by Mark Wraith
Michael is a well-known player and has had very good results in Grand Prix in the past. He seems to be having a fairly quiet time of late, without any really noticeable performances. His opponent is unknown, but both players managed to win their first match so it will be interesting to see if Debard can get off to a solid start in the event.
Before this match could start the players had to endure a few minutes of suspense as they were deck-checked, but there were no problems, and the game began only a few minutes late. Alexandre played first but had only blue mana sources. He managed a third turn Shoreline Raider, but it was removed by Scorching Lava, and Michael attacked with a Rogue Kavu. Alexandre had a second Shoreline Raider on his fourth turn, and this one was Repulsed as Debard tried to get in as much damage as possible with the Kavu.
Rivière drew a Swamp, and this allowed him to play both the Shoreline Raider and a Vodalian Zombie. The Raider met with another Scorching Lava and the Zombie blocked the Kavu, clearing the board. Michael had a very strange mana base, Mountains, an Island, a Treva's Ruins, and a Star Compass.
Both players continued to empty their hands. Alexandre played Lashknife Barrier, then Urborg Phantom, Urborg Drake, and Hate Weaver, while Michael played a Hunting Drake, and a Halam Djinn. The Djinn hit Alexandre down to eight , but he used Recoil on the Drake, and attacked with all of his own creatures to bring Debard down to ten.
He then played an Exotic Curse on the Djinn to reduce it to a more manageable 3/2. It appeared that Rivière was winning the race, and Michael seemed to have miscalculated when he played a Pouncing Kavu and attacked with that and the Halam Djinn, as Alexandre could now just attack with all three creatures, and pump up the Urborg Drake for the win.
This attack brought Rivière down to two, and fearing a trick, he held back with the Hate Weaver and played a Rainbow Crow as well to block both of Michael's creatures. Michael didn't have a trick, but he did have a second Pouncing Kavu that finished the first game. Not attacking all out seemed like a pretty horrible play from Alexandre.
Michael Debard 1 - Alexandre Rivière 0
Rivière got a better draw in the second game, this time with all his colors of mana, and he played a second turn Vodalian Zombie and a third turn Shoreline Raider. Michael had a Kavu Scout on his third turn, and for some reason Alexandre did not attack with both creatures, only trading the Zombie for the Scout before summoning a second Vodalian Zombie.
Michael didn't have a fourth turn creature so he tried to buy some time by Repulsing the Shoreline Raider. He then played a Rith's Attendant which was promptly Annihilated. Michael used a Kavu Recluse to trade for the Vodalian Zombie, but he was already down to ten, and when Alexandre played a Rainbow Crow as well, he was in serious trouble.
Debard summoned a Halam Djinn and decided to attack with it. Rivière spotted that he could use Rainbow Crow's ability to make it smaller and he only took four damage. Tapping out for a Hypnotic Cloud meant that the Djinn dealt him six damage, bringing him to ten, while Michael was on six. Debard tried to get Verdeloth into play, but it was Recoiled, and with no way to stop the two damage from Rainbow Crow, he had to scoop. Perhaps the decision to attack with Halam Djinn was wrong as Michael took four damage from the Shoreline Raider he could otherwise have saved, but he would have needed an answer for the Crow in the next two turns anyway.
Michael Debard 1 - Alexandre Rivière 1
This game started out rapidly, with a second turn Galina's Knight, then a third turn Shoreline Raider, and a fourth turn Tower Drake from Alexandre. Michael managed to get a hit in with his Kavu Scout by using Scorching Lava on the Shoreline Raider, and then played Rith's Attendant, Kavu Aggressor, and Pouncing Kavu.
He decided to get in as much early damage as possible, by playing a Pouncing Kavu with kicker and attacking with everything. The Kavu Aggressor was blocked by Galina, with a second turn Galina's Knight, then a third turn Shoreline Raider, and a fourth turn Tower Drake from Alexandre. Michael managed to get a hit in with his Kavu Scout by using Scorching Lava on the Shoreline Raider, and then played Rith's Attendant, Kavu Aggressor, and Pouncing Kavu.
He decided to get in as much early damage as possible, by playing a Pouncing Kavu with kicker and attacking with everything. The Kavu Aggressor was blocked by Galina's Knight, and the Scout traded with a Rainbow Crow, but six damage still got through and put Rivière on eight.
Next turn Michael used a Repulse on Galina's Knight and attacked again. His Attendant was double-blocked by Tower Drake and Urborg Drake, but his Pouncing Kavu put Alexandre on five. However, with only lands in hand, Debard had finally run out of steam. Alexandre put Sinister Strength on his Urborg Drake and attacked for five to bring Michael to nine, then played a Vodalian Serpent, forcing Debard to concede as he drew yet another land.
After the match Michael admitted that he was lucky to only lose 2-1, as his opponent would have won the first game if he had just attacked with all his creatures.
Alexandre Rivière 2 - Michael Debard 1