For the last team round, we see Denmark versus Hungary. These two European teams are still well positioned late into the tournament, with just this round and the Modern part of the event to try to lock up a slot in the Top 2 team playoff on Sunday.
In a battle between two countries that are still well positioned to finish in the Top 2, who will come out on top?
The matchups saw Mono-Red versus Illuions in Standard, a Splinter Twin mirror in Modern, and a RUG mirror in Legacy.
We started with Allan Christensen of Denmark vs Tamas Nagy of Hungary in Standard. He started up a card, thanks to a mulligan from Nagy, which led to a small cheer from the Danish side of the table. The Danish Mono-Red deck seemed well suited to battle Illusions, as he had plentiful removal. He started out with a Stromkirk Noble, which was able to swing in without impediment as a Galvanic Blast got rid of a Phantasmal Bear on the other side.
Illusions were far from dead though. Nagy played a Dismember on the vampire while it was small enough to tag, and had a Snapcaster Mage to re-buy on it to kill off an otherwise problematic Spikeshot Elder. All that damage from Dismember did take Nagy dangerously low on life, and Christensen was able to capitalize fully with his red deck to take the first game, with another Stromkirk Noble and additional burn spells.
In the Legacy, Balzas Varady was up against Janus Kofoed, and started out with a Ponder off a Volcanic Island. Kofoed was on Tropical Island, but had similar designs. Kofoed was the first to land a Delver of Secrets, but Varady soon followed, and had a Nimble Mongoose and a Dismember to build a board advantage.
Kofoed was stuck without red mana, and gradually getting beaten down by one mana creatures with a whopping three power. The Mongoose and Insectile Aberration continued an inexorable march on Kofoed, who was desperately digging for answers with Brainstorm. The race did not work in his favour, and Hungary soon levelled things, taking it to one game apiece in the overall series.
Modern saw Aik Petersen versus Gabor Kocsis locked in a Splinter Twin mirror. Both had early Spellskites, which would grind the first game down to a crawl if it was to be a combo race. Petersen elected to simply run out a Pestermite and start swinging. Kocsis had one of them too, and the faeries soon traded off. It seemed that Kocsis had the run of things, soon building up two copies of Spellskite to Petersen's one. When he found a Deceiver Exarch too, he gradually seemed to be pulling ahead. A Blood Moon meant that Petersen was a little short of blue mana, which gave Kocsis exactly the time he needed to draw into removal for Spellskite, and a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, to let him combo off, creating a massive amount of copies of Deceiver Exarch to end the game.
Gabor Kocsis takes over game one of the Modern match-up with an army of Deceiver Exarchs.
After one game, Hungary had the lead in two matches, while Denmark lead only one. It seemed that the fate of the overall series could come down to who had the better sideboard plan for a mirror match.
Game 2 of the Standard was a little slower than the first, with Christensen of Denmark not deploying a threat until turn-three. By the time that Stromkirk Noble made it to the party, Kocsis of Hungary already had a Delver of Secrets, and he followed up with Phantasmal Image to copy the currently 1/1 vampire.
Christensen was ready for this, and had an Arc Trail to clear the Hungarian side of the board and keep on swinging. The Noble got progressively bigger, and was joined by Hero of Oxid Ridge to create quite the strike force. While Nagy tried to deploy blockers, he soon succumbed to the beats, as Christensen took apart his defense with well placed burn spells.
Denmark won its first match, going up 1-0 in the series.
In the Legacy, Balazs Varady of Hungary again had an early Delver of Secrets (something of a theme for at least 2/3 of the Hungarian team), but this time there was a Tarmogoyf from Kofoed. After a little tussle involving a Force of Will, Kofoed managed to Submerge the 1/1 just after it had become an Insectile Aberration.
Varady was not about to be denied though. He cast both the Delver again and a second Nimble Mongoose. Kofoed struck back by adding another Tarmogoyf to his side of the board. Soon a third Tarmogoyf landed for Kofoed, meaning that he was able to really strike hard in the red zone. It didn't take many strikes before Varady was scooping up his cards. The Legacy match would be going to game three.
The Modern match was a little more cat and mouse than the other two, with some jockeying for position using draw spells, before eventually Petersen went for a Vendilion Clique. Kocsis used a Lightning Bolt on it, before revealing Shattering Spree, Kiki Jiki, Pestermite, Mountain and Spell Pierce. Kiki Jiki went to the bottom of the Hungarian's deck, only to be replaced by a new copy. Buoyed by his good fortune, Kocsis tried for an end of turn Pestermite. This was met by Remand though, delaying a kill.
It was Petersen's time to go for it. He cast an end of turn Deceiver Exarch, then used Gitaxian Probe to make sure the path was clear before casting Splinter Twin. Kocsis cast a Pestermite to tap down Deceiver Exarch, but didn't have a Mountain to secure the kill, meaning that just as soon as Petersen untapped for his next turn, he was able to go off and tie the game.
Denmark evens up the score. It's all coming down to the final game in two matches!
With two matches going to a game three, Christensen and Nagy, the Standard players whose match was over, had plenty to comment on to aid their teammates. The Legacy match, for the first time, had not seen an early creature stay in play. A couple of copies of Delver of Secrets had been countered or killed by Varady, and Kofoed had used Spell Snare to stop a Tarmogoyf. When Varady tried the same trick, he was initially stopped by a Red Elemental Blast. It took a second Spell Snare to hold off the Tarmogoyf.
Varady tried a Surgical Extraction on Tarmogoyf, which met a Force of Will from Kofoed, pitching Snapcaster Mage. A Red Elemental Blast forced the spell through, stripping Kofoed's deck of Tarmogoyf, and revealing that all the Dane had left was a pair of copies of Lightning Bolt in hand. Could it be that the path was now clear for Varady to play his Tarmogoyfs? He certainly hoped so, casting two of them. One fell to a Force of Will, while the other resolved and started attacking. A string of Wasteland activations from Varady cut off most of Kofoed's red mana, such that the Tarmogoyf was safe from Lightning Bolt, and Varady had another Spell Pierce to stop a Snapcaster Mage.
As this match progressed, there was a whoop from the other end of the table. Gabor Kocsis of Hungary had pieced together his Kiki-Jiki combo with Pestermite, protected by a Spellskite, and taken down the Modern match fast, leaving everything to be decided on the final Legacy game.
When Delver of Secrets added to the Hungarian's board presence in Legacy, things looked grim for Kofoed, and by extension the Danish team. The Delver did get hit by Lightning Bolt, but it was the last Tarmogoyf that got there. High fives abounded around the Hungarian team. By winning the Legacy match they had won the overall series against Denmark.
Hungary wins Legacy 2-1
Denmark wins Standard 2-0
Hungary wins Modern 2-1
Denmark 1, Hungary 2