Quarterfinal Feature Match: Iwan Tan (Germany) vs. Sergey Norin (Russia)

Posted in Event Coverage

By Trey Van Cleave

Tan's deck was a typical black/red variant with all the good removal that deck provides including Terminate, Flametongue Kavu, Ghitu Fire, and even Urza's Rage. Norin's deck was green/red, another particularly popular variant that dominated Pro Tour Tokyo, seeing four people into the top 8!

Game 1

This first quarterfinal game for these two gentlemen saw Norin take a double mulligan, which would likely prove too much to overcome. Tan's first play was on turn 2 when he laid a Nightscape Familiar with a Swamp and Keldon Necropolis. With a Forest and Mountain in play, Norin went for a Blurred Mongoose -- everyone's favorite little 2/1 uncounterable and untargetable guy from Invasion.

Tan played a Pyre Zombie the next turn, which quickly traded with the Blurred Mongoose the following turn. Tan quickly dropped a Flametongue and backed this up with two Skizziks which proved way too much for the resource-deprived Russian who missed his fifth land drop and brought in a Skizzik with no kicker to not allow his opponent to finish the game at 20.

Game 2

Tan took out three Pyre Zombie and two Blazing Specter and brought in three Slay, a Flametongue Kavu, and a Terminate while Norin took out three Kavu Titan and three Jade Leech and replaced them with two Scorching Lava, two Kavu Runner and two Flametongue Kavu. This time it was Tan's turn to mulligan, but only once, and then they were off with them only dropping land the first two turns. They both laid Raging Kavu and Nightscape Familiar on their respective third turns. Norin burned the opposing Familiar and cast a Mongoose missing his fourth land drop.

When Tan finally got up to five land himself he followed his instinct and decided to cast Void for four despite no opposing threats of this casting cost. This also freed up his Flametongue Kavus for whatever slipped through the cracks. He really hit home with this tactic pulling three Flametongue Kavu, one Kavu Runner, and one Skizzik! Normally you would be thinking "match over" with the great hand of Tan containing two Slay, a Terminate and an Urza's Rage, wow! This proved not to be the case as Norin drew not one but two Blurred Mongoose, which went all the way, as Tan could draw nothing that could deal with either of them despite the amazing card advantage he had netted throughout the game.

Game 3

Neither player changed their deck configuration, and they were off again for the final nail-biting game. Tan cracks open a perfect hand and Norin is forced once again to take a mulligan but only down to six cards and gets a decent draw with three land of both colors, two Raging Kavu, and a Flametongue. Not too bad.

Tan just overwhelmed him with the classic black/red draw starting with turn two Nightscape Familiar. The Turn 3 Blazing Specter was Ghitu Fired the following turn but then followed by Void for 4 pulling only Flametongue Kavu. That was all right as he played a Flametongue to remove the Raging Kavu and then played Plague Spitter shortly after. The Plague Spitter took his toll before Norin could find a solution and then a kicked Skizzik spelled doom for the Russian and sent the Hanover resident into the semifinals.

Final Result: Iwan Tan def. Sergey Norin, 2-1

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