Feature Match Round 13: David Ball vs. Josh Rider
These players are in a position where they will make top 8 if they win their remaining two matches. The match-up is one of the defining ones in the format, Josh Rider is playing red-white control, and Dave Ball is playing mono-white control. It’s very difficult for the mono-white deck to beat the Astral Slide/Decree of Annihilation combo in game one.
Both players keep their initial hands. Josh made a second turn Lightning Rift, and as David is short on lands he is forced to cycle repeatedly and take damage from it. He had all four Exalted Angels in his hand, but couldn’t find even a fifth land. All he played was a Dawn Elemental and put Dragon Scales on it.
Josh played cautiously depite having a second Lightning Rift in hand as he didn’t want to get them destroyed by Akroma’s Vengeance. When Dave made a Silver Knight to go with the Elemental, it was Josh who had to cast Akroma’s Vengeance, with enough mana left over to drop an Astral Slide.
Dave finally ripped land number six and played his Exalted Angel. Josh made an Eternal Dragon; The life totals at this point were Dave Ball 12, Josh Rider 8. When the Angel attacked, Josh simply blocked with his Dragon ans slid it out. Rider drew and Dave made six 1/1 Soldiers with a Decree in his second main phase. Rider could have used the Astral Slide to remove his Eternal Dragon from the game and then cast Decree of Annihilation to remove everything else, but for some reason he didn’t.
Instead he gave Ball the chance to untap and play Akroma. He had enough cyclers to stop the attack from killing him, and then used the Slide on his Dragon in Dave’s end step. Dave conceded as soon as Josh played the Decree.
Josh Rider 1 – David Ball 0
Unfortunately the English player had to take a triple mulligan. At least he had Silver Knights on both turns two and three. Josh made a Lightning Rift but it didn’t do anything as he had to cast Akroma’s Vengeance.
Dave made a Dawn Elemental and Rider held it off with an Exalted Angel, then cast Astral Slide. With a Slide in play Josh was able to start attacking with the Angel. Ball cast Wing Shards leaving Rider with only two mana untapped after saving the Angel, and his Vengance cleared the board.
It didn’t matter though, as Josh had a Decree for seven soldiers and a second Astral Slide in hand. He finished the game by dropping two Lightning Rifts and cycling Dave out.
Josh Rider 2 – David Ball 0