The draft portion of this weekend was all about Alexander Ivanov. His extremely aggressive black-red deck was capable of some explosive openers, and even had enough tricks in the mid or late game that could carry it through to a victory.
Heading into Round 10 of the Magic Online Championship, Ivanov's deck earned him a 2-0 in today's draft rounds, giving him a lead over the 18-point competitors Peter Yeh and Gerry Thompson. The latter would be his opponent in the tenth round.
Thompson, who started the day at 4-3 for 12 points, also found himself in a 2-0 spot, making their match the featured selection of the round for coverage, and also a crossroad. A win from Ivanov would carry him ahead towards the Top 4, as a single win in Modern would likely lock him in for Sunday play. A win for Thompson keeps the field about even, as Yeh or Jonathan Anghelescu, both playing different opponents and both at 18 points, could potentially keep the top of the standings in a 4-way tie.
That possibility was quickly squelched, as Yeh dropped his match against former Magic Online champion Magnus Lantto in two quick games. Jonathan Anghelescu was able to bring his match against Sam Black to a third game, but he too was defeated, ensuring that the 6-4 field was going to contain some stiff competition.
Meanwhile, after trading blows in their feature match, Thompson's Green-White deck made plenty of use out of Ulvenwald Mysteries to stave off some brutal attacks from Ivanov in their third and final game, ultimately shutting off any possibilities of a comeback as Thompson's board continued to build up over time. Thompson ultimately took the game and the match, bringing Ivanov back into a tie with the top of the field at 7-3.
However, there was not much breathing room between 7-3 and 6-4. The Modern portion would prove to be critical for all players eyeing Sunday's playoffs. A good metagame call could be either fruitful or disastrous, as six players sit at 18 match points or better.