Round 9: Eugene Harvey vs. Jeff Cunningham

Posted in Event Coverage on November 9, 2002

By Alex Shvartsman

Careful Study
Eugene Harvey of team CMU is playing on home turf versus Canada's Jeff Cunningham, fresh off winning Grand Prix: Philadelphia. Cunningham raised more than a few eyebrows by bringing a blue-green tempo deck to the tournament, comprised mostly of Odyssey block cards. Harvey went with a less surprising yet unorthodox version of The Rock. The two players are currently at 5-2-1.

Game 1

Cunningham opened with Careful Study, regaining card economy with a Basking Rootwalla. Harvey spent his first turn casting Duress. He chose Daze over Circular Logic, also learning of Cunningham's Aquamoeba, Arrogant Wurm and Yavimaya Coast in hand. Aquamoeba entered play and Harvey matched it with Mesmeric Fiend, taking out Circular Logic and leaving his opponent with a pair of Arrogant Wurms in hand.

Cunningham failed to draw a third land and had to settle for casting a second Aquamoeba rather than an Arrogant Wurm on his following turn. Harvey, who was also stuck on two lands, cast Vine Trellis, able to both generate more mana and slow down the beating. Harvey summoned a Spike Feeder, tapping Vine Trellis for mana. Cunningham finally drew a third land and attacked with all of his creatures. Harvey blocked Basking Rootwalla, forcing his opponent to choose between saving the lizard, or casting Arrogant Wurm. Cunningham chose to pump the Rootwalla, and Harvey sacrificed Spike Feeder to gain back some life points. On his turn, Harvey summoned a second Feeder.

Tired of being stuck at two mana, Harvey finally used up his Vampiric Tutor to get a Forest. He then cast Pernicious Deed, threatening to blow away Cunningham's team next turn. Cunningham discard Wonder to pump his Aquamoeba on the following turn and attacked with all of his creatures, bringing Harvey down to two.

Harvey was not willing to part with his deed. He chose to go down to one life (having sacrificed Spike Feeder) next turn, trying to buy himself more time and more land before he would let Cunningham play more permanents. Harvey did draw and play a land and then passed the turn. At the end of Harvey's turn, Cunningham cast Intuition pulling out three Roar of the Wurm. In Cunningham's attack step, Harvey was finally forced to use his Deed and reset board down to no non-land permanents. Still waiting for his fourth land, Cunningham summoned a Basking Rootwalla and passed the turn. With Harvey at one, even a flying Rootwalla was a serious problem. Harvey cast a Spike Weaver with one mana opened, which Cunningham Dazed. Even if Harvey paid to keep the 3/3 creature on the board, he did not have any mana left over to Fog with and was forced to pick up his cards.

Game 2

Yavimaya Elder
Both players took some early damage from their pain lands as Harvey cast a Bird of Paradise on turn 1 and Cunningham matched with Basking Rootwalla. Harvey used his turn 2 Yavimaya Elder to block the lizard. Not only did that force Cunningham to tap out, stunting his board development, it also provided Harvey with two more lands, ensuring that he will not be mana-hosed this game. Harvey made things worse yet for Cunningham by summoning Spike Weaver. Cunningham sent his team up to the air by discarding Wonder to an Aquamoeba he summoned on his third turn. Rather than take four points of damage, Harvey took a counter off of his Weaver.

Cunningham discarded Deep Analysis and re-cast it out of the graveyard, but failed to find a fourth land. A second Spike Weaver entered play on Harvey's side of the board. He chose to take four damage on the following turn rather than take a counter off his Weaver. With Deed in play, Cunningham did not cast Roar of the Wurm he just discarded to Aquamoeba, leaving the path free for the Weavers. Of course, Harvey also had to consider the possibility of Arrogant Wurm in his opponent's hand. He attacked anyway, and when Cunningham did summon Arrogant Wurm and blocked a 2/2 Weaver with it, Harvey tapped out to move all three counters onto the blocked creature to make it 5/5. Although Cunningham lost his Wurm, he used Submerge to send the 5/5 Spike Weaver back on top of Harvey's library, temporarily getting it out of the way.

With Weaver temporarily off the table, Harvey used his Deed to clear the board, then summoned Spike Feeder and Birds of Paradise. Cunningham cast a pair of Wild Mongrels. He used Circular Logic to counter a Spike Weaver, but then lost of his dogs to Diabolic Edict. Cunningham attacked with Mongrel and pumped it twice, discarding a second Roar of the Wurm and a land. He flashed back one of the Roars, threatening to deal lethal damage next turn despite the Spike Feeder. Harvey summoned a second Spike Feeder and had Birds of Paradise standing by to block the 6/6 token. Cunningham used Submerge on the Birds and attacked for nine, forcing Harvey to sacrifice both Feeders. With nothing but a Bird on top of his library, Harvey was out of answers, losing the match 2-0.

Final Result: Cunningham 2 – Harvey 0

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