Posted in NEWS on May 10, 2014

By Tobi Henke

This round saw two highly-accomplished players sit down in the feature match area, potentially on their way to accomplish yet more. Elias Watsfeldt of Sweden could already boast four Grand Prix Top 8s, while Austrian David Reitbauer had been the runner-up at the 2009 World Championships. To add another major finish to their résumé, however, both needed to win out. With records of 7-2, even one more loss could effectively eliminate them from Top 8 contention. Of course, only one of them would be able to win this match ...

Would it be Reitbauer who had drafted red and blue cards? Or Watsfeldt piloting blue-white? Fliers and tricks featured heavily on both sides, with some extraordinarily strong cards to boot, and the games could easily go either way. A lot was to depend on the luck of the draw.

Game 1

It began with both players lining up some creatures: Sigiled Skink, Vaporkin, Flurry of Horns for Reitbauer, Oreskos Sun Guide, Daring Thief, and Elite Skirmisher for Watsfeldt. At one point, Watsfeldt managed to trade away his Oreskos Sun Guide for Reitbauer's Stormchaser Chimera via Daring Thief, and together with Skyspear Cavalry he achieved complete dominion over the skies.

David Reitbauer

Reitbauer was forced to try and race with Shipbreaker Kraken, but Ordeal of Heliod on Skyspear Cavalry put Watsfeldt solidly in the lead. Reitbauer could have still gotten there, but at the end Whitewater Naiads allowed Skyspear Cavalry to bypass Vaporkin and deal well in excess of lethal damage.

Elias Watsfeldt 1-0 David Reitbauer

Game 2

The second game was all Reitbauer's. Although Watsfeldt led with Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, Oreskos Sun Guide, and Lagonna-Band Elder, Reitbauer's creatures were simply better: Akroan Line Breaker, Felhide Spiritbinder, and Stoneshock Giant.

Watsfeldt turned his Lagonna-Band Trailblazer 3/8 via Nyxborn Triton, then double-blocked the incoming Stoneshock Giant but only got to trade his Lagonna-Band Elder for Reitbauer's Rise to the Challenge.

Next, Reitbauer's Shipbreaker Kraken spelled even more trouble for Watsfeldt, especially since Reitbauer was getting ever closer to having eight mana for his two monstrosities. Before that, however, Watsfeldt managed to cast Medomai the Ageless and to damage his opponent with it once. Still, even the extra turn didn't help. Once Reitbauer dropped his eighth land, Shipbreaker Kraken and Stoneshock Giant finished the game in short order.

Elias Watsfeldt 1-1 David Reitbauer

Game 3

The all-deciding final of the match began somewhat anticlimactic. Reitbauer had kept two lands and only drew his third after discarding twice. By then, Watsfeldt was already attacking with an Akroan Skyguard that was Chosen by Heliod and Nyxborn Triton.

Elias Watsfeldt

Then—the miracle! A flurry of lands brought Reitbauer squarely back into the game. Prophetic Flamespeaker, Stormchaser Chimera, and Flurry of Horns were looking to take back the initiative.

However, Watsfeldt would have none of that. Hold at Bay meant his Akroan Skyguard could take down the opposing flier, Elite Skirmisher increased the pressure, and on the very last turn of the match his Whitewater Naiads and Gods Willing sealed the deal—just in time before Reitbauer's larger monsters would stabilize the game and take over.

Elias Watsfeldt 2-1 David Reitbauer