Neither of these players has made a Pro Tour Top 8. Norway's Eivind Nitter has a more impressive resume – two Grand Prix Top 8's and a European Championship win. But Ed Fear is what we in the business call a "personality" – he talks the talk, and now he needs to walk the walk. Fear, fresh off a one-year DCI suspension for some shady goings-on at Pro Tour – Chicago, is in the spotlight once again, but this time for good reasons.
Fear drafted an "amazing deck" and won in Round 12 before intentionally drawing in Round 13. It was a calculated risk – he figured he'd be able to draw again in the lat round if everything fell correctly. Had he been paired against Brian Davis, Fear could have just drawn into the final day. But the fates (aka DCI Reporter) were unkind to him, pairing him down against Nitter, who cannot afford a draw. So it will be settled in the Red Zone.
Fear won the roll and started off with a turn-two Mesmeric Fiend. After eyeing Nitter's hand of Cephalid Looter, Firebolt (with no Mountain), Hydromorph Gull, and Auramancer, Fear chose the Looter. He recited the remaining contents of Nitter's hand aloud one more time.
Fear: "I know I'm supposed to write that stuff down, but I never liked that idea, so I'm not going to do it."
Fear took to the skies with an Aven Fisher and a Repentant Vampire. The black flier caused Eivind some distress.
Eivind: "I passed you that."
Fear: "Yes, you did."
Eivind: "I'm sure I took something good over it."
Fear: "I'm sure you did, too. You also took Aven Windreader over Concentrate."
Eivind: "Yeah, who wouldn't?"
Fear: "Me. I'm pretty sure that's the wrong pick."
Zvi (from the stands): "I'm pretty sure it isn't."
Fear: "Really? The 'draw three' mechanic has always been strong."
Zvi: "So has the 'big guy' mechanic."
Nitter put out a 'big guy' in the form of Hydromorph Gull, which traded with the Vampire when Fear attacked.
Fear: "He dies. I don't have Afflict."
Eivind: "I know – if you had Afflict you would've attacked with the Fisher, too."
Fear: "You cagey Norwegians."
Fear dumped out a couple more guys, namely Dirty Wererat and Frightcrawler. Nitter then cast Aven Winreader.
Nitter: "You can stop it with Concentrate."
Fear held back, then Nitter drew, shrieked, and blew on his hand as if to say, "Ooh, I'm hot!" He then dropped down Major Teroh and started laughing.
Fear smirked, then made a desperation alpha strike, and Nitter blocked the Aven Fisher with his Windreader and went down to 9. Fear played Caustic Tar on a tapped land and was done.
After Major Teroh took out all of Fear's creatures, the Windreader ruled the skies, and Nitter had two sac lands and a Firebolt to deal the last 4 damage to Fear, staying just ahead of the Caustic Tar.
Nitter 1 – Fear 0
Between games, Fear explained that Nitter better hurry up, or else Fear would win the next game and they'd not finish the third, ending up with a draw.
Fear: "I went to the Chris Benafel School of Stalling."
Nitter started off very slowly – a turn three Hypochondria and a turn 4 Repel on Fear's Aven Fisher. He then Syncopated the Fisher when Fear tried to re-deploy it, and Firebolted a Cabal Torturer. On turn six, he put out everyone's favorite 3/3 flier, Aven Windreader.
On Fear's turn he tapped four mana and announced his spell: "You know what's better than Windreader? Concentrate."
Nitter: "Hahaha! My ass! Draw three lands!"
On Fear's next turn, he put out a Crypt Creeper, and then tried for another Aven Fisher with two mana up. Nitter cast Circular Logic with three cards in his graveyard, and I think Fear missed the fact that he could have Creepered Nitter's Firebolt and paid two mana for Circular Logic. Instead, Fear let his Fisher get countered, then sacrificed his Creeper to get rid of Firebolt, then cast Mesmeric Fiend with his last two mana.
The Mesmeric Fiend was a harbinger of doom. Nitter's hand contained Hydromorph Gull, Major Teroh, and Repel. Fear's Concentrate had given him nothing but land, and in a stroke of poetic justice, Nitter's Aven Windreader smote him for the second time.
Final Result: Nitter 2 – Fear 0
Ed Fear thought Top 8 was in his pocket, but Eivind Nitter had something to say about it. As it turns out, it will be Nitter, not Fear, playing in his first Top 8 tomorrow.
Pro Tour Nice, Fourth Booster Draft
Pro Tour Nice, Fourth Booster Draft