by Randy Buehler
Chris Benafel sat down for round 11 still reeling from the beating he received at the hands of Jon Finkel in the previous round. Finkel's first turn in game 2 was the following: Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Persecute you (naming red since Benafel is playing a mono-red land destruction deck), Dark Ritual, Skittering Horror. Benafel lost that game (and match). Benafel is still is good shape since that was his first match loss of the weekend and he just needed to win one of his last two rounds to make the top 8. Still, what he really needed to do was forget what happened last round and focus on beating Zvi Mowshowitz and Mowshowitz's Replenish deck. A deck check gave Benafel 15 more minutes to think about round 10. Zvi drew many, many lands in game 1. Normally that can be disastrous, but not against a Ponza deck. Zvi's 8 land were exactly what he needed. He was able to Enlightened Tutor for Parallax Tide, remove Benafel's land from the game, and then go into beatdown mode by hard casting 3 copies of Opalescence.
Game 2 was equally simple: Benafel drew 2 Pillages, 3 Stone Rains, 2 Rishadan Ports, and an Avalanche Rider. Zvi built up to 3 mana long enough to cast Attunement once, but after that he was helpless.
Game 3 was more interesting. Benafel blew up 2 of Zvi's white sources with a Stone rain and an Avalanche Rider, but then he was down to just a Port and a Ghitu Encampment. He served for two a number of times while Zvi played Islands and Attuned. Benafel forced Zvi to Counterspell a Thran Foundry but then Zvi was tapped out. Time for BOIL! Zvi lost 4 of his 5 land and that was basically the end of the game. Benafel has 11 cards in his sideboard to bring in for this matchup, but that one Boil was enough to win it for him this time and clinch a berth in the Top 8.
Benafel 2 (now 9-1-1)
Mowshowitz 1 (now 8-3)