Christian Seibold doesn't do a lot of losing these days, it seems. Four weeks ago, he made it all the way to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Born of the Gods, three weeks ago he outright won Grand Prix Barcelona alongside teammates Daniel and Tobias Gräfensteiner, and yesterday he managed to win every single one of his matches. The day so far, however, didn't go quite as smoothly. After three rounds, he had converted his 9-0 start into a somewhat disappointing 10-2. Still in contention for Top 8, this record didn't allow for any more losses.
The same was true, of course, for Petr Brozek who was looking to add a third Grand Prix Top 8 to his résumé this weekend. To this end, he had drafted a strong black-white bestow deck. Seibold's brought a rather similar design in blue and white to the table, and it was interesting to see whose deck would prevail.
Here, Brozek's deck got off to an impressive start: Traveling Philosopher, bestowed Nyxborn Shieldmate, bestowed Hopeful Eidolon, followed by Wingsteed Rider and bestowed Spiteful Returned for that; as well as a Baleful Eidolon for defense.
Any Retraction Helix, Griptide, or Sudden Storm could have turned the game in Seibold's favor at a moment's notice. But despite drawing three cards from the combination of Stratus Walk and Floodtide Serpent nothing of the likes was forthcoming, and Seibold quickly succumbed to Brozek's better, or better equipped, creatures.
The second game was similarly lopsided and was decided by Seibold's Bident of Thassa. After both players had mulliganed, Seibold led with Crackling Triton and the aforementioned Bident, while Brozek only had his first play on turn four in the form of Hopeful Eidolon. The lonely 1/1, or rather the threat of whatever might be lurking in Brozek's hand to go along with it, kept Crackling Triton at bay for a turn.
But on the next turn, after countering Gray Merchant of Asphodel with Nullify, Seibold attacked with Triton and Traveling Philosopher and drew the first extra cards. He added Phalanx Leader and Battlewise Hoplite to his team, used Bident of Thassa's activated ability to clear the way, cast Ephara's Enlightenment on Phalanx Leader ... The cards kept flowing and Brozek never stood a chance.
The final game was a real nailbiter, full of back and forths, and a worthy conclusion to an exciting match. Early on, Brozek took the lead by heaping Nyxborn Shieldmate and Hopeful Eidolon on his Blood-Toll Harpy. Seibold had Ephara's Enlightenment for his Triton Fortune Hunter, but despite the extra card he only found his fourth land when he cast Stratus Walk on the Hunter on turn five. He then kept his 3/3 Hunter and two lands untapped to be able to take down the opposing 4/4 Harpy with the assistance of Battlewise Valor. Brozek didn't attack, though, and instead cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Seibold had no fifth land but desperately needed to cast Crackling Triton as a blocker for the Gray Merchant.
Leaving one Plains untapped, he represented Mortal's Ardor and Brozek bought it. He didn't attack with his 4/4 flier which was one of the turning points of the game. When he finally drew lands again, Seibold was able to stabilize, and his Lagonna Band-Elder and Ray of Dissolution even recouped enough life to allow some breathing room. Although, now time was running out and Brozek still sported a massive life total thanks to his earlier lifelink beatdown.
In a hurry, Seibold forgot to add a second counter to his Battlewise Hoplite when he cast Ephara's Enlightenment on it, then was apparently so shaken by the mistake that he forgot to return Ephara's Enlightenment when he cast another creature, and prompty lost both Hoplite and Enlightenment to Brozek's Sip of Hemlock. An endless stream of creatures, attacks, blocks, trades and life total reductions followed, the latter mostly on Brozek's side.
Seibold was definitely getting ahead but he did get to face one last obstacle: Close to the end of the game, Keepsake Gorgon threatened a last-ditch comeback for Brozek. However, Seibold quadruple-blocked it, then responded to the activation of its monstrous ability with Last Breath, trading one for one, which usually is quite hard to do against Keepsake Gorgon and seven mana.
Seibold finally won on his second extra turn.
Christian Seibold 2-1 Petr Brozek
Nevertheless, Seibold wasn't happy with his performance during the game, saying that he'd made a couple of mistakes, "Especially the situation with Ephara's Enlightenment." To be fair, though, there were an incredible amount of decisions involved here, and he actually only won because of his succesful bluff early in game three.