Victor has the home court advantage today, and is certainly the crowd favourite being the only Dutch in the Top 8. This is his first under the blazing lights of the cameras. Across the table he is facing a veteran of the center stage. Svend Geertsen knows all about the big spotlights, having played in a Worlds Top 8 while still in his early teens.
The match up is Green-Red Beatdown against Green-Blue Madness. According to Victor it looked awful on paper but after a night of testing his friends reported things look good for him.
Victor: “Lets make it a good match.”
It didn’t start off well, with Svend staring at his hand in disbelief. He even showed Victor his “no land” hand. After the forbidden peek—which revealed he wouldn’t find an Island soon to fire off Careful Study—he took a mulligan.
His six-card hand was a lot better and he immediately played Careful Study. Van den Broek opened things with Grim Lavamancer, much to the joy of the Dutch crowd that seemed to celebrate every single play.
Geertsen played his first creature in the shape of Aquamoeba but Victor had the perfect answer: Yavimaya Barbarian. Since this was the match on the screen the French contingent (waiting for the Tenenbaum-Haim game) decided to root for Svend to even the support.
The Danish’s second Study was a lot better: in came Rootwalla and Roar went to the graveyard. Victor played Call of the Herd but was soon staring at a Roar token. The Dutch thought for a moment and sent his crew in.
Svend: “So you have a Flametongue.”
Scared of the Kavu, Geertsen didn’t call the bluff. He took the damage going to fourteen and Victor flashbacked the Call. On his turn Svend returned the favour with his Wurm. While Victor was planning his next move the crowd laughed at the commentary.
Victor: “I guess they finally said something funny.” Judge: “Believe me, it was very funny.”
In came the Kavu eating the Aquamoeba but not before Svend played out Arrogant Wurm to the delight of the French. Despite the second Wurm arrival, Victor again sent his whole army in.
Arrogant Wurm ate up a Call token and Rootwalla traded with the second before Firebolt finished the Wurm. Now down to his Roar token Svend sent the creature in leaving no blockers.
With a Coliseum and two cards in hand he could still play a surprise blocker so Victor had to be careful. The Dutch rechecked his hand a few times and finally decided to send everyone in. Geertsen blew the Coliseum finding Roar, Analysis and Arrogant Wurm. A good candidate for the best Coliseum ever award.
He discarded those three, getting a round of applause from the French, before putting the Wurm into play. It didn’t stay there long because it immediately traded with the Kavu.
The Danish was now down to seven, with his opponent at eight. Victor threw a Temper at Svend, now at four, and played two extra Lavamancers to chump. He had five lands, a Firebolt to flashback and four creatures to Geertsen’s one. Things were looking good for the Dutch.
Geertsen tried to fnd help with his third Careful Study discarding Analysis and Looter. He sent his Roar in—Victor didn’t even blink before going down to two—and flashbacked his second Roar but it was merely academic.
Victor pushed his Barbarian into the red zone, getting it killed, to fuel two Lavamancers for the last four damage ending the first game.
Victor 1-0 Svend
In: Temporal Spring, Rushing River and Ghostly Wings.
Out: Two Deep Analysis and one Bearscape.
Victor van den Broek:
In: Two Jade Leech
Out: Two Meteor Storm.
This time Victor was the one taking a mulligan. Geertsen’s first turn Study got Rootwalla into play followed by Wild Mongrel and to keep things even Victor played his own Rootwalla and Yavimaya Barbarian.
Both players seem to shy away from good old-fashioned blocking and concentrated on trading blows as fast as possible. Geertsen tried to speed things with Looter but van den Broek had the Firebolt for it before dropping a second Rootwalla.
After a little mix-up with the life totals, Victor had to slow down his pace. Before attacking he had to figure out if Svend could get a surprise blocker on the table. Madness is a really important factor in this match-up.
Sure enough as soon as Victor sent in his double Rootwalla, Yavimaya Barbarian army to the Red Zone, an Arrogant Wurm materialized. When the dust settled Victor had lost two Rootwallas and killed another one.
The reason he didn’t pump any of his Rootwallas, Svend couldn’t because he was mostly tapped out, was because Victor had Flametongue Kavu to kill the Wurm. Svend tried another Study but came out empty this time, discarding two lands, and played Mongrel.
Again the Dutch hardly blinked before sending his team in and the resulting scrum left no creatures on the table and both players empty-handed. Life totals were still high: Victor at twelve and Geertsen at thirteen. With his Firebolt already flashbacked to finish a Mongrel Victor had a slightly inferior board position because Geertsen had Coliseum.
Apart from that their hopes rested at the top of their decks. Whatever they drew would decide this game. It’s amazing how Svend could keep a smile from his face when he blew the Coliseum and found a Roar, but he did.
Victor played a Call but Geertsen had a fourth land: in came the Wurm. On the next turn the Call got flashbacked but van den Broek decided to risk it and take six from the Wurm, falling to seven.
The gambit didn’t pay off, as Geertsen had Rootwalla to play as a blocker. Still that wouldn’t stop Victor: he played and flashbacked a Firebolt killing the creature to send both Call tokens in.
Fearing burn Geertsen kept his Roar token back on the next turn but Victor van den Broek had thing all figured out. He played Keldon Necropolis, sent both creatures in and sacrificed the blocked one to deal the exact five damage he needed to gain a 2-0 advantage.
Victor 2-0 Svend.
The Danish now had his back against the wall, needing to win the three next games to win this quarterfinals. The Dutch were a very loud supporting crowd now further incensed by Gary Wise. Despite being up 2-0 Victor was visibly shaking as he pour himself a second glass of water.
Geertsen came out with first turn Basking Rootwalla followed by Aquamoeba and Victor answered with Grim Lavamancer and Wild Mongrel. Svend pumped out a second Rootwalla and sent them both in trading one for Wild Mongrel.
To keep the Danish back, van den Broek played a Call of the Herd. Geertsen missed his third land drop and Victor sensed the blood on the water. He tried to play Flametongue Kavu but Svend Geertsen had Circular Logic for it.
The next draw gave Svend his third land, shifting the game into “I wonder if he has Arrogant Wurm” mode. Still Victor sent his whole green team in (Rootwalla, Mongrel and Call token). Thankfully for the Danish he did have the Arrogant Wurm.
The Aquamoeba blocked the Call token and the Wurm stopped Mongrel. After the dust cleared Svend was at eleven but Victor was down to Rootwalla and two Lavamancers. The Danish lost his Arrogant Wurm and Aquamoeba but had two Rootwallas and a Roar in the graveyard. At this point a fourth land would have been perfect.
He didn’t draw it so he played Careful Study. It wasn’t a simple one: to keep the land he found (Coliseum) he would have to discard Ghostly Wings and Wild Mongrel. He knew he had to do it, so he sucked it up and threw away the two spells.
The Dutch suddenly stalled. He took a long time to figure if he could attack, and with which creatures. Eventually he decided to stay back and just flashback his call. On the next turn Geertsen thickened the plot: he flashbacked his Roar token.
The big Wurm took out the Elephant token and then met its doom as Flametongue Kavu came into play. On the next turn Victor Firebolted Geertsen down to eight to get two cards to use his Lavamancer. This way went he sent his team in he was able to shoot a Rootwalla in response to Geertsen pumping it.
The Danish was now in deep trouble. He had no creatures, was at six facing three creatures. He played a lowly Looter with Ghostly Wings and Victor dropped the elbow: Flametongue Kavu.
The Danish went down to one. A draw phase and Coliseum later he had no way to deal with two Flametongue Kavus and a Lavamancer with enough fuel to finish him. He shook his head and extended his hand.
Svend: “At least this time I didn’t lose 3-2.”
Final Result: Victor 3-0 Svend