Round 1: Tomi Walamies vs. Nicolai Herzog

Posted in Event Coverage on June 28, 2002

By Rui Oliveira

These two gentlemen are no strangers to European Championships. Herzog won one in Berlin (1999). Being a Norwegian might also help since four of the five Championships so far have been won by Norway. Walamies already has two Euro Top 8s (last year in Milan), losing to eventual winner Eivind Nitter.

Despite their long history in the Tour this is only their second feature match, the first coming in Pro Tour-London a few years ago.

Game 1

Tomi started things with Auramancer and Herzog immediately put a stop to any attacks with Pitchstone Wall. Not that Blue-White is known for its beats but you never know. The Norwegian followed that with Whispering Shade but Walamies would have none of that: Stupefying Touch.

Nicolai: "Very good."

Wormfang Behemoth
A few turns later Walamies found out his Aven Flock wasn't much of a blocker for Grotesque Hybrid. He solved that a turn later with a huge Wormfang Behemoth. Since he was playing Black-Red Herzog really wanted to put this game away before Walamies blue-white could grind things to a halt.

Still the Behemoth forced him to hang back, adding Ember Beast and Soul Scourger to the table. Walamies, with his stylish "pinkish" hair, played Skywing Aven and Cephalid Looter to end the turn empty handed.

Herzog had Ember Shot but needed to pick which of the annoying creatures to kill. The Shot took out the Looter and Ghastly Demise showed up just in time to kill the Aven before Walamies could draw a card to bounce it.

Tomi was in big trouble. The next swing from the Hybrid-Scourger duo left him at five. With only Flock as a blocker Walamies thought he had two turns to find an answer. In fact he had only one.

Shade's Form was right there at the top of Herzog's deck and the Hybrid was elusive enough and certainly big enough to put Walamies' misery to an end.

Tomi (smiling): "You are so lucky, otherwise I would have won. I had a masterplan."

Nicolai 1-0 Tomi

Game 2

The Finnish kicked things of with Cephalid Looter but Herzog had Volcanic Spray to stop any nonsense. The next creature wasn't quite as tricky but could put a good dent in any beatdown plan: Mirror Wall.

Since Nicolai didn't play a creature, the wall did the unthinkable and attacked. Attacking walls, what will they think of next? Skywing Aven joined the table and Herog agonized over his next move.

Eventually he played a very gutsy Sickening Dreams for three (losing Lava Dart and lands). Walamies bounced his Aven and Volcanic Spray finished the Mirror Wall. Walamies played a Mental Note (moving Wonder to the graveyard).

Tomi: "That was the worst play I ever made. If I had played that in response to your Dreams I could have saved my Wall."
Nicolai: "I guess I should have played the Spray first."
Tomi: "We're getting old."
Nicolai: "We used to be good at this game."

The Aven came back and brought Militant Monk along. Meanwhile Nicolai played Frightcrawler and Ember Beast. The Monk got himself a Psionic Gift to take down the Frightcrawler before it could block.

The flashback on the Lava Dart took out the Monk but the Aven had Herzog at four. He needed a good blocker so he found one: Grotesque Hybrid. Still Walamies sent the brave Skywing Aven into the imaginary Red Zone.

Herog had no choice but to block with the Hybrid and Walamies showed his trick: Guided Strike. With a smile and shake of his head Herzog buried the Hybrid. On the next turn he used Engulfing Flames to get rid of the Aven for a while.

With the Aven bouncing around Walamies added a Mirror Wall to the table. Between the two creatures, and the Wonder in the graveyard, Nicolai's desperate attempts to stem the bleeding ended.

Nicolai 1-1 Tomi

Game 3

They discussed a few draft picks, especially how Walamies' neighbour passed him Wonder, and retouched the sideboards a bit before moving on for the last game with twenty-nine minutes still on the clock.

Again Tomi started with a troublesome creature: the Aven Herzog has so much trouble dealing with. Barbarian Lunatic showed up but Walamies had his Mirror Wall to slow things down.

Nicolai: "Amazing."

But the Norwegian wasn't out of luck as well. He had his Cabal Torturer and played it, ready to keep Skywing Aven out of the table. That seemed like a good plan until Walamies dropped Stupefying Touch to shut down the Torturer.

The Lunatic was doing its best to run, and Pitchstone Wall showed up to stall the ground, but Tomi Walamies was at full throttle. He discarded Wonder to Aven, thus giving his very aggressive wall flying.

With all this trickery half of Herzog's life was gone and things didn't look so good. The Aven tried to block the Lunatic and three discarded cards later Walamies was able to save it. Despite the Lunatic's double attempt to kill the annoying flyer and a Ghastly Demise it still stuck around.

The Mirror Wall brought Herzog to seven and Skywing Aven came back. Nicolai was in deep trouble. Another swing brought him to two and the Finnish played another Mirror Wall.

Tomi: "I have three Mirror Walls in my draft."

The Norwegian stared at his five cards hand for a few seconds looking for a near-miraculous way out. But there was none. The flying Walls and Skywing Aven were too much to handle.

Final Result: Tomi 2-1 Nicolai

Nicolai Herzog, Norway

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Tomi Walamies, Finland

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