Halfway through the second day of competition saw recent Pro Tour winner Antonio Del Moral León take on Canadian Pascal Maynard in a battle of wits and green creatures, filled with surprises. At least for one of the players.
Antonio Del Moral León, more known as Magic Online superstar Charly, brought an interesting deck to the table. It's a green-white build filled with cheap creatures, pump spells and the latest addition from Dragons of Tarkir in Collected Company. Pascal Maynard on the other hand, was on the deck on it's way to prove itself as the best in the format in Esper Dragons.
With both players at 10-2 for the weekend a loss here would put them out of contention for the Top 8, making this an important round to keep the dream alive for the trophy.
Antonio Del Moral León
Del Moral León won the die-roll and was quick on board with an Avatar of the Resolute, causing a somewhat puzzled Pascal Maynard to take a good read on it before realizing the Spaniard had a Spanish copy, making things even more confusing.
Regardless of its language, the Avatar of the Resolute lead the onslaught in the first game. And after Del Moral León protected it from removal with a Valorous Stance it looked like Maynard might be in trouble.
The Esper Dragon deck is filled with removal. But with nearly as many, if not more creatures in Del Moral León's deck, Maynard had a hard time keeping up with the creatures being summoned on the Spanish side of the table.
Elvish Mystic joined. Another Valorous Stance saved the Avatar of the Resolute from another removal. And when Maynard finally tapped out for Crux of Fate to clear Del Moral León's board. He calmly untapped and cast Collected Company, finding a Boon Satyr and a Fleecemane Lion that Maynard was unable to answer on his turn and forced to succumb the first game.
In between games Maynard consulted his notes for the first game. In those he had written down every land, creature and spell that Del Moral León cast. All to try and figure out what else might be in the deck and how to best prepare for it in the post sideboard games.
Would the green-white deck the remedy to the Esper Dragon Plague that has spread throughout the battlefield this weekend? Or was Maynard simply unlucky in the first game? We would soon find oiut.
Game two started with Maynard on the play, hoping that his removal spells could keep Del Moral León at bay long enough to get ahead with Dragonlord Ojutai or Dragonlord Silumgar.
Del Moral León had other plans and came out fast with a Den Protector on his second turn.
Maynard, with a hand filled with removal looked confident while playing lands and keeping up mana for Silumgar's Scorn to counter anything too dangerous, or cast removal spells at the end of the Spaniards turn.
A Boon Satyr met it's fate in Hero's Downfall, and the mentioned Silumgar's Scorn took care of Del Moral León's first copy of Collected Company. A second copy however resolved and added Boon Satyr and another Den Protector.
Maynard was taking some damage from Del Moral León's attacks, but a Bile Blight took out both copies of Den Protector, and a Foul-Tongue Invocation forced a sacrifice of the Boon Satyr, putting Maynard back up to 18.
Del Moral León however, looked like he wasn't about to run out of creatures anytime soon and summoned an Avatar of the Resolute on his turn.
Maynard, now with five lands seemed scared to tap out for Dragonlord Ojutai, and instead chose to keep mana up for Dissolve. Which he used for an end of turn Boon Satyr, that would bestow the Avatar of the Resolute.
Del Moral León attacked Maynard down to 12 on his turn, and added a second copy of the new green Dragons of Tarkir 3/2.
Maynard drew for his turn. A sixth land, allowing him to cast either Dragonlord Ojutai or Dragonlord Silumgar in his hand. He considered his notes from the first game, and fearing a Valorous Stance from Del Moral León went for the blue-white Dragonlord.
Del Moral León added a Boon Satyr to his board at the end of Maynards turn, signalling that he wasn't afraid to attack into the giant Dragon.
He quickly sent his entire team to attack. Maynard blocked one of the Avatars, and Del Moral León slammed down a card from his hand – Aspect of Hydra.
What costs G to cast and deals six damage to your opponent? Why, Aspect of Hydra of course!
Six devotion from two Avatars and the Boon Satyr meant the 3/2 suddely was a 9/2, trampling through for 5 damage, that together with the 7 from Boon Satyr and Avatar of the Resolute made for exactly lethal damage. Pascal Maynard couldn't believe his eyes.
”I was NOT expecting that,” he said as he scooped up his card in defeat.
“Did you have Valorous Stance in hand also?” he asked, trying to figure out whether he would have had a chance if he had gone for Dragonlord Silumgar instead.
Del Moral León just smiled, and showed him a copy of Become Immense in his hand. That would have allowed him to attack for lethal damage regardless of which Dragonlord Pascal Maynard chose to play on his turn.
Maynard shook his hand, thanked for the game, and left the feature match area.