Final: - Adam Horvath vs. Chris Fennell

Posted in Event Coverage on April 18, 2004

By Michael Thicke

Adam brought a removal-packed red-black deck to the table with tons of depth, but Chris felt his threats matched up well with Horvath's removal, as he didn't have many blue creatures for Horvath's Terrors, or many significant artifacts for Horvath's several artifact destruction cards. However, it would still be a stretch, as Chris's deck was significantly less powerful than his opponent's.

As he shuffled up, Chris noted that he had a test at ten in the morning, and it was a fourteen-hour drive home. Seeing as it was 8:30 already, I don't like his chances for doing well in his course. Hopefully his professor will understand - there are some things that come before education. Like playing Magic cards.

When he sat down, Adam offered the standard "Winner of the roll chooses play or draw, loser chooses side of playmat" deal. Chris was a bit confused by the offer, thinking that the winner got both options, so he was pretty happy when he won the roll. Perhaps a little less happy when he found out he was losing his side of the table, but he was still going first.

Chris kept his initial hand of double Island, double Swamp, Serum Tank, Lumengrid Augur, and Clockwork Condor, and Adam also kept his hand. Adam had the first play of the game with Grimclaw Bats, and Chris's first play was Serum Tank. Adam had a Krark-Clan Grunt to keep up the pressure. Chris's fourth turn Condor traded with the Grimclaw Bats.

Chris looked to be pulling ahead in the game as he Moriok Scavenger'd the Clockwork Condor. Adam played Arcbound Bruiser to threaten the attack again, but Chris replayed the Condor to stabilize. Adam thought on his next turn forever, and eventually cast Betrayal of Flesh with entwine, sacrificing his three mountains to kill the Condor and get back Grimclaw Bats. The Arcbound Bruiser, now unopposed, took Chris down to 13 life.

Chris had his own Grimclaw Bats in response, but on Adam's next attack he played Wail of the Nim with entwine to kill Chris's Scavenger and take him down to 9 without losing any of his own creatures. Chris Serum Tank'd and drew for his turn - a Duplicant. The Duplicant looked great initially, but it would become a 0/0 if it took out the Arcbound Bruiser. Chris instead opted to remove the flying Grimclaw Bats and get 1/1.

Adam's next turn took Chris down to five, but Chris's Serum Tank finally paid off on the next turn, as he busted out with AEther Spellbomb, Frogmite, and Lumengrid Augur. Adam Terrored the Augur, which Chris expected given the number of unplayed cards in his hand. Adam again attacked with the Bruiser, and Chris double-blocked it with Duplicant and Frogmite. AEther Spellbomb then bounced the Duplicant, making the game look less than good for Adam from that point on.

It looked even less good when Chris played Chittering Rats and Neurok Spy on his turn. Adam had to pass on his next turn, as he drew the card he lost to Chittering Rats. Chis compounded the situation with Grid Monitor on his next turn, which elicited a raised eyebrow from Horvath. "Grid Monitor is an interesting card choice."

Over the next few turns Grid Monitor got to work evening the life totals, eventually taking the score to 6 - 5 in Adam's favor. Scavenging Scarab and Atog from Adam was partially answered by Thunderstaff. Chris had been drawing a bunch of cards off Serum Tank, but he couldn't seem to find any useful non-creature spells, and especially nothing to bounce his Monitor. Scarab took Chris down to three on Adam's next attack, and Atog chump-blocked the Monitor to stay alive. On Adam's next turn he needed one extra point of damage to win. Shatter on Thunderstaff with damage on the stack did the trick.

Horvath 1 - 0 Fennell

Chris again led off the second game. His opening hand was a little disappointing, with double Island, double Swamp, Duplicant, Frogmite, and Echoing Truth, but it was good enough to keep.

As with the last game, Adam came out of the gates early, with Leonin Scimitar, Grimclaw Bats, and Krark-Clan Grunt to Chris's fourth turn opening of Lumengrid Augur. Adam's fourth turn brought out Bonesplitter, which equipped the Bats. Scimitar on Grunt meant that Augur couldn't block effectively, and Chris took seven.

At this point the players heard that Patrick Sullivan had lost, so Horvath was in a must-win situation.

Chris passed his turn with five mana up, hoping to buy some time with his now double Echoing Truth. He was successful in that endeavor, as he got Horvath to tap enough mana to not be able to replay either of his creatures.

On Chris's turn, Augur decided to get aggressive and hit Adam to fourteen. An impressive four casting-cost Frogmite followed the theme of over-costed guys for Chris, but he still looked to be winning. Adam had an equally underwhelming play on his turn as he Echoing Ruined the Frogmite. Disciple of the Vault grabbed Scimitar and Bonesplitter to take Chris to seven, and then the Bats came back into play.

Duplicant returned for another go at being a six-mana 1/1 as it took out Grimclaw Bats to keep Chris in the game. Nim Replica and Krark-Clan Grunt from Horvath quickly removed Chris's illusions of stability on the next turn, but Greater Harvester from Chris hoped to stall the game out yet again. Unfortunately for Chris, Adam had the Electrostatic Bolt to kill the Augur, allowing him to kill Chris with combat damage and Disciple life-loss. Fortunately for Chris, his team won the match as he faced imminent death. There's nothing like losing a match to win a Grand Prix!

Horvath 2 - 0 Fennell

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