ROUND 12 FEATURE MATCH

Posted in NEWS on May 31, 2014

By Josh Bennett

The Players

Day 1 dandies Lucas Esper Berthoud, Paulo Ricardo Cortez and Walter Perez have spent Day 2 learning how the other half lives. Having started the day 1-2 they need to win out to guarantee Top 4. Standing in their way and hoping to continue the delivery of bad news is the trio of Guilherme Fornari, Eder Vlamir Appel, and Alan Muller.

They broke down the colors as follows:

Berthoud: Black-Blue
Cortez: Red-White
Perez: Green-Blue

Fornari: Black-Red
Appel: Green-Blue
Muller: White-Blue


A-Seat: Berthoud vs. Fornari

Fornari had to make a tough call early, trading his Felhide Brawler and a Magma Spray for Berthoud's Returned Phalanx. He needed a clear path for his Bloodcrazed Hoplite and Ordeal of Erebos. Berthoud caught a Borderland Minotaur with Disciple of Phenax, but the Hoplite was too big to handle and took two cards from Berthoud. He fought back gamely, but he couldn't get a presence on the board while Fornari was amassing creatures. The final straw was a Felhide Petrifier to go with his Felhide Minotaur. Berthoud had no profitable blocks and soon succumbed.

Game two was more of the same. Berthoud matched answers to Fornari's early threats, but as soon as there was a lull Fornari was ready with an Ordeal of Erebos to take advantage. For a moment it looked like Berthoud would get a chance to trade with the enchanted creature before the Ordeal went off, but after he double blocked Fornari showed him a backbreaking Necrobite. From there he simply didn't have the tools to mount a defense.

Fornari/Appel/Muller 1 - Berthoud/Cortez/Perez 0

B-Seat: Cortez vs. Appel

Cortez was on the back foot right away thanks to a double-whammy of threats from Appel: Big Daddy Arbor Colossus, backed up by the combo of Aerie Worshippers and Springleaf Drum. Cortez manufactuerd some offense with Ordeal of Heliod on Ember Swallower, and Appel was unwilling to risk his Colossus in combat, content to just chump. Cortez also had Ornitharch, but thanks to the Colossus it was a temporary measure at best. Cortez monstroused his Ember Swallower to set Appel back on land, but a turn later he supersized the Colossus to take down the Ornitharch, clearing a path for his fliers. Cortez had no way to break through.

Things went quite differently in game two. Cortez hit the ground running with Spearpoint Oread and Ember Swallower while Appel searched out lands with Burnished Hart. Appel tried to set up a defense but the hits just kept on coming for Cortez. First Ornitharch, then Mogis's War Hound on the Oread to gvie him a dominant attack force. Aerie Worshippers showed up far too late to the party, and without their Drum.

Cortez took a gamble on the deciding game. His two-plains opening hand hit a mountain right on time, and he chose to play it aggressively, dropping Mogis's War Hound on Turn 2. Eder had no play, and Cortez followed up with an Elite Skirmisher. Appel put the brakes on that attack force with the ubiquitous Aerie Worshippers. Cortez could only swing in and watch as they devoured the Skirmisher. He replaced it with Ember Swallower only to get a double-dose of bad news. Appel played Springleaf Drum, and then ambushed the attacking Ember Swallower with Fleetfeather Cockatrice.

It looked grim for Cortez. He needed that Aerie Worshippers off the board before it swarmed him with fliers. He summoned Puphoros's Emissary and passed. Appel made a bird and sent it back. Cortez dropped Fearsome Temper on his Warhound and attacked with both his creatures. Here, Appel played right into his opponent's hand. Looking to put the game away entirely he put his Aerie Worshippers in front of the 4/4 and gave them a Feral Invocation. Cortez showed him Magma Spray to deal the last two points.

And that was it. Appel had nothing further to add to the board, while Cortez hit with his Emissary and summoned a Flame-Wreathed Phoenix. In short order he had the win.

Fornari/Appel/Muller 1 - Berthoud/Cortez/Perez 1

C-Seat: Perez vs. Muller

That meant everything would come down to the battle of the C-Seat. Game one had gone long, with Perez slowly whittling away Muller's life total with Prognostic Sphinx, while Muller tried to summon enough of an air force to force it to stay home. The Sphinx kept Perez's draws spicy, and Wavecrash Triton helped his tricks like Time to Feed and Retraction Helix to do double duty. The cruel irony of it was that Muller had his own Prognostic Sphinx in hand, but lacked a second island to summon it. The turn he finally managed to establish a blockade, Perez dropped Whitewater Naiads to make the last few points unblockable.

In contrast to the slow buildup of the first game, the second hinged on a turn-one play: The lowly Triton Shorestalker. The little unblockable that could first teamed up with Loyal Pegasus to get in some early damage, and after Perez got his defenses set, Muller grew it to a 2/2 with Satyr Grovedancer. A turn later it became a 4/4 thanks to Observant Alseid, and the tricks that had served Perez so well earlier were nowhere to be found. He was forced to Hour of Need the Shorestalker just to stay alive, but the army that Muller had built in the meantime was more than enough to finish him.

And so it would be one game for all the marbles. Muller dominated it early, with an Archetype of Courage suited up with Observant Alseid and Chosen by Heliod. When Perez went for a counterattack in the air with a 4/3 Chorus of Tides, Muller was ready with Cloaked Siren for a brutal ambush. Time was rapidly running out. Supply-Line Cranes grew the Siren to a 4/3. Perez was down to his last few life points. He summoned the mighty Prophet of Kruphix and passed. Muller went for the throat, and Perez flashed in Prognostic Sphinx to kill the Siren and survive the attack at one life. He brought out Whitewater Naiads on his turn and attacked for six, scrying his trump card to the top of his deck. Muller had no play. Perez untapped, drew, and showed him Archetype of Imagination, killing Muller instantly. Muller could only shake his head slowly in disbelief, before congratulating his opponent.

Berthoud/Cortez/Perez 2 - Fornari/Appel/Muller 1