Team Finals: Mark Ziegner (Germany) vs. Andrew Ranks (United States)
After a three hour match against Dave Humphery to reach the final of the individual part of the 2002 World Championship, Ziegner wants his match to be fast in order to concentrate for the other final he will soon be entering. Despite the huge importance of the match, both players seem calm and relaxed. Will the US keep its title or can Mark become the new Jon Finkel by being both individual and team World Champion?
Andrew Ranks vs. Mark Ziegner
Ziegner is running a Black-Red deck stuffed with removal and some good creature, especially Whispering Shade and Filth to visit the swamps of Ranks. He is playing Black-Green with Phantom Centaur as a powerhouse. Strangely, both players are splashing blue for Scalpelexis plus Deep Analysis for Mark and Aether Burst for Andrew.
Ziegner, apparently continuing his lucky streak, wins the toss and chooses to go first. Nonetheless, Andrew plays the first creature – a Cabal Trainee – and starts to attack next turn despite the newly invoked Boneshard Slasher on Mark's side.
Both player have a good land draw and continue to trade damage; Andrew with a Gravegouger, Mark with Filth. Mark is wining the race as his Boneshard Slasher is enchanted by a Crackling Club. At 12 to 14, Andrew plays his Scalpelexis. Mark sac his Club to the trainee and throw his Slasher at the Scalpelexis in order to fill his graveyard and get rid of the blue flyer with his Zombie Assassin. Andrew goes down to 10 thanks to Filth and must face a new threat, Masked Gorgon. He trades his Gouger with Filth with an Innocent blood and prevents the Gorgon from swampwalking by playing a Nantuko Tracer.
Next turn he makes a mistake by not blocking the Gorgon with his Tracer (he has protection from Gorgons) and goes down to 5. His only playable card – an Earsplitting Rats – having been ripped by Mark's Mesmeric Fiend, he cannot attack and has to block the Gorgon next turn to discover that it doesn't kill it. Nonetheless, Mark's Whispering Shade would surely have done it even without Andrew's mistake.
Mark Ziegner 1 – Andrew Ranks 0
This game is even faster than the first, after three mulligans from Ranks; both players seem to agree that the match is already over.
Ranks puts up a good fight by playing a fifth turn Soul Scourge while Ziegner is not really aggressive (except for a second turn Boneshard Slasher). He misses his fifth land drop and his second black to Rancid Earth his opponent's land. Nonetheless, he can race the Soul Scourge with an Earsplitting Rats. When he enchants his Slasher with the usual Crackling Club, he is able to prevent the Scourge from attacking. He gets rid of two of Andrew's land (who doesn't seem too affected by the loss) and decides not to lose his Slasher and the C1ub when Ranks pumps his Scourge with an Ironshell Beetle. He goes down to 5 before laying down his sixth land and drains the Scourge to death with a Morbid Hunger to go back to 11. Meanwhile, Andrew is down to 5 and his topdecked Phantom Centaur won't be enough to win the race. Two turns later Andrews goes down to the Clubbed Slasher.
Final Result: Mark Ziegner 2 – Andrew Ranks 0
With that Germany takes a 1-0 lead on The USA.