Mark Herberholz isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s only recently begun to strut around the Pro Tour. His team finished nineteenth at Pro Tour – Boston, and he’s been working his way towards good finishes since. He Day 2’d at Chicago, but is still looking for a big performance. He’s glad to tell you he learned everything he knows about Magic from Pat Chapin. This weekend, he’s with Slide. His opponent is “Cool” Aeo Paquette, he of Top 8 on the Magic Online Worlds Qualifier fame. This up-and-comer from British Columbia is no-one to be trifled with.
Paquette started with Sparksmith and then Goblin Piledriver, but Herberholz was ready with Gempalm Incinerator to stop the beats. He cycled Eternal Dragon and then set up a Lightning Rift while Paquette brought the Burrows-fuelled beats. Then he added a Siege-Gang Commander to his team.
Herberholz shot him down with a cycled Renewed Faith, and played an Astral Slide. Paquette took his opening, playing Goblin Warchief and swinging with everything, pumping up with the Burrows to deal eight, leaving Herberholz at nine. Herberholz still had plenty of gas, though. He untapped and cycled Decree of Justice, shooting the Warchief, Sliding out a token, and making two 1/1’s.
Paquette considered his options. He decided to Smith away one of the tokens then swing in, pumping up the unblocked token. Herberholz fell to six. He waited for Paquette’s turn and cycled Starstorm, clearing his side of the board thanks to the Slide and Rift. Paquette tapped all but one of his lands for a second Commander and then a Prospector. Herberholz cycled, and after the enchantments’ targets were declared, Paquette ate his three tokens for mana, and then flung the Prospector and Commander at Herberholz, leaving him at two. Herberholz cycled twice more, but found no Renewed Faith. Paquette untapped and showed him the Shock.
Paquette 1 – Herberholz 0
Paquette mulliganed his first hand, but kept his second. He started with Skirk Prospector and watched as Herberholz cycled Spark Spray into Lightning Rift. He hit for one and had no play. Herberholz Rifted it away. On his third turn, Paquette played a land still had nothing to do. Herberholz sat on his mana. When Paquette passed his fourth turn without acting, Herberholz cycled a Vengeance to the face.
Things went from bad to worse when Herbherholz dropped Temple of the False God and Exalted Angel on his fifth turn. Paquette could only play Goblin Warchief and Goblin Sledder. Herberholz hit and Rifted away the Sledder.
Paquette shrugged and tried a big move. He played Siege-Gang Commander and then Goblin Piledriver, threatening big damage with the Warchief on board. Herberholz demolished that fantasy with a Starstorm for two. He had another Gang but it was far too late then, and Herberholz wasn’t out of cyclers.
Paquette 1 – Herberholz 1
Paquette had to mulligan again in the deciding game, but it was a good one. He started with Goblin Sledder and Goblin Piledriver. Herberholz kept the lunacy in check with a Spark Spray, and Paquette didn’t have the Warchief to make his draw insane. He made another Sledder and was done. Herberholz made a Lightning Rift.
Paquette swung in and Herberholz took six thanks to a Burrows. Herberholz played Spark Spray at the end of turn, something he’d later describe as a thoughtless error. He started working over Paquette’s creatures, and then both players built their mana. Herberholz was the first to act, making an Eternal Dragon. Paquette dropped Goblin Warchief and Piledriver and swung. Herberholz declined to block, falling to seven. He untapped and served in the air before Starstorming for two. A Clickslither from Paquette met a Wing Shards, and that seemed to signal the end. A second Dragon clinched things.
Mark Herberholz defeats Aeo Paquette 2-1