Quarterfinals: Raphael Levy vs. Johan Franzen
By Ben Ronaldson
This match-up is heavily in favor of the Frenchman's Replenish deck, the four Frantic searches in the main and Chill in the sideboard being a veritable problem for the ports and 3 and 4 casting cost spells respectively. The 2 Daze also turned out to be match savers. Johan has 2 Boil and 2 Flashfires which might prove useful, and 2 Scald which aren't actually that great because burning will not be as large an issue as early land destruction.
Things even started off badly for Franzén when his 10 on a d10 was matched to determine who starts (very important for the red deck to win this). He then lost the re-roll and proceeded to mulligan down to six after Levy had elected to play first, sticking with his second hand which contained no colored mana sources.
Raphael, having kept quite a nice 3 land hand, lays an Island, then a Port on his second turn and ports Johan's Dust Bowl in his upkeep, who lays a second Dust Bowl with Port in hand. No turn 3 Attunement for Levy, so he ports a Dust Bowl in his opponent's turn and Enlightened Tutors for one after the Swede lays his own Port. Despite having a land tapped in his upkeep he drops his fourth and lays the Attunement. In desperation Johan Dust Bowls a Port in his main phase. Raphael then Attunes in his turn and bins 2 Waves, a Seal of Cleansing and a Wrath of God, lays another land and relays the Attunement having chosen not to cast Replenish yet. All Johan can do is lay a second Port and say go. Knowing that he cannot play Replenish without a Frantic, Raph still Tutors for an Opalescence and attempts to float mana in his upkeep in the hope that he will Attune into the Search - this fails so he burns for 1, but manages to bin the Opalescence, Wave and Attunement (he also has to discard a Replenish - keeping one in hand). The Attunement is replayed and a fifth land is dropped.
In his next turn his opponent still only has two Ports to disrupt him, but Raphael has five land. This time he does draw a Frantic off the Attunement, the Replenish is played and a Plethora of mean things hit the table, most importantly - 3 Waves!
In his last turn Franzén put up a good fight with two Cave Ins and a Shock, but the Frenchman knows how to play with three Waves properly (three are required for an infinite loop) and saves all his enchantments. I would go through the motions, but to be honest it would be difficult without visual aids. Those of you who understand can pretty much imagine what happened (Raph got it right) and those of you who don't - well - Raph got it right.
IN FOR TWENTY!
Levy 1 Franzén 0
After a few words with Judges about the noise levels from the cheering in the hall (they were told that they were superstars now - and had to deal with the shrieking fans by Jeff Donais) they took about sideboarding.
" I decided yesterday how to sideboard, but now I have changed my mind." Says the Swede. He sided in the Boils, Flashfires and the Scalds, and took out Cave Ins and Shocks. Raphael sides in Lilting Refrain, Daze and Chill.
Johan didn't have a great start because he laid two Ghitu Encampments in a row and was ported in his third turn, so his Stone Rain didn't hit until turn four, followed by a Pillage on turn 5 (both on plains). Raphael took them both on the chin and laid his fifth land on turn 5 and ported Johan's Dust bowl in his upkeep - Johan responded by killing Levy's Dust Bowl, who now has only two Islands in play. Laying his sixth consecutive land drop he now also has mana to port one of the two Islands. Raph also lays his sixth land (Island) wisely keeping a Plains in hand.
The next turn shows a change in the match as Johan ports in his main phase so Levy cannot cast Counterspell, and attempts to lay a Masticore with no mana remaining untapped. Daze! (Returning an Island to his hand). The land is then relayed, so in his next turn Johan again tries for a Masticore - this time it is not countered, but Levy now has 3 lands and is range for a Frantic Search to get round the port. Sure enough, he floats a mana when he is ported, Frantics and bins a Wave and an Opalescence. He then has four mana available - so he lays a Parallax Tide and fades out four of his opponents lands.
Choosing to discard to the Masticore again, the beast comes in for four (Levy 16) and a Scald hits the table. After a brief query about whether Scald deals damage to lands when they are tapped, or only when they are tapped for mana (mana), they resume and Raph lays an Attunement (taking 1 from the Scald), gets hit for 4 more, Attunes, puts an Opalescence, Tide, and 2 Attunements in the bin, casts Replenish (2 Tides, 2 Attunements, Wave, 2 Opalescence) and de-permanents Johan with his two Tides.
IN FOR 26!
Levy 2 Franzén 0
Raphael decides to side out Lilting Refrain and sides back in a removed Seal of Removal. Johan decides that Scalds are not worth it.
Levy mulligans a 7 non-land hand and keeps a reasonably weak, but 3 land, 6 cards. Mountain - Seal of Fire...Island...Mountain...Island...Mountain - Stone Rain - is Counterspelled ( Raphael had a choice of Daze or Counterspell and wisely chose the latter). Port - Attunement... Mountain - BOIL - Daze.
So, having survived the first onslaught from the Ponza deck, Levy then made an uncharacteristic play mistake by laying a Plains before Attuning (there is no reason to not see what you draw first - for example a Counterspell would have been frustrating), but nothing relevant is drawn, so he has to put 2 Islands, a Tide and an Adarkar Wastes in the graveyard. He then relays the Attunement.
Feeling the door closing, Johan makes a Lightning Dragon.
The next Attunement draws Levy an Opalescence, Replenish and Parallax Wave. The Replenish brings out the Tides and the rest and once again Johan is de-permanented.
IN FOR 15! - concession.
Levy Wins 3-0