Stan van der Velden putting his bye to good use.
Joost Vollebregt is probably the best Dutch player nobody ever heard of. He made top 8 at three GP's before and he was on the Gravy Train for a long time but decided he'd rather finish his study and get a real job. Having accomplished that, he figured he'd make a shot at professional Magic again making top 16 at his come back Grand Prix in Copenhagen. Right now he's at 6-1-1 and paired against Xavier Petit, a Frenchman that's been around for a long time, on and off the train. He's known for his eccentric drafting but settled for a normal Black/Red deck today. Joost is with an almost mono green deck with a lot of elves and beasts and some combat tricks but no bombs.
Xavier won the die roll and decided to draw first.
The first play was a turn three Wirewood Savage by Joost, especially good in his deck full of beasts. Xavier matched it with a morph and Joost followed up with a face up Craghorn drawing a card. Xavier's morph turned out to be a Skirk Marauder taking out the Savage before it could do too much damage. By doing this, he essentially skipped his turn though as the Marauder couldn't even attack because of the Craghorn. This loss of tempo might be costly against Joost's fast creature heavy deck. A Skirk Outrider added to the pressure but Xavier's Husk looked like it might be enough to stabilize his position somewhat. It would at least take something down on his way to the graveyard.
Joost played a Snarling Undorak before his attack the next turn, playing around more manageable size. All Xavier had to add to the board was a couple of morphs. Still, the presence of the Husk made combat a difficult affair for Joost.
After thinking for a couple of minutes Joost send his Outrider into the Red Zone and Xavier simply took the damage as he had a Macetail Hystrodon in hand that came down the turn after. This made combat almost impossible for Joost as between the Husk and the Hystrodon his creatures were outmatched by a large margin.
Nevertheless, the Craghorn and the Outrider charged into Xavier's board of two morphs, a Skirk Marauder, a Husk and the Hystrodon. Joost was telegraphing Wirewood Pride by playing a Birchlore Rangers face up last turn so Xavier decided to block the Outrider with just the Husk and a morph. He put the Hystrodon in front of the Craghorn and it was up to Joost to do some tricks. He decided to pump his Craghorn with the Undorak and regenerate it with Vitality Charm. Xavier sacrificed the Hystrodon to the Husk and together with the morph it took down Joost's Outrider.
Xavier Petit looking for a plan.
When Xavier's morph came through for damage the turn after it turned out to be a Snapping Thragg
and the board position suddenly looked a lot different from the way it was two turns ago. Joost attacked with his Craghorn anyway and Xavier blocked it with his Husk and the Marauder, effectively trading his Skirk for the Craghorn unless Joost had yet another trick. He had and it was a good one, the seemingly innocent morph Joost had in play for a couple of turns turned out to be a Patron of the Wild
pumping the Craghorn to a six power first striker. Xavier took a gamble and sacrificed his Thragg and his Marauder to the Husk and strangely Joost decided not to use the Vitality Charm
in his hand to save the Craghorn.
Xavier played a Flamewave Invoker and a Gempalm Polluter the turn after and showed his game plan by quickly drawing and passing the turn. He shot Joost for 5 but Joost had found a Krosan Vorine that was ready to wreck Xavier's board with a little help from the Wirewood Pride still in Joost's hand. The Invoker got to shoot again though, putting Joost at seven, making him vulnerable to Wave of Indifference and Dirge of Dread.
Xavier didn't even need any of those as he played a Noxious Ghoul that promised to kill off both of Joost's blockers. A second Wirewood Pride AND a second Vitality Charm helped the little Birchlore Rangers take down the Gempalm Polluter with him and the Krosan Vorine ate the Husk on Joost's next attack. When Joost followed up his attack with a Glowering Rogon amplifying it with Enormous Baloth it looked like the game had once again taken a dramatic swing in the other direction. Xavier then hit a land pocket and the two huge creatures took it down for Joost, winning him a very interesting first game.
Xavier once again chose to draw first, an interesting decision after seeing Joost's deck. It paid off though as Joost took a mulligan and would be down two cards to kick off the game.
A turn two Festering Goblin for Xavier was met by a morph for Joost. A Nantuko Husk on turn three promised to be a huge problem this game as Xavier's wasn't on the defensive this time. When all Joost had on turn 4 was a Wirewood Herald the game started to look ugly. He chumped the Husk and went looking for a Wirewood Savage hoping to make up for his loss of cards in the mulligan. A Feeding Frenzy took out the morph and Xavier passed the turn.
The Savage came down the turn after and Xavier tried to use Noxious Ghould and his Festering Goblin to take out the Savage. Unsurprisingly Joost had a trick to save it but he didn't even have a play on turn 6. A Gempalm Polluter drove the proverbial nail in the coffin and Joost had to scoop it up after a turn of chumping.
Joost chose to play in the decider, not impressed by Xavier's decision to draw in the last two games. Both players kept and the game got underway with a turn 2 Herald for Joost. A turn three morph was met by a Flamewave Invoker and Joost didn't want to risk a block by Xavier as the Goblin Mutant helped the Smith he just played to shoot Xavier's guys. Xavier had no such fears and send his Invoker into the Red Zone. He followed it up nicely with a Severed Legion.
Joost Vollebregt, the Dutch you don't know.
A Noxious Ghoul
managed to force a Vitality Charm
from Joost's hand to save the Smith. The Herald went looking for a Wirewood Savage
. Joost played that and a Taunting Elf
the turn after and the little Elf hit the graveyard immediately when Xavier played another Zombie in the rather large Gangrenous Goliath
. The Smith took the Invoker with him on the way down but the Noxious Ghoul
was still there, threatening to decimate Joost's board if he ever got around to playing two Zombies in one turn. A Patron of the Wild
turned a block by the Gangrenous Goliath
into a chumping, bringing the life totals to 9-9 with a Noxious Ghoul
and a Gempalm Polluter
for Xavier and a morph and a Savage for Joost.
The Ghoul took Joost down to 6 when time was called and Xavier looked good to take the game down in the last two turns left for him. The Savage attacked and Joost played another Herald and a Stonewood Invoker. Xavier's ability to win now came down to the number of Zombies he'd be able to play in his last two turns. A Severed Legion was one but he didn't have the second one to destroy Joost's board position and Joost was left with creatures to either chump with looking for the draw or attack with next turn if he had enough tricks to push them through. The Herald got him a Gempalm Strider that would go well with the two Elves he still had in play and Xavier's not too high life total of 7. He, himself, was on 6 in the meanwhile and definitely had to block one of the incoming zombies with either a morph or the Stonewood Invoker.
The Invoker took one for the team and Joost went down to 3 and into the third extra turn with two creatures to Xavier's 4. Xavier had only one turn left to kill Joost though so Joost might manage to get a draw out of the whole thing. Xavier, however had a guaranteed two damage because of his Severed Legion so any burn would kill Joost regardless of the number of creatures he'd manage to play. He put down enough guys to block all of Xavier's non Legion creatures and it was up to Xavier to make a move. A Gluttonous Zombie would've been great normally but since this was Xavier's last turn it's only use was to shrink Joost's guys to the point where he wouldn't be able to manage a lethal counter attack on the fifth and last turn, ending this very interesting match in a draw.
Final Result: 1-1-1