Round 4: Nicolai Herzog vs. Erno Ekebom Stompy vs. Ponza

Posted in Feature

By Trey Van Cleave

Erno Ekebom is one of the World's top Composite ranked players and Nicolai Herzog who needs no introduction was last year's European Championships winner. Herzog of course brought his green cards for this year's type 2 and Ekebom chose to play a Ponza deck he built last night. Both had posted a 3-0 record to this point so both seemed to have made the right decision.

Game 1 sees Herzog mulligan into an explosive draw with Troll, Vine Dryad, Giant Growth, Rancor, land, land. Ekebom's draw seemed solid with an Arc Lightning, Pillage, 3 Mountains, Port but he drew into a few too many land. Nicolai starts and plays forest and says go. Ekebom plays a mountain and Herzog dumps a Giant Growth to the Vine Dryad and attacks on the following turn. He plays a forest and adds a troll to his forces. Ekebom plays his Port while Herzog attacks for 4 putting Ekebom down to 15. Ekebom plays a land and Arc Lightnings the Troll. Things looked good for Ekebom with only a Vine Dryad on the board and still at 15. Nicolai attacks down to 14 and plays a boa with one mana open to regenerate. Ekebom taps his open land during his main phase and shocks in response to regeneration shield and lays goblin patrol. This is when Herzog goes off playing double rancor on his Dryad the next turn bringing Ekebom down to 9. Herzog takes his turn playing another goblin patrol hoping to double block. On the following turn Herzog doesn't have the Giant Growth but brings Ekebom down to 6 with trample damage. At this point he seals the game with a troll who would soon be double-Rancored the next turn for the kill.

After game 1 both players side in 4 cards each with Herzog choosing 2 Masticore and 2 Splinter for Ekebom's Masticores. Ekebom goes with 3 Masticore and 1 more Earthquake.

They both draw and keep solid hands. Ekebom's only has Mountain, Port and he is playing first but that is definitely a hand you keep. He lays mountain go and Herzog plays a Jaguar. Ekebom plays a Port and shocks the Jaguar after echo was paid. Herzog plays a land and says go. This is where mana screw kicks in and steals an otherwise solid start from Ekebom. He draws no land and says go and Ports a forest. Herzog wisely chooses to not play Boa until he can regenerate figuring that with no land he will either draw a land or he already has burn for the Boa. Regenerators are key in this match-up. Ekebom misses a land drop and discards an Avalanche Riders. A forest is Ported again and Herzog plays another land and drops Boa with mana to regenerate. Again a land drop missed by Ekebom forces him to only tap a forest, which Herzog takes mana for and opts to giant growth and plays a Rancor leaving Ekebom land light and at 13. Again Ekebom misses a land drop followed by a Vine Dryad from Herzog. Herzog attacks for 5 down to 8. Ekebom finally draws land and shocks the boa to stay alive and arc lightnings the Dryad the following turn but dies to Tangle Wire the following turn when he is reduced to 3 with a very large Boa waiting to finish him off.

It may appear at first glance that red would have a favorable match-up against Stompy but the regenerators and good solid conservative play can work through the burn as evidenced by Herzog wading through the burn in the early turns of the first game to double rancor for the finishing blow. Stompy may not have been a good choice all around with regards to the metagame but Nicolai manages to post a 4-0 record with his green cards.

Nicolai Herzog defeats Erno Ekebom 2-0

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