Round 3: Nicolai Herzog vs. Antoine Ruel

Posted in Event Coverage on July 4, 2003

By Craig Jones

Roar of the Wurm
Both Nicolai Herzog and Antoine Ruel are experienced Pro players with many years of experience. Herzog is a former European Champion from back in 1999. Antoine Ruel made the Semi-finals at the 2001 World Championships.

Ruel is running Zombies while Herzog is playing blue-green Madness.

Game 1

Ruel won the die roll and elected to go first. The first action came on the second turn when Ruel Smothered Herzog's Aquamoeba. Herzog used his madness outlet to put a Rootwalla into play and drop two Roars into the graveyard before it died itself.

"Withered Wretch," Ruel asked of his deck.

Instead he summoned Rotlung Reanimator. The next turn Herzog countered a Nantuko Shade with Circular Logic. Both players then ran into land problems, being unable to find a 4th. They raced for a while: Herzog with a 'Walla, Ruel with the Rotlung.

Herzog was first to find his fourth and it was more critical as he could then start cranking out the Roars from the graveyard. Ruel was still stuck on three land. He chumped with the Rotlung, then the zombie token, before finally naming Wonder with Cabal Therapy to admit defeat.

Herzog 1-0 Ruel

Herzog spent some time sideboarding, admitting he hadn't really tested this matchup.

Game 2

Ruel delayed a Therapy until turn 2, but there was no Mongrel in Herzog's hand for it to hit. The Norwegian summoned an Aquamoeba and Ruel matched it with a Nantuko Shade. Herzog had the answer in Stupefying Touch in his hand, but he'd drawn a Mongrel instead and elected to go with that. Ruel got rid of the Touch with a second Therapy and dealt with the Mongrel with a Smother.

Unsummon and Counterspell on the Shade later and Herzog had the advantage with just his Aquamoeba. He pressed this home by flashing back a Deep Analysis. This found another Mongrel but Ruel was able to restore parity by wiping the board with a Mutilate.

He followed up with Shambling Swarm to take the initiative with a Shambling Swarm.

Herzog hit the reset button with an Upheaval but then his blue-green deck reared its unpredictable side. After Smothering a Rootwalla, Ruel Duressed Herzog and the Norwegian showed him a grip full of land.

The Shambling Swarm returned, was followed by a Nantuko Shade and it was time for a decider.

"That was a lot of lands to draw"

Herzog 1-1 Ruel

Game 3

Ruel mulliganed and a Duress took an Upheaval, revealing Herzog had a hand full of fat: 2 Ravenous Baloth and an Arrogant Wurm. It got a lot faster for the Norwegian. He shut down Ruel's Shade with a Stupefying Touch and then dropped a Wild Mongrel.

Ruel topped it with an Edict, but it didn't get much better for the Frenchman. Herzog followed Ravenous Baloth with Compost and an Aquamoeba. Ruel tried to keep pace. He Smothered the Aquamoeba, and brought out Shambling Swarm and then Graveborn Muse.

Meanwhile Herzog had added a second Baloth and was battering. This forced Ruel into a horrible trade where he had to put Shade and Swarm in the way of the beasts. Herzog put damage on stack then sacrificed the two Baloths for 8 life. With no creatures on Herzog's side Ruel was obliged to kill his own Graveborn Muse when the Swarm hit the graveyard. As Herzog was also drawing 3 cards off Compost it was safe to say Ruel wasn't coming back from this one.

Final Result: Nicolai Herzog beat Antoine Ruel 2-1

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