Round 9: Justin Schibanoff vs. Matthew Costa
Matt Costa gets some reps in before heading off to Barcelona.
Win-and-in time! Both Justin and Matthew had played some great Magic today, but it was going to come down to one final match for the right to play for the Standard Open trophy in the Top 8. Matt has been one of the best players in the world over the last few months with a Top 8 in Honolulu followed by a win at Grand Prix Baltimore, and it was no surprise that he was armed with Delver again today.
Justin was fully unimpressed, however. He won the die roll and his Humans aggro deck came out swinging after a mulligan. Champion of the Parish, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Honor of the Pure, Hero of Bladehold and Mirran Crusader all smashed their way onto the battlefield while Matt struggled to keep up. Phantasmal Image took down Thalia, but the champion kept growing and growing and growing thirstier for blood.
It didn’t take long for the white army to put the boots into Matt’s defense-light hand, and we were quickly off to game two.
Justin 1, Matt 0
Needing to dig in for a comeback, a mulligan on the play was the last thing Matt wanted. His six seemed, okay regardless, as he led with Gitaxian Probe and Delver of Secrets on turn one, but Justin matched him with Doomed Traveler into Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Silverblade Paladin paired with Champion of the Parish to present a vicious series of threats.
Justin Schibanoff focuses on his match.
Matt’s Delver of Secrets was having trouble flipping naturally which forced Matt to play very conservatively, using Snapcaster Mage to break Silverblade Paladin’s bond with Vapor Snag and allow a trade as he fell to 12. Sword of War and Peace looked like it might be able to pull Matt out of the suddenly very rough spot, but Justin pushed the action with Hero of Bladehold.
An equipped Delver of Secrets wasn’t going to be near enough of an answer, so Matt was forced to play Dungeon Geists to hold off the deadly hero and get in for his first point with Delver of Secrets. The 3/3 flyer was big enough to take down any of Justin’s guys if he wanted to rumble, but Justin had bigger plans. He slammed his fifth land and Zealous Conscripts to untap his Hero of Bladehold and then shoved in with his team, putting Matt to stone dead no matter how he blocked. It was a vicious end to a completely one-sided match that caught knocked the master out of contention and likely propelled Justin into the Top 8.
Justin 2, Matt 0