Road Warrior Christian Calcano has only just slipped out of the Top 25 Rankings and is looking to climb back in. His opponent this round is Matt Heiszler, an amateur playing in his first Grand Prix. He joined a contingent from his local store, Palouse Games in Pullman, Washington and the decision has worked out well so far. He and Calcano sit at 6-1, and are looking to mark two more wins before the end of day to set themselves up for a run at the Top 8.
Heiszler won the roll and quickly went down to six cards. Calcano was first on the board with Cloudfin Raptor, and answered a Voice of Resurgence with Tidebinder Mage. Heiszler added Fleecemane Lion to his squad, but was stalled on two lands. Calcano added Thassa, God of the Sea to his board. Still no third land for Heiszler. He hit for three and passed.
Calcano untapped and dropped Bident of Thassa into play, manifesting his God. He started to attack with just Thassa and the Raptor, but decided to add Tidebinder Mage. Heiszler ambushed it with a token from Selesnya Charm, but still took a pile of damage in the process. Calcano drew his cards from Bident and passed.
Finally, Heiszler found a third land, but it was far too late. Imposing Sovereign wasn't the help he needed. Nightveil Specter turned Thassa back on, and two mana made her unblockable. Heiszler was down to just five life, and after drawing, scooped up his cards.
Calcano 1 - Heiszler 0
It was a very different game the second time around. Heiszler missed his one-drop, but Imposing Sovereign meant Calcano would be on the back foot all match. Worse for Calcano, he had no play on island and Mutavault on his second turn. Heiszler attacked and added Experiment One and Soldier of the Pantheon to his side of the board.
Calcano played a second island and summoned Tidebinder Mage to freeze the Experiment One, but Heiszler replaced it with a 3/3 Miscutter Hydra, smashing him down to eleven. Master of Waves made three tokens, but they were all tapped from the Imposign Sovereign. Banisher Priest took care of it and the monsters crashed in a gain. Calcano decided it was time to move to game three.
Calcano 1 - Heiszler 1
Again Heiszler was forced to go to six cards. Calcano was on the play, but his opening was slow: Cloudfin Raptor on turn two, Thassa on turn three. Heiszler had the mighty Imposing Sovereign and followed up with Voice of Resurgence, but he was missing the crucial third land.
Calcano summoned the Master of Waves for three tokens, evolving his Cloudfin Raptor twice, and hit for two in the air. Heiszler drew, and it was a land! Unfortunately, it was Selesnya Guildgate, and came into play tapped. He hit for four and added a second Voice to his board, but now he was quite far behind. Tidebinder Mage from Calcano locked down the untapped voice and let him hit for a whopping fifteen damage. Heiszler could only shake his head and extend the hand.
Christian Calcano defeats Matt Heiszler 2-1
Heiszler was understandably disappointed with his loss, particularly because he believes that Mono-Blue is his best matchup. Between maindeck Banisher Priests and Mistcutter Hydras, and Skylashers in the sideboard he's pretty well set. Given that he'd mulliganed so much, I asked him if that was typical, and how the deck mulligans in general. He said that it's not nearly as bad as it looked in that match, and that the deck's six card hands can win games.
Meanwhile, Calcano was already looking ahead to his next match. For him, the goal isn't Day 2, but Top 8. He thought the matchup in general isn't quite as bad as Heiszler made out, but that enough hate can make it very difficult. I asked him if the field this weekend matched his expectations. He shrugged his shoulders, saying that it looked like there were a lot of Mono-Blue, Mono-Black, and Blue-White Control as he had expected, but he hadn't played any of them.