Round 8: Todd Anderson vs. Thomas Artese
Thomas had a series of tough hands in this important match.
Again going deep in a Standard Open, Todd had changed back to his Delver ways and came packing an Esper Spirits deck similar to the one that did so well in Honolulu. Todd had himself qualified for Barcelona in that PT, and appeared to be enjoying a mild heater at the moment. A win over Thomas’ Zombies in this round would bring him one step closer to a bona fide inferno.
Each player went to six cards in the first game… and then each to five, Todd probably not sure if the play was still an advantage at this point. A keep on five for Todd, while Thomas decided to handicap it with a mulligan to four—actually, his five-carder just sucked. Todd started on 18 for Gitaxian+Probe, revealing two Swamps, Diregraf+Ghoul, and Geralf’s Messenger. Todd fell to 16 for another Probe, then played Swamp. Thomas, naturally, had turn 1 Ghoul.
Island for Todd before a Ponder kept the top three cards in place. Thomas attacked for 2, playing a Swamp and passing, but Todd tapped out on turn 3 for Lingering+Souls via Seachrome+Coast. He double-blocked the Ghoul when it attacked, but Thomas replaced it with Geralf’s Messenger to leave Todd on a scant 12 life.
Another Ponder and Phantasmal+Image on Geralf’s Messenger gave Todd his own beater, and the race was on—Todd went to 9, then swung Thomas to 15. Snapcaster+Mage on the next turn flashbacked Ponder and gave Todd a chumper as he faced down that Messenger, Thomas on two cards in hand with four lands. Drawing, Todd cast another Image and passed the turn. Doing some math, Thomas was uncertain he’d be able to win the race… He attacked Todd to 6 following no blocks, and played a fifth Swamp.
Attacking for 8, Todd left Thomas on 5 life and flashbacked Lingering+Souls for the blockers he’d need to head off any shenanigans. Delver+of+Secrets gave Thomas another potential hurdle, and even Phyrexian+Obliterator couldn’t stop Todd’s Phantasmal Messengers.
Todd 1, Thomas 0
Each on seven this time—Thomas started Gravecrawler, while Todd paid mana for a Gitaxian+Probe. Spotting Swamp, Highborn+Ghoul, and three Geralf’s Messengers, Todd was immediately under pressure. Thomas hit his Ghoul after attacking, while Todd played Swamp and sent the turn. Dismember slew the Highborn+Ghoul when it attacked, and post-combat Messenger put Todd way behind, on 12 life and facing a stream of difficult beaters.
“I’m getting ranched by this draw,” he admitted, staring at his hand for help. Phantasmal+Image copied the Messenger, and Evolving+Wilds ended his turn. Falling to 7, and then 5, Todd couldn’t let the third Messenger resolve… he also couldn’t afford to take any more damage from the board! Fetching Plains, he untapped, played an Island, and promptly conceded.
Todd 1, Thomas 1
Todd's not even close to being Magic'd out after several weekends in a row.
Quickly keeping his seven, Todd didn’t mind watching Thomas agonize over the same decision before heading to Paris. Island and Gitaxian+Probe started Todd’s turn, showing four Swamps, Gravecrawler, and Messenger—a not-too-scary six. The Gravecrawler landed, and Todd immediately untapped into Snapcaster+Mage as Silvergill+Adept.
Distress revealed three Drogskol+Captains, Lingering+Souls, Snapcaster+Mage, Dungeon+Geists: “All gasoline!” as Todd said. Discarding the Geists, Todd untapped into Ponder and tanked on the top three, likely lacking some colored mana in the mix. He left them, attacking for 2 damage and playing Delver+of+Secrets!
Gravecrawler swung for 2, and Thomas cast a fresh Tragic+Slip on the Delver to kill it, while Todd drew Seachrome+Coast and cast Drogskol+Captain. He attacked for 2, then fell to 10 on his opponent’s turn as the Messenger joined the board.
Casting another Captain, Todd attacked for 3 damage in the air, leaving back Snapcaster along with his 3/3 Captain. Thomas played a fifth land and began doing math on the race, eventually deciding to attack with everyone—the 3/3 blocked Gravecrawler and Todd took 3 damage, going to 7 as another Highborn landed.
Phantasmal+Image copied Drogskol+Captain and Todd swung for 8, putting Thomas to 5. Vapor+Snag on Highborn+Ghoul meant that event he Cemetery Reaper Thomas played wasn’t quite good enough—Todd had 12 power in the air force on the following turn, binning Snapcaster+Mage to stay alive.
Todd 2, Thomas 1