of God. But for now his Spirit was holding the two mages back so there was no need to react. He played a Fact or Fiction, which the Norwegian split this way:
Pile one: Two Underground Rivers, one Salt Marsh, one Fact or Fiction
Pile two: Duress
It seems Eivind Nitter likes to make one card piles but this time Tomi did want to Duress so he took it over the lands and Fact or Fiction.
Eivind (again not drawing his fourth land): "Mana screw! Well, I guess you are having some troubles as well."
A Lin Sivvi came into play and Tomi's Duress cleared away a Counterspell revealing two Parallax Waves and a Gainsay. The Waves were the reason Nitter was so anxious for his fourth land. Satisfied with the Norwegian's hand Walamies pulled the Breath-Wrath trick to clean the table.
Still, legends have an uncanny social skill that allows them to just show up when you need them. Naturally Lin Sivvi is not an exception and Nitter found another one to play. Walamies Wrathed again to clear that mess away. Eivind brainstormed and again took pain to cast a Meddling Mage this time naming Probe.
The Fin decided to fight back for control of the game with a Fact or Fiction. After staring at the cards for ages Nitter produced the following piles.
Pile one: Absorb, Coastal Tower
Pile two: Recoil, Salt Marsh, Plains
That Recoil looked really precious for Tomi so he picked that pile. Still the nervous, and restless, Nitter was in no mood to be denied: he found his fourth land and played a Parallax Wave removing the Spirit to give his Mage some free swings.
What he really needed was another creature so he could finish the game before the confused Spirit returned. He tried to play a Defiant Vanguard but at least for that Walamies was ready for: he Counterspelled.
Eivind: "I knew it. You had that counter all the time."
Again he tried to get another creature, this time the troublesome Lin Sivvi. Tomi tried to stop the madness with a Lin Sivvi but Nitter had a sideboarded Gainsay to stop it. Lin Sivvi got into play but that gave Walamies a chance to Recoil the Mage. Nitter hid that away with the Wave and let the kicked Probe through (giving Walamies a Gainsay and Memory Lapse).
Nitter searched out a Sky Marshall and faded out his Wave. As the Meddling Mage came back locking Wrath of God. At this point the cameras turned to this game just as Walamies' brilliant struggle for survival was coming to an abrupt dead end. He had no valid answer in his hand and he needed to find a way to stop the Mage and a Wrath just to balance out the game.
The Marshall and his two sidekicks Falcons stepped into the Red Zone one last time finishing the game and the match before the tall Fin could find an answer.
Tomi: "I won the quarterfinals match against Sturla because of mana screw so it isn't really unfair to get it this time. I you have the right attitude it doesn't really matter. I'm happy just to be up here."
Final Result: Eivind 3-0 Tomi