The final round of swiss sees local Singapore champion Yujian Zhou take on American Antonino De Rosa. This isn't their first high profile match, the met in the final of the $10,000 Australian Open, the premiere side event at the 2002 Worlds Championships in Sydney which ended in a tense standoff where both players agreed to split. Unfortunately, only one could win today as the victor would make top 8 – In the event of a draw it would be likely that neither player would qualify.
After trading his morph with De Rosa's Glory Seeker, Zhou dropped a fourth turn Graveborn Muse. De Rosa responds with a Mistform Dreamer and then a morph of his own. A Severed Legion puts De Rosa on a clock which he knows will be hard to beat with his opponent drawing so many cards, but takes to the sky regardless with an Aven redeemer. Zhou attacked again with the legion and the muse, bringing De Rosa down to 12, but the damage from De Rosa's fliers and from the Graveborn Muse was adding up. The fifth turn also saw him drop a Gangrenous Goliath. De Rosa promptly pacified the giant and attacked again with the fliers bringing Zhou down to 5. An extra morph meant one more blocker to keep the next attack from administering final damage. Zhou incorrectly announced the loss of 2 life from the muse (the pacified Goliath was also a zombie) which was corrected without fuss. He dropped a morph (Bane of the Living) and attempted to drop a 7th land in 6 turns (Oops!). De Rosa dropped another morph, but had to pause again due to the fact that Zhou had failed to discard, and after much discussion with the official as to how to correct this situation Zhou simply scooped as he could not prevent the fliers that followed.
De Rosa 1, Zhou 0.
Zhou's Wretched Anurid was immediately pacified, and the best he could follow with as a morph on the following turn. De Rosa Answered with 2 morphs as Zhou missed a 4th turn drop. 5th turn saw the morph (Bane of the Living) sweep the other morphs aside, attacking for 2. De Rosa put an Ascending Aven out which was met with a Severed Legion from Zhou.
De Rosa seemed to lack creatures as he cycled through a Secluded Steppe
, and then a Choking Tethers
. Zhou sped things up with a Crown of Suspicion
on the legion, and that combined with the 4/3 Bane of the Living
sent the match into a deciding third game.
Zhou 1, De Rosa 1.
Both players opened the third game with 3 of the same land, Zhou with 3 swamps and De Rosa with 3 Plains. De Rosa's Morph was traded with a Smokespew Invoker, but a fourth Plains and an exasperated De Rosa implied that perhaps he was missing something (probably an island). Zhou again dropped the 4th turn Graveborn Muse, De Rosa a morph, and the 5th turn saw morphs on both sides as De Rosa found his island with audible pleasure. He played coy however as he attacked for another 4 damage and drawing Zhou's morph into attacking, and subsequently blocked with an unmorphing Liege of the Axe.
At this point it was brought to the judges attention that a card had found it's way onto Zhou's lap. The head judge was called immediately. After interviewing both players, sideboard reporter and the table judge the penalty of a match loss was given for repeated sloppy play (procedural error).
Final Result: De Rosa wins via Match Loss
"I feel bad for the guy," De Rosa stated. "He seems really nice, but I've traveled halfway around the world and spent thousands of dollars on this trip. I feel I have to be fair to myself, and take every precaution not to let myself get cheated."