Round 15: Ondrej Strasky (Green Devotion) vs. (13) Seth Manfield (Atarka Abzan)

Posted in PRO TOUR DRAGONS OF TARKIR on April 11, 2015

By Tobi Henke

In this, the penultimate round of the tournament, we witnessed the battle between Ondrej Strasky and No. 13 Seth Manfield. Both players had made the Top 8 of one Pro Tour this season already, and were looking to add another to their respective resumes. In addition, Manfield could claim five Grand Prix Top 8s including three wins to Strasky's zero, so his results at previous tournaments boasted a little more shine. However, Strasky's record in this tournament was a trump. At 12-2, he was already a virtual lock for Top 8, needing but one more point. Manfield, at 11-2-1, could not draw, as he needed one more win after to secure a Top 8 berth.

After the players had discussed the merits of an intentional draw and decided against, it was clear that one of them would lock up the second Top 8 of his career, while the other would be taking another crack at it next round. As the players shuffled up their decks, the tension was palpable.

Manfield was running an innovative Abzan Control deck with a bit of red for two copies of Dragonlord Atarka, while Strasky had brought a new take on Green Devotion with the full four of Dragonlord Atarka and See the Unwritten. (All hail Atarka!)

One thing about this matchup was certain: Atarka was likely to make an appearance.

The Games

In the first game, Strasky's opening was blisteringly fast, with a Whisperwood Elemental on turn three. Since Strasky had also played first, there was only one card which Manfield could have to stop it immediately, and sure enough, he did pay the Ultimate Price.

Strasky and his deck were undeterred, however. He first cast more mana creatures, including a face-down Rattleclaw Mystic, and with the help of that, he had Surrak, the Hunt Caller and Polukranos, World Eater for turn five. Meanwhile, Manfield had only cast a pair of Satyr Wayfinders. One jumped in front of Surrak, the Hunt Caller, while the other prepared to do so the next turn. It never got to that, though, as turn six saw Strasky summon the almighty Dragonlord Atarka. (All hail Atarka!)

Manfield looks for a way to fend off his Devotion opponent's massive green army.

"Go down to 4?" Strasky asked after declaring some massive attacks. Manfield just nodded, looking glum. He drew for the turn, and then packed up his cards.

In the second game, the first move was again Strasky's, but that move was a mulligan to six. Nevertheless, he again had Elvish Mystic on turn one, this time followed by Courser of Kruphix. This Courser as well as its replacement died to Ultimate Price and Murderous Cut, respectively, and the following Whisperwood Elemental met its fate in the form of Hero's Downfall.

During a brief lull in Strasky's onslaught, Manfield summoned Siege Rhino, but that was soon outdone and done in by Dragonlord Atarka. (All hail Atarka!)

Strasky is more than a little devoted to Atarka.

The theme of every threat being answered only to be replaced by a bigger continued: Manfield killed Atarka by pointing Abzan Charm at it, then Strasky cast Nissa, Worldwaker, and Manfield killed that as well with Hero's Downfall. Unfortunately, now Manfield was out of answers, with nothing to handle the Forest Nissa had turned into a 4/4 creature with trample. Along with the odd Elvish Mystic, the Forest was able to deliver the final points of damage as well as deliver Ondrej Strasky to the Sunday stage.

Manfield 0 – Strasky 2

Seth Manfield's Atarka Abzan

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Ondrej Strasky's Green Devotion

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