Round 7: Belarus vs. United States

Posted in Event Coverage on November 18, 2016

By Tobi Henke

In the ultimate round of the day, the United States faced Belarus. With records of 4-2, both of these teams were playing for a spot among the Top 16, which would grant a bye in the first round on Day Two and guarantee a place among the Top 32 in the event's final standings.

In Seat A, Dmitry Andronchik and his Jund deck were paired against Kevin Jones on Grixis Delver. On B, Ihar Klionski and his Bant Eldrazi would need to overcome Hall of Fame member and current No. 3 Owen Turtenwald playing Infect. At the C table, Pavel Miadzvedski with Affinity was up against Paul Yeem with Green-White Urzatron.


A win meant likely staving off the dreaded first-round elimination match on Day Two. Both Belarus and the United States were going to come into this match with their best.

SEAT C: Pavel Miadzvedski (Affinity) vs. Paul Yeem (Green-White Tron)

The first game was a lopsided affair. By the time Yeem had assembled the trio of Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, and Urza's Tower and cast his first meaningful spell, Miadzvedski already had a Steel Overseer and two Arcbound Ravagers active. Then again, Yeem's World Breaker wasn't even that meaningful. It neither broke the world nor change the course of this game.

Miadzvedski dropped most of his opening hand onto the battlefield on the first turn of Game 2, including an Inkmoth Nexus, a pair of Memnites, Springleaf Drum, Mox Opal, and Arcbound Ravager. When the latter fell victim to Nature's Claim, Miadzvedski did some sacrificing and turned one of his Memnites into a 3/3 creature, but other than that, he had no real follow-up. Before long, all of his nonland permanents were lost to Oblivion Stone and this time World Breaker did have an impact, if only to provide insurance against any possibility of recovery via Inkmoth Nexus.


Yeem breaks some worlds in both games, one of which also successfully broke his opponent.

After mulliganing once and consulting most of his teammates, Yeem kept a tricky hand: Chromatic Star, Ancient Stirrings, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Oblivion Stone, two Urza's Tower. Miadzvedski didn't have the best hand either; it took him until turn six to present lethal damage, even against minimal opposition. But he did have Natural State with which he destroyed Yeem's Chromatic Star before the latter could use it. This set Yeem back at least two turns and proved crucial in giving the first match to Belarus.

Miadzvedski 2 – Yeem 1

SEAT A: Dmitry Andronchik (Jund) vs. Kevin Jones (Grixis Delver)

The second match to finish was a true battle of attrition. Discard and removal spells were flying back and forth, and creatures were dying left and right. Eventually, Snapcaster Mage and a token created by Young Pyromancer stuck around and were slowly reducing Andronchik's life total. Andronchik tried to replenish his resources with Dark Confidant, while killing Snapcaster Mage with Slaughter Pact. He revealed his card for Dark ConfidantLiliana of the Veil—and went to 4. On his next turn, he revealed a land and summoned a mighty Scavenging Ooze, one he couldn't take full advantage of because he only had four lands and still needed to deal with other threats and then his own Confidant. In his upkeep, in response to the triggered ability, he used Scavenging Ooze once to go to 3. He dramatically flipped over his card…


Andronchik of Team Belarus attempts to stave off Confidant death.

…it was Maelstrom Pulse, and that was the end of a very long and taxing game.

The second was quite similar to the first, with lots of trades and lots of back and forth. Only this time it was Jones whose life total was under attack, apparently unable as he was to deal with a Tarmogoyf which took him all the way to 4. (Or rather forced to keep mana up to have Lightning Bolts ready for Raging Ravines.) Only then did Jones find the time to cast Snapcaster Mage and dig out Murderous Cut from his graveyard. Once stabilized, however, Jones wasn't about to relinquish control of the game ever again. His Young Pyromancer lived as Andronchik hit a series of lands, and an army of Elementals wrapped this up quickly.

Andronchick 0 – Jones 2

SEAT B: Ihar Klionski (Bant Eldrazi) vs. (3) Owen Turtenwald (Infect)

So it all depended on this, the outcome of the proverbial battle between David and Goliath, between Ihar Klionski and Hall of Famer Owen Turtenwald.

The first game was kind of weird in that Turtenwald lost one Blighted Agent to Path to Exile and then never drew another creature with infect or Inkmoth Nexus until it was too late. He used his cards in other creative ways, like blocking Reality Smasher with a Noble Hierarch and Become Immense, but obviously without an infect creature, the game was only set on one course.

Turtenwald did better with a normal draw. It took a while for him to even the score, but even it he did, outmaneuvering Blessed Alliance at various points and eating an attacking 2/3 Noble Hierarch with his combo of Glistener Elf and Pendelhaven for a little fun in between.

The final game played out in much the same way. Turtenwald played around just about everything and when he finally went for the killing blow—with a Might of Old Krosa-powered Blighted Agent and a Distortion Strike-driven Viridian Corrupter—it came as quite a shock how carefully he had rationed his cards.

"I played the game super conservatively," said Turtenwald. "I minimized the potential for a blowout and I don't know what he could have drawn to punish me for it, but I don't think this was perfect play on my part."

Klionski 1 – Turtenwald 2

The United States advances to Day Two with a 5-2 record, securing their Top 16 spot to skip past the first round of their next day.

Pavel Miadzvedski - Affinity


Dmitry Andronchik - Jund

Ihar Klionski - Bant Eldrazi

Paul Yeem - Green-White Tron

Kevin Jones - Grixis Delver

Owen Turtenwald - Infect

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