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Finals: Jurgen Hahn vs. Jon Stern

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As soon as the Top 8 pairings went up and the decklists were passed out to the competitors, Jurgen Hahn predicted he'd be here in the finals. His deck – blue/green/red madness – has favorable matchups against everything else in the Top 8 except Sam Lau's Psychatog, and Lau was doomed to fall to Squirrel/Opposition in the quarterfinals. So far it's all worked according to plan; Hahn dispatched Jeff Cunningham and Ray Weiss, both in four games, and he's now ready to take down Jon Stern for the title.

Stern is kind of the surprise of the Top 8. He proved himself as a limited specialist of sorts yesterday, going 6-0 in the draft portion. He needed every one of those wins, considering his red/green deck only managed a 3-3 record on day 1. He had a pretty good matchup against Richard Hoaen in the quarters, and capitalized on a mistake by David Rood in the semis. And now he must face Hahn, who is playing a deck designed to crush red/green.

Hahn had to mulligan in Game 1 and kept six (after a lengthy discussion with the judges about accidentally revealing cards when shuffling).

Stern played a Basking Rootwalla on turn one, and attacked with it for three on turn two. Hahn was without green mana, and killed the Rootwalla with Fire/Ice when Stern tried to pump it on his next attack. Stern shrugged and played another Rootwalla, and then a Yavimaya Barbarian.

Hahn dropped a Flametongue on the Barbarian and then blocked the Rootwalla with it. He also had a Repulse for Stern's next creature, a Call of the Herd token, but still no green mana.

Stern swung in for a big hit with a flashed back Call fueled by a Reckless Charge. Stern played a Yavimaya Barbarian on his next turn, and Hahn could only shake his head. After staring at his had of green cards for a few seconds, Hahn scooped, a victim of the mana gods.

Stern 1 – Hahn 0

Hahn sided out three Rootwallas for three copies of Roar of the Wurm. Stern sided out his four Barbarians, three Reckless Charges, and a Bird for four gigantic Shivan Wurms, three Spellbane Centaurs, and an Engulfing Flames (to kill Merfolk Looters, presumably).

Game 2 was Stern's turn to mulligan, and he mad a sour face at his six card hand before keeping it. Perhaps a bluff.

Both players put out Mountains on turn one, but Stern's allowed him to cast a Grim Lavamancer. Stern added a Wild Mongrel on turn two, and Hahn put out a Merfolk Looter.

On his third turn, Stern did not kill the Looter, but instead attacked and then put out a Call token. Hahn had no green mana again for the beginning of the game, but this time it was because he was choosing to slow-roll it. He put out a Forest on turn four and cast a Flametongue, killing the Call token.

Stern had a chance to kill the Looter with his Lavamancer in response to Hahn trying to kill it with Fire. It would have meant removing his Call of the Herd from the game, but it probably would have been worth it. The Looter lived, and it started doing crazy things, like enabling two 4/4's and a Pyrotechnics for three mana each, drawing cards all the way. I understand Call of the Herd is the red/green deck's one source of card advantage, but by not sacrificing that potential advantage to kill the Looter, Stern let the game slip away.

Stern 1 – Hahn 1

Both players started with turn-2 Mongrels in the third game and attacked back and forth. Stern added a Meteor Storm to the table.

When Stern attacked Hahn on his fourth turn, Hahn madnessed out an Arrogant Wurm using his Mongrel and blocked Stern's. Stern pitched two cards, enough to trade with the Wurm but not enough to save his Mongrel. He then cast a Flametongue, targeting Hahn's Mongrel, and Hahn pitched enough cards to save it.

Hahn killed the FTK with Fire and attacked Hahn down to 9. Hahn drew a card, and activated Meteor Storm targeting the Mongrel, discarding a Basking Rootwalla with madness. Hahn discarded a Circular Logic to his Mongrel with the intent of countering the Rootwalla, but somehow something was miscommunicated about what part of the madness trigger/stack/something had actually resolved. One judge was almost going to prevent Hahn from being able to counter, but the two table judges conferred with Head Judge Mike Guptil, and Hahn's intent was honored.

At this point each player had no hand and four lands in play, but Stern had Meteor Storm. Stern was on the short end of the stick life-wise, however, 8 to 18.

Hahn found the first threat, a Wild Mongrel. It got a few hits in before Stern was forced to discard two Shivan Wurms to kill it via Meteor Storm. On the next turn, Hahn pulled an Arrogant Wurm, and dared Stern to draw a Flametongue. Stern did not, and the game went to Hahn.

Stern 1 – Hahn 2

Game 4 was a veritable mulligan-fest. Stern had to go down to the five-card opener, playing, and Hahn started with six.

For being only five cards, Stern's hand was quite snazzy, giving him a Lavamancer and a Mongrel on the first two turns. Hahn drew his own Mongrel, and the Hounds started swinging.

When Hahn had three land untapped, Stern feared running into Arrogant Wurm, so he cast an FTK before combat to test the waters. Hahn used his mana to Repulse his own Mongrel in response to the Kavu, and Stern was forced to deal four to his own Lavamancer.

Hahn put out him Mongrel again, and then another Mongrel, and started overwhelming him in combat. Stern looked to get back in it with a topdecked FTK, but Hahn had an FTK of his own in reserve.

As the game ended, Stern showed that he was holding two Shivan Wurms again.

Final Result: Hahn 3 – Stern 1

Jurgen Hahn is the 2002 Canadian National Champion. Joining him on the team are Jin Stern and Ray Weiss, with David Rood as the alternate.

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