Before a few months ago, few people had heard of Josh Rider. Then he had a breakout performance, winning Canadian Nationals. He followed up with a 21st at the World Championships, and suddenly people are following his performances. Since the byes for Grand Prixs are set so far in advance, these recent results didn’t help him improve his one bye.
Thus he has to start playing a little earlier than most players of his stature. He’s playing against Switzerland’s Lukas Egloff.
Both players had a red-white control deck, by far the most popular deck today. Neither player had a Lightning Rift, but Josh had an Astral Slide. Lukas cycled an Eternal Dragon, which is a pretty good way to gain an advantage in this matchup. Neither player did anything else for the early turns, except for cycling away irrelevant cards. Josh played a morph on his sixth turn. For some reason he didn’t Slide it out when Lukas ditched an Eternal Dragon in his end step.
Rider unmorphed the Angel manually as Lukas continued to dig for answers. He only found a Lightning Rift – hardly a scary prospect for the Canadian. Egloff made three 1/1s with Decree. In Josh’s turn, Lukas cycled three cards to kill the Angel. Rider had also played a Rift the turn before, and the damage from this knocked Lukas to six.
Josh simply untapped, and cycled some more cards to end the first game.
Josh Rider 1 – Lukas Egloff 0
This time Lukas had a turn 2 Lightning Rift. Josh found his own on turn 4. Sorry to say that this wasn’t the most exciting game. Lukas played a morph on turn 5 which could only be Daru Sanctifier. It revealed itself when Josh cycled a card at it.
Rider made an Exalted Angel on turn six, but it was Wings Shardsed the first time it swung. A second one replaced it immediately. Lukas had to play Wing Shards when Josh cast Astral Slide, clearing the board of all but the two enchantments. He had a Wipe Clean for the Slide as well.
Egloff summoned a Silver Knight and Rider an Eternal Dragon. The swiss player tapped four of his eight mana in Josh’s next end step, tempting Rider to try a cycled Decree of Annihilation. This didn’t work out so well since Lukas had Oblation for the Dragon. He did forget to use his Rift though.
Even so as the only permanent in play Silver Knight brought the beats. Josh had plenty of lands in hand, Egloff only one. Josh made an Astral Slide and a morph. The Silver Knight knocked him to one as he let it through. Rider crossed his fingers that Lukas hadn’t drawn a second land and could Rift him out. In fact the Swiss player had drawn Forgotten Cave just that turn, but that didn’t help him use the Rift.
Rider unmorphed the Exalted Angel and started to attack. Egloff played a third land and passed the turn, potentially having Wing Shards. Josh cycled a Decree at the end of turn, saving the Angel from it. He then untapped and played Akroma to seal the game.
Josh Rider defeats Lukas Egloff by 2-0