Round 10 Feature Match: Laura Karem vs. Matt Ranks

Posted in Event Coverage on December 18, 2015

By Joshua Claytor

Laura Karem vs. Matt RanksAt 8-1 Matt Ranks was representing the hometown Atlanta crew. Looking for his first major event top eight, he faced down one of the surprises of the Grand Prix, Laura Karem from Kentucky. Laura has had no major success at premiere events, but has had moderately good finishes in Pro Tour Qualifiers around the Kentucky area.

Both players were playing very similar draft decks. Matt was sporting an aggressive red green deck, while Karem went with a surprising mono-green draft strategy. Laura won the die roll, and decided to kick off the round. Both players kept their opening hands.

Laura started off quickly with a Diligent Farmhand. Ranks played a land, and passed his turn. After attacking with the small farmer, Laura made a Wild Mongrel, and passed the turn. Not to be surpassed in creature quality, Ranks answered back with a Mongrel of his own.

At this point of the game, the attacking slowed down to a crawl. Neither player wanted to lose the creature advantage. Small creatures were cast for both sides, and the first attempt to break the standoff came from Ranks. He cast a Thermal Blast targeting Laura's only Krosan Avenger, and it was sent of packing to the bone yard. Ranks then kick started the attack phase as his Wild Mongrel was sent in to smash the face of Laura. The attack moved Laura down to critical life points, and was one Overrun or Rites of Initiation away from losing the match.

Laura KaremBut as everyone who has ever played a game of Odyssey Draft knows, green has the tools to just accidentally win the game. Laura calmly untapped her permanents, drew her card, and cast Overrun. She attacked with her super charged trampling critters for a total of twenty-one points of damage. Ranks, however found a way to stay alive. Only blocking a Krosan Avenger with a Patchwork Gnomes, he super sized it with a Muscle Burst to give it a +4/+4 bonus. This moved allowed Ranks to stay in the game but with only four points of life left to work with.

Thermal Blast on ranks turn ended the life of a Springing Tiger, and it looked like he was going to get back into the game. His next attack phase moved Laura to thirteen life points.

Laura attacks with the remaining team, and lost her lyrist in combat. She moved into the second main phase, and cast a fresh Krosan Avenger. Matt was not afraid as he moved to his turn. However, he was unaware of his opponent's graveyard and threshold status. He attempted to kill off Laura's second Avenger with a Thermal Blast, but she was able to regenerate it. The play mistake visually rattled the hometown player, but he was still in a good position as he cast the huge Metamorphic Wurm during his second main phase. Looking for answer to the wurm, Laura attacked, and the creatures raced by unblocked. This moved Ranks to a low two life points. Luck was able to cast a paltry Cartographer, and passed the turn. Ranks went for the jugular in his attack phase, but Laura blocked and cast refresh on the lowly chump-blocking Cartographer. Sensing the end, Laura untapped with gusto. She enchanted her Krosan Avenger with Seton's Desire, and entered her attack phase. The huge creatures of Matt's were forced to block the regenerating creature while the lowly Cartographer danced through unblocked for the final two points of damage.

Laura wins game one.

Not much was said during the break between games by the players. Intent on getting the second and third games over with the short time remaining, the side-boarded cards were added with quickness.

Matt RanksMatt opted to play first to start the second game. Again, both players kept their opening hands, and the game got off to a slower then normal start. Laura started off the game with a turn two Rites of Spring. Unimpressed, Ranks answered with the broken Leaf Dancer. The unblockable creature put Laura on a minimum ten turn clock and forced her to find bigger and better creatures. Twigwalker, Laura's answer did nothing. Trying to race the forest walking Leaf Dancer, Laura slammed down a Chatter of the Squirrel and ended her turn. Pardic Firecat added to Laura's clock nest turn, as the two groundpounders attacked her for damage.

Still trying to race, Laura attacked with the Twigwalker. Casting a Springing Tiger, the board looked fairly stable. Thermal Blast however shattered that stability. Taking another four from the Firecat and Dancer, Laura comes back from with another Tiger. Matt only attacks with the Leaf Dancer, and casts the huge Metamorphic Wurm.

Laura was unable to answer that creature or the Overrun that follows on the next turn.

She entered her scoop phase with ten minutes left in the match.

1-1.

Karem opted to start off the final game, and both players kept the match mulligan free.

This match started off with another slow start. A turn four Avenger from Laura was enchanted by Seton's Desire and was soon beating for five a turn. However, the creatures that Ranks cast were beating back just as hard. The match started to swing in Ranks favor but Laura was able to play her trump card, Overrun.

Sighing, the seemingly defeated Ranks tapped two mana and player Moment's Peace. Shattered, Laura passed her turn, and stared in horror of the lethal damage that was handed to her during the next attack phase.

Matt Ranks wins the Match 2-1 and solidly places himself in top eight contention. Laura Karem is still in contention as the final draft takes place.

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