Now it was time to see how Andrea Dorigo's white-blue-black control deck held up against Mardu Ballista. Dorigo was just as curious as we were, greeting his opponent with: “First Mardu of the day!”

“Really? How did you dodge all the Mardu decks?” asked an incredulous Krister Haas. As it turned out, Dorigo had missed the start of Round 1 and had begun the day in the Mardu-light loser's bracket, fighting back from an 0-1 start all the way into the Top 8.

“Wait a minute. I was your Round 1 opponent then!” said Haas, which Dorigo found quite amusing. He summed up his Mardu record in the following manner: “Uh, oh. So I was paired against one Mardu deck so far, and this one match I basically conceded …”

Game 1

Haas led with Swamp, Mountain, Heart of Kiran, and Scrapheap Scrounger but didn't have a third land. He lost his Heart to Grasp of Darkness, a Fatal Push landed the Scrounger on the scrapheap of history, and that was the end of Haas's early offense.

Krister Haas's deck didn't cooperate

He only found another play, Walking Ballista, the turn before Dorigo cast Sorin, Grim Nemesis. While Sorin took care of the Ballista and began drawing cards, Haas finally found a third—and white mana-producing—land in Needle Spires, but it was obviously much too late at this point. The game ended in a flurry of Torrential Gearhulks.

Andrea Dorigo 1-0 Krister Haas

Game 2

For the second game, Haas opened on Scrapheap Scrounger and Thraben Inspector, only to lose both, forever, to Flaying Tendrils. This put an almost unrecoverable dent into Haas's offense, not least because his hand was full of quite questionable copies of Oath of Chandra which somehow had made their way from his sideboard into his deck.

He even ran another Thraben Inspector into Dorigo's Shambling Vent just to get any use out of at least one Oath of Chandra. But the creature removal accumulated. At one point, Haas had, without exaggeration, two further Oath of Chandra, Oath of Liliana, and Unlicensed Disintegration in hand …

The cards didn't remain useless indefinitely, of course. One Torrential Gearhulk, for instance, disintegrated. And when Dorigo summoned Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and pointed Fatal Push at another of Haas's Scrapheap Scroungers to create a Zombie token, Haas could even use the red and the black Oath to clear Dorigo's board. Why he took the control route against the control deck in the first place, however, remained unclear.

Andrea Dorigo had the better control deck

Eventually, Haas drew a couple of planeswalkers and even got a free token and 2 damage out of his Oaths. But Dorigo's proper control deck had had too much time to set up. Haas just couldn't keep up with the power of Glimmer of Genius/Torrential Gearhulk, was outclassed at every turn, and was handed a resounding defeat.

Andrea Dorigo 2-0 Krister Haas

With Haas having lost one game to his own main deck not cooperating and another to his own sideboard getting in the way, we still didn't know how good Dorigo's control deck was against Mardu. Dorigo opined that the matchup probably wasn't great, not hopeless either, but definitely not as positive as it had appeared in this semifinal match.