Round 10: Shaheen Soorani vs. Robert Beverley
Draft Open machine Shaheen Soorani has been known to sling a Mana Leak or two (million) in his time—it's no surprise to see him in the Standard open with U/B Control. Robert Beverley, his opponent, has brought a conventional U/W Delver list to the party.
Mulliganing, Robert began with Glacial Fortress. Shaheen had Darkslick Shores himself, and passed. Ponder for Robert preceded a Delver of Secrets via Island, and Robert ended the turn. Shaheen played Swamp and passed right back.
He was surprised to see the Delver remain a 1/1, and dutifully took his damage. He considered Mana Leaking a Ponder from Robert after Robert played Moorland Haunt, but decided not to. Those three were a shuffle for Robert, who ended the turn afterward. During the end step, Shaheen had no spells.
Drowned Catacomb enabled Shaheen to cast Liliana of the Veil, and he assumed Robert would quickly Mana Leak it. Robert thought over the planeswalker and decided to burn his Leak. No Delver flip for Robert, and Shaheen fell to 18 life. Casting Snapcaster Mage, Robert flashbacked Ponder to try and set that flip up—he was potentially already walking into a Zenith from Shaheen, given his willingness to toss Liliana against a potential Geist.
Robert left the top three in place, and Shaheen decided to find out how good they were by spending his Ghost Quarter on Moorland Haunt—Robert declined to search for a new land, and Shaheen passed. The Delver did transform, Shaheen taking 5 damage now, and Forbidden Alchemy resolving during Robert's end step. Playing Island, Shaheen passed again.
Robert Beverley has spent most of the day facing down mirrors, to great success.
The next attack earned a Doom Blade on the 3/2, and Shaheen fell to eleven. Robert tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft, and seemed surprised when it resolved. Shaheen had his land drop, but now appeared to lack Black Sun's Zenith—he just passed the turn.
Snapcaster Mage tried to jump in front of the Geist, and Shaheen had Dissipate for the Gut Shot…but Vapor Snag kept the 2/1 out of combat and reduced Shaheen to just 2 life. Drawing for turn, Shaheen failed to find a Black Sun's Zenith and conceded the game.
Robert 1, Shaheen 0
Darkslick Shores and Despise started the game for Shaheen, stripping Delver of Secrets and leaving Robert Beverly with just Vapor Snag, Ponder, and some lands. Peeling Vault Skirge, Robert cast it and ended the turn. Shaheen tapped out for Ratchet Bomb on turn 2, and took his point when Robert attacked, playing a land afterward.
A third land for Shaheen concluded his turn, while Robert's included an attack and a Moorland Haunt, with the mana to activate it available. He passed, and Shaheen played Think Twice before ticking the Bomb to two counters. Playing another land, Shaheen cast Despise with three mana up. Revealing Ponder and Vapor Snag again, Robert flashed Mana Leak and discarded a Delver, Shaheen still on perfect information. Adding a Spirit token to his field, Robert attacked and cast Ponder. He left those three, nodding as Shaheen flashbacked Think Twice during the end step.
Land five for Shaheen was Ghost Quarter, ending some of Robert's fun. Would he shuffle this time? Shaheen declined to use Ghost Quarter and passed, another Spirit joining the fray. Sorin's Thirst was countered by Vapor Snag when Shaheen tried to kill the Skirge, and he fell to 14. Playing a land and passed, Robert allowed Shaheen to Think Twice again during his end step.
Despise stripped the Skirge and spotted Mana Leak and Ponder, creating a third Spirit token for Robert once Shaheen had passed the turn. The attack took him to 11 after a Ponder for Robert, Shaheen flashbacking Think Twice.
Black Sun's Zenith for one with four mana up earned a Mana Leak, and Robert revealed a second one to counter the spell—Shaheen frowned. He fell to 8 as Robert passed, and now cast his other Zenith, wiping the board. Out of gas, Robert dropped his seventh land and shipped the turn, Shaheen casting Forbidden Alchemy during the end step.
Nothing on his own turn—Shaheen just flashbacked the Alchemy on Robert's, facing down no threats. With three mana up on the next turn, Shaheen cast Consecrated Sphinx. Robert stared at his hand, looking for some way to beat the 4/6, and decided to Snapcaster Mage Vapor Snag during the end step for a reprieve. He attacked Shaheen, but Go for the Throat warded the 2/1 off.
Repeating his previous turn, Shaheen's Sphinx stuck this time. Robert made a Spirit during the end step and cast Ponder on his own turn, looking for help. Shaheen lost the Sphinx to Oblivion Ring, but he just ticked up his Bomb to three during the end step.
Curse of Death's Hold landed, and Shaheen got his Sphinx back with Ratchet Bomb. His free draws were short-lived—another Oblivion Ring grabbed the 4/6, and now Shaheen was out of threats. He passed, and Robert passed right back, stymied by the curse. Forbidden Alchemy churned through the deck, and another Ratchet Bomb resolved for Shaheen.
Soorani sits in a dominant position.
It ticked up to one, then to two—would it make it to three? The second Curse resolved for Shaheen, and when Robert had no way to stop the Bomb going back to three, he was forced to Vapor Snag the Sphinx during his own upkeep, putting Shaheen to 5. He recast the Sphinx on his own turn, eager to stick the win condition for good, and followed with Liliana of the Veil, boosting her.
Attacking Robert to 16, he boosted Liliana again—Robert passed. Down to 12, and Liliana on 6, Shaheen cast Karn Liberated to take Geist of Saint Traft from Robert's hand. Adding a second Sphinx to the field, Shaheen passed. His next swing left Robert on 4 life and his planeswalkers left Robert without cards in hand—that did the trick.
Robert 1, Shaheen 1
Moorland Haunt for Robert, while Shaheen started on Darkslick Shores. Glacial Fortress quickly came to get Robert some colored mana, but Shaheen was chugging along happily. He had Think Twice on turn 2 and again on turn 3, as Robert missed lands. In fact, Shaheen mainphased Snapcaster with no flashback on turn 4 just to avoid cleanup!
Two Ponder, two Mana Leak, Dissipate, Divine Offering, and a binned Phantasmal Image were revealed to Despise after Shaheen attacked, Robert still on just two lands. Once Shaheen had made it to six mana, Robert cracked and cast Ponder, shuffling the deck up. Hitting Seachrome Coast, he paid 2 life for Gitaxian Probe to see two Batterskull, Go for the Throat, Consecrated Sphinx, Black Sun's Zenith, and Swamp—ouch.
Snapcaster Mage attacked Robert to 12, Shaheen waiting for his mana-strapped opponent to present an opening. Delver of Secrets kept Robert's mana untapped, but Go for the Throat slew the 1/1 and left him defenseless, falling to 10 life. Shaheen rammed down Batterskull with three mana up, and paid for Mana Leak when Robert cast it, knowing it was easier to get the Divine Offering now.
Robert blew up the equipment and played Glacial Fortress, passing with three mana up again. Shaheen used Ghost Quarter on Moorland Haunt, but Robert didn't take the bait and tap out for a token. Shaheen cast Batterskull, earning the Dissipate.
Ponder found Robert an acceptable three cards, and he played his sixth land before ending the turn. Curse of Death's Hold after an attack gave Shaheen control of the board, even when Robert cast Geist of Saint Traft. Time was called, though—could Shaheen close it out?
Black Sun's Zenith seemed to imply that he wasn't going to try. Shaheen passed, and his opponent also failed to present any kind of threat—an involuntary draw appeared to be in the cards unless either player decided to concede. Robert revealed two Dissipate, and the players briefly debated which of them was favored to win before Robert decided to concede based on Shaheen's tiebreakers and lead in position.
Robert 1, Shaheen 2