One of the many players piloting Exarch-Twin to a winning record, Anders Simpson-Wolf needed just one more victory to enter the tiebreaker fight over a Top 8 appearance. Jonathan "watchwolf92" Sukenik is in the same boat, piloting Caw-Blade in a more mainstream choice than his usual fare.
Anders won the die roll and kept his opening hand. Jonathan drew seven…and then approximately twenty more before shuffling his hand back with a laugh as he mulliganed to six. Anders opened on Island and Preordain, keeping the cards on top before passing to a Celestial Colonnade. Shrine of Piercing Vision on the second turn for Anders, while Jonathan played Inkmoth Nexus and passed.
Paying a blue mana to cast Gitaxian Probe, Anders pointed it at Jonathan for a peek at his hand. Two Hero of Bladehold, Blade Splicer, Day of Judgment, Plains, and Island revealed a hand devoid of interaction to the Twin player—Anders added Scalding Tarn to the field and ended the turn. Jonathan cast Blade Splicer and passed. "At least I'm not dead!"
Preordain again for Anders on the fourth turn sent Shrine to four counters and he shipped both to the bottom in search of more action. Paying 2 life, another Gitaxian Probe bumped Shrine to five and drew Anders towards a land. He whiffed, forcing him to pay another 2 life and go for it one more time. Whiff! Popping Shrine on six, Anders grabbed Splinter Twin prior to playing Ponder, keeping the three and hitting Mountain. Jonathan attacked for four and then cast Hero of Bladehold, passing with a shrug.
On 12 life, Anders played an Island and passed the turn. Jonathan drew and attacked for 13 damage, threatening lethal, but naturally not achieving it. Into the Roil bounced the Golem token and Anders dropped to 3 life. During the end step, he broke Scalding Tarn for Mountain and tapped out to cast Deceiver Exarch, resolving the 1/4 and tapping down Jonathan's Celestial Colonnade. Once Jonathan passed, Anders knew he was clear.
Untapping, Anders dropped Splinter Twin and demonstrated the combo quickly, earning the concession.
Anders 1, Jonathan 0
Jonathan took the play for the second game, hoping to turn around his fortunes following that bleak game 1 mulligan. His opening seven were strong, while Anders found himself looking at a weak but passable seven he decided to gamble with. Jonathan played Inkmoth Nexus, and Anders led Island and Ponder, keeping three cards.
That sent Jonathan to the top of the deck with Preordain, keeping both cards before popping in for poison damage. Paying 2 life, Anders cast Gitaxian Probe to see Mental misstep, Hero of Bladehold three Dismember, and Tectonic Edge. "I can kill myself!" Jonathan boasted, and Anders nodded. That would be tough to fight through! He cast Ponder to look for help, putting his Shrine to three counters. Breaking Arid Mesa for Mountain, Anders cast Spellskite.
Drawing for turn, Jonathan slammed Inky in for another attack and then cast the Squadron Hawk he'd drawn, looking up two Birds. Untapping with Spellskite, Anders might now be able to actually protect the 0/4 and get his combo through safely. With Jonathan tapped out, he had the opportunity to Splinter Twin Spellskite with a spare Aura, but declined. This play would effectively neutralize two of Jonathan's Dismembers, and also would save Anders the trouble of finding more blue sources and more Dispels.
Jonathan attacked for one poison and 1 damage, ending the turn with three mana untapped. Anders tried nothing during the end step, moving to his own turn for Ponder. Keeping those three, he played his third Mountain and passed with an uncracked Tarn at the ready.
Repeating his previous attack, Jonathan continued to march poison damage and put Anders on five—halfway there. Anders drew and passed with Shrine ticking to seven waiting until he could build up enough protection to pull this game off—or die trying.
Preordain and another attack sent Anders to six, and it was getting close to that time. Jonathan had to discard, but he didn't have time to lay all his Hawks anyway. Drawing for turn, Anders popped his Shrine for eight to grab another protective counter. He'd probably go for it soon.
The Nexus attacked Anders to seven, and Jonathan passed. During the end step, Anders kicked Into the Roil on Squadron hawk, and Jonathan pitched another Bird to the bin. Anders drew Tarn, played it, and passed. He could now beat triple Dismember, but he wouldn't be able to beat more Mental Missteps than what Jonathan had shown.
Jonathan sent Nexus in and passed once again. During the end step, Anders broke his Tarns and cast Deceiver Exarch, tapping a Seachrome Coast—Jonathan declined to respond further. Anders started with Splinter Twin, leaving three mana open, and Jonathan cast Dismember into Dispel, losing 4 life. He paid 2 life for Mental Misstep on the Dispel, and Anders replied with another Dispel. Jonathan allowed that to resolve before sending a second Dismember at Deceiver Exarch, earning a third Dispel and tapping Anders out. Jonathan had his third Dismember, but the Spellskite took care of that and gave Anders the victory.
Anders 2, Jonathan 0