Kai, as always, needs no introduction, he has been here before, and he is here now. This, on the other hand, is Sam’s first GP top 8. Probably not his choice of opponent…
Kai won the coin flip and elected to play. A turn three Hematite Golem was made thanks to a Talisman of Progress. Sam had made a turn two Tel-Jilad Chosen and a Granite Shard. The Shard was really important in this match as over a third of Kai’s creatures died to it.
Kai upped the ante with an Icy Manipulator, followed by a Cathodion the turn after whilst Gomersall made a Vulshok Berserker and got some damage in, followed up the following turn by a Goblin War Wagon. Kai had held back in his turn but in Sam’s end step, he Shattered the Wagon and Terrored the Chosen. He swung in with his minions dropping the Englishman to fifteen.
Sam had found one of his three Fangren Hunters but it was being held up by the Icy. Kai added a Yotian Soldier to his board and dropped Gomersall down to eleven with his attack. Meanwhile, Sam had found his only artifact destruction, in the form of a Creeping Mold, which he used to destroy the annoying Icy.
Kai made a Pewter Golem, one of his best creatures, all Sam could do was stare at his Rustmouth Ogre in hand in despair with only one Mountain in play and make a Viridian Joiner. Budde attacked with his two Golems the Berserker blocked the Hematite and the Shard finished it off but Gomersall well to seven. Sam finally found a castable creature, a Hematite of his own. The German continued to make men, dropping an Ogre Leadfoot.
Kai’s Golem swung in once more dropping Sam to three. Sam had managed to finally draw a spell of significance. In his main phase he cast his splashed Blinding Beam with entwine taking out most of Kai’s blockers, leaving the German with just a Yotian Soldier. The next two attacks from the Englishman combined with the relentless pinging throughout the game, thanks to the Granite Shard, dropped Kai to exactly zero.
Gomersall 1 – Budde 0
The first play of the game was Kai’s Yotian Soldier. It stood overlooking the empty board until Sam’s Viridian Joiner joined it. A Hematite Golem found itself in play on Kai’s side, Gomersall replied by dropping a Talisman of Dominance and a War Wagon.
The Golem attacked and was pumped for three damage; Kai dropped a Banshee Blade after combat and passed. Sam swung back with both of his men, the Yotian dived in front of the Wagon but a Predator Strike ensured its doom. Kai equipped the Golem and swung but the Englishman had a sideboarded Needlebug to block.
Kai played a Goblin Replica and was done, all Sam could do was entwine a Journey of Discovery and make a Copper Myr. Kai failed to do anything in his next turn, he just sat, despondently shuffling the two cards in his hand around. Sam dropped a Granite Shard and swung in with his Goblin War Wagon and Needlebug. Budde blocked the Wagon with his Replica and shot down the Shard which, in return shot Kai to the dome.
Kai attacked back with his lone Golem, succeeding in adding a counter to the Blade; followed by a Flayed Nim. Sam did nothing and this time it was the Nim that swung in equipped, it dropped Sam to thirteen. Sam drew and Creeping Molded the Blade. Sam continued to draw nothing but land. The Nim nibbled away at Gomersall’s life, taking him to seven.
Finally, when Kai went to attack, Sam entwined an Incite War. Kai had to attack with his Nim Lasher, Hematite Golem and Flayed Nim. Kai responded by Betrayal of the Flesh with entwine, killing the Needlebug and returning the Goblin Replica to play, which in turn took out the Wagon. An attack later and we were on to game three.
Budde 1 – Gomersall 1
It was down to the wire, this perfectly unbiased reporter did not know which way it would go. Gomersall’s deck seemed the favorite but this was the Juggernaut we were talking about.
Gomersall kept his opening hand of four land, Fangren Hunter, Atog and Predator Strike; pretty much all he could ask for. Kai muliganned and kept. Unsurprisingly, the Atog made its turn two debut. Kai replied with a Myr Retriever and a Banshee Blade. The Atog swung. The Myr swung back. It was like watching tennis.
Kai had found his Icy though which was a pretty good answer for Gomersall’s Fangren Hunter. However, Sam’s deck had been kind to him and he held in his grip another Hunter, a Rustmouth Ogre, a War Wagon and a Predator Strike. A second Hunter entered the fray after the first was tapped. Kai spent his turn Irradiating (for five) one of the Hunters.
Again the Hunter was tapped down and this time a Rustmouth Ogre entered play. Kai looked like he was stabilizing when he made a Pewter Golem. Unheeded, Sam’s Hunter attacked unblocked, dropping Kai to thirteen. Sam made the Wagon and passed.
It was now Kai’s turn to take the initiative, his Golem sung in, taking Sam to fifteen and made an Ogre Leadfoot. Sam attacked back with the Wagon and the Hunter after the Ogre was tapped down. The Hunter was double blocked by the Leadfoot and the Yotian and the Englishman’s Predator Strike took them both down, the Wagon nibbled Budde to ten.
Kai did not attack back. The race became a momentary stall. Sam did not attack either. The Ogre was tapped down and the Wagon was Shattered. Kai’s Golem chipped Sam to eleven. Now, Sam was holding his Blinding Beam. He used it after the Ogre was again tapped down. It left Kai with a Myr Retriever which chumped the Atog, returning a Yotian. Kai made the Yotian and passed. It was now or never, Sam drew a Pyrite Spellbomb. He had nothing to do but gamble. Both the Atog and the Hunter leapt forward in attack. The Englishman’s only out was that Kai did not chump with the Yotian, letting the Hunter through so that the Spellbomb would take him to zero. He chumped.
Budde 2 – Gomersall 1