Gateway Finals: vs. Metagames

Posted in Event Coverage on March 14, 2002

By Josh Bennett

More than a caricature than a human being, Peter Szigeti hasn't enjoyed the success of some of his Magic Colony compatriots. However, he's one win away from the Masters Series, thanks partly to his teammates Brian Hegstad and Phil Freneau. Standing in their way is Metagames, who established themselves at Pro Tour - New York in the shadow of Les Plus Class. They are three of France's strongest players, Wilfried Ranque, Franck Canu and Raphael Levy. Though the draft favored Metagames (particularly a pack that gave them Overrun AND Kamahl), both teams are confident that they can win it.

The Levy-Szigeti match was the first out of the gates. Szigeti tried early pressure, but he was completely shut down by a pair of Pilgrims of Justice. He contented himself in the meantime making squirrels with Acorn Harvest.

Ranque had the better of Hegstad in the early going, clearing a path for his Anurid Scavenger and Centaur Chieftan with Sonic Seizure and Thermal Blast. Hegstad bided his time, holding Persuasion. Freneau was also laying in wait. He had Mutilate in hand and passed his fifth turn without making a play. Canu refused to commit more than Gravegouger and Diligent Farmhand.

Hegstad didn't wait long to unleash his master plan, taking the Cheiftain and using Crypt Creeper to send the Scavenger packing. Freneau also went for it, dropping Roar of the Wurm and then clearing the board with Mutilate. Unfortunately, Canu came right back with Faceless Butcher and Springing Tiger.

Szigeti's ground was completely locked up, and he couldn't answer Levy's two fliers, and succumbed. Hegstad's victory soon evened things up. Freneau struggled to deal with Canu's offence. His Master Apothecary was trumped by Krosan Constrictor, Krosan Archer and Cabal Torturer.

Szigeti moved to Game 2, and finally his offence seemd to hit its stride, first Springing Tiger and then Centaur Chieftan. This last he traded along with Sonic Seizure and a land to get rid of Patrol Hound and Mystic Zealot.

Hegstad continue to show up Ranque, using Broker to its fullest extend and answering a Beast Attack with Persuasion and Repel. He started to take huge chunks out of Ranque's life total.

Freneau, getting desperate, and tapped out for Chainer. Canu untapped and played Overrun. The Equal Treatment in Freneau's hand (maindecked specifically to fight Overrun, mind you) mocked him. He blocked as best as he could, but lost everything, while Canu kept his Tiger and Constrictor.

By the time Ranque had drawn his Kamahl, Hegstad had smashed him to eight and had a thresholded Dirty Wererat on deck. Szigeti and Levy continued to build up forces, but neither could make a move. Meanwhile, Freneau had dealt with both Constrictor and Tiger, but couldn't handle Metamorphic Wurm and Whispering Shade.

Szigeti's last hope was to cast Flash of Defiance and follow it up with Rites of Initiation for the win. He cast the Flash, and Levy used his Looter to find Liquify. Szigeti was understandably upset. But CCGHouse wasn't behind for long. Though Ranque had managed to topdeck first Gravedigger and Refresh to keep his Kamahl on the table, then Anurid Scavenger to hold off the Wererat, Hegstad wasn't to be denied. He played out Organ Grinder and Frightcrawler. The 'Crawler lived, and attacked Ranque to one. Morbid Hunger finished the job.

So it all came down to Freneau and Canu. Canu was smiling. His Nantuko Elder had dropped Carrion Wurm into play on turn four. Freneau made Chainer thanks to Millikin, then reanimated the Zealot it had milled. He double blocked the Wurm. Canu played Muscle Burst.

Gravedigger got Chainer back for an encore, but when he blocked the Elder he fell to Cabal Torturer and Afflict. That seemed to be the end, but Freneau drew into Second Thoughts for the Carrion Wurm, giving him the go-ahead to Mutilate away the board. He followed that up with Roar of the Wurm, and suddenly he didn't seem so hopeless.

Canu was ready with Faceless Butcher, but couldn't answer the second Wurm. Freneau's three life meant he couldn't attack. He drew Sadistic Hypnotist and sacrificed it to strip Canu's hand. It included Overrun, which Canu chose not to use for fear of tricks.

And then, right off the top, Canu peeled Whispering Shade! Freneau looked at his next card, then scooped up his cards, giving the win and Masters Berth to Metagames!

Final Result: Metagames defeats

Brian Hegstad

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Peter Szigeti

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Phil Freneau

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Wilfried Ranque

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Raphael Levy

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Franck Canu

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