Round 4: Who is John Galt?

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At the beginning of the round, the judge handed the competitors a black marker and instructed them to write their names on their playmates. It looks like Gadiel Szleifer will be known as "John Galt," (but really, who is John Galt?), and Chris Lachmann as "The Doctor."

Lachmann had crafted a solid green-white deck, but Szleifer was no slouch himself, picking up decent removal and the powerful Ghastlord of Fugue. Though The Doctor has some good answers to the unblockable 4/4—like Recumbent Bliss, Prison Term, Inquisitor's Snare, and Silkbind Faerie—the big scary monster could prove difficult.

Game 1

Gadiel ‘John Galt' Szleifer and Chris ‘The Doctor' Lachmann
The Doctor won the roll, and they both kept. Doc's Nightsky Mimic was quickly Scarred, and John Galt... er, Szleifer followed his one-drop removal with Fang Skulkin and Scuttlemutt on turns three and four. Even though Szleifer doubled his creatures next turn (Briarberry Cohort and Fang Skulkin #2), Lachmann's turn-three Silkbind Faerie was able to fend them all off. When Chris tapped out for an Illuminated Folio, Gadiel capitalized on the absence of a tapper and quickly swung to totals to 17-13 in his favor. Though Doc's Folio threatened long-term advantage, the short-term was all Mr. Galt.

On Szleifer's next attack, The Doctor Inquisitor's Snared a Fang Skulkin (made blue and black thanks to Scuttlemutt to pump the Cohort) and blocked the Briarberry Cohort with the Faerie. Scar #2 took out the tapper for good.

(Notice the mistake? With the black-blue Skulkin out of play, the Cohort would only be a 1/1, not enough to take out the Faerie, even with Scar. Neither of the players noticed until two turns later, and though Szleifer was issued a warning, the game state could not be changed.)

A few turns later, each playing added to the fray, Lachmann's hand had become full, thanks to the lighted book, but that's exactly what Szleifer's new Ghastlord of Fugue wanted. Though Turn to Mist saved Lachmann for a turn, the wrongly ‘yarded Silkbind Faerie was definitely bad for business. Gadiel had the Ghastlord, Wingrattle Scarecrow, a Fang Skulkin and a new Odious Trow. Lachmann had his Gwyllion Hedge-Mage, the Mage-created token, a Wickerbough Elder, an Elvish Hexhunter, and a Sonomancer that tapped down the Ghastlord. With The Doctor's attack, the totals became even at 12, and Mr. Galt lost his second Skulkin, but that Ghastlord wasn't going to be tapped down for long. And on Szleifer's attack, the lord and the scarecrow got in there for 6. After Lachmann's draw step, he scooped them up.

Szleifer 1, Lachmann 0

Gadiel didn't choose to side in anything, though his labored huffs and puffs made it seem otherwise, and Lachmann took out his Elvish Hexhunter for a Last Breath. Though it wouldn't have helped against that unblockable beatstick, Gadiel's deck does seem to sport an endless supply of 2/1s and 2/2s. It looks like that blue-black monster is going to be a problem.

Game 2

They both kept their opening seven, and the first play was a Wasp Lancer from Gadiel, answered swiftly by Wickerbough Elder. A Consign to Dreams later, Lachmann looked like he was back on turn four, replaying his Elder and saying go. Szleifer capitalized, quickly dropping Lachmann to 14 and playing his Ghastlord right on time.

Szleifer laughs under the stern gaze of Liliana Vess
When Doc Lach passed with six mana up (five Forests and a Plains, not exactly an optimal position for an almost mono-white deck), Mr. Galt confessed, "I actually have no idea what you can have." It ended up being an Inquisitor's Snare, but that was okay, because Gadiel had the Desecrator Hag to bring the surly king of Game 1 back to his hand—Ghastlord answer #1, denied. Lachmann untapped and immediately cast Illuminated Folio to search for answer #2.

Szleifer summoned that darned Ghastlord again, but Lachmann remained stoic. What did he have in the wily hand of his? Well, an Illuminated Folio activation showed the sideboarded Last Breath (in addition to Turn to Mist), but that wouldn't help against the Lancer or the Lord, and neither would the Wildslayer Elves he drew off the Folio. The blue-black buddies both got in there, and Lachmann's life total sunk further.

Lachmann kept drawing like a mad scientist, er, doctor, to get an answer to the Ghastlord. He played a Flickerwisp to stave off the flyer, and for now, that would have to do. A Niveous Wisps on Szleifer's next attack stopped Sir Fugues-a-Lot for a turn, receiving a groan from the hero of Atlas Shrugged. (He knew it would come again later with Doc Lach's Turn to Mist). For the rest of his turn, Gadiel simply played a Fang Skulkin that was promptly eaten by an eager Wickerbough Elder, who had been sitting and watching the skies above him. Chris finally got in some damage with a trampling Hungry Spriggan, but the totals were 17-7, and it wasn't looking good. Adding insult to injury, a Scar on the Flickerwisp forced Chris to play out his Turn to Mist and take 3 from the Wasp Lancer. With his life at 4, Chris needed an answer.

He didn't get it.

Gadiel "John Galt" Szleifer 2, Chris "The Doctor" Lachmann 0

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