Round 9: Nathan Russell vs. Simon Leung

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After losing their first match of the pod the two players were fighting to see who would have the chance to play the 0-2 game on the draft pod. Russell is one of australias most frequent pro tour players, he has even attended an invitational in Hong Kong. Leung is one of a mass of players who have made the journey from Sydney, although he is still considered an amatuer by the ranking systems he is far from it.

Game 1

Leung decided to let Russell play first in Game 1, and he began by cycling a Barren Moor on turn 1. From there he continued his cruve with a turn 2 Shepherd of Rot and a turn 3 morph creature. Leung had nothing to play till turn 3 when he elected to play a Words of War. Russell kept the explosive start coming on turn 4 with another morph creature and a Festering Goblin. Leung chose to shoot down one of the creatures, hitting a Treespring Lorian and played a Catapult Squad. Russell just kept dropping more creatures tho playing a BarkHide Mauler, and once again Leung elected to skip his draw phase and shock the morph creature.

Leung was falling behind fast, with a hand full of lands and a couple of skipped drawphases he was too far behind to come back and he was forced to chump off the Catapult to the Mauler before dying a turn later.

Russell leads Leung 1-0

Game 2

After a lightning quick game 1 Leung seemed confident that it was going to be him playing down at the 0-2 table during the next round of pairings. Russell thought for a few moments about his opening hand and then decided to keep, despite having two forests as his only lands he was drawing and he did have a swat to cycle if the need arose.

Leung played the first creature on turn 3 with a Pearlspear Courier to which Russell responded with a face down morph. On his fourth turn Leung played a Gravel Slinger and undaunted Russell swung in head first with his creature dealing two damage when no blockers were declared, before passing the turn he added a Shepherd of Rot to his team. Leung brought down a Barkhide Mauler during his next turn and Russell seized the opportunity to cast a Feeding Frenzy on the Courier. In came the Barkhide Mauler for 4 during Leungs next turn and he sent the turn back to Russell, who swatted the Slinger played a morph and sent the turn back.

With Russell on the back foot and staring down a 4/4 Leung played a Leery Fogbeast and a turn later Words of War. Flipping his morph before it could get shocked sounded like a fine idea to Russell so at the end of the turn he turned over a Spitting Gourna, untapped and cast a Death Pulse on the Mauler.

Now it was Leung who looked like he might be in some trouble as Russell went on the offensive with his Gourna. Leung played two morph creatures but waited for a turn to block and when Russell assigned all of the Gournas damage to a face down slinger, he flipped it and a Healer over, preventing one damage and saving both cards while still eliminating the Gourna.

After that attack Russell failed to draw anything else impressive for the rest of the game eventually succumbing to several attack phases combined with a Words of War activation and an Erratic Explosion

Tied 1-1

Game 3

Playing first in the deciding game Russell got off to a terrible start, mulliganing down to 6 cards but still had a turn 2 play of Disciple of Malice and a turn 3 play of Shepherd of Rot. Leung played a morph and then played out a Wirewood Savage. Russell slammed down a Crown of Vigor on his little cleric and sent it back into the red zone.

Russell got burned on his fourth turn when he tapped out to play an Undorak and it was hit by a Chain of Plasma. The two traded blows back and forth with Russell playing out a Screeching Buzzard that was controlling the air and Leung playing out fat ground monsters like Grassland Crusader to keep the ground tied down. The Shepherd of Rot kept pinging away at both life totals taking them to dangerously low levels.

A mistake by Russell who didn't know the timing on the Shepherd of Rot meant that an extra point of damage didn't get dealt when it chump blocked and was shot by a Gravel Slinger costing him an extra turn in attack. This somewhat minor mistake ended up costing him the game as when time was called he as forced to chump block with his Buzzard with Leung on one life. On the final turn of extra time Leung attacked with his team and finished the job with an Erratic Explosion.

Final Result: Leung Defeated Russell 2-1

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