by Randy Buehler
If the cut to the top 8 had happened before round 9, both Mike Long and Mike Turian would have made it in. With 6-1-1 records, they both just needed to go 3-1 (or possibly just 2-0-2) to hold onto their spots in the top 8. Turian was running an Aaron Forsythe designed deck called The Angry Hermit. Long was with Accelerated Blue. His version is much more aggressive than the mono-bleu decks that did well at Regionals. In order to beat Relenish, most players found they had to take out Grim Monolith and Palinchron and replace them with permission. In theory, Long should be weak against Replenish since he only has 10 counters, but he does sideboard 6 more counters plus a pair of Scrying Glasses and he managed to beat Dave Humpherys (playing Replenish) in round 8.
Long won teh die roll in game 1 and managed to kill Turian's turn 1 Bird of Paradise before Turian could use it to start playing Skyshroud Poachers. Long's turn 3 Grim Monolith enabled a turn 4 Palinchron that put Turian on a really fast clock. (Had Long played the Monolith first Turian would have ruined him with Skyshroud Poachers.) Turian did managed to run Long out of permission with his first Poacher and a Deranged Hermit, but Palinchron dealt 20 points of flying damage before Turian could attack back with enough Squirrels.
Long sideboarded in 4 Hibernnations and his opening draw included two of them. Turian, however, used Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary to cast Plow Under before Long could get to 3 mana. Avalanche Rider further slowed Long down, but Long did manage to get 3 lands into play and cast Hibernation the turn before Turian could kill him. Long looked liek he might be able to use the 2nd Hibernation to stabilize his position, but it never occured to him what Turian could do as a response. With 5 mana available and Counterspell in hand, Long tapped 3 islands to cast Hibernation during Turian's end step, leaving one Island and one Rishadan Port untapped. "Boil?", asked Turian? Long got up and walked away form teh table, disgusted at his mistake. Game 2 ended 3 turns later.
Game 3 was all about Masticore. After using Miscalculation to counter a Yavimaya Elder and Hibernation to prevent Rofellos from goign active, Long tapped out for turn 4 masticore. Turian had both Uktabi Orangutans and Splinters in his deck, but neither card was in his hand and Long got to untap. masticore was able to kill every Elf, Bird, and Skyshroad Poacher that Turian could play. Turian kept playign them anyway, forcing Long to tap out. This strategy allowed himt get off a Plow Under and he bought himself 4-5 turns to draw a Masticore answer. He never drew one and the 'Core went all the way.
Long 2 (now 7-1-1)
Turian 1 (now 6-2-1)