Round 2 Feature Match: Nicolai Herzog vs. Tommi Hovi

Posted in Event Coverage

By Mark Wraith

Both of these players have been around for a long time on the Pro Tour. Tommi has won two Pro Tours, and Nicolai was the European Champion two years ago. They are still both on top of their game, though, Tommi competed in the Masters Series here and Nicolai was close to doing so as well with his 37 Pro Tour Points.

Game 1

Nicolai won the toss but unusually chose to go second, and Tommi started off with a Stormscape Apprentice, which Nicolai removed with Tribal Flames. Hovi summoned a Shoreline Raider on his third turn, so Herzog's play of Kavu Aggressor was rather neutralized. Nevertheless the Finn chose to beatdown rather than defend, attacking with the Shoreline Raider and replacing it with a Silver Drake.

Nicolai attacked with his Aggressor and played both Nightscape Apprentice and Phyrexian Bloodstock. Hovi summoned a Tidal Visionary that could potentially make the Bloodstock very bad for Herzog, but Nicolai had the tools to continue his beatdown.

He cast Plague Spores to remove the Shoreline Raider and clear a path for his Kavu Aggressor, as well as reducing Tommi to only two Islands in play. Tommi traded the Silver Drake for the Phyrexian Bloodstock but could not deal with Nicolai's Callous Giant, as he was still stuck on three land, and Repulse only succeeded in buying him one more turn, as the Norwegian summoned creature after creature.

Nicolai Herzog 1 - Tommi Hovi 0

Game 2

The first play of the game was an unusual one. Tommi cast Manipulate Fate to remove three lands from his deck as he already had plenty in hand. Herzog was unfazed and replied with a Shivan Zombie. The Zombie didn't get the chance to attack, however - Tommi enchanted it with Sleeping Potion.

Herzog played a Hooded Kavu, and Tommi didn't have a creature. He did play a Power Armor, though. Nicolai summoned a Slingshot Goblin and a Nightscape Apprentice, putting the pressure on Hovi to find a blocker quickly.

The Apprentice was particularly bad for Hovi since it could remove his Sleeping Potion by giving First Strike to the Shivan Zombie. Tommi didn't want this to happen, so he played another Potion on the Apprentice. At the end of Tommi's turn, Herzog cast a Fact or Fiction, which turned over five spells - Slingshot Goblin, Vodalian Serpent, Tribal Flames, Volcano Imp, and Hypnotic Cloud. "Have fun," joked Nicolai. Tommi took a few minutes to split the cards, and Herzog was eventually rewarded with Volcano Imp, the Goblin, and the Hypnotic Cloud.

As well as having a hand full of great cards, Nicolai had a couple of creatures in play still beating Hovi down, a Slingshot Goblin and a Hooded Kavu. Tommi needed a blocker quickly, and he summoned Goham Djinn. The Djinn was easy for Nicolai to deal with as it was only a 3/3, but Herzog didn't realize this and attacked before casting the Tribal Flames.

Hovi played a Hate Weaver and a Stormscape Apprentice to hold off Nicolai's two creatures, but Herzog had five cards in hand to Tommi's two. The Norwegian drew his sixth land, but elected not to use the kicker on his Hypnotic Cloud, as he wished to summon a Kavu Aggressor as well.

Herzog killed the Stormscape Apprentice with his Slingshot Goblin, and then cast Wash Out naming black. This got rid of the Hate Weaver and returned both creatures with Sleeping Potions on them to his hand. Even a Spinal Embrace from Hovi only seemed to delay the end as Herzog replayed his creatures - along with a Callous Giant.

Hovi replayed his Hate Weaver and Shoreline Raider but he was only on eight life, and when Nicolai drew a Plague Spores to remove the Raider, and attacked with all his creatures, Tommi couldn't stop enough damage with only his Hate Weaver, and was forced to concede.

Final Result: Nicolai Herzog 2 - Tommi Hovi 0

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