Mikko is the Cinderella story in this Pro Tour. He came out of nowhere to reach the first draft table for the crucial last three rounds. Not a bad weekend for the Finnish player. He started his feature match with a feature for every rookie: the playmat tutorial by Mark Rosewater.
Denmark's Svend Geertsen will forever be remembered as the very young player who turned Stompy in a legendary deck with his performance at Worlds 1997. No matter how many great results he piled after that - he had another two Pro Tour Top 8's - he will always be the Stompy guy and one of the nicest players in the circuit.
The winner here gets a spot in the Top 8. The loser gets to play the last round for the Top 8 slot.
The game started off slow with the first creature being a turn 3 Krosan Avenger by Punakallio, followed by Ambassador Laquatus. Geertsen answered with his own copy of Avenger and Halberdier.
While they stared at each other across the table Mikko played Cartographer and Thought Eater. The pace of the game was extremely slow. At five mana Svend decided to shift things a bit: he played Shower of Coals leaving Punakallio only with Laquatus.
He sent Avenger and Halberdier in and Laquatus traded with the green creature. The Finnish was in trouble, drawing land after land with only a Repel in hand. Geertsen played Nantuko Disciple and Mikko drew Turbulent Dreams.
He used it to bounce the two creatures, forcing. The Danish replayed the Disciple, only to have it bounced again by Repel and return the next turn, and the Halberdier before Punakallio could find a creature.
Hydromorph Guardian isn't exactly stellar, but it's better than drawing another land. The Halberdier came in one more time bringing the despairing Finnish down to four.
He followed that up with Gorilla Titan but Geertsen had enough creatures to swarm for enough damage. He finished the game with Fiery Temper.
Svend 1-0 Mikko.
Mikko started things with Cephalid Scout before Geertsen found Basking Rootwalla. On the next turn he played Elvish Lyrist and Reckless Charge to start the Red Zone trips.
The Scout ate up a land but Mikko dropped a Cartographer to recover it. The little green creature persuaded Geertsen to sit back and drop Werebear instead of attacking.
When he tried to play Nantuko Disciple Punakallio was ready: he used Rites of Refusal to counter it. Rites of Spring brought up a Plains that made Geertsen raise his eyebrows.
Floating Shield gave Cartographer protection from Green, with Mikko hoping to grind the ground slaughter to a halt. But - and this is a huge but - Svend finally reached five mana. Out came Shower of Coals and away went the Finnish's creatures.
The free swing brought Mikko to ten. He played Krosan Avenger with enough mana to regenerate it, forcing Geertsen to sit back and drop enough creatures to alpha strike.
Although the Avenger gave Punakallio a stellar blocker it also tied up his mana. While he tried to balance things out Geertsen played creature after creature. Punakallio Repelled one of them and played Obsessive Search to find Aquamoeba.
Centaur Veteran and the twice casted Metamorphic Wurm gave Svend a five to three creature advantage but he seemed afraid of the Finnish's massive amounts of bounce.
Indeed Mikko had Turbulent Dreams in hand. Between keeping cards in hand, mana for that and potentially regenerating the Avenger Punakallio was having a hard time developing his game.
He risked a Cephalid Scout and seeing only three mana untapped across the table Geertsen discarded Fiery Temper, along with Leaf Dancer (which was a bit strange since that creature could get past Mikko's blockers with Forestwalk), to Rites of Spring getting his third green source.
The Temper hit the Avenger just to tap it out of the way. The whole Danish crew waltzed into the Red Zone and Mikko Punakallio considered his blocks. Svend's reason for discarding the Dancer soon became clear: he put him one card away from Threshold with and untapped Timberland Ruins in play.
He sacrificed it to pump the Rootwalla making his Werebear and Metamorphic Wurm a lot bigger. Mikko fell all the way down to two. His last draw couldn´t save him and he extended his hand.
Final Result: Svend 2-0 Mikko.
With this win Svend Geertsen reached the Top 8.
Pro Tour Nice, Fourth Booster Draft
Pro Tour Nice, Fourth Booster Draft