Christian Lührs vs. Hector Fuentes
Top-seeded Christian Lührs of Germany met Hector Fuentes of Spain in the first round of top eight competition. Lührs had ridden his counter-sliver deck with considerable white support to only 1 loss in the swiss rounds, while Fuentes came through with his mono-blue Forbidian deck. Lührs mulliganed game 1, then began played out lands, all lands in his deck being nonbasic, then slivers. Fuentes was ready. He Force Spiked Lührs' turn two Crystalline Sliver, then Wastelanded on turn three, Force Spiking a third turn Acidic Sliver, then Countering Lührs' fourth turn Hibernation sliver.
Lührs finally got a creature on the board-another Hibernation-the following turn, but Fuentes Wastelanded him again and dropped an Ophidian. The Ophidian and Hibernation stood off while Fuentes dropped a Dust Bowl and just land-locked Lührs, getting a Powder Keg off to remove the Hibernation Sliver, then starting to draw cards with his Ophidian. With no way to break the lock, Lührs conceded with "Landlocked, not bad."
What was bad was Fuentes' hand to start game two, no land included. He drew to an excellent six-card hand, however: two islands, a Dust Bowl, two Force Spike, and a Force of Will. Lührs however played around the Force Spikes, waiting for turn three to drop his first Sliver, a Muscle. He played another on turn four and began his assault. Fuentes dropped a Powder Keg on turn three, and on Lührs' turn he attempted a Disenchant, which was Force of Willed, then a Hibernation Sliver, which with the 2 Muscles, threatened to do 10 damage the following turn, killing Fuentes. Fuentes Force Spiked the sliver, then Force Spiked Lührs' Force of Will to keep it off the board, however the Keg never got a second counter as Lührs used his other Disenchant in hand to remove it.
Fuentes started game three with a Thawing Glaciers, hoping to get enough land in play to lock Lührs with his in-hand Dust Bowl. Lührs had a good start, however, playing a turn two Hibernation Sliver, and turn three Muscle Sliver backed by Force of Will. Fuentes did play "the damn Dust Bowl" on turn three, but had a hand full of counters and not enough mana to really use them while being attacked and thaw more land on to the table at the same time.
Fuentes' Powder Keg he could back with a counter, as Lührs started to attack him down, but couldn't stop Lührs' Disenchant on the next turn. Down to seven, and at only four mana in play, but two Thawing Glaciers and a hand of counters, Fuentes played an Ophidian with only one mana available, which couldn't protect it, but would have allowed him to thaw, instead of his Masticore. Lührs plowed the Ophidian on his turn, then played an Acidic, and attacked, prompting Fuentes to concede.
Fuentes again mulliganed a no-land hand but kept a six-card hand with Force of Will and Force Spike, but only one land. Lührs played more aggressively droping an Acidic, Hibernation, and Muscle Sliver by turn 5, with a Disenchant ready for Fuentes' Powder Keg. Fuentes was stuck at one land until turn four, then drew a Thawing Glaciers and Islands, but again, couldn't get up enough mana to both pose answers to Lührs' threats and protect his answers with counters. When Fuentes finally wore Lührs' hand down to two cards and he got mana in play, he attempted a Masticore to stop the bleeding, but Lührs responded with a Demonic Consultation for a Counterspell. With no way to stop the slivers, Fuentes descended from competition for the top slot as Lührs continued to march on.