Frank Karsten is one of the top Dutch players. His opponent, Pierre Malherbaud, is a highly experienced French Player. Malherbaud has a long record of consistent finishes on the tour and nearly went all the way at this year’s European Championships before being halted by Nicolai Herzog in the finals.
Karsten won the die roll and elected to go first. He immediately threw the first hand back. A Mountain followed by a Grand Coliseum on Karsten’s side and Plains followed by Mountain for Malherbaud signalled they were both playing RW control. We might be here for some time.
Both players cycled a few cards as they developed their hands. Karsten made the first move by accelerating out an Exalted Angel with a Temple of the False God. Wing Shards took care of that as the Dragon recursion began on both sides. Karsten had two Dragons though and could afford to cast on while cycling the other. Malherbaud summoned his to match.
Dragons bounced and Karsten brought out a third. He had the clear dragon advantage for this match. He then summoned an Astral Slide. Malherbaud had the answer for it with a maindeck Wipe Clean.
Karsten seemed to be steadily gaining advantage. A second Temple of the False God gave him mana to both recurse and play a Dragon in the same turn. Wing Shards took down one while Malherbaud tried to hit enough land to keep up. He cycled Decree, putting a few Soldiers into play.
Karsten Starstormed them off the board and added a second Dragon to the assault. Malherbaud cycled his and sat on Starstorm. That took care of two of the dragons, but the third was on its way and brought a facedown Angel with it. Malherbaud cast Decree of Justice and looked to a chorus of Angels to help.
The four angels provided enough discouragement to prevent Karsten from attacking. But only for a turn as Starstorm shot them down in flames. A second Slide and cycled dragon removed Malherbaud’s last remaining blocker from the game and he conceded rather than risk running out of time in what is a slow match.
Karsten 1-0 Malherbaud
Both players had more aggressive draws this game. Karsten brought out a turn 2 rift and Malherbaud matched with a Silver Knight and then a Rift of his own. Karsten cycled a couple of dragons to fetch out some plains.
Both players continued to cycle and shoot each other with their Rifts as Malherbaud maintained the lead through his Silver Knight. Karsten removed the Rift with a Wipe Clean and then dropped down to 4 as Malherbaud shot him in response.
An attack with the Knight dropped Karsten to 2 and a replacement Rift plus cycler levelled the match.
Karsten 1-1 Malherbaud
The decider and this time Malherbaud had to mulligan. The start of the game had a similar feel to the last one. Karsten opened with Lightning Rift, Malherbaud matched it with Silver Knight. Karsten took the upperhand with an Astral Slide and then cranked up the wrench with an Exalted Angel. Malherbaud brought out his own Slide in answer to the threat.
Karsten was land light though, missing land drops despite cycling. Malherbaud fogged with a Wing Shards. His hand wasn’t developing though and when Karsten Wiped Clean the Slide it didn’t look good for the Frenchman. He was at 6 and the knight was only making sure Karsten’s life increased by two rather than four a turn.
Another turn and the Frenchman packed it in having drawn hardly anything the whole game.
Frank Karsten beat Pierre Malherbaud 2-1