Posted in NEWS on March 2, 2014

By Pip Foweraker

The Robertson-Zheng matchup promised to be that classic test of skill, the U/W control mirror. Both decks feature the same core set of cards and become even closer mirrors post-sideboard. A great deal of the matchup will come down to resource and tempo management. Traditionally, players focus on hitting their early land drops so that they can fight more effectively over the powerful late-game spells like Planeswalkers and Sphinx's Revelation. This careful, studious matchup often comes down to a single game in Swiss rounds. The finals are untimed, meaning the players will have to beat each other the 'fair' way.

The first clash of the game came over Jace, Architect of Thought. Zheng blinked first and had his Jace Syncopated, Robertson resolving his a turn later. The players dug through spells for a few more turns, focussing on hitting their land drops and moving into the later game as rapidly and fluently as possible. Zheng fired off a Sphinx's Revelation, but wasn't able to stop Robertson from resolving an Ætherling. Zheng settled down to glare at the Ætherling and see what he could get done. A Thoughtseize showed Robertson with a hand full of power, with another Jace, a Doom Blade, a pair of Revelations and some Detention Spheres.

Zheng went for an Elspeth, Sun's Champion, and generated some tokens with her after it resolved. Robertson dropped a Detention Sphere to stop Elspeth from getting too out of hand, but Zheng had another to keep the pressure on. Zheng started generating more tokens, but the unblockable Ætherling was enough for Robertson to take the first game.

Zheng: You want to kill which dude?
Patty Robertson 1 - Jingwei Zheng

Both players started off with early Thoughtseizes, but then didn't do much but play lands for quite a few turns. Robertson tried another Thoughtseize, but it got hit with a Dissolve. Zheng started sneaking in some points of damage with his Mutavault while both players accumulated cards and lands.

A few turns later, the Mutavault was still going.

The same thing kept happening. And then the unusual, if not unthinkable, happened: Zheng's Mutavault did a combined total of 18 damage (Plus the earlier Thoughtseize) to take the second game, drawing an appreciative wave of applause from the gathered crowd. All those other, massively powerful spells? Not so relevant in this game.

Jingwei Zheng 1 - Patty Robertson 1

A pair of early Thoughtseizes from Robertson cleared out Zheng's Jace's. Zheng tried for a freshly topdecked third, but Robertson had a Syncopate to keep it out of contention. Zheng chuckled when Robertson activated his Mutavault and swung. "Ah, the bitter taste of my own medicine', Zheng grinned as he adjusted his life total.


Zheng summoned an Elspeth, Sun's Champion to slow down the Mutavault, but Robertson had a Detention Sphere to keep it out of play. Robertson cast a Supreme Verdict to clear out the Elspeth tokens, holding a copy of the Planeswalker in hand but needing an extra mana to cast it and keep Negate as a backup.

Zheng tried a Thoughtseize, which gave Robertson pause before he went to Negate it. Zheng had a Dissolve to get the discard spell through, and nabbed the Elspeth, stymieing Robertson's schemes.

Robertson switched back to his Mutavault plan, steadily dropping Zheng's life total downwards. He tried to accelerate it with a Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but it got Dissolved as well. Zheng summoned his own, which Robertson cleared out with his Verdict. Both players threw a few more haymakers, but nothing stuck on either side before the inimitable Mutavault sealed the match for Robertson.

Patty Robertson 2 - Jingwei Zheng 1