It's bubble-match time once again! If you're 6-2 going into Round 9, you need to win the last match of the day to earn your spot into the second day of competition. Amongst the competitors facing elimination were Ondrej Strasky, Pierre Dagen, Stanislav Cifka, Patrick Dickmann, Martin Jůza, Nicolai Herzog, and Denniz Rachid. Here's how they did.
Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Top 8 competitor Ondrej Strasky and his trusty Jeskai deck defeated Federico Basoni's Abzan Midrange deck 2-1. The key play in the match was that he kept his Goblin Rabblemaster out of the red zone to make sure it couldn't be exiled with Abzan Charm. Strasky, who ran Hushwing Gryff at the Pro Tour instead of Rabblemaster, switched back to the Goblin for this tournament. Part of the reason was that the metagame had changed: Mardu has gotten more popular, and Green Devotion had gotten less popular. It worked out for him, as he advances to the Sunday competition.
No. 10 Stanislav Cifka's U/B Control deck triumphed over Julia Oldenburg's Jeskai deck 2-1. In the games that Cifka won, he had enough removal spells to make sure he didn't take any damage from Oldenburg's creatures. Without a repetitive damage source, the burn spells from the Jeskai deck are not that good anymore.
Pro Tour Theros runner-up Pierre Dagen beat Thommy Christensson 2-0 in an all-Mardu mirror match. The games were long and grindy, with players trading removal spells and creatures left and right, but the key play was that Dagen was able to play his Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker in response to Christensson's Butcher of the Horde. Shooting down a 4-drop while leaving a Planeswalker on the table is a good path to victory.
Pro Tour Born of the Gods Top 8 competitor Patrick Dickmann and his Green Devotion deck won 2-0 against Miesko Sujak and his Jeskai deck. In game one, Arbor Colossus was instrumental, providing a blocker that could handle the fliers. Game two was all about having an excellent opening with second-turn Courser of Kruphix while Sujak was stalled on two lands.
Professional Grand Prix Top 8 collector Martin Jůza, playing W/B Aggro, defeated Nisse Brolin, playing Green Devotion 2-1. The first game that Jůza won was due to cheap white weenies backed up with efficient black removal spells. He won the other game by using Wingmate Roc and Sorin, Solemn Visitor to fly over Hornet Nest.
As you might be able to tell from the picture, Hall of Famer Nicolai Herzog's Temur Aggro deck lost 1-2 to Mikaël Rabie's Mardu Midrange deck. Rabie had End Hostilities and Elspeth, Sun's Champion to destroy Stormbreath Dragon and take over the late game. Herzog still had a number of turns to draw into a lethal Crater's Claws, but didn't get there.
Finally, two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Denniz Rachid and his R/W deck triumphed 2-0 over Mats Karlsson and his Abzan Aggro deck. Basically, Rachid managed to grind out all of the small guys with removal, and took over by netting some 2-for-1s with his planeswalkers.
Congratulations to all of the winners; we'll see you on Sunday!