Round 3: Merlyn Evans vs. John Ou

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After a long absence from Magic John Ou decided that the perfect time to make his return would be his hometown GP. Ou has always been a consistent performer in Australian Magic with his one major victory being the Adelaide invitational a few years ago. Merlyn Evans is also another of Australia's most consistent magic players always appearing at the top of the standings and venturing to many of the overseas Pro Tours.

Game 1

After electing to draw Ou had no play on turns one or two and responded to the morph creature of Evans with one of his own. Evans offered Ou a trade of the two and he accepted with Evans losing a Ascending Aven and Ou losing a Spined Basher. Evans then kept the pressure on Ou summoning a Daru Cavalier, tricking Ou by reaching for his library and simply shuffling it rather than obtaining another Cavalier. A Glory Seeker started the creature pile on Ou's side of the board, and stood to the side as the Cavalier came charging in for 2 damage.

Ou slowly began to stabilize the board dropping a Shieldmage Elder, a Nantuko Husk and a Daunting Defender. Evans dug deep into his deck cycling to look for an answer to the oncoming threats and found a pacifism for the husk. With a Solar Blast trapped in his hand he desperately needed a red mana to put a stop to the large number of forces queuing up on Ou's side of the board.

When Ou dropped a Gustcloak Harrier and continued to force through damage with his Daunting Defender it looked as though Evans would be in real trouble. However he pulled a major surprise out of the bag morphing up an Exalted Angel, blocking the Harrier but it couldn't let it join the red zone. With the multiple clerics that Ou was amassing he could simple tap them using the Elder and prevent the Angel damage to himself.

The two passed the turns back and forth looking for an answer to the stalemate that had developed. When Ou drew into his Glarecaster Evans took a quick glance at the clock, thought about the cards in his deck and had no choice but to concede the game and move onto game 2.

Ou Leads 1-0

Game 2

With only 20 minutes left on the clock Evans knew that he would have to get his deck into top gear as fast as he could or he risked being timed out. Just like the first game the two dropped third turn morphs however Evans refused to trade and took four damage as Ou morphed up a Thrashing Mudspawn. The reason behind the move was clear on turn 4 when he attacked and morphed up an Exalted Angel.

Ou might have looked concerned but it was only for a second as he dropped pacifism onto the Angel and sent his Mudspwan into the redzone for another 4 damage. Evans returned the favor by pacifying the Mudspawn and dropping a Mistform Dreamer. On his next turn Ou had no play and watched as a Mistform Shrieker joined Evans team, shortening his clock to a mere 2 turns.

Ou untapped and drew a Nantuko Husk however it was no match for the two flyers and two turns later he scooped up his cards and the two moved onto game 3.

Tied 1-1

Game 3

The clock ticked over to 5:30 as the two players presented their decks and prepared for the third and final game. After seeing the speed of Ous deck in the first two games it appeared that he would have a severe disadvantage in this game as the flyers of Evans could easily and quickly tick away at the life of Ou.

Evans soon negated that advantage however when he was forced to mulligan his opening hand after accidentally drawing 8 cards. The two players played at an extremely fast pace agreeing that they'd rather see one player win than be forced to take a draw from the match.

Despite the setback Evans still got off to a flying start, slamming down a Festering Goblin and on turn four morphing up his Ascending Aven. Ou had the answer with a Pacifism stopping Evans, and then began to seize the initiative with a Thrashing Mudspawn and a Daunting Defender. With time called Evans had no choice but to go on the back foot and chump block off his Uncle Fester, playing down Morphs to help him fend off the three turns until time was eventually called.

Final Result: Evans and Ou Draw 1-1

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