Round 7: Eugene Harvey vs. Stefan Fries

Posted in Event Coverage on January 17, 2003

By Randy Buehler

US National champion Eugene Harvey continues to play impressive Magic. He finished second at Grand Prix New Orleans two weeks ago and he sat down for a round seven feature match against Stefan Fries trying to complete an undefeated Day 1. Two of Harvey's teammates from their store in New Jersey, The Only Game in Town (aka TOGIT), were also playing to get to 7-0. Harvey's decision a couple of years ago to go to college at Carnegie Mellon University seems to have shaken up the world. By bringing together Team CMU and Team TOGIT, he created a powerhouse of American Magic that only Your Move Games seems able to compete with. Harvey's opponent in the table 1 title match was Stefan Fries, from Germany, who is playing in his third Pro Tour and has already clinched his first trip to Day 2.

Fries played the much-talked-about turn 2 Elvish Warrior and Harvey played a creature with morph. Fries played a Wall of Mulch and Harvey planned to win this game in the air anyway, so he put Sandskin on the Warrior. Harvey's next play was Aven Soulgazer and then on turn 6 he showed how much patience he has by finally flipping over his Silent Specter so he could attack with it (and the Soulgazer). Having now played out all his land, Fries discarded a Swat (with he had declined to point at Harvey's face-down creature) and a Krosan Groundshaker. Fries was able to kill the Specter using Cruel Revival on his next turn, but the damage was done. Fries never found an answer to the Soulgazer and Starlight Sanctum deprived him of any more time to find one.

A bunch of creatures got killed early in game 2 via black spells in some cases and combat damage in others, but the game didn't really get started until turn 7 or 8. That's when Fries played a Symbiotic Beast and then Harvey finally drew his third plains so he could play out Jareth, Leonine Titan. The Beast played defense for a turn and then Harvey sent in Jareth. Not to be outdone, Fries enchanted his Beast with Mythic Proportions and attacked for 12. Not many creatures can handle a 12/12 trampler, but Jareth can. All Harvey had to do was leave his legend back on defense and the game was stalemated. Those two goliaths of the battlefield stared across the red zone at each other for many turns. Harvey eventually tried to break the stalemate with a flier: Aven Soulgazer. At this point Fries sent in his team and used a Primal Boost that he thought would drop Harvey to 1. However, Fries had been confused about how much life Harvey gained when he sacrificed a cleric to Starlight Sanctum. The attack actually only dropped Harvey to five and that wasn't low enough to make Fries' Profane Prayers lethal. Harvey counter-attacked with everything but Jareth, dropped two morph guys and Fries extended his hand. It turned out that Fries' confusion didn't actually cost him because Harvey had just draw a second flier – his Silent Specter.

Final Result: Harvey 2, Fries 0

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