Jaime Marrero vs. Xavier Petit
Round Fifteen Feature Match:
ever give up, never surrender. Veteran French player Xavier Petit finished the first day in the magical 128th place. Today he swept his first five rounds to reach this final round still in contention. It's not easy, but he kept believing and working for the Top 8.
Jaime may not have made a Rocky-like recovery today but he still had to work hard to reach this final round within reach of the Top 8. The round started with a rather long deck check, earning them an extra twenty minutes to play.
Petit blinked first with leonin Den-Guard followed by turn three Loxodon Warhammer. Marresmo had no answer except a low whistle. On the following turn the Warhammer came online and Marremos failed to draw his fourth land, discarding Reiver Demon.
Xaiver played Pearl and Granite Shard. On the next turn he dropped Pteron Ghost. Just in time for Jaime's fourth land. Those four lands powered out Barter in Blood. That might have been enough to slow down the French if he didn't have Darksteel Gargoyle in his grip.
Out came the indestructible flyer and a turn later the Spanish was scooping.
Xavier 1 - Jaime 1.
Petit had to take a mulligan and came out with Chimeric Egg while Marrero played Talisman and Slith Ascendant. The Ascendant swung in and Arcbound Bruiser joined the Spanish army.
The French still had no creatures but he had Loxodon Warhammer. His main problem was the increasingly fatter Slith Ascendant. Xavier tried Titanium Golem and Jaime was glad to sacrifice his newly cast Wizards Replica to keep it out of the table.
By the time the French actually played a creature - Pteron Ghost - Marrero had three monsters and Screams from Within in his grip. As you can easily imagine the French scooped in less than a minute.
Xavier 1 - Jaime 1.
Fifteen rounds later, it all came down to this. The winner might make it to the Top 8 - depending on tiebreakers - while the loser gets to watch the final draft from the sidelines.
Xavier decided the wanted to draw first and they both kept their hands.
Petit played Pteron Ghost and Skyhunter Cub and Jaime dropped Slith Ascendant and used Blinding Beam to allow it to attack twice without any troublesome blockers in the way.
When the creatures untapped Petit gave the Cub Vulshok Gauntlets but Marrero played a second Blinding Beam to tap the potential blockers. This time Xavier Petit was ready, he played his OWN Beam locking Jaime's creatures as well.
Since none of the flying armies where going anywhere for a while both players started dropping creatures and clogging up the ground. Finally Jaime sent some of his creatures in and Petit thought long and hard before blocking, trying to figure out what trick the Spanish had.
Marrero had no trick and was just trying to load his modular counters into a Wizard Replica. He did just that by trading Slith Ascendant and Arcbound Bruiser for Pteron Ghost and the chance to bring Xavier down to eight.
His next land drop brought him within one mana of casting the Reiver Demon burning in his hand since the start of the game, but for now he could only pass the turn back to the French pounding his deck. Petit dropped and sacrificed Myr Incubator netting himself seven tokens.
Jaime: "Don't you want to remove the Loxodon Warhammer as well?"
Xavier: "Nah... I don't think so."
Petit passed the turn with a world of tokens on the table. Little did he know his opponent was holding Reiver Demon AND Solar Tide. Still, the Spanish - one mana short of Demon mana - decided to drop Goblin Dirigible and Steel Wall instead.
The French dropped Skeleton Shard and returned his Arcbound Bruiser. He sacrificed to pump his Gargoyles and used Razor Barrier to make sure it would sneak past the flying blockers. He pondered his options and eyed Jaime's life total (thirteen). He entered his combat phase and... thought for a while longer.
He was sure his Gargoyle could sneak in nine of the thirteen damage and the rest of the swarm could ensure the remaining for points if Jaime Marrero didn't have any tricks in hand (with three White and three Black mana open).
He sent everyone in and the Spanish dropped Needlebug (the third card in his hand, along with Reiver Demon and Solar Tide). When the bloodbath ended Jaime was at one and Petit was down to five creatures.
Then... Marrero found his eighth land. Out came Reiver Demon. Petit extended his hand.
Final result: Jaime won 2 - 1 and will play in the Top 8.