Round Twelve Feature Match: Aaron Estrin vs. Brian Kibler

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After the draft neither player was thrilled with their decks. They each needed one win to be reasonably certain of a Top 8 berth. Kibler had one loss on the weekend to that point and the only blemish on Aaron’s weekend was a hard fought draw with Rob Dougherty last round. Kibler looked for a lucky charm and pulled his considerably bustier deck from the previous draft and left it on the table. “I’ll just leave my last deck over here to cheer my new deck on.”

Game One

Aaron led off and kept his initial seven, as did Kibler. Aaron had a turn two Alpha Myr and followed it up with a Grunt. Kibler accelerated into a turn three Cobalt Golem with the help of a Talisman. Aaron kept his men back and made a 2/3 flier. Brian played another Talisman and made a Fatespinner. Aaron chuckled—he had a maindeck Fatespinner yesterday and sided it out every game.

Aaron skipped his main phase and attacked with everyone. He killed the Cobalt Golem when his Grunt ate the Alpha Myr. Brian regrew the Golem with a Muriok Scavenger. No attack phase for Aaron who played a Leadfoot.

On of Kibler’s many Quicksilver Elementals hit play. Aaron continued to skip his attack step. He played Vulshok’s Battlegear and a Gold Myr. Kibler had five cards in hand and only two creatures in play. Since Aaron wasn’t attacking there was no window for his creatures to crack back through. He decided to send in the Elemental and Aaron had no blocks. He played a Flayed Nim and sent the turn back to Aaron.

Aaron reached for a card after Brian asked, “Skip?” and Brian uttered a quick, “JUDGE!” The judge ruled that Aaron had a warning and had to go back. He continued to skip his combat step and played a Goblin War Wagon and equipped his Patrol with the Battlegear.

The Elemental continued to attack unmolested and Brian replayed the Cobalt Golem. Aaron was ready to attack and skipped his main phase. He swung in with his 5/6 flier, War Wagon, Grunt, and Leadfoot—leaving his Myr back. Flayed Nim got in front of Leadfoot while the Golem and the Scavenger double blocked the Wagon. The Cobalt Golem died and the Nim regenerated. Kibler fell to eight.

A third Talisman from Kibler prompted Aaron to check what colors of mana Kibler could make, “Talisman crazy.” Kibler attacked with Scavenger and Elemental and Aaron fell to seven. Again he skipped his main and attacked only with his flier. Kibler had the Regress, “I guess I’m done.”

Kibler sent in the Nim and the Elemental—he thought about the Scavenger as well—and Aaron played Raise the Alarm but it was countered with Assert Authority. Aaron shrugged and cast another one and threw a guy in the way of the Elemental.

Aaron skipped his draw step prompting an “uh-oh” from Kibler. He played his Patrol and equipped his token and attacked with all three—Grunt Leadfoot and token. Kibler showed the Irradiate for the flier that was scheduled to chump block next turn and Aaron scooped.

“Its funny I had the Spinner yesterday and he was not so good.”

Kibler agreed that he was not so good in Sealed Dec, “He is much better in draft—losing your attack step is really bad for the tempo of a draft match.”

Brian – 1 Aaron – 0

Game Two

Kibler made a turn two Talisman while Aaron had his Battlegear out for turn three. Brian had no turn three play but when Aaron played a Hematite Golem he regressed it at end of turn. Kibler plopped down another land and made a turn four Quicksilver Elemental. Aaron played an Atog and quickly slapped the Gear on it.

Kibler had the Terror and attacked for three and played a Bottle Gnomes. Aaron could not afford to let the Quicksilver copy the Golem’s ability so he played a War Wagon instead. Kibler played another Talisman and sent the Elemental across the red zone. He fortified with a Slith Bloodletter. Aaron equipped his Wagon and sent the turn back but Kibler had the Looming Hovergard to send the Wagon to the top of Aaron’s deck. When Aaron played it again, Kibler had the Irradiate and the match.

“That game was like a triple mulligan for me,” exclaimed Aaron. He couldn’t replay the Golem, Rustpore Ram would have killed his equipment and he had no instant for his Isochron Scepter.

Brian – 2 Aaron – 0

Brian believed he could now draw his way into the top 8 over the next two rounds. Aaron was still in search of the elusive last win he would need to do the same.

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