The last time I wrote about Tomi Walamies for the Sideboard he had just posted a dismal 2-3 record in the Sunday PTQ at Pro Tour Houston. After finishing in second place at Pro Tour New Orleans he failed to post any strong follow-up finishes. Following his mediocre Day One at Pro Tour Houston he found himself unqualified to attend Chicago. He promised to attend Venice to play in the Team Masters Gateway with Jens Thoren and Johan Sadeghpour. Despite his poor finishes he still found himself qualified to compete this weekend on the strength of his Constructed rating.
Mattias Jorstedt fared much better than Tomi in Houston. His Aluren deck carried him to the Top 8 where he ran afoul of Darwin Kastle's Rock deck in the quarterfinals. It was Mattias' first Pro Tour Top 8 although he had posted multiple Top 16's as well as a handful of Top 8's at Euros.
Both players are running very similar Sligh decks that have fast goblins at the bottom of the curve and tops out with Clickslither and Goblin Goon. After sideboard it's another story as both players will be likely bringing in more sturdy creatures including the legendary Rorix, Bladewing. "Rorix has been the best creature for me all weekend," offered Tomi.
There are three such decks in the Top 8—Gabriel Nassif has the other one—and it was one of the dominant Day One decks. Dave Price was not in attendance for this Pro Tour despite still being qualified. Many people joked that he had given up one Pro Tour too early. Tomi even laughed, "When I turned in my decklist, I put David Price down under deck design."
Mattias kept his initial hand but Tomi sent his back, "One Forgotten Cave... I could cycle." While he shuffled deliberately for his next hand the two players chatted amiably about Tomi's plans to move to the United States at the end of August. He must spend some time studying abroad and decided to go to Texas and, "Chill out with Lan D. Ho."
When Tomi kept his next set of cards the game got underway. Mattias had no turn one play but was able to Shock Tomi's Sledder at the end of his turn. Mattias' turn two Sparksmith was killed when Tomi main-phase cycled a Gempalm Incinerator to kill it. Mattias' opening hand had multiple Clickslithers and he found himself without a third turn play. Tomi played a Goblin Sledder and a Goblin Prospector on his next turn (Prospector represents one of the few differences between the two decks—Mattias has Goblin Grappler in its place.) and the Sledder died EOT to a cycled Gempalm.
Mattias drew first blood with the first of his two Clickslithers. Tomi came back across with a Prospector and dropped the Goblin Goon. Mattias played a Grappler and a Piledriver to distract the Goon and banged in for another 3. Tomi cycled a Forgotten Cave and found another Gempalm and killed the Piledriver. Shock took out the Grappler and the Goon lumbered into the Red Zone and Mattias fell to 12.
The second Clickslither joined the first one and Tomi dropped to 8. Tomi played a Clickslither of his own but it stayed back—its main function was to allow the Goon and Prospector to bring Mattias to 5—if the Clickslither had attacked the best Tomi could muster would have left Mattias at 1 with a lethal counter attack at his disposal.
Goblin Goon joined the two Clickslithers and Mattias attacked with his Insects. Tomi confirmed that he was at 8 life and prudently blocked with his Clickslither. Both players agreed to put damage on the stack—Tomi went down to 5 from the unblocked 'Slither—and the Prospector was sacrificed to save the blocker. When Mattias Shocked it, Tomi sacrificed his Goblin Goon as well.
At this point, Mattias had only a Goon to block with a tapped Clickslither—Tomi needed two creatures for the Goon to be removed from the equation. He played Piledriver and Sparksmith and the Clickslither was able to come across unhindered for the win.
Tomi nodded with appoval at his deck, "I feel comfortable playing Sligh. I think I understand it."
Mattias on the other hand was upset with his own play, "I should have played that differently. I should have either Shocked before damage was on the stack or sacrificed my Goon to kill the Slither."
Mattias – 0 Tomi – 1
As they made their sideboard decisions—Mattias brought in 12 cards—Tomi kidded around, "What do you think about this match-up. Do you think you have the advantage?"
Mattias, still upset with himself about his misplay, felt he had just lost a golden opportunity, "I thought I had the advantage when I won the coin flip." He was even more upset when he looked at his hand with three Skirk Fire Marshalls and was forced to mulligan. To show his sympathy, Tomi arranged his seven cards on the table to form a frown.
"Can you dispatch me in three straight? I have a habit of losing in three straight" Mattias explained his tactics to me, "You see, I am using the whining technique."
Mattias kept his next set of cards and played a Goblin Sledder and a fourth turn Thoughtbound Primoc. Tomi only cycled Forgotten Caves taking two from the Sledder until he shocked it. He untapped and played a Goblin Goon.
Mattias' Primoc attacked Tomi down to 16 but Mattias did not play a fifth land to keep the Goon at bay with the Skirk Fire Marshall in his hand. Tomi played his own Fire Marshall and the Goon did 6. Mattias did not draw the land for another turn—instead he 'ripped' a second Fire Marshall—and left his Primoc back to block.
The Primoc could not block the protection from red Fire Marshall. With a Burrows in play, Tomi was able to pump it to do 4 points of damage that there was absolutely no answer to his deck save racing. When Mattias failed to draw a land on his next turn he saw no need to forestall the inevitable and packed.
"I would really like to win at least one game on Sunday," sighed Mattias, who lost three straight in the quarterfinals of Pro Tour Houston. "I'm like Kai...but the reverse!"
Mattias – 0 Tomi - 2
Both players kept their openers and Tomi's turn two Sparksmith was Shocked. Tomi had the turn three Primoc and Mattias drew first blood with a Clickslither. Tomi missed a land drop but had another Primoc and flew in with his first one. Clickslither came across again and then Mattias played the post-sideboard, match-up dominating, Skirk Fire Marshall—complete with two Goblin Burrows in play.
After taking four in the air, Mattias swung back and played another Fire Marshall. He attacked with them both on the next turn and was poised to win on his next turn. He had visions of Houston when Tomi Shocked him EOT but he didn't have enough gas to finish him off and Mattias finally won a game on Sunday.
Mattias – 1 Tomi - 2
Tomi—as always—remained at ease. "It's kind of relaxing to play a deck like this in the Top 8," explained Tomi but Mattias disagreed. "I would rather be playing combo."
"You just want to look smart on camera."
That is not to say that Mattias was uneasy. Maybe he was just happy to break his 5 game losing streak but he seemed awfully comfortable for someone down 2-1. "I used to put so much pressure on myself to make Top 8 and I even took six months off in order to practice...but I never did. Then, when school was over I suddenly made Top 8 in Houston... Maybe the pressure was gone for me."
"I know what you mean," said Tomi. "New Orleans was going to be my last Pro Tour because I was starting school and there was no pressure. I think you can be more in touch with your intuition when that pressure is gone."
With the sports psychology discussion behind them, they returned to the match at hand. Tomi was leading off for the first time in the match but he had no first turn play despite siding some cheaper creatures back in for that reason. Mattias had the Sledder and Tomi cycled into Sparksmith and played it on his next turn. Mattias played his own Sparksmith and sent the turn back to Tomi.
Tomi cycled an Incinerator to kill his opponent's 'Smith and then turned his own Sparksmith's attention toward Mattias' Sledder. Mattias had the three-butt Primoc for his next turn. Goblin Goon thumped down on Tomi's side. The similarly costed Clickslither hit play for Mattias and he swung in with both his men. Tomi decided not to wait for Mattias to draw more goblins and threw his Sparksmaith in the path of the insect and shot it—and himself—for 2. He took another 2 in the air and he went to 13.
Tomi's Goblin Sledder allowed the Goon to smash face and Mattias went to 12. He swung back with his Primoc, played another as well as a Sledder hoping to keep the Goon at bay. That was all well and good but what would he do about Tomi's turn six Rorix, Bladewing? Nothing it seemed. Two turns later Tomi was advancing to face off against the tournament's Cinderella story, Jordan Berkowitz.
Final Result: Mattias – 1 Tomi – 3
After the match Tomi informed me that, "I would like to send greetings to my mother."
Mattias: "Me too...Tomi's mother."