Tim told me in confidence that his singular reason for main-decking Wild Swing was to cast it on podmate Mark Herberholz. It looks like he'll get his chance Round 8. Aten and Heezy discuss how badly both their drafts went, so I guess that means their decks will be evenly matched. But with Aten's 13 creatures at 3 or less, I hope Heezy's bad draft involves some solid early-game plays.
Right on time, Aten dropped a turn-two Nightsky Mimic and then chuckled when Herberholz countered with a Tilling Treefolk. "Don't worry, the hits don't stop!" Herberholz said, but they both knew that 1/3s historically do well against 2/1s. They each added little dudes but Aten's Tatterkite was an evasive trump to Herberholz's Hoof Skulkin. Being the only flyer, ‘kite got in there turn four and, just like clockwork, Aten got his wish.
Staring at Heezy's two Mountains and a Forest, Aten smiled and slammed down the Wild Swing. Though it only took a Mountain, it was enough, as Herberholz missed his land drop and merely added a Tattermunge Witch, while he watched Tatterkite fly over his defenders and Aten cast Belligerent Hatchling. Though Heezy's draw step didn't yield his next land, a Crimson Wisps did, and now perhaps the PT–Honolulu winner could find an answer to Aten's clunky little flyer. After Herberholz passed, Aten's first Recumbent Bliss took out the Skulkin and some Turn to Mist shenanigans saved his Mimic from Heezy's blocking Witch.
Herberholz was now at dangerously low on life, and a Snakeform solely used for cycling typically means things are looking bad. Aten's Nip Gwyllion and Blight Sickle further lengthened the gap by making the Mimic 4/4 and making the Tatterkite hit for three.
Herberholz Flame Jabbed the Tatterkite, but got no other help from his draw step; Aten's second Recumbent Bliss sealed his fate.
Mark Herberholz 0 – 1 Tim Aten.
Aten sided in his Last Breath while trying to contain his glee from not only winning the last game, but also most likely on the back of a Wild Swing. He was hoping for a repeat of Game 1, but he'd have to draw more than half his deck's removal in his first ten cards to replicate that performance.
Herberholz started the land-dropping game, and Aten's turn-two Mimic was good, but not as good as the Boggart Arsonists from Heezy the following turn. Next turn, Aten's Somnomancer was outclassed by a Noggle Bridgebreaker. Nip Gwyllion came down to transform the Mimic Mystique-style and the totals became 16-14 in Aten's favor, but without another white-black hybrid on his next turn, Aten could only attack with his Tatterkite, dropping Heezy to 12.
Herberholz's creatures already outclassed Aten's with a 4/3 and a plainswalker, but Heezy wanted to add insult to injury with a big ol' Furystoke Giant. His impact, however, was blunted by Last Breath and Puncture Bolt from Aten, leaving only Bridgebreaker able to shoot down a creature (Nightsky Mimic). The next turn Heezy untapped and sent in his Noggle and used Desecrator Hag to get back his fallen goblin fire-starter.
Aten's deck proved it was the little deck that could by countering a Smash to Smithereens on his Tatterkite with a Turn to Mist. But yet another monster to dwarf his deck appeared in the form of a Rosheen Meanderer. Though Aten was up 14-8, the Giant was enough to convince him to scoop them up. His deck does seem like it'd have trouble with 4/4s, 4/3s, and a persisting game-swinging killer like Furystoke.
Mark Herberholz 1 – 1 Tim Aten
A crowd has gathered at this point – all eagerly watching these spectacled combatants shuffle up. (Get it? "Spectacled"?! You see, they're both wearing glasses, and they're also both being watched! Nevermind.)
Mark Herberholz and Tim Aten.
Off to the races with Aten's consistent turn-two; this time in the form of Blight Sickle, followed closely by a Tatterkite. Bloodmark Mentor and Boggart Arsonists from Herberholz, but the latter didn't last long. Aten untapped and Puncture Bolted it into next week, before sending in his constantly helpful Tatterkite and adding Nightsky Mimic. The flyer hit for a total of six before Heezy calmly untapped, Flame Jabbed one 2/1 and then the other. A return double-Jab from Aten took out Heezy's Hoof Skulkin, and the board became lonely, with only a Sickle and the Mentor.
Aten taunted Heezy to draw a land by dropping a 1/1 Kithkin Rabble, and after Flame Jabbing Heezy's new Tattermunge Witch, the Sickle'd Rabble got in for 2. Another Jab cleared Herberholz's board, and Aten finally swung the life totals in his favor 12-10. The cantripped Snakeform (yes, again) found the land Herberholz was looking for and he Jabbed the Rabble out. Now if he could just deal with the Aten's new Cinder Pyromancer. Perhaps Noggle Bridgebreaker would do? Aten said "Nope" with a Recumbent Bliss, but Herberholz found a different answer in another retraced Flame Jab to stalemate the board again (though not before the red pinger took Heezy to 8). More 2/2s to re-up Aten's board: Safehold Elite, Safehold Sentry, and then the double-2/2 Lurebound Scarecrow. Though the Rustrazor Butcher was minimal help for Herberholz, even an unpumped Crabapple Cohort became a formidable foil to the oversized scarecrow. Unfortunately, Aten's tricks didn't stop: Somnomancer tapped the Cohort and the whole team swung in against only Heezy's untapped Butcher.
The quick pace of Game 3's dueling Flame Jab
s finally slowed as Herberholz slowly reviewed his graveyard, and pondered how to best survive the 7 power attacking him. He blocked the Scarecrow and sunk to 3. Through Heezy's troubles Aten was sitting comfortably, thanks to the reoccurring life-gain from Recumbent Bliss
on the Pro Tour champion's sad little Noggle. Herberholz took even more time for his main phase than in Aten's attack step and reviewed his graveyard again. He cast a Desecrator Hag
, returning the largest power in the graveyard – a two-powered Tattermunge Witch
– but it wasn't enough. When Aten showed Bliss #2, Heezy was shown the door.
Mark Herberholz 1 – 2 Tim Aten