On 8-1 coming into the round, both players are looking good so far in the tourament. Gary Wise was playing mono-black control, and Olivier had the Infestation-Upheaval deck. It’s not a good match-up for Gary. “My best plan is to watch my opponent carefully and then call a judge”, he said. Olivier asks when the last time Gary made a top eight was, and Wise responds with, “Well at least I won a PT”, a reference to the team event in Washington 1999. Both players are well known pros with many good finishes to their name.
This game was pretty brutal, as so often happens when these two decks meet. Olivier was able to make a second turn Standstill, which Gary was forced to break with a Diabolic Tutor. The Frenchman drew four cards off a Deep Analysis, while Wise had a very poor draw and was unable to put up any pressure. On turn eight Olivier had enough mana to just cast Upheaval and put a Zombie Infestation into play, making four tokens. Gary had an Innocent Blood but it still wasn’t enough to prevent lethal damage inside four turns.
While they were sideboarding, Olivier started laughing. “Are you OK?” asked Gary. “Yes I’m just thinking about what I’m going to do to you this game.” Once again Oliver has a Standstill, which Wise once again has to break, this time with Tainted Pact. He was looking for a fourth Swamp, but instead turned over seven different non-Swamp cards, and then a second Nantuko Shade fizzled the Pact.
Wise was attacking with a Mesmeric Fiend, so with a poor draw, Ruel had to tap down for a Deep Analysis, giving Gary chance to resolve a Skeletal Scrying for five cards. When the Canadian played a second Fiend, he was relieved to see that Olivier had an awful hand; three Divert, an Aether Burst and a Faceless Butcher which he took. Once again Olivier had to tap out for a Deep Analysis to find an answer, which allowed Gary to Mind Sludge his hand away. Wise dropped a Screams of the Damned and six activations later it was on to game three.
Game three was brutal. Gary started out with a Mesmeric Fiend taking Innocent Blood, although the Fiend was soon killed by a Chainer's Edict. On his fourth turn Gary Wise played Braids, which Olivier had to Aether Burst and then Cabal Therapy away.
Gary dropped both a Faceless Butcher, and then a Nantuko Shade on his sixth turn. Olivier’s only removal was an Innocent Blood and the Shade brought him down to ten. His Faceless Butcher proved to be only a temporary measure to deal with the Shade, since Gary had a second Butcher. The Nantuko Shade ended the game in one hit.
Gary Wise 2 – Olivier Ruel 1