Round 9: Noah Koessel vs. Matthew Sarradet
The top of the standings are a mess, littered with players sitting on the bubble at 21 points. That means most of them have to play if they don't want to risk drawing their way out of the Top 8, and that we get to bring you some sweet win-and-in games.
Matthew won the roll and chose to defer to Noah. Matthew sent his opening hand back but kept his new six and Noah led off with Delver of Secrets. Gut Shot put an end to that idea and Ponder smoothed out his draw.
Noah's Gitaxian Probe peeked at Matthew's hand and saw Sword of War and Peace, Vapor Snag and Glacial Fortress. With the coast clear, Snapcaster Mage rebought Gitaxian Probe to dig Noah into a little more action. Matthew had nothing on his next turn, but went for another Gut Shot on Snapcaster Mage when Noah tried to attack. Vapor Snag saved it, but with no good spells to rebuy, Noah changed directions and just passed with two up.
Sword of War and Peace hit play on Matthew's side, but he was fighting an uphill battle without any creatures to attach it to. Noah took the opportunity to flash Snapcaster Mage back into play on end step and equipped it with Runechanter's Pike before attacking for two.
Matthew went for Midnight Haunting but Noah had the Mana Leak and Runechanter's Pike got to work, letting Snapcaster Mage attack for five. Geist of Saint Traft was a step in the right direction for Matthew, presenting a dangerous threat in concert with the Sword of War and Peace. Noah untapped and played his own Geist of Saint Traft, triggering the legend rule. Snapcaster continued his assault and Matthew was unable to stop it.
Noah 1, Matthew 0
Matthew went first in game two, but Noah was first on the board with Delver of Secrets. Matthew made Invisible Stalker and killed the Delver with Gut Shot. Undeterred, Noah played a replacement Delver of Secrets and took one from the Invisible Stalker.
Noah moved to attack with his Delver of Secrets but Matthew stopped him, casting Midnight Haunting in combat. Noah let it resolve, but masterfully maneuvered a Gut Shot and a Snapcaster Mage to pick off both tokens. He followed that up with a third Delver of Secrets and shipped the turn.
Matthew crafted Sword of War and Peace but chose to keep his Invisible Stalker at home, trading with a Delver of Secrets on the Noah's attack. Noah went for a Sword of War and Peace of his own, but Matthew had the Steel Sabotage with his last land.
Matthew untapped and cast a replacement Invisible Stalker but chose not to block when Noah sent his team on the next turn. Noah tried to put the final nail in the coffin with Geist of Saint Traft after combat, but Matthew had the Mana Leak.
Matthew decided it was time to go on the offensive, equipping his Sword of War and Peace to his unblockable dude. Noah fell to 10 and Matthew went up to 12. One attack later and Noah was down to a dangerously low 5 life. Noah tried to buy an extra turn by emptying his hand, deploying Phantasmal Image and Invisible Stalker, but Matthew had a sneaky Phyrexian Metamorph to clone Sword of War and Peace and get in for exactly lethal.
Noah 1, Matthew 1
The Top 8 berth was all down to this game and the players shuffled in respectful silence. Noah sent his opening hand back while Matthew kept his. Noah's six card hand was acceptable but slow as he played just three lands to start the game.
Matthew had a slow start of his own as he played three lands and nodded as Noah cast Midnight Haunting on end step. Matthew had a Gut Shot to take care of one Spirit, but the second stuck. The Runechanter's pike follow-up also stuck.
With Noah tapped out, Matthew landed a Geist of Saint Traft, but Ponder into Phantasmal Image wiped it out. Sword of War and Peace made another appearance for Matthew, but the Spirit token kept coming. Noah tried a Sword of War and Peace of his own, but Mana Leak took it out.
The game slowed and Noah tried to keep the pressure on by equipping the Spirit token with Runechanter's Pike, but Matthew Vapor Snagged it. Both players had Moorland Haunts now, but Noah had one more creature in his graveyard than Matthew. A Vapor Snag and a Gut Shot traded from each player traded for one spirit token apiece, but Noah's second was going to be trouble for Matthew, whose hand was two Phyrexian Metamorph. Matthew played one to copy the Spirit token and blocked
Runechanter's Pike cranked up the volume and Matthew decided to block despite a healthy 16 life. Matthew made a Spirit token on end step, but Vapor Snag erased it before it could pick up a sword. The Spirit struck again and Matthew scooped 'em up with a shrug, opening the Top 8 door for Noah.
Noah 2, Matthew 1