Round 8: Hugo Machado vs. Dirk Baberowski

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Kai keeping an eye on Dirk.
Normally being 6-1 one round from the end of the first day of Grand Prix is nothing but good news. But today it isn't good enough. They have to play this last round with the winner coming back tomorrow and the loser going home. Hugo Machado is a former Portuguese National Champion and Dirk Baberowski you all know, from three Pro Tour wins (just to mention the more obvious).

Game 1

Things didn't start of well for the Portuguese, who had to take a mulligan.

Dirk: "Don't worry, my hand is not very good either."

Indeed his start wasn't very impressive: Wall of Hope and Headhunter. Then things got better with Graveborn Muse. By then Machado had Elvish Warrior and Smokespew Howler. The Muse kept Baberowski full has he unloaded creature after creature. Machado tried to slow him with Crown of Suspicion and drew Needleshot Gourna. The big Beast meant the flyers had to stay back while the Muse forced Dirk to "necro" for two each other.

When Baberowski reached eight mana his own Smokespew Howler kicked in. Machado was now losing a creature per turn. Dirk sent in the Muse but Hugo declined to kill it, instead chumping with the Elvish Warrior. By then the German's setup was impressive. Hugo revealed a Skinthinner to shot down a Glarecaster going down to eleven.

Despite the pressure Dirk always has a smile.
Hugo: "Think well, you might lose."

The Portuguese drew another card and scooped.

Dirk 1-0 Hugo.

Game 2

Dirk (starting with Wall of Hope): "Another furious start."

He followed that with a morph, Slate of Ancestry and Severed Legion. Still Machado was following a different theme: elves. Symbiotic Elf, Timberwatch Elf and Wirewood Channeler.

Dirk: "Not bad."

Still the German dutifully played two Soldiers and set about using the Slate to find solutions. He was soon needing them as Machado's increasing army of four elves and Toxin Sliver spelled big trouble.

Dirk: "So many cards I have to kill."

The Portuguese cheering for their former Champion.
He started by throwing three creatures in front of the Symbiotic Elf before playing two more blockers. Machado set his Smokespew Invoker to work. Soon his attacks had brought Baberowski down to one creature and he seemed anything but pleased with the cards his Slate delivered. Still he found a Profane Prayers to end the reign of the Invoker and player Aven Redeemer to start rebuilding at a still healthy sixteen.

On and on Hugo Machado sent his creatures in. Between Patron of the Wild and his overworked Timberwatch Elf he demolished every defensive force Baberowski threw at him. The German furiously dug with the Slate seeing four new cards every single turn but finding no answer to the elvish team accross the table. Dirk's Severed Legion gained a Crown of Suspicion as the German tried to race with his swampwalker but it was too little too late.

Dirk 1-1 Hugo.

Game 3

Machado adjusts life totals.
Machado stalled on two lands and was forced to discard. Meanwhile Baberowski dropped two morphs and set out to win the game. Finally finding his third land Hugo played Timberwatch Elf before playing a Morph. Dirk constantly rechecked his three morphs looking for the edge and finding no way to further pressure the Portuguese.

Dirk: "I can't even punish you a little bit."

The Elf pumped the morph but Dirk had a little trick up his sleeve. He revealed a Gravel Slinger to deal the final point of damage clearing the way for his morphs. On the next turn he finished the blocking Timberwatch Elf with a Crown of Suspicion. The Portuguese was so lost he even discarded a morph as his eighth card instead of playing it.

Final Result: Dirk 2-1 Hugo.

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