With 2460 players battling in Worcester this weekend, it is difficult to keep track of all those that are doing well. This round I caught up with some of the top tables
Jared Boettcher vs Carl Godon:
After mulliganing down to five cards in Game 1, presumptive Rookie of the Year Jared Boettcher and his Kiki-Pod deck couldn't gain couldn't gain any traction against Carl Godon's U/B control deck with its countermagic and removal spells. He died in short order to a Creeping Tar Pit, as Godon held back a Dreadship Reef with many a storage counter piled upon it to ensure he always had access to a healthy amount of blue or black mana.
Boettcher set out developing his board in Game 2 with a pair of Noble Hierarchs. Once Godon had five lands in play he attempted to wipe away most of the Pod player's creatures with Consume the Meek, but a timely Negate kept the board in its current state. With the coast clear, Boettcher went off. He activated Birthing Pod to fetch a Deceiver Exarch, untapping the Pod, which went right back into action. He sacrificed a Murderous Redcap to retrieve Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, which, when combined with the Exarch, made a whole bunch of hasty Clerics to swing in for lethal.
In Game 3, Boettcher managed to resolve a Birthing Pod and tried to follow it up with an Archangel of Thune to threaten another combo kill. But Godon was holding Cryptic Command to counter the Archangel and bounce the Pod. Godon set to work attacking with Creeping Tar Pit once again. An Avalanche Riders off the top killing the unblockable land bought Boettcher some time, but not enough, and Godon went on to take the match in three games.
Godon 2 - 1 Boettcher
Pierre Dagen vs Nicholas Heal:
At table 714 Pierre Dagen, the runner-up at last year's Pro Tour Theros, faced down Nicholas Heal, packing Mono-Red Burn. In both games an early Inquisition of Kozilek provided a painless way for Dagen to chisel away at Heal's reservoir of burn spells, and in both games Dagen followed the discard spell with a good-sized Tarmogoyf. A combination of Lingering Souls and Treetop Villages piled on to help end the games quickly, and Dagen walked away victorious, relieved to have won a match-up that he said could be problematic for his midrange Junk deck.
Dagen 2 - 0 Heal
Sebastian Villenueve vs Marc Tobiasch:
After winning Game 1, Sebastian Villenueve set about filling his graveyard with creatures as quickly as possible, cycling Street Wraiths and Deadshot Minotaurs and sculpting his hand. When his opponent, Marc Tobiasch, decided to cast a Vendilion Clique on Villeneuve's end step, the Living End player decided to go for it.
With four untapped lands, he cast the 3-mana Violent Burst to cascade into Living End. Tobiasch had two untapped lands himself and cast Remand, seeking to return the suspend spell to Villeneuve's hand. But it was a trap. Since Tobiasch had cast a blue spell this turn—two in fact—Villeneuve was able to pay 1 mana for Ricochet Trap, enabling his Living End to resolve. He exiled a Simian Spirit Guide to cycle one last card for good measure, and returned seven beefy creatures to the battlefield, winning Game 2 and the match in short order.
Villenueve 2 - 0 Tobiasch
Guillaum Wafo-Tapa vs Alexander Neufeldt:
At table 716 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa was up against Alexander Neufeldt's U/R Tempo Twin. Fresh off a 21st place finish at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, well-known control specialist Wafo-Tapa shocked nobody by registering Esper here in Worcester. After Neufeldt won a long Game 1, the players turned to their sideboards and settled in for what would prove to be an even longer Game 2.
An early Thoughtseize from Wafo-Tapa removed a Snapcaster Mage from Neufeldt's hand, leaving a Vedalken Shackles, Cryptic Command and some lands. From there the blue decks did what blue decks do: hit land drops and hold up mana on their opponent's turn.
With seven lands in play, Wafo-Tapa opted to cast Sphinx's Revelation for four on his opponent's upkeep. The good news for Wafo-Tapa was that the powerful X spell resolved, netting him four cards and four life. The bad news was that this enabled Neufeldt to resolve Blood Moon, leaving Wafo-Tapa with just non-Mountain lands: a basic Island and another Island courtesy of Spreading Seas.
Choked on mana, Wafo-Tapa managed to draw another basic Island. This enabled him to cast, and resolve, Cryptic Command, bouncing the Blood Moon and setting free his many Celestial Colonnades and Watery Graves. A subsequent Esper Charm forced Neufeldt to discard his final two cards in hand, including the Blood Moon—at instant speed, no less.
Wafo-Tapa seemed to have pulled ahead. A Sphinx's Revelation for nine on Neufeldt's upkeep seemed to confirm this. Tapping out for Revelation allowed Neufeldt to resolve a Keranos, God of Storms, but Wafo-Tapa had abundant answers at the ready, including a Celestial Purge. Elspeth Knight-Errant hit the board for Wafo-Tapa and Neufeldt, scooped soon thereafter.
With just two minutes left in the round the players hurried through sideboarding and sped through their first few turns, anxious to avoid a draw. On the third turn of extra time, Neufeldt dug furiously for a Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite, hoping for a last-ditch combo win. A Serum Visions found an Exarch, but with only three untapped lands he had no way to answer Wafo-Tapa's Logic Knot and the match ended in a draw.
1-1-1 Wafo-Tapa - Neufeldt