Finals – Marcelino Freeman (W/R/G) vs. Marc Lalague (U/R)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 15, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

"This has been a pretty cool day," Marcelino Freeman beamed as he sat down across from Marc Lalague, his Finals opponent.

"I completely agree," Lalague replied.

Both of these players came in looking to get a little more experience with the Born of the Gods/Theros Limited format before heading to the Pro Tour next week. What they ended up with was invitations to three additional Pro Tours. Combined with the points they will get for simply attending the Pro Tour next weekend, both Freeman and Lalague have locked themselves up Silver Pro Player Club status, giving them a Pro Tour invite this year, as well as next, and they also get the qualification for Pro Tour Journey to Nyx for making Top 4. It was quite a haul, and both players were more than ecstatic.

With most of the pressure off, there was a friendly vibe as the match began. The early game was filled with posturing for both players, something that would greatly benefit Lalague's slower U/R deck. Freeman's aggressive W/R/G deck didn't quite have the insane assortment of one-drops that his previous draft deck did, but it did share one thing in common with it: Ember Swallower. Freeman didn't even need to think when asked what his best card on the weekend was, and its aid continued into the Top 8. When it hit the table on turn 4, it dominated the board. When Xenagos, the Reveler, followed, it looked like Freeman was in great shape to take the first game.

Marcelino Freeman

Lalague wasn't without his defenses, though. The threat of a monstrous Ill-Tempered Cyclops kept Freeman's creatures at bay for a turn. After making it monstrous on Freeman's end step, Lalague attacked Xenagos. Freeman's Swallower jumped in the way and tried to Rise to the Challenge, but a Fall of the Hammer took it out, allowing Lalague to assign the trample damage straight through to Xenagos, netting himself a three-for-one. Now incredibly far ahead, Lalague tried to take advantage while he could, but things quickly slipped back into parity. Divine Verdict killed the larger of Lalague's creatures, and Polis Crusher gave Freeman a large monster of his own, slowing the game to a crawl.

Freeman tried to break the game out of the stalemate with a huge Portent of Betrayal, but Lalague was ready with a timely Dissolve. He thought for quite some time about keeping the card, eventually deciding that it was something he wanted, which is something you never want to see as an opponent in this spot. When Lalague dropped a Horizon Scholar onto his side of the table, the game finally found some offense. It found a lethal dose two turns later when Lalague's Kraken of the Straits took to the skies via a Nimbus Naiad, bringing an abrupt end to the game.

Marc Lalague

Down a game and with his back against the wall, fate appeared to be conspiring against Freeman, as he sent his first two hands back to the well. He shrugged glumly at his five card hand, knowing he couldn't go any lower. It was at least good enough to give him a Reckless Revelers, but Pillar of War and Ill-Tempered Cyclops put a quick and to any attacks. When a Sealock Monster appeared the turn after, the game was effectively over.

Freeman glumly shook Lalague's hand as cheers erupted from Lalague's teammates.

"Sorry about that last game," Lalague offered.

"It's ok," Freeman responded. "See you next week."

Congratulations to Marc Lalague, Grand Prix Mexico City 2014 champion!

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