France's Alexandre Habert had only just had his first big break, a Top 8 at Grand Prix Seville earlier this year. Robin Dolar, on the other hand, had been around a bit longer and could claim three Top 8 finishes including one win at last year's Grand Prix Boston-Worcester.
Entering the round on records of 6-0, either player was in a good position to add another notch to his belt this weekend, but of course only one of them would continue undefeated after this …
Both players opened on Dismal Backwater, signaling that this match might take a while. As it turned out, both were running a variant of Blue/Black Control, both with several, mostly hexproof, Dragons, and both splashing a bit of white, mainly for one of them, namely the mighty Dragonlord Ojutai.
As is typical in the control mirror match, nothing much happened on the first couple of turns and during long stretches of these games. The players cast Anticipates and Dig Through Time, played many, many lands, and generally tried to maneuver into a position where they could sucessfully deploy a threat. Let's fast-forward to those moments when stuff actually did happen, shall we?
At one of these, Habert's Thoughtseize revealed Dolar's hand to include several removal spells as well as three copies of Silumgar's Scorn; however, there was no Dragon to be found, not counting one Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. But before Habert could make his move, casting Dragonlord Ojutai on his next turn, Dolar had drawn Silumgar, the Drifting Death and stopped the Dragonlord summarily.
Fast forward again: Now it was Dolar's turn to cast Dragonlord Ojutai. This one was stopped too but soon returned via a detour through Haven of the Spirit Dragon. This time, it died to Foul-Tongue Invocation.
Finally, Dolar summoned Dragonlord Ojutai and it resolved. Things weren't settled with this, however. Once the Dragonlord attacked any number of removal spells in Habert's hand suddenly became active. He cast one Hero's Downfall, but that was met with Silumgar's Scorn. Another Hero's Downfall, another Silumgar's Scorn. Dragonlord Ojutai connected successfully, and that was the beginning of the end.
This particular Dragonlord Ojutai died to Crux of Fate, but a replacement followed, and when that one attacked, Habert could just shrug and reach for his life total pad. Habert did manage to kill it eventually, but Haven of the Spirit Dragon retrieved it yet again and yet again Dragonlord Ojutai entered the battlefield.
Alexandre Habert 0-1 Robin Dolar
Soon, however, Dolar was faced with a potentially crucial problem. Whereas Habert had played a land on each of the first seven of his turns, Dolar himself was still stuck on five, with but two sources of blue and black mana each. Consequently, Habert tried to get the game moving before Dolar would draw out of it. He cast Dig Through Time at end of Dolar's turn, got a Dissolve out of his opponent's hand, then, on his turn, resolved Silumgar, the Drifting Death. Dolar took care of the Dragon on his turn by casting Foul-Tongue Invocation and Habert had no follow-up.
Instead, it was Dolar who next tried to get a threat onto the battlefield. He forced Tasigur, the Golden Fang past Habert's Disdainful Stroke by using Silumgar's Scorn, but the Tasigur died anyway thanks to Hero's Downfall. Dolar's Dragonlord Ojutai never even made it this far and was stopped by yet another counter.
A couple of turns after all of these trades had gone through, Habert weighed his chances and decided to just go ahead and cast Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. No such luck—Dolar still had another Silumgar's Scorn for the planeswalker.
Only then did Dolar find his sixth land. He soon cast Dragonlord's Prerogative and pulled ahead, whereas Habert appeared to be out of threats. Before long it was revealed that he was out of answers too, when Dolar cast Thoughtseize and Habert responded with Silumgar's Scorn without revealing a Dragon. Instead he revealed more land from his hand once Dolar had payed the additional mana.
At about this time, the round ended. Neither player was in a good position to finish the game within the five additional turns, but both tried. There were some Tasigurs and Foul-Tongue Invocations involved, though in the end the score remained at …
Alexandre Habert 0-2 Robin Dolar