Phillip Lorren and Haibing Hu entered the final round of Day One with 6-0 records – the winner of this match would end the day as one of only two or three players in the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record – putting himself an arm's reach away from advancing to the Top 8. The loser would still be in excellent shape to make a run at the National Team with a 6-1 record.
Phillip Lorren has been playing limited for about 7 years, but he only started actively trying to qualify for the Pro Tour this past year. Lorren played in a bunch of Scars of Mirrodin Sealed deck/Booster Draft PTQs for Pro Tour Paris, but he ultimately fell short of qualifying for the French PT. Unwilling to wait until the next limited qualifier season, Lorren gave himself a constructed crash course before competing at Grand Prix Atlanta, and Grand Prix Dallas. Lorren didn't make Day Two at either of those events, but he designed a Grixis Tezzeret deck which a friend of his took to a Top 32 finish at Grand Prix Dallas.
Lorren seems to be a quick learner though, as he has already gotten off to a 6-0 start this weekend.
Haibing Hu has been playing since Urza's Saga, but he "took some time off here and there." Hu played in his first Pro Tour nearly a decade ago (Pro Tour Nice in 2002), then played in another 4 or 5 Pro Tours with a few money finishes along the way. Hu has found some more time to play in tournaments recently, and came a fraction of a tiebreaker point away from earning money, and a Pro Point at Grand Prix Kansas City where he finished in 65th place.
Hu didn't practice a ton of Standard for this event, and explained that he was feeling his lack of preparation in Round 1 where he made a bunch of misplays. He was able to eek out a victory there, and then "tightened up," rattling off another five victories before entering this match.
Lorren won the roll and chose to play first, but he was unhappy with his opening hand and went down to six cards.
Even though Lorren mulliganed down to six cards, he had no shortage of removal spells.
Hu's Goblin Fireslinger fell at the hands of Wring Flesh. Crimson Mage was able to swing in, once, but it ultimately died to Lorren's Consume Spirit. A Mana Leak countered Hu's Duskhunter Bat. And Hu's Blood Ogre got killed by a Doom Blade.
Lorren spent his turn casting a Tormented Soul and a Blood Seeker, prompting Hu to keep the pressure on by Incinerating Lorren's Gravedigger and attacking in for three leaving Lorren on a meager 6 life.
Haibing Hu 1 – Phillip Lorren 0
Lorren again chose to play first, and this time he had to mulligan down to five cards. Lorren did manage to make the first play of the game, a Warpath Ghoul, but it died to Hu's Shock seconds after hitting the battlefield.
Hu cast an Adaptive Automaton naming "elemental" (representing Lightning Elemental), then followed it up with a second Adaptive Automaton also naming "elemental", allowing him to attack in for three with his first Adaptive Automaton.
Lorren attacked in with his Child of Night, but had no followup play. Hu had the Lightning Elemental which he had been representing for a few turns, but Lorren (who had started the game by mulliganing to five) had no answer, allowing Hu to end Day One with a perfect 7-0 record.
Haibing Hu 2 – Phillip Lorren 0