Round 12 Feature Match: Ian Farnung vs Eugene Hwang

Posted in Event Coverage on February 22, 2015

By Josh Bennett

Crunch time comes early on Sunday. Two losses is the expected limit, and once you’re saddled with those you need to win out. The key, sports psychologists say, is to take each match as it comes.

The Players

Ian Farnung is a self-confessed travel junkie who’s been spotted making deep runs on Day 2s on at least three continents. With his Chicago crew he surprised the field at GP Sao Paulo and put up a Top 4 finish. He notched his first solo Top 8 at Orlando last year. This weekend he’s playing Abzan.

His opponent is actually the Champion from that Orlando event, Eugene Hwang. He’s been riding high since last season and is looking to further grow his reputation. He’s playing blue-red Splinter Twin, spiced up with the addition of Vedalken Shackles.

The Games

Farnung opened with Inquisition of Kozilek, seeing Lightning Bolt, Vedalkan Shackles, Pestermite, Snapcaster Mage and lands. After a moment’s thought he got rid of the Shackles. Hwang played a land and was soon staring down a Tarmogoyf, already a 3/4. Farnung hit him with another Inquisition, saw that he’d drawn only lands, and got rid of Pestermite. He fetched out another land and delved out Tasigur, the Golden Fang. It was a textbook midrange opening, supercharged for Modern.

Hwang played his third land and was busted down to 7 for his temerity. He had to spend his fourth turn on Bolt and Snapcaster to rid himself of Tasigur, but with no solution for the Tarmogoyf he couldn’t fight on long.

Farnung 1 – Hwang 0

“Goyf is just too good in this matchup,” said Farnung.

“He really is. I mean, I’m supposed to lose game one.”

Farnung shipped back his opening seven. His six were acceptable, and they were off. Hwang was first on the board with a Spellskite on his second turn. Farnung summoned a tardy Noble Hierarch. Hwang was happy to play it slow. Farnung fetched basic swamp out of respect for a potential Blood Moon, then untapped and summoned Tarmogoyf. Hwang Remanded. Farnung passed it back with two open rather than recast his ‘Goyf.

Hwang played Desolate Lighthouse and passed, losing his Spellskite to an end-of-turn Abrupt Decay. Farnung again tried his ‘Goyf, and after a Remand he played it again and finally got it to stick. Any celebrations were immediately put on hiatus when Hwang dropped Vedalken Shackles and stole the Tarmogoyf. Farnung delved out Tasigur, the Golden Fang, leaving only Abrupt Decay in his graveyard. He considered going for an activation of Tasigur, but decided against, instead summoning Siege Rhino.

Here Hwang was forced to cede control of the Tarmogoyf in order to steal Tasigur on his turn. He also brought out an Engineered Explosives for two before passing back.  Farnung drew, played Gavony Township, and passed. Hwang paused at end of turn, and decided to blow the Explosives to keep from being overwhelmed by threats. He played land and passed, using his Tectonic Edge to blow up the Township when Farnung activated it.

Things were looking dire for Farnung. He couldn’t very well let Hwang go crazy with Tasigur, so he swung in with his Rhino. Naturally, Hwang blocked, happy to free his Shackles to steal another creature. He had Negate for Farnung’s last gasp, an Inquisition of Kozilek. Keranos soon joined his side of the board, and victory followed in short order.

Farnung 1 – Hwang 1

Farnung led out with Scavenging Ooze, immediately Bolted by Hwang. He tried to replace it with Tarmogoyf, but Hwang stalled it off with Remand. Next up was Inquisition of Kozilek. Hwang turned over a hand of Blood Moon, Vedalken Shackles, three Snapcaster Mages and Batterskull. Farnung put Blood Moon in the bin, which let his Tarmogoyf enter play as a 5/6.

Hwang failed to draw a land and passed. Farnung sent in his Tarmogoyf. Hwang flashed in Snapcaster Mage and targeted his Lightning Bolt. He blocked the Tarmogoyf, then flashed back Lightning Bolt to kill the ‘Goyf. The idea was that the exiled Bolt would leave the graveyard without instants, shrinking the Tarmogoyf, but Hwang had completely forgotten his own Remand.

Farnung continued to pour on the pressure with a post-combat Siege Rhino. Hwang played Shackles but couldn’t steal anything and was brought down to five in a single attack. Worse, Farnung had Fulminator Mage to blow up Steam Vents, keeping down the number of islands under Hwang’s control. Hwang tried to buy time with Deceiver Exarch, but Farnung had all bases covered. Abrupt Decay got it out of the way and sealed the match.

Ian Farnung defeats Eugene Hwang 2-1

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