Round 8 Feature Match – Fernando Aguilar vs. Chris Fennell

Posted in Event Coverage on February 15, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

Sometimes, you just simply get overpowered.

Chris Fennell is renowned as an expert Limited player, and he can be an intimidating player to sit across the table from. His opponent, Fernando Aguilar, was relatively quiet as he sat at the table, choosing instead to let his cards speak for him.

Neither player was able to gain much of an early advantage in the first game of the match. For example, when Fennell was able to get a Sphinx's Disciple into play, Aguilar made one to match it. When Aguilar enchanted his with a Nyxborn Triton, Fennell matched that with an Erebos's Emissary. They even held the same life total going into the crucial turns of the game, each having dropped the other to a dangerous 9 life.

Aguilar finally broke the parity with a Polis Crusher, giving him a chance at the largest creature on the table, as well as a way to bring Fennell's flier back down to size. When Aguilar made his move to attack, Fennel had a Sudden Storm to not only stop the brunt of the attack, but potentially buy himself the turn needed to close the game out. The one thorn in his side was the Kiora's Follower that Aguilar had made himself on the second turn of the game. The Follower's ability applies to any permanent, forcing Fennell to use one part of the Storm on him rather than the Sphinx's Follower. Fennell dropped to three, but he still had hope. With two creatures in hand, his Erebos's Emissary-enchanted Sphinx's Disciple threatened a lethal 9 points of damage. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as a bestowed Leafcrown Dryad allowed Aguilar to use his Wavecrash Triton to tap it down the one turn he needed for his team to recover, giving him the game.

Chris Fennell

"If you didn't have that Dryad, I think I would have won that game," Fennell said after the game.

Between games, Fennell made a bold move, switching from his blue/green deck into a red/black deck.

Based on my experience, I was expecting a blistering start from Fennell in Game 2, but things were far more subdued. After doing nothing for the first three turns, he played a Nyxborn Rollicker and enchanted it with a Claim of Erebos, raising more than a few eyebrows around the table. From there, Aguilar's life began to fall away. Fennell managed to keep the pressure on with a Borderland Minotaur enchanted with Erebos's Emissary, going bigger than Aguilar's biggest attempts to stabilize. In the end, the Minotaur would take to the skies thanks to Herald of Torment to get up and over Aguilar's defensive front, taking the second game in short order.

"Can you please not draw that untap guy," Fennell pleaded with a smile before the final game?

Apparently the answer was no, as Aguilar calmly slid the Kiora's Follower into play for the third consecutive game. To his credit, Fennell had his own spice for the board, adding the Herald of Torment to his side on the third turn. It didn't stay there for long, as Aguilar used his Kiora's Follower for a cool interaction with Retraction Helix, returning two of Fennell's creatures and leaving him with just an Asphodel Wanderer in play.

Fernando Aguilar

To add injury to insult, Aguilar followed that nifty play up with a Xenagos, the Reveler. Enticing a 2/2 Satyr to join his team, Aguilar had an impressive force against the nearly defenseless Fennell. When Aguilar smiled after his next draw step, Fennell sighed.

"Do you really need something better than this draw to beat me," he asked?

Apparently the answer was yes, as Aguilar added an Arbiter of the Ideal to his side. With that, Fennell had seen enough. He picked up the laughably overpowered cards he had in play and shook Aguilar's hand.

"There is absolutely nothing I could have done," Fennell said after the match. "Every card you played was better than every card in my deck. I started out 5-0, but then the real world caught up with me."

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