"Anyone who isn't playing Tempered Steel is playing the wrong deck."
So said Luis Scott-Vargas, and his opponent, Australia's Jeremy Neeman, couldn't help but agree. Both of them had swept the first five rounds playing the explosive white deck. Neeman is no stranger to Plains-based beatdown. He made Top 8 at last year's Pro Tour San Juan with just such a deck. Later that year, he defeated Luis Scott-Vargas in the finals of GP Sydney. The format was Scars of Mirrodin Limited. Now, in full-block Limited, Scott-Vargas had a chance for revenge.
Jeremy Neeman and Luis Scott-Vargas reunite for a Grand Prix Sydney grudge match.
The first game started inauspiciously for Neeman. Scott-Vargas won the roll and put Neeman on the play. Neeman mulliganed, then stared hard at his six before going down to five. At last, he kept.
Neeman led out with Oculus, and after an Inkmoth Nexus and Iron Myr from Scott-Vargas, added Trespassing Souleater to his board. Scott-Vargas poisoned him in the air and played Blighted Agent. Neeman attacked with both his creatures and passed the turn. Scott-Vargas played a land and passed back. Neeman sent again, and Scott-Vargas flashed in a Spire Monitor. Neeman paid 2 life to make his Souleater unblockable, and Scott-Vargas let him keep his Oculus rather than give him a card. Neeman played a fourth land, and spent 4 life on Thundering Tanadon.
He's the only one to turn to when your ripper's turned to slag.
Scott-Vargas untapped, then paid 2 life for Gitaxian Probe. Neeman flipped over his hand of Vedalken Certarch and Stoic Rebuttal. Knowing the way was clear, Scott-Vargas tapped out for Volition Reins, stealing the mighty Tanadon for his cause. Neeman's top card was a Dross Ripper, and he put it quickly onto the battlefield. Scott-Vargas wasted no time clearing it out with Turn to Slag. His team crashed in again. Neeman got a card off his Oculus and one more draw step, but couldn't muster a defense.
Scott-Vargas 1, Neeman 0
Neeman chose to play. Scott-Vargas was first on the board with Iron Myr. Neeman passed on three mana, and after Scott-Vargas made a Wing Splicer, offed the token with Grasp of Darkness. He untapped and summoned Thundering Tanadon for a 4-life discount. Scott-Vargas had Turn to Slag at the ready. Neeman replaced his monster with Dross Ripper.
Scott-Vargas decided it was time to go big, and he cast Treasure Mage, getting Big Hexy himself, the Hexplate Golem. Neeman's Ripper went unblocked for 3 damage, and he played Lumengrid Gargoyle. Scott-Vargas tapped out for Hexplate Golem. Neeman considered attacking with Lumengrid Gargoyle, but thought better of it. He added Flayer Husk and Gremlin Mine to his board.
Unfortunately for him, Scott-Vargas had a second Turn to Slag for the Gargoyle, and he hit for 5 with his flying Golem. Neeman returned fire with the Ripper, pumping it to 5/5. Scott-Vargas's team smashed in again, and after Flayer Husk blocked the Iron Myr, Scott-Vargas went for bonus damage from Hexplate Golem with Twisted Image. Neeman had Vapor Snag to deny him both the damage and the card (and make him lose a life to boot).
Scott-Vargas replayed the Golem, though, and Neeman was out of gas. The big Golem exacted Scott-Vargas's revenge.
Scott-Vargas 2, Neeman 0