by Mark Wraith
These two competitors are arguably the best players in France right now. They both have Grand Prix Top 8s this year and are well-known players on the Pro Tour. They drafted next to each other in the first pod, and after defeating their first two opponents they had to play e ach other in the third round.
Antoine started and played a second turn Hate Weaver which Franck elected not to block with his Nomadic Elf, as he needed it to cast Eladamri's Call. Antoine used a Hobble to stop the Elf from attacking and this caused Franck to fetch Horned Kavu with the Call, allowing him to get rid of the Hobble. Franck did not recast it straight away, as he preferred to cast Rage Weaver first instead.
Antoine did nothing, allowing the momentum to slip further Canu's way, as he needed six mana to cast his Alloy Golem. After the two Weavers traded in combat, Franck summoned a Stone Kavu, and Antoine got up to six mana to cast the Golem. He chose White allowing him to play his Silver Drake in a pinch.
The Stone Kavu attacked for six, bringing Antoine to nine, and Canu then recast his Nomadic Elf. Of course, Ruel played Shackles on the Stone Kavu, and he had also drawn Aurora Griffin. Canu's hand was very good - Canopy Surge, Scorching Lava, and Assault/Battery. He used Canopy Surge to kill the Griffin and put Antoine on five, before attacking with the Nomadic Elf and Horned Kavu. Ruel blocked the Kavu; but the Elf dropped him to three life, and Franck finished the game on his next turn with the Assault and the Scorching Lava.
Franck Canu 1 - Antoine Ruel 0
Franck's draw in the second game was very good as well. He played Thornscape Apprentice on his first turn, and then Amphibious Kavu on his third. Antoine went first, with a third turn Disciple of Kangee and fourth turn Aurora Griffin. Franck was temporarily without a source of White mana to use the Apprentice's ability, but he drew Harrow allowing him to fetch a Plains.
He only managed to use his Apprentice once before it was Hobbled, and Ruel played a Hate Weaver leaving him with a temporary creature advantage of three-to-one. The balance of power swung the other way on Franck's turn, as he Hobbled the Weaver and then used Scorching Lava on the Griffin.
The Amphibious Kavu and the Disciple traded blows as Antoine used a turn casting Recover on the Aurora Griffin. This prompted Canu to pay the kicker on a second Scorching Lava, removing the Griffin from the game. Antoine then played a Razortooth Griffin, with the life totals at Franck 10, and Antoine 11. Ruel didn't block the Kavu as he feared a growth spell. Franck played a Benalish Trapper as well, which caused Antoine to play Wings of Hope on his Disciple and attack with both creatures again, putting Franck on five this time.
Canu had the choice between playing Hobble on one of the attackers, or keeping his one White mana open for the Trapper, and he guessed wrongly. He didn't play the Hobble and his Trapper was killed by Agonizing Demise at the end of his turn, allowing Antoine to attack back for the win.
Franck Canu 1 - Antoine Ruel 1
As with the previous two games both players summoned early creatures, with a second turn Nomadic Elf from Franck and a Hate Weaver from Antoine. Once again Canu did not want to trade his Elf, so he held back with it and did not block when Antoine attacked.
Ruel summoned a Disciple of Kangee, and Franck used Benalish Trapper to get two damage through with the Elf before gating it back to his hand with Horned Kavu. Antoine paied the kicker on his Phyrexian Scuta, but it turned out to be an unwise investment of three life as it was immediately Hobbled. The Horned Kavu attacked and this put Ruel on twelve.
He was under some pressure from the Kavu even this early in the game as he knew he couldn't allow toomany hits in when Franck had direct damage such as Scorching Lava and Canopy Surge in his deck. Ruel played an Aurora Griffin, and had a trick that Canu had missed. When the Horned Kavu attacked, Antoine used his Disciple to make the Phrexian Scuta Blue, allowing it to block the Kavu, and forcing Franck to waste an Explosive Growth to keep it alive.
Antoine played Hobble on the Horned Kavu, but even this didn't seem like it would be enough, as Franck attacked with his Nomadic Elf and then played a Kavu Climber. Canu still had a second Horned Kavu in his hand which could gate the Hobbled creature, but when Franck tried to play it Antoine used the Aurora Grifin's ability to turn the other Kavu White, and Franck had to gate the Climber instead. Ordered Migration and Phyrexian Bloodstock allowed Antoine to hold off for a few more turns, and even to get some damage in himself.
Franck drew a second Plains allowing him to use both his Thornscape Apprentice and Benalish Trapper. He had Horned Kavu and Kavu Climber as potentiall attackers and swung with both. Antoine had two 1/1 Bird tokens, a Disciple of Kangee, an Aurora Griffin and a Razortooth Griffin. He blocked the Horned Kavu with the Disciple and the Aurora Griffin, and the Climber with the Birds and the Razortooth.
It seemed like Franck would do quite well out of this since he could use his Thornscape's First-Strike ability, but he also had a Magma Burst, which he paid the kicker for and destroyed both Griffins. This meant that the combat removed all of Antoine's blockers, and after drawing nothing that would help, he conceded.
Franck Canu 2 - Antoine Ruel 1