We invited the former Grand Prix Champion Lee Shi Tian, who is currently ranked 16th in the Top 25, to our feature match table in round 11. He went with Mono-Black Devotion this weekend and so far it's serving him well, leaving him on a 8 - 1 record.
He would now have to go up against Russia's Alexey Shashov who is having quite a successful season as well, having already amassed 13 Pro Points, which leaves him only 5 points behind Dmitriy Butakov. He needed this victory to shorten the gap between him and his countryman and raise his hopes of leading the Russian team into the World Magic Cup. He went with an aggressive Naya deck.
Shashov took a mulligan while Shi Tian thought a little longer before he decided to keep his opening 7.
The first game was a furious exchange of blows with Shashov taking the gloves off first, inviting a Dryad Militant to his party. Shi Tian started fighting back with Pharika's Cure and he then shifted into high gear, casting Nightveil Spectre.
Shashov was desperately looking for something to hold it at bay, but he couldn't find a solution while Shi Tian added a second copy after the first connected, exiling a Loxodon Smiter.
Shashov drew, but he failed to find an out. Shi Tian added Gray Merchant of Asphodel and that already concluded the first game since Shashov still couldn't find an answer to the flying attackers!
Lee Shi Tian claims the lead!
The second game started in much slower fashion; both players opted not to make any plays until turn 3, where Shi Tian cast Nightveil Spectre again. Selesnya Charm got Shashov a token and he added Fabled Hero the turn after.
When Ghor-Clan Rampager got sent to the graveyard for its effect to turn Fabled Hero into a real threat, Shi Tian attempted to get rid of the attacker with Hero's Downfall, however, Brave the Elements made sure Shashov's Hero wouldn't fall just yet.
The Russian came back with Ghor-Clan Rampager.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel wasn't putting up too much of an opposition, Shi Tian then failed to find a target for Thoughtseize since Shashov used his only non-land card, Selesnya Charm, in response and when the Russian also added Voice of Resurgence on his following turn, Shi Tian shuffled up.
Shashov ties the score!
Wow; there weren't even 15 minutes off the clock and we had already seen the conclusion of two games. Everything would now be on the line in the deciding game, where Shi Tian would go first.
Shi Tian applied more pressure with Nightveil Spectre and all the Russian could muster up was another Selesnya Charm to add a token. He added Dryad Militant, but that was still leaving him far behind.
Shi Tian tapped his creatures, with Nightveil Spectre connecting for the first time this game.
When Shi Tian added Desecration Demon, Shashov had to think long and hard how to put up any form of an offensive effort. He added a Fleecemane Lion and sacrificed it right away again to make sure Desecration Demon wouldn't get to stop his attackers.
It wasn't enough for the Russian, though; Shi Tian cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel, he pointed at the many Swamps among the creatures he controlled and that concluded the game!