Teams Round 4: France vs. Spain

Posted in Feature

By Tom Guevin

This match featured two teams still in contention to make the finals. Both teams needed wins and likely sweeps as they were the 7th and 8th ranked teams entering the round. They had to win and wanted to sweep to move up as much as possible to catch the surging Canadians and Dutch.

Roc Herms Pont is the highest rated limited players in Spain and he faced off against Frenchman Franck Canu. Both players were playing Black with Haunted Crossroads, but Franck had a splash of Red for additional removal in the form of creatures - Blaster Mage, Shock Troops, and Arms Dealer.

Roc opened strong with Ritual-Intimidator and searched out a Thug. Canu Flowstone Struck the Intimidator and Roc played a Nether Spirit, the next turn trading with Canu's Blaster Mage. Then Roc cast Haunted Crossroads and put the Intimidator back on top of his deck and getting the Spirit back for free. Canu dropped a Deepwood Ghoul and Shock Troops, while Roc searched for a Misshapen Fiend and cast Seal of Doom. Franck cast Cateran Brute and Intimidator and searched out 2 Agent of Shauku's. Roc's Enforcer was met with Thunderclap and Canu Arms Dealered the Spirit. He rushed and Roc traded Intimidators. This was a mistake. Black on Black Brute is just better than Intimidator and Roc should have killed a Brute. It looked bad the next turn when he drew Steal Strength. But Franck played into the Steal and cast Panic Attack and rushed with everything. Roc used the Steal to just stay alive, and then he put his army back on top with Crossroads and got the spirit back. He cast Enforcer and looked to be in great shape, even though he was at 2 life. Then Franck cast Rhystic Tutor and got Seal of Fire, sealing game one.

In the battle of National Champions, Yann Hamon faced off against Carlos Barrado. Both had Red/Blue decks, but Yann had stronger cards with Coastal Piracy, Spiketail Drake and Avatar of Fury. Game one was all Yann as he dropped Piracy and Lesser Gargadon. He pounded away with that and the Drake and Carlos was down 1-0.

Alexis Dumay played Ferran Uila in a Green battle. Alexis had black for Forced March, while Ferran had red for Flowstone Slide. Ferran opened on the attack with Herbalist, Rib Cage Spiders and Gahrs. Alexis got great mileage out of Pangosaur as Ferran wanted to hold land for Herbalist. When Alexis looked to be down for the count, he Forced Marched Ferran's board away and replayed the Pangosaur and several fatties. It was over for Ferran.

Paco Llopis, of Spain, nearly made top 8 at Chicago and was also top 64 at LA. He faced off with Michael Sochon in a White/Blue on White/Blue matchup. The problem for Paco was that Sochon had a Rebel Engine and drew it while Paco did not. Game one, Paco was staring down a Rebel army with his Crossbow Infantry. So Sochon went to backup plan with Diving Griffins. Even though Llopis played Noble Purpose, Sochon was able to prevent enough damage with Charm Peddler to pull it out in a close game.

Roc opened game two against Canu with Cackling Witch and Intimidator. Canu answered with Percher and Shock Troops, while Roc played Deepwood Ghoul and Flay, taking away Thunderclap and Highway Robber. Canu looked down, but Flowstone Struck the Ghoul and played Intimidator. Roc used Steal Strength to kill the Ghoul, but was stalled at 4 land and couldn't cast his Well of Knowledge. Canu cast Irregulars and Roc traded with his Intimidator and got a Misshapen Fiend. Roc played Crossroads and Chilling Apparition to try to comeback, but Canu played Arms Dealer and Panic Attack and went in for the win 2-0. I think the red in Canu's deck was the difference. Obvious Arms Dealer and Shock Troops are bombs, but Flowstone Strike was pivotal in the matchup.

Game two of Hamon/Barrado was similar to the first, except this time Hamon was able to cast his Avatar and start the beats. Carlos put up a fight, but a key Flameshot cleared out a Bouncer and 2 Stormwatch Eagles and allowed Hamon and his Piracy to win 2-0. Carlos played fine, and I think the deck was just outmatched.

Whereas game one featured the strength of Pangosaur, game two showed its weakness. Ferran had quick pressure on Alexis who kept casting Pangosaur to try to slow it down. But Ferran played land after land and a Blastoderm quickly finished Alexis.

Game 3 would feature huge green creatures everywhere. If you like Green you would have loved it: Ants, Elementals, and Blastoderms. But in the end a Thrived Venomous Dragonfly proved too much for Alexis to handle and it flew over to give Ferran the win.

Sochon looked to be on the verge of losing game 2. Paco had a Saprazzan Breaker going, while Sochon searched for Rebels with his Captain, but couldn't find an answer for the Breaker. Then Paco drew a Counterspell and looked to lock the game down. With Sochon at 2, Paco started tapping islands to use the Breaker. He got a bit unlucky and had to tap all but one Island. This allowed Sochon to do a Shoving Match and tap the Breaker along with all of Paco's other creatures. The magic Michael Sochon then attacked for the win, giving the French an overall 3-1 victory and 18 precious match points.

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