Posted in NEWS on March 23, 2014

By Corbin Hosler

Clyde Martin and Auston Tramper have met before. Specifically, in Round 11 on Grand Prix Cincinnati, when Martin took the match in three tight games. The pair wished each other good luck and that they hoped to see the other in the Top 8, the usual niceties exchanged after a match.

Except in this case it actually happened.

Martin and Tramper sat down across from each other again the quarterfinals of the tournament, the brackets breaking so that one of them would end their tournament in the rematch.

The decks

Tramper's deck, White-Black midrange, was one of the best decks of the weekend, putting more than a dozen players into Day 2. Featuring Blood Baron of Vizkopa and often Obzedat, Ghost Council, it's a deck that many expected to fall out of favor in Cincinnati as more players began to play Lifebane Zombie in their maindecks.

If Tramper's deck was unlikely, Martin's was downright rogue. He was far from the only mono-black deck Day 2, but he was certainly the only one casting Tormented Hero and Pain Seer.


"It's a good choice because Mono-Black Devotion is its best matchup," Martin explained. "And you can take advantage of the slow format."


While Tramper's deck is very similar to Mono-Black Devotion, the white splash allows it to play haymakers that Martin only had limited answers to in the Protection-from-black Blood Baron.

The games

Tramper was happy to see exactly that card in his opening hand in Game 1, even happier to see the second copy.

But he was missing something important: the land to cast those Blood Barons. While he did have the removal to eat several of Martin's early threats and stop the aggro player from earning an Inspired trigger from his Pain Seer, the removal spells eventually dwindled while the land count stayed the same.

Tramper played himself into a spot where he could live long enough to cast Blood Baron if he could find another land, but when a Thoughtseize revealed a hand of double Hero's Downfall for Martin he scooped up his cards while both Blood Barons lay stranded in his hand.

Worried about the Herald of Torment that he saw in Game 1 and the Erebos, God of the Deck he knew Martin would bring in, Tramper boarded out some of his slower cards to bring in a second Revoke Existence.


But those removal spells would be his downfall, as Martin avoided drawing Herald of Torment and Tramper drew both copies of Revoke Existence. It looked like Tramper may be able to pull out of the tight spot when he drew a Bile Blight to deal with Martin's double Tormented Hero, but a Devour Flesh by Martin to sacrifice his own creature in response so that one would live sealed the deal for Martin and propelled him into the Top 4.