Round 9: Sam Gomersall vs Kevin O’Connor

Posted in Event Coverage on May 1, 2003

By Jim Grimmett

Sam and Kevin are both well known English players, having attended numerous Pro Tours. Sam in particular has been doing very well on the European Grand Prix circuit this year. Both players have five wins and a draw under their belts so far and, if common wisdom is correct, the winner will still be in with a shot at the top eight, whilst the loser can probably only make the top sixteen.

Game one started well, with both players having a good mix of spells and land. The first casualty was Kevin’s Wingbeat Warrior as Sam cast Crown of Suspicion to slow down Kevin’s attack and swing the game’s tempo in his favour. Both players played out a few more creatures giving Sam a Snarling Undorak, Birklore Rangers, Wirewood Herald and one morph, whilst Kevin could only manage a Gempalm Avenger, Aven Redeemer and a single morph of his own. Sam flipped his morph over to reveal a Skinthinner, killing Kevin’s Avenger , and then swung with his whole team, taking Kevin down to 11 life.

Kevin drew and played a Lavamancer’s Skill on his morph creature and tapped to kill Sam’s Herald, trying to keep Sam down to five mana and limit the spells he could play and finished his turn after swinging in for two with his Redeemer to take Sam down to 14.

Once again Sam swung in with all his guys and took Kevin down into the danger zone with only five life, played out a Krosan Vorine and passed the turn.

Kevin untapped and thought for a while before attacking with his morph creature. As he’d been drawing lots of land he could unmorph almost any of his creatures and so Sam thought carefully before blocking with his new Vorine. They both died and Kevin’s bluff was called as a newly revealed Skirk Commando headed for the graveyard. Kevin played out one more morph and passed the turn.

Unwilling to attack into Kevin’s forces with his Redeemer untapped, Sam only played out a Bersek Murdolont before passing the turn to Kevin.

“That says?” asked Kevin.

“Whenever a beast become blocked it gains +1/+1 for each creature blocking it,” Sam read.

“That’s what I was hoping it didn’t say.”

Kevin untapped and drew and flew in with his men to take Sam down to 9 life and dropped an Aven Soulgazer.

Sam took no time at all to swing in with all his guys one more time, killing Kevin’s remaining morph and bringing him into strike range for next turn. Kevin conceeded.

Between rounds Kevin and Sam both checked over their sideboards and had a quick look through their decks as they discussed the previous game. Kevin bought in one Searing Flesh and took out his Lavamancer’s Skill whilst Sam left his deck alone and they both shuffled up for game two.

Kevin drew his seven and was happy to start but Sam chose to mulligan and, although keeping his six, was obviously not a happy man. Each player played out land for a few turns before Sam dropped a 1/1 Elf. Kevin responded by playing out one of his two Wingbeat Warriors and started to build up his air force. Kevin and Sam both played out creatures for a few turns and knocked each other around for two or three points of damage a turn.

The action started in earnest a turn after Sam had played out his Bersek Murdolont again. Kevin attacked with his fliers and his morph guy and Sam took the safe course of action and blocked it with his 3/3 Murdolont, only to lose the beast to Kevin’s Inspirit. Sam decided to hit back hard the next turn as he used all the extra land he’d been drawing to unmorph a Treespring Lorian and stomp in for 5, bringing Kevin down to 10.

Kevin followed up by going on the offensive once more, attacking with everything but his Aven Redeemer, knowing that Sam would have to draw something very good to last more than one more turn. Sam drew and conceded.

Both players shuffled up and drew thier seven, this time keeping and getting the final game under way. Sam started the action with a turn two Invoker, attacking the next turn and playing out a morph. Kevin could only answer with a goblin but Goblin Sharpshooter is no ordinary goblin! Sam attacked once more and passed the turn. Kevin dropped a land and passed leaving the goblin and four lands untapped.

“Cheeky.” Sam said thoughtfully, as Kevin represented an Inspirit his is hand. Not wanting to take the risk of losing all his guys he played out his Berserk Murdolont one more time and passed to Kevin.

Luckily for Kevin he had a good answer in the form of Aven Soulgazer. Sam didn’t wish to be intimidated though, unmorphed a Treespring Lorien, and swung with his team. Kevin thought carefully for a while and blocked the Murdolont with his Soulgazer. Once the creature was dead he stacked the Goblin’s triggered ability and dealt one to the Invoker, untapped the Goblin and did one more to the Invoker. It’s death allowed him one more untap to kill the Murdolont, again allowing him to untap. A very special goblin indeed.

Kevin spent his turn playing out a 2/6 flier in the form of Skywing Talon and passed to Sam. Still looking good with the Treespring Lorian in play, Sam played out an Elf and a Krosan Vorine to build his depleted army back up to a reasonable strength and passed back to Kevin. Kevin drew, smiled, and cycled Gempalm Avenger, making his Talon bigger, took flying away from it and provoked the Lorian, klilling it with his Sharpshooter. He repeated this for the next few turns, until Sam had no creatures left and started to fly in for two a turn as Sam could only draw land after land. Kevin’s position was strengthed even more with a second Talon and, a few turns later, Sam conceeded.

Kevin wins 2-1.

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