THE BATTLES FOR 9-0

Posted in NEWS on March 15, 2014

Here's a quick look at three of the 8-0 matches. The fourth, Zac Hill vs Philip Dettelis, was decided on-camera. The fight to be one of the Day 1 Undefeateds is an odd mix of pressure and serenity. On the one hand, players fight their hardest, knowing that a 9-0 start means that a Top 8 berth is well within reach. On the other hand, even if you lose, you're still in Day 2 with a loss to give. The worst-case scenario isn't nearly so bad. Here's how things shook out.

 

Daniel Fournier (Blue-Red) vs Jacob Gagnon (Green-Blue splashing Red)

 

Gagnon took the first game on the back of a very monstrous Polis Crusher with help from Retraction Helix to make sure Fournier could not race. In the second, Fournier's Deepwater Hypnotist got help from a bestowed Everflame Eidolon and started taking huge chunks out of Gagnon's life total. He again had the Polis Crusher, but the race was not in his favor. Worse, he forgot that the Hypnotist had shrunk a 1/1 Setessan Oathsworn's power, so that Fall of the Hammer was not the blowout he had anticipated.

They shuffled up for the decider. Fournier led with Flitterstep Eidolon and took out a Setessan Oathsworn with Fall of the Hammer before it could grow out of reach. Gagnon had no play on four mana, and Fournier added Wavecrash Triton to his board. Gagnon took to the skies with a 4/4 Siren of the Fanged Coast. Fournier gave his Flitterstep a Dragon Mantle and hit for four, spending his last two mana on Deepwater Hypnotist. Gagnon was long on land and short on options. He played Stratus Walk on the Siren to draw a card, and Nyxborn Triton to block.

Unfortunately for him, Fournier was going bigger. He tapped six for Shipbreaker Kraken. A Sudden Storm kept it at bay for a turn, but Fournier hit eight land right on time to lock up Gagnon's board. An attack later and the match was his.

Fournier wins 2-0

 

Joe Demestrio (Blue-White) vs Michael Ando (White-Black)

 

In the first game, the two players traded creatures before Ando got way ahead thanks to a 5/5 Ornitharch. Demestrio was flooding out and summoned Horizon Scholar. Ando had Asphyxiate at the ready, and without a way to stop the big opposing flier, Demestrio had to pack up.

Ando had a textbook aggressive draw for the second game. Akroan Skyguard into Elite Skirmisher, then Spiteful Returned to tap a blocker and get in for piles more damage. It didn't help that Demestrio was on all blue lands. He tried to barricade behind Prescient Chimera and Horizon Scholar, but Glimpse the Sun God pushed through exactly lethal damage.

Ando wins 2-0

 

Gerard Fabiano (Green-Red splashing Blue) vs Terrence Dufour (Blue-Red)

 

Fabiano and Dufour were already shuffling up for their second game by the time I was tableside, Fabiano having taken the first. The second proceeded at an equallly blistering pace. Fabiano was first on the board and pressured Dufour with a sequence of early plays. Dufour's draw was short on early plays and his life total started to drop. He tried to regroup but Fabiano knocked him back with Retraction Helix, then played Xenagos, God of Revels. Even though he wasn't manifest, Xenagos's ability served up hasty attackers to defeat Dufour before his big creatures could come online.

Fabiano wins 2-0