Maarten Fergusan, a very vocal advocate of the B/G cemetary deck showed his Regionals performance was no fluke. Ridiculed by all of the better known players for his deck choice, he chose to stick with it and went 4-1-1 in the swiss and won the oh-so-important quarterfinals.
Rogier Maaten won in a real nailbiter edging out Frank Karsten 3-2 with a well timed Circular Logic in the quarters. Both players are very happy to be here, qualified for Worlds and Euro’s but they still have a National Team spot to fight for. It should be an interesting match, Maarten is confident that he’s going to win but he might be a little biased. Rogier correctly pointed out that Phantom Centaur and Nimble Mongoose are really good against Maarten’s Stronghold Assassin based defense.
Both players kept slow hands with a lone Rootwalla beating down in the first couple of turns. It ran right into Nantuko Husk on turn 3 but Maarten chose not to block deeming his Husk to valuable to lose in exchange for Rogier’s turn 3. The Husk swung in and was accompanied by a Ravenous Baloth making Maarten’s turn 2 Cemetary look very good. The next couple of turns saw both players fighting for board advantage with Maarten having the edge because of his Cemetary. He could turn the enchantment on any time with his Husk but he rather had his creatures stay in play for a while. Two Phantom Centaurs started making Rogier’s life miserable as all he kept drawing were Rootwalla’s and Mongooses with no threshold in sight yet. Maarten preferred to race with his Centaurs, never blocking Rogier’s guys and Rogier actually had a window to topdeck Unsummon for the win but it wasn’t there and the Centaurs took it home.
Maarten mulliganed to start game two and he was stuck on one land and a Llanowar Elves for a turn before Living Wishing for a Swamp. He managed to Smother Rogier’s Mongrel and took some damage from a Rootwalla before stabilizing with a Faceless Butcher. A Phantom Centaur posed a large threat against Maarten’s hand of two Stronghold Assassins and Faceless Butcher. Wirewood Herald came to the rescue the next turn though providing a chain of chumpers to take the Centaur down in a couple of turns. The Stronghold Assassins came down afterwards so Rogier decided to sit behind his 4/2 Centaur and 1/1 Nimble Mongoose waiting for an Upheaval to pull himself out of this hairy situation. Living Wish for Visara gave Maarten a clock in the air to at least pressure Rogier a little and give him less time to draw his reset button. He didn’t dare cast it though in fear of Circular Logic and the staring contest went on for some more turns. Finally, Maarten decided to make his move, sacrificing his Herald to his Stronghold Assassin killing his Butcher and fetching Caller of the Claw. Then in response to the Caller he sacrificed his second Assassin to itself and ended up with three bears and the Caller for his trouble. Visara got Logiced on his own turn but his army of Bear tokens was still quite a large threat to Rogier’s Centaur and the small Mongoose. Rogier still had no luck finding his Upheaval and he was running out of time. His Centaur ran out of counters and his Mongoose couldn’t quite stand up to all the 2/2s on Maarten’s side. Maarten hit a land glut though and he slowly ran out of creatures to sacrifice to his Assassin and Rogier looked like he might make a comeback. He even had a Ray of Revelation to deal with any possible Cemetary tricks. A Careful Study dug him deeper in his deck and he found and cast a Roar of the Wurm, creating two large bodies to hide behind while his Mongoose went in for the first points. Three turns later Rogier had somehow managed to win what looked like an unwinnable game and we were on to game three.
Maarten went first this game and came out fast with a Living Wish for Braids and a Llanowar Elves. His gamble that Rogier didn’t have a two drop didn’t pay off as Rogier dropped a Mongrel. Braids was still going to hurt him quite a lot though as he needs his lands more than regular UG Madness decks. No turn three drop and a Smother on the Mongrel looked to be the nail in the coffin but Unsummon bought Rogier some time. Braids came right back down on the next turn though, accompanied by two mana Birds giving Maarten lots of mana and sacrificial fodder. Another Unsummon got Rogier up to four mana and in Phantom Centaur range, stealing the momentum right back from Maarten who had nothing significant to go with his Minion Legend. A Husk couldn’t block the Centaur either so if Rogier had anything to go with his four drop he’d be able to take a one game lead over Maarten. Just a fourth land and a go weren’t going to cut it though, especially when Maarten drew his own Phantom Centaur. After some turns of bashing the Centaurs into each other and sacrificing lands to Braids Maarten took game 3 with his army of little dorks as Rogier never played another creature after the Phantom Centaur.
A turn one Rootwalla was met by a Cabal Therapy naming Wild Mongrel. It hit turning Rogier’s hand into a rather suboptimal collection of cards. A Careful Study came off the top to salvage the situation a little but it didn’t turn up any gas. Just more Studies. Wirewood Herald teamed up with the Therapy in the graveyard to take Rogier’s last spell leaving him with 0 cards in hand and a Roar in the yard. The Roar got flashbacked next turn and Maarten couldn’t find his second black mana source for the Butcher keeping Rogier in the game for a little longer. Another draw step and still no second black mana source in sight. Meanwhile, Rogier’s airborn Wurm token was taking large chunks out of Maarten’s life total and when the second black mana source wasn’t forthcoming Maarten had to scoop up the cards and hope for better luck in the decider.
Rogier mulliganed for the first time this match but he still came out strong with a turn one Mongoose and a turn 2 Mongrel. Maarten’s hand was a lot slower with a Living Wish for Spellbane Centaur on turn two and the Centaur itself turn three. Careful Study got a Rootwalla into play and a Worship in the graveyard. It also found a second Mongrel. A Phantom Centaur and a discarded Wonder were little more than overkill.
“Best mulligan ever”