Round 1: Shahar Shenhar vs. Tyler Olson
Reigning World Champion Shahar Shenhar hoped to add “Invitational winner” to his already hefty resume, and brought Death and Taxes to the table. His opponent, Tyler Olson, hoped to rain on his parade with the old boogeyman Reanimator.
Shahar is stoic under pressure.
Mother of Runes was the turn 1 play for Shahar, while Tyler kicked things off with a Ponder, shuffling his top three. Shahar had no two-drop, but used Rishadan Port to keep Tyler off of his Island, leaving him without a play as well. He simply played Underground Sea and passed the turn. When Shahar attempted a turn 3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Tyler responded with Brainstorm. The Thalia resolved, and Shahar followed up with a Wasteland to keep Tyler down to just one land.
After Tyler played his second land and passed back, a second Mother of Runes joined the first for Shahar, and Thalia came swinging, dropping Tyler to 17. Tyler spent two mana for an End step Entomb, putting Griselbrand into his graveyard. Shahar ported his Swamp, but it didn’t stop Tyler from playing his third land and tapping out for a Reanimate, which dropped him to 11 but granted him a Griselbrand.
Unfazed, Shahar simply played a Karakas and sent Griselbrand back to Tyler’s hand. With four points of power on board, Shahar was threatening a lethal attack if Tyler drew a fresh seven, so he simply let the Karakas activation resolve. Shahar swung in with Thalia and one Mother, dropping Tyler to 8, then added a Serra Avenger to his board.
Tyler tapped two for a Brainstorm, looking to find a miracle, but he didn’t find any action in his top 3, and scooped up his cards.
Shahar Shenhar 1, Tyler Olson 0
Tyler surveys the opposition.
Tyler revealed his plans quickly in game 1, leading off with a Thoughtseize targeting himself! He plopped Inkwell Leviathan into his graveyard, revealing a leftover hand of Massacre, Exhume, Lotus Petal, and Griselbrand. Shahar simply cast a Mother of Runes and passed, and Tyler wasted no time Exhuming the 7/11 Shroud behemoth into play on his next turn.
Shahar cast a Stoneforge Mystic, fetching up a Batterskull, but was very careful about which lands he chose to play. He passed the turn with Karakas and Rishadan Port in play, carefully avoiding and free Massacres from Tyler. The Inkwell Leviathan swung in, dropping Shahar to 13, and Tyler simply played a Brainstorm and passed. Shahar played his third land, a Horizon Canopy, and passed the turn back. When the Leviathan came crashing in again, Shahar stuck Batterskull into play with Stoneforge Mystic, blocked with his Germ, and gave it Protection from Blue, netting him one life in the process after trample damage. Tyler played a post-combat Ponder, but had no follow up.
The Batterskull got in for another swing, bringing Shahar back up to 18 and dropping Tyler to 10. Shahar attempted a Rest in Peace, but Tyler pitched Show and Tell to cast Force of Will. He entombed for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite at his end step, but didn’t have a reanimation spell to pull it out of his yard just yet, and simply drew his card and passed, leaving the 7/11 Trampler back on defense.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben came down to gum up the works further. Tyler needed to find a way to get Elesh Norn out of his graveyard to stay in it. He drew… another Entomb. After double-checking his options, he extended the hand in defeat.
Shahar Shenhar 2, Tyler Olson 0