Third-place playoff - Bernd Brendemühl vs. Martin Zimmermann

Posted in Event Coverage on August 15, 2011

Both Brendemühl and Zimmermann came to the table quite relaxed. They knew that they wouldn't have to face the pressure of a championship match. Both had qualified for Worlds, and nobody would take that away from them now.

Game One

Brendemühl started with the classic opening move of Mountain, Goblin Guide, attacked and gave Zimmermann two extra lands in the first two turns of the game. That was good enough for Zimmermann, who was happy to then kill the Goblin with Go for the Throat. Brendemühl offered Plated Geopede buffed by Teetering Peaks, for which Zimmermann had Doomblade.

Inquisition of Kozilek let Zimmermann remove Incinerate from Brendemühl's hand from among Burst Lightning, Ember Hauler and Grim Lavamancer. His Jace was quickly attacked and killed, but Zimmermann had already drawn Consume the Meek to clear the board of enemy creatures. Brendemühl tried to rebuild with Grim Lavamancer, which promptly died to another Go for the Throat. Whatever Brendemühl did, Zimmermann had the answer.

Next answer: Grave Titan. Done.

Bernd Brendemühl 0 – 1 Martin Zimmermann

Bernd Brendemühl

"Tell me, are you leaving the Kargan Dragonlords in?" Zimmmermann asked jokingly. Brendemühl politely declined to reveal his sideboard plan to his opponent. He did reveal it to the coverage reporter, though. Brendemühl brought in 1 Koth of the Hammer and his 3 Shrine of Burning Rage, taking out 3 Searing Blaze and 1 Burst Lightning

Zimmermann's sideboard plan was more complex. He swapped 12 cards from his deck:

- 3 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Karn Liberated
- 1 Tectonic Edge
- 1 Consecrated Sphinx
- 2 Mana Leak
- 4 Jace Beleren

+ 1 Despise
+ 3 Disfigure
+ 1 Dismember
+ 2 Duress
+ 4 Flashfreeze
+ 1 Wurmcoil Engine

Game Two

An early Inquisition of Kozilek answered Zimmermann's question about the sideboard plan immediately: In Brendemühl's initial seven, he found and discarded Kargan Dragonlord. Still, Brendemühl had enough gas to put pressure on Zimmermann. Goblin Guide did a lot of the work, dealing 10 damage on its own, taking Zimmermann to 7 life with the help of Incinerate.

Brendemühl played Shrine of Searing Flesh and Plated Geopede. With just two lands in play, drawing a third only on his eighth turn, Brendemühl's deck couldn't operate on full power. Still, his cards were cheap and he pointed more burn at Zimmermann as soon as he got it. Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning brought Zimmermann to 2 life. All Brendemühl needed to finish his opponent was some burn spell.

But Zimmmermann had brought Grave Titan to the battlefield once more, and Brendemühl's time to win was running out. Goblin Guide wasn't doing much against the Titan, and when Brendemühl's last chance turned out to be Koth of the Hammer, Zimmermann had turned the game around at the last moment.

"This was close", commented Zimmermann, "any closer would have been death!"

Bernd Brendemühl 0 – 2 Martin Zimmermann

Game Three

Once more, Zimmermann led with his favorite card, Inquisition of Kozilek. He saw Kargan Dragonlord, Lightning Bolt, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Incinerate, Plated Geopede and Mountain, picking the Dragonlord. Go for the Throat killed the Plated Geopede that was Brendemühl's first attack, and Zimmermann had to eat a lot of damage when he played another Inquisition, because Brendemühl dealt him six in response to the spell with Lightning Bolt and Incinerate. He also got to keep his other two cards, because the Inquisition could not touch the two Hero of Oxid Ridge.

Again, Brendemühl was scarce on lands, not drawing a fourth for three turns. Kargan Dragonlord filled the gap in the meanwhile. Despite being able to cast his Dismembers, Zimmermann was also hit by mana troubles, as he failed to find a source for blue mana. Brendemühl declined to give him a chance for land through Goblin Guide, and when blue mana was not forthcoming, Zimmermann succumbed to the onslaught.

Bernd Brendemühl 1 – 2 Martin Zimmermann

Martin Zimmermann and his Playoff winning neckline.

Game Four

Immediately after he drew his initial seven cards in the fourth game, Zimmermann shipped them back for a better six. Despise then gave him a look at four lands, Kargan Dragonlord, Grim Lavamancer and Plated Geopede. Brendemühl drew Goblin Guide on his next turn, played it and gave Zimmermann a land with it. The next card he revealed was Consume the Meek – potentially bad news for Brendemühl.

Brendemühl smashed Zimmermann to 14 with Goblin Guide and played Kargan Dragonlord, attacking with it and Goblin Guide on the next turn. Zimmermann decided to take 4 damage, going to 10, and only after combat did Brendemühl put counters on the Dragonlord. Incinerate brought Zimmermann to 7. Consume the Meek prevented more damage from the coming attack. Brendemühl had Lightning Bolt to put Zimmermann on 4, and Ember Hauler sacrificed brought Zimmermann to 2.

With Doomblades, Disfigures and Flashfreezes, Zimmermann kept the board empty for while. He fought off five Plated Geopedes, Ember Haulers and Goblin Guides. Then Brendemühl drew another Goblin Guide from the top, and the little Goblin that did so much this weekend finished the job to even out the games.

Bernd Brendemühl 2 – 2 Martin Zimmermann

Game Five

So it came down to a fifth game! Both players tackled it in relaxed fashion. Both would be going to Worlds, and that was the main goal. A place on the National team was just the icing on the cake. But still: Who would it be?

Brendemühl kicked off with Plated Geopede, Zimmermann answered with Disfigure. The second Plated Geopede met Flashfreeze. Inquisition of Kozilek took away an Ember Hauler, but another one remained alongside two Lightning Bolt and Incinerate.

Zimmermann went to 17 from Lightning Bolt and used Mana Leak to stop Shrine of Burning Rage. The next creature Brendemühl played was Ember Hauler, then Kargan Dragonlord. Duress from Zimmermann just revealed more of the same: Lightning Bolt, Incinerate, Burst Lightning. Incinerate went away, Disfigure took care of Kargan Dragonlord and finally Zimmermann knew what he wanted to use all the time for that he bought: Grave Titan.

He didn't have much joy of it, though. Brendemühl burned the Titan away with Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning and a sacrificed Ember Hauler. That emptied Brendemühl's hand completely, and Ziommermann's two zombie tokens were the only non-land permanents left. Facing a control deck in full stride with nothing left to play with but the top of his library, Brendemühl had no outs.

Bernd Brendemühl 2 – 3 Martin Zimmermann

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