by Josh Bennett
It was a battle for the sole undefeated here in the last round of Day 1. Both players were going aggressive, Dan Lanthier with red-white, and Jeremie Ross-Latour with black-red.
Lanthier's opening Elite Vanguard quickly fell to Deathmark from Ross-Latour. He replaced it with Goblin Piker, and Ross-Latour went one better with Crimson Mage. Lanthier played a land and passed. Ross-Latour had Sorin's Thirst to clear a path for his Crimson Mage. Four mana for Lanthier, but still he had no play.
Ross-Latour decided to see what was up with Distress. Lanthier Incinerated the Mage in response, and dropped a handful of lands onto the table. He drew an Alabaster Mage and put it into play. Now it was Ross-Latour's turn to pass without action. Lanthier drained him for two with his Mage.
Ross-Latour put a stop to that with Blood Ogre. Lanthier drew another blank, and an Incinerate from Ross-Latour let him get in for two damage. Goblin Chieftain came off the top for Lanthier and hit. Ross-Latour Disentombed Crimson Mage for some hasty action of his own. Now Lanthier was forced to sit back. Ross-Latour started to hit with just the Blood Ogre, slowly whittling away Lanthier's life.
It brought him to 12 before Lanthier got rid of it with Incinerate, but he still had nothing to contribute to the board. Ross-Latour tried to clear out the Chieftain with Chandra's Outrage, but the results were mixed: Lanthier used Fling to get rid of Crimson Mage and save himself some damage. That meant that Ross-Latour's Duskhunter Bat came down as a lowly 1/1.
Lanthier found Goblin Fireslinger and played it. Ross-Latour hit in the air and played a second, larger Duskhunter Bat, as well as Bonebreaker Giant. Lanthier passed with no play. Ross-Latour rumbled in with his squad. Lanthier pushed his Fireslinger in front of the Giant and tapped three for Slaughter Cry, catching Ross-Latour off-guard.
Lanthier's second Goblin Chieftain came off the top, and he was able to swing in for four. The two traded hits. An Incinerate from Lanthier took down the bigger Bat, and though he was at four, it looked like he was pulling away. Ross-Latour brought down a Goblin Piker, and Lanthier tried to force through more damage with Tectonic Rift. Unfortunately for him Ross-Latour had been holding back Doom Blade, cutting down the Goblin Chieftain. That tilted things back in Ross-Latour's favour, and soon the game was his.
Ross-Latour 1 - Lanthier 0
Lanthier kicked off with Goblin Fireslinger into Goblin Piker. Child of Night from Ross-Latour forced his squad to stay home. He added another Goblin Fireslinger and passed. Ross-Latour decided to go on the offensive with his Child, and was promptly punished by a Goblin Chieftain from Lanthier, powering up his team for a whoppign nine damage, leaving Ross-Latour at twelve.
Ross-Latour kept his Child at home and passed. Lanthier, too, was content to bide his time. Next came a hasty Crimson Mage for Ross-Latour and he got in for four. Lanthier was happy with this turn of events and swung back, but Ross-Latour had Doom Blade for the Chieftain. Ross-Latour returned fire.
It was a close contest, with Ross-Latour out in front. Lanthier summoned Goblin Bangchuckers. Ross-Latour hit with his Mage and Child. The Piker took down the Child, but the Mage got through to charge up Ross-Latour's newly-summoned Duskhunter Bat. He tapped four more for Rusted Sentinel. Lanthier was in trouble.
Ross-Latour went for the kill. Lanthier put his Bangchuckers in front of Crimson Mage and flipped to kill the Bat, leaving Rusted Sentinel unblocked. He won the flip, clearing the first hurdle, but was still short on killing Ross-Latour, who added Blood Ogre to his squad. Luck smiled on Lanthier, however, and served up an Incinerate to go with the one he already had in hand, stealing the game.
Ross-Latour 1 - Lanthier 1
The good news for Lanthier was that he would start the deciding game with double Fireslinger. The bad news was that he would only have a single mountain in play after his second turn. Ross-Latour had meantime summoned Child of Night and swung in. Lanthier declined to block, and Duskhunter Bat hit the table as a 2/2.
Lanthier drew and found Plains waiting for him, enabling Elite Vanguard. He was happy to trade it for Child of Night when Ross-Latour swung in. Ross-Latour replaced it with Drifting Shade. Lanthier's Fireslingers worked his life total. He untapped and thought hard before Incinerating the Drifting Shade.
Ross-Latour had Disentomb in hand and gamely replayed it. Lanthier spent a second Incinerate on it. The Duskhunter Bat had meanwhile brought him down to just twelve, but Ross-Latour had no play on six mana. Lanthier summoned Gideon's Lawkeeper, whose arrival could not have been more timely, for waiting in the wings was Flameblast Dragon for Ross-Latour.
The lockdown continued for two turns, the Fireslingers working hard to bring Ross-Latour into Lava Axe range. It was not to be. Ross-Latour peeled removal and caught the Lawkeeper. With six land in play, the Flameblast could swing in for exactly lethal.
Jeremy Ross-Latour defeats Dan Lanthier 2-1