Round 9: Gerard Fabiano vs. Michael Marlow
Michael Marlow is painting the town red with Zombies in the Standard Open
Gerard and Michael were each on just one loss going into the penultimate round, with Gerard on Delver and Michael piloting B/U Zombies. Michael also had Blood Artists to add to the beatdown, making combat far trickier than usual!
Play started with a Swamp and Diregraf Ghoul from Michael, Gerard already on the defensive. He offered a draw on turn 1 before playing his land, but Michael decided to decline. Gerard played Glacial Fortress, and passed. Cavern of Souls on Zombie and then Blood Artist for Michael, and he attacked Gerard to 18.
Ponder gave Gerard three cards worth thinking about, and he kept them in place. Playing an Island, he dropped Delver of Secrets. Geth’s Verdict on Gerard slew the Delver, dealing Gerard 2 damage—he took 2 more from the attack, falling to 14 life. He Thought Scoured on turn 3, milling Geist of Saint Traft and a land before playing another Thought Scour and Moorland Haunt.
Michael attacked for 2 and passed, Gerard earning a brief reprieve. He Pondered, and cast another Delver of Secrets after playing his land. Gerard dropped to 10 when Geth’s Verdict in his end step slew the Delver, and that became 8 shortly after. He really needed a clock! Vapor Snag bounced the Ghoul, and Gerard tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft.
Geralf’s Messenger wouldn’t be blocking anyone, but it was uncounterable and left Gerard on 6. Diregraf Ghoul followed, and Michael ended the turn. Vapor Snag on the Ghoul once again put Michael to 20, and Gerard made that 14 immediately on the next turn.
Restoration Angel blocked the Messenger and put Gerard to 3 and Michael on 15, and he dropped Darkslick Shores and Diregraf Ghoul before passing the turn. Gerard swung for 9 damage, putting Michael to 6. Gerard had Moorland Haunt available for defense, but could he make it one more turn?
Phantasmal Image from Michael, thanks to the blue mana he finally had available, complicated the board. Gerard likely couldn’t win if it copied just about anything, and Michael decided to go for Geist of Saint Traft, tagging a Vicious Hunger to Gerard’s dome onto the Image thanks to Blood Artist. He attacked, with Gerard on 1 life, and Gerard could only Snag Diregraf Ghoul and play Restoration Angel, hoping his opponent would forget about Blood Artist.
Michael 1, Gerard 0
Gerard Fabiano fights through the Standard Open with Delver
Taking the play, Gerard needed two more games to put himself in a drawing position for Top 8. Seachrome Coast and Delver of Secrets for Gerard, while Michael had Gravecrawler. Gerard missed his flip and attacked, dealing 1 damage, and Thought Scoured. Mortarpod from Michael slew the Delver, and Gerard took 2 damage.
He traded Delver for Gravecrawler on the following turn by blocking with a new one, and Michael didn’t have another Zombie—just Blood Artist and Nihil Spellbomb. Gerard Vapor Snagged the Artist and tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft, but Michael had a fourth land to enable Blood Artist and Phantasmal Image on Geist of Saint Traft.
Another Geist for Gerard, and Michael popped Spellbomb to look for another Image. Finding none, he played Diregraf Ghoul and a second Blood Artist, charging up his Gravecrawler for major Mortarpod damage. Michael attacked before casting the Gravecrawler, and Gerard traded Snapcaster Mage for the 2/2, taking 4 damage in the process.
Geth’s Verdict for the Geist dealt another 2 damage, and Gerard was on 10 life. When he passed the next turn with just a tapped land, it looked grim—Michael had another Diregraf Ghoul to get back Gravecrawler, which immediately picked up Mortarpod.
Gerard passed on five untapped lands, and Michael cast his third Blood Artist. He swung, and Gerard played Restoration Angel. Michael sacrificed the Gravecrawler to deal 4 damage to Gerard and enable his Tragic Slip for Restoration Angel, getting through 2 more damage plus another trio of Blood Artist triggers. With Gerard on 1 life, he was in terrible shape against the three Artists and Zombie beaters.
Michael got to untap, and that was good enough.
Michael 2, Gerard 0