Round 7: Olivier Ruel vs. Jens Thoren

Posted in Event Coverage on March 15, 2002

By Greg Rosebeary

In a matchup of two of Europe's best, Jens Thoren, fresh off his second place finish in San Diego and Olivier Ruel, last place finisher at last year's invitational, square off against each other. Both are already in day two, and are in really good condition to place highly in the Pro Tour tomorrow. Olivier Ruel also bears the luck that is each of the last few years the person that finished last in the invitational won a pro tour in the next year.

Game 1

In a mono-black mirror match, Jens got off the first play with a fifth turn Mind Sludge and a sixth turn Shambling Swarm. Olivier got back his cards by casting Skeletal Scrying for four, then flashing back his Chainer's Edict to kill off the Swarm. Ruel then cast a Nantuko Shade. Thoren cast another Mind Sludge and cast Innocent Blood to kill Ruel's Shade. Ruel proceeded to draw a second Scrying to get his cards back again, although leaving him at eight life. He cast another shade, which was sacrificed by another Innocent Blood. The two proceeded to play lands for each of the next few turns, until Olivier cast a Mind Sludge getting two Chainer's Edicts, a Mutilate and a Nantuko Shade. Jens played Diabolic Tutor to get Haunting Echoes, to which Olivier replied, "I knew it." Nantuko Shade, Chainer's Edict, Mind Sludge, Laquatus' Champion and Skeletal Scrying were all removed from the game. They both continued playing lands and passing turns, until Olivier cast a Shambling Swarm. Jens matched the swarm with one of his own. Olivier cast Diabolic Tutor, realizing there was no other way to win in his deck, he conceded.

Jens Thoren 1 – Olivier Ruel 0

Game 2

Olivier elected to kick off the game. He started out with a turn two shade that got sacrificed. Ruel rolled a die to see which one of Jens' swamps would be destroyed by his Rancid Earth. Olivier cast Braids, Cabal Minion, which caused Jens to go down to two lands, then cast Mind Sludge, taking everything but a Nantuko Shade from Jens' hand. Olivier cast Skeletal Scrying for five, Thoren followed with one of his own for two. Ruel cast Braids/Mind Sludge once more. Olivier then played another Skeletal Scrying for five. Jens stayed stalled on two land, while Olivier played Shambling Swarm and Laquatus' Champion to win the game.

Jens Thoren 1 – Olivier Ruel 1

Game 3

The Frenchman commented, "I should be 7-0, stupid pro tour." Jens decided to play first in the final game. The first play was a shade cast by Olivier. The Swede played Rancid Earth on Olivier's land, which he followed up with a second Shade. Thoren then cast two Innocent Blood's and a Nantuko Shade of his own. Jens played a second shade, which got edicted. Ruel was paralyzed by a Mind Sludge. A Cabal Coffers gave Jens the needed mana to finish Olivier off with the shade.

Final Result: Jens Thoren 2 – Olivier Ruel 1

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