Round 3: Dave Nolan vs. Chris Deroche

Posted in Event Coverage on June 12, 2002

By Alex Shvartsman

Both of these players are undefeated so far, and we are in for a classic matchup in the current metagame – Psychatog vs. Trenches. Deroche is playing a Zevatog version

Game 1

Not surprisingly, it took many turns before either player bothered to cast a spell in this control matchup. Nolan cast Fact or Fiction at the end of his opponent's turn, which resolved.

As Nolan was laying out the cards, another player came over, whispered something into his ear for two seconds, and left. Deroche was not happy with this. He called a judge, complaining that Nolan's friend could be giving him advice, or revealing what was in Deroche's hand. The judge could not punish Nolan as whatever comment was made (which Nolan claimed had nothing to do with the game) was unsolicited, but warned Nolan not to have that happen again.

Deroche got his Psychatog countered, and cast Standstill – which Nolan allowed to resolve. Nolan did not hesitate to break the Standstill just a few turns later, to cast Prophetic Bolt at the end of his opponent's turn. It resolved, netting Nolan another Prophetic Bolt, so he rinsed and repeated at the end of Deroche's next turn. With eight cards in hand, Nolan cast Fire, bringing his opponent down to ten life points. He now needed to get four more lands into play to cast Urza's Rage for the win.

Fact or Fiction
Nolan resolved another Fact or Fiction. Desperate to keep him from getting to twelve mana, Deroche offered him a very attractive pile of 2 Counterspells and a Repulse as opposed to a pair of lands. Nolan took the lands anyway, aware that his opponent was unlikely to have any answer to Rage in his deck. Deroche cast a Fact or Fiction of his own, but it did not reveal anything helpful. He ended up picking up two lands and an Aether Burst.

With Nolan at eleven lands, Deroche attempted to Upheaval, but had only one counter to back it up – so Nolan won the counter war easily. He showed Rage and a twelfth land, prompting Deroche to give up the game.

Game 2

Deroche started out with a turn 2 Familiar. Down a game in a slow matchup, he was very concerned with the time. He summoned a judge to make sure sideboarding did not take up more than three minutes, then checked how much time was left in the round. He would need to play aggressively, and quickly, in order to win the match.

Duress took out Nolan's Fire/Ice leaving a very solid hand full of permission and burn. Both players took turn laying lands, with Familiar doing its job and attacking for one every turn. Deroche did not let Bolts resolve this time, countering one with Circular Logic. He then fought another counter battle for Fact or Fiction, but lost it to double Gainsay.

With Nolan tapped out, Deroche cast Upheaval and re-summoned his Nightscape Familiar. It continued the beatdown, but the second one was countered when Deroche tried to cast it with four lands in play. Fact or Fiction refueled his hand, providing a pair of Counterspells. He drew another Counterspell from Nolan by casting a third Familiar, not fighting over it, but holding on to his own permission spells. He did fight over Meddling Mage, preventing Nolan from casting a blocker.

Another Fact or Fiction gave Deroche a Psychatog and a pair of lands. He cast Mana Short on Nolan's upkeep, losing a counter war over it, but leaving his opponent with only two lands untapped anyway. On his turn, he cast Duress to make sure the coast was clear, then summoned Psychatog. Nolan tried to cast Lightning Angel, backing it up with a Memory Lapse he just drew, but Deroche had two more counterspells, winning the game.

If Game 1 was all Nolan, Game 2 was certainly all Deroche – two lopsided games that did not leave any time for the third. As there were only four minutes left in the match, the two players agreed to an intentional draw.

Final Result: Deroche 1 – Nolan 1

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