QUARTERFINALS: CHRIS FENNELL VS. DAVID FOSTER

Posted in GRAND PRIX BALTIMORE 2015 - WELCOME on December 15, 2014

By Peter Rawlings

Maryland native David Foster streamrolled his way into his first ever Grand Prix Day 2 on the back of a strong Sealed pool featuring two of the best rares in Khans of Tarkir Limited in Crater's Claws and Wingmate Roc. Then he barreled his way into his first ever Grand Prix Top 8 after going 2-1 in both of Sunday's drafts, and was looking to continue to pile up the firsts with a win at the final table.

In contrast to Foster's relative inexperience, Chris Fennell had five prior Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt before arriving in Baltimore, along with a Top 8 finish at Pro Tour Born of the Gods earlier this year. After going 8-1 on Day 1, he had won his way into the Top 8 here by drafting Temur decks in both Sunday pods. Figuring it best not to mess with his recipe for success, his deck was once again based around the Blue-Red-Green wedge.

Game 1

Fennell, on the draw, kept his opening hand. After a mulligan to six, Foster kept a hand featuring Abzan Charm and Longshot Squad, along with with the four basic lands needed to cast them.

After early jockeying for position between Fennell's two morph creatures and Foster's Longshot Squad, a Mardu Hateblade came down for Foster and managed to take a tiny—but deadly—bite out of Fennell's face-down Snowhorn Rider. After casting an Alpine Grizzly, Foster then decided to rustle it out of hibernation, casting Awaken the Bear to take down Fennell's second morphed copy of Snowhorn Rider.

Fennell's pair of morphed Snowhorn Riders were no match for a bear that had been awoken

Following that trade, Foster had an Alpine Grizzly and Longshot Squad surveying the open terrain of Fennell's now-empty board. He added a face-down creature to the mix and after attacking with all three, unmorphed an Abzan Guide, chomping away the rest of Fennell's life total and taking them to Game 2.

Foster 1 – Fennell 0

The player flicked briskly through their sideboards. After a fairly quick first game, they each had limited information about the other's deck, making it harder to determine which cards to leave in and which to take out. After shuffling up, Fennel once again kept his opener and once again Foster mulliganed and was forced to start the game with a six-card hand.

Game 2

Fennell spent his few first few turns laying Forests and Mountains, but seemed to be stuck in a drought with no Islands in sight. Those missing blue sources would prove crucial, since while Fennell was constrained by his mana base, Foster was busily curving an Heir of the Wilds into a morph and getting his attacks started.

After four turns, Fennell passed the turn back to Foster, still short a blue mana. Foster added to his own board with a Mardu Hateblade and an Abzan Ascendancy, growing his team into beefy and persistent threats. He attacked with his Heir and the morph, now a 3/3 and 4/4, and after Fennell looked at his draw for the turn he promptly conceded, having yet to cast a spell in the game.

Foster 2 – Fennell 0