These two had been sitting together in the draft table, and had been love drafting (after the first few boosters), so both had strong decks.
Before the game I had a chance to speak with the Dane about some curious choices he made during the Rochester.
- He took a first pick Darting Merfolk over a Monkey Cage!, so Dan happily swept it up to his left.
- He took a Frantic Effreet over a Rethink.
- He took a Seal of Fire over a Laccolith Titan.
Niels explained that he took the Merfolk because he had never really known how good the Monkey Cage was, the Franetic Effreet because he thought it was a Fault Rider (the cards look similar when upside-down on the far end of the table) and the Seal of Fire over the Titan because his deck was lacking Removal and he not played with a Titan before, and his deck was looking like it had a lot of fat already. Talking to a lot of the top players around, this is supposedly a bad choice, but not a terrible one. Amusingly, as you will see later, it won him the match.
Game1 (N = Niles' turn) (D = Dan's turn) (cast spells in capitals)
D2 Swamp PLAGUE WITCH
D3 Plains The witch attacks. LIN SIVVI. Both of these creatures are WITHDRAWN at the end of the turn.
N4 Mountain WILD JHOVALL
D4 Plains - There is a long pause now from Dan. Finally he casts PIOUS WARRIOR.
N5 Mountain - Jhovall attacks. FLOWSTONE CRUSHER.
D5 Swamp LIN SIVVI
N6 Island - Jhovall and Crusher attack. The cat is double blocked with Lin Sivvi and the Pious Warrior, who is SUBMERGED after blockers are declared. A RHYSTIC SHIELD is then played on Sivvi. The Crusher is pumped to a 5/3.
The life totals are now 19-12.
D6 Dan pauses before his draw phase, activates Lin Sivvi and searches for a LAWBRINGER. Draws, lays a Swamp and casts a PLAGUE WITCH.
N7 The Jhovall and Crusher come in again. The Witch chumps the Crusher, Dan takes 3. Then a SEAL OF FIRE kills the Lawbringer and a second FLOWSTONE CRUSHER hits the table.
D7 In his upkeep Dan searches for PIOUS WARRIOR, draws, lays a Plains and a Mine Bearer.
N8 The Jhovall and 2 Crushers race in. Pious Warrior chumps one Crusher. The other is pumped to a 6/2, then SNUFFED OUT. Dan takes 3 from the Jhovall, 3 from the Snuff and gains 4 from the Warrior. His life score is now 6. Niels makes a DRAKE HATCHLING.
N9 The Jhovall, Crusher and Hatchling all come in. Lin Sivvi is activated - the PIOUS WARRIOR takes 7 mana to rejoin the table and then blocks the Crusher. The Mine Bearer blocks the Jhovall and sacs to kill the Hatchling. Dan has a net gain of 4 life up to 10. However, Niels makes yet another threat in the form of a FLOWSTONE THOPTER.
This is too much for Dan to handle. The Game is won in the next attack.
D2 Swamp. PLAGUE WITCH
D3 Plains. Witch attacks. BELBE'S PERCHER
N3 Mountain. RIDGELINE RACER
D4 Plains. Percher attacks. DEVOUT WITNESS.
N4 Mountain. Racer attacks for 1 only. ZERAPA MINOTAUR.
D5 Percher and Witness attack - no blockers. Plains.
N5 Mountain. Racer and Minotaur attack. FLOWSTONE CRUSHER is SNUFFED OUT.
D6 The Witch, Percher and Witness all attack.
N6 Island. Minotaur and Racer attack. WILD JHOVALL.
The life scores are N:8 D:11
D7 Plains. Percher attacks.
N7 Mountain. Minotaur, Racer and Jhovall all attack. STEAL STRENGTH is cast on the Witch and the Jhovall. Witch blocks Jhovall, Witness blocks Racer (which is oumped to a 4/2). Damage is placed on the stack, then Dan casts the Rhystic Shield on the Witness, but it and the Ridgeline Racer are WITHDRAWN. Dan takes 3 from the Minotaur.
D8 Witness attacks and Dan recasts the PERCHER.
N8 Minotaur attacks. Niels makes FAULT RIDERS, RIDGELINE RACER and DARTING MERFOLK.
D9 The Percher attacks. RAMOSIAN LIEUTENANT. Niels is now on 2 and Dan on 5.
There are not enough attackers to get past two blockers to deal 5 (Dan blocks correctly), so the Percher comes in again and levels the scores. 1-1
Game 3. This was a long one! - The whole match lasted about 3 hours.
N3 Mountain. DRAKE HATCHLING
D3 Swamp. BELBE'S PERCHER.
N4 Mountain. ZERAPA MINOTAUR.
D4 Plains. Percher attacks. Niels chooses not to block with the Hatchling and takes 2. PIOUS WARRIOR.
N5 No land drop. Minotaur attacks. FAULT RIDERS.
D5 Swamp. SOUL CHARMER.
N6 No land drop. Minotaur attacks. Second DRAKE HATCHLING. (Dan does not look happy)
D6 Plains. LAWBRINGER. ALLEY GRIFTERS.
N7 Again fails to draw his fifth land. Minotaur attacks. STORMWATCH EAGLE.
D7 FANATICAL DEVOTION , TASK FORCE
N8 No fifth land. Attacks with 1 Hatchling only. Niels is on 18 still, but Dan is now down to 9. RIDGELINE RACER
D8 DEVOUT WITNESS
N9 No land. Hatchling comes in for 2 again.
D9 Second BELBE'S PERCHER.
N10 DARTING MERFOLK - does not attack with Hatchling. - no land again!
D10 Long long long pause from Dan here. When the judge starts making noises about staring a clock Dan finally sacrifices the Lawbringer to kill the Minotaur. He SNUFFS OUT one Drake Hatchling, the attacks with 2 Perchers, a Soul Charmer, Devout Witness and Alley Grifters. Hatchling blocks a Percher, Fault Riders block Devout Witness (who are given first strike as Niels bravely sacrifices a land to reduce himself down to 3 land total!) Niles' life score is now down to 12. The Hatchling could not be pumped to kill the Percher because the Darting Merfolk had used his only blue source. N11 No land again (only at 3) the Stormwatch Eagle attacks. Life: Dan 5 Niels 12.
D12 Plains. Casts Soul Strings, searching for Lawbringer and Devout witness, but cannot cast them as well that turn because Strings was expensive.
N13 Mountain! - FLOWSTONE CRUSHER.
D13 LAWBRINGER & DEVOUT WITNESS
N14 Island. The Eagle attacks and is blocked by a Percher. The Eagle is replayed and a Task Force is sacced to the Fanatical Devotion to save the Percher.
D14 Lawbringer kills the Crusher, the Witness, Percher & Grifters attack. Drake Hatchling blocks the Percher, Fault Riders block the Witness (pumped) and the Grifters get through. STEAL STRENGTH on the Eagle and the Percher - Hatchling and Devout Witness die - the Eagle is returned. Dan casts SPECTER'S WAIL!, but misses the Eagle (Niels has loads of cards in his hand) and hits a Flowstone Thopter.
N15 Draws a land! - So can recast the Eagle.
D15 Draws LIN SIVVI
N16 Draws Rhystic Lightning - but cannot play it.
D16 Plains - attacks with Pious Warrior. Niels casts WITHDRAW on the Warrior and forces Dan to pay 1 for Lin Sivvi to stay on the board. PIOUS WARRIOR is recast.
N17 Island - casts Trade Routes. Lin Sivvi searches for RAMOSIAN LIEUTENANT.
D17 Percher attacks - Niels is down to 8.
N18 Niels does nothing, but when Dan searches for a Lawbringer and also puts a Task Force on the bottom of his library, his opponent casts RHYSTIC LIGHTNING to the head and OMS is now down to just 1 life! With hindsight it is easy to suggest than Dan might not have been so greedy, being in good control of the situation, and very likely to Win with Sivvi on the table. What follows is even worse for Dan. D18 After some thought the Lawbringer kills the Fault Riders and DOMS attacks with everything. Niels has to loose all his creatures and is reduced to 1 life. They are now both at 1 life! Niels uses his Trade Routes to return one of his 5 lands and discards it - he draws nothing much. N19 4 land in play and he draws a Brabed Field - but he cannot use it! In a last desperate attempt he taps 2, returns one to his hand and draws one card - the only card that can win him the game SEAL OF FIRE.
Niels wins 2-1!
- Written by Ben Ronaldson