Round 14: Nicolas Labarre vs. Carlos Barrado Aggro Blue vs. G/B Control

Posted in Feature

By Manuel Bevand

This match was featuring PT regular Nicolas Labarre, finalist of PT Rome, against Carlos Barrado from Spain, reigning Spanish champion. Those two players won their first match and know they have to go at least 5-1 today to have a shot for top 8. A loss here might not be fatal, but it'd make things a lot harder for the rest of the tournament. A draw, of course, would help nobody.

Nicolas was playing one of the two heavily represented decks of the tournament, Aggro Blue, which I prefer to call 'Luftwaffe' to honor the large number of heavy flyers in the deck. Carlos was running the other popular deck type, green/black control. That deck was the main choice of most American pros and it looks like a lot of players from Europe liked it as well.

Nicolas won the die roll and went first, opening with a first turn Rath's Edge. This card is present in almost 100% of the decks in the format, so since it's legendary, it's an obvious turn one play to prevent your opponent from playing his. On turn 2, Nicolas lays a Spiketail Hatchling. Carlos keeps playing land. Nicolas adds a Waterfront Bouncer and starts attacking. Carlos was playing very carefully and cast Vine Trellis on turn 3. Nicolas completed his great start by playing a Stronghold Zeppelin and attacked some more.

Quiet and careful, Carlos went on casting Snuff Out by paying 4 life on his turn, destroying the Zeppelin. He then dropped a Blastoderm, always keeping one mana open as of the beginning of the game. Nicolas took his turn and put down Coastal Piracy, immediately replacing it by drawing from the attacking Hatchling. Carlos could not hope to race flyers and Coastal Piracy with a single Blastoderm, so he played another land and cast Thrashing Wumpus with one swamp open, threatening both of Nicolas' creatures. Nicolas thought for a while and Brainstormed in response, hoping to draw a Thwart. Unfortunately for him, he did not, so he had to sacrifice his Hatchling to delay the Wumpus activation for one more turn. On his turn, Nicolas bounced the inactive Wumpus and keeps 4 Mana open with a Foil in hand.

Carlos felt that something was going on, so he did not recast the Wumpus immediately, choosing another way to prevent Nicolas from Pirating his Coasts. He played a Seal of Doom followed by a Silt Crawler. Feeling that he would probably be losing the damage race at this point, Nicolas thought a while and Foiled the Crawler. He then dropped a Drake Hatchling. Carlos took an option on victory as he cast the Wumpus again and activated it for one, only to have it returned to his hand by a Dying Bouncer. He then Seals Nicolas' Drake, but the Frenchman played another one and passed the turn. Carlos recast the Wumpus, but this time Nicolas Brainstorms into a Thwart. The Blastoderm deals its last 5 damage, and Nicolas seemed to have regained the upper hand with a Flying Creature and Coastal Piracy. However, on the next turn Carlos did drop another bomb : Saproling Burst. At 4 life and not drawing blockers, Nicolas could only Withdraw one of the 4/4 tokens, and he died.

Both players sideboarded: Carlos brought in 3 Spitting Spiders and 3 Massacres. Nicolas took out Coastal Piracies to bring in 3 Submerge and 2 Bribery. Nicolas then chose to play.

Game 2 went a lot different. After a turn one Brainstorm, Nicolas could arrange his draw and play turn 2 Bouncer, turn 4 Troublesome Spirit and turn 5 Drake Hatchling. Carlos did Snuff Out the Bouncer, but he did not have another play until a turn 4 Trellis. During a long, long turn 5, he thought a lot before Snuffing Out the Spirit (again by paying 4 life). Unfortunately, Nicolas was holding a Foil. Carlos tried to put up some defense with a Wumpus, but Nicolas had a Submerge. Two free Snuff Outs cost a lot of life, combined with repeated attacks this was too much and Carlos conceded.

Game 3 went almost the same as game 2. Carlos was playing first this time, but he didn't have plays until turn 4, mostly because of Nicolas. Spiketail Hatchling. He did Seal of Doom a Snake and Snuff Out a Zeppelin, but Nicolas had a Troublesome Spirit beating on the Spanish player. A Saproling Burst was Foiled, Blastoderm and Silt Crawler came in too late to save him from the Wrath of the Spirit. Drawing only ground creature and no more air control, Carlos conceded the match.

Nicolas Labarre 2

Carlos Barrado 1

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